ARC: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

Goodreads Synposis

From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom.

Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.

Commentary

During my stay in Tres Palos, Guerrero, Mexico, I had a lot of time to read while vacationing with my grandparents. My family’s hometown is rural, and my grandparents do not have WiFi. It was an interesting week for me as I got a lot of reading done! Also, wow, first review this year!

Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of Tiger Queen for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I chose Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan as one of my vacation books as the premise was interesting, and it was a standalone book. What I had expected was a tale of mystery, deception, and overall an epic tale. Tiger Queen was not that. instead it was extremely generic. The twists and turns did not add much to the story. Given the synposis and the actual story, I was surprised by the overwhelming positive reviews on Goodreads.

Princess Kateri is a tough and headstrong princess. Kateri has spent most of her life fighting in the arena against opponents to win her independence and to become the next ruler of the Kingdom of Achra. The protagonist has a lot at stake to lose. From a young age, Kateri has sought out validation and love from her father, the king. She fights to prove that she is capable as many of the rulers are males. Her life is not made easy due to the severe drought and windstorms that effect the life of her subjects. The protagonist wishes to resolve the issues of her kingdom by seeking to eliminate the Desert Boy, a gang that is responsible for killing her mother, and stealing water from the reserves. Kateri places all the blame on the Desert Boys, rather than seek different solutions to maintain her kingdom. Though she seeks the Desert Boys, Kateri wants to get revenge for the pain they have caused her. She believes that the Desert Boys are making the lives of her people difficult, when that’s not the case. She believes her people love her, but her subjects view her as privilege and greedy.

Kateri has a difficult time adjusting to the truth of the matter. Kateri wishes to uphold her mother’s promise by protecting her people. The drought makes this promise difficult to fulfill. The people of Archa does not see that Kateri suffers in her position. The King expects Kateri to be perfect. Any mistake tarnishes her father’s views of her. Kateri longs to become close to her father, but he is cold and distant. Regardless of their familial bond, Kateri never gives up on her father. Though her life may not be perfect, she endures physical and emotional suffering under her tutor’s lessons. After learning that her tutor, Rodric, Kateri feels completely dismayed by her circumstances. She knows that there is no way to defeat Rodric. The princess understands that to beat her tutor, she has to seek an alliance with her enemies.

As I’ve mentioned, the book is quite generic when it comes to the villains. The actions of the king and Rodric were highly suspicious. I had a feeling each man was evil due to their ambitions and greed. Although Kateri loved her father, he despised his daughter. The king did not seek ways to repair his relationship with his daughter. Kateri was always left out of the loop when it came to the problems of her kingdom. What felt frustrating was that the motives of the villains were obvious. I did not have to look hard for the villains. Instead of having complex characters, the readers are made aware of the goals of each character by the remaining half of the book. The secrets that were revealed were not shocking.

As for the romance, I was not a major fan. I cared more about Kateri’s journey to win her throne. It seemed that the romance between Kateri and Cion was going to be a slow burn. Kateri does not trust Cion as she sought the help of the Desert Boys. She gradually falls for the leader of the gang and begins to learn what real love is. The banter between the characters was cute, but that’s about it. I don’t have much to say about Cion. But I will say is that I am glad there was not a love triangle nor a possible romance between Kateri and Rodric.

Overall, I felt this book was okay. The world building was really good, Kateri made a compelling character, but everything else fell short.

Rating: ★★★

ARC: The Revolution of Jack Frost by K.M. Robinson

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goodreads-synopsis

No one inside the snow globe knows that Morozoko Industries is controlling their weather, testing them to form a stronger race that can survive the fall out from the bombs being dropped in the outside world—all they know is that they must survive the harsh Winter that lasts a month and use the few days of Spring, Summer, and Fall to gather enough supplies to survive.

When the seasons start shifting, Genesis and her boyfriend, Jack, know something is going on. As their team begins to find technology that they don’t have access to inside their snow globe of a world, it begins to look more and more like one of their own is working against them.

Genesis soon discovers Morozoko Industries is to blame, but when a foreign enemy tries to destroy their weather program to make sure their destructive life-altering bombs succeed in destroying the outside world, their only chance is to shut down the machine that is spinning out of control and save the lives of everyone inside the bunker–at any cost.

commentary

*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚* *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚**✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*

Thank you Netgalley for an arc of The Revolution of Jack Frost for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚* *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚**✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*

Initially, I was going to wait to review the book closer to the publishing date, BUT, The Revolution of Jack Frost proved to be cliched af! I’m disappointed in it. Here’s why:

I made predictions about the story and its progression as I began the book…I DID NOT THINK THAT MY PREDICTIONS WOULD COME TRUE…

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♦️ Dystopian World ✔️

♦️ Lack of World Building  ✔️

♦️ One dimensional protagonist  ✔️

♦️ No buildup to a romantic relationship  ✔️

♦️ Government Facilities  ✔️

♦️ Test Subjects  ✔️

♦️ Too many random characters  ✔️

*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚* *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚**✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*

The Revolution of Jack Frost proved to be the MOST cliched book that I read in 2018. I didn’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but this book can be avoided. I was hoping this arc was going to be a Jack Frost retelling, but not this…because this book is extremely predictable. The reading process was not fun, and it was quite dreadful to continue the book. I almost dnfed it, but I managed to finish it…(╬ಠ益ಠ)

The concept was interesting, but I felt that Jack should have been the main protagonist…out of all these randomly selected characters introduced in this series, Jack was the ONLY one to get some sort of personality! The story is told in Genesis’ pov, and SHE HAD NO PERSONALITY BESIDES BEING THE GIRLFRIEND OF JACK…I know more about Jack than I do about Genesis. What’s the point of having a MC when the reader hardly knows anything about their interests, ideas, quirks????? Sadly, this book left a bitter taste in my mouth…

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Most disappointing Jack Frost retelling ever…but the prologue have the best opening.

He was a force of nature. He could warm your soul like the sun and then bury you in ice the next second. He was more destructive than any other universal element or could ever be. It was his way, to be like a hurricane crashing upon the shores, or lightning splintering everything in its path. He was a force. But he was my force. And in the end, it didn’t matter, because he disappeared, just like the weather always does. Here for one brief moment and gone the next. His name was Jack and his love for me was like a flood, now frozen over.

Final Rating: ⭐ (1.5)

Publishing Date: November 6th, 2018

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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goodreads-synopsis

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

commentary

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas was possibly the book with  the slowest buildup to a plot. The story revolves around Tessa, a teen who lives with her grandmother in Florida. She is forced to return to her old hometown because her father in prison is dying. Almost a decade ago, Tessa was abandon by her mother. Left with no relatives in Pennsylvania, her grandmother takes her out of state, and away from her best friend Callie. Tessa did not have a normal childhood growing up. Her father was arrested, her sister may have possibly been involved with a murder, and her mother had abandoned her.

When Callie’s cousin Lorrie is murdered by a high profiled murderer, Tessa and Callie help incriminate Wyatt Stokes into jail. Tessa has felt the guilt over the case as she grew up. She is still effected by the case, and looks to forums to see what people are talking about it on the internet. When she returns back to Fayette, Tessa is forced to confront her past, and people she has left behind.

It was difficult to trust characters due to several red herrings! I listened to this book as an audiobook. I have to say, that the premise of the story was interesting, but I felt that the pacing took forever. It was slow, but the buildup to the story and the crazy events that unfolded was the best aspect of the book. Yes, there were many twists that I did not see coming. I was gagged!

One issue I had was connecting with the characters. It felt like Tessa had a detached personality. There was something about her personality that threw me off. She did try reconnecting with people from her past, but I didn’t get emotions from her. I am basing this on what I heard on audio form rather than reading the physical book.

This book did get dark, and I liked the many characters that seemed unreliable. I liked that the mystery behind the murders did not get resolved till the very end. It was enjoyable, but I wished that I were able to really get into this book, especially concerning Tessa. The friendship between Callie and Tessa was possibly the best part of this book. It was presented as a fragile, and broken. Callie and Tessa were completely different individuals, but most of all, Tessa failed to realize how much Callie was broken. Solving the murders of the Ohio River Monster brought the girls together. It was good. If you are looking for romance in this book, there is none.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 1/2)

DNF: Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic

wicked like a wildfire.jpgGoodreads Synopsis:

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Commentary:

I TRIED READING THIS BOOK FOR OVER A MONTH. I AM FRUSTRATED WITH IT. BEAUTIFUL COVER. TRAGIC STORY.  (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━

So, Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic has been difficult for me to read. I am not indicating the writing style or grammar, I can’t get into this book. It has been such as a ride. I attempted to read this book back in June…and July is almost over…

I can say that I give too many opportunities for books that I never really like. For example, The Beau and The Belle was HORRIBLE, and I finished it. As for Wicked Like A Wildfire, I couldn’t.

Iris is the MC, she is wild and cannot be contained. She is unnecessarily extra with her attitude towards her mother. She acts like a Queen Bee, and doesn’t give her mother a break. She has a twin sister named Malina, who is portrayed as the perfect child, whereas Iris is the rebellious one. Though the two girls are twins…it seems like they are strangers/roommates living together.

Though this book does have a murder…this book moves at a snail’s pace. It felt like nothing was happening with the characters or the attempt to resolve the conflict. All I know is that Iris and Malina, and their family are witches…they can’t do their magic in public life. They have to conceal their magic in order to blend with society. Iris has fallen for a tourist with a bad boy personality. She is romantically linked with the tourist, despite having major feelings for her best guy friend…

I honestly can’t remember much of what I read. I really had hopes for this book, but I should have read reviews, and I felt I wasted my time. 

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Other than that, the characters weren’t memorable. I love reading books about witches…but please consider not reading this one. There are other memorable books, but I don’t know why this book is getting a sequel to it. Not giving it a second chance. I’m done. (╬ಠ益ಠ)

Feel like reading a book about witches? I recommend Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova.

The Graces by Laure Eve

thegracesbookreview

Goodreads Synopsis

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

Commentary

I finally decided to pick up The Graces by Laure Eve. I had the book on my reading list for almost a year. I was in the mood to read a story with a creepy atmosphere, and I am such a big fan of stories that have witches. I saw the rating on Goodreads…it was lower than I had anticipated, but I decided to read it. I tried not letting the ratings bother my reading, and everyone has different experiences when reading. When it came to finishing the book, now I understand why The Graces has low ratings.

I’ve read some terrible books this year, but River is possibly the worst snowflake offender for 2018. River mentioned so many times that she was not like other girls…Okay, River is the definition of a “pick me” character:

Urban Dictionary:

  1. A person who begs for the attention, acceptance and approval of a certain group in different things they say. In most case, it’s to attain the attention, acceptance and approval of the opposite sex.

River is the living embodiment of a “pick me” character. River is introduced as the new girl who can’t make friends, and a bit of a loner. Though she has a hard time adjusting to her school, she is entranced by The Graces. The Graces happen to be popular siblings attending her high school, both rich and mysterious. It is rumored that the Graces are witches. River is madly in love with Fenrin, the only male sibling. River tries to be a cool girl with a non-conformist attitude, but she desperately wants to fit in with the siblings. Most importantly she wants to be like the siblings. Her life revolves on pleasing the siblings and pretending to be something she is not.

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River’s home life is not great. Her father mysteriously disappeared, and her mother ignores her daughter’s life. River is given independence, and most of her life revolves around the Graces. She cannot live without them. River gets accepted into the group, because she becomes the best friend of Summer. River tries to be different from all the other friends of the Graces. River tries to be so cool that she makes it known that she is not interested in Fenrin, though as a reader, you know that she loves him. The love is pretty much one-sided. Because all the girls love Fenrin, the Grace siblings do not have permanent friends.

River is the only person that gets accepted into the inner circle, and rises to popularity. Although River is dear to the siblings, she is not fully accepted.

“The Graces had friends, but then they didn’t. Once in a while, they would descend on someone they’d never hung out with before, making them theirs for a time, but a time was usually all it was. They changed friends like some people changed hairstyles, as if perpetually waiting for someone better to come along.”

Summer is the goth, Fenrin is the hot dreamboat, and Thalia is the manic pixie girl. All the siblings are best friends with each other. Each character had dark secrets, and the friends were not as united as I had assumed. The siblings aren’t aware of the privilege and status they have. The Graces manipulate people and cause damage to the people that get involved.

The magic of the book is never really explained. Though the Graces are considered witches, the magic system is based on the intention of words. It reminded me sort of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. The Graces never really indicate whether they are witches. Each sibling has a different belief. Summer believes in magic, Fenrin doesn’t care, and Thalia is frightened by the supposed curse on the family.

This book is messy with drama. River is accepted into the lives of the Graces. She gets involved with drinking and partying. All the characters are messy. There are ridiculous events that happen in the book. Even though I don’t like the characters, I found them to be entertaining, and the book was laughable. Like I mentioned, the romance is one-sided. Fenrin is a tease and a flirt. River sees signs of Fenrin being interested in her, but he never acts on it. Fenrin doesn’t have permanent relationships with women. I felt that Summer might have had romantic feelings for River. I would have liked to see a romance between the best friends rather than Fenrin and River. There was one character that I did not like because he was there, and his name is Wolf. I did not care for him, but he plays a crucial part in the story, which I never saw coming.

“It was easy to romanticize tragedy, like you suddenly transformed into some sort of Byronic hero, sitting in darkened rooms with crystal glasses of whisky, hair tousled and artfully lank from all those sleepless nights starting at the walls and cursing the gods.”

I couldn’t take the book seriously. It reminds me a lot of Twilight, but with witches instead of vampires. Fenrin and Edward are similar, but Fenrin is not a stalker like Edward. Neither is Wolf like Jacob. River is an unreliable narrator, and a try hard. There were a couple of twists that did make the last half of the book more enjoyable. I initially rated this book 2-stars, but I did like it more than I imagined. I do look forward to reading the sequel for this series. The second book will be in Summer’s perspective from the synopsis on Goodreads. I am looking forward to reading about this problematic siblings and their angst.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.25)

 

ARC: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

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Goodreads Synopis:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face.

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Commentary

“Darkwood might be progressive, but your society on the whole has a long history of classifying people by their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender and using those classifications to subjugate particular groups. It is surprising that a bunch of small-minded government leaders think cloning is the first step onto a slippery slope of Armageddon and the demise of the human race as we know it?”

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for The Similars for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This contains a lot of spoilers!

The main protagonist of The Similars is Emma Chance, who has a difficult time adjusting to her best friend’s suicide. Her school life changes when six clones are enrolled in her school. Though Emma does not have prejudice against the clones, there is one clone that stands out of the six. Levi is the clone of her best friend Ollie, and it shakes Emma’s world. It is clear that Emma is still processing the death of her friend, and having Levi at her school, does not allow her to heal mentally. She is reminded of Ollie, even though he is not alive. Though the physical similarities of Levi and Ollie are the same, their personalities are different. Emma goes through a wild school year with the Similars and the dark secrets in her school.

This world is an alternate future where clones barely have rights in the United States, and the rest of the world. This book reminds me of immigration due to the prejudice and discrimination that the Similars encounter. The subject of the book was the most unique aspect that I really liked, but as for the rest of the book, I didn’t like the execution.

I thought Emma Chance was an okay character. Emma is vulnerable, especially the scenes involving her getting emotional over Ollie.

“If I’ve learned anything these past few months since Oliver died, it’s that pills don’t take away your grief and pain on their own. They mask it, briefly. But it’s all worse when you emerge from the pharma haze and realize your best friend is still gone.”

Emma tries adjusting in her school year, and depends on medicine to get her by because the pain is raw. She loved Ollie, and as for Levi, she gives him a hard time. Levi’s presence makes it hard for Emma to move on because he is a reminder of what she lost. I have to admit, that Emma is lucky person given that she eavesdrops and uncovers so many secrets without getting caught. There were no high stakes in the book because Emma was able to get away without getting hurt. Emma’s curiosity leads her to ask many questions about the clones and her surroundings, but no one wants to reveal the truth.

As for Levi, he is a bookworm and treats Emma with some disdain. Emma mistreats and criticizes him, and he does not allow himself to be a pushover. It would have been great to know Ollie’s personality to compare the two. The romance of Emma and Levi was a slow burn, love hate relationship. Though I do want to categorize it into a insta-love relationship since Emma is drawn to Levi because of his similar appearance to Ollie. But, I was not amazed. I would have preferred no romance to be honest.

I felt that most of the clones had dull personalities. I hoped that the author does expand their personalities in the next book because it seemed like all of the similar were the same…just different names. Levi was the only one to have a personality, and I didn’t care for the other similars.

A lot of events of the book were highly predictable for me, and these are some of the reasons:

  • Mean girls and cliques…
  • Love triangle between Ollie, Emma, and Levi…
  • Petty drama and 20-year grudge…
  • The school using the clones for medical research…
  • Surprise…not really Ollie is alive
  • The clones were created to get revenge for this 20-year grudge…
  • It was obvious who the villain was at the halfway mark…
  • Emma is not she is…she in fact is a similar

This book tried being a lot of things…and left me unsatisfied. The twists and turn were too predictable. It was hard for me to read the book because I made a lot of guesses that came out being true. It was a bit frustrating to read, the world building could have been better, and I don’t want to pick up the next book.

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Publishing Date: January 1st 2019

Final Rating:  

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ARC: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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goodreads-synopsis

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

commentaryHey guys, it has been nearly a year since I last wrote a book review. Sounds crazy? I know. I’ve been busy with my undergrad education and I occasionally read on the side, but didn’t have enough time to read as I used to. My finals are over, and I am attempting my first book review of the year. I have been reading a lot more, and felt inspired to write once again.

My good friend had an extra copy of Furyborn by Claire Legrand that she recieved in the Fairyloot Novemeber 2017 box. I traded her a couple books for it because I was highly looking forward to reading Furyborn. For my list of 2018 books, Furyborn was high on my list. I took Furyborn to the Philippines spring break vacation, but I never managed to pick it up. Returning to the States, and readjusting to my school schedule, I manange to find time to read Furyborn.

Darn it! I was hoping that Furyborn was going to have a lot of action and kickass female protagonists, but I am highly disappointed with what I read. Actually, extremely disappointed. I wanted to drop the book so badly.

What went wrong? Despite the prologue being the best written chapter in the book, it gave so many spoilers away! Especially concerning Rielle. The book is about two prophecized queens. One queen is told to bring destruction, whereas the other queen is the opposite. The prologue lets the reader know that Rielle is the Blood Queen. I wanted some buildup to this story. It sucks that as a reader, you know that Rielle becomes the queen to bring destruction to the world. In addition, the prologue gave away the connection Rielle has with Eliana despite the two characters living in two different time periods.

Which storyline was better? In Furyborn, there are two storylines to follow. One is Rielle and the past events that led to the decline of magic. She undergoes trials to prove that she is the Sun Queen, but you would already know that she becomes the Blood Queen. Reading her chapters were a bit frustrating because you know the fate of Rielle. You know that she will pass the trials and betray her people. I wanted to skip her chapters. Finally, the villain was revealed in the prologue! THERE WAS NO BUILDUP TO THIS STORY.  When it comes to Rielle, she is easily manipulated by those around her. She has the ability of all 7 powers in her kingdom. When Rielle starts hearing voices, she accepts doesn’t question it! Rielle converses with the voice in her head that happens to be a guy who she doesn’t know. Instead of worrying about her mental state, she falls in love with the voice…and converses with her new voice…and seeks advice from this voice…never having met this person….ugh. The story presents a frustrating love triangle in which Rielle is stuck between loving her childhood friend Prince Audric, and the voice in her head, Corien…I hated this love triangle so badly. 

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When it comes to Eliana’s pov, she was a frustrating character as well. She is known as The Dread of Orline. Eliana is supposed to be a badass assassin, but the story presents a character with wishy washy mentality. It was hard understanding the plot of Eliana’s chapters. I can’t take Eliana seriously. At least, I was spared from reading about a tedious love triangle. But once again, this story is filled with insta-love. The guy characters are not well developed. Prince Audric was okay. He was understanding of Rielle, and never questioned her motives. As for Simon, you find out who he is in the prologue as well. I would have placed the prologue near the end of the book to have a shocking revelation, but I guess that there is more to be told about Rielle later on in the series…

What Furyborn lack was introducing the folklore of the land. Angels are the villains of the book, and they have been locked behind a gate. But you don’t know what they did? This book hardly mentions the mythology, which would have been a great addition. I would have rated this book higher if I need more details about the angels. As for the magic system, everyone gets their power from the empirium, which is not explained. I’ll assume its an omnipresent power activator or a god that existed in the world. Where was the world buidling in this book? The stakes were high, but I did not find myself attached to the charactesrs.  Furyborn was a hot mess for me, and it is such as shame. The cover is gorgeous, the synoposis sounded amazing, but the delivery was not there. As for other books in the series, I might check out the following book to see what happens. Hopefully the author improves the story, but you can only hope.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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goodreads-synopsis

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

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“Why do you guys say that, anyway? No mourners, no funerals? Why not just say good luck or be safe?”
“We like to keep our expectations low.”

Well, how do I even begin to describe Crooked Kingdom?! I loved Six of Crows, but I think my heart feel in love more with Crooked Kingdom. Now, I avoided spoilers like the plague and this will be a spoiler free review since I don’t want to spoil this great book!!

First of all, this book was far more fast paced than the first book. I devoured this book quicker than anything else. Crooked Kingdom was longer in length, but I didn’t mind! I found it to be really exciting.

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If you loved the characters in the first book, you’re going to love them even more in this one! First of all, Matthias Helvar is one of my favorites from the diverse cast. He reminds me so much of myself. Ahahaha. I appreciate that he is more than just a wanted criminal, he’s the lovable grump that constantly puts Nina’s needs above his own. He and Nina had several moments together, and I was so overjoyed by it. They have been through so much in both booksI love Nina and Matthias together, and they have been my favorite couple since book one. Nina is the perfect balance to Matthias, and I couldn’t possibly imagine her with anyone else.

“I am grateful you’re alive”, he said. “I am grateful that you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.”
She rested her head on his shoulder.
“You’re better that waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips.
“Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”

I am a fan of all three relationships, but I felt that Kaz and Inej’s relationship was made stronger in this book.

“Meeting you was a disaster.”
She raised a brow. “Thank you.”
Djel, he was terrible at this. He stumbled on, trying to make her understand. “But I am grateful for that disaster. I needed a catastrophe to shake me from the life I knew. You were an earthquake, a landslide.”
“I,” she said, planting a hand on her hip, “am a delicate flower.”
“You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

Anyways, I am glad that more background stories were explored like Jesper and Wylan. And I am so happy that Wylan got his own pov!  I found Kaz to be absolutely terrific in this book. He has a special place in my heart. I love his scheming ways, and let’s talk about the character development. Man, I love how much Kaz has changed from the first book to this one. Wow, just wow.One of my favorite aspects of this duology is the friendship between all six characters. All the characters have great chemistry between each other, and you find yourself rooting for all six. Each character was going through his and her struggle, and I’m so happy that my band of misfits were able to overcome there troubles.

“Where do think the money went?” he repeated.
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.
He shrugged. “They all seem like practical choices.”

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I loved how there were cameos of the Grisha Trilogy. My number one book boyfriend appeared in this book. Nikolai Lantsov. Goodness, and I thought the book couldn’t get better. I really couldn’t contain my happiness.

What I loved:

  • the friendship
  • the romance
  • Nikolai – Who doesn’t love him?
  • Genya – my favorite Grisha tailor
  • the action – can I just say, that they had more at risk than the first book and I love how everyone has a chance to fight
  • the villains – amazing

I have nothing but positivity for Crooked Kingdom. If you thought that Six of Crows was perfect, wait till you read Crooked Kingdom. This might be my favorite book of the year, and there have been several good books this year. The ending did end on a bittersweet note for me, and I’m going to miss these characters a lot. And I wanted there to be more, but I am glad the way it ended. I laughed, and boy did I cry. I was emotionally invested, and recommend reading Crooked Kingdom. This book is worth the hype and it will not let you down!

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“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us?What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.
That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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The Crown by Kiera Cass

the crownAuthor: Kiera Cass

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

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I can’t believe I am writing this down, but the last book in The Selection Series may have been the best one out of the bunch. I still believe that the author did milk the cow with the series after she wrote The One. The Heir and The Crown could have been one book, but that’s just me. Funny thing is that I started The Crown while I was working out in the gym, but I end up reading it in one sitting.

Eadlyn was a much better character in this book. She completely changed her personality, and I didn’t feel like she was the same character compared to the previous book. I enjoyed Eadlyn far more. Eadlyn realizes that she has to put her kingdom above all else, even if it means sacrificing her happiness. Eadlyn wants to make up for her past actions and she grows stronger. She tries to focus what is best for her country, even though everyone does not have faith in her. No one gives Eadlyn enough credit for her liberal actions when she tries to create balance within her empire. Eadlyn has great character development, and I still prefer her more than America. Though she did make some questionable decisions.

