Tag «faeries»

Series Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Falconer Trilogy

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Falconer (from Goodreads):
One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

breakdown

Series: The Falconer Trilogy
Author: Elizabeth May
# of Books: 3 (The Falconer, The Vanishing Throne, The Falling Kingdom)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Fallen Kingdom, will be published in North America in June 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Steampunk, Faeries, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: May 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook, Hardcover

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was everywhere early last year and the cover captured my attention. What made me super eager to pick it up was the fact that it was set in Scotland AND had faeries! I love faery stories and pretty much reading anything featuring them. This one promised to have a lot of action with a dash of romance and so I put it at the top of my TBR for 2016.

The Concept / The World:

I totally forgot this book was steampunk until I started to read it. It gives the world a really neat flavour to it and makes everything seem so much more badass. Steampunk is another favourite genre of mine and I really liked the world we get here–it has its own unique spin on everything.

I thought it was the perfect hybrid between the aristocratic world of Scotland and England during that era, and the supernatural elements like the faeries. It was an easy world to understand and has a lot of complex features to it so you pay attention to what is happening. I highly recommend reading the “bestiary” glossary at the back to keep everything straight though.

The Plot:

I thought there was a great balance between the social aspects of Aileana’s life–such as her duties as a daughter of the upper class–and her supernatural pass times. This book honestly had a great flow to it and kept you interested. I always felt like it was building to a grand moment and that kept me reading.

I also love the action! It has been a long time since I’ve read a book with such great action scenes that are easy to understand and visualize in my head. I had a lot of fun reading this book!

The Characters:

I liked Aileana a lot! I really liked the fact that she isn’t some heart of stone heroine who can kick serious ass but that she has emotions and isn’t too afraid to show them. Sure, she wants vengeance but I liked that her character had more depth than that to her. It was great watching her grow as a young woman and I find it easy to root for her.

Everyone else does their jobs perfectly and add to the story without taking too much away from Aileana.

The Romance:

This is probably why I dropped my rating to a 4.5/5 instead of a 5. I just didn’t like the way this one progressed exactly. The romance really plays a very small role in this story and so it takes a bit of a backseat. While I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen romantically, I felt like its flow was a little off and perhaps a little sudden? I wasn’t in love with the romance as much as I thought I was going to be but I’m hoping that changes in the sequel.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m looking forward to learning more about the fey world and how Aileana is going to handle everything going forward. There were some great developments and I’m stoked to see how everything unfolds in the next one!

updates

–November 3, 2016– Book #2: The Vanishing Throne

This novel was super easy to get reoriented with. There was enough recap to quickly get you up to speed with everything that had happened but not so much that you were bored out of your skull waiting for some action.

When compared to The Falconer, I thought this one had less physical action. It’s more political and drama filled, meaning you get some fantastic reveals and character developments. So it’s a strong sequel in that sense because it starts to bring everything together.

However, I did find it lag a bit in the middle. In a series like this where action is at the pinnacle, it’s easy for you to see when things slow down. But that being said, I never got bored with this book and I am desperately in need of the finale!

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Falconer 4.5/5 | The Vanishing Throne 4/5 | The Fallen Kingdom TBD

overall

If you want a historical fantasy that is lighter on the romance and heavy on the action, I think this is a great one for you to grab!

Read if You Like: action, steampunk, faeries
Avoid if You: want more romance

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Fresh Fridays: Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz (Light #1)

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

The Light Trilogy

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Shattered Blue (from Goodreads):
For Noa and Callum, being together is dangerous, even deadly. From the start, sixteen-year-old Noa senses that the mysterious transfer student to her Monterey boarding school is different. Callum unnerves and intrigues her, and even as she struggles through family tragedy, she’s irresistibly drawn to him. Soon they are bound by his deepest secret: Callum is Fae, banished from another world after a loss hauntingly similar to her own.

