Tag «assassin»

Series Review: Angel by L A Weatherly

Trilogy Termination: Angel by L A Weatherly

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


Synopsis for Angel Burn(from Goodreads):

They’re out for your soul.
And they don’t have heaven in mind…

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from.
But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems; least of all good and evil.


Series: Angel Trilogy
Author: L A Weatherly
# of Books: 3 (Full Series Order)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Angels, Paranormal, Action
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person + Third Person
Publication Dates: January 2010 – August 2013
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover; eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Like many series I started in university many years ago, I don’t really remember how I discovered it. I assume it had something to do with the Angel Trend that was huge around that time (2010). Either way, I really enjoyed the first novel in the series and that enjoyment is what kept this series on my TBR for over 5 years after the finale was published.

The Concept / The World:

I always think back fondly on this series because it was one of the more unique Angel concepts I had come across. Angel stories are always about good angels vs bad angels (or one faction vs another) but here, nearly all angels are evil and humans are fighting for themselves. It’s a fresh take on the world.

Unfortunately, that cool premise gets overshadowed by your typical YA paranormal cliches and the like but at its core, this is a cool story.

The Plot:

I remember being totally engrossed in the first novel. I loved watching Alex and Willow navigate this new world and their budding feelings. It was a fun adventure that kept me on my toes.

I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t remember much about the second novel (Angel Fire) other than the fact that it introduces a love triangle that seems to take over the entire novel. Ugh.

But despite a “meh” experience with the second book, I was eager to see this series completed and was determined to pick up the finale (Angel Fever) 5 years later. Only I was thrust back into a mundane plotline that seemed to be taking its sweet-ass time and a seemingly resolved love triangle that would resolve every chapter with new ire.

Which is why I DNF’d it at 25% and skipped to the last chapter to give myself some closure.

The Characters:

Willow is one of those “special snowflakes” combined with a “Mary Sue”. It wasn’t really apparent to me in the first novel but I definitely saw it in the third. She’s just becomes so wish-washy in her convictions and morphs into your stereotypical heroine of a paranormal YA series.

The rest of the cast fits into their typical roles with ease.

The Romance:

This started strong for me but the introduction of a useless love triangle really killed any positive feelings I had towards this.

Series Rating: 3/5

Angel Burn 4/5 | Angel Fire 3/5 | Angel Fever DNF


Like many of the angel romances released around the same time, this series takes your typical cookie cutter pieces and assembles them for your average angel read.

Read if You Like: angels, YA paranormal reads
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, want more action


  • Newsoul by Jodi Meadows (Newsoul Trilogy #1)
  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush Saga #1)
  • A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (A Touch Trilogy #1)
  • Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire Trilogy #1)


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Fresh Fridays: Realm Breaker (#1) by Victoria Aveyard

Fresh Fridays: Realm Breaker (#1) by Victoria Aveyard

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

Realm Breaker Series

Other books planned to be in the series:


Synopsis for Realm Breaker (from Goodreads):

A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.


Series: Realm Breaker
Author: Victoria Aveyard
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: May 2021 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I LOVED The Red Queen when I read it…and was completely disappointed in its sequel. I couldn’t finish it for the life of me. I might try it as an audiobook sometime in the near future though.

I wanted to go into this series with some optimism. I did like The Red Queen after all and the politics of the world. This world sounded super cool (pirates, assassins, immortals) and it had multiple POVs which I love so I was excited when my hold came in for the audiobook.

What I Liked:

–Lack of Romance–

This is a double-edged sword for me because I LOVE a good romance in my books. I will be the first to say that often times it can distract from the plot but sometimes I need that in a book to keep me interested (which you will see is the case here).

However, I can appreciate that there really isn’t any romance at all in the book. There are definitely sparks and some inklings that maybe in future books love will be in the air. So a possible slow burn keeps things going a bit.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Lack of Romance–

As I said above, I can appreciate that it didn’t distract from the plot but the fact of the matter is: I needed something to distract me from the plot!

–Long Prologue–

I struggled to get through the prologue. Like, at one point I went, “it’s still going?” I should have taken that as a sign to stop reading but I wanted to give this book a fair shot because I really wanted to enjoy this book.

I think the prologue really helps explain how Spindles work and how the world operates a little more. And because I zoned out during the prologue, I spent the rest of the book a little lost in what was actually happening.

