Tag «Urban Fantasy»

Series Review: The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

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

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Synopsis for Poison Princess (from Goodreads):
She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

breakdown

Series: Arcana Chronicles
Author: Kresley Cole
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Dark Calling will be published in Spring 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: public library–hardcopies & eBook

thoughts

My Expectations:

In the same vein of bestselling adult romance author Gena Showalter writing a Young Adult Series (White Rabbit Chronicles), Kresley Cole has done the same thing with the Arcana Chronicles. And like Showalter, I had never read a book by Cole until I picked up this YA series.

The Concept:

I wanted to read Poison Princess because the premise really interested me. It sounded like it was going to be like the White Rabbit Chronicles meets The Scorch Trials–two of my favourite apocalyptic themed books–but with a Tarot Card theme (instead of zombies or science fiction) so I just had to read it! Once I started reading it though it also reminded me of a lot of other novels. Not in the sense that it is a carbon copy of these other books but that it incorporates elements that I have come across in other series. For example: Evie’s character reminds me a lot of Isobel from Nevermore; and the post-apocalyptic world and book delivery reminds me of The Blood of Eden Trilogy. (Endless Knight also had some Cruel Beauty vibes coming from it as well).

But the whole tarot card aspect is definitely a unique feature of this story and its best feature for sure.

The Plot:

Unfortunately, Poison Princess (to me) falls prey to the same issue The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) did: it’s boring until the very end. I didn’t mind the beginning so much (before the apocalypse) because it had some character development, but there is a solid 100 pages where nothing of importance happens. I’m not lying. I honestly don’t think anything happened to progress the plot forward other than days passing. The last 50 pages definitely improve with the addition of a few new characters and the actual progression of the supernatural plotline.

I could probably rant for a few days on why I didn’t like Poison Princess, but I’ll just keep it short here:

  • The supernatural elements really don’t come into play near the very end which sucks! I feel like Poison Princess simply served as a really long prequel novella because it didn’t do much to set up the Arcana Game in the slightest, rather it just introduced you to Evie and her life before the apocalypse.
  • The romance just fizzled for me! I really didn’t see the connection besides the physical lust. Jackson isn’t anything to write home about in my books so I was disappointed in that aspect as well.
  • Evie is just plain annoying! She is not the kick-ass heroine I wanted. She is a petty, immature girl who isn’t all that bright either. I get that she is 16 and all, but the world is ending! Being thankful that you don’t have to shave your legs because you had laser hair removal isn’t something I would worry about in an apocalypse! I really didn’t connect with her whatsoever and all I really wanted to do was slap some sense into her as I turned the pages!

Part of the problem is that I built up what the plot of this book was going to be in my head before I ever read it. I really thought the focus was going to be more on Evie finding other Arcana characters in this new world. Not her wandering boringly towards one destination for 200 pages.

Turns out that Endless Knight is the book that I thought I was getting with Poison Princess. This book managed to keep my attention the entire time and actually had some plot development to it. Evie was still annoying to me, but I felt like she had some great character development so she went from “extremely annoying” to “annoying”–which is quite the leap. I also liked the romance a touch more as well–I think this is the rare case where a love triangle actually helps the story progress. But what I really think helped with this book was the addition of more characters that I found to be much more interesting to me. Reading Endless Knight made me happy I continued on with the series despite the painful drag that was Poison Princess.

Dead of Winter is probably my favourite of the 3. I quickly motored through it because the plot is fast, the action is high and–dare I say it–I actually started to like Evie as a character. I know! CrAzY! Well, it’s partly true: I liked Evie the “let’s-get-down-to-fighting” Evie, not the “I-can’t-decide-between-the-two” Evie. Evie has a true case of Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome when it comes to “dealing” with her love triangle. Man-oh-man, I don’t know why she struggles so much with just saying the full truth to these boys who constantly fawn over her! It would solve a lot of problems other than assuming shit all the time! I also don’t know why there were 50 pages dedicated to each boy giving his case for why she should pick her–let’s just get on with the story please!