But in Noa’s world, Callum needs a special human energy, Light, to survive; his body steals it through touch—or a kiss. And Callum’s not the only Fae on the hunt. When Callum is taken, Noa must decide: Will she sacrifice everything to save him? Even if it means learning their love may not be what she thought?

breakdown

Series: The Light Trilogy
Author: Lauren Bird Horowitz
# of Books: 3 (Shattered Blue, Book 2, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 has yet to be published
Genre: Teen, Fantasy, Faerie, Magic, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: September 15, 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  Thank you Skyscape and Two Lions!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I won’t lie, it was the cover that drew me into looking at this book. But what made me read it was the faerie plotline. I ADORE faerie stories–so much so that I almost always read any faerie book I come across.

While the premise seemed like your typical YA story, I was intrigued by the idea that faeries steal light.

What I Liked:

-The Faerie World-

I love faerie stories because they always have their own unique spins to things and this book is no exception. There are a lot of cool elements at play. From the faerie hierarchy of powers to the way their world borders with ours–it really intrigued me.

-Family Situations-

I really didn’t expect the plotline regarding Noa’s family life. I was captivated by the mystery behind her sister’s death and how her family has reacted. It added an element to Noa’s otherwise dull and typical character.

Callum also has a very interesting family dynamic as well and that adds depth to his character. It also helps reinforce the connection he has with Noa.

What I Didn’t Like:

-The Romance-

I knew the romance was going to happen fast but I didn’t expect it to be THAT fast. It was like they talked and then BAM, love. And given the magic of the world it makes sense–they have that instant connection and I can accept that. I think I just wanted more buildup to the big moment because I love romances in my novels!

-The Plot-

Because the romance happens to fast, I really feel like nothing happened for the first half of the novel (~150 eBook pages). I had thought I would read this book in a day or two but I read it over the course of a week because I couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time. Noa wasn’t all that interested aside from her family life–which got monotonous after awhile. I wanted more action, intrigue and passion and I didn’t really get that.

Well, I didn’t really get that until the end where bombshell after bombshell was dropped! By that point I was just skimming the book when the first great twist happened I was sucked in! The last  40 pages or so were great and really bumped this book up from the 2 stars I was going to give it to the 3 I did.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m currently undecided about reading this sequel. When I was about 80% way through this book I was leaning towards no. But when all the big revelations happened in the last few pages, I will admit my curiosity was peaked. I think the rest of the series has potential but I don’t really want to commit at this time.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

I really don’t think this book was for me. I don’t enjoy slow building stories and that’s what this one was. But, I do think a lot of people will like this one! If you want a faerie series that isn’t dripping in faerie politics, this is a great one for you!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, faeries
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Single Sundays: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwall

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Mechanica (from Goodreads):
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

breakdown

Author: Betsy Cornwall
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Steampunk, Romance, Magic, Faeries
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  Thank you very muchHoughton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I first got my Netgalley account, this book captured my attention for its title and cover. And then when I read the synopsis, I really wanted to requested it. I love fairy tale retellings and a steampunk retelling of Cinderella? That’s just a major bonus!

Needless to say, I was really excited when I requested, got approved and finally picked it up.

The Concept / The World:

The steampunk application to the traditional (ok, the Disney Animated version of Cinderella) was really well done. I liked how mechanical creatures replaced the mice and how the magic was replaced with the machines Nicolette had made. It gave the story a gritter feel than the medieval story Cinderella is usually told in.

I also thought it was explained very well. There are lots of pages dedicated to Nicolette describing her mother’s work–too much if you ask me, but it helped me to get a good idea of the world this story was taking place in. However, that kinda fell apart at the end but that might have just been me reading the book to fast to fully grasp what was happening.

The Plot:

This is where the book fell apart for me. Nothing really happens for 200 pages and that makes it hard to get into. Which is a shame, because I was definitely enamoured with the world we are presented in the first 50 pages. Those pages flew by as I learned more about the politics, the faeries and the mechanics (literally) of the world. But then, it just kept going and I felt like too much time was spent in the past recalling Nicolette’s tough childhood. It really isn’t until the last 100 pages (FYI, my PDF eBook was 306 pages in length) that we get an actual story happening but at that point my interest was waning (which is a shame because I loved the approach it took for the ending).

