Tag «mythology»

DNF Series Review: Death in Neverland (Neverland #1) by Heather C Myers

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

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Death in Neverland (from Goodreads):
In the Neverland, people don’t grow up. Because they’re dead.

Remy Cutler dies, and somehow escapes certain death. She returns to the land of the living with nothing but a ripped gown and a fear of heights.

Two years later, she plans to escape her arranged marriage by stowing away onto a ship in hopes to leave her home with no one none knowing. However, she is found out, and the sailors aren’t happy. Before any damage can be done, she is yanked from her predicament back to The Neverland, a place where death resides – the very place she escaped from years ago. Souls are ferried by her savior. To her, he’s known as Nick, but to The Neverland, he’s the slippery Nicholas Grey.

The more time Remy spends with Nick and his crew, however, the more she realizes he’s shockingly misunderstood. Pirates aren’t all bad the way gentleman aren’t all good. One such gentleman goes by the name of Peter, and he has nothing but power on his mind and revenge against Grey in his heart. And then there are those that are completely indiscernible, like James Hook, a Viking and ruler of The Other World, whose sole ambition is attaining more souls to rule over, no matter what the cost.

This dark retelling of Peter Pan infuses familiar characters created by J. M. Barrie with new characters and Greek mythology. It is the first in a trilogy.

breakdown

Series: Neverland Trilogy
Author: Heather C Myers
# of Books: 3 (Death in Neverland, Love in Neverland, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 3 has yet to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Retelling, Dark, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: November 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

disclaimerExpresso

thoughts

I DNF’d Death in Neverland at 26% (just before Chapter 7). Find out why…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Peter Pan retellings have always fascinated me, especially the ones were Peter Pan is evil. It’s such a radical change from the Peter Pan of my childhood (the number of times I have watched the Disney version, I can’t even begin to count) who is a childhood “hero” to all kids. So when I saw this book had a dark twist on an otherwise light story, I was more than intrigued.

What I Liked:

–The Concept–

The idea that Neverland is the Underworld is one that is really interesting to me. It was like a hybrid of Elsewhere meets the Everneath Trilogy to me. I was eager to explore this dangerous world and see the parallels between mythology and Peter Pan. Unfortunately though, I never got to get into it and see how it all plays out.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Overly Descriptive–

If you like rich descriptions of EVERYTHING in your novels, you will probably love this novel. But my mind needs to be stimulated if I am going to read something and because of the descriptions, I constantly found myself wandering. I don’t need to know every single detail of a characters appearance nor do I need to know the exact layout of the ship. Sure it helps, but they are mindless details I will forget by the next chapter that I probably don’t need to know for the sake of the story.

–Remy–

I couldn’t decide if Remy was a dull heroine or an annoying one. Her elitist attitude was annoying for sure but she also didn’t seem to have much personality otherwise. I also got confused regarding her motivation and perception of Neverland. Spoiler: Earlier in the novel she mentions she remembers dying and that her motivation for leaving her arranged marriage is because she has experienced death. Yet when she gets to Neverland again, she doesn’t seem to want to be there. I just didn’t understand what her thought process was. |

–Didn’t Seem to be Going Anywhere–

I have no idea what the actual plot of this story was going to be. Where does Peter Pan come into it or even  Captain Hook? They are briefly mentioned in an early chapter than disappear. I get the need for exposition and setting up the story but this just seemed like nothing was going to happen anytime soon. There was just too much description of the setting, too many characters introduced as once and not enough plot line to keep my attention.

Will I Finish It?

At this point, no. I even read the synopsis of Love in Neverland to see where this plot was heading and it only left me more confused. Where this story is heading, I will never know and I am A-OK with that.

Series Rating: DNF

Death in Neverland  DNF | Love in Neverland  N/A  | Book 3 TBR

overall

This book simply wasn’t for me. I’m picky with my mythology reads. I need a strong heroine I can get behind and a world that captivates me from the get-go. I also feel like this book just needed that little bit of polish to make it flow better. If you like descriptive books that a mythology retellings, than this is the perfect read for you!

Read if You Like: descriptive books, slow plots, mythology
Avoid if You: want a straight retelling of Peter Pan, want a fast plot, dislike description

similarreads

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: Soundless by Richelle Mead

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 Soundless (from Goodreads):
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Author
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Even if Richelle Mead wasn’t one of my favourite authors ever, the cover of this book alone would beg me to pick it up!

