Tag «First Person POV: Multiple»

Single Sundays: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

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 Wink Poppy Midnight (from Goodreads):

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

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Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Suspense, Romance
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book seemed to be on a ton of lists in 2016 because I remember seeing it a lot. I’ll be the first to admit: I was drawn to the cover mostly–I love it so much!

I’ll also admit that I totally forgot about this book until I was browsing audiobooks to listen to last year.  I’m always up for a good mind-bending novel. You know, the ones that have this underlying mystery that changes your entire reading experience once it is revealed? I was eager to see what this one had in store.

The Concept / The World:

I’m going to quote the little blurb that is a part of the synopsis for the audiobook to give my thoughts on the concept/world of this novel.

The intrigue of The Raven Boys and the “supernatural or not” question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

I definitely did see the parallels to The Raven Boys Cycle with the setting. Wink’s connection to tarot cards and mysticism is very similar to Blue’s in The Raven Boys. (Only Wink is a lot odder than Blue). Add the aspects of school and I felt like I had returned to Blue’s world.

I’ve never read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (it’s another TBR item) but you do find yourself questioning if what is happening is supernatural or something else at play. It makes the story suspenseful in an intriguing sort of way.

The “no one is quite who you think” — yeah, that’s not really the case. Maybe because I read this line I knew that there was more to these characters than meets the eye. When you read something like that you try to put the pieces together. So while I wouldn’t say this is predictable, it is perhaps a touch cliche in its character twists.

The Plot:

I really struggled with the plot for this novel because I really don’t think there was one. Or at least, there wasn’t one that is apparent from the start. The whole idea of this book is to figure out how these characters’ stories are intertwined by listening to them tell their side of events. Which is fine, I just wanted a little more focus.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this story seemed a little aimless in its delivery to me. It reminded me a lot of The Raven Boys where there is something happening in terms of plot but you kinda just go through the motions of everyday life for 80% of the novel. That just bores me.

The Characters:

I didn’t particularly like any of these characters. You aren’t really supposed to like Poppy so job well done there. Wink I had a hard time figuring out–literally and figuratively–so I didn’t particularly love her character. And I just felt so bad for Midnight because he is so easy to manipulate and he doesn’t seem to have a backbone.

And going back to what I said above: they all seemed a little cliche to me. That is part of the point though and its how they contribute to the story but I think I just wanted a little more substance to them.

The Romance:

I think you can assume that there is a love triangle of sorts between Wink, Poppy and Midnight just by reading the synopsis. It contributes to the story but because I didn’t love any of the characters, I wasn’t really feeling the romance.

Audiobook Experience:

One of the main reasons I picked the audiobook version of this novel was the narrators. When I picked this one up, I was fairly new to the world of fiction audiobooks. See, I was curious if I would be thrown off by a novel that had narrators I had already listened to. Kinda like the phenomenon where you see an actor from one role in another and you can only see them as that first role (no matter what they do after).

In this novel, Midnight’s voice is done by Michael Crouch who was Simon in Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Poppy is Caitlin Davies who was Kristen in None of the Above. Both were novels I read a few weeks before this one.

The good news is that it only took me a few chapters to get accustomed to the narration here and associating the voices with the characters. The audiobook is fantastic; truthfully, it is one of the reasons why I gave this book a 3 instead of a 2. All the narrators do a great job bringing these characters to life.

And Michael Crouch has easily become one of my favourite voice actors to listen too. He does a fabulous job and I’ll be looking for more novels by him in the future.

My Rating: 2.5/5

overall

I spent 80% of this book trying to figure out what this novel was trying to achieve and I’m not sure the big “twist” was worth the time. The book is definitely unique in terms of its writing style and the audiobook is very well done but there isn’t enough here to really impress me.

Read if You Like: magical realism, intrigue
Avoid if You: want a stronger plot
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Series Review: Dirty by Ella Miles

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

Dirty Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Dirty Obsession (from Goodreads):

Arlo Carini saved my life, only to destroy it.

When I first met him, he was the wealthy, powerful, sexy stranger giving me and a dozen other art history students a tour of his mansion. But he soon became my everything.

My savior. My lover. My obsession.

