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Series Review: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine

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: Archers of Avalon Trilogy
Author: Chelsea Fine
# of Books: 3 (Anew, Awry, Avow)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

This trilogy was one of the first series I bought for my Kobo but I never got a chance to read it until now.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the series given the synopsis for Anew. The synopsis hints at a love triangle but I didn’t write it off because I knew that there was more to the story than that given of the amnesia aspect of the plot. I love the mystery of stories that have amnesia elements so I decided to grab this series and solve the mystery.

The amnesia element is by far the best thing about this series. Just when I would think that I had solved the mystery, another clue would be thrown at me and I would have to re-evaluate my thoughts and I loved that. I quickly read through Anew because of this.

However, I just felt like the series was missing that little umph to make it that much more exciting. I think part of the problem is that it is told from a third person POV and for me that always causes a big disconnect between me and the characters. However, I really don’t think you could tell this story any other way besides a third person narration. But perhaps the biggest thing missing was a secondary plot line. Anew really only focuses on Scarlet trying to learn about her past and relationship with the boys and nothing else is really happening. Everything focuses on one plot element and I tend to prefer stories that multiple things happening–especially when they get significantly longer like they did in Awry.

Holy crap was Awry long! It had to be at least twice the size of Anew and I felt that I was just getting a little tired of reading it by the end. Which is a shame because I enjoyed it a lot more than Anew. Everything just seemed amplified: the romance, the plot-line and I loved the flashbacks to the past. Through the flashbacks I felt like I connected more to the characters and everything started coming together. But, there were still enough twists to throw my theories out the door. Basically, it was just the sheer length that killed me.

Avow was smaller than Awry so that made it more manageable to read. I thought it was a great way to wrap up the series and all my questions were answered leaving me very satisfied with everything.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed reading this series. While it isn’t my favourite series ever, I thought it was well done and I loved getting down to the nitty-gritty of what actually happened to Scarlet. If you like stories with lots of flashbacks and an amnesia element, this is a great one for you to pick up!

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

Similar Reads: Evermore by Alyson Noel (The Immortals Series #1); Immortal by Gillian Shields (Immortal Series #1)  and The Awakening by L. J. Smith (Vampire Diaries Series #1)

Synopsis for Anew (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.

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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?

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

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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: Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong

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

Age of Legends Series

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author, Sad to See Go 2016
Series: Age of Legends Trilogy
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 3 (Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night, Forests of Ruin)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Suspense, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

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.**

If you ever read the biography bit on Kelley Armstrong, you will see that she “lives in rural Ontario”. I am from that same part of Ontario (just a town over) so I always make an effort to read her works. I’ve loved her other two teen series, The Darkest Powers and the Darkness Rising, so I  was excited to see where this series was going to go–and where it does is nowhere near her previous works.

When I was reading Sea of Shadows I kept thinking about the Red Riding Hood (2011) movie with Amanda Seyfried. The world that the book is set in reminded me so much about that world in the movie: a dark, fantasy-creature-driven place. It really has no other connections to the movie in anyway except maybe the really good twist at the end.

I haven’t read anything like Sea of Shadows in a really long time (maybe ever). Perhaps it’s because I read a lot of dystopian and New Adult reads and not a lot of high fantasy novels; but I really enjoy fantasy novels and I think this book helped me remember that.

However, I didn’t love the book; and I would say that until the last 5 chapters or so I was going to give this book a flat 3. The book kind of goes through high and low points. Some parts where really interesting, but then things would get a little slow. Part of the reason was that the POV would switch to the other sister right when something exciting was happening and wouldn’t go back until 3-5 chapters later. And when you did finally get back there, the scene you expect to unfold is neatly summarized into two sentences (very disappointing). The other problem is what the reader expects to read about after they have read the synopsis for the book. The girls spend more time in the village than they do on the journey to find each other. So if you are expecting a mostly adventure novel in that sense you will be disappointed.

You will also be disappointed if you are expecting a great love story. Romance is really not the focus of this book at all. Instead the focus is on the girls becoming confident in their own individual abilities and trying to figure out what the hell happened to their village. I personally didn’t have a problem with the leads as they are what I expected when I read that there were two twin girls (one is super confident, the other is not, etc). But, I do think some people might find them a tad dull in that respect (though I have to say they really grow throughout the novel as characters).