–Bland Characters–

Normally I love multiple POV books because I can usually find a character or two whose plotlines I enjoy and that motivates me to keep going. Here, I thought everyone was as exciting as watching paint dry on a wall. Even our villain was lackluster to me. They just seemed like every other character from every other high fantasy novel I’ve read. Perhaps it was due to the fact the chapters are excessively long so you get tired of the monotony of the person after a while.

My Audiobook Experience:

Perhaps I should have read an actual text copy so I could flip back to refresh the world-building when needed. But I usually have great success with fantasy books as audio series. The production itself is fine though there is only one narrator. (Which works for a third person POV title but it does add to the monotony).

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Honestly, I don’t even remember how this ends and I just finished it the other day. That’s how not into it I was. I don’t have any expectations really because I won’t be continuing.

My Rating: 2/5

Realm Breaker 2/5 | Blade Breaker TBP | Book 3 TBP


This was just a miss for me. With its promising elements I ended up feeling disconnected and disinterested in this new series and I won’t be continuing on.

Read if You Like: slower stories, fantasy, dislike long & wordy books
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance


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DNF Series Review: The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff

DNF Series Review: The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff

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


Synopsis for Nevernight (from Goodreads):

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.


Series: Nevernight Chronicles
Author: Jay Kristoff
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action, Dark
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2016 – September 2019
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Disclaimer: I stopped reading Nevernight at 44% (middle of Chapter 16). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve read Jay Kristoff’s Immuniae Series and I follow him on twitter so I like his sense of humour. But I was curious to see what type of novels he writes on his own and this one seems to be a very popular choice amongst my Goodreads friends. My library only had the audiobooks and I needed a new audio series so I put myself on the holds list and waited for my turn.

What I Liked:

–The Narration Style–

I enjoyed the delivery of the narration. The style of narration is something I might not have fully appreciated if I didn’t listen to the audiobook. The sarcasm and dry, witty lines are great when heard audibly because that tone is easily conveyed.

I could see how that wouldn’t be for everyone though as it is a rather dark approach…but you are reading about a school of assassin teens so I think it comes with the territory.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Pacing–

The pacing here just didn’t work for me. I definitely forgot about the murder mystery part because there were so many other tangents happening. I just found myself getting bored and so my mind would wander away.

And the flipping between Mia’s past and present was just too hard to keep track of with the audio version.

My Audiobook Experience:

Perhaps the audiobook was a mistake. The shear length of it was daunting for me (books over 15 hours never work out for me) but I listen to audiobooks at 1.5X the speed so it wouldn’t take me the full amount of time.

However: I’m a very visual person so trying to remember people’s names in an audiobook can be a challenge. Once we finally got to the academy, I struggled to keep all the characters straight. I also couldn’t keep the timelines straight. The constant shuffle from the past to present had me missing things and I didn’t always catch the shifts.

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. I couldn’t really bring myself to care about Mia (I think it is a casualty of the third person narration because she is talked about and not the one directly talking to the reader). And the shear length has turned me off. However, if this was a TV series I’d totally invest my time in watching it.

My Rating: DNF

Nevernight DNF | Godsgrave N/A | Darkdawn N/A


I think if you are a reader who has the patience for longer novels, this is a great choice. It’s a cool concept but I don’t think its execution will work for everyone.

Read if You Like: dark YA, assassins, witty narration
Avoid if You: dislike super long books


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

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Series Review: His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers

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


Synopsis for Grave Mercy (from Goodreads):

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?


Series: His Fair Assassin

There is a spin-off duology in the works.

Author: Robin LaFevers
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected by Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – November 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

There is nothing more I love in the world of reading than a heroine who can kick serious butt. So it seemed like I no brainer that I would pick up this series. I don’t remember how exactly I learned about Grave Mercy, but I read it years ago (just shortly after its release) and it left such a mark on me that I refused to remove the sequels from my TBR despite the fact that I could never find the time to read them.

The Concept / The World:

I love worlds that are a mix of actual history with a little dash of fantasy–which is what we get here. These stories are inspired by true events but the timelines and the external forces involved are often altered by artistic licence. The result? You get a world filled with twisting politics (yay!), villainous characters and strong heroines you can’t help but root for.

Each book follows a different daughter of St. Mortain (Death) but they all follow a continuous story arc. It’s a great way to keep things fresh and moving throughout the series. You get to see old characters weave in and out of the story and it just gives this series a 360-degree view I think.

