Tag «Urban Fantasy»

Series Review: Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

Series Review: Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

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 This Savage Song (from Goodreads):

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

breakdown

Series: Monsters of Verity
Author: Victoria Schwab
# of Books: 2 (This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 2016 – June 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

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Disclaimer: I opted not to pick up the finale, Our Dark Duet. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I felt like you couldn’t escape this series when it first came out in 2016. Schwab is one of those highly toted authors in the blogging community and after reading A Darker Shade of Magic, I understand why. She creates really cool worlds and intriguing stories. But I didn’t have a stellar experience with A Gathering of Shadows (I found it to be dreadfully slow until the last half of the book) so I wasn’t sure about this series.

When I saw my library had the audiobook copies of both books, I decided to make it the next series I read via audio. I was looking forward to it but I was also hesitant after reading some mediocre reviews from some trusted bloggers I follow. But I went in with an open mind and hoped the outcome would be positive.

The Concept / The World:

Alright, the concept here is super duper cool. The idea that these actual monsters have come to life because of people’s actions is really neat. It’s such a unique world and gives this series an interesting spin.

But I felt a little lost in it as well. I mean, I got the politics of the world. That was easy to figure out. What I struggled with was the various monster types. Now this might have been a result of listening to it via audio–I often struggle with remembering terms when I don’t physically see them–but it’s hard to say.

The Plot:

Given my experience with 2 other Schwab novels, I knew that this story was going to take a while to build up. I’ve always noted how slow it takes to get to whatever has been listed in the synopsis with her novels.

In this case, I was at the 56% (approximately) mark when the “failed assassination attempt” occurs. Now, perhaps I just read the synopsis wrong, emphasizing the wrong aspect. But for me, when something is listed in the synopsis, I expect it to happen well before the 50%–usually closer to the 20% because that’s what I expect the novel to be about. So to say I was a little disappointed in the plot for this story is a bit of an understatement.

As a result, the pacing for this just seemed off to me. When I was a quarter of the way through, I contemplated DNFing it because it wasn’t holding my attention. I felt like nothing was happening. But I stuck with it, figuring my crappy mood was to blame. And things did pick up a bit after that but never to the levels I was expecting.

Once the plot got to its climax, I did find everything to be interesting. However, I thought the twist was terribly predictable. I had figured out what was going to happen before we even reached the assassination attempt that sets everything into motion. It just seemed so obvious to me. So in that respect, I found it to be very disappointing.

The Characters:

I think the hype people give these two dampened my potential to love August and Kate. To me, they were almost cliche in their delivery. I get why they are presented as they are: it’s the whole dynamic of the story that’s listed in the first two lines of the synopsis. So it works for the story.

It’s just that I never fell in love with them. They never become real to me in the way that I expected them to after reading how people just adored everything they did. And it surprised me because I find when I listen to audiobooks, I find it much easier to empathize and connect with characters because I am hearing their voices and emotion aloud.

The Romance:

I did find it nice that the romance isn’t the focus of this story. It’s hard to find an urban fantasy or a YA paranormal story that doesn’t become consumed by the romance between the leads.

Why I Won’t Be Picking Up Our Dark Duet:

Because I wasn’t overly impressed with the first novel, I didn’t want to read the second. Things wrap-up enough here that I am satisfied with leaving the story as is and moving on to other novels.

My Audiobook Experience:

As I said above, perhaps the audiobook dampened my world-building experience. It’s hard to say. But I did enjoy the audiobook production. For only having one narrator and a female one at that for a dual POV, it’s great. I think it worked well that I listened to this instead of reading it because I probably would have lost interest in the text a lot earlier.

Series Rating: DNF

This Savage Song 2/5 | Our Dark Duet N/A

overall

Get a second opinion on this one. I think fans of Schwab’s writing style (slowly building, often wordy prose) will love this. But if you’re looking for a quick YA urban fantasy that doesn’t focus on romance, look elsewhere because it takes a while to reach its peak.