The way it ends has really captured my attention and I’m looking forward to what is in-store next for the twins.

updates

–July 4, 2015– Book 2: Empire of Night

WOW! This book was amazing! Even if I wasn’t in a reading slump, I would have been addicted to this story! And unlike when I read the first novel, I’ve been devouring high fantasy novels so this one had some stiff standards to uphold. Everything is turned up in this sequel: the romance, the action, the politics, the suspense. Even the writing sequence improved. Every time you get a cliffhanger when the POV changes, it picks up right back where you left it–and thank goodness for that! This book truly blew me away and is exactly what I expect in a Kelley Armstrong novel!

I simply cannot wait to see what happens in the grand finale because it is going to be epic!

–June 17, 2016– Book 3: Forest of Ruin

This finale was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it did NOT disappoint!

I was hooked from the start right through to the end. Everything that had been amped up from the previous novel kept pace and continued to blow me away. From the lore to the politics to the action to the romance–it’s all on point here and fans of the series will love this grande finale. It was a wild ride thanks to all the plot developments and their awesome twists. I loved the unpredictability this novel had and it made it that much more enjoyable to me.

It was just a fantastic way to end this series and made me SO GLAD that I didn’t drop it after the slower start that was Sea of Shadows 🙂

 

My Rating: 5/5

Sea of Shadows 4/5 | Empire of Night 5/5 | Forest of Ruin 5/5

overall

If you want a high fantasy novel that focuses more on the supernatural/paranormal aspects of fantasy, this is a great series! For fans of Armstrong’s other works (Adult or Young Adult) this is completely different though it definite has all the same writing touches you expect. But don’t let the slower pace of the first novel deter you from picking up the sequel: because the follow-up truly takes things to the next level!

Read if You Like: world-building, supernatural/paranormal fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike slower starts, want more romance

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Synopsis for Sea of Shadows (from Goodreads):
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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Series Review: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Dangerous Creatures (from Goodreads):
Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she’s a bad girl. She’s Dark. She’s a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she’s around. Lucky for her, Wesley “Link” Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2014 (Dangerous Creatures)
Series: Dangerous Creatures

This is a spinoff of the Beautiful Creatures Series.

Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
# of Books: 2 (Dangerous Creatures, Dangerous Deception)

There is a prequel novella called Dangerous Dream.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Magic, Supernatural, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: May 2014 – May 2015
Source & Format: Public Library—eBook & Hardcover

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

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that the Beautiful Creatures Series is one of my favourite young adult series I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s a great blend of romance, mystery, suspense and magic with superb characters and great writing. And while the movie may have flopped and failed, the book series is fantastic and is the standard I uphold all magic-based books to. So it’s no surprise that I was ecstatic to learn that there would be a spin-off series with two of my favourite characters that I was dying to see more of: Link and Ridley.

The Concept / The World:

Dangerous Creatures has an entirely different feel to it than Beautiful Creatures–which makes sense because Link and Ridley are no Ethan and Lena. It’s traded the slower, gothic feel for the upbeat, modern feel of New York–but I’m not sure how I feel about that. It definitely took some getting used to but I eventually got into the swing of things. Just don’t go in expecting a carbon copy of Beautiful Creatures when you read this book.

The Plot:

Unlike Beautiful Creatures, Dangerous Creatures lacks a mystery from the past. I suppose that there is a bit of one but I find it isn’t as powerful as it was in Beautiful Creatures. And because it isn’t as powerful, I felt like the plot was the bare minimum needed to move the novel along.

The Characters:

I kinda wanted more from Link and Ridley to be honest. Neither one grabbed my attention like they did in the previous series. I wasn’t as in love with them as I expected to be and that was a disappointment.

The Romance:

For fans of Link and Ridley, you honestly just want them to get their happy ending. So it was frustrating to watch them go back and forth for the duration of the novel.

This aspect could have used some work in my opinion. It was probably my biggest upset with this novel.

The Prequel, Dangerous Dream:

For a while I felt pretty lost while reading Dangerous Creatures and I blame myself for not reading Dangerous Dream, the prequel, before Dangerous Creatures. I felt like I was missing something the entire first half of the book.

