Tag «supernatural»

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.

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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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Blog Tour: Daemoniac by Kat Ross

Synopsis for Daemoniac (from Goodreads):

It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.

But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.

From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?

Other books in the series:

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Series: A Dominion Mystery
Author: Kat Ross
# of Books: 2 (Daemoniac, The Thirteenth Gate)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single (Daemoniac), Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 2016 – June 2017
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for a good mystery story–especially if it has anything to do remotely with Sherlock Holmes. I took a detective fiction course in my undergrad and LOVED it! But I’ve been a Holmes fan since I was a kid thanks to my father. Yes, I’m that person who gets excited for the latest re-imagining of the famous detective.

Image result for sherlock reaction gifs

So when I saw the premise for this novel–a young female detective hunting a murderer in 1888s New York–you would have had to tackle me to the ground and tie me up to stop me from joining this blog tour.

The Plot:

If you’ve ever read a Sherlock Holmes’ story, you’ll be right at home with this book. All the copious detail that is a staple of a Conan story is present from start to finish with this novel.

Which means it takes a while to get into the groove of the narration here. Especially for someone like me who isn’t overly fond of excessive detail. The first few chapters were tough to get through but definitely worth it in the end.

The last half of the book has faster chapters and a lot more action. Once everything starts to come together, this book is hard to put down. It does a great job of wrapping up the mystery of this novel while giving you enjoy loose ends to be curious about the sequel.

As for the mystery–it’s very Sherlock-ian and definitely worth uncovering.

The Characters:

If you are at all familiar with the basics of the Sherlock Holmes’ universe, it’s easy to see the parallels between the characters. Harrison is a smart and observant lead (Sherlock); her best friend and sidekick, Weston, is a doctor in training (Watson); and don’t forget the caring housekeeper Mrs Rivers (Mrs Hudson).

I could go on and on with the character parallels but I do want to emphasize that these characters aren’t carbon copies of their inspiration.

Harry in particular lacks the cocky persona of Holmes. She knows she can solve mysteries but she has always lacked the opportunity to do so because of her older sister. And don’t forget the social pressures she has as a female in New York City; that in itself adds a unique aspect to her character. So it was nice watching her come into herself as the story progressed.

The Romance:

There is no romance here but I do see the inklings of some potential romantic encounters later on in the series.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While this mystery is solved in this novel, the story is far from over. The teaser we get for The Thirteenth Gate has me excited to see how everything is going to come together. I’m also looking forward to learning more about these characters and uncovering more of their secrets.

updates

–August 3, 2017– Book #2: The Thirteenth Gate

You can find my full review of this novel here as a part of the blog tour.

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My Rating: 4/5

Daemoniac 4/5 | The Thirteenth Gate 3/5

overall

This series is perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and mysteries!

Read if You Like: Sherlock Holmes, mysteries
Avoid if You: dislike mystery stories, dislike stories with lots of detail

similarreads

  • The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (Bannon and Clare Series #1)
  • The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone (Paranormal Investigator Series #1)

Kat Ross

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Author Links: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Single Sundays: Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

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 Escape from Witchwood Hollow (from Goodreads):
Everyone in Arnn – a small farming town with more legends than residents – knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees.

After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.

Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.

To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness.

How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?

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Author: Jordan Elizabeth
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Fantasy, Magic, Witches, Suspense
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 29, 2014
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you Jordan Elizabeth!

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t usually enjoy witch-based stories, though there have been notable exceptions in the past. But what intrigued me about Escape from Witchwood Hollow was the mystery of Witchwood. Who is the witch? What is her hold on the town of Arnn? What happened in the past?

The Concept:

One of my favourite aspects of this story is the flashbacks to the past. I love layers to my story, and by alternating POVs that’s exactly what happens. It was fun trying to take everything in and put it all together to figure out what is happening in Arnn.

The Plot:

Despite the alternating POVs keeping the plot moving, I did find the book to be terribly slow at the start. Not a lot is happening besides Honoria trying to learn about her new school and town. Which is why I appreciated the other POVs because it gave me something to be interested in while building the story.

And once everything comes together and the mystery comes to light, this book is great. I love when I can’t really figure out the plot until the big reveal and that’s what happened in this book.

