Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade, #3)

Bright Blaze of MagicAuthor: Jennifer Estep
Published: April 26, 2016
Pages: 368

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
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Amazon

 

Synopsis:
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

Review:
It has been a while since I’ve read the previous book in this series that it took me a little bit to understand what was happening. But once I remembered the details, it was easy to take off with this book. I hate saying this but I just wish it was better. I am so disappointed this book because I really enjoyed the first two in this series.

The writing isn’t the best but the plot is somewhat captivating and I can’t resist a female heroine who is all kinds of awesome. Except this female heroine just might be too awesome. Lila is a strong woman, surrounded by love and support but clouded by doubt, revenge, and at times loneliness. She is an amazing thief and a strong swordsman. But the death of her mother haunts her as does the threat her mothers killer poses. Although she isn’t perfect, she’s pretty close to it.

Devon is the bruiser for the Sinclair family which pretty much means he’s one day going to take over the family. With that said, what I found odd was most of the time Lila is the one leading the group, coming up with the plan, and shouting orders. When Devon does give out orders or comes up with a plan, it’s always him sacrificing himself or throwing himself in danger. Halfway through the book I wanted to roll my eyes at his stupidity. He has one of the most unique powers, compulsion. And what does he keep trying to do but hand himself over to the man who rips powers out of others. Because that sounds smart, let’s give the bad guy even more power so he can control people with his words instead of using blackmail.

I found this book to be a bit repetitive. I noticed the author continued to say the same things multiple times throughout the book. Examples include picking locks, how she can see with her enhanced sight, how she is an amazing thief…

I highly doubt I’m giving anything away by saying how Lila volunteers to fight Victor in a one on one match. We all saw this coming and if you didn’t, I’m just not sure how you missed it.  But don’t worry, I’m not going to give away the ending. I felt like this part of the book was slightly ridiculous or maybe I just thought it should go a different way. I’m not really sure which it is.. but everyone gives their support to Lila without questioning why a teenager is fighting the man with unknown amounts of magic. Ok, I can go with this, sure. Lila did save everyone and she is pretty much the perfect badass. But what strikes me as odd is how everyone believes she will win. And I mean there is no doubt, worry, concern.. They all just automatically accept her facing Victor. It was as though that thought was the most logical conclusion and everyone is at ease with it. In fact, Lila is the only one who is slightly concerned about facing Victor.

Seleste’s prophesy kind of spoiled the book for me. I wasn’t difficult to connect the dots and predict what was going to happen. I don’t remember the other books being this predictable but this one seemed to be.

Overall, I wanted so much from this book and I didn’t get it. I’m not sure if there will be a forth to this series because the author, in a way, left it open. Looking on Goodreads, my review is not the norm. Most people seemed to have really enjoyed this book. My suggestion, if you have come this far in the series, give the book a shot. Who knows, you might love it.

Throwback Thursday- The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

throwback

This week I would like to talk about a series, The Selection. This series is in the Young Adult category and although I don’t always enjoy these books, I did enjoy this series.

The-Selection

Somewhat of a synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for the main character, America, this is not her dream. As she struggles to discover herself, she is tossed into a world full of manipulation, lies, cruelty, violence, and of course love. But not just the simple kind of love. You see America doesn’t willingly or want to fall for Prince Maxon. Not when Aspen is a constant reminder. Before you know it, a love triangle forms and the reader is left in a constant ping-pong arena: Prince Maxon or Aspen..

This series is about injustice, overcoming great obstacles, finding and allowing yourself to love, and the idea of dreaming of something more.

By the end of the series, the author adds unexpected twists but a somewhat predictable ending. And although I felt the ending was an easy way out with questions still unanswered, if  you allow yourself to get swept away in the fairy tale then you will enjoy this series.

Quotes:

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.” – The Selection

“You get confused by crying women, I get confused by walks with princes.”- The Selection

“He stood and went to read my pin as I approached. “America, is it?” he said, a smile playing on his lips.
“Yes, it is. And I know I’ve heard your name before, but could you remind me?” – The Selection

“Your Majesty- Tugging my ear. Whenever.”- The Selection

“I sighed. “Actually, Mom, we argue pretty regularly.”
“What?” She gaped at me. “Well, stop it!”
“Oh, and I kneed him in the groin once.” – the Elite

“America Singer, you get back here.” He ran in front of me, wrapping an arm around my waist as we stood, chest to chest. “Tell me,” he whispered. I pinched my lips together. “Fine, then I shall have to rely on other means of communication.” Without any warning, he kissed me.”- The Elite

“I want everything with you, America. I want the holidays and the birthdays, the busy season and lazy weekends. I want peanut butter fingertips on my desk. I want inside jokes and fights and everything. I want a life with you.” – The One

“Maxon: “To be clear, no one agrees with you.”
America: “To be clear, I don’t care.” – The One


 

Ok, I want to hear from you. Have you read this series? What did you think?

