Reading With ABC http://readingwithabc.comhttp://readingwithabc.com/review-the-... first called my attention to this book was its beautiful cover. ThReading With ABC http://readingwithabc.comhttp://readingwithabc.com/review-the-... first called my attention to this book was its beautiful cover. The description sounds a bit like Cinderella, but with magic and fantasy through in and I knew I had to read it. The Banished of Muirwood is the first book in the Covenant of Muirwood series. There is another series by Wheeler – Legends of Muirwood – of events that happen about 100 years before this series. I haven’t read this other series but I think I must remedy that soon.
I absolutely loved this book. Can’t you tell? Here are some of the reasons why:
World building is amazing. As I mentioned before, this is series is set up in the same world as a previous one and it shows. The setting is very well developed and thought out, in this book Maia travels through several countries to complete her quest and the author does an excellent job on making each two, each mountain, and their inhabitants distinct from each other. It’s like having a picture painted with words and I loved every one of them. The Medium is like ‘the force’, like a deity sort of. Even though ‘religion’ is a big part of the story, the book doesn’t feel preachy at all.
Maia – Marciana, the princess of Comoros, has suffered a lot in her short life. Due to the rift between her parents, she is separated from her mother and banished in order for her father to be able to marry again and name new heirs. Maia has a very strong will and character and refuses to let all the many injustices, slights, abuses – I mean, she is treated so badly and I’m not sure how a person endures so much without anger and hate eating her insides. Instead her troubles give Maia maturity, appreciation for the beauty and kindness of other.
“…Your mother is banished. I’m seeking to have our marriage annulled.” He looked at her pointendly. “For that to happen, Maia, I must banish you as well.”
That is not to say that the other characters weren’t well developed, because they were. Her guide and champion Jon Tayt and his hound Argus and loyal and fierce, the kishion, a killer hired by Maia’s father to ‘protect’ her, and Collier, the dashing prince of Dahomey.
“…Very well. Then give one boon at least.”
She sighed. “I will not tell you my name,” she answered stubbornly.
He shook his head, his expression serious, his tone intimate. “Not that, lass. Just give one thing.”
“…And what is that?”
“A dance,” he said, extending hishand to her. “If you must go tonight, then give this memory to take with me. Please, my lady. Dance with me.”
Writing – Full of images, feelings, enthralling… Love it!
Plot – Well, it you like intricate, political, plots, then this one’s for you! It seems like all the countries are always at war with each other. People are used as pawns, they bestow favors to the underserving, they marry and divorce at will, they betray bows and abuse power. It was fascinating to read, but easy enough to understand. The twists and turns kept my interest piqued with the turn of every page.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”
Do you need more? There is also a budding romance and we get to see more of it in the next book.
Overall, The Banished of Muirwood is an amazingly good start of the series that kept me so enthralled that I immediately started reading The Ciphers of Muirwood (which was just as awesome!) and I cannot wait for The Void of Muirwood! If you love fantasy, do yourself a favor and star reading it now!
I know these characters come from Erickson’s Bowler University series (Max’s story), but they are new to me. I like stories of old flames, that certain “one that got away” and that element the center stage in this book. It seemed both sweet and tragic that two people could love so deeply, so completely, for so long and still not be together.
The plot develops slowly, it give us a chance to know the characters well since this is the first in a series. I didn’t mind that at all and I enjoyed every word. The writing is gripping, I just wanted to keep reading and reading. The story is told in the third person from both Cal and Jenna’s POVs, which is very common for adult romance.
“Except around Jenna. Around her, he’d always lost control. Spilled his guts. She’d been everything to him once, in a way no one had been before or after. Other than his family, no one could get extreme emotions out of him. He liked it that way. It was safe and comfortable.”
Cal is hot, straightforward, quiet, a hard worker, BUT he’s also stubborn and can be really stupid. He got it in his mind that he had nothing else left to give, that he was not good enough for Jenna, that their moment had passed and that it was too late. Every time his thoughts took that path, I wanted to slap him silly!
