Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The One with the Top Ten Characters I Woul Want on a Deserted Island With Me (#3)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week a new Top Ten list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their own choices. 

This Week's Topics is

Top 10 Characters I Would Want on a Deserted Island With Me

For hotness or otherwise.....

1. Celaena (Throne of Glass)
Because she's Celaena. First off, she's snarky and we can complain to each other about our unfortunate circumstances. However, we'd totally be rocking it on the beach. She'll totally make it fun with all her sarcastic wit. Also, she kicks butt. I'm pretty sure she could take on whatever unsavory creature comes our way. 

2. Cress (Cress)
Yes, sweet, adorkable Cress. She's a techie! Sureeee there aren't going to be any technological advances on a deserted island, but I feel like she's a gal who could make a communicator out of coconut and twigs. 

3. Captain Thorne (Cress
Move over Cress, he's mine now. He'd make living on a deserted island bearable with his wit and humor. And hotness. Can't forget that.

4. Hermione (Harry Potter)
One word: magic. You know, so we could actually survive. There's probably a spell out there somewhere for building a boat. And if not, the LeviOsa charm will come in handy for lifting large pieces of wood to build said boat. Also, she's is the brightest witch of her age, so she'll know what to eat and what not to eat. She can make a magical tent or treehouse. And, if all else fails, she could just apparate us out of there.

5. Chaol (Throne of Glass)
Because he's really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Also, he'd take being on a deserted island in stride. And practice sword-fighting on the beach. 
Shirtless.

6. Percy Jackson (The Lightning Thief)
He's the son of the Sea god! We're on a deserted Island in the middle of the ocean! How could I not want this kid? He can use his awesome, watery skills to get us off the island. And make a really cool waterside of some sort. He can make a rainbow for an Isis-message to let people know where we are. 
Also, wit. He makes any situation fun. And not to hard on the eyes either ;)

7. Annabeth (The Lightning Thief
Because, let's face it, where would Percy be without this girl? She's a super genius! Both she and Percy can call in favors with the gods which is always helpful. She's also an architectural genius which means she knows how to build a boat. And while we are waiting for the boat to be built, we can live it out in style with the amazing treehouse I know Annabeth will build. It will put HGTV to shame.  

8. Cinder (Cinder)
She's a mechanic and tinkerer. I feel like with her, Hermione, Cress, and Annabeth, we should be able to build a freakin boat....

9. Katniss (The Hunger Games)
Not gonna lie, I think she's kind a downer. Not a fun as the other people on this list. But, she's hunts. I eat. 

10. Nikolai (Siege and Storm)
Because he's Nikolai. He's also incredibly inventive. And funny. And hot. And intelligent. And snarky. And hot. And sarcastic. And a privateer. And a prince. And hot......

I think I have a pretty good list going here. Honestly, I wouldn't mind being on a deserted island with this motley group of awesomeness. I'd have a blast hanging with all the gals kicking butt, swapping stories, exchanging wit and looking at the gloriousness that is the men shirtless. I think I'd like to hang out on this island a bit soaking up the rays, building campfires, and awesome tree houses (and having fun with water slides and waves a la Percy) before heading out. I'll be sure to mark it on a map so as to come back and visit. 





Monday, July 21, 2014

The One Where I Review THE KISS OF DECEPTION

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
by Mary E. Pearson
Source: Bought (B&N)
Pages: 492
Format: Hardback

Available Now

Goodreads Synopsis: 

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.




This is yet another book that has been making the rounds of the blogosphere as of late. Everywhere I turn it's Kiss of Deception this or Kiss of Deception that. So, naturally, I had to give it a go. 