The Plot:

As I said above, each book features a different assassin so you get a fresh start every time in a sense. So in that regard, I found it took me a couple of chapters to get into the new swing of things and orient myself in the world. (It also didn’t help that I read Books #1 and #2 nearly five years apart…). This was especially true for Book #3, Mortal Heart that seemed to take twice as long to establish itself.

But once you are a few chapters in, you’d better hold on! I found these stories were constantly evolving and twisting and it’s hard not to be addicted. You get sucked into the heroine’s pasts; the politics are fascinating and don’t forget that dash of romance along the way!

The Writing:

Usually I don’t comment on the writing style but I do want to mention the fact that sometimes I had a hard time figuring out what was actually happening. It’s weird because this isn’t told in the third person (which can be tricky to navigate). I think it’s just that some things are alluded to; some things are “magical”/”supernatural” and with its historical setting I think the style just takes some getting used to when reading and interpreting what is happening.

The Characters:

I love that this series focuses on a different heroine in each book. You get to spend time uncovering every aspect of their character within the novel. Nothing gets drawn out between sequels or intentionalLY hidden. You just get solid characters throughout.

And each of our leading ladies is unique. Whether it’s their pasts before their time at the convent or their abilities, they each bring something fresh to this world and I loved that.

The Romance:

This is perhaps, for me, the most underdeveloped aspect of the plot because we don’t spend copious amounts of time with it. Of course, we get this great underlying tension between the characters but in the grand scheme of things, I found that the feelings developed fast (again, understandable given the circumstances) and don’t get a ton of screen time.

My Expectations for the Spin-Off Series:

I didn’t end the series on a particular high note (Mortal Heart was my least favourite of the trilogy), but I do like the idea of continuing on with some characters but getting a new cast of characters at the same time.


Series Rating: 4/5

Grave Mercy 4/5| Dark Triumph 4/5 | Mortal Heart 3/5


I’ve never read a series like this before and that only is noteworthy. But if you enjoy historical fiction that focuses on the grittier side of things, check this series out!

Read if You Like: assassins, historical fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike long books, dislike darker reads


  • Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan (Maids of Honour Series #1)
  • Scarlet by A C Gaughan (Scarlet Trilogy #1)




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Series Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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


Synopsis for The Wrath and the Dawn (from Goodreads):

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2016 Fav
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
# of Books: 2 (The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and The Dagger)

There is also 3 novella short stories. Full Reading Order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
Heat Rating: warm *more implied than anything*
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: May 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s a bit of a weird story. I always thought that I had The Wrath and The Dawn on my TBR (ie Goodreads) because it was around quite a bit on the blogosphere when it was first released and it sounded like a story I would enjoy. When I saw it again at the bookstore, it’s cover (the one I added below) caught my attention and I thought it was a new book. But as soon as I read the synopsis, I realized that I already had marked this book as TBR. So imagine my surprise when I checked on Goodreads to see that I hadn’t even added it! I think I just added it to my library wishlist and left it at that.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

The revenge trope is one of my favourites; especially when there is an assassination involved. Perhaps that is a little morbid, but I find stories with that “I must kill my enemy” element are grittier and have that (obvious) element of danger to them. The stakes are higher and that makes every subsequent action even riskier and more thrilling. Forbidden love is so much sweeter when you fall for your target.

The Concept / The World:

I’ll be the first to admit, I know nothing about A Thousand and One Nights nor The Arabian Nights. I’m sure I would get more out of the retelling if I was more familiar with these works but it really isn’t necessary.

The world here is beautiful! I loved how Ahdieh was able to create this magical world that was so easy to see and emerge myself in without copious amounts of detail. The pages weren’t littered with unnecessary descriptions and so I never felt lost or bored while reading.

Oh! Also, there is a glossary! There were a few terms that I had to Google because I couldn’t find the glossary when I first looked for one. But don’t let that scare you! It’s not like there are a ton of terms you have to learn to enjoy this.

The Plot:

What I really loved about this series is that it wasn’t unnecessarily complicated. It struck that perfect balance between world building, character development and dramatic plot.

The Wrath and The Dawn has a great suspense to it. Why is Khalid killing his wives? Will Shazi really fulfill her need for revenge? I loved watching all that unfold before me. It really hooked me into the story–in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. I really just wanted to sit all day and read this compelling work.

The Rose and The Dagger also had a suspenseful plot but more for the political aspects–which I absolutely adored. It just had that hint of danger to it that had me glued to the pages. And the twists were fabulous!