The Characters:

I feel like the characters take a bit of a backseat because the forest is really the focus of this story. While I felt like these characters are developed enough to contribute to the story, I didn’t become particularly attached to any of them.

Honoria was a bit of a dud but I warmed up to her as the story continued.

The Romance:

There really isn’t a romance in this story! It’s been a long time since I’ve read a YA novel where romance isn’t a main focus of the story so I enjoyed the break!

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My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really liked how everything came together in this story. The slower pace of this novel isn’t my preferred style but this book was a refreshing Young Adult Fantasy nonetheless!

Read if You Like: slower paced stories; lack romance; mystery
Avoid if You: want romance, dislike slower stories

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Series Review: Newsoul by Jodi Meadows

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 Incarnate (from Goodreads):
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2016
Series: Incarnate Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Incarnate, Asunder, Infinite)

There is a novella #2.5 Phoenix Overture

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2012 – January 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I started Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen Series and it was one of my favourites of 2015. Her Incarnate Trilogy had been on my radar thanks to their beautiful, eye-catching covers but I didn’t get inspired to pick them up until after I finished The Mirror King, the finale to The Orphan Queen Series. I think it is fair to say I was in a bit of a book-hangover and thought another Jodi Meadows series could be the cure.

So I went to check what the waitlist was like at my library and saw that all the eBooks were available for checkout simultaneously–it was just a sign I had to listen to and so I picked these novels up!

The Concept / The World:

Reincarnation is a concept I haven’t really read about in a long time. The last series that really focused on this was the Immortal Series by Alyson Noel for me. Instead, I’ve been reading more novels focusing on alternate dimensions.

It’s an interesting concept that meets a cool fantasy twist with the appearance of dragons, centaurs and sylphs. Unfortunately, not much is done with these elements until the 3rd book (and by then I wasn’t really a fan of its execution), but it gives the world a unique flare that intrigued me.

The Plot:

Incarnate felt like it had no plot whatsoever–I literally just think time passed as Ana explored the new city and her relationship with Sam. But even then, I felt like nothing happened. The romance is subdued and predictable–your typical young adult fodder. The plot is so slow, I contemplated DNFing the book multiple times. Sure, there is a little bit of world-building to the story as the pages go by but I just wanted it to GO somewhere.  And it does get more interesting near the end when a major event happens, paving the way for Asunder.

Asunder has more of a mystery feel to it and starts much stronger than its inaugural novel. Now, Ana actually does something about the problems of her situation and the world. I started to get drawn into the world and the plot. Because there actually was a plot! But it started to lose me near the end; I felt like it was waiting to long to make its move. However, I much preferred Asunder to Incarnate.

Infinite gets some more physical action but didn’t impress me any more than the rest of the series. I actually would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t the last book–and by this point I just wanted to see how everything would wrap up. Even the use of the fantasy elements didn’t keep my attention. It was just too late to make me a fan of this series.

The Characters:

Ana is duller than an unsharpened pencil if you ask me. Even being an outcast didn’t help give her much of a personality. Part of the issue is that I understand why she is on the boring side: she is an outcast and has been raised her entire life to believe she is nothing. So it is fitting that she has a subdued personality. She does start to grow as the series does but she isn’t anything new nor anyone who inspires me to follow her story closely.

It’s the same sort of situation with the other characters. Given the state of their world (which is more apparent in the 2nd and 3rd books) it makes sense that these characters fit molds and see no issue with breaking out of them. I felt like everyone was subdued–even though I knew why–and I just didn’t “connect” with anyone.

The Romance:

Nothing new or exciting here. It actually got a little bit nauseating as I pressed on through the series. Though it was refreshing not having everyone in love with the heroine for once.

The Novella:

Definitely read the Phoenix Overture AFTER book 2, Asunder. It will spoil most of Asunder for you as it elaborates on the “big reveal”. The novella is well done and I does a good job of building upon the momentum of Book 2. It isn’t necessary to read but I highly recommend it if you are able to get your hands on a copy.