Before I read:
Initially, before even starting the book I had some reservations. 
1. This was obviously a book focusing on romance. Sure, the summary makes it sound like there is a lot of adventuring and unlocking of secrets, but from what reviews I've read, the men are a big focus of the story.
2. Love triangle. These actually don't always bother me, so long as it's done well. And by done well, I mean she chooses. Sure there can be tension between her and the other guy (because he's obviously going to be uber hot, amirite?), but she still knows who she wants. 
3. Perhaps the most serious of reservations was my hesitations towards Lia. You can see right there in the summary that she flees an alliance. FLEES AN ALLIANCE! Alliances are to smother tensions and prevent countries from killing each other. HOW CAN I GET BEHIND HER ABANDONMENT OF HER COUNTRY? It's selfish. Obviously tensions are high, which is the reason for the alliance in the first place. But, I also totally feel her. See? I'm not completely cold hearted. So, while a bit hesitant, I went into this book with an open mind.

The results?

Those reservations were unfounded. 
Well, at least somewhat. 

This book was good and it was enjoyable, but I wasn't head-over-heels either. It was just solidly enjoyable. 

Somewhat unfounded reservation #1 - This one is somewhat unfounded, not because the romance isn't an integral part of the plot, but because that is not necessarily what Lia focuses on consistently. The romance is integral because you don't know who is who. Therefore, the boys play a big part. BUT, Lia isn't sitting there constantly mooning over them. She's got her own life to live. Now, do the boys entrance upon said life often? Yes. But, eh. I'm not going to say no to two mysterious men. 

Somewhat unfounded reservation #2 - Yes, there is a love triangle. And no, you don't immediately know who she is going to choose. However, she does choose. She even feels bad when she feels that she's played on the other's emotions. Sure, the other is ridiculously good looking too, but, though there may be some instances, she still knows. Good for her.

Also, what I really loved about the love triangle, and it actually kept me reading, was the fact that you don't know which boy is which. That's right. This is a guessing game. You know a prince and an assassin are sent for her, but since both are hiding secrets, you don't know which is which. I thought I might've guessed, but then I kept psyching myself out thinking "well that's what she wants you to think" sort of thing. I enjoyed it. 

Somewhat unfounded reservation #3 - I ended up liking Lia a lot more than I thought I would. Do I agree with her decision? Eh. But I also don't necessarily fault her for it either. Her brothers were given plenty of freedom, but since she was a "first daughter" she was restricted in many areas. I can't hate her for wanting choice. And this girl is fiery. She's got a sharp tongue that can bring a man to his knees. But, what I really loved about her was how hard-working she was. This trait is what redeemed her in my eyes. This chick knew exactly what kind of life she was getting into by leaving. She knew she wouldn't have attendants or an overabundance of food. She knew she'd have to work. 
And she did it anyways. 
I've never seen someone enjoy work so much. I envied her. She went at it with such vigor that I couldn't help but root for her. 
SLIGHT SPOILER: Though, as much as I love her, I do have to say this though: What did she think would happen? She's almost surprised when she hear's stories about threats of war, etc. It was incredibly naive of her and she comes to regret her actions far to late. END SPOILER.



However, this does bring me to a couple of things that made this book good but not great.

1. So, as you know, you're not supposed to know which guy is the assassin and which is the prince. This kept it fun and interesting, but also made me realize that there aren't many differences personality-wise between the two. Also, though this does focus on romance, I also didn't feel like we got to delve deep into either personality enough to get me to love either boy. Neither guy is really fleshed out.  Maybe this is because they are both hiding their identities in this book. Hopefully the second book, since you learn at the end of the first one who's who, will delve deeper into their personalities. Also, kinda insta-attraction. It's why the assassin doesn't kill her right off (crappy assassin in my opinion). 

2. Nothing really happens in this book until the end. The first 3/4 are of Lia's new life and the secretive boys. But the plot doesn't really kick into high gear until the last quarter. The first part was interesting, then it goes through a bit of a dry spell where I wasp like "LET'S GET A MOVE ON!". But it's this last part where we're finally going somewhere and doing something. The plot is finally moving forward. 

