Tag «politics»

DNF Series Review: Prisoners of Peace by Erin Bow

DNF December Review Blitz — Day 1: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Scorpion Rules (from Goodreads):

The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author, Cover Love
Series: Prisoners of Peace; The Scorpion Rules
Author: Erin Bow
# of Books: 2 (The Scorpion Rules, The Swan Riders)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: September 2015 – September 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

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Disclaimer: I stopped reading The Scorpion Rules at 18% (middle of Chapter 6). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

There was a lot that drew me to this series. It’s written by a Canadian. It has political intrigue. Its unique concept. The cover. I quick marked it as an anticipated read upon its release in 2015 but let it slip away after I read some mixed reviews.

Despite that though, I was eager to read it and that was why I added it to my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge for 2018.

What I Liked about The Scorpion Rules:

–The Concept–

The whole setting of this novel is really intriguing. Children of political leaders are used as pawns in the hopes that forfeiting their lives in order to go to war will prevent the battle from even taking place–because who would sacrifice their own child?

Like many political things, this one is convoluted and that does result in some info dumping moments. I found the whole idea straight forward though I will admit I struggled with the AI portions of the information.

What I Didn’t Like The Scorpion Rules:

–All the Characters Seem to do is Farm–

I’ve got nothing against farming (where I live is predominately farms) but I didn’t pick up this book to read about Greta and company milking goats or making cheese.

I wanted back stabbing and conspiracy theories. I wanted a little more action and drama.

Instead, I got polite teenagers doing chores. Yawn.

My Audiobook Experience with The Scorpion Rules:

I do think part of the reason I DNF’d this so quick was the audio version (though truthfully, I would have found it boring either way). While I appreciate that each of the Children of Peace had their own accents, I found everyone seemed to have a slow drawl that proved to be distracting. When we would get those info dumping moments (usually when the teens are answering something in class or talking to each other), I just couldn’t concentrate on their words or the importance of what they were saying. I also thought the that narrator sounded to old to be Greta’s age so that was off-putting as well.

Will I Finish The Series?

Nope. I read the synopsis for Book 2 and I don’t think much really happened to get to that point.

Series Rating: DNF

The Scorpion Rules DNF | The Swan Riders N/A

overall

If you like slower books that take their time or want a book that is completely unlike any other out there, check this out.

Read if You Like: LBGTQ characters, slow novels, lots of detail about the world
Avoid if You: want action, want conspiracy theories

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Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

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DNF Series Review: The Fallen Isles Trilogy by Jodi Meadows

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:

Fallen Isles Trilogy

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Before She Ignites (from Goodreads):

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

breakdown

Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Before She Ignites, book 2, book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2, will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Before She Ignites at 58% (Start of Chapter 19). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I adored Meadow’s Orphan Queen Duology so I’ve made an effort to read her other novels. I didn’t enjoy Newsoul Trilogy as much as I wanted to, but this one sounded promising. Dragons? Yes please!

What I Liked:

–The Premise–

I love a fantasy world that is rich in political turmoil and this one had it. There are so many secrets to uncover and that conspiracy angle really intrigued me. Especially when the plot is being told in pieces, with Mira’s POV alternating between the “before” and the “after”. I enjoyed trying to get the bigger picture of what was happening.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Blah Storyline–

Don’t go into this book thinking you are going to get an action packed novel with a girl who rides a dragon. Reread the synopsis again. This is the key statement you need to focus on in order to enjoy this novel:

Mira must learn to survive on her own

Because that’s really what this book is all about. It’s an extremely character driven story about Mira’s journey to realize that she is more than just a pretty face; that she actually has the power to do something. Which is inspiring unto itself…but not the story I wanted to read.

Or I guess I wouldn’t have minded if I felt like anything else was happening plot wise. And despite the little inklings of the larger conspiracy, I just wasn’t invested.

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. I didn’t connect with the characters, the romance wasn’t enough to keep me and the plot was lackluster to me. I’m sure bigger and better things were brewing but I just wasn’t into it.