Series Rating: 3/5

Incarnate 3/5 | Asunder 3/5 | Infinite 2/5

overall

If you don’t enjoy Incarnate, I highly recommend that you do not pick up the rest of the series. All the books have the same slow plot mixed with some cheesy romance and dull characters. I’m glad I picked up Orphan Queen before I read this series because it would have made me super hesitant to pick it up.

Read if You Like: slow stories, fantasy
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike slow stories

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Spin-Off- Saturdays: The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare

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

The Dark Artifices Series is a spin-off of the The Mortal Instruments Series

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Author, 2016 Fave
Series: The Dark Artifices Trilogy

This is a spinoff of the The Mortal Instruments Series.

Author: Cassandra Clare
# of Books: 3 (Lady Midnight, Lord of Shadows, The Queen of Air and Darkness)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Queen of Air and Darkness will be published in 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance, Mystery
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 8, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

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WARNING: If you have not finished the original series, this review may have unintentional spoilers!

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My Expectations?

I’ve been awaiting Lady Midnight for years. Even before the final Mortal Instruments novel was published, I was excited that Cassandra Clare would be returning to the Shadowhunter world. It was great knowing that these characters and the world that I loved so much would have more to it–that City of Heavenly Fire and Clockwork Princess were not going to be the end of my favourite book series. Now, we have a TV show so that would have made me happy after the “flop” of the movie (though I can’t be the only person who actually liked the movie am I?) but a whole new book series, yeah, I was stoked!

I couldn’t wait to meet a new cast of characters and see whatever Clare has in store for them. I knew there would be heartbreak, great plot twists and characters I would love and hate; a new series I could totally invest in because it seems like a really, really long time since I read anything by Cassandra Clare who is one of my all time favourite authors.

How does it compare to the original?

Lady Midnight has all the charms of the original series but with a new and unique cast. I didn’t feel like I was reading a regurgitation of the original series nor did I feel like she recycled characters. While I can definitely draw parallels between the original cast (the Blackburns and Lightwoods have very similar family values I think), I felt like everything was fresh and exciting. You get the romance, the intriguing side characters and many plot twists you are accustom too with the previous instalments.

I also like that Clare doesn’t really on past characters to carry this series either. She could have easily filled the pages with Magnus, Alec, Clary and Jace and people would have gobbled it up and been happy. (Well, I would have for sure). Instead, you get brief mention of where they all are now (this series is 5 years after City of Heavenly Fire) and they aren’t integrated into the plot as necessities. I think that takes a lot of strength as an author to do, especially with a series as successful as The Mortal Instruments was/is, and Clare does a great job.

Anything I Didn’t Like?

That it’s over and I have to wait a whole year for Lord of Shadows?

Honestly, my review is a little biased. I came in with high expectations and every single one was met. It’s really hard for me to write this review without gushing like a rabid fan-girl.

I also hate that is made me cry a little. With The Mortal Instruments, it took me an entire book to really fall in love with the characters. In the Infernal Devices, I think Jem and Will made me cry in the first book but I don’t remember. But in Lady Midnight, my emotions were played like Jem’s violin (meaning very, very well) and I loved all these characters so much and so quickly I don’t really believe it myself.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super excited to see what happens next! Things are definitely getting twists and feelings are hurt, so I can’t wait to see how everything plays out in Lord of Shadows!

updates

–June 20, 2017– Book #2: Lord of Shadows

I can’t say much without simply fangirling about how much I adore this series.

This was an emotional roller coaster for me because I am so in love with all these characters. The Blackthorns are easily one of my most favourite fictional families ever and the rest of the cast is just sublime.

I will admit, this one lagged a bit in the middle but went full speed ahead at the end!

Series Rating: 5/5

Lady Midnight 5/5 | Lord of Shadows 5/5 | Queen of Air and Darkness TPB

overall

I came into this book with high expectations and every single one was met. It kept me interested and wanting to know more. There were great twists and characters and I will be in a book hangover for quite some time I think.

Read if You Like: like The Mortal Instruments, Urban Fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike long books, multiple POVs

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Lady Midnight (from Goodreads):

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

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Series Review: Soulless by Jacinta Maree (The Immortal Gene #1)

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

The Immortal Gene Trilogy

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Soulless (from Goodreads):
Welcome to Soulless.
We are the generation that laughs at death.

Reincarnation; what was once considered a gift of immortality has become an eternity of nightmares.

Nadia Richards lives in a world plagued by reincarnation, a system of recycling souls where all past memories, personalities and traumatic events are relived daily in disjointed sequences. Trapped within their own warped realities, not even the richest and most powerful are saved from their own minds unraveling. Madness is the new human nature, and civilizations are crumpling beneath themselves trying to outrun it.

Within a society that ignores death, Nadia appears to be the one exception to the reincarnation trap. Born without any reincarnated memories and with printless eyes, the hot tempered 19 year old quickly becomes the ultimate prize to all those wishing to end the vicious cycle, or for some, to ensure they could evade death forever.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Cover (Soulless)
Series: Immortal Gene Trilogy
Author: Jacinta Maree
# of Books: 3 (Soulless, Soul Finder, Soul Reaper)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Soul Reaper, is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author & YA Bound Tours–eARC

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book on NetGalley and had to resist the urge to hit request simply because I adore this cover. I just love the blend of the colours and the image itself. I almost hit the request button again once I read the synopsis because it sounded really, really cool. But alas, I didn’t have the time to read it then.

Normally, I read Contemporary New Adult novels but I’ve recently started to expand my horizons. I loved my first forey into the non-contemporary genre with Queen of Blood and again with House of Royals, so I was really curious to pick this one up. Add to that, Poulami @ Daydreaming Books‘ great review of Soulless (we seem to have similar tastes in books) and I really wanted to give this book a chance and soon.

So when I was asked by Jacinta to review her book, I couldn’t wait! I immediately said yes and dove in as soon as I could!

What I Liked:

–The Concept–

This is a really intriguing world! The whole idea of reincarnation is fascinating, and it is presented in way that I have never heard or read about before. The idea that multiple lives are within one person and that they can remember them all? It adds an interesting element to the story; one that is a little unpredictable and adds another layer to the characters.

AND, I felt like things were really explained well. This could be a super confusing concept to keep track of but new terms were always explained or things were briefly recapped so I never felt lost.

–It’s Always Moving–

The plot moves fast in this story, so I was never bored. There’s a lot of action, revealing plot twists and changing of the scenery. I really enjoyed that. While it definitely is a bit of a slow build to the bigger plot points, the story always keeps progressing so you never feel like you are waiting for something to happen.

–Lack of Romance-Centered Plot–

While I love a good romance, I really enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t a huge focus on romance in this story. It allowed me to learn more about Nadia as a character and get more invested in the world and its story. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have liked to have seen some more romantic moments, but it was refreshing not to have a story dominated by a romance and instead focus on the story at hand.

What I Didn’t Like:

Honestly, there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t really enjoy when I read this book. It held my attention from start to finish, I liked the plot twists and I like where the rest of the series is heading.

I suppose, it did take me awhile to warm up to Nadia. She seemed more cliche at the start of the novel and very stereotypical. However, her character presentation became more polished as you read so I grew to really like her over time. The same can be said about the rest of the characters.

The only thing that I think it holding me back from giving it a 5/5 is that it didn’t completely blow me away. Because the plot is always moving and building, this book felt more like an introduction to the larger plot points the rest of the series is going to have. Meaning, this story is just getting starting. I’m hooked but not obsessed…yet.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said above, I think this series has great potential. Soulless did a great job introducing the world and all its players and I am really excited to see what is going to happen in Soul Finder. I’m hoping in it we are going to get more elaborated story lines and perhaps some more stability for Nadia, allowing the reader to get a little more invested in her story.

updates

–September 25, 2016– Book #2: Soul Finder

Not only does it hit the ground running in terms of action, but it also builds in terms of the plot. I really enjoyed the dramatic developments we get throughout this story. There were many things that happened that I wasn’t expecting and I found that to be very refreshing. I love when stories surprise me like that. Nothing about this is typical or cliche which is awesome and I think that is in thanks to the gritter and dark edge this sequel has to its predecessor.