Alongside the plot not going anywhere is the world not really being delved into. The world is described and there is a map (lots of extra points for that), but the history isn't delved into. Now, I'm assuming this is following the trope of lots of discoveries and her being lied to or something or other, but still. It could've been delved into a bit more. Again, the history of the world goes alongside the plot where it doesn't really pick up till the last quarter. However, I really did enjoy those little tidbits taken from some of this worlds books in between the chapters. 

Ohhhh how could I forget?! I was so caught up in talking about the plot, the boys, and Lia that I totally forgot another plus in this book. Bindi, Gwenyth, and Pauline. Bindi is the somewhat cross, but really a sweet momma bear owner of the inn/tavern. Gwenyth, the saucy and mysterious barmaid that tells Lia like it is. And Pauline. Sweet, naive Pauline. What I liked most about her was her relationship with Lia. Though she was Lia's servant, they both treated each other as equals and were good friends. Love it. 

Overall:

This book was enjoyable. I ended up liking Lia more than I originally thought I would and liked the guessing game when it came to the guys. However, I believe the lack of plot movement and the fact that I wasn't head-over-heels for either of the boys kept this from being great. However, the last quarter, when things start moving and Lia becomes incredibly determined and really shines and we start learning more about the world and it's history, I got interested. I'm definitely looking forward to book number two. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The One Where I Ramble About My Confusing Feelings Towards THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)
by Erika Johansen
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 448
Available now

Goodreads synopsis:


On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.




Let's face it. Unless you've been living under a rock for about 6 months, you've heard of this book. I have seen raving after raving review of this book with all it's epic high fantasy-ness and intriguing plot and plain but tough in her own way heroine. So, naturally, I went out and spent my money on it. 

ANDDDDDDDDDDDDD

.

..

...

..

.

Eh. I'm not sure.....
Apparently, I missed the "really awesomely fantastic OIWJEFOWEJF" book part. And yet, I didn't. 
Honestly, I really have absolutely no idea how I feel about this book. 

When I finally got my hands on it, I devoured it. This book is huge with really small writing, yet I took ever opportunity to read it. That should mean I loved it, right?
Wrong.
This is one of those books where I was eating up the pages like 

  The book was pulling at me saying "read me, love me, worship meeeeeeee".

Then I finished the book and looked more like this....


And right about now, I have a really unflattering look of confusion upon my face. 

Writing this review? Impossible. How can I  say I loved it, yet felt it lacking in so many places? After finishing this book, I knew I had to get all my thoughts down, no matter how jumbled they were. So, I sat down at work and wrote an e-mail to myself with bullet points of all the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly (because who actually works at work, amirite?)  It's a confusing and messy mixture of words. However, it's really the only way to write this thing. 
So, without further ado, here are my incredibly eloquent, long, and not in the least bit confusing bullet points with both the positive and the negative of this....interesting book. 


  • First off, loveeee the cover and style of this book. It feels so old timey and even had a BUILT-IN BOOKMARK! 

  • It was good. Obviously. Else I wouldn't have devoured it like I did. But, this is one of those books where, after you finish, you're like "wait....what?". Sure, a couple things bugged me during, but after actually finishing and allowing things to sink it, I realized I had many issues. 

  • So...the Caden are supposed to be like super awesome assassins.....except they aren't. Don't get me wrong, Mace is skilled, I get that. Butttttt shouldn't assassins be all lithe and really skilled? Mace is just brute stregth, but I feel as if the assassins could've, ya know, dodged the mace. But they didn't. He took down like 4!? Couldn't one have distracted while another came from behind with a knife or something? Also, SUPER quick fight. I feel that if it had gone into a bit more detail to really show how the Mace beat them, it'd be more believable. But he swung his Mace and sayonara! 

  • Also...how was NO one able to find her? I'm assuming Magic of some sort. Still not sure though.

  • The Red Queen is very one dimensional when you stop to think about it. She's evil for the sake of being evil. But why? Again, I know that this will be discussed (hopefully) in future books, but there could've been a glimpse of her past. Her evilness was definitely mainly the shock factor. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to see why she's evil (and psycho) and I was intrigued by her few chapters, but still left wanting. 