My Rating: DNF

overall

If you like character driven stories and a slower overall plot, pick this book up. The writing is great and the diversity of the cast is definitely appealing. The promise is there, I just don’t have the patience to get invested in this series.

Read if You Like: slower stories, character driven stories
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance, want more action

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Novella Serial Review: Chase by Cassia Leo

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Chase (from Goodreads):

Larissa Jacobs’ financial debt is climbing after a failed attempt at becoming the next big thing in Hollywood–and now her roommate has asked her to come up with the rent by the end of the weekend or she’ll be out on the street. But her roommate soon takes pity on her and offers to help her get a job working with him for an escort service. Larissa’s first client is Senator Chase Underwood: gorgeous, married, and the current presidential candidate. Will his penchant for sexual domination destroy his prospects of world domination?

breakdown

Series: Chase

Part of the broader Power Players Series (Luke Series & Knox Series)

Author: Cassia Leo
# of Parts: 4 (Chase, Disclosure, Exposure, Closure)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August – November 2012
Source & Format: Own–Kindle

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Cassia Leo is one of those authors I have a lot of books by but haven’t really read. Despite being really excited for her Luke Series, I ended up DNFing it. So I was a little hesitant to start this one but the premise was really intriguing and it was only a total of 80 pages…

The Plot:

There isn’t too much of a plot besides Chase and Larissa trying to figure out how they can be together–and that isn’t overly complicated either. The pages consist of sexy times, Larissa pining for Chase and Chase promising they will be together before he departs. Rinse and repeat.

But the ending? While I expected it, I just didn’t like the far-fetched nature of it all.

The Characters:

When you have a series of this length, it’s hard to get to know these characters on a deeper level. But they work for this story. Could they have been elaborated on? For sure but they did the job well here.

The Romance:

They meet once, kiss and Chase decides he has to risk everything for a girl he essentially hooks-up with in a limo after 5 minutes of meeting. It’s classic over the top, insta-love at its “finest”–and I wasn’t really a fan.

Series Rating: 2/5

overall

If you want a super quick read of insta-love or love the idea of a presidental canditate falling for an escort, give it a try. Otherwise, pass!

Read if You Like: serialized novellas, erotica
Avoid if You: want a little more substance to your erotica

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Blog Tour: Ignited (Dance of Elements #1) by A M Deese

Synopsis for Ignited (from Goodreads):

A NOBLE DAUGHTER.

A FORMER SLAVE.

SCORCHED EARTH AND DANGEROUS GAMES.

“Jura imagined it sounded like rain.”

Juggling death is nothing new for seventeen-year-old Jura, daughter of the First of the Thirteen, successive rulers of the Republic of the Sand Sea. However, when a blood chain ensnares her father, she is thrust into the seat of power and forced to rule her elders.

“To Tylak, water had never tasted sweeter.”

Jura must track down her father’s assassin and balance a country on the verge of collapse. To find the Prince of Shadows and uncover the truth, Jura puts her trust in Tylak, a former slave accused of stealing from the Everflame—a man she once condemned to death.

In a world where water is currency and enemies lurk around every corner, Jura will use her wits or risk igniting a world war.

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: Dance of Elements
Author: A M Deese
# of Books: 1+ (Ignited)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 27, 2018 — ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Pre-Order: Radiant Crown Publishing // Google Play

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love books with political intrigue and this one seemed like it would have that in spades. The whole idea that a young girl has to play a political game while trying to save her father’s life had me interested in seeing what would happen next.

What I Liked

–The World / Concept–

I loved the many layers to this world. First, you have the whole political system which is so cutthroat and devious that I couldn’t help but devour it. Next you have the class system that separates the peoples and creates its own conflict. Add the currency of water, throw in people with special abilities and dragons and you’ve got yourself a pretty epic world to get lost in.