Red Queen (Red Queen, 1)

Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10, 2015
Pages: 383

Stars: 4 out of 5

Where to buy:

Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

 

Synopsis:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

Review:

Mare is really hard on herself. In a world full of injustice and cruelty, Mare does the best she can. Trying to survive, she steals from her fellow community-from her red bloods. Even though this helps her family, instead of them thanking her she is created with disappointment and left with guilt. Mare is so full of love for her friends/family, sometimes it binds her decisions.

Cal is a mystery, as he is supposed to be. You want to believe in him and think the best, but the author does a fantastic job of blurring his character based off the decisions he makes. The same goes for his brother Maven. The author did an amazing job developing the characters and leading the reader along a path full of heartache, love, trust, and pain.

This book had me so torn! I kept going back and forth- one minute feeling sorry for Cal, the next questioning his actions. One minute feeling sorry for Mare, the next almost disgusted with the games she plays, with how she plays Cal.

This book ended like I thought it would but the path the author took was unexpected. Although it took me a while to fall in love with the book and get attached to the characters/plot, by the end of the book I am left wanting more. I can’t help but wonder what will happen next.

Throwback Thursday- Legend (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu

throwback

This week I am going to talk about Marie Lu’s Legend. This is the first book in a trilogy and was first published November 29, 2011. The plot is entertaining and moves at a fast pace with 305 pages. Although it reminds me of the Divergent and hunger games trilogies, the author created relatable and likable characters.

Legend

Synopsis:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Why I enjoyed this book:

This book is a duel point of view- one from the hunted and one from the hunter. And for some reason, I just loved that the hunter was June, a strong female with slight rebellious tendencies. I like how both June and Day aren’t what they seem to be.

If you have read any of Lu’s books before, you know she is a talented writer and does a pretty good job of creating a world you can imagine. The plot flows effortlessly and before you know it, you are at the end of the book.

But believe me, this book isn’t perfect. What I couldn’t get over was the fact that two 15 year old teens were leading the show. Although at times it was hard to remember they were only 15 by the way they acted. But ultimately, this was too unrealistic.

Quotes:

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time. -Day”

“If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.”

“What a joke! Poor little rich girl’s fallen in love with the Republic’s most famous criminal.”

“You should have taken me with you,” I whisper to him. Then I lean my head against his and begin to cry. In my mind, I make a silent promise to my brother’s killer. I will hunt you down. I will scour the streets of Los Angeles for you. Search every street in the Republic if I have to. I will trick you and deceive you, lie, cheat and steal to find you, tempt you out of your hiding place, and chase you until you have nowhere else to run. I make you this promise: your life is mine.” – June


I would say this is a good book for young adults and any fan of Marie Lu. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

The Exiled Seven (The Exiled Series, #1)

The Exiled Seven

Author: Blake Renworth
Published: May 12, 2016
Pages: 340

Stars: 3 out of 5

Goodreads
Amazon $2.99
Barnes&Noble $2.99

 

 

I had the privilege to read this book along side rakioddbooks. I haven’t done a buddy read in a while and I miss it! It was so much fun being able to discuss details of the book that you can’t really talk about in fear of saying too much or spoiling the plot. If you are interested in doing a buddy read, I would love to do another one. In the meantime, check out her review for this books here.

Synopsis:
When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty.

The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.

Review:
I loved the first couple of chapters in this book. The way the author talks to the reader while opening the story is fun and in a way a unique approach. In many ways, by doing this the author has given himself a voice within his book. And although I really liked this in the beginning, I found the deeper I got into the plot or chapters the more I didn’t care for it. It’s not that it truly bugs me or anything. It’s just that it takes me out of the story, ever so slightly, but nonetheless it feels like a break from the plot. Almost like the author feels a need to rationalize something or reassure the reader of what is happening or about to happen.

As you dig deeper into the story, the plot unfolds effortlessly and you can easily image the world these dwarfs live in. Right away we are introduced to Alariq and discover he is banished for a crime he didn’t commit. Alariq believes his friends, although loyal in their beliefs of his innocence, foolishly follow him into banishment. Full of regrets and wishing for home, the dwarfs follow a lost Alariq in hopes of settling into a new home. But what they find may be more than they bargained for.