Jenna has a clearer mind than Cal. I’m not sure why she took so long to go back, I mean – why? Anyway, I did like Jenna. I like that she loved Cal and was not afraid of her feelings and that she tried to be what Cal needed at the time without pushing too much. I love Cal and Jenna together, I like the honesty and openness of their relationship.
“But this moment… this moment could be something. He could tell her to stay. He could wrap her in his arms and tell Asher that Jenna was his girlfriend…. So he let the moment pass. And he nodded. And the he watched as Jenna’s face fell, just slightly, before she slipped out the door.”
Character development is great! Brent is a hoot! Max is very sweet and new addition Asher is a typical teenager (well, sort off). Delilah is Jenna’s friend and she’s a force to be reckoned with. I hope she find someone by the end of the series. The parents are extremely dysfunctional for sure and I didn’t forget Jenna’s brother since he’s BIG jerk.
Overall, Dirty Thoughts was a great, fun, hot and steamy read and a truly enjoyed it. I will be eagerly waiting for Bret’s story in Dirty Talk coming up this September. Should be good!
“He kept his eyes on his boots. “I know. I started thinking about all it leads to. More worried about his heart than his body, I guess.”
A chair scraped. Footsteps. Jenna’s shadow fell in front of him. What do you mean?”
Not a single whisper from any of the hundreds of club-goers standing perfectly still in the darkness. I can’t see them anymore, because it’s just me and her and both our voices in perfect harmony. It hurts. It burns in a way I can’t describe except maybe like being stabbed in the gut and having my innards ripped out of me.
What I loved:
The characters! There is a great casting of characters, especially of the male persuasion. Xaine has “brothers” (Cas and Trick) or other vampires turned by the same creator. There’s also Jackson and Asher, and I really want to know their stories too. So Xaine… he’s a hot mess, a rock star, a vampire and man of excess. He’s damaged and deep down a ruthless sweetie (yes, I did used these two words in the same sentence ;) ) Tamsyn, Jess and most specially Lourdes are different female characters with very different personalities, but one thing in common: they don’t take crap from anyone. Lorde had a really bad experience that she’s suppressed because it was so traumatic and she had no fault or inkling as to why. Scary, creepy bad guys like Benicio and Tiberius. Seriously dangerous and extra creepy. Vampires, angels, reapers, sin eaters… there is a host of things that go bump in the night and I There’s music, singing and composing, and I love books about music. The plot, the secrets, the non-stop action, the fact that vampires were “out-of-the-closet”, the mysteries. Even as they irked me some, I love them all. The banter and dialogues were funny, snarky, interesting…I want more! “Men are more easily governed by their vices than their virtues,” he tells me, “And no virtue in this world is going to make you a better man, Xaine. Understand that, if you understand anything at all.”
There is not much I didn’t like about Lost Angeles, except maybe that fact that Xaine tricks Lorde in Las Vegas, that there were so many unanswered questions (that’s just me being pick since I know it’s a series), and the kind-a-sort-of-cliffhanger ending.
I cannot wait for Loose Canon, Trick’s story since we didn’t see much of him in this book.
“On a scale of one to take-me-now, how turned on are you?”
The second the question processes, I laugh, right in the face of the world’s biggest rock star. “Wow, you are …so arrogant.”
That garners me the full smirk and a swift release from his grasp. “So I don’t even rank on the scale? That’s depressing. Or hey, maybe you play for the other team?”
Still grining, I tell him, “I’m not into girls. I’ve just been told that I shouldn’t take candy from strangers.”
“Trust me, Lore, I hadn’t even gotten to the candy part yet.”
Reading Trouble from the Start felt like snuggling with a warm blanket, it was fun, comforting, and sweet. The romantic in me couldn’t help but fall iReading Trouble from the Start felt like snuggling with a warm blanket, it was fun, comforting, and sweet. The romantic in me couldn’t help but fall in love with Avery and Fletcher.
Avery is the daughter of a police officer and a nurse. They are good people that try to do good things and raised their daughter to do the same. Avery is “rescued” by Fletcher from a drunken episode while in a party and that ensues a series of events that include gossip and a realization that appearances, expectations, and reputation are not everything or even that important.