If things were paced better, and the focus was more on certain plot aspects and less on others, this book would have been great! Because all the right gears were there, they just weren’t aligned properly to keep this flow going (see what I did there? :P).

The Characters:

I really appreciated Nicolette’s determination to fix her own problems. She isn’t some damsel in distress waiting for someone else to save her. Traditionally, (again, Disney animated version) Cinderella is just too nice to do anything about her situation (ie she’s a bit of a doormat) and thus relies on others (aka her fairy godmother) to solve her problems. Nicolette really doesn’t rely on others in the same sense. When she sees an opportunity, she goes for it and I really admire that. So much time is spent recalling her past, you do feel for her and want to see her succeed.

As for the rest of cast, they were exactly what you would expect and get very little air time.

The Romance:

I have mixed feelings about this. I kinda liked that the romantic side of things wasn’t the main focus of the story. You know, for the longest time I even forgot that there was a romantic plot in this story because so much time is spent watching Nicolette grow as a character.

But at the same time, I was hoping the romantic story would save the otherwise dry plot and give me something to be interested in.

My Rating: 2.5/5

overall

This is a classic example of a book simply missing its mark and it is a real shame! There are so many great take-away messages in this book: that it is ok for girls to fight for their own destiny; that you don’t always need someone to save you and that it is OK to be interested in fields usually “reserved” for the opposite gender. All these messages are winners in my eyes and ones that girls SHOULD associate with a story like Cinderella.

Read if You Like: fairy tale retellings, steampunk, coming of age stories
Avoid if You: don’t like slow paced books, want a faster/exciting plot, want more romance

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Series Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Court of Thorns & Roses (from Goodreads):
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy; ACOTR
Author: Sarah J. Maas
# of Books: 3 (A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 3, will be published in May 2017
Genre: New Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Faeries, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was a huge fan of Throne of Glass before it became mainstream. I loved the world Sarah J. Maas created but before I could move her from a “must-read” author to a “favourite author” I needed to read another series/book by her. So when I saw that she was releasing a 2nd series my reactions were this: 1) WHAT?! Write Throne of Glass faster! Not start a new series!; and 2) Yes please!

I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is a very popular one. So I really was expecting something out of the box with this book; especially because it focused on actual Fae, my favourite fantasy species. I also was expecting some fantastic world building, a strong heroine (or at least one who becomes strong) and a great romance. Some tall shoes to fill but I knew Sarah J. Maas could do it.

This book was everywhere before and after its release! ARC reviews were posted months in advance and there was so much hype that I was a little terrified to read this. I avoided all reviews (sorry everyone!) so I could go into it with a fresh mind and give it a fair shot.

The Concept / The World:

I loved the world Feyre lives in because I LOVE faerie stories! Doesn’t matter how many faerie books I read, each one has its own unique flare that sucks me in and this book is no exception. Maas does a great job building up the world and devotes the first half of the book really explaining how the faerie world works. And this could have been really dry but I felt like things moved along at a decent pace for the first half of the book so it didn’t bore me.

As for the Beauty and the Beast element, I liked that it didn’t follow the traditional conventions. The parallels are obvious but I felt like each had its own little spin on it. I thought it worked really well and I would have to say it is one of the best (if not the best) Beauty and the Beast retellings I have had the pleasure of reading.

The Plot:

So, don’t hate me, BUT, I felt like the first half of the book was really slow. It could easily just be due to the fact that I was reading it really early in the morning or late at night so I was more than a little tired. However, I feel like there really wasn’t much happening in the first half of the book besides building up the world–which is fine and all but not my personal cup of tea. I like action in my books and when it comes to faeries, I love their games.

Which is why I adored the second half of the book. It focused more on the faerie world’s political games, had more romance and had better character growth. I couldn’t put down the book once I reached the halfway point. And I knew that going into this book because Throne of Glass was written in the exact same way: slow and building.  So while I was expecting it, that doesn’t mean I was happy that that was the case.