The Characters:

I think Shazi can be a hard character to like initially. She’s hurt and jaded and she gives off this aura of selfishness that makes it hard to root for her. But she really grows throughout the series and I really appreciated that. And it wasn’t long before I was on her side, wanting her to succeed.

As for Khalid, I really liked him. As much as he is the catalyst for the story we get, the story really is about Shazi and how she deals with everything. And because of that, his development takes a bit of a backseat. But he really is a fascinating character to uncover as the series progresses. I always love a good, mysterious male counterpart.

But one of the highlights of this series is the strong secondary characters. I really fell for the rest of the cast as the story progressed.

The Romance:

This was lacking a bit for me in The Wrath and The Dawn. Despite the fact that it was easy to see why these two would fit together as a reader looking in, I just wanted their sparks elaborated on more. The romance was more implied than I would have liked; more show and tell than watching it unfold. But I still enjoyed it and liked these two together.

And I think that’s why I enjoyed The Rose and The Dagger more. Everything there was just emphasized that little bit more and the romance was definitely amplified there. Here, it was obvious why these two felt the way they did and it was a joy to watch as a reader.

The Novellas:

Well, to call The Crown & The Arrow and The Mirror & The Maze novellas is being generous. They are merely deleted chapters totalling 9 pages and are free on eBook sites. However, I do recommend reading The Crown & The Arrow before The Wrath and the Dawn for some context. Same with The Mirror & The Maze before The Rose & The Dagger. Nevertheless, you could get by without ever reading them as well.

The Moth & The Flame is an actual novella that is probably best read after The Wrath & The Dawn because it is a little spoilery about some side characters.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Wrath and The Dawn 4/5 | The Rose and The Dagger 5/5


The entire series is crafted beautifully. From the characters to the drama to the romance; it’s everything you want in a solid YA series.

Read if You Like: retellings, forbidden love, duologies
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike more romance-based stories



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Single Sundays: Blind Trust by Peiri Ann

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Blind Trust (from Goodreads):
*For mature readers 18+*
Loving someone has never been so deadly.

Valerie Harper has one assignment, one mission. Assassinate her mark and everyone he loves. But what happens when she finds that she loves him too?

Her instructions are simple; do not fraternize with your target, observe at a distance, and never engage with the enemy. However, as things take an unexpected turn in Val’s world, these simple instructions begin to change.

Refusing to be a puppet, Kyle Shultz walks away from his old life and settles into the college routine. But the life of a student is more difficult than he imagined. Making friends and attending parties are as foreign a concept as showing a target mercy.

The lines between the state of the job and the affairs of the heart are blurred as Valerie and Kyle’s worlds collide.
With a maze of enemies and hit lists to navigate, will these two young adversaries proceed wide-eyed and alone into the fray? Or will they blindly trust the feelings they can no longer ignore?


Author: Peiri Ann
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Source & Format: New Adult Book Club RIRI provided by author–eBook  |  Thank you Peiri Ann!



Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I like reading romances that don’t follow the traditional path. Sure, it’s great to read about a boy and girl who fall in love while away at university but what if their situation was a little more...extreme? And I’m not talking crazy ex-partners who just can’t seem to let go. I mean, what if one of these people has been sent to kill the other?

Intriguing right? Though definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

I love stories where enemies fall in love and having an assassin fall in love with her mark is a perfect example of this. Sure, it’s a tad cliché but it is entertaining. So, I when presented the opportunity to read this book I snatched it up! I couldn’t wait for the fun and danger to begin.

The Concept:

If you are expecting some light hearted novel, I would look elsewhere. These are assassins who don’t mind killing people for money or for a purpose. If anyone has watched Kingsmen (or read the graphic novel) I find the tone is similar (in terms that it is normal for these characters to pursue this path) in the sense that these people are pretty nonchalant about killing other people. However, it isn’t at all espionage based or witty in its humour.

The Plot:

This book didn’t start off where I thought it was going to. When I first started, I had assumed it would be told solely from Val’s POV and Kyle’s past would be a bit of a mystery. I also thought we would be joining Val at the start of her mission. Turns out, we get both Kyle and Val’s POV which is A-ok and honestly, removes the predictability of the book regarding Kyle’s past.

We are also thrust into the end of Val’s mission when everything starts to fall apart. Which kind-of sucks because it takes away from the character and plot development I was expecting to see. Val’s opinion of Kyle has been well established before the reader even enters the scene, taking away from the romantic development that I wanted to see unfold.