However, I did have a bit of a rough start with this novel. I don’t think starting it when I was a little tired was a good idea because I struggled a little to keep straight was was happening exactly. It had also been a while since I read the first novel so it took me some time to get reacquainted with the world. (Not that that takes long, Jacinta Maree does a great job of explaining the way the world works in a way that is both organic and easy to follow). Everything moves at a fast pace in this story and so I found myself getting a little behind in the first few chapters. But it really gets a good flow and progression around the 25% mark and maintains that throughout.

We get a little more romance here and I really appreciated that. But at the same time, I’m glad it wasn’t the primary focus of the novel and that the plot stays focused on Nadia learning more about the Soulless and the world. It too surprised me in its execution and I had mixed feelings about it but in hindsight, I appreciate its progression.

Read my spot on the Soul Finder Blog Tour!

My Rating: 4/5

Soulless 4/5  |  Soul Finder 4/5  |  Soul Reaper TBP

overall

For those itching to try a non-contemporary New Adult read or for those who want a story that doesn’t have a lot of romance, this is a great one for you to pick up. It reminded me of a true New Adult version of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules–an adventure story set in a violent, supernatural dystopian world but with less focus on the romance. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

Read if You Like: adventure, science fiction, dystopian
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike violence

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Series Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

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

Orphan Queen Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Orphan Queen (from Goodreads):
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: YA Favourite 2015
Series: The Orphan Queen
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 2 (The Orphan Queen, The Mirror King)

There are 4 short stories. Find them all here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Magic, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Jodi Meadows has been on my radar for a long time with her Newsoul Series yet I haven’t had a chance to pick them up (though I’m pretty sure they are on my Kobo). Earlier this year, I really got into high fantasy YA and this was one of the many books floating around. It was getting great reviews and from the synopsis, it seemed like it was my kind of story:

  • Political intrigue ✔
  • Independent heroine ✔
  • Undercover premise ✔

Needless to say, I was super excited to start this one!

What I Liked:

–The Layers–

Compared to other novels in this genre, I didn’t find the action to be completely overwhelming. This book was a lot of learning about the world and the journey Wil takes to get to her throne. When there was action, it was great but I never found myself bored between those scenes. Instead, you had Wil working undercover at the castle or Wil doing her vigilante work or her learning more about the wraiths. The plot always kept moving and kept my attention. It never felt slow to me (well, besides the first chapter) when it easily could have been.

–That is it going to be a duology!!!–

I’m loving this trend of having books that only have one sequel! While I think this series could definitely have a third book, I like that everything is going to be wrapped up in the sequel. It makes the story a lot stronger in my opinion–you don’t get filler fluff to pass the time away.

–Wilhelmina–

What I really liked about Wil’s character is that she isn’t invincible or egotistical. She’s passionate about helping her people but it doesn’t cause her to be impulsive or take stupid risks. She thinks about things, can admit when she is wrong and can take care of herself when she needs to. She can fight, but she isn’t some world-renowned fighter. I like that she is more subdued–it really adds to her character development as the story progresses.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Predictability–

For the most part, this book wasn’t overly predictable. There were some plot twists (mainly the ending) that I didn’t see coming so I liked that. It has me on edge to see what is going to happen next.

However, I knew Melanie’s secret behaviour within five seconds of its first appearance; and it was totally obvious to me who the Black Knife was. Perhaps my over indulgence in this genre has made me hyperaware of the various plot twists/elements authors use and so I knew right away.

My other hypothesis is that the reader is supposed to pick up on these things while Wil isn’t–thus adding to her character development/flaws. By having her oblivious to what is happening around her, it does make her more human rather than some untouchable heroine who can do no wrong. I liked that about her but it did make me frustrated at times because it just seemed so obvious to me what was happening.

The Novellas:

I read The Hidden Prince and The Glowing Knight after I read The Orphan Queen and I think that is the best way to go about these novellas. While they are prequel novellas, they kinda give away spoilers about a particular character and I liked that he was a bit of mystery when I was reading The Orphan Queen. I grew to love him in The Orphan Queen so reading these novellas is a bit of a treat for fans of his character and I like that aspect.

The novellas are chronological, meaning they follow the progression of a certain plotline so you do have to read them in order. They add depth to the world and its characters and I think they are very well done. Plus, they are a great way to pass the time while waiting for The Mirror King (and they have teaser chapters!)

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

When I read the last page, I really, really hoped it wasn’t going to be the last one! There are so many aspects still waiting to be solved and I am super excited to see how it all wraps up in the final story.

updates

–May 13, 2016– Book #2: The Mirror King


The Mirror King was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2016 so I went in with high expectations, egged on by the teaser chapters in the novellas that were released prior to the publication.

The Mirror King was a little slower than I thought it was going to be given the ending of The Orphan Queen. It starts with a bang and then proceeds at a somewhat slower pace. It has a similar pace to the first novel but has a few “WHOA” moments along the way. I wanted more action but everything has to go through the motions.

Overall, I really enjoyed the ending. While parts were predictable–though there were some things I never saw coming–I still enjoyed reading everything and I never got bored. The characters are what drive this series for me and getting to spend that time with them in this book is great. I felt a whole range of emotions reading this novel–and that’s what I want in a grande finale. A great ending to a great duology.

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Orphan Queen 4.5/5 | The Mirror King 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this book and I feel like my review doesn’t reflect that! This one was really hard to write. While it isn’t my favourite book ever, it is one of my favourites in the genre for sure. I just loved the way it built and the various layers to it. I never got bored while reading it. Highly recommended for those who want to get into High Fantasy and have little exposure to it.

Read if You Like: world-building, lost princess stories, independent heroines
Avoid if You: easily predict stories, want more romance

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Fresh Fridays: The Girl at Midnight (#1) by Melissa Grey

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

The Girl at Midnight Series

Other books in the series:

Synopsis for The Girl at Midnight (from Goodreads):
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

breakdown

Series: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
# of Books: 2+ (The Girl at Midnight, The Shadow Hour)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Shadow Hour, will be published April 2016
Genre: Young Adult,  Urban Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural, Romance, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was everywhere when it was first released. I loved the cover but everyone’s positive reviews really drew me to read the synopsis. It sounded like my type of book: a blend of action, urban fantasy and prophecy. Plus, it has been a really long time since I’ve read an Urban Fantasy and waiting for the next Mystic City novel is leaving me with a bit of an urban fantasy hangover.

What I Liked:

–The Mortal Instrument Vibes I got–

Don’t get scared off by this statement if you aren’t a Mortal Instruments fan and really wanted to read this book! They really don’t have that much in common besides some very basic urban fantasy tropes (like teleportation across the world, war against two different races, magic, etc), set in NYC and the fact that they are both narrated in the third person by multiple characters.

It was the narration that spoke to me the most. I got really attached to the side characters with The Girl at Midnight. Echo was a little on the dull side as a heroine for me so I liked having multiple characters tell the story instead of just Echo. (Who I grew to like more, for the record)

–It Surprised Me!–

There were some twists at the end that I wasn’t expecting. I probably should have but I just didn’t put two and two together. So I really liked that! It made the last 100 or so pages exciting to read.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Slow Start–

I’m all for gradual plot progression but this book just took too long for me. I felt like nothing really happened for the first 200 pages (its was ~295 eBook pages). Sure, some minor plot leads were there and they definitely added to the awesomeness that was the last 50 pages that knocked my socks off, but otherwise, this book was on the drier side.

I think I was expecting more action given the fact that Echo is labelled as a thief. Thief just equates to action/suspense to me but this book reads more like an adventure/journey. Which is fine, just not what I wanted. I find adventure novels can be dull until the end and this is definitely the case here.

–The Romance–

I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like the romance, I’m just not sold on it quite yet when it comes to Echo. (I’m definitely on board with some other potential romances though!). The direction Echo’s romantic life is going in is completely different from what my intital impression was when I first started so I’m interested to see what is going to happen next. It’s just going to have to work a little harder to get me to ‘ship her romantic life.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see where this series is going to go next! There were a lot of neat spins that were added near the very end that make me want to read the sequel. I’m not dying to read it though.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

overall

I wasn’t blown away by this book like I had hoped. I’m not a huge adventure fan and this book read more like an adventure book to me than action-packed book I expected. It definitely builds up though and by the end, there is a lot of potential for a great sequel!

