THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA picks up a few months after THE MUMMY. I have to admit I didn’tSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA picks up a few months after THE MUMMY. I have to admit I didn’t re-read THE MUMMY before reading this book and I feel like maybe that was a mistake. Perhaps a re-read of both books would give me a better perspective. Honestly, I don’t think it matters because the authors have done a great job of explaining, without great detail, how we got to this point in the story. I would recommend reading the first book at some point before picking this book up though.
Ramses is with his now immortal lover, Julie. They are to be married and their happiness in love is where the story starts. The have a little turmoil dealing with Julie’s ex-fiancé, but he actually turns out to be their one of their biggest supporters and even throws an engagment party for them. It actually ends up being a good thing for everyone. The only real problem is that Ramses has made this terrible mistake with trying to revive Cleopatra in her mummified state. Now they all have a reason to fear her wrath. It turns out she is not the only thing Ramses and Julie really need to fear.
This story introduces us to a happier Ramses. He is still ‘Ramses the Damned’, but now he is not alone. Also, he is going by the name Reginald Ramsey and finding a good place in society. I loved to see Ramses finally content and actually living in the world and not just witnessing time passing. Well, almost content. Ramses is haunted by what he did to Cleopatra even though he does not love her anymore. Cleopatra doesn’t really show up until later in the story, but she is constantly on their minds. Then along with Cleopatra we are introduced to something much older than Ramses and someone not immortal who plays a vital role in this story.
Cleopatra struggles with her new role in this time and the gaps in her memory. Is life worth living if we can’t remember our past? That is the question Cleopatra brings to this story. She wants everything back, but she can’t even remember what she is missing.
I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will just leave it at that.
Anne Rice has teamed up with her son, Christopher Rice to finally complete this story. I can’t even say that it is truly complete because, like all Anne Rice books, there could be more. I didn’t even know that Christopher Rice was a writer. If his books are all like this, you can bet I will be reading whatever he pens. This book was so in the classic Anne Rice style that I love.
The time period that this story takes place is not modern, so it read like historical fiction. The story ends as the great WW is starting and although I felt like I was experiencing it for myself, I worried about what would happen to all these lovely characters during war time. This isn’t something I ever remember reading about in an Anne Rice book so it really took me by surprise.
I would highly recommend this to fans of THE MUMMY. I would also recommend this series to people whom might enjoy reading about immortals that do not have to take life to live forever. I hope these two pen more books about Ramses because there were a few loose ends and so much more that I wish we would have explored. I would love to read more of Ramses adventures....more
So I went into A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS hoping it would have the same feel as the GSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
So I went into A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS hoping it would have the same feel as the GoT show series. I was not disappointed. It really feels like the show and I was happy with how well the scenes were described. The characters of Duncan (Dunk) and Egg are well developed. We get to know them as they are now and learn how they became the people they are today. Duncan is absolutely the main character, but since this journey involves Egg as his squire we see him a lot, but we do not get his perspective.
Dunk was born a nobody bastard boy who just happens to have squired by a good knight who knighted him shortly before his death. His master taught Dunk that he should be merciful and to do the right thing.
“A hedge knight must hold tight to his pride. Without it, he was no more than a sellsword”
“A hedge knight is the truest kind of knight, Dunk,” the old man had told him, a long long time ago. “Other knights serve the lords who keep them, or from whom they hold their lands, but we serve where we will, for men whose causes we believe in. Every knight swears to protect the weak and the innocent, but we keep the vow best I think.”
Dunk aspires to be a “real” knight and not just a hedge knight who feels and acts like an outcast. Hedge knights actually live in the hedges of society even though they are knights. In this time of the Seven Kingdoms, knights are not all defined by their deeds. Duncan is not so smart, but he has a big heart and does the right thing no matter what the cost.
“Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall.”
Lucky for Dunk, Egg is very wise. He is bold and not really as a squire should. Egg is actually Aegon Targaryen, little brother of Aemon Targaryen. He is in disguise and he learns so much about this kingdom through Dunks trials. Although there is royalty in this story, this is not about that. This is a story about the other people, the little people, living in Westeros....more
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparenSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparents and other scientists have crash landed on. The big job on this planet is to become a ‘whitecoat’ scientist, studying the animals of Faloiv. Everything changes when Olivia witnesses a native Falvoii being attacked and captured by the scientists in the council of N’Terra. With a little help from her friends, Octavia must learns the truth about what her family and other scientists on the planet are actually trying to accomplish.
This book starts with Octavia living her life. We learn about the place she lives as the story progresses. Octavia is somewhat sheltered by her parents, the school, and even her living quarters. The world starts small for Octavia and then as she learns more the world opens up for Octavia and the reader.
This world is completely unconventional in it’s eco-structure and natural habitats. The native people living on this planet are Faloii, they look different and they have freakish spots on their skin that moves. They don’t communicate only verbally and that’s part of what makes them, and this planet, so unusual.
We don’t see much of the outside world. The story really focuses on the settlement that Octavia lives in, N’Terra. N’Terra is divided into sections depending on what job people have and what the scientists in each section are studying. This settlement is primarily academic as the first settlers were mostly composed of scientists. Where they were headed and what their actual goal was in traveling is not covered in the story.
The creatures of this world are all extraordinary in their appearance and skill set. Octavia and her classmates only know the creatures of this world and even they find them fascinating and worthy of study. People can’t actually survive in the wilds of Faloiv, so understanding how the animals do is the key to living on this planet. Studying the native species on Faloiv is the primary focus of the people living in N’Terra. Only through science can they learn how to live better on this rough planet.
The main focus of this story is friendship as Octavia tries to understand something she witnesses and the coldness in her parents marriage. All of the characters are important to move this story forward. Octavia does have a romantic interest in this story in one of her classmates named Rhondo. I liked the slow build of these two and they eventually progress into a partnership of necessity as they are thrust into danger.
I really enjoyed this story. Even though some of seemed really far out. I would highly recommend it to science fiction fans. It brings up some good questions about how far we should really go in the name of science. There were a lot of unanswered questions but I think this story ended in a really good place. I will definitely be reading the sequel....more
This story follows two main characters, Nahri and Ali. Nahri starts off in Cairo doing whSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story follows two main characters, Nahri and Ali. Nahri starts off in Cairo doing what she does best; stealing money and healing people. Nahri has a natural affinity for healing and uses this talent in ceremonies to cleanse and heal people and places. In once such ceremony, she accidentally calls a daeva warrior. The presence of this warrior also calls a djinn warrior, The Scourge, Dara. Dara is of fire affinity and he uses his powers to protect Nahri as he takes her to the hidden city of Daevabad, The City of Brass. He hopes she will take her place in the court as head healer and make the king realize that even mixed bloods need to be treated equally.
Ali is the second son to the king of Daevabad. This kingdom is dealing with all sorts of turmoil from rebellions and traitors living in the palace. Ali is new to court life as he was raised in the citadel, as a warrior, with the sole purpose of protecting his brother, Muntadhir. Ali is not happy with the way the mixed tribes in the city are treated and invests money to try to help the orphans in the city. For a warrior, he has a soft heart. Ali is loyal to his brother, but he is not happy with the way the city is ruled.
The two stories start off completely separate but come together towards the middle of this book. Nahri travels a long distance with Dara to get to Daevabad. She doesn’t trust him at all at first but she knows he is keeping her safe. They travel on foot and by magic carpet. Dara is a wealth of knowledge about Nahri’s true heritage but he holds so much back from her. Eventually they do come to an understanding about each other. By the time they actually get to the city Nahri is very attached to Dara but she also learns how much he didn’t tell her about his past.
There are so many elements to this story that I can’t possibly explain it here. The scenes are beautifully set and I could completely feel the chill in the air, the heat from the fire, the blisters on my feet, and so much more that these characters go through. This story is also full of prejudices and I was disgusted at the injustices described in this story. As anyone should be.