The shit has also hit the fan and that accelerates everything at a pace that doesn’t really work for me. I like books that hit the ground running but I just felt lost trying to understand these characters AND what was happening plot wise. I still really don’t understand what did actually happen even after finishing the book…

That does have its positives though. What I thought was going to be a predictable novel turned out to be rather unpredictable, keeping me glued to my Kobo to find out what was going to happen next. So even if I didn’t understand what happened, it kept my attention in the hopes that I would eventually understand.

The Characters:

Regardless of what these characters may or may not do for a living, I had a hard time totally connecting with them. Part of the issue was simply trying to understand their thought process and coming up empty every time.

I’ll start with Kyle. I personally have a soft-spot for the suave jackass character but he was just a little too much for me. He seemed to be two extremes. One minute he would be a nice guy and then in the next he was a complete ass who was crude and heartless. And I suppose to a certain extent it worked for his character and made sense the more I read but my initial impression of him didn’t really seem to improve as I read.

As for Val, I wanted a little more from her. I feel like a lot more could have been done with her character but she just felt very underdeveloped to me–especially given all that happens to her. It felt all over the place to me and I didn’t like that. And when we did get some of that vulnerability, it arrived way past the point of me really caring.

The Romance:

I really struggled to see how these romance worked.  I understood why these two were drawn together in theory but in practice, there was more to be desired. Part of the issue is that Val’s feelings are already developed before the book starts. I just didn’t see what she saw in Kyle and that caused me not to see how their relationship would evolve. Kyle’s feelings were a little more obvious because the reader gets to see him establish a relationship with Val. But then again, my jackass impression of him stopped me from totally getting on board with the romance and he was all over the place emotionally as well. So overall, the romance fell flat for me.

The Spin-off:

There is going to be a spin-off with one of the side characters but that is going to be a pass for me. I didn’t particularly like him and I’m really not sure what to expect from his story.

My Rating: 2/5


This book just needed some polish because I think all the right ideas were there. It just flopped all over the place and never seemed to be consistent. Cool premise but poor execution (and that pun was totally intended).

Read if You Like: unconventional romances, unconventional characters
Avoid if You: don’t like assassins, want a more straight-forward read



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Fresh Fridays: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Cruel Beauty Universe)

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

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge  | Cruel Beauty Universe

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Series 2014, New Must-Watch Author 2014
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe
Author: Rosamund Hodge
# of Books: 2 (Cruel Beauty, Gilded Ashes, Crimson Bound)
Book Order: Connected (as in same universe)
Complete?: No, Crimson Bound will be published Spring 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Mythology, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person


I was really excited to read this book and pounced on it when it was available at my library. I’ve really been enjoying these dystopian/post-apocalyptic retellings of fairy tale stories lately and this book was no exception. I actually think that this one is one of my favourites.

This book reminded me a lot of the movie Inception and once you read it and see what is unfolding, you will get why. The blending of mythology, the Beauty and the Beast story as well as dystopian elements was done beautifully. There are a lot of layers to this book and as a reader (and studier of literature) I really appreciated it.

But I know a lot of people won’t like this book for those exact reasons. The writing style really reminded me of Graceling–it’s old fashioned in a way that we don’t particularly see in dystopian Young Adult novels. I also found that Cruel Beauty did remind me of Graceling when looking back at it. I didn’t feel like I was reading a regurgitation of Graceling while reading Cruel Beauty–they are two completely separate books with entirely different premises. But there are definitely similarities between the storylines and I think Nyx (Cruel Beauty) and Katsa (Graceling) have a lot in common. Both are extremely angsty and I think Nyx’s angst might not rub people well. I know I had a hard time with it at first but I didn’t really mind it because I understood why she felt that way–and that becomes more apparent as you read.

My favourite part of this book is the plot. It is a mystery essentially and I liked trying to figure it out as I went. Over time I put the clues together and figured it out, but often I didn’t really see the answer until I read it. Which resulted in me doing a bit of a gasping in surprise and saying “that is so cool” while the puzzle pieces connected mentally!

I was worried that this was going to be a lot like Of Beast and Beauty and while they do share some similarities–these books have two entirely different messages and plots. I think the romance is stronger (or at least to me I understood it better) in Of Beast and Beauty but I really warmed up to Ignifex and Nyx’s story by the end. Definitely readers of one will enjoy the other.

