Tag «paranormal»

Series Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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 The Raven Boys (from Goodreads):

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

breakdown

Series: The Raven Boys

There is a companion series in the works.

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
# of Books: 4 (The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Raven King)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: September 2012 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover & eBook

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Disclaimer: I stopped reading Dream Thieves (Book 2) at 32%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Ok, I couldn’t escape this series if I tried. It’s consistently raved about in the blogosphere and I just had to add it to my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge even though I didn’t love Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls Series. But the concept was intriguing (perhaps a replacement for the void the Beautiful Creatures Series has left all these years) and all the talk had me eager to see what the hype was for.

What I Liked:

–The Mystery of the World–

The mystery of the world had me intrigued from the start of The Raven Boys. It kept me reading trying to figure out what is actually at play in this world. That intrigue reminded me a lot of the rich world of the Beautiful Creatures and definitely made me a fan of this new world.

However, will say that I did struggle with the magic/supernatural elements of the world at times. Part of the reason I was so interesting in reading was that I wanted to better understand what was actually happening! I think this is just a me thing (I was reading The Raven Boys on a road trip so I was easily distracted).

–The Friendship of the Boys–

Unlike The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series, I actually liked all of the leads here!

First, the brotherhood of the boys is fantastic! It’s nice to see such strong male relationships be the focus of the story as opposed to the romantic relationship between a boy and girl. They are all so interesting and unique and they truly make this story.

Blue is also a strong character as well. Again, I was never irritated by her or her actions so it made it easy to read her story.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Plot is so Slow!–

While the mystery of the world kept me reading, I found the plot itself to be rather slow. The beginning and end had a lot of great twists and developments but I found everything just stayed stagnant in the middle. Especially in The Dream Thieves (#2). I quickly lost interest in the nonexistent plot developments; my mind wasn’t stimulated to keep reading (even reading the complete recap on Recaptains bored me).

–Slightly Misleading Synopsis in terms of Romance–

I thought the synopsis for The Raven Boys was grossly misleading with respect to the romance. It made it seem (to me) that that story was going to be focused on Gansey and Blue fighting an inevitable love and that is far from the case.

The romance is such a minor, minor aspect to the plot (at least in the first book) so don’t expect a page consuming romance here…or at least right away. (Given the spoilers I read, I guess there are some major developments near the end of the series that will appease people).

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. I was actually reminded of my experience reading The Darkest Minds where I toughed it out because the twists near the end grabbed my attention but then I struggled through the rest of the series. I don’t want to do that again, so I am going to leave it all here and walk away.

Series Rating: DNF

The Raven Boys 3.5/5 | The Dream Thieves DNF | Blue Lily, Lily Blue N/A | The Raven King N/A

overall

I’m definitely in the minority here but this series was just not for me. It’s a slower novel that focuses more on the characters progressing through their lives as they navigate the mysterious world around them.

Read if You Like: slower stories, magic, psychics
Avoid if You: want more romance
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Series Review: Existence by Abbi Glines

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 Existence (from Goodreads):

What happens when you’re stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he’s dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he’s about to break all the rules.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: Existence Trilogy
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 3 (Existence, Predestined, Ceaseless)

There is a novella #2.5 called Leif

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Existence); Alternating (Predestined onwards)
Publication Dates: December 2011 – September 2012
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Disclaimer: I never read Ceaseless (Book 3). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought this series within the first year of me getting my Kobo…and it took me 4 years to get around to. Oops!

In those 4 years though, Abbi Glines has become one of my most read authors on Goodreads. I’ve devoured her New Adult series in days and absolutely love her works. But I never got around to this series until I had to set some priority reads for my Rock my TBR 2016 Challenge.

It has been a long time since I read a YA paranormal series (I mostly read fantasies or dystopian novels) but the concept sounded unique and I love Glines’ ability to write addicting romances so I was excited to start this.

The Concept:

I feel like the synopsis does a bit of a disservice to the story because you really don’t know Death is “Death” until you are past the halfway mark. I think I would have liked not knowing what type of paranormal creature he was until later. Seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity but Glines does throw some other twists in there to give you some surprises.