Dangerous Dream does bridge the two series together nicely while refreshing you mind on everything that happened at the end of the previous series.

It isn’t necessary though, and honestly, it isn’t worth the $3-5 dollars you will spend on it. If you library has the digital copy, borrow it; otherwise, don’t waste your money!

updates

–November 8, 2016– Book #2: Dangerous Deception

After the disappointment that was Dangerous Creatures, I was hesitant to get into this one.

But I enjoyed this one immensely!

This story had a thrilling aspect to it that kept my attention. It moved fast and just kept building and building. Unlike the previous novel, there actually felt like there was a true plot to this story.

A great sequel (and conclusion?) to this story arc. I’m glad this one was entertaining; it was nice to return to this Caster world once again.

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Series Rating: 3.5/5

Dangerous Creatures 3/5 | Dangerous Deception 4/5

overall

Fans of Beautiful Creatures will love that Link and Ridley finally get their own story. However, it has a completely different plot line and feel that may take some getting used to.

Read if You Like: magic based stories, good vs evil plots
Avoid if You: want more romance
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Single Sundays: Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore

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 Evanescent (from Goodreads):
“Then it is settled,” Felix declared. “Come hell or high water, when this is all over, at least one of us here will not make it out alive.”

When Bronwen Snow is pulled from her cottage in the middle of the night, she finds herself seeking the help of three mysterious boys who reside in an abandoned castle deep in the hillside. With only a hasty handwritten note and a vague sense of dread to guide her, Bronwen is forced to put her trust in the eccentric and willful Felix Cavara and his eternal curse – immortality.

Review:

This was another freebie from Amazon that I randomly decided to read one day between library books. I grabbed it because it was free, of course, but because it sounded interesting and had a shorter page count.

This book is pretty quirky if you ask me–which made it fun to read. There where quite a few times that I smiled or chuckled to myself because I really loved Felix’s wit. It really made the book a light, easy read that was just what I needed between my heavier, darker themed books.

Despite a plot that felt slower to me, I went through the pages pretty quickly. Don’t expect some high action novel with tons of fighting and high levels of suspense. There were definitely moments of action but it was pretty minor and it was suspenseful at times. I didn’t find it predictable (I never would have guessed the ending) though it was easy to follow. It was fun to read and to try and figure out what was going to happen to Bronwen and company.

Conclusion:

This book was like reading a modern faery tale with more supernatural elements to it. If you go in expecting a more light hearted novel with paranormal and supernatural elements, you will like this book for what it is.

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural
Recommended for: 15+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: third person
Similar Reads: Devoured by Amanda Marrone

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Series Review: All that Glows by Ryan Graudin

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for All that Glows (from Goodreads):

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

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Series: All that Glows
Author: Ryan Graudin
# of Books: 2 (All that Glows, All that Burns)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Faeries, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2014 – 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Single Sunday standalone review of the first book of the series. I have opted not to pick up the sequel.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was really excited to read this novel because it has been a long time since I read a faery based novel and this one had a very interesting premise that hooked me in.

The Plot:

I think if you are expecting this book to be an action-packed young adult novel–you will be disappointed. While Emrys is powerful in the Guard, she isn’t a hands-on fighter as she mostly uses magic to disarm her enemies: so there are no big action scenes. I also found that the scenes where she confronts enemies are few and far between so that was disappointing though the end of the novel has a bit more action.

The Romance:

This book mostly focuses on the romance between Emrys and the prince (Richard) which was really fine by me because I wasn’t expecting a high action novel (though I would have enjoyed it!). I wish there was more interaction between the two (though it does improve later in the book) so that their relationship with each other isn’t simply based on the “connection” they have. Because this is a world of magic, I understand that something more is happening between them and it did improve as the novel progressed so that made me happy. I just wish that Richard was a few years older than 17 because I felt like he was older based on the events that unfold.