Read if You Like: long books, slow building
Avoid if You: dislike urban fantasy, want lots of action

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Series Review: Red Winter by Annette Marie

Series Review: Red Winter by Annette Marie

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 Red Winter (from Goodreads):

Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess-and not once has she doubted her chosen fate. Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command-whether she wants him or not. On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate-but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope… and hope is all she has left.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Cover Love, Canadian Author
Series: Red Winter Trilogy
Author: Annette Marie
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Teen, Urban Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2016 – April 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I finished Book 1: Red Winter but have opted not to pick up the sequels at this time. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was browsing audiobooks at my library, the covers for this series immediately grabbed my attention. They are positively gorgeous! And then I read the synopsis and knew I had to read this series!

I was obsessed with anime when I was in high school and that in turn lead to an interest in Japanese culture and mythology. Red Winter looked like it would have a great world and I hoped for lots of action and so I was excited to get started!

What I Liked:

–The World–

The world building here is great! Everything described in this story came to mind so easily for me. I felt like I was watching an anime. I loved the various creatures and the hierarchy of the deities. It’s a very thought out, rich world for the setting.

–Emi’s Character Growth–

Emi is very naive when the novel starts and understandably so. She’s been told her destiny for so long that she has accepted that as her fate. So she seems a little dull at the start, but when she starts to question everything she knows, she begins to evolve as a character. The Emi we end with in Red Winter is not the one we started with and I love to see that evolution in my books.

–Shiro–

When I think of a kitsune (fox) shapeshifter, Shiro is exactly what I picture. His confidence and swagger was a lot of fun to read about. His interactions with the sheltered Emi at the start were funny and charming. He always brought a smile to my face when he was in a scene.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slow Start–

I found the first 25% of this book to be pretty dry. It’s mostly Emi reflecting on her new life at the shrine and how a past event still affects her. I started to contemplate DNFing it at around this time but a review I read on Goodreads mentioned that the first quarter is slower. So I pressed on hoping for the best.

It does pick up around the 35% mark when some new info comes to light and Emi gets a bit of motivation to learn more about her destiny. But then my issue was:

–Simple Plot–

I like a lot happening in my fantasy novels. I like plots happening in the background while characters fight the main issue. I like lots of physical action or political intrigue to keep me interested.

For the most part, this book had a pretty linear progression. It would tackle one issue at a time. As we got closer to the end, the little tidbits of future plotlines started to be laid out and I got a better idea of where the sequels were going to go. So the last quarter of the book was great! But up until that point, my interest had waned.

My Audiobook Experience:

I think my mistake with this novel was picking up the audiobook version. Now, that isn’t to say that the audiobook is bad. Far from it! The narration is wonderful. All the characters had distinct voices and there was so much emotion and expression in the delivery. I did struggle with the “whispering”/quieter characters. The main narrator had such a strong voice but then would drop the volume for a quieter character and I constantly had to adjust the volume back and forth.

My mistake was choosing that as the format to read this story. I’m a visual learner and I do better seeing various terms than hearing them. To me, they all sound the same after awhile. I found myself getting lost in the various creatures/roles of people because I couldn’t remember what they all were. I know the physical versions of these novels have a glossary (something that obviously is lacking in the audiobook) and I would have benefited greatly from that I think.

Will I Finish It?

I’ve been going back and forth on this one. I really love the idea of this story and I adore the world. I know that I don’t want to listen to the audiobooks for the sequels but I noticed the Kindle editions are on Kindle Unlimited so when I do my KU binge, I might throw these novels in to see how this series wraps up! But for now:

Series Rating: DNF

Red Winter 3/5 | Dark Tempest N/A | Immortal Fire N/A

overall

This series gets a lot of glowing reviews on Goodreads so be sure to read some of them if this sounds like something you would enjoy. For me, I think this would have been more enjoyable if I had read the physical book (though the audio production is fantastic!) and made use of the glossary for terms. I also just needed a little more from the plot even though I loved the world and enjoyed its characters.

Read if You Like: urban fantasy, Japanese mythology/culture
Avoid if You: are impatient for action, don’t like slower starts

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DNF Series Review: Bannon and Clare by Lilith Saintcrow

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 Iron Wyrm Affair (from Goodreads):

Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn’t help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon’s Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen.

In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs.

The game is afoot…

breakdown

Series: Bannon and Clare
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
# of Books: 3 (The Iron Wyrm Affair, The Red Plague Affair, The Ripper Affair)

There is a novella #1.5 called The Damnation Affair

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Historical, Mystery
Heat Rating: Unsure
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating (?)
Publication Dates: August 2012 – August 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading The Iron Wyrm Affair at 13% (Start of Chapter 6). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure this one crossed my radar but I’ve had it earmarked to read for YEARS–ever since I bought my Kobo. I put off buying the first novel simply because I was cheap but when I saw that my library had it this past year, I thought it was the perfect pick for my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge.

I was looking forward to a fun and intriguing setting–a magical, almost steampunk based London–and a mystery homage to Sherlock Holmes. Let the games begin!

What I Liked:

I didn’t get that far into the novel to really find something I liked.

What I Didn’t Like:

–What the hell is a Mentath and Why do They Have to Register?–

The world building leaves something to be desired, unfortunately. I detest stories that assume I know everything already instead of telling me and this one didn’t give me the impression that I was going to learn anytime soon.

I have no idea what a mentath (what one of the leads) is or why they have to be registered. If it was mentioned in the first 2 chapters, I completely missed it both times I reread them. The only thing that made sense was the role of the Shield–and that was the only thing I learned.

–What is Even Happening?–

Unfortunately, I had a really hard time following what was happening here. Other reviews mention the difficulty reading it but I found everything flowed nicely–it just didn’t tell you anything important. You know when your eyes follow the words but nothing absorbed? That’s what was happening to me as I read it.

I even started over a second time in the middle of the day to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. It didn’t help at all.

Will I Finish It?

Nope. I read some reviews on Goodreads when trying to decide to continue or not and I am satisfied that I stopped myself from getting invested.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

If you have the patience for world-building and character development and like creative takes on history, this might be worth your time!

Read if You Like: alternate Londons, urban fantasies
Avoid if You: like worldbuilding
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  • The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooks (The Iron Seas Series #1)

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Series Review: Underwood District by Greta Stone

Synopsis for Cry Wolf (from Goodreads):

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

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

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

They have two choices: work together or die.

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

Other books in the series:

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Series: Underwood District
Author: Greta Stone
# of Books: 2

Mating Season is classified as #1.5

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

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was drawn to Cry Wolf for 3 reasons:

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

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

What I Liked:

–The World is Well Thought Out–

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

–Slow Burn Romance–

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

–Rebuilding the Past–

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

What I Didn’t Like:

–Almost too Much is Happening at Once–

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

Cry Wolf 3/5 | [Mating Season] N/A

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

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


Greta Stone

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

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

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

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Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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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

breakdown

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

warning
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: Supremacy by Christin Lee

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

Supremacy Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Supremacy (from Goodreads):

Kate Parker, is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She’s on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.

breakdown

Series: Supremacy
Author: Christin Lee
# of Books: 1+ (Supremacy)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2, has yet to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 3, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

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thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Christin contacted me about reviewing her book, I was willing to give it a shot. It has been a LONG time since I read an urban fantasy novel where everyday human meets some “unknown”. I’m a sucker for a good twist and while I had my ideas (before I even read the novel) about what Lucas’ hidden nature was, I was eager to see what the big secret was.

What I Liked:

–Lucas’ Secret–

Honestly, I never saw this twist coming! I thought it was a cool and unique premise; definitely something I had never encountered before. It gave this story an edge that separates it from your typical YA Urban Fantasy Romance.

–Kate’s (Lack of) Angst–

Kate seems to be pretty perfect when it comes to family life and school. She also seems to have a good heart and genuinely care for people (and animals)–you’re all-round American Sweetheart. I was worried that she would become unnecessarily angsty thanks to her overprotective family and their views on her relationship with Lucas, but she never did. Instead, she kept a level head about her and didn’t create a whole lot of “rebellious” teenage angst. I really liked that, because “forbidden” relationships can often make the heroine an unbearable character to read about **coughcoughBellaSwancoughcough**

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slow Start–

According to my Kindle, nothing really happened for the first 30% of the book or so besides Kate meeting Lucas. And even then, that wasn’t overly thrilling. It was your standard normal girl meets mysterious stranger; girl’s BFF encourages her to date him while others tell her to stay away; girl does research to find out boy’s secret. It’s your typical script for anyone who has encountered this premise before and I found it to be dull.

While it does a good job establishing the characters and building the basis for Lucas and Kate’s relationship–I wanted something exciting to happen. Once the “big reveal” happens, things get more intriguing but it was a slow start.

–Lucas’ Alpha Tendencies–

Lucas, Lucas, Lucas…sigh–and not in a good way.

I’m really torn on this to be honest. Thanks to the character development, I understand why Lucas has the personality and tendencies that he does. But they are rather violent, very anger-filled tendencies and they are more than a little terrifying. It makes the relationship between Kate and Lucas seem very unhealthy but almost in a glorified way. Like it is normal to be fearful of your partner because of their anger. While it was never that extreme, I felt like it was leading there at times. Though by the very end of the novel, thanks to the reveals and twists, I kinda got where this all stems from.

Perhaps I’m over analyzing or making a mountain out of a molehill but as I get older, sometimes I really wonder about the relationships that are presented in YA fiction and how young girls read them. The relationship here is definitely not the worst I’ve seen but it did make me concerned at times, even if I did understand the source.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Supremacy ended in an interesting way that has me curious to know what the future holds. But those twists were a little too late I think, and I’ve opted not to pick up the rest of the series.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Supremacy 2.5/5

overall

As the years between my high school graduation grow, I find myself not enjoying certain YA tropes as much as I used to. I think if I read this 6 years ago, I would have enjoyed it more. I think it is a great introductory novel for the Urban Fantasy world for those who are looking for something new. But unfortunately for me, it was a little too slow with the plot and I just didn’t bond with the characters.

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, unique world
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more excitement, dislike insta-connections

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  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (Falling Under Series #1)
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)
  • A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Immortal Game by Ann Aguirre

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

booksynopsis

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

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

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

breakdown

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

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

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

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)

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

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

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

What I Liked:

–The Revenge Concept–

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

–The Faustian Compact–

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

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

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

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was Slow and Wordy–

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

–Edie’s More than a Little Boring–

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

–The Romance–

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

–It was Simple, Yet Oddly Complicated–

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

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

Will I Finish It?

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

As Light Yagami would write:

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

Series Rating: DNF

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

overall

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

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

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Series Review: The Dream War Saga by Erica Cameron

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

booksynopsis

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

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

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

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

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

breakdown

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

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thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

What I Liked:

–The World–

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

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

What I Didn’t Like:

–Nothing Really Happened–

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

–The Lack of a Romance–

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

Will I Finish It?

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

Series Rating: 3/5

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

overall

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

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

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Series Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

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 Girl at Midnight 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: 3 (The Girl at Midnight, The Shadow Hour, The Savage Hour)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult,  Urban Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural, Romance, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 2015 – July 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (Shadow Hour)

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.

updates

–April 8, 2018– Book #2: The Shadow Hour (Audiobook)

I enjoyed this middle novel enough. It did take me awhile to get into it because I have been away from this world for a very long time but I also think not a lot happens at the start either so it was a nice gradual approach. I still really like all the characters so I enjoyed the various spurts of growth they experience. However, this series is very singular in its plot despite having a cast of multiple characters to follow. They all approach the main problem with different angles but I often wished for something else to be happening in the background. We get a few good twists along the way but nothing really impressed me.

As for the audiobook–unfortunately it’s narrated by one of my least favourite narrators so that was a bummer. But it was a great way to read this book regardless.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

The Girl at Midnight 3/5 | The Shadow Hour 3/5 | The Savage Dawn TBA

overall

I wasn’t blown away by this series like I had hoped. It’s a little too one dimensional when it comes to the plot for my liking (ie not a lot of subplots). However, I really liked the cast of characters and how we move around from person to person. It keeps the narrative moving at a steady pace, even when much else isn’t happening.

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

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Anthology ARC Review: Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

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

breakdown

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

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales:

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

The other stories:

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

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

My Rating: 4/5

overall

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

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

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