I’m excited to read the next book in the universe and I’m glad that there will be more books set in this universe because it is a truly fascinating world Ms. Hodge has created. I will definitely be checking out more of her books in the future!

UPDATED (June 26/14): Gilded Ashes is the next book in the series but it is a novella and not a full-out novel; which disappointed me at first because I wanted to read the next novel in the series. But this book was the perfect length when all is said and done. It doesn’t have the “mystery” element that Cruel Beauty did but it has a lot of cool supernatural pieces to it and I really enjoyed reading it; a very cool spin on Cinderella. What I like about these books is that the romantic leads aren’t gaga for their significant other right away; that the relationship really builds and develops between them. Overall, a great contribution to the series!


This book will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea so I highly recommend that if you are interested in reading it, you grab the sample or read the first 70 pages here. If you aren’t drawn in by the mystery and story after the first 20 or so pages, don’t continue. But for those who like reading books that have a challenging mystery and are filled with Greek mythology–grab this NOW!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay; For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (For the Darkness Shows the Stars #1) and Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm #1)

Synopsis for Cruel Beauty (from Goodreads):
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Series Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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

book3 book4 book5 book6 book6


Synopsis for Throne of Glass (from Goodreads):

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined


Series: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are five prequel novellas in the series. Find out more here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Action, Romance, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: August 2012 – October 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Hardcover


Why I Picked it Up:

I find that it is really hard to find a book with a strong female lead nowadays. And by strong, I mean a girl who doesn’t need a man to complete her, who can fight for herself and it helps if she can kick some literal butt. After completing the Vampire Academy Series, I have been on the search to find said leading lady. So when I read the promise of a female assassin in these books, I jumped at the chance and I am happy to say I think I found the girl for the job (or should I say “hit”? ;)).

Initial Impressions:

These books aren’t just straight action though. There is also a dangerous game of politics afoot as well as romance, mystery and drama so there is rarely a dull moment. There were also some plot twists along the way but I think a few were a little predictable (at least in Throne of Glass) so that is disappointing.

I only have two “peeves” about Throne of Glass. One “peeve” would be the lack of a particular character from the novellas in the novel–I just felt like said character played such an important role that they should have been mentioned more than they were in the book. My second “peeve” is the love triangle. I am not a fan of this “plot twist” so I would rather do without it; though I didn’t find it as “consuming” like it is in some novels. Basically, it isn’t the main focus of the book so bonus points there. I also want to say that Throne of Glass started a little slow and it did take me a while to get into it. Unlike the novellas that jump right into the action, this one takes a while to build so just be prepared.

I’m not sure where the next 5 books are planning on going, but I am excited to have another long-running, action packed series on my to-read list now. If only they could be released sooner!


–December 7, 2013– Book #2: Crown of Midnight

I finished Crown of Midnight about a week ago and it’s taken me that whole week to grasp what just happened. When I said I wasn’t sure where the next few books were going I wasn’t lying. I didn’t see what happens coming and I am SUPER excited for the next book!

First, I have to say that the two peeves I commented on before are no longer an issue. Said character is mentioned more than enough to satisfy my requests and the love triangle is “resolved” for a lack of a better term. Unlike Throne of Glass that focuses on Celaena becoming the champion and kicking butt, this book focuses on the magic present in the kingdom and what is happening in their world. While there is still plenty of action, we learn a lot about all the major players and learn what game is truly afoot in this kingdom. Celaena especially has some great character development but still retains her kick-ass heroine status.

This book also hits the ground running. Lots of plot twists and developments that kept me guessing and putting off other aspects of my life just to read the next chapter. Definitely a strong sequel and the best book of the series so far!

–May 23, 2015– Book #3: Heir of Fire

I’ve never anticipated a book as much as I had Heir of Fire. So you can imagine my disappointment when Heir of Fire turned out to be…well…a slight disappointment. After waiting forever on my library’s waiting list, I tried to read this book in November 2014 and just couldn’t get into it. I got halfway through before I gave up in defeat and had to return it, vowing to try again later.

Well, the 2nd time was the charm! Despite getting halfway through the last time, I started Heir of Fire right from the start. This one starts slow and it’s been so long since I read Crown of Midnight that despite my killer book summary (I write down what happens in each book), it took me a while to get back into the groove of things.