The Romance:

Speaking of the romance, I think I have to mention that it borders more on the “older” scale of young adult reads. If you are someone who doesn’t like sex being mentioned in their YA reads or having it described in more detail (I’m not talking full blown erotica, merely descriptions of how the body is reacting, etc) you might not like this series. The sexual situations aren’t really a huge focus of the books but it is definitely present. (For those who have read the White Rabbit Chronicles, the sex scenes here are the same as in it)

updates

–July 11, 2017– Book #4: Arcana Rising

This started very slowly for me and while it did pick up, I feel like it was just coasting along to get to the end. Bigger things are definitely in store for this series but this book was nothing more than a (necessary) bridge in the middle.

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My Rating: 3.5/5

Poison Princess 2.5/5  |  Endless Knight 3.5/5  |  Dead of Winter 4/5  |  Arcana Rising 3.5/5 |  The Dark Calling TBR

overall

Poison Princess lived up to its name in my opinion: it truly poisoned my views for the other books because I really struggled to read it. The series definitely gets better as you go, especially when the Arcana aspect of the plot actually comes into fruition and more characters are introduced. But the love triangle and heroine are often hard to swallow, even in the later books. It’s definitely a series that you have to invest into to enjoy

Read if You Like: slow building stories, post-apocalyptic worlds, fights to the death
Avoid if You Dislike: petty heroines, love triangles (extreme), slow starts

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Series Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Series Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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

Series:

There is a prequel series called the Nightshade Prequel Series.

There is also a prequel adult erotica series called Captive: the Forbidden Side of Nightshade

There is also a spin-off series called the Nightshade Legacy

Author: Andrea Cremer
# of Books: 3 (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, Bloodrose)

There are 3 novellas: #0.5 Shadow Days, #2.5 Treachery, and #3.5 Aftermath

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm (but pretty steamy for a Young Adult read)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I actually read Nightshade 3 years ago and Wolfsbane 2 years ago but decided to reread both before I finally read the grande finale, Bloodrose this fall. Part of the reason was that the year between reading the first two novels really caused me some hardships as I couldn’t remember some of the finer details of the plot which in turn altered my reading experience. So I knew the two years between Wolfbane and Bloodrose wouldn’t be any better and subsequently put in my holds at the library to get my hands on these books.

When I first read Nightshade, I really enjoyed it though I did have my negatives about it. Rereading reaffirmed my initial impression: I like this series and the concept of it but dislike the heroine. I really don’t enjoy werewolf novels; they just don’t do anything for me other than piss me off with overprotective alpha males and silly (often nonexistent in the adult genre) plot-lines. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me. And while this series does have some of those moments, I find it’s a lot more toned down (in some things) and it has a more intricate plot that peaks my interest.

That’s the best way to describe this series: an adult werewolf read for young adults. Because the sexual tension is there (Calla is probably one, if not the, horniest young adult heroine I have ever come across) complete with the love triangle and the alpha males that are supposed to get your heart racing; it just isn’t as descriptive as an adult paranormal read would be (though you get a pretty good idea of what is going down if you catch my drift). I guess that’s why the Captive: Forbidden Side of Nightshade series was created because this trilogy often bordered on adult content so I could definitely see Cremer doing a more adult series like she has.

One of the negatives with this series is Calla. Man, I really want to like her because she has everything she needs to be a strong, independent heroine and for the most part I would say she is independent. But her ultimate flaw is her flare for over-dramatics. She just flips like a switch in her moods at times and it doesn’t help that she is torn between two love interests for the entire series. One minute she wants to smack Ren then the next she is shivering in lust to be with him; same with Shay. This love triangle is one of the sole reasons why I hate love triangles in novels. It also doesn’t help that I am totally Team Ren through and through so I really can’t stand anything Shay does and in turn, anything Calla does with Shay. Calla actually reminds me a lot of Zoey from the House of Night Series, and not in a good way. Although Calla doesn’t have multiple love interests per book (she thankfully just has the two) she still is extremely self-absorbed about her romantic relationships and is constantly making out with them then subsequently feeling quilt for doing so.

It gets tiring–this back and forth between Calla and the two boys and by Bloodrose it was driving me nuts! I found Wolfsbane didn’t have much of a plot: it was mostly just Calla worrying about who she would choose between Ren and Shay. That got even worse in Bloodrose. By the time I was 50 pages in I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to read the synopsis for the Aftermath novella in the hopes it would tell me who she picked. It didn’t but I accidentally read a spoiler so that made things go a little smoother.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of Bloodrose. Having read the entire series in a week I honestly was getting kind of bored with it (mostly because of the love triangle thing) and I think I just wanted it to end. I understand why some people hate the ending given the two twists we get near the end, I do a little bit too. But it honestly ended how I thought it would so in the end, no biggie.