There is so much magic in this story as well. The rules for the magic are well explained. Nahri is half human half djinn and we learn the rules for magic and how the city works right along with her. She is kept mainly inside while Ali, also a newcomer to the city, allows us to see what is going on beyond the king’s watchful eye. Between these two characters, we get a good feel for how the people are suffering under this ruler.
There is so much mythology weaved into this story. This story was told with so much intelligence and wonder. Along with the magic all around we learn the history of these tribes but not exactly where Nahri comes from. Her origins will have a real impact on this place and I can’t wait to find out what that impact will be. Ali also seems to have an important part to play and I can hardly believe where he ended up.
Ooh I better tell you that this epic fantasy included a map aaaaaaaaand a glossary. The author knew people like me would need a little help keeping things straight. My eARC did not include a map but you better believe I am adding this hardcover to my bookshelf.
I am so excited that this is just the start of a trilogy. If you are looking for a fantastical story with diversity and epic adventure this is a book you need to read....more
The pacing for this book was so smooth it felt effortless switching between timelines. ISee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The pacing for this book was so smooth it felt effortless switching between timelines. I can honestly say that the author didn’t pull any cheap tricks to make me want to rush the story to get to the “good part”. This whole story was the good part. Hadley is easy to love and understand even though she is going through this awful time in her life. Part of her experience unfortunately, felt familiar to things I have faced in my own life. It was refreshing to see an author take this on without apologizing.
This story also contains a beautiful love story between Hadley and a boy named Charlie. This romance kept the story from being too depressing and gave Hadley so much too look forward to in this bleak time of her life. I loved Hadley and Charlie together. Where they end up is a question that kept me turning pages even as other characters’ fates were revealed. I so wanted a happy ending for Hadley.
There really wasn’t anything about this book I didn’t like. I would highly recommend this book without a “trigger warning” because beneath it all there is a serious message of hope and a resources list from the author at the ending. This book is meant to create a dialogue or extend a lifeline, and I hope it does. I really hope it does....more
This story is more about motherhood than the event. It was so fascinating to read about tSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story is more about motherhood than the event. It was so fascinating to read about this woman whose whole world has changed not just because of the event, but because of the Z, a child she thought she would never have. She’s older and has waited a long time to be a mother. Even still, motherhood changes a woman. Her story of discovery of her child, along with the miracle and struggles of newborns, was so familiar.
The prose in this book is sparse, and the author doesn’t waste a single word. For me the scenes were easy to imagine as the story flows from the woman’s perspective effortlessly. I almost want to compare this to THE HANDMAID’S TALE as it was vague but gave just enough details to tell a story. Of course, this story is more complete in my opinion as we see where the characters end up and it is much more linear.
The only thing I didn’t like was the brevity of the story. I did enjoy where the story left off but I would have read and enjoyed another 400 pages of a story like this, written in this way. I would love to read more from this author and I highly recommend this book....more
FLASHTIDE takes place a couple of months after the firSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren Check out my review for FLASHFALL
FLASHTIDE takes place a couple of months after the first book. We are in a different place surrounded by a different type of people. Orion and Dram are living in the mountains with the conjis (conjurors). They are plotting and scheming, then the unthinkable happens. It forces Orion’s hand and this story to start moving at a much faster pace. Orion gleans a lot from these people and uses that knowledge as the story moves froward. Major things happen to both Orion and Dram as they are split up and face some serious obstacles. It doesn’t seem like a happy ending is in the cards for these two, or the people of this world.
It took me a while to get back into this story. I have to admit I wasn’t sure what was going on until Dram and Orion were separated. They are now on the other side of the flashfall. It is suppose to be where freedom is and a gateway to the free city. It turns out most of that was a lie. Not everyone living in the free city is free. Now that they have made it to the other side of the flashfall they are grouped with miners of a different sort. For a short time, this story turns into a competition for flash dust. You won’t believe how these people are mining it. It is even worse than on the other side of the flashfall.
They are both caught by horrible people who blindly follow orders. The conji they were just traveling with get it even worse then sub-pars do, which is what Dram and Orion are. This part of the story is pretty hopeless for our heroes. There doesn’t seem to be any way for them to get free and be together. Then to make it even worse, Dram ends up in a horrible situation. I can’t say more about that without spoilers but trust me, you will know when you get there.
The romance gets even better in this story. Even though Orion and Dram were separated for some of this story, it feels like they were so much more serious about each other. Things happen in this story that test how serious Dram and Orion are about each other. This is a love they are both willing to fight and die for. There is plenty of action, like in the first book, but the stakes are even higher. The radium on this planet is still a real threat and the story never lets us forget that living on this planet will actually kill you.
This book was not as good as the first in the series. That’s really unfortunate because I had high hopes for this story. There were definite time jumps in this story. In reading the first one, I thought it was just me reading at a furious pace but no, there are huge gaps of time happening. This book/series could have been longer if the author had spelled out some of those gaps for us. I think they would have been worth reading. In one part of this story, I remember Orion was tortured and the who thing is glazed over, almost as if Orion doesn’t want to talk about it. Orion is telling this story, as it is only in her POV, so maybe that is what the author tried to convey. I am not sure.
This was still a really good story. The writing is really descriptive and there was a lot of emotion that I could feel coming from all the characters. I think you would have to read book one in order to understand this world as it isn’t well explained in this story. For those of us who have read the first book, this story explores more of what is happening on the other side of the flashfall and how deep the corruption of this planet goes. I just wish there weren’t any time jumps. I would still totally recommend this series to YA sci-fi fans. This series is wholly original, its action packed, and the characters are pretty amazing....more
This story follows siblings Frannie, Jet (Bridgette), and Vincent as they come of age in the 1960s and into their own. The story starts with the Owen’This story follows siblings Frannie, Jet (Bridgette), and Vincent as they come of age in the 1960s and into their own. The story starts with the Owen’s siblings visiting their aunt in Massachusetts. There they learn more about their unique gifts and why their mother, Susanna, had them follow what they thought were superstitions. It turns out that all of the Owens are gifted with Magic and it is in their aunt’s home that they learn the real reasons for the rules their mother imposed on them.
Susanna’s Rules for Her Children:
-Harm none -Never fall in love -No walking in the moonlight -No red shoes -No wearing black -No cats -No crows -No candles -No books about magic
Some of the siblings go on to find out more about their own strengths, while others go on to break every rule. The first rule makes sense, but the rule about never falling in love is nearly impossible for all of them to follow. The Owen’s family has been cursed since 1620 when their ancestor Maria Owens swore off love after being scorned by the man she loved. Ever since then ever Owens that has fallen in love has lost that love to tragic circumstances.
The foundation for this book is the three siblings and indeed, the story follows them into old age as they deal with their fates and come to terms with their losses. Each of them comes to understand that they can’t hide from who they truly are, although some take much longer than others to realize this. Each sibling has a different temperament and natural magic ability, but they all end up practicing magic.
I enjoyed getting the know the whole family. There are a few key side characters that aid the siblings, and they were all worth knowing well. I admit to being anxious to see where the girls from Practical Magic came in and I was completely satisfied with their placement in this book.This story is mainly about the aunt in Practical Magic and it explains their parentage.
This story is told in 3rd person which left me feeling like a voyeuristic outsider, but I still really enjoyed this story. I think a story like this really needed to be told in that way lest we loose track trying to imagine their emotions as they deal with what life hands these siblings. Although this did make really connecting with the characters a bit difficult for me. I almost wish each character could have their own book because they are all so very interesting.
I also has a bit of an issue with this story. (view spoiler)[The fact that Vincent never really was punished for breaking the first rule. This really bothered me. To me that punishment was not enough for sending evil out into the world. I am willing to overlook it because he did loose out on getting to know Regina, and her children. I am deducting a star because I think it was careless to let that go unpunished. (hide spoiler)]
Their magic plays a part in this story but it isn’t used a crutch to move the story forward. The story’s pacing was beautiful. I loved that we covered so much time and that the story really focused on the most important parts of these character’s lives. I am so happy with the ending of this story because I know that the Owen’s story does continue with Sally and Gillian.
I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy a good story about family and magical realism. I can’t wait to read more from this author!...more
Nemesis has now fully come out as a Diabolic to the universe. The girl Nemesis was genetiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Nemesis has now fully come out as a Diabolic to the universe. The girl Nemesis was genetically engineered to protect is dead and her affinity for Tyrus, the next Emperor, is full blown. Everything is good for Tyrus and Nemesis, except the ruling class, the Grandiloquy, doesn’t accept a diabolic as being a person. There is also a religious faction that is the popular enough to make real trouble for Tyrus when he announces that Nemesis will be his bride and Empress. I rooted so hard for Tyrus and Nemesis to be happy and accepted. The author had other things in mind though.
It took me a minute acclimated to who was who in this story. It jumps right in with Tyrus ruling and Nemesis by his side. They aren’t married yet, but the plans are in the works. They are a good team. I loved how Tyrus and Nemesis trust each other above all others. They thwart quite a few assassination plots as some would rather see Tyrus’ cousin on the throne.
You’d think this would just be a cat and mouse game of Tyrus and Nemesis fighting off the evil in the universe. It definitely starts off like that, but then the author throws in these clever twists that make failing the most probable outcome. This story really kept me on my toes. By the time I hit the middle of the story, I was completely ignoring those around me to read this book and figure out how the lovers would get out of this.
The futuristic technology in this series gets more of an explanation in this installment. In book one it was science versus religion, and this book explains why. The person responsible for all of that will be known. There is also heavy use of narcotics in this book. I don’t remember much of that from book one, but Nemesis was so new to the universe we discover all the dirty details along with her.
Although the story does take us, once again, traveling through space and exploring, the details were not as descriptive as they were in the first book. I didn’t understand some of the scenes, especially in space, but it didn’t really matter since it wasn’t the point of the story. The struggle between the characters was the whole point of this story.
I loved that the author kept this whole story in Nemesis’ POV. We know everything she knows and yet we are all in the dark at what is going on behind closed doors. Nemesis still feels like a diabolic in this story, but she does have some things happen to her which opens here eyes to what it really means to be weak, and fully human.
It seems like some characters were new to me, but they probably were introduced in the first book and just didn’t seem as important at the time. Maybe reading book one then this book would have cleared things up for me. Once again, it didn’t really matter to me enough to take away from this story. I just thought I would mention it here, in case you are like me and forget character details a year later. Character relationships are important in the progression of this story line.
In the end, the author did things to make me feel some kind of way. Things are not working out the way I thought they would. Maybe you will see it coming. I held out hope for other things. I guess I still do. Admittedly, I didn’t love this book as much as book one but I would still highly recommend it. It is a really good science fiction series with a kick-ass heroine. There is no way I could not read the next book in this series. I need to see what happens next....more
Jazz Bashara is a low-level porter. She is living on the first colony on the moon calledSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Jazz Bashara is a low-level porter. She is living on the first colony on the moon called Artemis. This lunar colony is the first of it’s kind. The people living there were all chosen for their skills. Jazz was moved there because of her father’s skills. Jazz and her father had a falling out so now she dreams of having a place of her own and does some smuggling on the side to make ends meet. When a deal comes up that is too good to pass up, Jazz steps up to become Artemis’ most wanted. Jazz finds herself wanted by more than just the Artemis cops when she stumbles upon some information that shows her little colony is full of corruption.
The good news about ARTEMIS:
The science is still there. In THE MARTIAN, I almost felt overwhelmed by the science, I admit that I was confused at times. The science was a lot over my head. I loved that about the book, but it was a bit much. In this book, there is less science and more of a story. Science still plays a huge role in this book but that isn’t the only thing going on.
Jazz is a really interesting character. She is fully grown and knows who she is. She has big aspirations and she is willing to do anything to get what she wants in life. Jazz is witty, snarky and very sure of herself. She isn’t shy about her sexuality or the fact that she is is surrounded by men most of the time. She is proud of the place she lives and her love for Artemis is infectious.
This story is fast paced. It isn’t long before we are in a high stakes game of life or death with Jazz. There is real danger for Jazz. Well, there is danger for the whole colony in this tale at some point. The author doesn’t let us forget that we are on the moon. There are many details weaved into the story that remind the reader that outside of this colony is the vacuum of space. Space walks happen and not everything is picture perfect.
Humor happens in this story and it is well timed and appropriate. This book is written for adults, about adults. Expect Jazz to show up in a bar and talk about her sexual promiscuity. There were quite a few funny moments in this story. I didn’t laugh out loud but I smiled as I read and related to Jazz as someone who speaks fluent sarcasm.
Artemis has a small town feel and a real sense of community. I loved the descriptions of what living in a colony on the moon might be like. Living space in this colony of 2,000 people is at a premium and even hotels do not offer loads of space. There are hotels in Artemis, of course, for the earth-living folks to come visit and see the site where the first men walked on the moon. Artemis is a place that appealed to me even with the cramped living.
The not so great news about ARTEMIS:
Well, I would be a complete liar of I said this book was completely perfect. Jazz is great but, I didn’t find her very relate-able. She doesn’t talk, think, or act like any woman I have ever met or read about. She sounds, acts, and thinks more like a man. I kinda liked that about her, but I know some readers will have issues with a woman so confident.
Jazz’s confidence is through the roof, so she takes chances a person with a shred of doubt would never consider. She suffers a bit from overconfidence. Maybe Jazz is a bit narcissistic. She is smart but that works against her at times. Jazz gets into some terrible situations. These situations are mostly unbelievable. I hate to say that, but since we were already living on the moon I had to go with it.
For any science fiction you have to put some reality aside. I was able to do that for the most part with this book. I enjoyed the action and the character of Jazz, even if she was a little unbelievable. This was a fantastical story about what living on the moon might look like if all the wrong people ended up there. I would recommend this to science fictions fans with the warning that this is not THE MARTIAN. This is a story all it’s own....more
This story is pure Russian folklore complete with a sleepy little town surrounded by a vaSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story is pure Russian folklore complete with a sleepy little town surrounded by a vast wilderness and a seemingly endless winter. Everyone in Vasilisa‘s, (Vasya), hometown worships both God and the spirits that haunt the town. They leave offerings for the spirits and the spirits protect them from evil. When Vasya father remarries a nutter who sees and is frightened by the spirits, and a new holy man comes to town, they convince the people to turn away from the spirits and stick to worshiping the “one true god”. That’s when everything gets really bad and dark for the people of her town. Vasya may be the only one with gifts dark enough to protect her people, but at what cost.
This story builds slowly introducing Vasya and her family, most of whom practice the old ways. The town sees Vasya as a witch and wild child who runs off into the forest getting into all sorts of trouble. The story begins with Vasya‘s birth in those woods and her mother’s death. This sets Vasya up to be raised by a father who loves her fiercely, but isn’t quite sure what to do with her. It doesn’t help that all his other children are pretty normal and want normal lives of being married and making children, things which Vasya seems to have no interest in.
The story includes some interesting characters, one of whom is a horse named Nightingale. They also include a pair of brothers who are demons of the woods and of winter itself that no one but Vasya and her half-crazed step mother can see. The story is told in lyrical prose that might be a bit hard to follow at first. Once I figured out the rhythm of the story, I got really into Vasya‘s story, but I admit it took me a while.
Although the story moves forward at an awkward pace, I felt every scene and could easily imagine the environment of each character. There is good and evil, but it is more a story about living in the grey. When a girl is born different she opens the eyes of everyone she encounters to the supernatural all around them.
Although this book tells a complete story, I am really looking forward to where the author will take the characters next. There were a few loose ends but I am sated by the conclusion to this story. This story so much of an experience of the senses. THE BEAR AND NIGHTINGALE will appeal to readers who love superstition and fear as the main tone of a fairy tale. It is an adult book about Russian folklore and it is beautifully written....more
THE GIRL IN THE TOWER picks up as Vasya is cast out of her village. She has two options: join her sister in Moscow where she will be married off or hide her identity as a girl and ride off into the subset. She chooses the latter, of course, and is given a horse named Solovey. Solovey was given to Vasya by the Winter King, Morozko.
Morozko doesn’t agree with Vasya traveling by horse and fears for her safety. Vasya suffers in her travels but learns a great deal about what it means to be really survive on her own. When she encounters a burned down village she finds the people of that village mourning their stolen daughters. Vasya’s goal becomes clear, steal them back from the bandits. The plans don’t go smooth when she ends off running into her brother Sasha, a monk now serving the King.
Things get really muddled when Vasya continues her ruse as a boy and swears allegiance to the king right along with her brother. She has a lot on the line as the forces of good and evil face off with Vasya as the only person who sees the people for what they really are. It is time for Vasya to reveal her true nature or run off and leave her family behind.
It took me a bit to get back into this story. It seems like I had that same issue with the first book. Once we were traveling on the road, I was all up to speed and following the story with no problem. It is written in the same prose as THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE and readers will either love or hate. I loved it.
Vasya has grown as a character and she continues to mature in this book. Her actions has consequences, and we haven’t been through all of them yet. Eventually, Vasya will have to choose. Her wild nature helps her choose her heart above anything else. I love that she defies everyone’s expectations and chooses to be a boy.
I would say that reading the first book in this story is important to understand Vasya’a growth. Her beginnings are just as important as the circumstances she faces I this installment to the trilogy. Vasya still has the gift of seeing the creatures the guard her family and more, and she discovers she is not the only one.
Family, once again, plays an important role in this story. Although we are meeting new people, Vasya’a blood kin are still the force that drives her decisions. Vasya also has a special relationship with horses in this story. Solovey plays the role as a sort of conscience for Vasya and reminds her that there is so much at stake.
I really enjoyed this installment as it felt like a brand new adventure with familiar characters. We still have some loose ends which I hope the author will resolve for us in the next book. I highly recommend this series to readers who enjoy fantasy and folklore with amazing characters. Once you get into the prose of the story it is hard to put this down. ...more
Jules lives in a world where time can be bled away and used as currency. She lives in a vSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Jules lives in a world where time can be bled away and used as currency. She lives in a village close to the royal city of Everless. Jules finds her father bleeding out too much of his time just to pay the rent in their shabby home so she decides to take a job in Everless, where she can earn more then they need to live. Everless is the place her and her father ran from 10 years earlier, a place her father forbids her to go. For her father, Jules will go back to Everless hoping that she won’t be recognized. In Everless Jules finds herself in the middle of the mystery of her family, her heritage, and the royal line that holds the people of Everless in check.
Jules was such an amazing character. I found all the characters to be very well developed. Although we are only really follow Jules, everyone was fleshed out and given depth. I loved that Jules was so relateable. She does exactly what I would have done in her situation. Her journey is full of danger and questions that must be answered.
The currency of this world is time. Most people use time to pay the bills and earn time as they work. The royalty in Everless spend time like it is nothing. The author is careful to remind the reader that every luxury afforded the royals was bled from some poor soul. They use time to flavor their drinks, to breath life in to landscapes, and to buy secrets and trust from people working in this royal city.
EVERLESS had great world building and I loved the descriptive language. There are some modern conveniences but most of them exist due to the time being used to make things better. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how this works, but the author was able to convey the idea easily enough for me to understand. It was very believable. People are still uses horses and swords and making things by hand, too. It all seemed effortlessly blended and will actually make sense when you read this story.
There wasn’t a real love interest in this story. There were some hints at romance, but it isn’t the main focus. I loved that about this book. There was a lot of secrecy in this story. People are lying and Jules is being lied to at almost every turn. I loved the suspense. There was a definite need for haste in this story as Jules is in some horrible situation. Jules faces off with some of her deepest fears. I really didn’t guess where the story was headed as the story twisted and turned in directions I did not see coming.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend this book. Science fiction and fantasy fans will probably enjoy this book. I might suggest that you wait until the next book comes out. You are going to want to read it right away. I can’t wait to see what happens next!...more
The set-up for the story is awesome. Unfortunately, the main character, Violet, is compleSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The set-up for the story is awesome. Unfortunately, the main character, Violet, is completely pre-occupied by her lust for a cop who acts suspiciously throughout most of this story. The first scene in this story is Violet saving the cop, Danny, from being killed on old earth. I honestly expected the bad guy he was chasing to end up being the love interest. I guess I read too many books where that happens.
Danny is not the bad guy per se, but I felt him guilty of something throughout most of this book. I didn’t get what she saw in Danny. It wasn’t until almost the end of this story that I actually warmed to him.
There were vividly described scenes in this story. I also think the story moved at an excellent pace. The world was not well described. New earth, for all its perfection gets hardly any description. I have no idea what it looks like except that it is cleaner than old earth. Old earth is pretty well described but since most of the story takes place on new earth that didn’t help me much.
I still don’t understand how a whole bunch of citizens of earth left so many people behind to fend for themselves. Maybe I do, but it reminded me of WWII a little but without the Gestapo to threaten people. This society has the intercept to keep the new citizens in check way before protesting. The thing is that the intercept came into play after half the population left the other half to die in old earth. Violet doesn’t even remember old earth, so we can’t really blame her. Danny is a recent addition to new earth so he misses it.
Violet’s character felt a bit flat to me. She has a best friend and we do get a little of her story, but mainly she is there to move Violet and the story forward. Danny and Violet have a non-existent relationship until Violet decides to spy on Danny to find out why he keeps going to old earth.
The ending contained a twist that just killed would have my enjoyment of this story, had I not already had issues with it. Side characters, that really had minimal involvement in the story suddenly become key players. I really disliked the ending of this story because it felt so off from the rest of it. The intercept plays a role but betrayal is an even bigger role. Although this is the first in a series, it could be a stand alone since it tells a complete story. I doubt I will continue reading this series....more
TOWER OF DAWN is a story that needed to be told. Last year, when I reviewed EMPIRE OF STORMS I mentioned that a certain character was missing. This seemed very deliberate. I am happy to tell you that this is his story, and Nesryn’s, and Yrene’s. TOWER OF DAWN explains where Chaol went, how he dealing with his injury, and what is to become of him and Nesryn (and a few other people they meet).
Chaol starts this story off in his wheelchair. I have no idea how he traveled, but somehow Nesryn and Chaol end up at the very top of the southern continent in Antica. Their purpose there is two-fold; convince the healers of Torre to help Chaol walk again, and get the support of this powerful kingdom to help fight the war that is coming.
Chaol is not quite the character I remember from CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. He is in a wheelchair and dealing with wounded pride. He doesn’t feel seem the man he used to be. He isn’t kind to everyone he meets. Chaol has a lot of resentment and is consumed by what other people think of him being in that wheelchair. His short temper is glaringly obvious when he meets Yrene and embarrasses Nesryn by acting like an ass.
To be completely honest here, I am conflicted on how I feel about Chaol after reading this installment. There were a few scenes where I really disliked Chaol. His temper to Yrene, even towards the end of this book was rude in some cases and unforgivable. I saw him as taking what he wanted and I didn’t really like him using his looks and charm to get away with using people.
Nesryn and Choal together start off the story feeling really old and tired to me. Nesryn and Chaol seemed like a pairing for convince, even though I felt so strongly about them at the end of EMPIRE OF STORMS. I had no interest in seeing Chaol and Nesryn together right from the start of this story. Whatever was between them has runs it course.