  • I like Kelsea. She's tough and intelligent (somewhat) and though insecure, she holds her own. But I still had issues.

  • Her insecurities. I think it's awesome when a heroine isn't your typical model-pretty. It's realistic because not everyone is going to look like that (myself included). The problem lies in the fact that here she is complaining about being "plain" (overused) yet is quite cruel to a woman who isn't pretty according to her, yet the woman obviously believed so. Example? " and for all the anguish that Kelsea's own reflection had caused her lately, she saw something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful." What's wrong with that? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? Neither Kelsea nor this woman may fit into the "standards of beauty", but it doesn't mean they aren't or that someone won't find them beautiful. Had it just been her complaining about her being plain, I would've been annoyed slightly only because the word was overused, but it was this quote that diminished my view of her. I understand jealousy, but to a girl who has confidence (even if she does have a crappy attitude)?

  • For all her faults, I still liked her. But, I definitely have some issues with her...politics. Look, I'm a realist. I admit it. And Kelsea....is an idealist. So, our....politics...differ. One, I don't really care for when author's shove their beliefs down your throat and unfortunately, that happens. Often. Normally, whether I agree with them or not, if it's subtle I'm totally okay. This was definitely a bit forced. And applicable today. So, since this takes place in the future, it's hinting that basically because things weren't done a certain way, it caused all our problems, eventual downfall, etc. She's definitely and idealist, and I congratulate her on it, but things just aren't that simple. I think that is really the problem. Not so much that we may differ in views, but that she thinks it's just so easy. Politics are NEVER easy. Part of me wants to be like YAY! she's going to be a great leader who cares about helping, but she also has NO grasp whatsoever on politics if she thinks you can just say it and it will happen. There are a lot more factors than that. Sorry girl. 

  • Spoiler (sort of)Also, call me cold and heartless but what she did at the beginning when she gets to the castle was completely and utterly idiotic. This goes along with the whole thinking politics are easy. So....you're going to take you'r whole country to a war which y'all know you ain't gonna win, to save a few? Yes, I'm heartless. Sue me. Like, if she had a fighting chance or thought it through or negotiated or something, then maybe. But WHAT DID SHE THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?! Don't get me wrong. I commend her and even kind of like it, but the fact that she thought that'd be the end of it or that there would be no repercussions is what bothered me. End spoiler

  • I do like the harem of sexy men though. It's a bit weird because they're all older than her, but I do admit, I love myself a silver fox ;) 

  • Also, THEY have a head on their shoulder. Which most likely comes with age. Which is good for Kelsea. I like her, but she's got a lot of growing up to do and I chalk that up to her being raised in a cottage with only two people. She hasn't had an opportunity to learn from anyone else or engage in critical thinking. I'm excited to see where she goes and how she changes and grows up.

  • Oh, and the Fetch! How could I forget about him? He's not in here nearly as much as he should be. Sure, we only catch a glimpse of him, but call me interested. He's mysterious. Though....I'm not actually sure of his purpose.

  • And, surprisingly, the whole world thing didn't bother me that much. Maybe because I expected it? Basically this takes place in the future that went back to medieval times. Now, the explanations for how it came to be or how there were no doctors wasn't exactly logical in my book, but maybe we'll get a better (truer) explanation later on. 

  • Also, I'm definitely over the whole anti-religion thing. Sometimes she handles it well, but very few times. Don't get me wrong, I know that religious systems aren't perfect and have been/are even now corrupt however, to paint all religion negatively and to bring it up often and have it as an integral part is a bit grating. The saving grace? The one good religious guy. I like him. You go adorable, sweet old man. 

  • I did like the random POV changes. They tied in really well and it actually gave us a glimpse of what is actually going on. 