–Multiple POVs–

I love books where we follow multiple leads because it provides a wider, full coverage view of the world. Having all the character POVs we do here does a great job of moving the plot forward and revealing those little tidbits that have you craving more.

–Game of Thrones Vibes–

One of my favourite things about Game of Thrones is the political intrigue. You don’t know who you can trust, there are supernatural elements at play and you never know who is going to live. There are so many players that something is always evolving and I felt like this book captured that same suspense as GOT, just in a YA kind of way.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It is a Little Overwhelming At the Start–

When it comes to the world, Everything is explained well so I was never lost in that respect. Where I did get a little lost was keeping all the things straight at the start. A lot of information is thrown at you and trying to remember everyone’s roles overwhelmed me a little. But as you get deeper into the world it gets easier to follow.

–Slower Start–

I found that this book took a while to get its footing. Part of that reason is that we switch POVs a lot in the first few chapters in order to establish all the key players and drama. It takes time to build up the various plotlines but once they get there, you really do become sucked into the story.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While I had a pretty good idea of what was actually happening in the book, there’s a great unexpected twist that really shook things up for me. Now that the world is familiar and I know most of the key players, I’m hoping the sequel can take that great momentum and build on it.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

Ignited 3.5/5| Book 2 TBP

overall
If you enjoy fantasies with a lot going on and lots of characters, this is a great one. The action is in the politics and suspense and not of the physical variety but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

Read if You Like: political intrigue, books with multiple POVs
Avoid if You: want more action, faster start

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A M Deesse

Alexis Marrero Deese isan avid reader of young adult and fantasy. Her favorite authors include Brandon Sanderson, Jaqueline Carey, and Orson Scott Card. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and a sun tan she misses dearly since her move to northern Georgia. She has a passion for cooking, spends entirely too much time on Pinterest, and is a self-proclaimed dog training expert to her family’s legion of dogs.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Fresh Fridays: Ruined (#1) by Amy Tintera

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:

Ruined Trilogy

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Ruined (from Goodreads):
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Faves 2016
Series: Ruined Trilogy
Author: Amy Tintera
# of Books: 3 (Ruined, Avenged, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Avenged, will be published in May 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Action, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for the romantic trope “in love with the enemy”. I just love the high stakes of it all and all the wonderful sexual tension it brings.

But this novel also promised to have a slightly darker edge to it; or at least, I hoped it would. Not that I like to have a lot of violence in my novels, but I do enjoy novels with action and the grittier scenes that happen from physical confrontations. It adds another layer of risk to the story.

I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this novel just after its release, but I still really wanted to read it. So I avoided reading too much into any other reviews so that I could go into this fresh…and I sure am glad I did!

What I Liked:

–The Pacing–

This book always kept moving! Whether it was romantic developments or character scenes or action scenes, I never had a dull moment while reading this.

Honestly, if I could have stayed in bed all day to read this, I totally would have!

–The Romance–

Like I said, I’m a sucker for this trope of characters falling in love with their enemies. So this was one of my favourite aspects. These two were a perfect match in my eyes and I like the character growth that is a result of their relationship.

A lot of people will probably struggle with this trope–especially with these two and all that happens between them–but I don’t think it overshadows the story too much. You still have a lot of great plot development outside of the romance even if it is often the main focus of the plot.

–The Willingness to Take it to the Next Level–

I like books that aren’t afraid to take risks. If that means killing off a character or two, that’s ok. It makes the story that touch more unpredictable and keeps me excited to see what will happen next because there are no restraints.

I also like that there seems to be true villains here. Evil characters are often water-downed but I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s in store.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The World Building–

I’m one of those readers who likes things spelled out for her, especially when I’m starting a new series.

When it comes to the term “ruined” I honestly had no idea what that meant when I first started reading. I knew these people had “powers” but it was never clearly explained. Or if it was, I totally missed it. Sure, it was easy to understand it once I got a grasp of their abilities but I hate when things are told as if you should already know what it all means. 