The Characters:

What I loved about this series is that these characters made you work to like them. Feyre is jaded and initially hard to like because she really isn’t in a good place in her life. You really sympathize with her and I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the novel.

Tamlin–yeah, I wasn’t completely sold on him. I really didn’t feel like he was present much in this book enough for me to develop a crush on him. Sure, in theory he is everything a swoon-worthy hero needs to be: mysterious, charming and caring. It just didn’t work for me.–I’ll explain more in my romance section. I feel like he’ll have some great development in the sequel (that seems to be the trend in the Throne of Glass Series) so I’m hoping that will convince me of his “amazingness”.

All the other characters were great. Love ’em or hate ’em, they were all well developed and evolving as the story progressed which was great.

The Romance:

For a majority of the book, I wasn’t really sold on the romance between Feyre and Tamlin. A lot of their interaction isn’t narrated verbatim, rather it is just summarized by Feyre after it happens. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great scenes between them–because they’re are–I’m just saying it didn’t totally convince me their feelings were at that higher level. I could see why they would suit each other, I just wanted more scenes together that showed that.

For me, I couldn’t see why Tamlin had such deep feelings for Feyre when they really hadn’t talked all that much. They ignored each other at the start of time together (or at least is seemed like that because a lot of their interaction happens “off-stage”) and then BAM! His primal instincts are calling for her. It was a little too alpha male for me and I don’t like alpha male heroes.

Eventually, I warmed up to their romance and was totally rooting for them–it’s hard not to really given what happens in the last third of the book. It’s just that they won’t be gracing the top of my favourite couples list anytime soon.

I know that some people’s concerns with the Beauty and the Beast romance is the Stockholm Syndrome  situation. I definitely had those thoughts when I started reading and I could see why people would label it as that (I mean Feyre can’t really leave) BUT, I felt like these two would have connected even if they weren’t kept to his estate for the majority of their relationship.

Now, I feel like I have to say that is book is more like a New Adult Fantasy than it is a Young Adult Fantasy. While the sex scenes aren’t fully described (and there really isn’t a lot of them either)–they are sex scenes that don’t leave much to the imagination which isn’t really a YA characteristic. I found that refreshing because I don’t understand why sex should be so taboo in YA (I’m not saying full out, descriptive endless pages here)–it happens people so why should we ignore it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really don’t know what to expect for the next book! While not everything is wrapped up in this book, I felt very satisfied in how everything is left at the end of the book. I’m not dying for a sequel though I really do want to read it. I have some worries because I fear that one of my least favourite romantic tropes is on the way BUT I’m putting my faith in Maas to deliver and totally shock me like she did with Crown of Midnight–no pressure though!

updates

–July 3, 2016– Book #2: A Court of Mist and Fury


I was really impressed with this book!

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses but somethings just weren’t on point for me, so it wasn’t an automatic 5 star read.

But what Maas does here is genius! The manipulation of the Beauty and the Beast story; the richness of the faery world; to Feyre’s character development–everything hits its peak here, making this one hell of a read.

While I still struggled to like Feyre, she definitely grew on me; as did the romance. The way everything interweaves and builds really helped with that.

I can’t wait to see what is in store for this cast of characters next!

concSLOW

My Rating: 4/5

A Court of Thorns and Roses 4/5 | A Court of Mist and Fury 5/5 | Book 3 TBR

overall

I really enjoyed this book–it just didn’t WOW me. It started slow but really built up by the halfway mark and was hard to put down. It leaves a great setup for a fantastic sequel but I really don’t know what to expect! I’m looking forward to it!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, faeries
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, don’t like jaded heroines, don’t like fairy tale retellings

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Spin-off Saturdays: The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten by Julie Kagawa

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

 The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Series is a spin-off of the Iron Fey Series

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Series (The Iron Fey), Sad to See Go Series (2015)
Series: Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Trilogy; The Iron Fey (#5, #6, #7)

This is a spinoff of the Iron Fey Series. This series can be read on it’s own as it follows a different set of characters but it will definitely help to read the Iron Fey Series prior to reading this series because it is linked to the events of the previous series.

Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 3 (The Lost Prince, The Iron Traitor, The Iron Warrior)

I think it is helpful to read the novella Iron’s Prophecy prior to starting this series.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Faeries, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single

thoughts


WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED The Iron Fey SERIES THE FOLLOWING REVIEW and SYNOPSIS MAY HAVE SPOILERS!

I LOVED the Iron Fey Series! It was so unique in its plotline and delivery but had everything I love in a great Young Adult series like romance and action. Meghan is on of my favourite heroines of all time and while I was sad that her story initially ended in the Iron Fey series, I was excited to read this new subset series that focused on her brother many years later.

The Lost Prince started off really slow for me. I found the beginning had too much detail, like Kagawa’s other series The Blood of Eden does, so that made me get a little bored at times. It’s been a few years since I read an actual Iron Fey novel and not a novella, so I don’t recall if the original series was as detail orientated and slow–I don’t think it was because I was completely captivated by all 4 novels in the inaugural series. The book really starts to pick up though around the halfway point and stays pretty fast paced until the end so I liked that.

Ethan was a little angsty but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I think it helps that I know what Ethan went through in the previous series: I didn’t get annoyed by his attitude because I felt like he had legitimate reasons for why he thinks and acts like he does. Nevertheless, I really don’t think it will turn off readers regardless of what your previous experience is with the series.

You really don’t have to read the Iron Fey series to know what is going on here. While past characters make brief appearances–that is what they are: brief. Fans of the original series will smile and laugh at the inside jokes but I don’t think people who haven’t read the Iron Fey Series will be completely lost in what is going on. Kagawa does a good job of having little refreshers about past events and Ethan does a good job of explaining how the Fey world works to Kenzie as they journey forward.

The Iron Traitor is definitely better than its predecessor in terms of pace, detail and overall Iron Fey vibe. As I was reading it, I felt like I was back reading about the original set of characters:  it definitely had all the charm of the first series but with a new group of people. I didn’t find myself getting bored and the pace remained consistent from start to finish.

I’m looking forward to the 3rd book and am counting down the days until its release 🙂

updates

–November 27, 2015– Book #3: The Iron Warrior

With the ending we get in The Iron Traitor, The Iron Warrior was one of my must read books of this fall. I will admit that I was a little unimpressed by it’s slower start but I understand why it had to start that way. But I did love the way it built up to everything and the climax was everything I wanted it to be: slightly unpredictable and action packed. It was a solid way to end this series as a whole. I can only hope that we will get more Iron Fey stuff in the future because it is one of my all time favourite book worlds but as a fan, I’m very satisfied with this ending and I think other fans will be too 🙂

Series Rating: 4/5

The Lost Prince 4/5 | The Iron Traitor 4/5 | The Iron Warrior 4/5

overall

Fans of the original Iron Fey series will enjoy this new adventure set in Nevernever. It has everything you loved in the original series plus it has all your favourite characters making appearances and adding to the story. Just don’t expect to see a lot of your favourites. Those who have never read the Iron Fey series will also enjoy this series for its romance, action and faery elements–but be warned, once you read this series you WILL be reading the original 4 books 😉

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions, faeries
Avoid if You: dislike adventure stories, want more romance

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Synopsis for The Lost Prince (from Goodreads):
Don’t look at Them.
Never let Them know
you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase.
And I may not live to see my
eighteenth birthday.

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Series Review: All that Glows by Ryan Graudin

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for All that Glows (from Goodreads):
Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

breakdown

Series: All that Glows
Author: Ryan Graudin
# of Books: 2 (All that Glows, All that Burns)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Faeries, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2014 – 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Single Sunday standalone review of the first book of the series. I have opted not to pick up the sequel.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was really excited to read this novel because it has been a long time since I read a faery based novel and this one had a very interesting premise that hooked me in.