  • Spoiler (sort of - nothing detailed, but overview of plot)
  • After finishing, I just feel like nothing actually happened. She became queen and that's it. Basically. Like it's traveling from the cottage to the castle, some attempts on her life, reaching the kingdom, doing one grand (stupid) gesture, more attempts, one final grand attempt and that's it. It's not necessarily that nothing happened, but nothing was accomplished. End spoiler.
As you can see, those points are all over the place and definitely not in chronological order. Heck, I'm not even sure I hit it all. But, this is all I wrote at the time and I don't really feel like writing even more (heck, this thing is long enough as is!). 

Overall:
So, in case you skipped the rather confusing and jumbled mess that is the review above, here is the run down: 
I both loved it and hated it. This book is good. The main character has potential, though she also has a lot of growing up to do. She's got good ideas and really cares, but is also immature at times. There is a harem of sexy, older men. The villain is more shock factor than anything, but I'm interested to see where it goes. The Fetch is hot. And mysterious. Not in here enough, but I look forward to reading more about him. The world-building isn't A+ and I'm not sure exactly how it works out, but it's definitely different. While some political shoving and religious hating nagged me, it was also ignorable (somewhat - it was just a little bit too much of HERE! HERE ARE MY POLITICAL VIEWS! THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY CORRECT! TAKE THEM! IMPLEMENT THEM! NOWWWW). Also, looking back, I don't feel like the plot really moved anywhere. But I liked it. I think. I don't know. I'm confused....
  
So, remember when I mentioned the harem of silver foxes? Well here's a post full of them so that you'll think reading my long review was worth it. Which it totally was.
You're welcome.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The One Where I'm Waiting On Wednesday (36)


Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we showcase upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

 Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
by Heather Demetrios
Release date: October 7, 2014

Goodreads Summary:

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself. 

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Why I'm Waiting

Honestly, I didn't really think this would be something I'd like. Sure it's a fantasy, but it seems a bit romantic for me. Not that I don't like romance, I just don't like it to be solely romance and have angst. Please save me from the angst. 
But this? There's just something soooo exquisite (yes, I just did that) sounding about it. It's sounds like a truly delectable world just waiting to be delved into. And I admit that the men sound intriguing.  And steamy ;) 



Monday, July 14, 2014

The One Where I Review THREATS OF SKY AND SEA

Threats of Sky and Sea (Threats of Sky and Sea #1)
by Jennifer Ellision
Source: Netgalley
Format: ebook
Pages: 360

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.

Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.

But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.

Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.




This is one of those books that just kinda flies by under the radar waiting to be seen as the gem it is. Honestly, I don't even remember how I came upon this book, but as soon as I read summary, I knew (or hoped) it'd be something I'd enjoy. I was happy to find that it was still on Netgalley and took my chances on getting accepted and I'm so glad I did. 

This book was just all-around enjoyable. Did it still need some work? Yes. But that doesn't mean it wasn't good. I, for one, found myself eager to pick up my Kindle at every opportunity in order to finish it. 

This book follows the basic premises of most fantasy novels, yet was also refreshing.
First off, I really came to adore Breena. She's not exactly your typical heroine what with being a bar maiden and all, yet I loved her all the same. She is spirited, yet has common sense. She tends toward impulsivity, yet she catches herself, thinks things through, and realizes when to hold her tongue and when not to. Example? 

"There are times for defiance, but now is not one of them."
*taken from ARC - may change in final copy.

See?! INTELLIGENT with a healthy dose of common sense! She's been thrown into a situation that isn't exactly in her favor, yet she takes it in stride. She knows things can't always be changed and she accepts it. She tries to change what she can, but she's also understands when things are out of her control. She's simply a breath of fresh air.   

Also, another aspect not often found in books nowadays is a good relationship with parents. Sure, things aren't exactly what they seem when it comes to her dad (gotta make it interesting), but he truly cares about her and she him. They have a loving and caring relationship that adds freshness to the usual horrible/absent parenting. 

This book also has some great secondary characters found in the refreshingly sweet and calming Tregle and bristly, actually-hiding-her-true-emotions Princess Aleta. Add in a greedy, manipulative, heartless king and a too-trigger-happy Lady Katherine and you've got yourselves your villains. 