He tried to warn me. Every chance he could, he tried to get me to run far, far away. But it only made my obsession grow stronger. Until I made the worst mistake I could. And ended up trapped forever.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Dirty
Author: Ella Miles
# of Books: 3 (Dirty Obsession, Dirty Addiction, Dirty Revenge)

There is a prequel novella: #0.5 Dirty Beginning included in Dirty Obsession

Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Dark, Romance, Contemporary, Erotica
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: Major | BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Multiple (Obsession); Alternating (Revenge)
Publication Date: January 18, 2018 – July 5, 2018
Source & Format: Author–eARC

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:

Ella Miles never fails to disappoint me when it comes to her books. I always think I’m going to get one story but I end up with another–one that never fails to entertain and surprise me.

I love a good dark romance and after reading the novella, Dirty Beginning, I was curious to see what was in story next for these characters.

What I Liked:

–Dark and Twisted–

This is probably one of the darkest romances I’ve ever read. It’s deliciously dark and twisted which means it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t enjoy dark erotic romances, don’t pick this up! But if you do, you are in for a treat!

This story did keep me on my toes. You always get the sense that there is more lurking underneath with all the characters involved and I loved the tension that brought to the story. I became a little obsessed (pun intended) trying to figure out what was happening and why. And the twists when everything is revealed (and how it ties back to the novella, Dirty Beginning): awesome.

–The Characters–

I really enjoyed the main characters we get to meet. You’ve got your very evil villain; the mysterious hero and a strong heroine. Nina is very likeable, more so in this book than in the novella I think. She has some solid character growth from start to end which I always appreciate!

What I Didn’t Like:

–Wanted More Allusion to the “Game”–

I do wish the “game” was allude to more than it was throughout the novel. Just some little hints along the way would have been great. Even though the game is always afoot, I felt like we got a little too wrapped up in the sex scenes at times and I wanted a little more insight into the “why” of it all.

When to read the Prequel Novella: Dirty Beginning?

Definitely before you read Dirty Obsession! It gives you context for the first novel and introduces you to all the key players. You could get by without reading it but seeing as it is included in the Dirty Obsession, just read it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m very excited for the next set of leads. I have a particular soft spot for our hero so I can’t wait for him to meet his match!

updates

–May 30, 2018– Book #2: Dirty Addiction

I couldn’t wait to see how these two would fall in love and what the consequences of it would be. But it took me a lot longer than I thought it would to see them as a couple chemistry wise.

I found for the first third or so of the novel, they didn’t interact all that much and if they did, it wasn’t always a positive experience, so I didn’t totally see the draw between them. I suppose the somewhat “forced” circumstances they find themselves in is part of the draw to the “dark” romance but I like those little moments of vulnerability in my forbidden romances.

Things started to improve though once we pass the halfway mark. I found the drama of the plot line helped to bring the romance and the characters to life in a way that started to win me over. That’s when Matteo and Eden started to interact more and the chemistry between them became more apparent.

–July 16, 2018– Book #3: Dirty Revenge

This is by FAR the darkest book in the series…but perhaps the most addicting?

I’ll admit that parts of this were hard for me to read. Gia has a lot of awful things (like cringe-worthy) happen to her but I appreciated the character growth she received as a result. For me, this story was more about Gia finding herself and her independence more so than a straight romance and I liked that. Gia gets broken-down but she rebuilds herself into a much stronger woman as a result.

The plot line itself is engaging. You don’t know the good guys from the bad guys which always brings an air of anticipation and tension to the story. Like any Ella Miles book, you really don’t know what direction the plot will go and I enjoyed the journey to find out.

As for the romance, I thought these two were a good match. Conti was a little too much for me at the start with his alpha ways; however, I expected that given the nature of the book. But I appreciated the partnership that forms between these two thanks to mutual understanding and experiences so I could see why they would be drawn to each other.

My Rating: 4/5

[Dirty Beginning 3/5] | Dirty Obsession 4/5| Dirty Addiction 3/5 | Dirty Revenge 4/5

overall

Perfect for fans of truly dark romances and sexy times! But if you don’t enjoy erotica or more graphic scenes, don’t pick this up!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike dark romances, dislike erotica, love triangles

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Single Sundays: Halo by R C Stephens

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 Halo (from Goodreads):
I fell in love with Thomas Wells and knew he was my forever.
I was sixteen when I gave him my heart.
Our love was the kind to last a lifetime.

But Thomas was broken.
The first day we met he told me he was going to become a Navy SEAL.
At nineteen he enlisted.
At twenty he married me.
At twenty five he left me pregnant and didn’t turn back.
I knew he was suffering….
I also knew I couldn’t save him.
He left me broken.
I was scared and alone.
Until I met Ryder St. John a wounded soldier…
He was lost.
I was lost.
Together we made sense.
I fell in love again…
What Ryder forgot to mention was that he held a secret so explosive that it could shatter both our worlds.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Author: R C Stephens
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Military
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source & Format: Read It, Review It (New Adult Book Club)–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While this novel looked like it could have a love triangle, I really, really wanted to know what the ” secret so explosive ” was. Plus, I’m a sucker for military heroes in my novels. If I need a good mini-cry, those heroes always get me.

I didn’t know that R C Stephens was Canadian so that also swayed my decision. I love supporting my fellow Canadians <3

New Adult or Adult:

I heard about this book in a New Adult Book Club. But after reading it, I felt more comfortable labelling it as an Adult Contemporary Romance. Primarily because the lead characters are 25+ which is that cut off for me, especially if they aren’t in a “college” setting and are living in “the real world”.

However, it almost reads like a NA read so it’s one of those bridging reads that straddles the line in between.

The Plot:

This story is told through a series of past and present chapters, which is a brilliant way to execute this story. The story builds as you go and you start to put all the pieces together. And even then, I didn’t see the reveal coming at all–which is fabulous! Major bonus points for me for that!

However, this story seemed a little lop-sided as a whole. I felt like so much of the time was used to build up the relationships–which you have to for sure–but that it lacked a little more “drama” post-reveal.  Not that the ending was rushed by any means; it’s just that it could have been flushed out a tad more I think. There was definitely a lot you could do with that reveal and I felt like it never truly reached its potential in that respect.

The Characters:

I really liked Halo. She’s a strong girl but she has her weaknesses too. While she is raised on a pedestal by the guys and her family, she does have her flaws and personal struggles that she has to endure. She was a much more rounded character than I expected going into this story.

Thomas and Ryder irked me a little with their constant high praise of Halo (like I said, she’s on a pedestal) but I liked that they too had developed personalities and growth.

The Romance:

The flashbacks of Thomas and Halo in high school are sickeningly sweet; you know that couple that just sees nothing past their love? It leads to very long “sexy time” scenes which I wasn’t totally expecting. So that particular aspect I wasn’t a fan.

But what I did like is how they loved and supported each other through all their difficult times. In my books, I love seeing romantic leads that are partners in life and that definitely shows at times in this novel.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this novel! Once the “secret” was revealed, I had a hard time putting this one down. It’s just a solid romance that makes you believe in the power of love.

Read if You Like: military heroes, big twists
Avoid if You: dislike contemporaries romances

similarreads

  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Out of Time by Jen McLaughlin (Out of Time Series #1)
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick
  • Trapped by Beverley Kendall (Trapped Series #1)

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Series Review: The Illumination Paradox by Jacqueline Garlick

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

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Lumière (from Goodreads):
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.

After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.

Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.

Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Series: The Illumination Paradox
Author: Jacqueline Garlick
# of Books: 3 (Lumière, Noir, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, there is a third book to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Science Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction
Heat Rating: cool (gets a little more suggestive in Noir)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook  Thank you Skyscape!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love steampunk! Its one of my favourite genres because I find each series has its own little spin on the genre. So when I saw Lumière in the Read Now section of NetGalley, I couldn’t pass it up!

I was looking forward to a perhaps more dystopian steampunk world (the Vapours sounded like something from Under the Never Sky) with a take-charge heroine. I also was looking forward to this alluring stranger character and the fact that there seemed to be a true evil villain.

The World:

I really enjoyed the world of this series. It’s classic steampunk but with a more supernatural spin to it. I find a lot of steampunk stories focus on the mechanical aspects of the story (ie machines) but only a few have a paranormal/supernatural element. Sometimes it felt like there were too many elements to it all but once you get used to everything, it’s easier to keep everything straight.

I think at times this book is a little too descriptive. I would find myself drifting away from the long paragraphs. It definitely helps the reader get a clear picture of everything but at times it seemed to be a little too much.

The Plot:

At first, the plot of Lumière reminded me a bit of Vengeance Road as Eyelet suddenly finds herself on the run from an enemy. But it quickly morphed into more of a Beauty and the Beast premise, something I really wasn’t expecting. And then that quickly changed into its own unique story for the rest of the book.

I liked the premise for the plot, I just felt that it took WAY TOO LONG to get there. Lumière is nearly 400 eBook pages long, which is about 150 pages longer than your average eBook. And unfortunately, I really felt like nothing happened until the last 150 pages or so. The extra page length was great for establishing the complex world but I felt like I had a good grasp of everything about 100 pages in and would have liked the main plot line to have shifted into focus. I just wanted more because the last 100 or so pages were exciting, but my enthusiasm for them had significantly decreased by the time I got there.

The Characters:

I liked Eyelet and Urlick. They had their strengths and their flaws which I appreciate. However, I didn’t feel like there was a lot of character development for them in Lumière despite the length of the book. Who they are as characters is readily established and is well done, I just felt like there was something lacking for me when it comes to their characters–which might be a result of the romance clouding my impression of them (see below).

Otherwise, you have quite the interesting cast of characters. The supporting characters do their jobs perfectly and Smrt as a villain (though he has a smaller part than I expected) was entertaining.

The Romance:

In Lumière, the romance just didn’t work for me. It seemed like it bloomed out of nowhere. That really frustrated me because I could see why these two would work together but I failed to understand how they knew that. I really don’t think they had spoken all that much to each other before they were feeling these deeper things. I get the physical attraction part of it all, I just didn’t see the emotional connection and that resulted in a lacklustre romance for me.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I think now that the world has been established and all the major players have been introduced, we are going to get more from Noir. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

updates

–November 6, 2015– Book 2: Noir

This book moved well from beginning to end. I felt like it kept the pace at a constant and didn’t drag on like Lumière often did. Secrets are revealed, there are lots of interesting plot twists and the characters get a little more depth to them. Overall, Noir just felt complete. It was solid and built up as you read. I got hooked into the story and the pages just flew by. This book was a lot of fun to read and really made me happy that I stuck with this series.

I’m excited to see what will happen in the next one!

concSLOW

Formally: Time Will Tell

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Lumière 3/5 | Noir 4/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

Lumière showed some great promise and build up an intriguing world, but I just wanted a little more wow from it. I’m hoping that will come in the sequel. Noir does a great job of building on what the first novel has created. It kept my attention from start to end and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Read if You Like: slower stories, steampunk with supernatural elements
Avoid if You: want a faster story, want more romance

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Single Sundays: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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 The Girl on the Train (from Goodreads):
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

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Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Heat Rating
: cold
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

There was no escaping this book this past winter. It was everywhere I looked–the library, online, GoodReads–thanks to the “Gone Girl phenomenon”. You know, the trend in popular culture when one book seems to be the next best thing and so every other book remotely similar is compared and/or you get a surge in published books that follow a similar style. It happened with Twilight, it happened with Fifty Shades of Grey and now it’s Gone Girl‘s turn. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing–it’s nice that a well crafted book is getting the spotlight for once, though I have yet to read Gone Girl. Truth be told, I probably won’t after seeing the movie now that I know what happens–it loses its mystery.

Anyways…back to The Girl on the Train. One of my good friends read this before me and said she had a hard time putting it down. And the comparisons to Gone Girl made me excited to read this one because I do love TV/movie thrillers yet haven’t really touched any literary thrillers that are of the adult variety.

The Concept / The World:

Like Rachel, I take a commuter train home from school and I totally people watch when I do. Without sounding completely creepy, I find it fascinating to watch people as they go about their business. Especially when you are on a commuter train because most of these people know each other since they travel together everyday or every week.

So, my point is, I found this book to be rooted in some deep realism because I’ve totally taken that train and thought, “hmm, I wonder what their lives are like” 😛

The Plot:

This book was exciting to read and I did find myself immersed in the story despite the fact that I had a pretty good idea how it was going to end early in the book. What I did like was that the book did have me second guessing my hypothesis until the big reveal which kept my attention on the story. I do feel like the book was 30 pages too long; however it wasn’t like I was bored reading it.

The mystery is interesting and I loved how interconnected everything was. Getting the three perspectives added an interesting dynamic to the story and kept the plot moving at its faster pace.

The Characters:

These characters were very well developed and always consistent. And I think consistency is super important in thrillers. There is nothing worse than having a character make a radical change to their approach/presentation halfway through the story for no reason. So while I might not list these characters as all time favourites, they definitely served their purpose even if they were a little stereotypical at times.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train. For a book that has a lot of hype I thought it lived up to it for the most part. I wish it was a little less predictable but it did keep my attention and have me second guessing my thoughts.

Read if You Like: psychological thrillers, fast paced books
Avoid if You: want more romance to your reads
similarreads

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Single Sundays: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

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 Princess of Thorns (from Goodreads):
Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

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Author: Stacey Jay
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve enjoyed Stacey Jay’s novels in the past for their original retellings of classic stories, like Romeo & Juliet and Beauty and the Beast. So when I saw the Princess of Thorns novel as an upcoming novel from her, I immediately went to see what it was about. Three things immediately sold me on this book:

  1. “Game of Thrones” meets (I love watching Game of Thrones, I have yet to tackle the books)
  2. “Grimm’s fairy tales” (I love fairy tale retelling stories)
  3. Sleeping Beauty (my favourite Disney princess is Aurora)

This book just seemed to have been made for me and I wasn’t going to do it the disservice of not reading it.

The Concept / The World:

Considering I was reading this book solely for the concept, I was expecting great things and I really did like the setting of Princess of Thorns. It was gritty and intricate which made reading about Aurora’s and Niklaas’ adventure very interesting.

I don’t recommend starting this book when you are tired like I did or else you might be a little lost at the start. It took me a lot longer to understand what was going on because I wasn’t in the right mindset and that dampened my reading experience. But once I understood the elements of the curses I really liked them.

The Plot:

I would say this book is more of an adventure/quest novel than a strict fairy tale retelling. Yes, the fairy tale element is a huge part of the plot but I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of Sleeping Beauty. When you read it, you clearly understand why they say it is like “Game of Thrones meets Grimm’s fairy tales” because that is the best way to describe it. However, don’t be expecting the politics of Game of Thrones when you read. Rather, expect Aurora to be more like Daenerys Targaryen in the second season (second book) where she struggles to find an army to get back her throne: which means it can be a little boring at times.

I did feel like the book was slow to start and I felt my mind wandering as I was reading. Again, I wasn’t in the right mindset when I was reading it (I had to read it ASAP to return it to the library on time) so I kept waiting for it to get really exciting and it never really did. I found the last half was a lot more interesting to read but it didn’t wow me in any way. I also think Stacey Jay’s writing isn’t totally for me. This is the fourth book by her that I have read and I find her writing style confusing. I’m often rereading lines to make sure I have things clear and I’ve found that to be the case with all her books so far.

The Characters:

I really liked Aurora. She reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling in the sense that she could kick some serious ass when needed but was a more reserved heroine (ie not in your face). I liked that she was strong and independent and had some passion for her cause. While she may not be my favourite heroine ever, I did like her and never got annoyed with her.

Niklaas on the other hand took me a while to like. It’s weird because I normally like the suave, charming male heroes but I didn’t instantly love Niklaas like I was expecting. And I think a part of that is the romance…

The Romance:

*sigh* I really have mixed feelings on this romance: the critic in me is battling with the reader in me.

The critical me can appreciate the “friends to lovers” approach this book takes. It’s a classic Shakespeare scenario where the girl disguised as a boy falls in love with the boy she is helping. It even reminds me of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty where Aurora and Philip meet for the first time and find that connection that saves them later on. I can appreciate the approach, it just doesn’t mean that I liked it.

I wish the romance had a little more of a spark to it. Because once it was there, it was great. I loved the relationship between these two, I just wish it was elaborated on earlier in the book.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really, really wanted to love this book but it fell flat. To me, it was Princess Aurora’s shot to prove that she isn’t the perfect case of Damsel in Distress and for the most part I truly think she did. I just wish the other elements were up to snuff and the book was 50 pages shorter.

Read if You Like: quest based stories, fairy tale retellings
Avoid if You: want more passionate romance, dislike slower starts

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Series Review: Summer Tour by Diane Matlick

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

Summer Tour by Diane Matlick | Summer Tour Series

Synopsis for Summer Tour (from Goodreads):
Take a journey with a group of friends…

Ben has always had it bad for his childhood friend Anna, but after years of unrequited pining, he’s officially done with her. It’s the summer before he and his best friends graduate college and they are about to go on tour, following their favorite band all over the east coast. This group is like a family—extremely close but with their fair share of old wounds and hidden secrets…

Anna figured out at a young age not to rely on anyone and she has always done whatever necessary to get by. She has carefully constructed her life—keeping herself isolated to stay focused and avoid getting hurt. But everyone has vulnerabilities and even the strongest willed have their breaking point…

Ryan is buried in stress at work, so when his friend suggests a night out, he reluctantly agrees. But what starts off as a typical night in a strip club just outside New York City, ends in an encounter that will change everyone’s lives…

breakdown

Series: Summer Tour Series
Author: Diane Matlick
# of Books: 3 (Summer Tour, Winter Break, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological but connected
Complete?: Yes?
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 2014 – unknown
Source & Format: Provided by author–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I recently joined a New Adult review group on Goodreads and they run a Read2Review program where you can sign up to read NA books that have been provided by the author.

I picked Summer Tour because I wanted to read a book with multiple perspectives. I also thought it would be fun to hear about a group of friends following their favourite band when they are on tour.

What Didn’t Work: 

-The Drug Usage-

I’m not a huge fan of having drug references in my novels. I can deal with leads that have a drug addictions and the like but reading about people taking drugs recreationally isn’t my idea of a good time. Call me a prude but I really don’t like the message it promotes—even if it is “just marijuana”.

-The Character’s Pasts-

These characters have intense, drama filled pasts which is what I was expecting, it just seemed way over the top. The drama reminds me a lot of the later Gossip Girl books where friends are sleeping with friends and giving into various substances.  These people are complex but I think they are too complex. They just had so much drama in their lives that it was a little overwhelming. While there was some great character development and growth, I think the impact would have been more apparent if each character only had one or two issues instead of 3+.

-The Romance-

Because the first quarter of the book focuses on Ryan and his role in the story–which is important but went on for far too long when the point could have been proven in one or two chapters–I felt like not enough time was given to develop Ben and Anna’s relationship and discuss their past together. Their relationship didn’t develop enough for me and by introducing the romances of all their friends, it got overwhelming and distracted from Anna’s story.

What Worked:

-The Friendships-

I love reading about groups of friends and all the drama associated with that. Their lives are so woven together that they have so many different layers to their relationships. I think if this had been better executed (for example only give Anna and Ben POV for this book and then do the next book about two other characters) it would have been great!

-Personal Growth-

All of the characters had great growth throughout the novel despite their many issues. So while the romance wasn’t as strong as what I wanted it to be, I appreciated the independent development of the characters.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While this novel can be read as a standalone, the preview I had at the end of this book indicated that there is more in store for this cast of characters. There was an interesting relationship development (though I wouldn’t have developed it as much as it was–I would have saved it for the sequel) at the end of Summer Tour that has piqued my interest so I will probably check out the second novel but not right away.

updates

–December 3, 2015– Book 2: Winter Break

I have to say that Winter Break was a huge improvement over Summer Tour!

Everything that I didn’t really like in the first book was toned down (ie the drugs and the drama). It’s still there but I didn’t find it to be overwhelming or the only thing the characters seemed to do. The focus moved to each pair working on themselves and their relationship. The result is stronger characters (better rounded and more developed) and great character growth. It was much more enjoyable to read in that respect because I was starting to understand each individual character and not their projected personalities.

I also liked the plot. It was more obvious to me and I liked that there was a set path or course to follow. And I honestly didn’t see how everything linked together until the very end so I really liked that!

I’m curious to see who the spin-off is about but I feel like I have a good idea (or perhaps some hopes).

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This book (Summer Tour) had a great concept but a messy execution. I think if it focused more on a few things (like it’s sequel, Winter Break) and not on introducing so many different elements it would have been a great New Adult read.

Read if You Like: friend drama, complex characters
Avoid if You: don’t like books with drug references, don’t like drama

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Series Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

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

Talon by Julie Kagawa | Talon Series

book4 book5

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Talon (from Goodreads):
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Talon Series
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 5 (Talon, Rogue, Solider, Legion, Inferno)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Inferno, will be published April 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: October 2014 – 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.**

My Expectations / Why I Picked It Up:

I’m basically at that point where Julie Kagawa publishes a book, I’ll be reading it. The Iron Fey Series is one of my all time favourite series and while I didn’t love the Blood of Eden Trilogy, I didn’t dislike it enough to give up on her writing yet. Also, the fact that this series is about dragons? Um yes please!