The Plot:

I think if you are expecting this book to be an action-packed young adult novel–you will be disappointed. While Emrys is powerful in the Guard, she isn’t a hands-on fighter as she mostly uses magic to disarm her enemies: so there are no big action scenes. I also found that the scenes where she confronts enemies are few and far between so that was disappointing though the end of the novel has a bit more action.

The Romance:

This book mostly focuses on the romance between Emrys and the prince (Richard) which was really fine by me because I wasn’t expecting a high action novel (though I would have enjoyed it!). I wish there was more interaction between the two (though it does improve later in the book) so that their relationship with each other isn’t simply based on the “connection” they have. Because this is a world of magic, I understand that something more is happening between them and it did improve as the novel progressed so that made me happy. I just wish that Richard was a few years older than 17 because I felt like he was older based on the events that unfold.

As for the plot of the “ancient force” I enjoyed the premise and how it unfolded. I wasn’t entirely sure how it was going to end so I enjoyed that aspect of it. I just wish it was a little more suspenseful along the way because it felt a little dull at times: I think it was a little bit too long and could have been a few pages shorter as a result.

updates

–January 31, 2015– Book #2: All That Burns

I coincidentally found out that this book now has a sequel when I was browsing my “New February Books” list on Goodreads today. I’m undecided about whether or not I will read this sequel. At this time, I have opted not to read it but if becomes available at my library, I might randomly grab a copy on day just to see what happens next–but I’m not dying to do so.

Series Rating: 3/5

overall

Nothing really wowed me about this book. I liked it but I wish it just had that little umph to it to make it that touch more memorable. If you want a slower paced faery-magic novel with a dash of romance, you will probably enjoy this!

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Series Review: Faeriewalker by Jenna Black

Series: Faeriewalker Trilogy
Author: Jenna Black
# of Books: 3 (Glimmerglass, Shadowspell, Sirensong)

There is a prequel novella, Remedial Magic, and a series follow-up novella, Girls’ Night Out

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Magic, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: getting warm

Thoughts:

This series is one I only read because I judged the book by the cover. Sometimes when I go into the library I like to pick out a random book to read based on the cover that catches my eye. It also helps that the synopsis from Glimmerglass sounded really interesting so I grabbed it and read it once I got home.

I really enjoyed Glimmerglass. It was a darker, more mature spin on the faerie world which I liked. The plot was mysterious and had some cool aspects to it that I haven’t read in previous faerie reads. So overall I was impressed.

I also want to mention that it is obvious that Ms. Black writes adult novels because the romance scenes are a little spicier than we normal get in YA novels but there is nothing overly descriptive.

I had to wait a year for Shadowspell to come out and by that time I had forgotten most of what happened in the previous book. I didn’t really enjoy the approach to the plot in this story as much and at times I found it a little boring. I have a feeling that this might have been due to reading the first book so long ago but I also think I got a little annoyed with some of the characters.

Again, I waited a year for Sirensong and again, my memory failed me. I didn’t enjoy this book as much and I know I didn’t like the abrupt ending (and by abrupt I mean I felt like I didn’t get any closure).

I think if I had read these books in quick succession I would have enjoyed these books a lot more so I recommend that you read them all within a reasonable timespan!

I’ve never read the eNovellas and I don’t plan to but they sound interesting.

Conclusion:

For those who like darker young adult faerie stories this is good pick for you to get but again, get them all at once!

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange Trilogy #1) and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely Series #1)

Synopsis for Glimmerglass (from Goodreads):
It’s all she’s ever wanted to be, but it couldn’t be further from her grasp…

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl, she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with…until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again.

Series Review: The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Top Series #11, Must-Read Author
Series: The Iron Fey
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 4 (the Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight)

There are lots of novellas and extras that take place between the books. A full list is here.

There is also a spin-off series: Iron Fey: The Call of the Forgotten

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Romance, Action, Mythology, Fairy Tales
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

This was one of the first series I read in an eBook format–and truth be told I wanted to read this series so bad that I started to read eBooks just so I could read it! So I strained my eyes on my tiny iPhone screen reading the first two books of the series and then read the rest on my best gift ever: my Kobo.