I felt bad for Nesryn but not enough to really be invested in her story with Sartag. At least at first. I felt completely different by the end of the story though as I got so invested in the story of Sartag and Nesryn. I couldn’t even tell you which story line I liked more. They were both really interesting and action packed.
Chaol is disabled in this story and that plays a huge part of the change in him. He is used to being the most fit, the most ready for a fight, the one everyone turns to for direction. In this story he is in need of help with a lot of things. Having to ask for help from a healer who obviously doesn’t like him just because of where he comes from does not make this easy for him. He does grow though and it has nothing to do with healing, but more with accepting things as they are.
I think the disability was well written. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be stuck in a chair but Chaol gave me what I think would be an accurate glimpse into what that might be like. Even if he could be healed, it is not something that will happen overnight. This means he has to rely on Nesryn to do more of the persuading for that army then he originally planned.
Nesryn gets really close to Sartag. I really liked Nesryn flying around with Sartag and then learning to fly by herself. Nesryn is a completely different person around Sartag. She is fierce, like Aelin, but in a more human way. I loved seeing Nesryn learn about her homeland and the combination of old and new.
I ended up really liking all the new characters, with the exception of one. I can’t say who, but if you read the story you will know exactly who I mean. I loved that we caught snippets of what Aelin and her crew were doing. It was fun to see what people who only heard about her really thought she was capable of. People in this kingdom also have views on what really happened to the glass tower and are not afraid to make assumptions about what they don’t know.
There was so much going on once we get to know who the key players are. This book was a thrill ride full of romance, friendship, and danger. I feel like this installment really tied a lot of mysteries together for me. Someone has to have more of an answer about the Wrydkeys and Vlag origins. I think the answers are right here, we just have to get them to the right people.
I am really looking forward to the reunion that is bound to happen in the next book. All of these characters with all of their different skill sets is what is going to allow them to win this war, at least I hope. I liked this book even better than EMPIRE OF STORMS. I give a high recommendation. Even if, like me, you aren’t sure you want to read this. You NEED to read this....more
THE TWELVE introduces a slew of new(-ish) charactersSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren See my full review for THE PASSAGE
THE TWELVE introduces a slew of new(-ish) characters and go back to the origins of the virus. We then follow a timeline with those characters to present day, where all of the heroes from book one live. This book introduces us to a society of vampire-virals maintaining life off the blood of one of the originals. This new breed to vampire-virals have all their mental facilities and keep their mindless viral brethren locked in a basement. Whenever one of the humans living in the community tries to speak out, escape, or not follow orders from the vampire–virals they go straight to the basement to face their death. Our heroes are trying to learn about the community and then they decide to infiltrate it using guise of a rebellion under the name Sergio.
First, what I liked about this book:
*Peter, Amy, Caleb, Lyla, Lawrence, Lish, Hollis, Sarah, Kate, and many more…basically all the heroes of this story. *Lyla and Lawrence meeting for the first time and then when she takes him home. *Sarah/Dani dealing with Lyla and her daughter Kate. *Insurgency! *What happens in the stadium at the end.
What I didn’t like about this book:
*Too many new characters that weren’t even relevant to the story. *The “community” itself seemed to come out of nowhere. *The flimsy plan they make at the end to evacuate everyone that seems impossible. *Lish’s transformation. *Peter leaving Caleb to invade this community in the first place? *The introduction of a different kind of viral, I thought these people had enough problems. *Why didn’t the Twelve get rid of these new kind of virals by themselves in the first place?
As you can see, there were things I liked and didn’t like about the this story. The thing is that this follow up didn’t have all the feels or grab me like the first book did. The main thing I want to convey is that I will never get the 26 hours and 26 minutes it took to listen to this book back. It really felt like middle book syndrome since there were about 100 better avenues this author could of explored before we get to Zero (what the final book is about).
That’s not to say I hated this book, just that I am frustrated that it was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Also, as time passed quickly in THE PASSAGE, it does not stop for the events in this book to take place. My other source of frustration is of these characters wasting their time together, even their very lives on this crazy quest to kill the twelve. After all that they go through I know that they are not happier for it.
All I want is for these characters to be happy and safe, is that too much to ask? Since I already have a signed copy of THE CITY OF MIRRORS, of course I will be reading it. I hope it is just as exciting as THE PASSAGE was....more
I knew very little about this book going in. I thought THE PASSAGE would be a dystopian nSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
I knew very little about this book going in. I thought THE PASSAGE would be a dystopian novel. I had no idea it apocalyptic masterpiece that would occupy my mind even whilst not reading it and make me fall in love with all it’s perfectly written characters. I almost think going in blind is best. Plus, there is no good way to describe the experience that is THE PASSAGE.
“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”
This story starts with the gathering of death row inmates to volunteer for project NOAH, a government experiment taking place somewhere in Colorado. It goes horribly wrong and the inmates escape and unleash hell to anyone not affected. It is a vampireish virus which turns it’s victims into flesh eating, sun fearing, monsters. FBI agent Brad Wolgast, once the man who gathered the inmates, now seeks to save a small girl from the facility where she may or may not have been affected as well. They try to live a life away from the virus, but it doesn’t last.
“Mankind had built a world that would take hundred years to die. A century for the last lights to go out.”
Much later, 90 or so year, civilization is taking it’s last breath as the light, the only thing that keeps the “virals” at bay, are about to go out. For one community this catastrophic ending may be prevented by a road trip to find a signal that is still being beamed out from Colorado. When they find a small girl acting as an ally they all know something is different about her. None of them realize how different and that she may be the key to keeping their community alive.
Oh gosh, I hope I didn’t say too much. The premise of this story is hard to digest and even harder to condense into just two paragraphs. This book is 766 pages long, so there is no way I could do it justice. What I really want to express about this book is all depth of characters, of the beautifully describes scenes and landscapes, of adventures both big and small, of fears and hopes and desires, of really everything that matters most to me while reading a story.
This story encompasses so much time and distance that it is a wonder anyone could put it all into one book. Not only that but all the characters have so much depth. As the virus breaks out we meet all 12 candidates that get the virus initially. We also get to know (and love) a small child called Amy who comes from nothing, is abandoned, and then stolen before finally being saved. Amy is crucial to this story and yet remained a big mystery for me as I read. Ninety years later we meet a whole community of survivors, most of whom were not around to know any different. Their run in with Amy is impossible, and yet there she is almost unchanged.
There is a bit of gore (yay) and some really terrifying scenes in THE PASSAGE. There is also so much hope and love between characters. I cried a bit in the middle and it still makes me sad to think about it, tbh. From the middle straight through to the ending there was adventure and no safe place for these refugees. I felt actual fear for their safety. I also felt all the hope they carried, especially from Peter, who becomes Amy’s constant companion.
I am so glad there are two more books in this series. I borrowed this ebook from the library but found I wanted to get back to it even when I had my hands free so I bought the audible version as well. Scott Brick and 3 others narrated this book. To say it was engrossing is an understatement. I honestly cannot wait to get back to the writing style, the characters, the drama, the loves and new beginnings, the inevitable obstacles, and all the feelings this book brought forth from me. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series. I highly recommend this book....more
See my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren See my full review for REPLICA here
RINGER is the second (and final) book in the REPLICASee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren See my full review for REPLICA here
RINGER is the second (and final) book in the REPLICA series. It tells linear stories of two girls; Lyra, who was raised as a replica but actually isn’t and Gemma, who is actually a replica but was raised as a normal girl. I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the first book in this series. The stakes seem even higher and they involve outside people who actually want to help them, and some that are determined to kill them.
Gemma learns that her father has plans to kill Lyra and Caelum. Gemma and her boyfriend Pete set out to try to save them. When Gemma and Pete are mistaken for Lyra and Caelum they find out that Haven is still housing replicas. They find themselves mistaken for replicas and then there they learn the awful truth about what it means to be a replica.
Lyra and Caelum are having a hard time blending in with society. They find themselves outsiders to a big wide world. Lyra wants to explore that world and Caelum prefers to watch it go by on television. They are closer then they have ever been and living almost like strangers to each other. The set out to their beginnings at Haven in the hope to find a cure for Lyra’s illness.
I read Gemma’s story first and then Lyra’s. Gemma finds herself in some horrible situations. First, she is mistaken for a replica and meets many like her. Exactly like her to be exact, except they are missing some essential piece that actually makes them human. Her relationship with Pete seems to have moved beyond awkward and moves to a more comfortable place. I was so happy to see Gemma in a good relationship because it seems so many around her in the first story were so untrustworthy.
Lyra’s story explores the question of what it really means to be human. Since she was raised with replicas she relies on what her father, who takes her and Caelum in, to explain that and how to function in society. I really enjoyed Lyra’s experiences since she sees the world with really fresh eyes. Some of the things her and Caelum do to survive are really questionable, but since they don’t’ really know any better it worked in the story.
In this story it is almost as if the girls have traded places. I enjoyed this spin as well as the formatting. The girls’ stories could stand alone but the fact that they intersect makes this story even more compelling. We get to see snippets of the girl in each story. The girls have grown so much since the first book and both of their story arcs are fun to read about.
I will say that the ending leaves a lot to the imagination. I honestly thought there would be a third installment to this series because so much is left unanswered. There were a few coincidences in both girls’ stories that seemed a little too perfect. All in all this was a pretty good story. It was original and fun to imagine. I would recommend this to YA Sci-Fi fans....more
This story was such a fast paced read for me. I felt the clock ticking the whole time I wSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story was such a fast paced read for me. I felt the clock ticking the whole time I was reading this. At first, it is just about survival and then it was about Edgar getting to his family safely. The story starts off with a bang as the asteroids are hitting his hometown that morning. The received almost no warning and the panic was something I actually felt for him. Edgar has a wife and two small children. The youngest is still breastfeeding, so it is imperative that he maintain food and keep everyone alive. Edgar isn’t exactly the best man for the job, but he is all they have.
I found Edgar to be a realistic character. He admits that he avoided dealing the chores of rearing children as much as humanly possible. He commends his wife for taking up his slack. He admits to not being a good husband or father. Edgar is overweight and lazy. He fully admits all that and so right away I liked his humility. He is probably the last hero you would expect. I rooted so hard for him even though he probably didn’t deserve to be reunited with the family he took so for granted.
Edgar is surrounded by a unlikely group of people as he travels to the coast. Some of the characters were pretty well flushed out and I had no trouble telling people apart. We not only get a good look at Edgar’s motivation, but we also see the strengths and motivations of some of the people he travels with. I didn’t understand some of the characters motivations, but I am guessing a character like Edgar wouldn’t care either. Also, I didn’t understand his wife, or Edgar’s marriage, at all but I could see that he was really determined to get back to his kids, especially his little girl.
My favorite part about this book is how Edgar comes to terms with running. The author obviously understand what it takes to motivate a body that has been sedate to run and then keep on running.
“Before the first step, before the first muscle twitches, before the first neuron fires, there comes a choice: stand still or move. You choose the right option. Then you repeat that choice one hundred thousand times. You don’t run thirty miles, you run a single step many times over. That’s all running is; that’s all anything is. If there’s somewhere you need to be, somewhere you need to get to, or if you need to change or move away from where or what you are, then that’s all it takes. A hundred thousand simple decisions, each one made correctly. You don’t have to think about the distance or the destination or about how far you’ve come or how far you have to go. You just have to think about what’s in front of you and how you’re going to move it behind you.”
The group faces a lot of danger and encounters some strange groups who all have their own agenda. Between the danger and fatigued described by the author by the runners themselves, I felt so much during this read. Edgar wasn’t the one I would pick to run across the country, but he ends up earning back some dignity as he travels and faces the obstacles. I have to admit that some of this story seemed far fetched, but I enjoyed going along with Edgar as he raced to get to his family....more
There were some great things about this book. First, Fae. I can’t remember the last timeSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
There were some great things about this book. First, Fae. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book with Fae characters and I loved their secret world. There is also royalty since The Queen of Rage and Fire and the King of Fire and Truth feature prominently in this story. There are Seelie and Unseelie courts. There is some sacrifice made to the Queen and it got me wondering if she was a good or bad queen. Either way I was on board to get to know her.
The second thing that is kinda cool is the ships that happen in this story. There are two major ones for me and I doubt I could say which one I liked over the other. It is fun when teenage love is explored for the reader with all the feelings of forever. That is the kind of relationships I like to see in YA.
We get to know all the characters pretty well. There is Lilywhite, Creed (musician who Lily fancies), Zephyr (the leader of the group and most loyal to the Queen), Violet (a free spirit nature lover), Alkamy (a starlet who loves Zephyr), Roam and Will (who love each other but we don’t learn much about them individually). They also each have at least one affinity to either air, water, earth or fire. Only strong Fae have more than one and the most powerful have all four.
There was also these fun Abernathy commandments Lilywhite recounts in her head through out the story. Those commandments were things her father (the crime lord) taught her. Later in the story the Black Diamonds seem to have their own commandments although they are not as numerous, and not repeated nearly as much.
My problems with this book are world building. Given everything I just said about the hidden world and courts that seems odd, I know. Hear me out. I couldn’t “see” anything in this story. Most of the book is dialogue with one or two descriptions dropped in. I didn’t find out where these conversations were taken place until late in the talking. I am the kind of reader who need descriptive details, and not just about what the characters look like.
I also didn’t like that these diamonds are at school, but there is not school-ish things mentioned in this whole story. Since they are so powerful and/or famous, why do they need that school anyways. The school is never really eplained, just the dorms where a lot of conversations take place. I left this book feeling sad that it didn’t explain much but I was hopeful that the sequel would clear things up for me....more
I have to admit I forgot some of the characters and ships going into this book, so it took me a few chapters to catch up. Once I figured out what was going on, I was completely hooked, again. I still have my personal favorite but all three of these Queens have grown and changed so much from who they were in book one.
The story starts off with all three sisters now having free reign to kill each other. Some are getting better at it, some are even more hesitant, and some choose an alliance I can’t see working out for all parties involved.There will be plenty of chances for these three Queens to face off as the houses love putting these three together for sport.
The sisters gain depth and get fleshed out in this installment.
Katherine, The Poisoner and my personal favorite, becomes this dark and powerful Queen hell bent on claiming the crown. I loved that the once weakest Queen is now clearly on top, for some reason, but she and her house are absolutely ruthless in their pursuit.
Arsinoe, The Naturalist, is much changed now that her true gift has been revealed. Her objective is to stay alive long enough to figure out how to use it to her advantage. Arsinoe grew much more interesting for me in this book. She is my second favorite.
Mirabella, The Elemental, is the one everyone thought would easily take the crown. Her power is still strong, but she deflects and chooses not to kill his sisters. I am still not on board with #teamMirabella simply because she is badass and chooses to be “good”. Ugh, that bored me about her.
This story moves at such a fast pace, I dare you to try to keep up with which sister is in the lead. There were some very interesting side characters (both enemies and allies) which kept each Queen in check. Jules, Arsinoe’s bff, plays a major role in this story and of all those side characters, she is the one I am interested in the most. Although all the side characters have some interesting going on.
There isn’t much more I can say about this book without giving away major spoilers. I will say that the end definitely left me wanting, nae needing, much more. I am elated to see that there will be two more books after this and you can bet I will be reading them both. Fans of Dark Fantasy should add this series to their lists and get reading immediately....more
Well THIS DARKNESS MINE is another dark book by Mindy McGinnis. I am not sure how she doeSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Well THIS DARKNESS MINE is another dark book by Mindy McGinnis. I am not sure how she does it, but each book seems to getting darker. This story explores the life of a Sasha Stone as she becomes something else. Something much darker than anyone thought possible.