I also would have loved a map of the world! While it was pretty easy to orient it, I just think it would be neat to see.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There were so many interesting plot developments at the end of Ruined that I can’t wait to see what is in store. I’m hoping for a touch more world-building and maybe a dash more politics; but otherwise, if Avenged sticks to the same foundations as Ruined, it’ll be great!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Ruined 4.5/5 | Avenged TBP | Book 3 TBP

overall

While this story does borrow characteristics and tropes common to the genre, (I think many readers will draw parallels to other novels) I still had a lot of fun with this story. It still felt fresh to me and it definitely has its own unique quirks to make it stand out on its own.

Read if You Like: in love with the enemy romances
Avoid if You: want stronger world-building

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Single Sundays: America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert

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 America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t (from Goodreads):
Book nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we’re the #1 nation at being the best at greatness.

But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can’t exchange it because we’re 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around–we don’t make anything anymore, we’ve mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn’t even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?!

It’s high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost!

Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject’s ranging from healthcare (“I shudder to think where we’d be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering”) to the economy (“Life is giving us lemons, and we’re shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade”) to food (“Feel free to deep fry this book-it’s a rich source of fiber”), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2015
Author: Stephen Colbert
Genre: Nonfiction, Politics, Humour, Satire
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In September 2015 I decided to start listening to audiobooks. It takes me approximately an hour to go grocery shopping when I am at school when you factor in walking, buying and returning home. I reasoned that would be the perfect time to listen to an audiobook instead of regular old music.

Lindsey @ Bring My Books wrote a great review of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me audiobook and it inspired me to try listening to audiobooks of nonfiction novels–especially humour ones. Why I didn’t clue into that earlier is beyond me but it made me want to try an audiobook!

This one was just based on what was available when I looked. I loved watching The Colbert Report and I figured if I could watch Stephen Colbert on a daily basis, listening to him narrate his audiobook wouldn’t be that difficult.

The Concept:

As a Canadian I will admit that I didn’t get every American reference–however, I probably know more than the average Canadian about American politics thanks to my viewing of The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report. He even throws in some hilarious Canadian references that had me laughing like a crazy person as I took the subway.

This book is essentially a satirical view of American politics and ideals. It basically reads as if you were watching an extended episode of The Colbert Report but on a much more candid level. As you progress through the story, Stephen gives his ironic tips on how to reclaim every American stereotype I’ve ever heard. It’s entertaining and hilarious and was everything I expected from Stephen Colbert.

The Writing/Narration:

Like I said, I felt like I was listening to a longer episode of The Colbert Report–which is exactly what I was expecting. I couldn’t imagine anyone else delivering this novel other than Stephen Colbert.

Did it Impact My Life?

I suppose it did. The simplest way is that it made me like listening to an audiobook. I had tried to listen to one or two before but I couldn’t get past a female narrator changing her voice to sound like a man during YA fiction. But listening to the author narrate their own nonfiction title–that works for me.

It also taught me a bit more about American politics and ideals. It was rather enlightening.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book thoroughly entertained me. It was so much fun to listen to! I don’t think it would have been the same experience if I had read it. Having Stephen Colbert actually speak the words in the way they are intended to be really helps the humour come to light.

Read if You Like: political satires
Avoid if You: don’t like books that deal with politics

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  • A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer

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Fresh Fridays: Cross the Stars (Crossing Stars #1) by Vanessa Kimball

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:

Crossing Stars

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Cross the Stars (from Goodreads):

What would you risk for love? Would you cross the stars? Steal the moon?

She is American. A commoner, an outsider. Min barra. He is Jordanian royalty. A prince, already promised to another. And their worlds are about to collide.

A year shy of graduating from Georgetown University, Ella Wallace feels like she is losing direction. Having carved her own path through life, rejecting her family’s elitist influences, the last thing she wants is to waste time and prove her parents right. A happenstance summer-long program abroad offers the perfect opportunity to immerse herself in volunteer work, finding richness in family and purpose she has never experienced before.