The Plot:

I kinda forgot what it was like to read a YA paranormal romance until I picked this up. You know, little plot besides the heroine mooning after some mysterious hero who she inexplicably feels drawn to. It was very Twilight-y to say the least.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I did find myself easily drawn into Pagan’s world and there is a bit of a mystery to uncover which made it exciting to read. But as I found myself nearing the end of Existence (say the 80%) when the real plot started to unravel, I realized that nothing really happened for the first 80% of the book. Predestined had a lot more going on in it, but I just didn’t care enough…

The Characters:

Pagan is a bit on the dull side if you ask me. I also didn’t like her character progression once she meets death. She’s one of those heroines who loses who she is when she meets her love interest and that annoyed me.

I felt like more could have been done with these characters. They are pretty surface level in terms of their development.

The Romance:

This was a little lacking for me. Why does Death become obsessed fall in love with Pagan? Why does Pagan fall for Death? I didn’t get the connection at all. It’s a little too insta-love for my preferences.

Oh! Did I forget to mention the love triangle? To be fair, it wasn’t that bad and actually contributes positively to the plot at times.

When to Read the Novella, Leif:

Read this after book 2, Predestined. But it’s really just some deleted scenes from another character’s POV from the first two novels.

Will I Finish It?

I wasn’t very attached to these characters, so I’m happy with not continuing. I read enough reviews of Ceaseless to know what goes down.

Series Rating: DNF

Existence 3/5 | Predestined 2/5 | [Leif] N/A | Ceaseless N/A

overall

If I read this when I was a teenager when my preference was for YA paranormal, I would have LOVED this series. Glines has a solid plot for a series of this type but unfortunately, at this point in my reading life, I need that little bit more to keep me interested.

Read if You Like: YA paranormal, Twilight
Avoid if You: dislike dull heroines
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Blog Tour: Cry Wolf (Underwood District #1) by Greta Stone

Synopsis for Cry Wolf (from Goodreads):

Peter is a kitsune. Chaos follows him wherever he goes. Good intentions, bad intentions—it doesn’t matter. Even mimicking the howl of a friend he hasn’t seen in over a decade turns out to have disastrous consequences.

The wolf doesn’t have a name. For now, he goes by Luca. He has no past, and as an escaped slave, if he can’t stay hidden in the shadows, he’ll have no future. When someone steals his howl, he’s drawn to investigate, and ends up saddled with a mouthy fox who insists they used to be friends once upon a time.

Petty problems and a dubious reunion are pushed aside the longer they’re stranded together. The Underwood is a dangerous place.

They have two choices: work together or die.

Join Greta Stone in a dark paranormal MM romance retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and David P. Mannix’s classic novel, The Fox and the Hound.

Other books in the series:

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Series: Underwood District
Author: Greta Stone
# of Books: 1 (Cry Wolf)

Mating Season is classified as #1.5

Book Order: Unure
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance (MM), Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 1, 2017
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was drawn to Cry Wolf for 3 reasons:

  1. Adult Paranormal Story
  2. Retellings of well known stories that aren’t always retold
  3. MM Romance

I’ve realized I’ve outgrown YA paranormal stories but I do so love the idea of them. That’s why I thought this would be a great one to get me back into the genre with its retelling and romance.

What I Liked:

–The World is Well Thought Out–

I really enjoyed the depth this world had to it. You can tell Greta Stone has invested a significant portion of her time crafting this detailed world because it has so many different layers to it. The weaving of various fairy tales and nursery rhymes is very well done and will have readers going “hey, I recognize that story!”–in a good way of course.

–Slow Burn Romance–

One reason I typically avoid any werewolf story is the insta-love that often accompanies the romance. You know the type where “instincts” call the two together to mate for no reason other than some unspoken tie. So colour me happy when that wasn’t the case here. This is classic slow burning romance that has an enemies to lovers flare to it that makes the romance all that much sweeter.

–Rebuilding the Past–

It was cool trying to uncover the past these two leads shared together. I think it helped to foster that budding relationship between them because they have this shared connection from the past–meaning there is more substance to the relationship than physical attraction.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Almost too Much is Happening at Once–

Truthfully, I had a very hard time getting into this because so much is happening at the start. A rare statement from me who usually dings books for not having enough action in their plotlines. The writing is a little overly descriptive at times and because it is told from a third person POV, I got a little lost in all the pronouns. For a while I couldn’t keep straight who Peter was and who Luca was in terms of their character back stories. **(Though, to be fair, I was also working the night shift and was very over tired while reading this so that could totally be a me thing)** This does get better as you read and start to get accustomed to the flow of the writing but it was a slow start for me. I’m sure those who are more acquainted with the paranormal/urban fantasy world will have no issue.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I don’t know what is next for this series but I’m curious to see what story will be crafted next.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

Cry Wolf 3/5 | [Mating Season] N/A

overall
Those who are readily familiar with the adult paranormal and urban fantasy genres will gobble this up with no issue. You have lots of action, a slow burn romance and a suspenseful rebuilding the past story that will no doubt seize your attention.