Soundless was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 simply because it is Richelle Mead’s newest YA novel–and a standalone one at that! I’m used to Mead’s paranormal series–both adult and YA–so I was very, very curious to see what she would do with a standalone novel. I also love mythology/folklore based stories so this seemed like a no-brainer to pickup.

The Concept / The World:

What I love about Richelle Mead’s ability to build worlds is that they are complex (meaning they have layers) but they are easy to understand and get acquainted with. It doesn’t take copious amounts of pages to understand what the setting is; but at the same time I never feel like the world is under developed.

The idea that this village has no hearing is really intriguing–and is very well done. You can tell she has done her research on the matter. It was very easy to visualize every aspect of this book as I was reading.

As for the folklore, it really doesn’t come into play until later on in the story so don’t expect it to be there as soon as you start.

The Plot:

I don’t know why I was expecting a faster paced book before I picked this up as this story reads very much like an adventure story; and that is because it is. I usually find adventure based stories to be a little dull and I did feel that with this one at times. However, Mead does a great job of ending her chapters in places that make you want to continue. So in that respect, I did find it to be suspenseful at times. I also liked its unpredictability as it kept me on the edge of my toes; wanting to see what was going to happen next.

BUT, I still feel like the plot is really simple. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it is just your personal preference. I like a lot of things happening in my stories and the straight-forward plot made it a little boring for me to read. And to be honest, I don’t know what else you could do with the story she wanted to tell to make it a bit more exciting.

So I’m a bit mixed on my feelings for the plot: I think the simple plot works for the story but I can’t help but want the more complex plotlines I’ve come to expect from Mead’s series.

The Characters:

What I like about Fei compared to Mead’s other heroines that I have read is that she doesn’t seem like a carbon copy of them (mainly Rose or Sydney). While she is a rule follower, I didn’t feel like I was reading Sydney reincarnated as a Chinese artist who lives on a mountain. All the characters are their own selves and that made it enjoyable to read but at the same time, they weren’t anything you haven’t encountered before. 

Fei is a tad on the dull side but I liked her spirit. I didn’t hate her but I didn’t love her either.

The Romance:

This is the only place where I find the synopsis is a bit misleading. “Unlikely romance” implies that it comes out of nowhere but when I was only a chapter in, the “unlikely romance” becomes very obvious. So in that respect, I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t what I was expecting. It really is just a small background subplot and nothing really develops from it.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This one is really hard to review because I such mixed feelings. I really wanted to be blown away by this novel but it fell a little short in that regard. It’s beautifully written–no question–but I just wanted more from it. More action, more drama and more romance. I think if I read a review prior to this, I would have had the right mindset and have enjoyed it a lot more. Simply put: it’s a straightforward tale with a little Chinese folklore thrown in about a girl who uncovers the simple truth about her village.

Read if You Like: slower books, adventure books, simple plots
Avoid if You: want more action, want more drama

similarreads

  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotux War Series #1)
  • Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman (Eon Series #1)

readingchallenges

everythingya

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: Fury by Elizabeth 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:

Series: Fury Trilogy
Author: Elizabeth Miles
# of Books: 3 (Fury, Envy, Eternity)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I only read the first book, Fury, of this series. Find out why I didn’t pick up the rest below…

First, I want to admit that I read Fury about 2 years ago and don’t really remember it all that well. Which is the first sign that this review isn’t going to be about a stellar book–but I’ll try my best to give a well-delivered review.

What drew me to this series was the cover (which isn’t the one I have up above, rather is features a creepy looking red-haired girl). I do remember stumbling across it shortly after I set up my Goodreads account and checking to see if my library had copies. It did so I grabbed the first and second book and got ready to be sucked into a deceptive world.

Yeah, I didn’t get pulled into anything–I actually pulled this book away from me and never bothered to pick up the second novel.

This book was just plain boring (ie. slow) coupled with the fact that I had no clue what was actually happening. I mean, I got the gist of everything: Em and Chase are not so nice teens who have been selected to be punished for their “sins”. But what I never got was the purpose of the Furies–you know, the main antagonists of and reason for the series. I honestly don’t think they did anything other than show up occasionally and be pretty. So unfortunately the promised mythology of this series did not deliver.