As for the plot of the “ancient force” I enjoyed the premise and how it unfolded. I wasn’t entirely sure how it was going to end so I enjoyed that aspect of it. I just wish it was a little more suspenseful along the way because it felt a little dull at times: I think it was a little bit too long and could have been a few pages shorter as a result.

updates

–January 31, 2015– Book #2: All That Burns

I coincidentally found out that this book now has a sequel when I was browsing my “New February Books” list on Goodreads today. I’m undecided about whether or not I will read this sequel. At this time, I have opted not to read it but if becomes available at my library, I might randomly grab a copy on day just to see what happens next–but I’m not dying to do so.

Series Rating: 3/5

overall

Nothing really wowed me about this book. I liked it but I wish it just had that little umph to it to make it that touch more memorable. If you want a slower paced faery-magic novel with a dash of romance, you will probably enjoy this!

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Series Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

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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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Immortals (from Goodreads):
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.

Evie’s only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie’s feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.

breakdown

Series: Immortal Series
Author: Gillian Shields
# of Books: 4 (Immortal, Betrayal, Eternal, Destiny)
Book Order: Chronological, Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Paranormal, Witches, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2009 – July 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I have not read book 4, Destiny, in the series prior to this review. I will probably never read it either.

My Review:

I read Immortals because it was recommended to me by my recent book purchases a few years ago. It had all the makings of a series I would love but it just fell flat for me and here’s why:

1) I didn’t like Evie–at all. She bored me to tears and was a selfish idiot at times. I didn’t like her relationship with Sebastian either. And because the first two books focus mostly on her, I just couldn’t get into them.

2) The plot is dull. Witch stories aren’t my favourite books ever and this is no exception. I just didn’t like the plot as it didn’t grab my attention.

3) I slowly started to dislike characters I had once liked. Sarah was my favourite character in the first two books, so I was excited when she was the focus of the third book, Eternal. But I didn’t enjoy her character development in it and I didn’t enjoy the plot so it was really blah to me.

4) Teenage angst. ‘nough said

Perhaps I was just too old for these books but I think if I read them when I was 16 I would be bored and sad that this is how girls act.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

Those who like slower plots with a dash of mystery to them and can tolerate selfish characters will like this supernatural series. But it can be boring so if you don’t enjoy the first book, Immortal, don’t bother with the rest.

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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon Series #1)

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Book Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Standalone Review: Catch my thoughts on this book!

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Series: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
# of Books: 1 2 (The Ring and the Crown, The Lily and the Cross)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: YES

This was originally going to be a trilogy but Melissa announced on her blog in March 2016 that it would be a standalone novel. The sequel was written as a draft and it is available for purchase though no further work will be done on the series.

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Magic, Romance, Drama, Alternate History
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

I’ve read most of Cruz’s Blue Bloods saga (one book to go!) and enjoyed it for the most part. It was a cool spin on vampires and angels and I loved the more mature young adult feel to it. While the series went on longer than I would have liked (it felt like it dragged at times), I really liked her writing style and her ability to write interesting characters and plots. So when I saw this book, my interest was peaked.

What really sucks is that the Goodreads synopsis (read it here) really gives the reader the wrong first impression about this book. When you read the synopsis, you think this book will focus on two best friends stuck in political and royal turmoil–but that is only half of the case. If you get the actual physical copy of the book like I did and read the synopsis there, you get a completely different plot summary–and one that is much more accurate to what the novel is about. That synopsis is the one I have decided to use for my review and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

Long story short: if you are expecting a novel about two girls fighting for the crown complete with lots of offensive magic spells and evil politics abounds–you will be severely disappointed. This book is mostly about 4 girls trying to find their place in a world where they are restricted by society, politics and simply for being females.

Once I figured out what the plot actually was, I started to enjoy the novel. Like her other series, this book focuses on multiple main characters that all interweave in the plot–which makes it that much more interesting if you ask me because there was a lot going on plot-wise. It’s fun to see how everything links together and it keeps the pace of the book on the faster side because multiple things are happening at once.

I was a little lost trying to keep everyone’s lineages straight but once I got more into the story, things started making more sense and I really started to get wrapped up in everything. The plot synopsis is really deceiving again because you think the story will mostly focus on Aelywn and Marie but Aelywn really doesn’t do much for the entire book. I found the book mostly focused on Ronan and Marie with little spurts of Aelywn and Isabelle thrown in. I actually didn’t mind so much because I was really interested in Ronan’s story but I really think Aelywn really could have been developed more and made a really awesome character.