Another refreshing thing? The romance doesn't overtake the core plot of this book. Look, I'm all for romance, I just hate when characters become obsessed or do stupid things because of said love interest. I like romance, but I don't like it to be the focus. Therefore, it's always refreshing when it's there, but put on the back burner. Caden was sweet and genuine and had a thirst for knowledge. While I wasn't falling head-over-heels for him, I did see why Breena was starting to have feelings for him. 

While the idea of elementals is nothing new, I'm always intrigued by it (also, just starting Avatar so this is helping my obsession. Why haven't I started this series earlier?!). However, I will say the world-building could use some work. I believe some confusion was due to the elemental gifts (they can change the ecosystem) but it was a bit confusing. However, I was still intrigued by the various kingdoms and can't wait for the world to become even more fully fleshed out. 

Overall:
Thoroughly enjoyable. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it actually. While I do feel as if this first book skimmed the top of what this world has to offer, I was more than happy with it. Breena is a breath of fresh air. She's got the fiery attitude, but it's mixed with a healthy dose of common sense. It keeps her balanced, but she's not above rebellion. She's been thrown into a rather unfortunate situation, yet takes it in stride. This book also even threw a surprise my way! While I knew one, I certainly didn't guess the other! This book is a gem that's flown under the radar, but I'm here to make it shine ;) Read it! 





Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The One Where I'm Waiting on Wednesday (35)


Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we showcase upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

What I'm Waiting On


The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
by Marie Lu

Goodreads Synopsis:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Why I'm Waiting:

Before the full blurb was up for this book, I was interested. Lu's short little intro about this book ("X-men meets Assassin's Creed 2 meets Game of Thrones"!!!!) coupled with the absolutely beautiful and enticing pinterest board , I was hooked. And when I read the full blurb? I've gone from interested to GIVE IT TO ME NOW mode. 

I love me a good anti-hero. Someone who blurs the line between good and evil. Someone who has gone through hardships and may do some cruel stuff, yet is also completely understandable (think Celaena). That is exactly the vibe I get from Adelina. Also, this part of the blurb, "I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt" gave me chills. I need this book. 

Add in some hot sounding men, revolution, magical powers, action, and what sounds like some awesome world building and I'm dying to get my hands on this book. I am eagerly waiting on this and you better believe that I will get it the day it comes out. 



Monday, July 7, 2014

The One Where I Review SIEGE AND STORM

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
by Leigh Bardugo
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 432
Available Now

Goodreads Synopsis:

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


My review:

One word:

Sturmhond.


Well, that's my review! 


What.....you guys actually need more than that?
Fine.....


So, since I'm supposed to do a "real" book review, here it is.


This was part of my series re-read in preparation for the third and final book of this trilogy. And, just like the first book, I was blown away yet again. It's the mark of a strong series when reading the book again brings back the same strong emotions as when you first read them. All the heart-ache and emotions came flooding back to me and kept my heart racing. Kudos to you Bardugo.

Siege and Storm starts off a bit slow, but don't let that fool you. It doesn't take long for this book to kick into high gear yet again and take you on one heck of a ride. At the end of the last book you have Mal and Alina fleeing the Darkling after that craziness that was the ending of Shadow and Bone. Alina and Mal think time is on their side. HA! It isn't long before the Darkling shows up in all his evil gloriousness like "you thought you could DEFEAT ME?! PUNY HUMANS!" and all hell breaks loose yet again. And that's just the first couple chapters. Add in questing, political intrigue, fighting, courting, Sun Summoning, new Darkling psycho powers, and you have the plot line of Siege and Storm. While I thought the first part of their journey (questing) would be the entire book and become boring, I was easily proven wrong. This book doesn't contain just one part of their journey, but multiple parts, all flowing seamlessly together to create a story that is full of humor, heartache, blood, and magic. 

But the plot isn't the only part of this book that is phenomenal. Oh, no. The characters are definitely worthy of their own paragraphs of gushing praise.

Alina. Oh, honey. I feel for you. I really do because life is not easy. You always just wanted to blend in, but life threw you for a sucker punch and laughed in your face. But it's okay! Because you can do it! You've grown so much, through the first book and this book. I have faith in you! You're still sometimes insecure and even afraid, but that's okay because it's understandable. Though life isn't exactly on your side at the moment, you hold your own, and for that I salute you. You keep being you girl. Just remember, you're not alone. Some people may not be able to sympathize with you, there are those you can empathize with you and just want to help. Let them.

Mal. My dear, sweet Mal. Though the Darkling is my guilty pleasure, you should be the winner. You're a ridiculously sexy soldier who knows how to take care of himself and those you love. You're honorable, kind-hearted, sexy and truly care about Alina. I know that many people felt you were lacking in this book, but I completely understand you. You were a renowned soldier. You were good at what you did and, most importantly, enjoyed it. You liked what being a soldier entailed. But you gave it all up to save Alina. How can I fault you for that? And every day you continue to do so. But both of your paths are so different. And you gave up everything for her. Everything that made you who you were and it feels as if she isn't giving up anything for you. I totally feel your insecurities in having to be in a situation in which you are the odd ball out. Both of you are part of different worlds now. But never forget, you both also came from the same world. Though people hated the way your relationship was portrayed in this book, I applaud it's realism. Though your paths are different, and it makes staying together that much harder, I know you will prevail. I have faith in you. 

The Darkling. What more can I say about you? I know I shouldn't like you what with you being evil having different plans than our heroes, but I do. So dark and mysterious. You're alluring and delectable, delicious enticing. Though you are not in this book NEARLY as much as you should be, every scene with you in it made me fan myself. Job well done. 

But let's be honest here, the real reason this book is as phenomenal as it is is because of 

STURMHOND

Oh, Sturmhond. You sexy beast you. How you made me swoon with your priceless wit, amazing charm, cocky swagger, and brilliant, strategic mind. I was so smitten by you that I chose you as my date for my first ever YA Prom. Your rakish demeanor and sarcastic nature won be over from the very beginning. I looked forward to every scene you were in and what witty rapport would be uttered from you glorious mouth next. Though Alina is clear in who she chooses take me instead, that doesn't stop you from swaggering into the scene to steal the show. And, though your sarcasm and wit make you absolutely swoon worthy, I must admit that I was smitten by your intelligence. Yes, I love a good 'ol intelligent man. While good looks and sarcasm are always pluses in my book, intelligence tips the balance from gloriously sexy to WOEIFJWOEFIJWIOEFJ. You just keep being the sexy, swoony, cunning pirate you are Sturmhond. Oh, sorry. I mean privateer ;)

And though these are the main characters, I can't forget about the secondary characters. New additions include fighting family duo consisting of the tough-as-nails Tamar and stoic, mountain of a boy, Tolya. Oblivious, yet sweet, David and sharp-tongued Zoya are just a few of the Grisha that return to this story. 

The world that Bardugo has created is phenomenal. So lush and beautiful and full of mythology. I found myself so interested in learning more about the Saints and the political systems of Ravka. Everything was just beautifully done and flowed smoothly together. But this book still sucker punches you in the gut. 

I wasn't ready for the ending when it came. You think everything is fine and dandy them BAM! CHAOS! And I'm over here screaming (in my head, of course) and saying NO NO NO! All sorts of crazy stuff just starts happening! And it's brilliant! Heart-breaking! INSANE! After finishing this book, I was so glad I had Ruin and Rising on hand because there was no way I couldn't know what happens next. 

Overall:

Amazing. Though this is the 2nd time I've read it, it feels like the first time. The magic is still there. While it took a bit to get into it, it blew me away. I will warn you that some people didn't like Mal, and I understand where they are coming from, but I'm totally on Mal's side. His reactions and their development as a couple is realistic, which makes it readable. 
And Sturmhond. 
See gushing paragraph above.