Read if You Like: urban fantasy, paranormal retellings
Avoid if You: dislike third person POV, want more erotica based romance
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  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld Series #1)


Greta Stone

Greta is the unruly offspring of a tiger and a dragon. She spends most of her time reading, stalking her favorite musicians, and harassing other authors with pranks.

Underwood District Series (MM Romance/UF)
Cry Wolf – Book 1
Cry Wolf: Mating Season – Book 1.5

Take a Tour of New Gotham: www.brimstonepub.com

Sign up for GRETA STONE’S MAILING LIST and receive access to a bonus adventure featuring Peter and Luca.(Their fates might be changed forever.)

Copy and paste to join my newsletter: tinyurl.com/l99rh6m

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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The first 5 people to comment on ANY tour post (given on each day) will automatically win a free e-book copy of Cry Wolf! 

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Giveaway note from author:

Take a trip to New Gotham!

A paid vacation to New Gotham is an expensive affair. I found a witch who specializes in crafting gatestones. These magical pendants are used for traveling between dimensions. The bauble offered as a contest prize should take the winner to Avaline’s Trees. Keep in mind, gatestones are touchy things. It might not do anything at all. Or you might up in oblivion. Good luck with that. We’ll read about it in the papers, no doubt.

Elderstone Keys – What’s the big deal?

There is a house in New Gotham that is rumored to be haunted. No one has lived in it since the Great Depression, and no one can recall what its last occupants looked like, what they did for a living or where they went. Only one is fated to enter and learn its secrets. Anytime I host a contest, I give away keys to Elderstone. The person who collects ten of them is fated to own the house. Among their keys, they’ll have the mystical key that opens the door. (More information)

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Series Review: Immortal Game by Ann Aguirre

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 Mortal Danger (from Goodreads):
Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly… bad things are happening. It’s a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what–she can trust. Not even her own mind…

breakdown

Series: The Immortal Game Trilogy
Author: Ann Aguirre
# of Books: 3 (Mortal Game, Public Enemies, Infinite Risk)

There is a prequel short story: The Girl in the Gray Sweatshirt. Read for FREE here!

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Infinite Risk, will be published August 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly stumbled upon this book at the library. My library had the original cover (shown below) and there is just something about simple covers that draws me in…

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)

So I read the synopsis and noted the author. I read Ann Aguirre’s New Adult series 2B Trilogy but didn’t enjoy it all that much. But everyone seems to rave about her Razorland Trilogy which is Science Fiction/Horror/Apocalyptic so I figured those genres, not contemporary romance, were more her forte and Mortal Danger is the same genre (kinda/sort-of).

Then, I met Jennilyn @ RurouniJenniReads who also mentioned she was up to buddy read some books–and Mortal Danger was on there (among other ones)! A sign? I think so!

And so we decided to Buddy Read this together–and thank goodness we did!

What I Liked:

–The Revenge Concept–

I love a good revenge story and this one sounded so promising! Edie has a score to settle with the beautiful people of her school. What they did to her exactly is a bit of a mystery and so I liked the idea of it being revealed in time. The revenge plot line isn’t too elaborate but it started off strong and as I expected, it does take a backseat to the other plot-points later in the book.

–The Faustian Compact–

Definition of Faustian
  1. :  of, relating to, resembling, or suggesting Faust; especially :  made or done for present gain without regard for future cost or consequences <a Faustian bargain>

Jennilyn and I both agreed that this story reminded us of the animes/mangas Death Note (which is one of my all time FAVOURITE animes) and Black Butler. Mortal Danger has a darker edge to it thanks to the deal Edie unknowingly makes. There is so much mystery and uncertainty regarding the bargain and its terms. I love stories that have great twists on word contracts and the like. It’s why I enjoy faerie stories so much: there are always great manipulations that come back to bite the characters back in the ass later and those make for shocking “WHOA” moments when reading.