My Thoughts on Talon (Book #1):

This series is basically the love child of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan and the Angel Trilogy by L.A. Weatherly. Honestly, that is the best way to describe it. But if you haven’t read those two series, here’s the breakdown: take the dragons and their hierarchy from Firelight minus the unbearable heroine and add the slower pace plot-line and an assassin who questions his ability to kill his target from Angel Burn and you have this series. I like to think it is the best parts of both those series wrapped up into one.

I didn’t fall in love with Talon immediately. It starts off slow–like the first 75% of the book is just building up to the last 25% of the book. And the last 25% of the book is great–it really had me on edge and I was excited to see where it would go! But that first 75% is nothing remarkable–it’s actually almost a bit of a cliché for those who have read numerous shapeshifting Young Adult novels. I can’t help but to compare it to the Iron King where I felt like we dove head first into the action and I feel like Kagawa’s subsequent novels fail to have this faster start. Yet I still found myself drawn into the story.

I think it helps that you get multiple perspectives throughout the book. It helps you see the larger picture and keeps the slower pace moving. Another thing I liked was Ember. I was surprised that I didn’t mind her character because at first glance she is everything I dislike: an angsty, rebel teenager torn between two guys. However, she never got on my nerves. Maybe it’s because I had other POVs so I didn’t get overwhelmed by her or maybe it’s simply Kagawa creating a tolerable heroine or maybe it’s a bit of both.

When I started Talon, I thought it was going to be a trilogy (because most things are nowadays) but the fact that it is 5 books long gives me mixed feelings. For one it makes me happy as it explains why this book started off so slow–because it has to set the tone for the rest of the series. But it also makes me hesitant because I really don’t know what to expect out of the next four books and I don’t want to be stuck committed to a series that could possibly be dragged out. Regardless, at this moment I am going to have faith in Ms. Kagawa and eagerly await the next novel in this series, Rogue.

updates

–May 22, 2015– Book #2: Rogue

I was really excited to read Rogue. When I saw that my library had added it, I immediately grabbed it despite the bazillion other books I had out. I’m glad I did (though I’m going to have to wait forever for the next book!)! Rogue was more of what I thought Talon was going to be. It was faster paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I moved through it much quicker than I expected–which was great! Rogue had a great blend of character development, plot development, action and romance.

As for the love triangle, it didn’t get on my nerves. It’s really underplayed in this novel (as in it isn’t the entire focus). While I definitely have a “team” that I am cheering for, I truly have no idea how it is going to develop. It’s just one of the many plot developments I’m looking forward to in the third book, Solider.

–September 20, 2016– Book #3: Solider

Unlike the inaugural novel, this one moved at a terrific pace. Even while the story was building to its HUGE (and I mean HUGE) climax, the action was still there pushing you forward. Meaning it didn’t feel like just a bridging novel–like most book 3s do in a 5 book series–it actually had its own plot while building the rest of the series. It did lag a bit for me near the end but it still held my attention…hard not to after that cliffhanger!

Everything had a great flow to. The romance was just right; the action was consistent; and the characters became more dimensional to me. Easily my favourite of the series so far.

–October 9, 2017– Book #4: Legion

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in this one. I found it to be a very slow start–more talking than action–but I had high expectations. I think if the cliffhanger had turned out a different way, I would have felt differently.

The last third of the novel really picked up and kept my full attention. I’m excited to see how this wraps up!

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Talon 3.5/5 | Rogue 4/5 | Solider 4/5 | Legion  3/5 | Inferno TBA

overall

Readings about dragons is a nice change from vampires and werewolves. While it starts slow, the series is heading into the right direction (from what I can see) and promises faster paced times ahead. A great pick for Kagawa fans or for those who enjoy shapeshifter series.

Read if You Like: stories about dragons, forbidden romance, rebellious characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slower starting series, reading mulitple POVs

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Fresh Fridays: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles #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 Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson | The Remnant Chronicles

Other books in the series:

Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Author: Mary B. Pearson
# of Books: 3 (The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, The Beauty of Darkness)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Beauty of Darkness will be published in August 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

When I grabbed this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Normally, I don’t like books that hint at a love triangle in its plot but I’ve been looking for an awesome Young Adult Historical Fiction novel with a strong heroine and this one looked like it was worth a shot.

The Kiss of Deception starts supers slow. The focus (and wrongly so in my opinion) is mostly on Lia settling in town, doing menial tasks and talking about how free she is. It’s a lot of talking with really no plot whatsoever. It makes for a dull start and things really don’t get interesting until the halfway point when we learn that there might be another plot going on.

The book reminded me a lot of The Girl of Fire and Thorns but whereas I really loved the character development of that heroine, I just felt like it was lacking for Lia in this book. Lia isn’t super interesting, she’s rather dull and while I appreciate her independent spirit I wish she would think about the consequences of her actions a bit more. She does improve within the last third of the book but for the first half, she wasn’t anything to write home about.

What did keep me reading was the mystery of the two strangers. The way that Mary E. Pearson writes the two boys characters is great! You really don’t know who is the assassin and who is the prince until the last third of the book; and by then the plot actually starts to become interesting and worth while. The “love triangle” isn’t really that much of a love triangle in the sense that she is torn between two boys and can’t make a decision. Maybe it will progress into something more in the next book, but it was well done in this book.

Conclusion:

A very slow start but things definitely pick in the last half and I think/hope things will be at a faster pace for the next book like they were near the end of this one. For Young Adult fans who enjoy Historical Fiction with a dash of magic (and a small dash at that) that move at a slower pace will enjoy the start of this new series.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Not at this moment

Similar Reads: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns Series #1); The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (The Ring and the Crown Series #1) and the Hedgewitch Queen by Lilith Saintcrow (Romances of Arquitaine #1)

Synopsis for The Kiss of Deception (from Goodreads):

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

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Series Review: Matched by Ally Condie

 

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 Matched (from Goodreads):
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

breakdown

Series: Matched Trilogy
Author: Ally Condie
# of Books: 3 (Matched, Crossed, Reached)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Matched), Multiple
Publication Dates: November 2010 – November 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: That I have not fully read the final novel, Reached. I was approximately 25% through when I decided to stop. Find out why below.

My Review:

I read Matched right when it came out–right when Young Adult dystopian novels were just coming into popularity. However, compared to its peers it just didn’t stand up quite on par to them. It had everything else they had: a love triangle, tyrannical government, mysterious human history, rebels–but it just uses it all in a lackluster way and does that for the whole series.

Part of the problem is Cassia. It doesn’t get much duller than her folks. Nothing about her excited me and because the first two books are told solely from her perspective I just couldn’t get into them.I can’t even say that I hate her: I’m just indifferent.

What I did hate was her love triangle. While this is probably one of the only series where the love triangle is actually necessary to the plot, I would have appreciated better components than Cassia, Ky (who I never liked at all) and Xander (who I actually liked). Ky always seemed to be paranoid about his relationship with Cassia (especially in the final novel Reached) and I didn’t like that. Xander is the proverbial best friend of Cassia but who doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in my opinion–I think its obvious whose team I was on for this one.

Matched and Crossed mostly focus on Cassia coming to terms about the world around her and where she fits in with it all. The only reason I gave Crossed a 4/5 is because of the awesome twist we get at the end. A twist that made me super excited to read Reached…

But then I actually read Reached and nearly cried because of the boredom. It took me 7 months to finally come to terms that this was a series I was probably never going to finish. I’m sure part of the problem is that it’s been nearly 2 years since I read Crossed and I’ve just lost my interest in a series that I was indifferent to. But part of the other problem is the length and the details. I can appreciate the fact that Ally Condie wanted to give the 3 main characters adequate screen time in the big finale but I just felt like everything dragged because of it. The worst part is that I didn’t even care how the series ended–I just read the last two chapters to read get a conclusion to the love triangle, how sad is that?

Reached reminded me a lot of Requiem, the last book in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series (another slow, poorly executed dystopian series). It’s the final climax of the series so you expect a lot of action but instead you get a lot of vague dialogue, zero action and a blah conclusion. It makes for a slow read and in turn becomes a let down to readers who watched as the series built up to this final piece. And the actual ending is not something that all fans of the books agree with or like. From other reviews I’ve gathered that the ending of the Matched Trilogy is a little dismal with only a few people actually liking it.

However, if you have read Reached, I wouldn’t mind a brief synopsis of what happens 😛

Series Rating: DNF

overall

For me, this series is one where I loved the concept but not the execution. For those who like slower, more character development focused stories, this series might be worth your time. Otherwise, pass!

similarreads

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)
  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano (Fever Trilogy #1)

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