Avery is not pretty, but she is plenty smart. She’s a model daughter and citizen and always tries to comply and exceed other’s expectations. She’s very truthful and straightforward with others and gives the appearance of not being bothered by much. She is, however, waiting for “the one”, someone to love her unconditionally and to have a relationship like her best friend Kendall has.
Oh, Fletcher. Sadly, Fletcher’s story is not unusual. Given his upbringing he has erected physical and emotional wall as a copying mechanism. He’s a man of few words, he’s used to disappointment and doesn’t like school. He’s also loyal, good to the core, smart, and resourceful. He tries so hard to keep the ‘bad boy’ façade for others in order to alienate himself from heartbreak.
I’m a firm believer that there is a perfect someone for everyone and Avery and Fletcher are proof of that. They complement each other so well. Avery is so open about her upbringing and her feelings, while having the patience of a saint and waiting for Fletcher to drop the walls that surrounded him one by one. A really memorable and sweet couple.
I was so happy to read about Avery’s family life. About parents that are present, watchful, helpful, without being smoldering. I loved them all, especially Tyler. This is my fist book by Hawthorne, and I hope it won’t be the last since you can tell that I loved her writing. I also enjoyed that the ending gives the control freak within me some closure.
Hmmm…. I’m not sure that the cover relates to the book at all....more
The Enchanted Rose turned out to be a bit unexpected. Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if it was a romance, or what. This is the conclusion I reacThe Enchanted Rose turned out to be a bit unexpected. Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if it was a romance, or what. This is the conclusion I reached: The Enchanted Rose is a paranormal story with undertones that are part gothic and part fairy tale, with a whole lot of mystery thrown in. I loved it!
After her mother’s death, Vivian is sent by her dad to live with her maternal aunts that she didn’t even knew existed. Vivian’s mom and dad traveled a lot, so she gained a lot of knowledge about other cultures and she is quick to make friends. Still, she’s a grieving teenager put in a very uncomfortable and unfair situation.
“That building was going to be my new home. It wasn’t a house but a mansion. I realized then wy it was called the Tremaine Estate. Could that really be where my mother had grown up? In all my life, she had never once let on that she came from a rich family. A mix of emotions washed over me.”
It seems like the story unravels slowly and in sections, with Vivian finding a bit more of the mystery that surrounds her newly discovered family and the town of Misty Hills. There are a LOT of close kept secrets and danger lurking around in every corner. All of this was balanced with the backdrop of high school, which was also new to Vivian since she had been homeschooled for a big part of her life.
I think that Vivan’s mom was very unfair and so were her aunts for keeping so much away from her. I’m now sure what she thought would happened when she died and Vivian was unprepared for her new life. The town, and the people in it, are equally enigmatic and I’m sure there is a lot more for us to find out. I’m sorry that I have to be so vague, but I don’t want to give the story away.
“Need some help?” a deep voice asked. I yelped, startled. I lost my balance and fell backwards in an undignified heap. “Are you okay?” the voice asked with barely concealed mirth. My face grew hot. I looked up at a tall boy, who was watching me in amused concern. He looked to be my age. He reached out a hand toward me.
“I’m Hunter. What’s your name?”
The characterization is really good and I liked Declan, Skyler, Rose, and Hunter. I hope that Hunter will be Vivian’s love interest, but that is still up in the air. Vivian likes him a lot, but it’s too early to tell what will happen. The writing is really interesting and easy to read. The plot was very well executed and I hardly guessed any of the many twists that abound within the story. The setting feels very gothic and I loved that part.
As I’m a big fan of CJ’s Summer series, I couldn’t wait to read Paradise City. I knew we were going to be a great match and I was not wrong.4.5 Stars
As I’m a big fan of CJ’s Summer series, I couldn’t wait to read Paradise City. I knew we were going to be a great match and I was not wrong. Not at all.
This book is more like a mature YA than straight NA. This might change with Paradise Road since it seems like Dean will play a more prominent role. Lexie is a hoot! Being in her head was hilarious! She comes from Red Hole, a farm in the middle of nowhere and she’s been homeschooled her whole life. She moved with her aunt, uncle and cousin Amanda to Paradise City to attend school for the first time ever. In Lexie’s head, high school is a production from a Disney movie and overthinks, overanalyzes, and romanticizes everything. As I said, hilarious. She sort of falls into “interest” with Luke Ballantine, one of the resident surfer-bad boys in year twelve, a Kirkland boy.