When I was reading, it was really unclear to me if this book was a part of a series because it ended really suddenly yet it seemed to wrap everything up–and I really disliked the ending because of that. Suddenly things that happened “off-stage” are brought to light and it ruined what would have been an awesome ending if they had been more developed instead of simply stated as fact. Looking back at the novel as a whole, it took too long to reach its climax but I still enjoyed reading it.

So if there is a sequel, I’m really interested to see where it is going–because up until the last chapter I was totally on board with what was going to happen in the sequel but the ending really threw me for a loop. Turns out that there is a sequel and based on the synopsis I read it sounds like it is the same cast of characters but with new games afoot. I will probably check it out just for curiosities’ sake but I won’t be counting down the days.

**NOTE: This was going to be a series but the author has decided to keep it as a standalone!

Conclusion:

I think if you go in to this book understanding what is really going to happen with the plot, people would enjoy it more. But frankly the plot descriptions provided to the reader don’t fully explain what is happening. If you are looking for a young adult read filled with magically and politically suspense–look elsewhere because this isn’t it. There is no other way to describe this book other than “chick lit” because the book mostly focuses on the romances of the girls and them trying to find their place in the world. There is a dash of suspense, but it really isn’t present until the last 40 pages. I enjoyed it once I got a grasp of what was happening, but I wish the ending was better. I think de la Cruz missed the mark a bit with this book which is a shame because it would have been really great.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Synopsis for The Ring and the Crown (from Chapters/Indigo):
Magic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a formidable castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.

As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth.

But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires.

Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn”t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry.

When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

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Series Review: The Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey

Series Review: The Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey

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

 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Breath of Frost (from Goodreads):
In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author
Series: The Lovegrove Legacy Trilogy, Witches of London
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches, Magic, Historical, Romance, Mystery
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2014 – May 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (#1-2); Scribd–eBook (#3)

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.**

Once I started the Drake Chronicle Series by Alyxandra Harvey, she quickly became one of my favourite authors. I just loved her writing style, her fun characters and the cute romances. Though I didn’t completely love the last few books in the Drake Chronicles, I still like reading her works so I was excited to read another series by her.

I’m not the biggest witch fan–I tend to not enjoy the books featuring witches but I changed my mind for two reasons: 1) I’ve really enjoyed Claudia Gray’s new Spellcaster series which is about witches and 2) I love historical young adult reads. So I decided to give it a shot.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Breath of Frost. It was fun and had a lot going on so I never found it dull plot wise. I found though that there was too much detail or it would drag in descriptions so my mind would wander and I would miss important plot changes, causing me to have to flip back and reread a few bits to get a handle on what is happening. But once I did, I figured out what was happening.

I really liked all the characters. The cousins are a lot of fun to read about have each have unique personalities that makes reading about them enjoyable. A Breath of Frost mostly focuses on Emma though but there are bits and pieces of the other characters. I see that the rest of the trilogy will focus on a different cousin but still have the other two cousins present as was the set up in this book.

updates

–October 29, 2014– Book #2: Whisper the Dead

I loved reading Whisper the Dead. It was so much fun to read because Gretchen is the best. She is everything you expected in a witch who rejects polite society so I enjoyed her character immensely. But even if Gretchen isn’t your cup of tea Emma and Penelope make numerous appearances throughout. I found this book never slumped; the plot was always moving in some direction. I found the details didn’t bog me down so much this time so I really liked that. I think fans of the first novel will enjoy this one just as much, if not more 🙂

Book 3? It hasn’t been picked up by the publisher but lets hope one day we get to see this series wrap up!

–July 21, 2020– Book #3: The Bone Witch

I was so sad when I found out this series had been dropped but the publisher before the final book could be released. And while this novella is a great way to wrap up a series that was just reaching its peak, I can’t help but feel like we were robbed of an epic finale.

Series Rating: 4/5

A Breath of Frost 4/5 | Whisper the Dead 4/5 | In a House Made of Bones and Teeth 4/5

overall

It was a lot of fun to read and is a refreshing plotline for the young adult genre. Fans of witches and historical fiction will love the blending of the two in this series!

Read if You Like: witches, magic, girl power
Avoid if You: dislike historical fiction

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