Prince Rajaa bin Ammaar is returning home to Jordan from Georgetown University. His intent is to spearhead a refugee program meant to bring peace to his country. Amidst threats of civil war and revolt, Raj stands for his convictions, even when they challenge his family and the very culture he is preordained to uphold.

A chance encounter at a crowded party in D.C. brought Ella and Raj together for one fleeting moment – two people never thought to meet again. But it’s not until their diverse worlds collide in Jordan that they realize the power of their connection. With the refugee program as their reuniting bond, they must cross the stars and defy their clashing cultures to protect their forbidden love.

With the culturally rich Jordanian backdrop, Cross the Stars will take you on a journey into the geographical and cultural Middle East, the resilience of people amidst turbulent civil unrest, the parallel unrest of two lovers’ clashing fates, and the diversity they must challenge with every breath to keep their love alive.

breakdown

Series: Crossing the Stars
Author: Venessa Kimball as V Angelika
# of Books: 2 (Cross the Stars, Steal the Moon)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Steal the Moon, will be published in June 2016
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I enjoyed the YA novel Written in the Stars which explored the arranged marriage of a young Pakistani American and it really opened my eyes to a whole other world of character conflict that I had never experienced before.

So that is what initially drew me into this book: the exploration of a culture I had never experienced before. It also doesn’t hurt that I am a sucker for forbidden romances and what is better than a romance between a prince from the Middle East and American student? The fact that this was a New Adult novel led me to believe I would be consumed in a passionate romance that tested the boundaries of the world it is set in. But is that what I got?

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

While I was reading, I really felt like I was in the Middle East. The description of the conflict and the physical geography of the Jordan really helped me immerse myself in the world. It also doesn’t hurt that the first 50% of the book is used to establish the setting and the character worlds.

–The Coming of Age Aspect–

Like I just said, the first half of the book was spent establishing the characters and their situation. Ella is struggling in her family life and deciding what she wants to do while Raj has a whole slew of family matters to worry about. While I would have wanted the romance to start from the get-go, I appreciated the time given to build these characters up as individuals. It helped you to grasp why they react the way they do or why fate has pushed them together at this point. They become whole characters to you instead of one half of a pair and I appreciated that.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Romance Doesn’t Start Until Halfway Through–

I found the synopsis to be a little misleading. I thought the romance would be introduced shortly after I started the book and would progress through the various issues the couple would face given their social statuses. That isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, these two don’t really enter each other’s orbit until the 50% mark and then the chaos ensues. So it’s a very slow burn romance that quickly ignites once it sparks–but I was disappointed slightly that I wasn’t getting that passionate, all consuming romance earlier on in the story like I expected.

Add to the fact that it’s pretty much a love at first sight type of connection and I was pretty disappointed in how the romance unfolded, even if the sexual chemistry and tension was strong once it is introduced.

–Ella’s Angst–

Despite her age, she came across as an angsty high schooler at the start of the novel. I mean, I vaguely understood her motivations for why she felt the way she did but it seemed a little over-dramatic for me. But like I said above, I did enjoy her character’s growth so all was not lost in that respect.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Now that everything has hit the fan so to speak, I’m really curious to see how this story unfolds. I’m hoping for more drama, more passion and some good plot twists in Steal the Moon.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Cross the Stars 3.5/5  | Steal the Moon TBP

overall

While I didn’t get the passionate romance read that I wanted, I did get an intriguing read that kept me pushing through the pages. It’s a world rich with politics and culture and that was what I appreciated the most about this book.

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, politics
Avoid if You: want more romance from the start

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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:

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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; Blood Descendants Universe

Spin-off Series: Crown of Death

Author: Keary Taylor
# of Books: 8 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological & Connected

Story Arcs: Books 1-5; Books 6-8

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Politics
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2015 – July 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley & Own–eBook

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thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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!

updates

–January 6, 2018– Book #2: House of Pawns      **copy not provided**

It’s been a long time since I read the first one but I found it so easy to get back into this world. I love all its politics and danger. We get to meet a lot more characters and the world is getting a little more complex so it sucked me in.