I was surprised how quickly I started to like Alariq. In many ways this feeling snuck up on me and I didn’t even realize how protective I became of his character until the human girl (Tianna) showed up. When she started having power struggles with him, I automatically hated her. Which doesn’t make any sense because she actually saved him and his friends. The more I thought about it, a lot of what goes on between Tianna and Alariq didn’t really make much sense. For the majority of the time they are at odds with each other and just crabby. But there wasn’t really any reason why they were this way. Another thing that was inconsistent or odd was even though everyone unofficially nominated Alariq as the leader of the group, a lot of the decisions he made caused an uproar between everyone. And instead of following his lead, there was a lot of questioning, doubt, and dirty looks. I think I was expecting the leader wouldn’t be questioned as much.

Tianna, although small, can defend herself quite well. Her skills in disappearing and blending into her surroundings is impressive. Actually everything about her character is impressive. The way she is described, it is as if she has no flaws. She is the fastest, best shot, knows most of the answers, and has an attitude to match. I can’t say I cared for Tianna’s character. Simply put, she isn’t realistic and seems too perfect. And for me, that’s just not very appealing.

Overall, the book was interesting and I enjoyed where the author took the plot. The world building was great. As each scene unfolded, I could easily picture everything that happened and what it looked like. For me, This book was entertaining, a nice read that was different from my norm. But ultimately I didn’t love the book and found I wasn’t as invested in the characters or what happened within the story. You don’t learn much about any of the supporting characters which makes it difficult to sympathize with them. The book didn’t have much dialogue and the entire time I was reading I felt more like an outsider watching a movie.

If you are a lover of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, I would give this book a chance. It might be just what you are looking for.

 

Tuesday Talk- YA Books, love them or hate them?

Tuesday Talks

On Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

YA books seems to be one of those categories people either really enjoy or they find annoying. What is it about these books that draw people in? Is it the flirtatious yet timid love interests? Or maybe it’s more about being able to relate better to the main character?

But for those who don’t like YA books, what is it that pushes you away? Are the characters too immature? Are you unable to relate? Or maybe the plot isn’t as sexual as you would like?

My Question this week is: 

  1. Do you love or hate YA books?
    A- If you love them, why? What draws you to these kinds of books?
    B- If you hate them, again why? What are these books missing that you find in other books?
  2. If you are a fan of YA books, name a couple books that fall in your favorite category.

I know hate might be too strong of a word, but I think you get the idea. Feel free to answer all or one of the questions above 🙂


Personally, I find myself moving further away from that genre. The biggest reason being, and gosh I hate saying this, is that I am getting old enough that the characters aren’t relatable or their immaturity gets in the way. That’s kind of a hard thing to look past.

But honestly, I can’t say I hate all YA books because I have read some really entertaining ones.  Below are a couple series I have enjoyed. Going through my shelves of read books, I am actually a little surprised with how many YA books I do enjoy. Still, in comparison to my other shelves, my YA shelf is the smallest.

Divergent

Under the Never Sky

Mythos Academy

The Storm Siren

The Sway (Classified #1)

Sway

Author: Ruby Knight
Published: May 17, 2016
Pages: 186

Stars: 2 out of 5

Synopsis:

Her mission is to get close to him for inside information.

His mission is to kidnap her for a supernatural militant group.

Recruited in her teens for a life of espionage, Julia Caldwell, now 19, is theyoungest CIA agent on record. Her mission is simple: get close to Cole Thomas for intel on his father, a known and dangerous weapons dealer. As she grows closer to Cole, something is off. He might not be who she thinks he is. And worse, his mission will put an end to hers.

Always believing the government’s story that her purpose in life was to keep the world safe, Julia doesn’t know who to trust or who to believe. But now, THE SWAY has a different story—a different purpose for her—that goes well beyond all she ever imagined.

Review:

This book is difficult for me to review. As an adult, this book was not for me. The adolescent immaturity and instant love was too much. But if I was a teenager, I can see this book being a big hit. This book touches on the emotions and insecurities teenagers face. And all the ‘firsts’ when it comes to love and relationships.
Julia is a 19 year old who has been manipulated by the government. Although she is exceptionally smart and strong, she has an immature nature about the way she does things and acts. Even though she is nineteen, she acts much younger and focuses on her crush instead of more important things, like saving the world. And let’s not forget within a couple weeks her love interest went from enemy to my one and only love.
The plot was a combination of x-men mixed with the fantastic four. Although there were some lively plot twists, there wasn’t anything entirely amazing about them. I felt like the author added things to the plot not because they necessarily made sense, but because they were needed to lead the plot in the direction she wanted. The plot itself was an easy read and didn’t get very deep. The writing was not very strong and overall made the book weak.
Again, I think a younger generation would enjoy this book. There seem to be a good amount of positive feedback on goodreads.