Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

This is the FOURTH and final book in the Seven Realms series. Click each title to read my reviews of The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, and The Gray Wolf Throne.
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed—Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.

Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana’Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.

Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
I can't believe it's actually over.
It's heartbreaking, really. 
I feel like I've devoted so much time to this series-- I even preordered this, the final book, back in April and waited (and waited and waited....) until October 23rd for it to be released. Pathetic, I know.
I don't think I can say it enough-- I absolutely love this series. And I know it's super lame but I really am heartbroken that it's over. I thought this was such a wondrefully written conclusion, even though at times it felt a little less....climactic.... than I was expecting. After my review of The Demon King, I've totally eaten my words. Ever since then I've been trying to make up for it.
I was impressed with how much Raisa had grown between the last book and now. She was more gutsy and fierce and brave now as Queen of the Fells than she ever was as princess. She's someone I'd want to hang out with... but never get on her bad side! The same goes for Han. He has always been a little rough around the edges (in an endearing way) but in this book, I really felt like he came into his own and embraced his bloodline. Again, he's someone I'd want to get to know, but not if I was on his hit list.
There were so many secrets that were brought to light in this conclusion that at times I felt like my head was spinning. Throughout the entire story, it was difficult to tell who was actually fighting for good and who was secretly wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in their path. Many times, someone good was causing trouble and someone bad was trying to redeem himself or herself--even if it was only momentarily.
This book was full of betrayal and heartache and adventure and love. Everything I expected from Cinda Williams Chima and more. If you haven't read this series yet, I very highly recommend it. This is honestly my favorite series I've ever read. Don't get stuck in the first book and give up. It is slow at first but by the end of the book, you'll be dying to continue the story in the next 3 books. I promise!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Existence by Abbi Glines

What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn't cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.

This was a book that I quite liked...if it weren't for the characters' horrifically stupid names. Actually, if we're to a point in our friendship that we're sharing secrets, I even went so far as to change their names in my head because it was so distracting. C'mon. Pagan? Leif? And the winner of the worst name of a hot main man EVER? Dank. Seriously. Dank. You know that that means? Soggy. Musty. Disagreeably damp. Really? Does that make you swoon?? It kind of makes me want to gag. I hope this author doesn't have children, or I pity them for the bullying they'll undoubtedly receive because of "unique" (cough, cough--TERRIBLE!) names picked in poor judgement.

As for the actual story, I liked it. Enough so that I plan on purchasing the sequel (in which the made up names in my head will live on...). It wasn't a very long book--only about 200 pages, which was nice because it was easy to get into the fast-paced story and there wasn't much fluffy filler. I had a hard time choosing which stud muffin I was rooting for out of the two guys Pagan is torn between- up until the very last page when a bomb is dropped and you're left thinking, What in the holy crap just happened?? I have to read the next one, like, right now!!! WHAT IS GOING ON?????????????????

Read it, and you'll experience this too. Some people may not love when books end like that, and sometimes even I am not so cracked up about it. But in this case, it worked. And a plus for all you Kindle-readers-- this book is available on Amazon right now for only $4.99! (And the final two in the series are only $3.99!)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, "For Darkness Shows the Stars" is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

I have always been a diehard Jane Austen fan. Honestly, I remember watching Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and Emma with my mom when I was little. I loved them! Then as I got older and discovered her novels (and was old enough to understand them) I fell in love all over again. But I have to say, out of all of Jane Austen's books, Persuasion is probably my least favorite. However, when I read about this book-- a dystopian take on Austen, I was intrigued.

While the beginning of this book is just as slow as the original, I still quite enjoyed it. I really liked that there were past letters between Elliot and Kai that were woven into the story between chapters.  The letters gave more insight into how Elliot and Kai got to the strained and hateful point in their relationship that they were when they were introduced in the book. I thought it was helpful in understanding the book overall. And since it is a dystopian, be prepared for some strange supernatural elements. Just an FYI.

Granted, I felt like there were some holes in the storyline, but overall I did like this book and I would recommend it. If you are a Jane Austen fan, but sometimes want an updated, fresh take on her stories, this may just be the book for you.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

This is the SECOND book in a series.
Read the super awesome Juliet Immortal before you read this. You can also read my review of Juliet Immortal by clicking HERE.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.

Why, oh why do I have such a difficult time trudging through sequels? What is the matter with me? I think I'm broken. :(

I LOVED the first book in this series, Juliet ImmortalI kept having recommendations for it pop up on Amazon, and since me and good ol' Will Shakespeare don't exactly get along, I kept passing over it. Finally I checked it out from the library....and practically devoured it. Really. I was not my best self-- sweatpants, frizzy hair, glasses, and all... Good thing it was only for one day! Anyway, after being shocked and amazed at my deep love for a Romeo and Juliet that are constantly beating the crap out of each other and either trying to save (Juliet) or destroy (Romeo) true love, I was so anxious to read the next book in the series (this).

So, let's get to the big question. Did I like this book as much as the first? Of course not! But I did like it. There were some strange transitions between chapters (they switch back and forth between Romeo and Ariel). There were a few when I had to go back and check to make sure I hadn't missed anything and then I had to read a few pages into the chapter before anything made sense. Other than that, I really liked most of the story--especially the ending. I felt like the author did a great job of tying the two books together and giving both Romeo and Juliet what they deserved in the epilogue (whether good OR bad...). While it didn't quite live up the the amazingness of Juliet Immortal, I was still satisfied with this book as a whole and the way everything ended. 

I hope you get a chance to read both of these books. I thought it was such a fun, different, interesting take on an old classic that I have never fallen in love with...until now. READ THESE!!

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Release Date: October 2, 2012
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

When I first read the description for this book, I was thinking Pirates?? Magic? Assassins?? Count me in! And then I started reading...

It's not that this book was bad. It was just SLOW. And have I mentioned how sick-to-death I am of endings that just, well, end? Yes, I loved The Selection by Kiera Cass which ended very abruptly, then I read The Vicious Deep which I also liked, but the ending-in-the-middle-of-the-story made me roll my eyes and fight frustration. So by the time I got to this book, I had little or no patience for stupid endings where nothing gets resolved. At all. 

Other than that, I thought the storyline was pretty decent. I wish there were more pirate-y moments (No one even says Argh! Ha.) and more I'll-kill-you-before-you-even-have-a-chance-to-blink moments. Although the altercation between Naji and a pirate named Atano was pretty awesome. It was kind of what I expected most of the story to be though. Sadly, that may have been the most action in the book. And I'm talking about any kind of action. (Wink, wink.) No really though, if you wanted romance, this is NOT the book for you. Come to think of it, if you wanted violence, thievery, spells, and all manner of bad behavior, you most definitely picked the wrong book.

I know I'm pretty much talking you out of reading this book, but I have to say, even with the obnoxious drop-off ending and lack of everything I expected this book to be, I am intrigued enough to try out book two in this series whenever it is released. (Hello, this just came out last week. It'll be a while.) 

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Release Date: September 11, 2012
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
I absolutely loved this book. Despite the slow get-go, I couldn't (and didn't want to!) put this down. Cat was someone I could easily relate to, which made her all the more lovable. I enjoyed her interatctions with her family-- both past and present, although the book definitely spends more time with her 16th century ancestors. I instantly liked Alessandra and Cipriano, and even Lorenzo, who Cat tries desperately (and in vain) to avoid. 
As the book progresses, Cat learns to lower the barriers around her heart and let not only her family in, but also Lorenzo. Oh, Lorenzo. He was the type of character that had me wishing I'd stumble across a gypsy tent and be transported straight into the arms of a sexy 16th century Italian aspiring artist. (Swoon.)

Anyway, I loved this book. Loved, loved. It is most definitely worth buying. You'll love the romance, and you'll be dying for more when you get to the end. Blast it all that we have to wait until almost next fall to get another dose of this fun, lighthearted, lovable story.

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back.

 I have been wanting to read this book for months and I finally got to it. The Kindle version is only $6.39 on Amazon right now! I couldn't pass that deal up. So, I bought it, put down the book I had been trudging through, and dove right in. No pun intended. But it IS kind of funny. You know, "vicious deep" and all....

Anyway, as you faithful followers know, I have been struggling lately with reading. Me and books? We are NOT friends at the moment. Well, at least we WEREN'T... until I read this. I couldn't put it down (once I got past the 'What the heck is going on?!?' beginning). While the character development dragged and I didn't really love any of the characters, they grew on me throughout the book. And the story was interesting enough to have me wanting to read the next one- The Savage Blue due out next year. 

Mermaids and sirens and the like have been trending in the YA world it seems like. This year especially with books like Wrecked and Of Poseidon and Lost Voices (although this was released last year). I've been so excited to read these! Are there any books with this particular theme that you've been really looking forward to?

Well, I know that I've been a bit sporadic with my posts, but I finally feel like I am getting back into the swing of things. I promise if you don't see another post this week, I'll be back next week for sure.

Happy Reading!