By the time I picked up The Iron King I had read a considerable amount of faerie novels. While some didn’t do much for me, I do have a few that are within my top series picks so I do have a pretty hefty set of standards when it comes to faerie novels. But one thing I find with these faeries novels is that each series has a different spin–and this one is no exception.

Ms. Kawaga creates a world that is so unique yet easy to follow that it’s extremely easy to get immersed in it. Not only does she blend in the faerie world with the human world but she manages to add everyday fairy tales and other aspects that just give this world so much depth. It was such a pleasure reading about the world Meghan and company are in.

And Meghan is probably one of my top favourite heroines ever. She is just so strong and independent that I never got annoyed with her–even when a love triangle comes about (but let’s be real, we always knew who she was going to pick). Her complex to save the world (aka Lead-Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome) didn’t piss me off, it just made me really sad at times because I really didn’t know how everything would end up. Ash and Puck were also fantastic.

That was another thing I loved about this series. It was never predictable. Sure I could put the dots together but it wasn’t until I got the clues that I had an inkling about what was going to happen.

Each book built upon the last and reading the novellas is extremely helpful in bridging the gaps between the books–so I recommend that you do follow the reading order you see on Goodreads.

When I read this series, it was only a trilogy but the fourth book, The Iron Knight was on its way due to fan demand (and when you read the third book you will understand why). I was really worried about this book because I find when author’s write something because fans want it, the result is a mediocre fan-fiction effort (I’m looking at you Breaking Dawn). But The Iron Knight was fantastic. I laughed, I cried (more like balled my eyes out and sobbing) and it made me really excited to see where the spin-off series was going. It gave me the impression that Kagawa had always intended to write this story because it was crafted so well.

I haven’t picked up the spin-off series yet, but it is near the top of my to-read list!

Conclusion:

I remember telling my roommate she had to read these books and she did and she loved them! It’s not just a romance novel set in a faerie world–it’s a complex story that happens to be filled with a romance, lots of action and plot twists. Simply a great series that I think even older “young adults” (ie adults) will enjoy.

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker Trilogy #1); Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely Series #1) and Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for The Iron King (from Goodreads):
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Series Review: Laurel by Aprilynne Pike

Series: Wings or Laurel Series
Author: Aprilynne Pike
# of Books: 4 (Wings, Spells, Illusions, Destined)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Faeries, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool

Thoughts:

This was one of those series that just didn’t do it for me. Despite the high ratings and reviews, I just couldn’t get into this series. I’m not sure why I finished it, I think I just had to have some closure with the story and that made me read the rest. I also blame the covers for getting prettier and prettier as the series continued 😉

There are a few reasons why I didn’t enjoy these books as much as I hoped: 1) it was very high school; 2) the characters and 3) love triangle.

When I say “very high school” I mean that this book is definitely geared towards younger teens and not those entering university (which is when I started to read this series). I don’t think it helps that one of my all time faerie series is Wicked Lovely, which is just that touch more mature for a young adult book or that I started reading the Iron Fey series around the same time, which also has a more mature feel to it. The problems the characters face in these books, especially in their personal lives, seemed petty and juvenile so that turned me off of the story at times and more importantly, off of the characters.

That is perhaps the biggest problem with this series: I hated the characters. Laurel was fine for Wings with her perfect life and attitude. When she really started to piss me off was near the end of Spells and then in Illusions. She just becomes whiny and angsty and I just found her lack of maturity at times and her “do-gooder” attitude to be irritating. It also doesn’t help that she has a love triangle she can’t seem to figure out–love triangles are the WORST!

While I occasionally find myself in a situation where I don’t enjoy the main character (which makes it hard to continue reading any book), I often have another character that I like in the book and continue reading for them. At the start of the series, that character was Tamani. I really liked him in Wings and then that started to change by the time I read Illusions. He just became irritating and while I initially rooted for him to get Laurel, by the time I got to Destined, I didn’t particularly care if either him or David (who was also annoying throughout the series) was with Laurel–that is never a good sign.

Destined as a finale was an OK book. Nothing overly wowed me and I was just happy it was all over. I don’t think it helped that I read this book so far after the other ones–which I read within a two month span of each other–so I didn’t remember a lot other than that I didn’t like the characters and they had to save the world.

To end on a more positive note, I will mention what I liked about the series. I did like the Faerie world Pike created. It was a cool combination of the caste system, faeries and magic that isn’t overly common in this genre. It was fresh and interesting so kudos. Also, I really love the last two covers of the series–so pretty! Perhaps the thing I liked most about this series was the little extra Pike added to the end of Destined. It is a letter from one of the main characters and it was my favourite part of the book. It just had that little bit more insight into the series and characters. I wish this side of the writing was brought out more in the books because I think I would have enjoyed the series if it had more of this “real” aspect to it instead of a “happy-go-lucky” feel it has throughout.

Conclusion:

I think if I was 15 when I read these books, I would have liked them. Perhaps I would have connected more to the characters and enjoyed their stories a bit more. These books weren’t anything fantastic but they featured a cool concept lots of other faerie books lack. If you are looking for a good clean faerie series, this would be one for you to read!
Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Need by Carrie Jones (Need, #1) and Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker, #1)

Synopsis for Wings (from Goodreads):
Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Series Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #13
Series: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
# of Books: 5 (Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Radiant Shadows, Darkest Mercy)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

This is one of my favourite series for a lot of reasons.

One is the whole concept of the world Melissa Marr creates. I have read a lot of faerie stories and there is always a little spin to each and every one. With this series, it takes the faery world and makes it a dark, modern tale. The characters aren’t your standard goody-two shoe faeries or humans thrown into a world of chaos. These characters can be twisted and evil whenever it suits them and that works for me!

Two is the relationships. There are a lot of characters in these books–not so much that it is hard to keep track of, but enough to keep you interested–but I loved watching the relationships develop between them all. I had a hard time with some of the love triangles deciding who’s team I was on so that was great! Surprisingly, I actually didn’t mind the love triangles in this one as much as in other books–so win! Even the bromances grabbed my attention 😛

Three is the ever twisting plot. Again, this goes back to the world Marr creates, but I never could totally predict what was going to happen. All the characters had their own agendas and weren’t afraid to get dirty to achieve it. I think it also helps that books 2 (Ink Exchange) and 4 (Radiant Shadows) focus on a different set of characters that we have been introduced to in other books instead of (Aislin and Co. who are the stars of Wicked Lovely). The characters in these “companion” novels go through events that help shape the rest of the series. It is very important to read these books in the order I have listed (or as you see on Goodreads) because the events occur in chronological order. I remember picking up Fragile Eternity and reading it first because it was tag-lined “sequel to Wicked Lovely“. I was completely thrown off and confused reading Fragile Eternity because there are some events in Ink Exchange that influence what happens in Fragile Eternity (ex. the roles some Faeries have) and make no sense whatsoever unless you read Ink Exchange first.

I read Radiant Shadows and Darkest Mercy a year of so after I Darkest Mercy was published. It took me a while to get into the swing of things so I recommend that you read these books as close together as possible! Regardless of when I read them, Darkest Mercy  is the perfect conclusion for a series! Although I didn’t like the very short epilogue (mostly because it only focused on two characters but I understand why it was done that way) I was very satisfied with the conclusion of everything in the end–it was my favourite book of the series.

Conclusion:

One of the most captivating and darkly beautiful books series I have ever read. If you are looking for a series about faeries who aren’t afraid to manipulate and follow their darker natures, read this series! It is definitely an older younger adult read so just be aware! Also, did I mention how beautiful the covers are? They look great on a bookshelf 😉

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange, #1) and Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker, #1)

Synopsis for Wicked Lovely (from Goodreads):
Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale