Book Reviews

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard *Spoiler Free* Review

27188596Synopsis: Victory comes at a price.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

*Spoiler Free*

My Thoughts:  Being the conclusion to such a great series, I was so excited to read War Storm, almost to the point of nervousness.  After all this time, I wanted an amazing and epic finale and had high expectations.  It felt so good to be back with these characters that I have grown to love and invest in.  Just like in the previous books, I loved that Aveyard just jumps right in to the action at the start.  There were so many layers and plot lines, that I never had any idea where the story was going to go.  This book, while it does have some of the great battle scenes we’ve come to expect, focused a lot on the politics and the inner workings of each kingdom, which I thought was interesting.  I loved the involvement and development we got with Montfort- and how the relationships with them affected all the characters individually.  We got a ton of different perspectives in this book, more so than the others, and I thought they all worked really well in developing the plot, and never felt overwhelming or confusing.  It definitely made it more of an ensemble story than just Mare’s, which I think might have taken away some of it’s “umfph”.  Evangeline Samos is without a doubt my favorite character, and she has the best arc in this book, while the rest of the characters stay, more or less, the same.  There were several big events spread out throughout the book, and while I loved all of them, I sort of wish we would have had a bigger, stronger build up to the final confrontation.  While the last battle was exciting, it sort of felt anticlimactic and unsatisfying for the end of the series.  The very ending is left open, which also disappointed me a bit.  I like a strong, concrete ending, especially in a finale, and found this one to be a bit underwhelming.  Overall, I loved being back in the world of Red Queen and being back with these characters again, seeing where they all ended up.  I just wanted a slightly bigger and more explosive finale to what was a wonderful series.

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Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

We Other by Sue Bentley Blog Tour

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We Other with quote V2Summary: Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie.  She is linked to a world where humans- ‘hot bloods’- are disposable entertainment.  Life on a run-down estate — her single mom’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend — become the least of Jess’s worries.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review!*

My Thoughts: There have been so many faerie books coming out recently, and I was excited to see the take on them in this book.  We Other started out really strong.  The opening grabbed me, and I loved the transition from the past into the present.  Our heroine, Jess, was a spunky and angsty teen, with too much responsibility on her shoulders, due to her mom’s drinking and abusive relationships.  I think her mom’s history, that we find out in pieces and flashbacks, was my favorite part of the story, and it was cool to put all the pieces together.  The introduction of Caleb and Ivy was a surprise, and the weaving and connecting of all the story lines was really well done.  Jess and Caleb’s relationship felt very inta-lovey to me, and I didn’t buy it 100%.  I liked each of their characters individually, but I didn’t feel a spark between them.  The plot was a little slow moving and anticlimactic, but it was easy to read.  The beginning and the end felt like two different books with where the narrative progressed, and this whole book felt like a set up for the next part of the story.  There were some good reveals, and some exciting moments, but overall it was pretty low-key.  The afterword definitely sets you up for a sequel, and I while I’m not dying for the next book, I would like to see how it turns out.

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About the Author: Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age.  She worked for We Other - Sue author pic 5Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing.  She is the author of the worldwide, bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years.  She also writes for children and adults under various pen names.  A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the every day.  Her books have been translated into around 20 languages.  We Other is her first book for Young Adults.

•Twitter: @Suebentleywords• Facebook: Sue Bentley Author •

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Book Reviews

Everless by Sara Holland Review

32320661Goodreads Summary: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

My Thoughts: I liked Everless.  Was it amazing? No, but it was an enjoyable YA Fantasy novel.  I’ve been excited to read this book ever since I first heard its premise.  The idea is so interesting, but unfortunately the execution just seemed a little under developed.  The origin story of The Sorceress and The Alchemist, which is supposed to explain how the blood-irons came to be, was confusing and didn’t feel fully completed or fleshed out with enough detail.  The first mention of it was confusing and hard to follow, and I just kind of accepted that it had happened somehow and moved on.  They keep coming back to the legend, so I was able to figure out a little more every time, but I still didn’t feel like I had a full grasp on it.  Background info aside, I did still enjoy the concept and the world of the story.  I felt very indifferent about most of the characters.  Jules was a very typical YA heroine, and her “love interest”, Roan, was super boring.  I did like Liam and Caro and thought they were interesting and a little more complex.  The plot of this book started off a bit slower, but MAN did it pick up towards the end.  The last few chapters were awesome and had a bunch of twists that I actually didn’t see coming, which surprised me because the rest of the book had been pretty predictable.  Overall, Everless was a quick and fun read, and after that ending I’m excited to see where the story goes from here!

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Book Reviews

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard Review

30226723In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

My Thoughts: Aveyard does it again! After finishing Glass Sword, I went right on to King’s Cage because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.  I literally trust no one in this series and that makes it so exciting.  I loved how a lot of this book focused on Maven.  He is such a complex and complicated villain.  The more we learned about him, the more I just loved his character, even though he is despicable and I hate everything he stands for.  It’s just so refreshing to find an extremely well written villain.  While Mare is busy as Maven’s prisoner, we get some perspective switches in this book, which I thought was interesting since we’ve never had them before in this series.  Although it was nice to see both Mare’s side and what was happening with the Scarlet Guard and the new bloods, I hated Cameron’s perspective.  She was just so negative and whiny, and I wanted to smack her.  It was giving me major flashbacks to book one Mare, and I couldn’t stand her.  She kind of started to come around towards the end, but it took a lot for me to care about her.  Evangeline on the other hand, is my new favorite character.  We got glimpses of her awesomeness in book 2, but I LOVED getting to read her perspective.  She is fierce and fabulous as hell, and I can’t wait to see what happens to her next.  The ending was crazy.  Blindsided once more.  Trust no one.  I did think Mare was being SUPER unfair to Cal, and I wanted her to get off her high horse and think about his side for a second.  It honestly could go ANYWHERE at this point and May 15th can’t come soon enough!

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Book Reviews

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard Review

23174274Goodreads Summary: If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

My Thoughts: After feeling kind of luke-warm about Red Queen, it took me a while to pick up the second book in this series, but I can safely say that I understand the hype now.  My biggest qualm with the first book was Mare’s lack of involvement in everything that happened to her.  I honestly didn’t really like her and found it hard to find a reason to root for her, except that I knew I was supposed to.  That all changed in Glass Sword.  Mare finally took charge of her situation and I am living for it.  She is more likable, relatable, and real in this book, and I think Aveyard did an amazing job of showing how complicated and dark Mare’s emotional life is after everything that has happened.  It makes sense to me now, after reading the second book, why Mare was how she was in the beginning.  Her journey is a much larger than I had realized.  All of the characters are so much more complicated and well developed in this book, including the tortured and exiled Cal, whom I adore.  I loved the plot with the new-bloods, and finding out about each of their powers was exhilarating.  The immediate action in the first chapter really drew me back into the world, and I appreciated the lack of unnecessary recapping.  The battle scenes were spectacular and gruesome once again, and I was screaming out loud at my book.  They are so incredibly cinematic, and I am dying to see these books on film (and would also die to play Evangeline Samos… hit me up Hollywood).  In addition to all of that, I think my favorite thing about this series is that I have absolutely no idea who to trust, what is going to happen, or how the hell they are going to get out of any of it.  I am so happy that I finally gave this series another shot because I am completely hooked.

Book Reviews

Prism by Nina Walker Review

35999390Goodreads Summary: What if color held the secrets to powerful magic?

Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.

Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

PRISM is the first installment of a unique young adult romantic fantasy series where a dystopian world with a Victorian flair meets the dynamic magic of color!

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review!*

My Thoughts: I loved this book. I am surprised by how much I loved this book.  When I first read the summary, I was interested, but I had no idea what was actually in store.  I am enamored with the concept of color alchemy and the world of Prism.  Walker did a fantastic job of explaining the power and how it works, as well as showing us the futuristic world of New Colony.  I ate up every tidbit of information, that was well dispersed throughout the book, giving us just the right amount to keep us knowledgeable, yet guessing at what was to come.  I loved her reasoning for how this dystopia came to be, and I can’t wait to find out more about the world outside of New Colony.  The main character, Jessa, was so refreshing in a YA dystopian-fantasy.  She wasn’t whiny, had a healthy self-esteem, and a passion for ballet and family.  It was also nice to see a dystopian society from a middle-class perspective, as dystopian heroes tend to be from the lowest class, and we don’t often get to see that side of the world.  The perspective switches between Jessa and Prince Lucas were very effective.  Lucas was a likable narrator, and I really enjoyed his story line and the way it weaved with Jessa’s.  I appreciated the build in their relationship, and though there was a strong immediate attraction, it didn’t feel like insta-love.  There were a bunch of dynamic supporting characters, and all of them were integral to the action.  No one felt unnecessary.  The plot was thoroughly engaging, and it was very easy to read.  Despite a few overly-used, repetitive phrases, I really liked Walker’s writing, and recognized the distinct voices of each narrator while still remaining a cohesive style.  The plot twists were great, and for the first time in a while, I actually didn’t see some of them coming.  I am so happy that I was given the chance to read this fantastic story, and my hopes are high for the next book!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Throwback to My Favorite YA Series

Happy Top Ten Tuesday friends! Today’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is a Throwback Freebie, so I’m throwing it back to some of my old favorite YA series!

  1. Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (2002)

2. The It Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (2005)

3. The A-List by Zoey Dean (2003)

4. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (2000)

5. The Mediator by Meg Cabot (2000)

6. Airhead by Meg Cabot (2008)

7. Magic In Manhattan by Sarah Mylnowski (2005)

8. Pretty Little Liars by Sarah Shepard (2006)

9. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (2001)

10. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (2005)