I guess I expected it to be like Crown of Midnight which had me from the first word. This one was just a lot of wallowing and it was a tough time for Celaena, so it was a little depressing to read. The critic/analyst in me understands the need to slow things down and let things develop in this book but it just bored me; especially when I was expecting high action given the ending of the last book. But once I got past the halfway mark, it really was non-stop and I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall, I liked how things developed and I am SUPER SUPER excited to see what happens next. I feel like this book was the little speed bump that usually happens in book 2 of trilogies and I don’t discount the need for it in the grand scheme of things: it just wasn’t what I was expecting initially but it definitely improved as I read!

Catch my spoiler filled rant on Heir of Fire Here!

–October 9, 2015– Book #4: Queen of Shadows

I was terrified the hype monster was going to kill this one for me so I dutifully ignored all reviews of this book before I read it. I’m glad I did because I went in with a fresh mind and was really able to enjoy it.

Queen of Shadows has much better pacing than its predecessor, though the page length really got to me. I was in it right from the start, felt a little drag in the middle but really felt like it pulled it socks up at the end. It still doesn’t beat Crown of Midnight for me in terms of a favourite, but it’s pretty close.

I really liked the plot twists and LOVED the character development. I also really liked that characters who were prominent in the novellas finally were brought in. More so than in the previous novels, the plot was really tied to the prequel novellas. It almost makes me wish I had read them more recently than when they were first published because all these characters would have been fresher in my mind.

Can’t wait to see where this story goes next! My faith has been officially restored in this series!

–October 25, 2016– Book #5: Empire of Storms

So I went from having my faith restored to being more than a little bored with this instalment…

I felt like the first 60% was filler–which makes for a slightly dull read when this book is 576 eBook pages long. While the plot does move forward in that time, it definitely dragged while doing so. It’s been a long time since I read the previous instalment so trying to get all those details page in my head (despite the killer notes I took when reading Queen of Shadows), specially the family trees (I swear everyone’s name starts with a G or an A or an E), didn’t make this enjoyable for me.

The last 30% was great! We get more action; the greater plot schemes get revealed and we finally get some drama! And I’m glad to see how the prequel novellas tie into this novel! Made me glad I read them all those years ago.

I’m excited to see how everything wraps up!

–March 23, 2019– Book #6: Tower of Dawn

It wasn’t that this book was bad per say: I just wonder about the necessity of it. I think we can all agree that the lead needed some major redemption after the last few books so it was nice to get that. However, could we have achieved that in half the amount of pages? You betcha! This could have been condensed considerably and still made an impact in the series.

I skimmed most of it, especially in the first half when it was so repetitive. Maas does have a beautiful flow to her writing (it’s not a hard book to read by any means) but she adds far to much detail and monotony to her work. Honestly, if I hadn’t invested so much time in this series over the years, I would have just skipped this.

–May 16, 2020– Book #7: Kingdom of Ash

I have never had a book take me this long to read. I think I took it out 4 separate times over the last 8 months and finally pushed my way through to finish it over the last 3 months.

I think I just outgrew this series. As the books got longer, I stopped caring about the characters. This story has come so far from what the inaugural title was and I’m not sure I really loved its progression in the end (I think its points for originality waned when you look at the similarities to Court of Thorns and Roses).

Maybe if I read the books closer together I would have enjoyed the last few better. But as more characters got introduced, I found it harder and harder to keep up. And the writing just felt repetitive at times (if I never see the word “mate” again it’ll be too soon).

I can appreciate the world and vision but at the end of the day, I think I outgrew this series and that was why I struggled to get through this final novel.

When to Read the Novellas:

I am of the camp that recommends you read the novellas before you pick up the first book in the series. By doing so, I feel like you get a get a better understanding of the world and why Celaena acts and thinks the way she does. I think if you don’t, you might think her character is a little too jaded (which can be irksome) and you won’t understand why she does the things she does. Sometimes that little bit of a background story makes all the difference in your impression of a character.

But I most definitely recommend you read the novellas prior to Queen of Shadows–because there are a lot of allusions there that you won’t understand until you read the novellas.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Throne of Glass 5/5 | Crown of Midnight 5/5 | Heir of Fire 3/5 | Queen of Shadows 4.5/5 | Empire of Storms 3/5 | Tower of Dawn 2/5 | Kingdom of Ash 2/5


If you enjoy convoluted worlds with lots of characters and even longer novels, try this series out!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, ruthless characters, fantasy
Avoid if You: don’t like long series or long books



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