“I may have been from Red Hole but at least we had the common decency to treat each other with a bit of respect. Even my drunken Uncle Eddie was more sociable toward a dog tied up outside the pub then anyone I had stumbled across in the last few days, including my own cousin. Maybe it was something in the water?”
Ballantine is dreamy, sweet, mysterious, a bit insecure when it has to do with his brother, a surfer and he gets in trouble in school constantly. Lexie and Ballantine’s relationship moved kind of fast and furious. What I found weird is that Lexie and Ballantine are attracted to each other, but hardly talk to each other. Don’t get me wrong, their moments together are fun, their dialogue entertaining and priceless, but I wish there would have been more of that.
“Oh-my-God-what-the-hell-was-that? I yelled, breathing erratically.
Ballantine laughed. “It’s probably just seaweed.”
I felt it again causing me to claw and scream at Ballantine. If he had been a tree I would have climbed him…. “Let me out” I screamed, fear carrying me through the water…”
I love the story, Lexie’s predicament and ‘newness’ in everything she saw and experienced. I loved the town, the school, Laura, Boon and even cranky Amanda. I appreciate that Amanda’s parents are vigilant (or try to be) and so are Lexie’s. Even though the story takes place in Australia, it was really easy to understand and follow. As always, Duggan’s writing is always refreshing, gripping, and amazing.
Something I didn’t like was that Ballantine and his brother Dean are at ‘war’ and we don’t know why. Not only that, but Dean seems to be interested in Lexie as well and that is no-no between brothers (I’m sure that’s written in stone somewhere.) I see a triangle coming on and I’m not too excited about it.
Overall, Paradise City was a great book! I’m glad that this is a duology because I can’t wait to know what happens with Lexi and Luke next!...more
The world building is so important when writing fantasy and I feel like Scott did a fantastic job here. It never fell prey to the common info-dump and I easily understood the world, the magic, the political and power struggles. The world she created felt very much like the English court life or the 1700 or 1800s, there are kingdoms, ladies-in-waiting, guards, nobility, politics, betrayal, power plays and much more because magic is thrown into the mix.
The magic element is also unique. Yes, it has do a little bit with elements, but also with intent, with ley lines, with control, with blood and what I suspect is a lot of lies. Magic is regulated and protected and as I said, controlled. There is quite a bit that’s still left unexplained and I’m eager to learn more in the next book.
Sophie is one of the princes’ ladies-in-waiting and of royal blood, as such when she turns 21 she might come into her powers as a witch. The more power she develops, the more advantageous her marriage will be. That is to say, she never had any control over her life at all. This is known and accepted by all. Sophie is pretty, a bit shy, unused to the power that becomes her birthright and unprepared by the malice and political turmoil that surrounds her. She was lucky to be smart, learn quickly, be very observant and have Cameron in her corner.
“Maybe turning twenty-one wouldn’t be so bad after all. Perhaps magic would give her some tiny bit of control over her life. Or marriage. Married ladies were not as tightly policed as virgins. If her husband – whoever that might turn out to be – were reasonable, she would be able to decide some small things for herself. “
Cameron becomes Sophie’s protector first, then an ally, lover, friend and lastly love. He’s sweet, has his own power, comes from a noble family, but is the third son and thus is relegated to the military. I really liked their relationship because even though it was triggered by magic, it was realistic and grew into something more. The characterization overall was incredible good. And that’s all I’m saying :)
The plot of The Shattered Court is complicated, but not overly so. The intricacies of the political, religious and magical underpinnings of the story is fascinating. The writing is enthralling, and I couldn’t put this one down. It was such a good book. Why then did it missed half a star? Well, I would have loved to see more romance, more Cameron/Sophie time.
“His eyes turned a darker shade of blue, and then his mouth came down on hers, kissing her. Light exploded through her again. Burning and searing. It washed over and through her, and she felt a click like coming home and sliding the key into the lock to open the front door. Meant to be. Natural.”This review was originally posted on Reading With ABC...more