Alivia has an interesting character development path in this one. Her reaction to certain things (mostly of the romance variety) at the end frustrated me. But we get some interesting plot developments so I’m curious to see what happens next!

Series Rating: 4/5

House of Royals 4/5 | House of Pawns 4/5 | 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

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  • Queen of Blood by Jill Myles
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell (The Clann Series #1)
  • Bloodspell by Amalie Howard (The Cruentus Curse Series #1)
  • House of Night by PC and Kristen Cast (House of Night Series #1)

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Series Review: Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

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

Inherit the Stars Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Inherit the Stars (from Goodreads):
Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

breakdown

Series: Inherit the Stars
Author: Tessa Elwood
# of Books: 2 (Inherit the Stars, Split the Sun)

There is a short story prequel, Inherit the Stars: Reprive

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Politics
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: December 18, 2015 – December 6, 2016
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this book in the Young Adult Gallery on Netgalley and planned to request it closer to the date but when I later saw that it was available as a Read Now, I immediately grabbed it.

I’ve been searching for a great YA SciFi since I read Across the Universe and I hoped that this one would fit the bill nicely. I mean, it has everything I love: space, romance and politics, so the odds were in its favour…

What I Liked:

-The Politics-

I loved the high-stakes, blood thirsty political world this novel is set in. It was fast-paced and was a major part of the plot. It wasn’t some little side plot but a core element of the story and I loved that. It’s hard to say more without giving things away.

-The Romance-

This was a slow burn romance and if you are worried that it is going to overshadow the story, rest assured that isn’t the case. It builds quite nicely and it wasn’t long before I rooted for them.

-Asa’s Fighting Spirit-

Asa was a character that had great growth I thought. Sure, she suffers a little bit from lead-heroine-sacrifice-syndrome but at the same time, I really don’t blame her for feeling that way. And I liked that she was always thinking about how to solve this problem or that. It really made you want to root for her.

What I Didn’t Like:

-The World Development-

I love books that have fast plots and I liked that this one thrusts us into the action from the first page. However, I felt like I was left hanging for the rest of the story. I was so lost in terms of the world. What is the Blight specifically? Why do people have to go through decontamination? I mean, I get the concepts (they easily parallel our real world)  but I just wish they were explained fully. I felt like it was assumed I knew the world and all it’s elements–like it was explained a chapter earlier but we didn’t have it–and I definitely learned as I went, but I spent the first third trying to grasp the world while keeping track of the actual plot.

Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the world, because I did, I just wish it was explained in a different way than it is.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really looking forward to what is going to happen next! I love the political side of the plot and I can’t wait to see how these characters grow!

updates

–December 11, 2016– Book #2: Split the Sun

DNF’d at 33% (pg 95/290)

This book wasn’t really what I was anticipating for the sequel. I was expecting a continuation of Asa and Eagle’s story truthfully, not the introduction of a new character that I would have to reorient myself with.

Kit provides an interesting side to the overall plot of this series. She’s a regular person with regular problems who is stuck dealing with the consequences of the previous leads’ actions. It’s something as a critic I can appreciate. Inherit the Stars focused on the politics and higher society aspect while Split the Sun changes the focus to the people who are directly impacted by their choices. But the reader in me just wanted more.

For that first 33% of the book, nothing was really happening. It was mostly Kit moaning about her problems (and she has a lot) and going through the motions which isn’t interesting to me. I needed some action or even a hint of where the plot was going to keep my interest. I think the plot had just started to show its potential direction just before I stopped but I wasn’t as invested in Kit’s story as much as I wanted to be (even if I sympathized with her situation).

So while I appreciate the direction this series wanted to go by changing the lead characters, I didn’t like the execution of it at all. I would have much preferred a direct sequel of Asa and Eagle’s storyline.