I didn’t read any of the other novellas in the series (Shadow Days and Treachery) with the exception of Aftermath. I didn’t read the first two because I really could care less about Shay and Treachery just didn’t interest me. I don’t feel like I lost any reading experience by not reading them. Aftermath is a good one to read if you are interested in reading the spin-off series, Nightshade Legacy. But it doesn’t really wrap up everything if you are expecting an epilogue type of novella.

Despite not totally loving this series, I think I am going to give Nightshade Legacy a shot because I really like one of the characters it focuses on and I’m interested to see where the plot will go next.

Conclusion:

This series really lost momentum for me after the first book. Cool concept, interesting plot and awesome secondary characters but Calla as a heroine really disappointed me. If you enjoy werewolf reads and/or love triangle obsessed novels, this is the series for you. However, if you are like me and wanted to tear your hair out reading Twilight because of Bella’s love triangle, this is NOT the series for you.

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

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1); Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves Trilogy #1) and Marked by P.C. Cast (House of Night Series #1)

Synopsis for Nightshade (from Goodreads):
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

DNF Series Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy
Author: Laini Taylor
# of Books: 3 (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters)

There is a novella listed as Book 2.5 called Night of Cake and Puppets

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Angels, Urban Fantasy, Demons
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That as of the publication of this review, I have only read the first book in the series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Find out why I haven’t read the next two below…

I’ve wanted to read this series ever since I saw the cover for Daughter of Smoke and Bone when it was first published. It has been at the top of my to-read list ever since and I’ve been anxiously waiting for the eBooks to become available at my library.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone starts off slow but intriguing. It really starts to build up as you continue reading and you get a little hooked into the story’s mystery. It isn’t overly exciting in the sense that there is a lot of action or fighting but it is exciting in the sense that as you learn more about Karou, the faster the plot seems to go.

While the writing is well done, I find because it is told in third person I sometimes have a hard time following what is going on. This isn’t a book you read when you are a little sleepy because you will probably miss something important. One thing I didn’t like about the writing was the flow of the story. One chapter would be in the present but the next would be in the past and sometimes I would get a little lost trying to piece together the timeline. By the end of the book, I was into the story but nothing really wowed me about the book. It wasn’t really what I thought it was going to be as I found it to be slower than expected.

The end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone promises that the sequel will be a bit faster plot-wise but the mere size of the book is daunting. Most books are approximately 250 pages as an epub file for my Kobo and I can read that in 5 hours. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was in the 300s which is only an hour or so more. But Days of Blood and Starlight was over 400 pages and Gods and Monsters was even longer. Not that I have an issue with longer books–sometimes I prefer them–but the problem was I had multiple books out from the library (never fails that all your holds become available at the same time) and not a whole lot of time that I had to make the executive decision to return the last 2 books in the series and try again later.

That was 5 months ago and I haven’t thought about this series since. I would like to finish the series because I do find it interesting but with the hectic life I lead, I probably won’t be able to even contemplate finishing this series until Christmas break.

Conclusion:

A unique series for sure but one that moves slower than most. If you don’t like really long books, avoid! But if you like books that focus on demons and the paranormal/supernatural elements associated with them, this is a good one for you to pick up.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Synopsis for Daughter of Smoke and Bone (from Goodreads):
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Series Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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

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

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spin-off Saturdays: The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten by Julie Kagawa

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 Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Series is a spin-off of the Iron Fey Series

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Series (The Iron Fey), Sad to See Go Series (2015)
Series: Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Trilogy; The Iron Fey (#5, #6, #7)

This is a spinoff of the Iron Fey Series. This series can be read on it’s own as it follows a different set of characters but it will definitely help to read the Iron Fey Series prior to reading this series because it is linked to the events of the previous series.

Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 3 (The Lost Prince, The Iron Traitor, The Iron Warrior)

I think it is helpful to read the novella Iron’s Prophecy prior to starting this series.

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

thoughts


WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED The Iron Fey SERIES THE FOLLOWING REVIEW and SYNOPSIS MAY HAVE SPOILERS!

I LOVED the Iron Fey Series! It was so unique in its plotline and delivery but had everything I love in a great Young Adult series like romance and action. Meghan is on of my favourite heroines of all time and while I was sad that her story initially ended in the Iron Fey series, I was excited to read this new subset series that focused on her brother many years later.