Sasha Stone has her whole life planned out. She is on top of her class and the best clarinet player in her school. She is almost guaranteed a scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory. She is dating a boy who also has his life planned out. She is the apple of her parent’s eye and always does the right thing. When she meets a boy named Isaac she can’t deny her need for him. He is everything she isn’t. Maybe she owes her want to another. Maybe she owes her want and even her life to the twin she absorbed in the womb who wants to take back control of her flesh.
This story is perfectly told by an un-relateable narrator. Sasha is going through something. She looses her spot as first clarinet, her perfect boyfriend, her friend’s trust, and her health all at once. Although parts of this felt really far fetched I couldn’t help but follow Sasha down the rabbit hole as she tries to expose the reason her life is falling apart.
Enter her twin sister, and a well played excuse.
This story explores a girl who knows no limits to how far she will go. Sasha is a terrible girl. She is horrible to everyone and destroys her whole life to prove a point. She also toys with people around her, but she is so sly you won’t even realize she is doing it until it is done. I haven’t felt so conflicted about a character in a long time.
The writing style of this author always explores dark characters in bleak settings. THIS DARKNESS MINE is no exception. Sasha is a girl you might know, a person full of excuses and explanations that defy reality. Sasha believes she is right, and that is all that matters. The settings and side characters were well written and easy to imagine.
I enjoyed this story about an evil/mentally ill girl, but some of it was very far from believable. I am torn on how to rate this. On one hand it was original and dark and a very wild ride. On the other hand it was shocking, and not always in a good way. This story is about insanity. Follow Sasha down the rabbit hole and see what you make of it....more
This story picks right up where WORLD AFTER left off. Penryn finds herself at the mercy oSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story picks right up where WORLD AFTER left off. Penryn finds herself at the mercy of some ruthless Angels. A deal is struck and Penryn finds herself back with humans trying to save everyone. Are people worth saving? Hell yes! With the help of DunDee and Paige the humans cook up a last stand like no one alone could imagine. It’s angels versus humans and humans don’t seem to stand a chance. Penryn and Raffe find themselves stuck choosing between their own kind, on opposite sides, or each other.
Things happen in this story and it is action packed. Penryn’s focus seems to have shifted from saving her family and herself to doing whatever it takes to be with Raffe. Like I said before, their pairing in romance isn’t my favorite part of this book. I like them pairing up and fighting.
An enemy’s motivation is revealed and people are pulled from the pit into this fight for good or evil. The pit contains all kinds of hellish nightmares and it was almost uncomfortable to read about. That is a good thing. I love when a book can make me feel. It is really imaginative and scary. I enjoyed the journey.
I was pleasantly surprised by the resources the humans came up with for this battle scene. I think it was wretched of the author to put Raffe in that situation. Choosing one thing makes him the biggest dick ever, and choosing the other makes him look weak. All throughout this story we see that angels who have chooses humans have “fallen”. I still have no idea who makes them fall or how that even happens.
I enjoyed the world this author created I just wish there would have been more of it. The fact that the end of the world showdown happens in San Francisco is a bit weird. Amiright? There were quite a few coincidences but nothing took away from my enjoyment of the action.
I really enjoyed this story right up until the Epilogue. Why couldn’t this have answered a few more questions? I am sure the author went into these books with explanations for how and why these things occurred, but she didn’t share them with the reader. I think reading these books back to back really helped me to gain a perspective for the series. I still have so many questions so I have made up answers in my head for things that should have been in these books. This could have been at least one more book, and then maybe we could have had the ending that we really needed for this series.
I grew so attached to these characters and this world. I would still recommend these books with the warning that the ending will leave you wishing for more....more
ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL explores how well we really know people. At what point can consent fSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL explores how well we really know people. At what point can consent for sex be revoked? What is excusable behavior? This novel explores all these topics within a character driven plot.
This story fits it’s title. ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL takes place in the UK. It is about a Junior Minister who is being accused of raping a young parliamentary researcher that he works closely with. This story includes points of view from the wife of the accused, the prosecutor of the accused, and the accused himself.
This story starts with the prosecutor’s POV. Kate Woodcroft is a barrister for the queen’s court. She has climbed the ranks in her field and is one of the most respected prosecutors. She works with domestic and sexual assaults almost exclusively. We don’t find out why until we get to know Kate a little bit better. Kate is convinced of James’ guilt and puts her career on the line to prove it.
James Whitehouse is an egotistical politician working closely with the prime minister. The prime minister just happens to be his best friend. James has a short affair that ends with his mistress accusing him of rape. He has worked hard to be where he is and has a lot to lose. His wife Sarah will probably forgive him this indiscretion, but will his career survive this?
Sophie met her husband, James, at Oxford. He was a bit of a player in school and it wasn’t until they reconnected years later that they fell in love and married. Their marriage consists of 2 children. Sophie is the perfect politician’s wife. She is smart but not outspoken. She believes in her husband’s innocence even if he had a short affair. Surely this is something they can work out as long as James can prove his innocence.
This story, although it contains a lot of drama and some courtroom action, is very character driven. Each of these characters is dragged through this scandal and has something to gain or lose from it. This story includes flashbacks that give more of a backstory to each character. There were more than a few shocking revelations in this story. I think the author handled the recreation of the incident without spoon feeding the intention behind it to the reader. I enjoyed the story and felt justice was served.
My only real issue with this book was the abrupt ending. I didn’t see this book ending like that. I also kind of feel that courtroom drama is an acquired taste. You either like it or you don’t. I don’t usually, but the newness of the UK style of court saved this for me. I would recommend this to anyone looking for courtroom drama and a story that sounds like current events....more
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find thaSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren Other books in this series AND I DARKEN
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find that she cannot secure the throne. Her goal to become prince of Wallachia is all consuming. She and her men will stop at nothing to get what Lada deserves. Lada is accompanied by her childhood friend, Bogdan. She is also missing her brother Radu, and requests him to join her. Radu is sent on a mission by Mehmed to pretend to deflect and spy in the great city of Constantinople. Mehmed is obsessed with his goal to conquer the city and even puts Radu in danger to accomplish this. Radu must choose between helping his unrequited love, Mehmed, and helping the sister that has always been there for him.
This book made me want to read the history. I dislike historical non-fiction, but this book made me want to do some research. I actually did look up some of the main characters from this story and the whole story is now very familiar. It is so inspiring to see how this author has blended historical fact with fictional characters long forgotten to make us all interested in their fate.
I feel like this story moved faster than the first book because it covered a much smaller time span. That seems wrong, but the first book covered decades and this story takes place over a year or less. This story alternated between Lada and Radu’s POV. Radu is sympathedic to Lada but wants Mehmed to love him. Lada wants her country and feels Radu’s rightful place is with him. Things are finally getting put into place for both Mehmed and Lada to achieve their life long goals leaving Radu with the scraps.
I really loved the historical setting for this story. There is something to be said for writing historical fact into a fictional setting. The author describes this gritty time in all its uncomfortable glory. The clothes, the housing, the weather, it is all well laid out for the reader. I think the most interesting place we visited in this story, and there was so much traveling happening here, is Constantinople. The city is not at all what Mehmed and Radu think it will be, but somehow it is exactly what I imagined a 15th century city to be.
“He had imagined Constantinople, had wanted it for Mehmed. It had been simple and straightforward. But now he knew the true cost of things, the murky horrors of the distance between wanting something and getting it.”
Lada is ruthless in this story. Living in the 15th century she hates the way women are treated and she vows to change that for the women in her own country. She gets her hands dirty, she is under estimated, she is the warrior her country needs to lead them. Lada struggles with her sexuality. She doesn’t regret leaving Mehmed but she needs something to fill the void. Lada seems bloodthirsty but she is only the product of a bloody family line that takes what they know is theirs. Lada spends most of this story building alliances in preparation of one final stand to demand the crown she knows is hers.