My Rating: DNF

Inherit the Stars 3.5/5  |  Split the Sun DNF

overall

While the world building leaves something to be desired, the plot speaks for itself. If you like stories that are politically driven and heroines who will do anything to save their world, this is a great one to pick up!

Read if You Like: YA science fiction, slow burn romance
Avoid if You: want stronger world building, want more romance

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Single Sundays: Rook by Sharon Cameron

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 Rook (from Goodreads):
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2015 YA Fav, New Author to Watch
Author: Sharon Cameron
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Adventure, Politics
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember where I first stumbled upon this book. It was either on NetGalley or through someones blog; but what got me to add this to my TBR and get really excited was the synopsis. I mean the cover is gorgeous but a “game of cat and mouse”…that it right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The Concept / The World:

I am a HUGE steampunk fan, so to read a book where machines are taboo was really quite the change for me. Especially when everything about this world is so steampunk-esque in terms of politics and society. But I loved how this world came to be–and the scary thing is I could see it happening with today’s society! Our dependency on technology definitely has its strengths and weakness and I liked that this book explored that concept.

The Writing:

I added this subheading because I feel like this is people’s biggest complaint about the book–and I totally get why!

Third person narratives are always hard to get into; especially if you primarily read first person POVs like I do. I find the more familiar you are with an author and their style, the easier it is to read subsequent novels by them. But this is my first Sharon Cameron book, though it won’t be my last!

The narration in this book is not as forthcoming or honest as one would expect; but it has to be. It is a suspense novel so scenes are going to be left vague or a character will be referred to in generic terms until it is beneficial for the reader to know their exact identity. You also get multiple POVs to keep the plot moving and evolving. It makes for a frustrating read from the readers perspective but I always felt like the big reveal was worth it.

Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to reread lines to make sure I was fully understanding what was happening…because I did. But eventually I got used to the flow of the book and I really enjoyed the narration by the end of it.

The Plot:

As I said, there is a lot going on at times. Which is great for a reader like me who loves layers to their novels. You have the game between Rene and Sophia; Sophia and the debt collectors; the Red Rook and LeBlanc; LeBlanc and Rene; the Upper and Lower parts of the city…I think you get the point. There are a lot of players in this game and they definitely keep things interestingAnd the great thing is that I never felt overwhelmed by it all!

I was sucked into the plot pretty quickly. I feel like it builds really well and has a great balance between all the different elements. Things were always changing and it kept me on my toes, trying to figure out what was going to happen next. This book felt really long when I first started but I pretty much read it in a day as the pages just flew by.

The Characters:

This book probably has some of the most intelligent characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I expected LeBlanc (the “villain”) to be a bumbling fool easily outwitted by the Red Rook but he was so on point it was almost scary! A worth adversary who definitely kept me on my toes whenever he figured something out. Of course these characters all have their flaws but their wit and tenacity really captured my attention.

Also, I just have to add this quote because I absolutely adore it:

The idea that women are not fit for certain tasks is based on cultural expectations, not the science of fact. It is an old-fashioned belief coming from the less civilized centuries after the Great Death, and has nothing to do with medicine. Any man of science knows that.

I just loved the strength of the female characters in this novel! Sophia was amazing as a heroine! She is everything I adore in my leading ladies and exactly what I had hoped for. René was a perfect opponent for Sophia and I loved their interactions together. He was a solid character in his own right and kept my attention throughout. The rest were just fun and balanced the leads and the story extremely well.

The Romance:

I really, really liked that the romance didn’t overshadow this book. It shone when it needed to but stayed dormant when it didn’t. There is a love triangle but it actually contributes to the plot in an obvious and beneficial way.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book just hit all the right points for me! It was fun, twisty and full of action and mind games! I was really hooked into this only a few chapters in! I think the writing will turn some people off, but once you get used to it, it moves at a great pace!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, suspense, post apocolyptic worlds
Avoid if You: want more romance, don’t like third person POVs

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