The Lost Prince started off really slow for me. I found the beginning had too much detail, like Kagawa’s other series The Blood of Eden does, so that made me get a little bored at times. It’s been a few years since I read an actual Iron Fey novel and not a novella, so I don’t recall if the original series was as detail orientated and slow–I don’t think it was because I was completely captivated by all 4 novels in the inaugural series. The book really starts to pick up though around the halfway point and stays pretty fast paced until the end so I liked that.

Ethan was a little angsty but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I think it helps that I know what Ethan went through in the previous series: I didn’t get annoyed by his attitude because I felt like he had legitimate reasons for why he thinks and acts like he does. Nevertheless, I really don’t think it will turn off readers regardless of what your previous experience is with the series.

You really don’t have to read the Iron Fey series to know what is going on here. While past characters make brief appearances–that is what they are: brief. Fans of the original series will smile and laugh at the inside jokes but I don’t think people who haven’t read the Iron Fey Series will be completely lost in what is going on. Kagawa does a good job of having little refreshers about past events and Ethan does a good job of explaining how the Fey world works to Kenzie as they journey forward.

The Iron Traitor is definitely better than its predecessor in terms of pace, detail and overall Iron Fey vibe. As I was reading it, I felt like I was back reading about the original set of characters:  it definitely had all the charm of the first series but with a new group of people. I didn’t find myself getting bored and the pace remained consistent from start to finish.

I’m looking forward to the 3rd book and am counting down the days until its release 🙂

updates

–November 27, 2015– Book #3: The Iron Warrior

With the ending we get in The Iron Traitor, The Iron Warrior was one of my must read books of this fall. I will admit that I was a little unimpressed by it’s slower start but I understand why it had to start that way. But I did love the way it built up to everything and the climax was everything I wanted it to be: slightly unpredictable and action packed. It was a solid way to end this series as a whole. I can only hope that we will get more Iron Fey stuff in the future because it is one of my all time favourite book worlds but as a fan, I’m very satisfied with this ending and I think other fans will be too 🙂

Series Rating: 4/5

The Lost Prince 4/5 | The Iron Traitor 4/5 | The Iron Warrior 4/5

overall

Fans of the original Iron Fey series will enjoy this new adventure set in Nevernever. It has everything you loved in the original series plus it has all your favourite characters making appearances and adding to the story. Just don’t expect to see a lot of your favourites. Those who have never read the Iron Fey series will also enjoy this series for its romance, action and faery elements–but be warned, once you read this series you WILL be reading the original 4 books 😉

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

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Synopsis for The Lost Prince (from Goodreads):
Don’t look at Them.
Never let Them know
you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase.
And I may not live to see my
eighteenth birthday.

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Series Review: The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout | The Dark Elements Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: The Dark Elements Trilogy
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (Pennames include J. Lynn)
# of Books: 3 (White Hot Kiss, Stone Cold Touch, Every Last Breath)

There is a prequel novella called Bitter Sweet Love that can be read before the series

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm – spicy for a young adult novel
Point of View: First Person, Single

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.**

I pretty much read anything Jennifer L. Armentrout because I have always enjoyed her works but this was one series I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy. After reading the plot synopsis for White Hot Kiss it seemed obvious to me that there was going to be a love triangle and that kind-of turned me off of this new series (love triangles are my least favourite literary device). However, when I was browsing the Kindle Free Bestsellers, I came across Bitter Sweet Love and decided to give this series a shot.

I’m glad I read Bitter Sweet Love first–and I highly recommend that you read it first if you plan on reading this series (though it isn’t necessary). It does a great job of setting up the world–which is pretty unique in that it features gargoyles–so that you are familiar with it when you read the first full length novel, White Hot Kiss. It also introduces you to the main character Layla years earlier as well as some other characters that make an appearance later on. Again, you don’t have to read this book but I found that it helped set the scene for the rest of the series and it made me really excited to read White Hot Kiss.

White Hot Kiss reminded me of Firelight by Sophie Jordan but with gargoyles instead of dragons and a more mature (read: less annoying) heroine. The storyline is also completely different but I found the stories had a lot of parallels in its delivery. The love triangle wasn’t as bad as it could have been–it was pretty mild compared to other love triangle based stories. However, the sexual content (like most of Armentrout’s work) is higher than most Young Adult reads. Personally, it’s right on that Young Adult-New Adult border for me like Sweet Evil was.