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, adventure stories
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, dislike adventure

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Series Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

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 Nevermore (from Goodreads):
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

breakdown

Series: Nevermore Trilogy
Author: Kelly Creagh
# of Books: 3 (Nevermore, Enshadowed, Oblivion)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2010 – July 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover (Nevermore, Enshadowed), eBook (Oblivion)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t recall how I found Nevermore. I think it was through Indigo’s YA Summer reads one year. Anyways, the idea of a cheerleader falling for a “goth” is a cliché in and of itself, but the weavings of Edgar Allen Poe’s work into a paranormal world? Call me intrigued!

The Concept / The World:

I’m not a huge Poe fan per say, but I’ve read many of his works for school and enjoy his unique stories. So I was excited to see how Kelly Creagh was going to work it all together.

The great thing about this series is that you don’t have to know Poe’s work inside and out in order to understand what is happening. I’m sure it would help at times and it would enrich your experience, but it isn’t necessary.

I will admit I still don’t really understand the world all that well–even after finishing the books. I know enough to enjoy the story and move forward without feeling completely lost. Part of the issue is that there was nearly 2 years between all the books–that is a super, super long time between books! Especially when you have read numerous other books in between and don’t have the time to reread everything (because these books are long). Thankfully, I kept good notes on what happened but I still feel like some of the finer details were missing for me in the grande scheme.

The Plot:

The plot takes a long time to get going at the start. I remember reading Nevermore waiting for the romance and drama to begin. And that isn’t to say that nothing happened during those first few chapters; it’s just not a high action paranormal read. Those chapters instead focus on character and world development, which is needed because the paranormal aspects are quite complex. But once everything starts to reveal itself, you get more of the paranormal plot line. 

There really isn’t much else to these books besides the romance and paranormal plot line. Meaning, there isn’t a lot of subplots as everything stems to the one common problem. And because of that, I didn’t find this book to be extremely “twisty”, rather it just had big revelations when things were made clear to the reader. Despite not having high levels of action for its book length, I still found this series to be super easy to read and it kept my attention. My attention may have been spent 80% of the time trying to keep everything about the world straight, but it made me pay attention.

The Characters:

I remember not really liking Isobel initially when I started Nevermore. She reminded me a lot of Elena from The Vampire Diaries in her character delivery–the cold hearted, popular cheerleader. But she really grew on me as her character expanded.

Varen is also a complex character but I always really liked him. He’s got that tortured soul thing going on and I like the mystery surrounding him. He always really intrigued me, especially when Isobel is the main focus of the narration, because he comes across as such an enigma. It was fun trying to learn more about him as a character while I read.

The rest of the cast is pretty typical of a paranormal YA series. New girl quickly becomes BFF, crazy exes, over protective parents, etc. But they all really work for this story and do their roles well.

The Romance:

I really liked Van and Isobel together. I think it helped that we got to really know their characters first when it came to seeing their relationship bloom.

It’s also a dark love–very reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s work. Perhaps I was just oblivious to it or perhaps it really doesn’t manifest until the final book but it almost seemed unhealthy to me. I think part of my issue was that it had been so long since I read Enshadowed and so I forgot plot developments and feelings. Once I got into Oblivion a bit more, I was totally back on board with their romance.

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Nevermore 4/5 | Enshadowed 4/5 | Oblivion 3/5

overall

This series continually builds to its climax in the final book so I recommend reading them as close together as possible. I think because I read Oblivion nearly 2 years after Enshadowed, it lost some of its appeal to me and I ended up really disappointed in the story. I don’t think would have been the case if I had read it right after Enshadowed.

Overall, it is a dark paranormal YA romance that has a unique edge to it that I haven’t really encountered in just one book and I really enjoyed them was all said and done…I just didn’t like waiting for them all 😛

Read if You Like: Edgar Allen Poe, dark paranormal, alternate dimension stories
Avoid if You: dislike long books with slower starts

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Series Review: The Illumination Paradox by Jacqueline Garlick

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

book3

booksynopsis

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

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

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

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

breakdown

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

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

The World:

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

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

The Plot:

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

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

The Characters:

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

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

The Romance:

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

updates

–November 6, 2015– Book 2: Noir

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

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

concSLOW

Formally: Time Will Tell

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Lumière 3/5 | Noir 4/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

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

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

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