Neither did the characters really. I don’t mind if my characters have flaws or are considered “anti-heroes”. I love reading about a villain or not so nice person as much as I enjoy reading about a nice person. I actually prefer my characters to have flaws because perfect people, in novels, drive me nuts. But with these characters it just didn’t work: they still drove me nuts.

I didn’t connect with Em’s character at all. Did I appreciate the fact that she was after her BFF’s boyfriend? No. Did I think she deserved to die because of it? Ah, no because that is a little on the extreme side of punishments. (Plus, it takes two to tango and Zach is just as much to blame really in my opinion.) Chase’s story I didn’t mind so much because it actually interested me. I felt like he had some depth to his personality and I understand why he was chosen by the Furies. If it wasn’t for Chase’s story I probably would have stopped reading this book altogether–or died of boredom by Em.

So even though the story continues in Envy, I had no desire to find out what happens next. I didn’t even bother to open the book and try reading the first chapter. Even reading the synopsis for Envy and Eternity didn’t spark my interest and I quickly labeled this series as incomplete.

Conclusion:

Great concept, poor execution (no pun intended). This series just focused on the wrong things and not enough on the important parts. I felt like it never went anywhere and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I suppose if you like darker, slower paranormal YA this is a good series for you but I don’t know many people who would enjoy this one.

Rating: 2.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon Series #1)

Synopsis for Fury (from Goodreads):
Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems…

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better—the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

Series Review: Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly

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

book3 book4

breakdown

Series: Waterfire Saga
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
# of Books: 4 (Deep Blue, Rogue Wave, Dark Tide, Sea Spell)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythological, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates:
Source: Public Library–Hardcover & eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked It Up/My Expectations:

Jennifer Donnelly is one of those critically acclaimed authors that I haven’t read too many books by. I only read her standalone, Revolution, which was fantastic, but since reading that years ago, I haven’t read anything else by her. I randomly stumbled upon this series, and when I read the synopsis I wanted to read it. It seems to me mermaids are a new trend in YA fiction but I’ve only read a few books about them so I was willing to give this series a shot.

But the biggest reason I wanted to read this was this line in the synopsis “Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas” — to me that means girl power. For once the heroine isn’t relying on a man or just herself but a group of other girls to accomplish something. Sure, most paranormal novels have the BFF female sidekick but there is something about having a whole troop of girls working together that is refreshing to me.

The World:

Deep Blue is a bit of a subdued novel and part of that reason, I think, is that it is building up the world. When I started reading Deep Blue, I easily got sucked into the world. I love how Donnelly changed common, everyday idioms and modified them for a “water world”–it really added to the world that she was building.

The world itself is pretty straightforward but I found the various Latin names/terms were hard to keep track of. I found out when I had 50 pages left in the book that there is a glossary with people and terms at the back of the book so that helped keep everything fresh when I was reading. When an author adds a glossary, you can tell that they have really thought everything out for their story and Donnelly is no exception because the world of Deep Blue features a rich history for these characters and their kingdoms.

The Plot:

Which is why I say the plot was subdued in Deep Blue: because it consisted of smaller dramatic moments and not the epic events I expected. I thought finding the other heroines would have been a major affair, taking up most of the book but it isn’t. This book is more about setting everything up for the sequel novels, allowing the reader to get their bearings with respect to what is actually going on in the grand scheme of things.

And that sets the scene beautifully for Rogue Wave to sweep every expectation away. While Rogue Wave keeps with this smaller plot event scale, it throws in massive twists that I never saw coming. I also think it helps that we have more than Serafina’s POV to read. Serafina is an alright heroine, and her character growth is great, but she follows your typical “thrust into greatness” heroine role so it isn’t anything new. She never annoyed me but she definitely isn’t my favourite of the heroines we get in this series. She really has grown on me though after two books.

These books kinda took all my expectations and whirled them all around so that I didn’t know where this series was going. It doesn’t seem to follow any basic series formula (like you know how trilogies all build up but the second book is almost always a sleeper) and I find that refreshingly exciting.

The Romance:

One thing that really surprised me about this series is the lack of romance. As a romance fan by trade, it’s weird for me to not read about a romance but I think it goes back to what I said earlier about “girl power” and watching 6 heroines do a quest on their own. Still, I expected a dash of romance here and there but that really didn’t happen—though there is one dash for sure. In the end, its A-OK but just be warned that it isn’t very strong or a major plot point in this series.

updates

–September 28, 2016– Book #3: Dark Tide

This was EXACTLY what I wanted this 3rd book to be!

It keeps the momentum of Rogue Wave going, creating a faster paced sequel with lots and lots of plot development. And even though it is definitely a bridging novel in terms of the plot, I never got bored with what was happening.

Everything is amplified just that little bit. The focus shifts further from Sera and shines on the other girls, developing their characters a little more which I greatly appreciated. We also get a touch more romance which is always a bonus–but I like that it never takes away from the focus of the story which is restoring the kingdoms.

All the foundations for a kick-ass finale are there and I can’t wait to read it!

–December 8, 2016– Book #4: Sea Spell

While this novel started a bit on the slower side (more talking than doing), it was still the perfect conclusion for this series!

Once you get reacquainted with the world, there are twists aplenty! This story is always moving and building, keeping your attention the entire time. I just loved how everything came together.

And girl power! We don’t get enough of that in the YA genre if you ask me!

In short: while the cover might be subpar compared to the rest of the series, this novel isn’t! A perfect way to end a fantastic series!

Series Rating: 4/5

Deep Blue 4/5 | Rogue Wave 4/5 | Dark Tide 4/5 | Sea Spell 4/5

overall

Deep Blue is a slow but necessary book as everything really picks up in Rogue Wave; that’s because everything was set up beautifully in Deep Blue. So don’t be discouraged when you aren’t immediately sucked into this series. If you like adventure stories rich with mythology/ancient history featuring an all-girl cast this is a great series for you to pick up.

Read if You Like: girl power, world-building, mermaids
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

similarreads

  • The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova (The Vicious Deep Trilogy #1)
  • The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Deep Blue (from Goodreads):
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

everythingya book 

recapbutton

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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

Series: Everneath Trilogy
Author: Brodi Ashton
# of Books: 3 (Everneath, Everbound, Evertrue)

There is a novella that is listed after book one called Neverfall.

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

Thoughts:

Everneath was one of those series that I just never got fully into. If I really think about it there are probably two reasons why that is: 1) I didn’t like the heroine and 2) reading the books so far apart from each other.

I’ll start with the publication gap; it isn’t anything new really, books take forever to get released nowadays. But with this series I read each book as soon as they came out (the exception being the final book) so each book had at least a year between them. The Everneath world isn’t overly complicated but there is a way that the world operates and certain terms used and I would forget that between each book (or get them confused with a similar book). So I always felt a little lost when I started on the sequel books; but I eventually did get back into the swing of things once i got further into the novel. I recommend reading these books as close together as possible to make sure you keep everything straight.

The main reason I didn’t get into these books was because of Nikki, the heroine of the novel. She and I just didn’t connect and that caused her to irritate the crap out of me. She was slightly more tolerable once I got to Evertrue (book 3) but I still didn’t like her. She was unnecessarily angsty to me which always irritates me. Her romance with Jack is one of those overly sweet high-school first loves that really did nothing for me (and I’m a romantic at heart). I much preferred Cole over Jack (so I loved the novella Neverfall which focused on Cole). Cole was a much more complex character than Jack and a lot more fun to read about. And because I liked him so much I really didn’t want him to be stuck with Nikki in the Everneath for eternity (’cause I wouldn’t want her stuck with me for eternity); nevertheless, I was still rooting for him all the way.

As for the books themselves, they moved at a slower pace for me and were often singlular in their plots. I find that as I read more books, I tend to enjoy series that have multiple plot lines going on and as a result I can’t seem to put them down. Reading Evertrue was definitely a chore for me to get through. I would often zone out reading it because it just couldn’t keep my attention. I think Everbound (book 2) was the best for keeping my attention because it actually had some interesting, unpredictable plot twists.

Conclusion:

I’ve read better Young Adult underworld/immortal-focused series than this one. I think if the Revenants Trilogy and the Goddess Test Trilogy had a book offspring together, this would be the result. If you enjoy slower paranormal stories about true loves and immortality, this is probably a good one for you to read. It just didn’t do it for me, though I love the covers.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Die for Me by Amy Plum (Revenants Trilogy #1) and The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Everneath (from Goodreads):
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Series Review: The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa

book2

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.

Fresh Fridays: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Cruel Beauty Universe)

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:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge  | Cruel Beauty Universe

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Series 2014, New Must-Watch Author 2014
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe
Author: Rosamund Hodge
# of Books: 2 (Cruel Beauty, Gilded Ashes, Crimson Bound)
Book Order: Connected (as in same universe)
Complete?: No, Crimson Bound will be published Spring 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Mythology, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I was really excited to read this book and pounced on it when it was available at my library. I’ve really been enjoying these dystopian/post-apocalyptic retellings of fairy tale stories lately and this book was no exception. I actually think that this one is one of my favourites.

This book reminded me a lot of the movie Inception and once you read it and see what is unfolding, you will get why. The blending of mythology, the Beauty and the Beast story as well as dystopian elements was done beautifully. There are a lot of layers to this book and as a reader (and studier of literature) I really appreciated it.

But I know a lot of people won’t like this book for those exact reasons. The writing style really reminded me of Graceling–it’s old fashioned in a way that we don’t particularly see in dystopian Young Adult novels. I also found that Cruel Beauty did remind me of Graceling when looking back at it. I didn’t feel like I was reading a regurgitation of Graceling while reading Cruel Beauty–they are two completely separate books with entirely different premises. But there are definitely similarities between the storylines and I think Nyx (Cruel Beauty) and Katsa (Graceling) have a lot in common. Both are extremely angsty and I think Nyx’s angst might not rub people well. I know I had a hard time with it at first but I didn’t really mind it because I understood why she felt that way–and that becomes more apparent as you read.

My favourite part of this book is the plot. It is a mystery essentially and I liked trying to figure it out as I went. Over time I put the clues together and figured it out, but often I didn’t really see the answer until I read it. Which resulted in me doing a bit of a gasping in surprise and saying “that is so cool” while the puzzle pieces connected mentally!

I was worried that this was going to be a lot like Of Beast and Beauty and while they do share some similarities–these books have two entirely different messages and plots. I think the romance is stronger (or at least to me I understood it better) in Of Beast and Beauty but I really warmed up to Ignifex and Nyx’s story by the end. Definitely readers of one will enjoy the other.

I’m excited to read the next book in the universe and I’m glad that there will be more books set in this universe because it is a truly fascinating world Ms. Hodge has created. I will definitely be checking out more of her books in the future!

UPDATED (June 26/14): Gilded Ashes is the next book in the series but it is a novella and not a full-out novel; which disappointed me at first because I wanted to read the next novel in the series. But this book was the perfect length when all is said and done. It doesn’t have the “mystery” element that Cruel Beauty did but it has a lot of cool supernatural pieces to it and I really enjoyed reading it; a very cool spin on Cinderella. What I like about these books is that the romantic leads aren’t gaga for their significant other right away; that the relationship really builds and develops between them. Overall, a great contribution to the series!

Conclusion:

This book will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea so I highly recommend that if you are interested in reading it, you grab the sample or read the first 70 pages here. If you aren’t drawn in by the mystery and story after the first 20 or so pages, don’t continue. But for those who like reading books that have a challenging mystery and are filled with Greek mythology–grab this NOW!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay; For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (For the Darkness Shows the Stars #1) and Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm #1)

Synopsis for Cruel Beauty (from Goodreads):
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Series Review: Forgotten Goddesses by Stephanie Julian

Series: Forgotten Goddesses
Author: Stephanie Julian
# of Books: 3 (What a Goddess Wants, How to Worship a Goddess, Goddess in the Middle)

There is also a novella, #2.5 Cat’s First Kiss

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal
Heat Rating: Smokin’

Thoughts:

***NOTE: I never finished How to Worship a Goddess (Book 2).

I came across these books by accident at my local library’s eBook branch. The covers and titles intrigued me so I looked them up on Goodreads and saw that they had a high rating and the summary of the first book grabbed my attention. I love mythology based books and I haven’t really found any (not that I have been looking that hard) romance mythology books for adults. So I decided to give these ones a shot.

I’m not sure how I feel about What a Goddess Wants. When I was about halfway through, there hadn’t been any major plot progression other than the Cal and Tessa having sex numerous times. There was a plot premise and I know that obvious work went into the creation of this world (as there is a “list of terms” at the start of the book), so I was a little disappointed that the book was mostly sex focused. Once I reached the halfway point, we got some more plot action and that made the book move a little faster. Overall, I liked the book enough to check out the sequel because I felt that it had potential.

I was actually looking forward to reading Lucy’s story in How to Worship a Goddess based on the brief intro we got in What a Goddess Wants. But in the end, I was really disappointed and didn’t even manage to finish the book. I didn’t like Lucy and Brandon and I just felt like something was lacking from the book: mainly a plot.

Conclusion:

The series is an interesting concept but just fails to execute it properly. While definitely steamy, the steam overwhelms the book and makes the plot secondary so you basically feel like you are only reading a book about sexual encounters. If you like really steamy books with minimal plot lines, grab this series!

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Storm Born by Richelle Mead (Dark Swan Series #1)

Synopsis for What a Goddess Wants (from Goodreads):
Tessa, Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, is desperately fighting off a malicious god, but her powers are weakening. She needs a hero and fast, because only sexual energy can give her strength. So she seeks out Caligo, whose sexual prowess is legendary.

Caligo is a fabled Cimmerian warrior determined to stay away from spoiled goddesses who trample hearts after they’ve had their fun. But there’s something irresistibly hot and inviting about Tessa, and he knows he’s her only chance to escape the encroaching darkness

Series Review: Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #9
Series: Mythos Academy
Author: Jennifer Estep
# of Books: 6 (Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson Frost, Midnight Frost, Killer Frost)

There are three novellas: #0.5 First Frost, #1.5 Halloween Frost and #4.5 Spartan Frost

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Killer Frost will be published in February 2014 Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Action, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

When I first saw Touch of Frost at my library, I didn’t know that it was about mythology: I just liked the cover. I love mythology so whenever I come across a book that features some elements of myths, I’m there–especially if it is a young adult novel.

Coincidently, I got both First Frost and Touch of Frost from my library at the same time. Knowing that First Frost is the “prequel” novella, I read it first. I would say that this isn’t necessary before you read Touch of Frost but it does help explain why Gwen is a touch rebellious and depressed at times. First Frost isn’t the best novella ever, but it does help create the scene for the rest of the series so if you can get a copy of it, it is worth a read.

I really loved Touch of Frost for a few reasons. One is the romance between Logan and Gwen. Calling it a romance is generous because it is really just sexual tension for the entire book–so if you are expecting a romance filled with minor action elements, you aren’t going to enjoy this series because it is the reverse (ie. lots of action with a dash of romance). Reason two builds on the action part: this novel has some great suspense with the mystery surrounding the death at the Academy–and this can be said about the other books as well. I easily got sucked into these books’ plots because they were exciting and always building. Obviously the mythology is another reason I liked Touch of Frost and the rest of the series. It’s a cool blend of all mythology out there but done in a way that isn’t overly complicated and easy to follow.

But the main reason I loved this series is because of Gwen. When I started this series, I had been reading books with heroines that weren’t always my favourite. Gwen was a breeze of fresh air with her wit, independence and fighting skills. She is a lot of fun and I always like characters that can make me laugh. I find she doesn’t lose herself in her love interest and gets stronger with every book.

I always knew that this series was going to be 6 books in length and at first I was excited to get so much awesomeness. I loved Kiss of Frost (book 2) and it is definitely my favourite of the series–which I think this caused a problem for me with the rest of the series. I simply call it The Curse of Book Two: whenever I like a book early on in the series–usually it is the second book–I get disappointed in the rest of the series because I go into the next book expecting it to be book 2 all over again. There are only two series where this hasn’t been the case: Vampire Academy and Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead. Those two series are what I compare all 6-book series to and let me tell you, other books have a lot to measure up to!

With this series, I actually did like Dark Frost (book 3) a lot. While not as good as Kiss of Frost, it has a great plot to set up the rest of the series and I wasn’t disappointed in it overall. So I was hoping the Curse of Book 2 was beyond me until I picked up Crimson Frost. I was really disappointed in this book because it seemed to me that it fell into the Book Two Slump of a Trilogy: where we don’t get a huge amount of plot progression but just enough to pump you up for the final installment. It definitely succeeded in making me excited for Midnight Frost (which I have yet to read) but I just felt let down after reading it. Also, Gwen started to irritate me a bit with her Lead-Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome moments but not enough for me to outright dislike her.

I did read Spartan Frost (novella #4.5), but to be truthful I just skimmed it. It wasn’t anything impressive but it does give some insight into the events that happen in Crimson Frost. I have yet to read Midnight Frost but I am excited to see where this series will go and how it will finish.

UPDATED (Mar 8/14):After one failed attempted to read Midnight Frost, I finally was able to read it. This book wasn’t anything overly exciting. It definitely had a few interesting pieces but again, it really felt like the Book Two Slump of a Trilogy where a mild plot was used to build up the final book of the series. It’s really disappointing because I really loved the start of the series and have felt that the last two books have not delivered as much as the first two (possibly the third). I think if I had all these books in my hand and didn’t have to wait 6-8 months for the next book, I wouldn’t feel as “let down” as I have been feeling about this series.

Conclusion:

Overall, the series is a refreshing read in the Young Adult genre with its use of mythology and magic. There are great characters to get absorbed in and dashes of romance along the way. One of my favourite Young Adult series so I highly recommend it!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1), Starling by Lesley Livingston (Starling Trilogy #1) and Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout (Covenant Series #1)

Synopsis for Touch of Frost (from Goodreads):
My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died…

Series Review: The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

Series: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
# of Books: 3 (The Goddess Test, Goddess Interrupted, The Goddess Inheritance)

There are also two novellas: #1.5 Goddess of the Hunt and #2.5 The Goddess Legacy

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adults, Mythology, Drama, Romance
Heat Rating: lukewarm

Thoughts:

I recently reread all the books in the series because the third one was released and I needed a refresher.

That is one thing I have to say about these books, read them as close together as possible! While each book has its own story within it, there are little details (that you will probably forget) that will play roles in later books. The main reason I reread the first two was because I could remember the endings, but not why they happened. It also helps when dealing with Greek Myths to keep up with the connections. You don’t have to be an expert going in (Carter does a great job recapping myths) but you will forget who people are if you have time between each book.

Now, to the books. Overall, I find the series is very refreshing. While some series I read do involve myths, this was the first one I read where it is only Greek Myths. Throughout the series, I really had no idea what was going to happen and I really enjoyed that. It makes a book more interesting to read and what gets me hooked.

The Goddess Test was great. I like Kate as a character. She is strong and independent and you know where she is coming from (her character story makes sense in other words). I liked Henry in this book as well (not so much in the next one, but more about that later). The relationship between them is great. It’s not just physical chemistry but you actually get to see them building their relationship. I also loved the other characters as well. The one “bad” thing (and it’s not really bad) is that it is very slow. There is no action, it is literally just Kate learning about herself, Henry and the mythical world. There is a mystery element to it but compared to later books, it is a lot slower paced.

The Goddess of the Hunt novella that follows book one is a great read that shows you a different side to the gods as well as Henry. It’s a nice quick read and I highly recommend that you read it because it bridges the gap between books 1 & 2.

Hmmm, it’s hard for me to decide what my thoughts were on book 2, Goddess Interrupted. I first read it immediately after it was published and didn’t enjoy it too much. I felt Kate was acting a little petty about what happens in this book and Henry was totally right in his actions/thoughts–but when I reread it, I didn’t feel that way at all. Because I had just reread the first one I totally understood where Kate was coming from. It was actually Henry I couldn’t stand–but I based on his character, I understand why he is so “set in his way” but at the same time it irritated me. I just got the impression from the way book 1 and the first novella ended that we would see a different side of Henry but what we got wasn’t the side I was expecting. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the plot of this book and I liked all the drama in it. Plus the ending KILLS me every time.

Because I had to wait a year for book 3 and I was dying to see what would happen next, I didn’t read The Goddess Legacy until after. I am about half way through the first story of the eBook and I don’t think it really matters if you read this before or after book 3. I will update this later!

The Goddess Inheritance is by far my favourite books of the series. I felt every emotion you can feel reading this book. The plot is fast-paced and constantly twisting so it makes for a very enjoyable read. There isn’t much more to say other than it was a great read and was the perfect ending for what has been building throughout the other books.

I get the impression that while Kate’s story is finished this isn’t the last time we will see these characters. And if what happens next is on par with The Goddess Inheritance, then it will be fantastic but it isn’t really necessary.

Conclusion:

Aimee Carter creates a fantastic world filled with drama, romance and betrayal that is unlike most books in the young adult genre. You don’t have to be a mythology nut to know what is going on but read the books as close together as possible! so everything is fresh in your mind!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant, #1) and Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy, #1)

Synopsis for The Goddess Test (from Goodreads):
Every girl who had taken the test has died.
Now it’s Kate’s turn.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom – and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld – and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy – until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.

If she fails…