I did like Layla as a character and I could understand her choices; however I just didn’t love her. I find Armentrout’s heroines all have the same general makeup to them so at times I felt like I was reading about Kat from Lux or Alex from Covenant (more so Kat in this case). I loved Roth though 😛

I’m interested to see where the series is going to go and I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

updates

–December 7, 2014– Book 2: Stone Cold Touch

Stone Cold Touch really just an amped up version of White Hot Kiss. The plot is darker and more twisty; the love triangle is at full force (and totally swoon-worthy); and the characters become more defined. I really enjoyed reading it and it sucked me into the story much faster than the first novel did. While I had a pretty good idea of how things were going to unfold, I often found myself second-guessing myself so I loved that uncertainty and it kept me reading.

I have to hand it to Armentrout–she honestly writes the best male leads. I normally hate love triangles but with this one I had such a hard time picking a side! I probably have one I leaned to more (Roth if I’m going to be honest) but I liked that the love triangle wasn’t the whole focus of the book or annoyed the shit out of me by having Layla going back and forth between the two of them. While I still don’t love Layla (what I said earlier still stands) I liked her a lot more in this book. Overall, it’s a solid second novel (my favourite of the series so far) and I can’t wait to see how everything wraps up in Summer 2015.

–August 29, 2015– Book 3: Every Last Breath

I was really excited to read this last book, especially after the previous one which was fantastic. But I think I just read this book at the wrong time. When I was reading it, I was in the middle of moving and preparing for my new school year so I really didn’t have a lot of time to just sit around and read.

And because of that, the book just felt slow to me. I was expecting the action to start right from the get-go but instead, it focused on wrapping up the love triangle. Which, I appreciated don’t get me wrong! I wasn’t looking forward to waiting until the very end to see how that would all go down so it was nice to get it out of the way. I just wanted all that action I had anticipated given the ending of the second book.

The last 100 pages or so (the eBook was ~280) really picked things up and overall it was a solid ending. I just wanted a bit more and because I really enjoyed the second book SO MUCH, I think this finale had a lot to live up to.

Series Rating: 4/5

White Hot Kiss 3.5/5 | Stone Cold Touch 5/5 | Every Last Breath 3/5

overall

Fans of Armentrout will enjoy this series as it has her fingerprints all over it and delivers like you expect her works to. For people unfamiliar with Armentrout’s work, you will also enjoy it if you want a more mature Young Adult read with paranormal/supernatural creatures not often talked about in Young Adult fiction (gargoyles).

Read if You Like: more New Adult-esque YA, paranormal shapeshifter stories, good vs evil
Avoid if You: want less romance, don’t like paranormal YA

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Synopsis for White Hot Kiss (from Goodreads):

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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Series Review: Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

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

book4

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Name of the Star (from Goodreads):

Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for Rory next….

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

breakdown

Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
# of Books: 4 (The Name of the Star, The Madness Underneath, The Shadow Cabinet, Book 4)

There is a prequel novella called The Boy in the Smoke

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 4 will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Ghosts, Supernatural, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I did not finish reading The Madness Underneath (Book 2)when I published this review. Find out why below…

The Name of The Star Review:

I read The Name of the Star for two reasons: 1) I loved the eBook cover (the one when it first came out) and 2) I hadn’t read anything about ghosts in a long time, if ever. Normally, I prefer to read romance or action novels–I don’t really enjoy ‘scary’ movies but I LOVE thrillers and this book sounded like an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite TV shows) but with a supernatural twist.

Unfortunately, The Name of the Star didn’t do much for me. I didn’t really like Rory as a character and I had a hard time convincing myself to like her. I just didn’t like how she acted–I think some people might label it “quirky’; I would label it “quacky” because I thought she was very odd. I’m not sure if it is the writing style as it is a novel set in the UK and I most books I read that are set there tend to have a slower pace to them but it didn’t do much for me. But I was hooked into the mystery so I continued to read–and I’m glad I did because I liked the ending and solution to the mystery all things considered.

However: I had no interest in reading the sequel. But what happens at the very end of the novel–plus the connection I thought I saw between Rory and another character–kept my interest enough to see what the sequel was all about.