“Wallachia needs you, and you deserve Wallachia. Let your loyalty be only where your heart is. Everything else can fall by the road and be trodden underfoot as we pass to our home. My fierce little girl. You can do anything.”
Radu leads his life with his heart. He is torn between the safety of Nazira, his wife who he has grown to love very much in a platonic way, and pleasing the sultan he desires. Radu is such a good man and he is just in his approach to life. He may not be the warrior Lada is, but he fights for what is right. His is sickened by the war created by Mehmed for a city that isn’t really great, but housing some new friends Radu knows are worthy of living. The most disturbing aspect of Radu is that he fights for a religion he feels home in that forbids his very nature. His trials are heartbreaking. Radu has grown so much from the last book becoming possibly my favorite character. I need to see Radu with the happy ending he deserves.
“He would die on the wall tonight, between his brothers and his enemies, because he could no longer distinguish between the two. They had finally come to the end. Whichever side won, neither would triumph.”
This is fast becoming one of the greatest series ever. The characters are unforgettable. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this saga and I am secretly dreading it. Even the ending of this book was bloody brilliant. If you haven’t read this, I suggest you go right now and pic this up. Once again for this series,if I gave 6 stars, this sequel would get it....more
The main plot for Nix is Kashmir’s fate. Nix is trying to save Kashmir from drowning by going to a mythical city that is said to have been flooded. That really made no sense, but Nix is desperate to not loose Kash. At the end of the first book it seemed like Nix was caught in a love triangle, but in this story Blake is cast aside for Kash.
Kash is also from a mythical city so saving Dahut becomes even more important for Nix as she tries to change her future. These time-travelers do change the future by going to the past, but what then happens to their supposed future before the time-traveler? These questions don’t really get answered, but the concepts get explored which left me really thinking about fate.
This story has the crew exploring a mythical city, it’s castle, and memories. The city itself is beautifully described. There are mermaids, monsters, an oubliette, and plenty of places to hide a key.
Dahut keeps a diary of events which she seems to have no memory of. Once again, there is the question of fate because of course knowing something changes the way you move forward. If you can’t remember then that knowledge is lost. The same holds true for Nix knowing now that she is destined to loose her love. If she never knew that she might not have chosen Kash so much and been so desperate to save him.
This story blends a mythical city with real people. Crowhurst becomes king of Ker-Ys and uses Lethe water to take away memories to seduce Dahut, the king’s daughter, to go along with his plan. In real life, evidence found after Crowhurst’s disappeared on his 3rd voyage suggests that this attempt ended in possible insanity and suicide. The question then becomes, does Nix suggest the voyage to him, or was he going to do that anyways? The future is uncertain even here.
This story introduced Kashmir’s POV into the story. Kash is so smitten by Nix. They are obviously destined for each other, or is that what the author wants me to think? This story also explores how much Nix doesn’t want to end up like her father, mourning a lost love and living with depression. I loved that this book left some things open, while answering a lot of questions. There could be more to this story or it could all end right here. Either way I really enjoyed this book....more
The main theme of the story is fear. Hanna is the oldest in her family’s clan of 9 childrSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The main theme of the story is fear. Hanna is the oldest in her family’s clan of 9 children. The story starts 10 days before Hanna’s 18th birthday. On Hanna’s 18th birthday a man twice Hanna’s age, with 4 other wives, will marry and deflower Hanna. Hanna meets a boy named Daniel at church who starts to change her views for her future. He opens Hanna’s eyes and makes her question her options. Hanna, her siblings, and her mother and sister mothers live in constant fear of displeasing their father and the elder of the community. Disobedience in any form means immediate punishment. Hanna must decide if she will follow her marital fate or try for something beyond the community and leave her family behind.
This whole story takes place in about a weeks time and has a magical element that I didn’t see coming at all. I liked he descriptive details this author sprinkles throughout the story. I had no problem imagining the crumbling house she grows up in or the lavish accommodations of her betrothed. It felt like I was right there next to Hanna seeing things as she saw them.I had a hard time picturing the magical element but it did help the story progress.
This is a coming of age story about a relate-able girl. Hanna has hopes for herself and her sisters, especially her handicapped sister Emily. Her bond with Emily and need to protect her is admirable. There are quite a few female relationships in this story that, while uncomfortable, make perfect sense. I liked the closeness between Hanna and Kara, her real mother, and the almost rivalry between Jessamina, her families youngest sister wife. The dynamics of these females are pretty insightful.
What I didn’t like about this story were those descriptions of the elder men in the community. I have a hard time believing these people would cast most of their sons out, or that this whole community of men could all be so evil. Other than a few choice boys, all the males in this book are pure evil. I do wish there would have been more explanation for Hanna’s gift. I feel like the author left the reader hanging as to why and that left me a little disappointed. I also didn’t like Hanna’s choices at the end for her sister Emily.
This was a pretty addictive read for me from start to finish despite my small issues with the story. There is much more I could say about Hanna and town but I don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers. I would recommend this to people who don’t mind wondering about the author’s intentions. This could be a story of coming of age, or a fantastical story about a girl with a rare gift. The author left that for the reader to decide....more
Adam Thorne is having a tough adolescence. He is in unrequited love with a boy who cast hSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Adam Thorne is having a tough adolescence. He is in unrequited love with a boy who cast him aside without just cause. The boy he is seeing is a really great guy, but also famously gay and so Adam must keep their relationship a secret. Adam’s father is a church minister and his whole family is very against homosexuality. It wouldn’t be so bad if they at least liked him, but they all treat him like the red-haired step child and his straight brother like the prodigal son. In a matter of just one day all of these situations will collide for Adam. Secrets will be revealed and people will be seen for who they really are.
That all sounds great right? I have to admit that I loved Adam’s story. I couldn’t even imagine what being a gay preacher’s son would be like but this book allowed me to see how uncomfortable and hypocritical it could be. At one time Adam really loved God and throughout the story he struggles with that love since his very nature is spoken against in the bible. Not to get too into the religion of this story, I have to say that this was well done. Be you a believer or not, you shouldn’t be offended by anything in Adam’s story.
Adam has some real emotional support in this story in the form of his best friend who is a bi-female (whom I can’t remember the name of) and his secret boyfriend Linus. These two act in different ways to strengthen and encourage Adam to face the things he must in order to be free. I loved Linus as an out and proud gay guy, but I also loved how patient he was with Adam.
The author did something really bold here for a YA novel and actually talked about the sex. Not just sex, but gay male sex! Bravo Mr. Ness for breaching this uncharted territory! Just like Judy Bloom’s FOREVER was in my generation for straight girls who were curious, so RELEASE is for homosexual young males. Patrick Ness tells the whole story for the reader and leaves little to the imagination.
The elephant in the room (or this book as the case may be), is the “ghost story” being told in alternate chapters throughout this book. This fantastical story about a girl who was first strangled and then weighed down to drown in the town’s lake.It was not well told. It has something to do with drugs and a teenage girl’s death.It is horrible, but it really had no business in this book. This part of the book tells the story of a ghost of a girl, a queen or a fawn, who seeks revenge and ultimately freedom. I didn’t enjoy that part of this book at all but I powered through it hoping it would somehow connect to Adam and his tale. Now let’s just say I wish I would have just skipped over those chapters.
Well other than that stupid ghost story, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. I was torn between 3 and 4 stars honestly. I am rating up because I have high hopes for this book. I have no one in my immediate circle that would really benefit from Adam’s story in this book. I think even straight YA readers will enjoy this. Since I really do think this is a Judy Bloom FOREVER kind of book, I am sending out a thousand wishes that this read ends up in the right hands and helps someone....more