There is also an unnecessary minor villain that is introduced in this book. His name is Marid, but I kept reading Madrid. Ha ha. He could of been introduced in The Heir. He did remind me of Hans from Frozen. From the moment he was introduced, I knew he was up to no good. And sadly, Ahren hardly made an appearance in this last book.

As for Eadlyn’s selection, I wished there were a bit more moments between Eadlyn and her suitors. When I first reviewed The Heir, I really liked Henri and Eikko (Erik). Let’s just say that Henri is just as wonderful in this book. He is still by far my favorite contestant from the selection. He’s a sweet guy that cares deeply for Eadlyn and Eikko. I’m glad that Kile and Eadlyn have each other’s backs. There was one shocking moment in the book that involves two selection candidates. I wasn’t expecting it. One of my minor complaints from this book was that the relationship was a tad rushed towards the end. I would have liked a slow paced development from the beginning. Ever since reading The Heir last year, I had a feeling that Eadlyn’s choice was going to be a certain character, and boy was I right.

“Maybe it’s not the first kisses that are supposed to be special. Maybe it’s the last ones.”

This last book was very entertaining, but it does have it’s faults. I’ve mentioned earlier that The Heir & The Crown could have been easily combined and shortened down. There were some dull moments throughout the book, this books doesn’t focus heavily on the romance but more on Eadlyn’s rise to power. It’s the only book in the Selection Series that I have given a four star rating.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

ARC: The New Guy And Other Senior Distractions by Amy Spalding

Goodreads Review: A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

—-

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

Commentary: I was kindly provided the physical copy of The Memory Book by The Novl.

I wanted The New Guy And Other Senior Distractions by Amy Spalding to be hilarious and cute. Funny thing is that my sister told me this book was going to be awful just by reading the synopsis. I gave it a chance despite her warning and oh boy, she was was right. All the contemporary books that I have read so far in this month have been terrible, one after another. This book is no exception. Also, spoilers!

The story starts off with Jules, a overachieving high school senior that wants everything to go according to plan. She dreams of attending Brown University and getting the editor in chief position at her school. She may not be popular, but she has a supportive group of friends. Dating guys are not on her top priority at all, and everything changed when the new guy, Alex transfers to her school.

Alex used to be in a boy band and had a one hit wonder, now he’s focusing on having a normal life. He is immediately attracted to Jules, even though she has no time for dating. There are immediate sparks between both characters, but both experience a roller coaster of emotions because of his “betrayal”.

This book was so silly, and not in a good way. I was hoping that the betrayal was going to be much darker, and honestly I don’t believe that Alex betrayed Jules at all. Jules took it out of proportion. In the span of almost a week, she suddenly drops Alex out of her life because he is her “enemy”. Alex happens to be in Talon, the school’s official newscaster team that has taken all of the Crest’s (the school’s newspaper) popularity away. Since Talon is popular among the students, the readership of the Crest has suffered tremendously and has threaten the school’s tradition.  Jules declares war on Talon and hijinks ensue.

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I wanted to like Jules, I really did and I tried. I couldn’t because her character was really wishy-washy. Everyone admires Jules because she is a natural born leader and is very hardworking. A loyal friend. I found her rather selfish and a horrible friend. For example, Jules was so caught up on destroying Talon that she ignored her best friend Sadie’s messages for several days. And then her relationship with Alex was really dramatic. One moment Jules is happy to be with her hot boyfriend, and in the next moment she questions if he’s liar and a cheat. They constantly break up…I couldn’t take their relationship seriously. Alex was a bland character, and to be honest I didn’t think their relationship was healthy. Like I’ve mentioned before, all these emotions of love and hatred happen in the span of about a month.

Other than that, this book was so cheesy and over the top. The only character that I did end up liking was Sadie, though she’s a secondary character. Sadie was supportive to Jules throughout the whole book, especially when Jules has problems with Alex. There are a couple of things I liked in this book. It’s set in the Eagle Rock/Highland Park area, and since I usually go there on Sundays I know the places that Jules visits. I did like Jules and Natalie’s rivalry, though I would have liked it even more if there was a bigger reason why those two didn’t get along, instead of misunderstanding each other.

Recommendation wise, I would recommend this book to a younger audience. It wasn’t for me.

Final Rating: ⭐️ (1.5)

Release Date: April 5th 2016 by Poppy