The Madness Underneath Review:

Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath fell (no pun intended) into the classic Book 2 of a Trilogy Slump. I was halfway through the book when I had to ask myself: what the hell is the plot? Honestly, halfway through the book the “mystery” (the “creepy new terror haunting modern-day London”) is never mentioned. Instead, we get to listen to an angsty Rory as she tries to navigate her teenaged life–which is not my cup of tea in any book and especially in this series where I’m not a huge fan of Rory. It would have been ok if the other characters we meet were involved but Rory pretty much flies solo for most of the book.

I was 40% of the way through The Madness Underneath when I decided to stop reading it. I read in other reviews that the ending is very exciting but in my opinion it was too little too late. I decided to sleep on it and see if I changed my mind but I decided I really didn’t care (because nothing had really started by that point) and I could live with not knowing considering I had lived without reading The Madness Underneath for two years since its release. I just didn’t want to be committed to another book if I did like the ending. I have better series to read from the library so I am officially putting this one to rest.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Name of the Star 3/5 | The Madness Underneath DNF | The Shadow Cabinet N/A | Book 4 N/A

overall

While I personally didn’t enjoy this story, I quite a few people will like the supernatural/paranormal spin of it. If you like slower series with books dedicated to personal character development then this series is for you. But if you are like me and like having multiple plotlines or faster plotlines with lots of twists and action, you won’t enjoy this series so stay away!

similarreads

  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • Hereafter by Tess Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Series: Firelight Trilogy
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Firelight, Vanish, Hidden)

There is a spin-off novella that takes place after Hidden called Breathless

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: getting warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

It took me a really long time to finish the series. I actually contemplated not reading the last book (Hidden) when I had it in my hands (for the 5th time it seemed) but when I saw the size of it, I knew I could read it in 2 hours and 2 hours to finish a series I invested double the time into was “worth” it. And to an extent it was–but it is important to start this review from the start.

I started this series right when Firelight came out. This means I was still a teenager and my threshold level for idiotic heroines was a lot higher than it is now. If I were to read Firelight now, I probably would enact my 50-page rule and drop this series all because of Jacinda.

Jacinda is a very hard character to like. She’s vain, selfish, hypocritical and simply annoying. Perhaps the most redeeming quality to her is that she cares for her family–occasionally. I just did not like her and that really throws me off a series–especially when it’s that character telling the story from a first person POV so you have to spend time in their head.

But because I was younger when I read Firelight, I actually didn’t mind it. Part of the reason is the overall concept of the book. If you ignore the love-struck whinny heroine, the premise of the book is really neat. It isn’t everyday that a novel targeted for girls features dragons and as much as I dislike Jacinda, I liked that she was the paranormal creature for once and not her love interest. I don’t particularly like werewolf books so it was a nice change to read about dragons–and Ms. Jordan does this part of the book very well. So while the plot is nothing overtly original, when you strip it down to the basic premise the world it takes place in was interesting for me and that is what held my attention.

Just a note on Ms. Jordan’s writing: when you read her young adult novels it’s obvious that she writes adult romance novels. Her style reminds me a lot of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s (who also writes YA and adult romance novels) in that the romance details are a little more “spicy” than the typical YA novel. This doesn’t mean there are extensive love scenes but there is a lot more talk of sex and more heated kissing descriptions than the average YA novel.

Book 2, Vanish, is where I really started to dislike this series. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in this book–it came back to me a bit when I read the description of Hidden and a little more as I was reading Hidden (Jordan does a good job of refreshing details in the sequels). But I spent the vast majority of the book being mad at Jacinda because, low and behold, we get the another Book 2 Curse: the love triangle “climax” plot. UGH. And this love triangle is just as bad as Twilight‘s. Jacinda also suffers from Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome with both boys and to be honest I’m not sure why. Her “interaction” with Will in the first book isn’t enough to fall in love with him (in my opinion) and I’m not sure why she likes him (or him her) to be honest. I think it has something to do with biology (if you do read these books, you can probably see what I am talking about) and nothing else. They have nothing in common and because of that I just didn’t see the connection. So, I think it is obvious that I am team Cassian and I’ve been team Cassian since the get-go. I see them together more so than her and Will for a few reasons but I think it simply comes down to the fact that they are better suited for each other. The love triangle in this series is the prime example of why I can’t stand them in novels and it’s right beside Twilight for worst love triangle ever…but I digress.