And for the record, Mortal Danger pales in comparison to Death Note.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was Slow and Wordy–

I had this problem with Aguirre’s 2B Trilogy as well; her stories seem to move at such a slow pace. I would find myself 30% of the way through the book and going, “really? We’re only here right now?”. I just felt like we were in the exposition wayyyy too long with this one and that nothing was really happening. It takes Edie a long time to get involved in the “game” and by the time she gets there, I really didn’t care anymore.

–Edie’s More than a Little Boring–

While I sympathize with Edie because she was bullied, there really isn’t much too her as a character. Her plan for revenge is never really elaborated on and she doesn’t come across as the brightest. I guess Kian was supposed to handle most of it with her wishes but that was never really clear to me. I just wanted more from her.

–The Romance–

This didn’t work for me AT ALL. I get the physical attraction thing but I failed to see why these two even liked each other beyond that. It was wayyy too insta-love for me and also seemed hypocritical to the story to a certain extent.

–It was Simple, Yet Oddly Complicated–

Like I said before, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in this book (hence, the “simple”). I wanted more revenge, I wanted more games and I wanted more excitement.

In the last 40 or so pages, things just get overly complicated. While I like twists that come out of nowhere, these ones just didn’t seem to add up for me given everything that had happened in the 250 pages beforehand. I felt like too many things were thrown in at the last minute. And while I’m sure they are going to be built upon in the next book, I found it more preposterous than exciting and that pretty much ended any hopes of me picking up the next book right there.

Will I Finish It?

No, I have no plans to pick up Public Enemies at this time–and I’m A-Ok with that. Even with all the “interesting” plot twists that we get at the end, I really don’t care to know how Edie gets her way out of the mess she created.

As Light Yagami would write:

I have to thank Jennilyn for buddy reading this with me because if we didn’t, I would have stopped reading and would have always wondered if I was missing out on something amazing.

Series Rating: DNF

Mortal Danger 2/5 | Public Enemies N/A | Book 3

overall

Nothing really impressed me about this book. It took a long time to get anywhere and I just didn’t like the execution of it once it did reach a place of interest. I didn’t get invested in the characters nor their romance so there was nothing to keep me motivated to continue this series. At the start, I wanted a story about revenge and in the end, I got a sub par romance novel with some paranormal elements thrown in–not a winner for me.

Read if You Like: slower stories, revenge concepts, horror
Avoid if You: want a more intriguing heroine, dislike insta-romance

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Series Review: The Dream War Saga by Erica Cameron

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 Sing Sweet Nightingale (from Goodreads):
Mariella Teagen hasn’t spoken a word in four years.

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella’s life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

breakdown

Series: The Dream War Saga
Author: Erica Cameron
# of Books: 2 (Sing Sweet Nightingale, Deadly Sweet Lies)
Book Order: Connected / Companion
Complete?: Yes–from what I can find
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2014 – August 2015
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook | Thanks Spencer Hill Press!

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thoughts

Note: I only read the first book, Sing Sweet Nightingale, of this series. Find out why…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly stumbled upon this book when browsing NetGalley and decided to wish for it. I’ve read a few great books over the years that have a “dream-world” premise and so I was intrigued by the concept of Sing Sweet Nightingale. I really didn’t know what else to expect though heading into it.

What I Liked:

–The World–

I found the world was really easy to understand and get into. When it comes to magical things, I sometimes struggle with the limitations of the world (I like my magic to be clearly defined) but that never happened with this one. Everything made sense and I didn’t feel like there was copious amounts of information to read.

The world itself is pretty interesting too. The idea that there are creatures contacting people in their dreams and manipulating them–very cool and also a little scary. I’m thankful my exam schedule tired me out or else I might have had a few interesting dreams about Orane coming for me…

What I Didn’t Like:

–Nothing Really Happened–

While the world is cool, I felt like nothing happened in the plot. There really is only one plot line and it’s convincing Mariella that the dream world is more of a nightmare. Everything is focused on that and everything that happens is because of that. Which is fine–I mean, it is the premise of the story–I just wanted something more. And I often felt like the same scenes were being repeated over and over again (now some things were and had a purpose so that is fine). I just needed a great twist or a subplot to make me go “wow”.

–The Lack of a Romance–

Not ever book needs a romance but when you have a plot that is rather dry like this one, it sure doesn’t hurt. I almost thought we were going to get a platonic relationship between Hudson and Mariella–which excited me–but that turned out to be false hope…

Will I Finish It?

Sweet Deadly Lies focuses on two different characters and that has me mildly intrigued to read it but at this moment it’s a pass. I need a little something more to my story and I’m not sure the sequel will provide me that.

Series Rating: 3/5

Sing Sweet Nightingale 3/5 | Deadly Sweet Lies N/A

overall

If you like very linear, uncomplicated plots, this is a great one for you. I think younger YA fans will enjoy this more so than adults. If you want something more intricate when it comes to the plot, check out my Similar Reads.

Read if You Like: dreamworlds, linear plots
Avoid if You: want more romance, want a faster plot

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Series Review: House of Royals by Keary Taylor

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 House of Royals (from Goodreads):
Every town has its history and skeletons, but Silent Bend, Mississippi’s are darker than most. Ruled from the shadows by the House—the immortal Born and their aging, enslaved Bitten—everyone knows not to go out after dark and that the police will never look into crimes involving blood.

Alivia Ryan didn’t know the man who claims to be her father through a will even existed until she inherits the Conrath plantation. Instead of the sleepy house she expects, she finds a mansion and a staff who look at her with fear in their eyes.

Ian Ward tried to kill Alivia the first time they met, and then insisted he train her to defend herself against the House, who he claims will try to manipulate and take her in for their own political reasons. And the growing attraction between them will threaten their lives—Ian is a sworn enemy of the House.

In Silent Bend, people disappear, the threat of a demented King and the legend of his resurrecting Queen hang over everyone’s heads, and proving loyalty means far more than blood. You’d better watch who you trust in this town…

breakdown

Series: House of Royals
Author: Keary Taylor
# of Books: 3 (House of Royals, House of Pawns, House of Kings)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, House of Kings, will be published March 2016
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Politics
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook

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thoughts

Please Note: I have not read House of Pawns yet. Therefore, this review is simply my thoughts on the first book of the series, House of Royals.

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I tried my hand at a New Adult vampire novel, Queen of Blood and loved it. Despite the bad rep they get, I enjoy the action and excitement most vampire novels have. I also love the new adult genre as a whole and so combining those two things seem like a winning combination.

So when I saw House of Royals on Goodreads and saw that it had a political spin on it, I just had to have it in my hands.

The Concept / The World:

I found the vampire world very easy to understand. It’s pretty straightforward which makes for easy reading. I didn’t feel very confused or left behind in any respect.

I also like the darker aspect to it. Vampires that fight their inner nature are great and all, but I don’t mind a little blood shed and these books definitely had their share of action and death.

The Plot:

The plot for House of Royals is pretty straight-forward and that has its pros and cons. Not having a lot happening really allows the reader to get a grip on the world and the setting. By not focusing on too many issues at once, I was able to get attached to the characters and understand the world they found themselves in. In the same stroke, it made for a story that really only reached its climax within the last few chapters; which is definitely a good thing because it makes you want to pick up that sequel.

The Characters:

I liked Alivia a lot. I thought she had a good head on her shoulder (for the most part) and made the best of the situation she finds herself in. Obviously she makes some mistakes but I totally understand why she would given everything that happens.

The side characters keep things interesting as well. They are unpredictable and have intriguing backstories that kept me wanting more from them.

The Romance:

The romance was really sweet with this one. Forbidden love is my favourite romance trope and this one is pretty flawless. I really liked Ian and Alivia together. I thought they complimented each other well. I simply adored their scenes together and rooted for them the entire time I was reading even when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super excited to see what is going to happen next for these characters! I feel like House of Royals built everything up at a great pace that the next few books are going to unleash all the pent up energy and tension between all the characters at play!

Series Rating: 4/5

House of Royals 4/5 | House of Pawns TBD | House of Kings TBP

overall

My experience with this book has just cemented vampire New Adult books to be my new favourite subgenre. While House of Royals doesn’t have a lot happening within its own book, I feel like it sets the stage for some great plot twists in its sequels!

Read if You Like: vampire novels, New Adult characters, simple plots
Avoid if You: dislike royal politics, vampires, forbidden love

similarreads

  • Queen of Blood by Jill Myles
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell (The Clann Series #1)
  • Bloodspell by Amalie Howard (The Cruentus Curse Series #1)

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Single Sundays: Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

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 Queen of Blood (from Goodreads):
For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.

Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .

A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.

breakdown

Author: Jill Myles (aka Jessica Clare)
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly found this book on NetGalley thanks to its stunning cover. It drew me in and when I read the synopsis, I just had to request it! It’s been a long, long time since I read a vampire story and so I couldn’t wait to dive into this one!

Did I fail to mention the whole forbidden love and politics? That was a big draw for me as well!

The World:

I really enjoyed how simple this world was. I don’t mean simple to be a bad thing either–in this case it was perfect! What I mean is that the world isn’t overly complicated and it is easy to follow along. Within a few chapters you know why the world is the way it is, why Seri struggles with her new position and how Graeme and his people operate. Getting a strong handle on the world a few chapters in really let me connect to these characters and their story–instead of focusing on what this term or that term is.

The Plot:

I got HOOKED into this story. Everything built at a great pace when I was reading. In hindsight, it took a long time to get to what the synopsis describes and I think the beginning is slow action wise. It also felt a little rushed at the end. However, I think it goes to show Jill Myles’ talent that none of that really mattered to me as I was reading. I was addicted to see what happened next and didn’t mind that it took me awhile to get there.

I would say the plot mostly focuses on Seri learning who she is and becoming comfortable with that person. It’s very “New Adult” in that respect. While the politics of the world are important, don’t expect some great political saga or action (ie fighting) packed story. The tension of the plot comes from the romance and the character development.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Seri–but I think that is part of the point. As I said before, it is her coming of age story in a way and so I expected her to have some great growth as we progressed and she did.

I did immediately like Graeme though. I think because we don’t really get his POV, he comes across as an already established character. He easily became a book boyfriend for me I think 😛

The Romance:

This is what sold me on this book: the sexual tension. WOW, it was off the charts. I’m not one for insta-love but I expected it given the synopsis–and in the end, I really didn’t mind. I really saw how these two worked together and it was a blast watching them find out for themselves. Definitely a New Adult romance and not a YA read.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Perhaps I just read this book at the right time but I really, really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to escape into this world. The romance is passionate and drives the story forward. I wish the plot had a better flow but I honestly didn’t realize until I had finished the book. If you want a New Adult vampire book, I recommend this one!

Read if You Like: vampires, forbidden romance, New Adult
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-love/connections, want more political drama

similarreads

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection Series #1)
  • Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica Series #1)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)

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Anthology ARC Review: Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis for Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong (from Goodreads): Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy’s most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan. With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Canadian Author
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Anthology, Short Stories, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First & Third Person
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: ARC–eBook Thank you Tachyon Publications!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was asked if I would be interested in reading the latest work by Kelley Armstrong before it came out–I immediately said yes! I love Kelley Armstrong’s work. Whether it’s her adult works or her young adult works, I’m always looking forward to her latest release. I’m not too up to date with the Otherworld series but I was looking forward to the Age of Legends short story as well as the Darkest Powers and standalone stories.

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales:

I just want to mention this one specifically because I LOVE the Age of Legend series, I was stoked for this! It was a perfect prequel short story and I hope we get more of these in the future because it added so much depth to the series. I can hope anyway 😉

The other stories:

These stories did a great job showing off Armstrong’s talent as a writer. Her ability to write strong adult and young adult stories as well as jump between urban fantasy and thriller/horror is amazing and shown fully here.

I’m not a huge short story fan but these ones were really well done! I had enough information to understand what was happening completely. I didn’t feel like information was missing and it was easy to move from story to story. There keep your attention and end on a very satisfactory note. Simply well done!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy variety to your anthologies, this is a great one! Fans of Kelley Armstrong will love these extra bonuses to their favourite Armstrong series!

Read if You Like: anthologies, short stories, urban fantasy
Avoid if You: don’t like short stories

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Series Review: Worldwalker by Josephine Angelini

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

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini | The Worldwalker Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Trial by Fire (from Goodreads):
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

breakdown

Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy
Author: Josephine Angelini
# of Books: 3 (Trial by Fire, Firewalker, Traitor’s Pyre)

There is a novella that is an alternate POV for a scene in Trial by Fire called Rowan

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches, Magic
Heat Rating: warm but suggestive content
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public library–eBook; Hardcover (Firewalker)

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up/My Expectations:

When I first stumbled upon Trial by Fire, I had marked it as a pass on my Goodreads account. I’m not sure why when I look back at it other than the fact that it features witches and I rarely enjoy witch-focused books. I also think it was because the synopsis made me think about an anime I watched as a teen called .hack//sign. The show follows a set of video game characters that also have alternate “real-world” lives; where one character is, coincidentally, sick in the real world but is of course fine in the game. All I know is that it confused me on so many levels and I still have no clue what the ultimate meaning of the show was .

So I think the alternate universe part of this book turned me off because my less than great experiences with them. However, I stumbled upon a review where this book was given a stellar review so I decided “why not?”. Plus, my library had one last available copy online right after I made that impulsive decision so I figured that was a sign that I had to read this book…

The Concept/World:

In addition, having read Claudia Grey’s A Thousand Pieces of You novel a week or so before I read Trial by Fire made me more receptive to reading a book with alternate dimensions because I really loved A Thousand Pieces of You (ATPOY) and more importantly, it was executed very well. So I went in with a more positive attitude when it came to reading this book.

The difference between the execution of ATPOY and Trial by Fire is that the narrator explains how alternate dimensions work early in ATPOY whereas in Trial by Fire the reader learns as the heroine learns–which I think works for each respective story and adds another level to the reading experience. ATPOY focuses on chasing someone through alternate dimensions to solve a mystery and as such, the reader needs to know how everything works early on to enjoy the journey. Trial by Fire is also focused on a mystery of sorts, but because the heroine doesn’t understand the world she is now in, she learns as she goes and in turn, the reader must do the same.

The world Lily finds herself in is pretty cool. I think my inner science geek enjoyed how the witch-craft was more science based than “magic” based. The world really reminded me of the anime/manga Full Metal Alchemist where they use elemental science for various purposes in a world that is almost medieval but has little touches of the modern world here and there; which is really interesting to read about. So I didn’t mind learning as I was going and even enjoyed learning about this world as I went (which is why I gave it the .5 rating I did because I really loved this aspect).

The Plot:

What did “bother” me about this book was I wanted more focus on why Lily was brought into the world. Character and world building is great and all, but it serves a larger purpose by contributing to the plot. And I felt like Trial by Fire spent a little too much time on all this background building and not enough on figuring out why Lily was there. It reminded more of an adventure/journey story at times because of this aspect. It definitely picks up near the end, but by the halfway point I was ready to have the larger plot become the main focus of the story. In other words: this book moved slowly to me and in turn, I wasn’t able to really get into the story. If the eBook was 30 pages shorter, I think I wouldn’t have had this problem so much. (It took me a lot longer to read this book than it usually does)

The Characters:

Lily wasn’t all that exciting to me as a heroine. But the cast does its job well. I like that there is a villain that you can easily dislike.

The Romance:

As for the romance, it definitely didn’t go the way I expected and it didn’t play as huge of a role as I expected either. So if you are looking for a romance-driven book, this isn’t it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m interested in seeing where this series is going to go because the last few chapters are where things started to get my attention. I don’t mind slower inaugural books that build up so long as the sequel delivers and I kind of get the vibe that this second book will deliver now that the plot is going somewhere–so I look forward to reading Firewalker in September but I’m not exactly counting down the days until its release either.

updates

–September 3, 2015– Book 1.5: Rowan

I completely forgot that Rowan was going to get his own POV short story until I saw it at my library. I actually really enjoyed it. I thought it brought a fresh perspective to the story. It’s been so long since I’ve read Trial by Fire that I don’t remember all the particulars so it was hard to recall all the details. Considering it was only a couple of pages long, I thought it did a good job getting the point across and recreating the scene. All and all, a good novella to read after Trial by Fire.

–December 4, 206– Book 2: Firewalker

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Firewalker at 26% (90/352). Find out why below…

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this sequel but what we got wasn’t what I had hoped for.

It was so boring! There were some promising little tidbits at the start but they get pushed to the side to focus on some monotonous day-to-day stuff. And I get it, you needed to establish the circumstances these characters find themselves in; but make it a little more worth my while.

Nothing was happening and I didn’t want to wait around for a great cliffhanger ending to make me feel compelled to read the 3rd and final novel.

My Rating: DNF

Trial by Fire 3/5 | Firewalker DNF | Witch’s Pyre N/A

overall

I did enjoy reading this book and I could see why lots of people like it. But if you are like me and want a faster-paced book that doesn’t focus solely on character building, this series might not be your cup of tea. Those who enjoy lots of character development and world building at a slower pace will love this series!

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

similarreads

 

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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.