Friday, December 4, 2015

Visions by Kelley Armstrong

 Ugh, I am so torn!!!
(sequel to Omens)

I absolutely loved this book, just like the first! While Olivia managed to clear her parent's names of two murders of the eight, there are still plenty of mystery ahead. Such being what about the other four murders and what secrets does Cainsville contain?

Gabriel and Olivia continue their partnership, despite some hitches along the way, and Ricky has made a more prominent place in the story this time around which leads to my internal conflict. Ricky is such a charming character being a dashing and caring man. We can't help but like him, but seeing as I am Team Gabriel, I found myself not exactly thrilled by Ricky's presence. But at the same time, how can one hate some good steamy romance?! What is a girl to do?

Despite the blossoming romance, we also get to know the secrets of Cainsville, and to what exactly Olivia is. Cainsville is definitely not all that it seems... prepare yourself! There's plenty of mystery, murder, and omens ahead! Tread carefully, fellow readers!  

Lauren - 4 stars

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Omens by Kelley Armstrong

 Well, well Kelley Armstrong. Nicely done.
I must say I liked your books when I was a teen, and now I'm enjoying your books as an adult. Or should I say really enjoying? Cuz hot damn I tore through this like a ravenous animal.

Armstrong starts off with a simple life and a complicated girl; Olivia Taylor Jones. First a rich, well known socialite, suddenly thrown into the harsh spotlights of the media when it is revealed that she is the daughter of renowned serial killers, The Larsens.

Instead of sitting around crying about it, even when the people around her prove utterly useless and unreliable, Olivia takes matters into her own hands and seeks refuge. She finds it Cainsville, a mysterious, small, yet quaint town. It is here that she also meets Gabriel, a ruthless lawyer and this, in my opinion, is where the real adventure begins.

I liked how even though there are small descriptors given to our characters, Armstrong gives even better personality shape. I fell in love with our characters just by who they were rather than what they looked like which was nice. I wasn't forced to deal with the cliche, "he was dreamy, with wind-swept black hair I longed to tousle, and eyes so green they swept me away to the Irish fields!"

Kelley also did a fantastic job of tinging a mystery with paranormal. It wasn't all about Olivia's gift, they just helped move the story and mystery along. They helped increase the climax of a dangerous moment, or unveil more complications in an already messy situation! All books can be also easily swept away with romance, but Omens seemed to promise it more for the future, and build the tension leaving readers wanting more. (Oh, do I want more.)

Some might say that there were too many questions, but this book doesn't feel like your average book. The ending doesn't wrap up the way I'm used to, leaving things feeling slightly unfinished, which in an odd way, I enjoyed. It made me more eager to pick up the next book. There are many questions readers have, many Welsh words that are left untranslated, but at the beginning of the book Kelley promised that we would find out at the pace of Olivia. So I decided to be patient and wait, as frustrating at times as that may be!

 Lauren - 4 stars

My review to the sequel, Visions, is here! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

  Wow, Wow, WOW!!! Sooo much better! 
                           (third installment after Crown of Midnight)

I was agonizing over the first two books. It would be so good one second then so angsty, dramatic, and cheesy. This one started out with a little angst with Celaena being in a new country with no allies, but it progressively got better.

Celaena takes on the name she was born with, Aelin, and with this change she morphs into womanhood, becoming more comfortable with herself, her powers, heritage, and her role as Queen. She aims for change, and keeps a promise made to her dead friend in her heart. But it was moving to see her make personal progress with the troubles of her life and past. Not to mention, we get to meet Rowan.

Aelin's strict, battle harden, elven teacher. Yum. Team Rowan, please!
Besides the delicious side dish we are introduced to, we get to follow a new character line of blood thirsty witches. I found their story to be a tad distracting when I was more enamored with Aelin's, but I suppose it will lead to something important...eventually.

It does give hints as to what Dorian's father is up to, (nothing good, obviously). There is also some personal progression with Dorian and Chaol. We're left with a giant, frustrating cliffhanger, alas but I was quite thrilled with where Maas is taking her tale!

Lauren - 5 stars

My review for Queen of Shadows

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson

            An adorable story, really.


 Some might say it's predictable, and while it is, readers must keep in mind the audience this book was intended for.

Isaveth is a poor girl who dabbles in Common Magic. She is sweet, full of gusto, loyal, and clever. Together with her new found friend, Quiz, they're the Detective Duo of the streets! They try to solve the mystery of a murder, one her father was wrongly accused of. We get a feel of this little magical world as the two explore and experience their surroundings and the people in it. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Anderson wrote a well paced and fun book, and I felt in some ways this book was realistic: not all stories get a fully resolved ending. Some reviewers said they felt the religious aspect of Isaveth's life wasn't really working for them, but honestly I did not mind it all that much. I felt it gave the book the extra twist of despair that it needed to make things harder for our main characters.

If I had to choose a favorite for me, it's definitely Quiz with his pure, innocent love, his strong desire for justice, and his bravery. I can't wait for more! 

Expect the sequel sometime of October of 2016!

 Lauren - 3 stars

Vision In Silver by Anne Bishop

The linchpin in this series!!
(third installment after Murder of Crows)

Vision in Silver felt like one of the books that is used to give information and progress the story along. Not to say it was boring, it wasn't.

A lot of the story revolved around Meg and the delicacy of being a Cassandra Sangue. Between the adjustments of trying to keep Meg stable and work with her needs, even the more peculiar ones, we're also caught up in a slowly progressing war.

Humans are rebelling against The Others, and also killing off the newly discovered Cassandra Sangue which is causing a fast peak of tension in what was once a peaceful community. Things are falling out of Simon's control, and we are introduced to something infinitely more powerful than the creatures of the lot that we've slowly gotten to know.

All in all, the story progressed nicely, and we were left with a somewhat peaceful ending, although that peace is more than likely temporary with the way things are going. Meg and Simon's relationship status is also as slow as ever, but hey we've still got two more books, right? Right? 

Lauren - 4 stars

Coming to a book store near you March 8th, 2016: 
Marked in Flesh!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Easily the best book this year!!

How does one describe a book so magical and captivating that you will stay up until 6am to read it?

 (Guilty as charged.)

Uprooted was sexy, intriguing, honest, and just all out well written and constructed.
Like a drink of cold water when one is thirsty for something more, I was enraptured and satisfied by this book.

What will you get when you buy said book? 

A delicious cover, an adventure, unique world building, complex and wonderful characters, and best of all an unforgettable experience.

Nieshka is a wild, headstrong, nature loving girl who is whisked away into a world of magic. Counter that with the Dragon: an uptight, magician who adores beauty and perfection, and prepare yourself to be amused as they pair up to counter an evil, living forest that contains terrible horrors within.

 Novik doesn't keep the book PG by any means, which helps make the book feel more real. She composes her literature to unfold naturally with smooth progression, making it easy to fall into pace and become one with Nieshka's world. I dare not reveal more and ruin any surprises for you, but I must insist if you are a lover of reading, give this one a try. I do not think you will regret it.

Lauren - 5 stars

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

 Endearing and sweet! 

 (third book after Hero)

 Just like that the magical trilogy of an oddball family is over. *sniff* It was nice while it lasted though.

Finally, it is Friday's chance for romance! Things get interesting when she stumbles upon seven slumbering men in a tall tower. She must help them turn back into humans permanently before it is too late for there is a Kingdom at risk, and truths to be revealed.

This story plays on the Wild Swans and Goosegirl tale that Kontis cleverly combines into a heartwarming and tragic sibling tale. The magic was enchanting, the romantic cliches adorable, and some of the harsh realities were eye opening since not everyone can have a perfect happily ever after. Dearest was definitely a good end, for our sweet Friday finally finds love and grows into her unique gifts. Alas, I couldn't help but feel that so many questions of the series were left entirely unanswered. 

Luckily though, I recently discovered that release of Trix's tale! I'll have to read that soon and figure out what happened to our playful, adopted fairy child!

All in all though, Kontis did a fun twist on the usual mish mash of fairy tales, and I was thoroughly entertained. I hope to see more from Kontis in the future!

Lauren - 4 stars

Monday, August 17, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

 Once again, I've devoured this series...

(sequel to The Dream Thieves)
As usual, Stiefvater leaves me craving more with each book. I feel like this series is like a crime, and I only get clues piece by piece and its so deliciously frustrating!

 We pick up where our group left off; with a lot of drama. Blue's mother is missing, Blue and Adam's relationship has been injured, while Blue and Gansey's relationship becomes more desirable and forbidden. Noah's ghost status is still unstable and unpredictable, and Adam and Ronan's relationship is still left in question as they both struggle to understand their new found abilities.

Whew. Take a second to absorb all that.

We get to meet some new characters in this book, which really changes the game play this time around. Readers also get to discover more about the Raven King, but also more about another mysterious entity similar to the Raven King but much more ominous and evil who should remain unawakened. To add to the already building tension of this series, Stiefvater leaves this book with a cliffhanger that will leave you feeling robbed

Lauren - 5 stars


I am absolutely craving the next book! Bring on The Raven King! 

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

Alternate universes and witches? 
Sign me up!

I found Trial by Fire to be interesting and intriguing with it's tale of alternate universes with a twist of magic. As we all know, our heroine Lily ends up in a different universe where there is another version of her, who is powerful and supposedly cruel. This part of the book is where the story gets interesting. At first though, as much as I hate to say it, Lily is completely and 100% a pathetic Mary Jane. Sick and weakly, and hung up romantically on an obviously douche-y best friend, when Lily finally left her universe I could only hope that she would get it together and woman up!

It took a little time, and some 'woe is me' moments, but I was happy to see Lily start to come into her own, and become open to her unique powers. There were a couple typical things that I felt could've been more refined, for example Lily discovers that she can speak to her sister in this new universe through her mind. Guess what they call it? Mind-speak. Surely there could be a better name for it?
Despite this though this new world is fascinating, with it's magical willstones that define their owners and become such a part of them, that it's painful and/or intimate to touch another's stone. Other unique points were that their ideals were different from ours as in nudity does not faze them, and their world has monsters that are disgusting, terrifying, and carnivorous.

There are sisterly bonds of love, dark secrets, possible universes linking together, an ominous and ongoing war, and of course a sexy love interest, Rowan. Who could ask for more? The ending left me feeling slightly confused, nervous, and yet still somewhat excited. I can only hope that Angelini will introduce more of this magical world and an even stronger more independent heroine in her sequel!

Lauren - 4 stars

Coming this September! 

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

Magical and exciting! Another winner from Victoria Schwab.

Imagine if you had magic: the ability to travel from one parallel universe to the next. Pretty awesome, right? 

Welcome to Kell's everyday life.
At first a slow start, I found myself soon wrapped up in Kell's plight. His troubles begin with his irresistible urge to collect items from the other Londons that he visits. Tricked into smuggling over an extremely dangerous magical item, Kell must rise to the face the consequences or risk losing his London, as well as the others.

Schwab gave great details and emotional connections in this book that helped bring the different worlds to life. I could almost feel the dustiness of Grey London, the chill of White London, and the glow of the Red London. It was fascinating to know that each was connected, but became unconnected when Black London became corrupted and devoured by it's magic. Each character was unique, strong, and brave in their own way, but Schwab built powerful connections. I simply loved Kell and Lilah. Lilah is so headstrong and spunky, it's hard not to like her! I was easily ensnared, with the strength and connection of them, and there were plenty of things left open to amp up excitement for the next book.

Lauren - 4 stars  

Shit is going down!! Feb 2016! 

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

Definitely not what I was expecting...

I feel like I missed this hype train for sure, seeing all these stellar five star reviews. And when I say missed the train, I mean I feel like I jumped off at full speed to tumble messily in the dirt. I admit, I went in with high hopes since I was a big fan of Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series, despite the drama of it. I realize Vincent is kind of a bubblegum literature author; drama to the max, but so bad that it's good. This was not one of those.

Stars Never Rise uses the Church as the strict, controlling regimen to a demon based story which might have been interesting, if the writing wasn't so lacking. To put it basically, our main heroine, Nina, was a bore, it was all just a big snooze. Predictable and cliched.

One defining moment of said cliche-ness was that fact that when Nina is running home, trying to stay under the radar, she encounters a situation where there is something in the bushes. Logically, a person would book it over that fence instead of spending ten minutes debating whether it be dog or demon but oh no, no. Then, when she gets herself saved, she presses upon the fact that she needs to make a quick escape before she's discovered, but still takes the time to reach out and push his hood back so she can see his face. Apparently not so much in a rush as she said she was...

I stumbled through this book, and when we finally reunite with her disgustingly, insta-love interest Finn, I was seriously puzzled. 

It was weird.
It was almost like Vincent was going for a unique, love overcomes all approach but it was just strange. Finn isn't a demon, but he has no body, and simply goes from body to body as he pleases. To make matters more bizarre, we don't find this out until after Nina shares a passionate kiss with him. Once she joins with Finn's group of friends, or group of exorcist rebels, we find out the truth and also discover that the guys in the group are rather okay with sharing their body with Finn when he needs it. Even when it comes to kissing. Uhm, what? Dare I even mention the awkwardness of Nina kissing several different men with Finn inside?

The only thing that would compel me to read the sequel is to find out wtf is up with Finn's...incorporeal situation. Otherwise, I was not impressed.  

Lauren: 2 stars