I know you are probably thinking: this book probably has a lot of action considering Jacinda is a dragon and Will’s family hunts them. Well, that is a wrong assumption though I totally had the same thought. While there is some exciting “events” this isn’t an action series by any means. There is a lot more action in Hidden than the other 2 novels–which made it more enjoyable to read–but don’t think there are going to be some epic battles. The action is quite tame and isn’t a huge part of the plot lines.

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As I said, Hidden was a lot faster paced (might have been because I was skimming it as well…) but I still found it frustrating to read because Jacinda was in full hypocrite, I-love-him-but-I-love-him-too mode. I have to write about a spoiler here because it’s bursting to come out of me: ( you can’t feel guilty about nearly killing a man who was about to kill you and then feel no guilt–and SAY SO–when a guy who tormented you dies by the hand of someone else because he was attacking that someone. WTF!? Do you hear yourself when you think these ridiculous thoughts in your head! ) There was one really good twist near the end that I didn’t see coming but it’s not enough for me to sing this series’ praises anytime soon. Also, I just need to say this: it was weird reading about Jacinda making out with boys in her dragon form. I’m assuming the picture I have of dragons in my head does NOT match what they look like in the books (or I just missed a descriptive line about what form she was in) but it just gave me the creeps…bleh!

When I was reading reviews of Vanish in an attempt of trying to remember what happened in it, I read a review where the reader suggested that the story should have been told by Tamara because she was a lot more interesting. Listening to Tamara complain in Firelight would have frustrated me to no end; but I really did enjoy her character more in Vanish and Hidden than I did Jacinda’s. So I would have liked more from her and I actually was hoping Breathless, the novella that takes place after Hidden would be about her but it isn’t. It’s actually about Az, Jacinda’s friend who I couldn’t care less for. I’ll read it if we get it at the library but I’m not going to go out of my way.

Conclusion:

I think if I was 16 again, I would enjoy this series. That isn’t to knock or insult 16 year olds everywhere–it’s just that my reading tastes have changed immensely in the years since. I don’t care for love triangles; I can’t stand whinny teenage heroines and I like my novels to have a lot more substantial drama and action. Older YA fans probably won’t enjoy this series as much but if you want to read a mild, quick trilogy series that is also written well than it might be worth a shot.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series #1)

Synopsis for Firelight (from Goodreads):
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

Series Review: Madison Avery by Kim Harrison

Series: Madison Avery Trilogy
Author: Kim Harrison
# of Books: 3 (Once Dead, Twice Shy; Early to Death, Early to Rise; Something Deadly This Way Comes)

There is a prequel novella in the Prom Nights from Hell anthology

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool

Thoughts:

I can’t remember how I came across these books. I have a feeling it was recommended to me by Chapters but I could be completely wrong. I do remember loving the covers so I probably saw the picture of the cover somewhere and decided to grab it 😛

The premise was super interesting to me and at the time I was reading more action/paranormal young adult reads so it seemed like a good fit. Unfortunately, this series just didn’t do it for me.

The first book, Once Dead, Twice Shy, was alright. Madison was likeable and so were the other characters but nothing wowed me about them. The plot was also blah as well–I just kept waiting for something big to happen and nothing ever did.

I also got confused about the whole reaper situation. I’m not sure if it was because I skimmed over it or if I was getting it confused with other novels but either way, I just felt like I never had a full grasp of what was going on.

To be honest, I’m not sure why I read the next two books in the series based on my lackluster experience with the first one. I think it was because I had the rest of the series out from the library and they weren’t overly long books to read so I decided to finish them. I also think that I was holding out for some big plot twist that I kept expecting to happen–but it never came. I read the rest of the series and found that I felt the same about the rest of the books: they were ok but nothing really blew my socks off.

Conclusion:

If you like books that don’t have a great deal of action and have a paranormal twist then this is a series to look into. Otherwise, it’s dry for those who like a lot of action and plot twists

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Shadowland by Meg Cabot (The Mediator Series #1), Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Everneath Trilogy #1) and Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon #1)

Synopsis for Once Dead, Twice Shy (from Goodreads):
My name is Madison Avery, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I’m there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison’s prom was killer—literally. For some reason she’s been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she’s stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn’t know why the dark reaper is after her, but she’s not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison’s ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff