The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

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This is one of those books where you are kind of frustrated with how clueless the main character is and some of the choices she makes.


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Author: Rae Carson
Published: September 20, 2011
Pages: 423

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Review:
Lucero-Elisa (lets just call her Elisa) is only 16. There are times throughout the book where her character acts her age, but there are also times it’s easy to forget she is only 16. Elisa is over weight and an emotional eater. I can’t help with how off-putting Elisa’s character is in regards to food and how my own stomach turned with her eating habits. Maybe this is a nod to the authors ability to create such descriptive character that they are able to pull that strong of an emotion out of me. I don’t know about you but if I can’t connect with the characters on some level, it makes it extremely difficult for me to enjoy the book.    

Everything in the beginning is extremely secretive and I honestly had no idea what was going on. Everyone either treats Elisa with gentle hands and hides the truth from her. Or they try to sabotage her every move. This kind of plot frustrates me to no end. There are too many secrets to keep track of and the author doesn’t give enough information for the plot to make sense. 

King Alejandro de Vega (lets call him Alejandro) is older than Elisa and is king. After he marries Elisa, he does nothing but hide her and ask for her to spy on his court. I can’t help but feel sorry for Elisa. She is queen but he introduces her as a friend who will be staying indefinitely. While she yearns for his affection, Alejandro shows nothing but indifference. That is unless he wants something, then he touches her hand and turns on his boyish smile. Oh and did I mention he has a mistress.. Not cool Alejando, not cool 

But what really sickens me is Alejandro’s attraction for Elisa increases immensely once she loses weight. In fact the underlying message I received from this book is quite appalling. When Elisa is overweight, she is insecure, weak, and very similar to a mouse. But once she loses the weight, her character becomes powerful, respected, and she fits the role of queen. I don’t like the connection to weight and success. 

As the plot continues, Elisa’s life gets turned upside down and she meets Humberto. Humberto is a kind boy who sees true beauty in Elisa, regardless of how much she weighs. It doesn’t take long for Elisa to begin questioning her feelings for Alejandro and becoming closer to Humberto. I don’t want to say much but for how things turned out with Humberto, I can say I did not see that coming. I will admit I’m not heartbroken over the situation. I struggled to see his character going anywhere and to see him as anything other than a young boy.

With that said, there are some characters in this book who aren’t always who they seem to be. The author provides nice plot twists that are difficult to see coming. The plot has a strong religious pull, not at all what I was expecting. In fact, the religious push came close to overpowering the book. 

This is not a series I am interested in continuing. Although, it is refreshing to see an author not afraid to kill off key characters within their book. Ultimately, this book was too religious and I didn’t respect nor really like Elisa’s character. 

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First Year (The Black Mage, #1)

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I won’t say this book is going to be a favorite of mine but I did enjoy the book enough that I want to read the next book in the series. Just maybe not right away… 3 


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Author: Rachel Carter
Published: January 26, 2017
Pages: 320

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice —pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…

For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.

Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail—first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames?

Review:
This book is a quick read. I think I finished this book in a couple days. So why did it take me so long to write my review?? In all honesty, the synopsis of the book gives away most of what the book is about. I honestly didn’t know what more I could say…

Because of this, I’m not going to go into too many details. I don’t want to ruin what little surprises are left in the book. With that said, I will say I was highly entertained with Ryiah and Prince Darren’s interactions. There is just something about love/hate relationships that I just can’t get enough of. 

Although Ryiah develops her skills in magic and knowledge, I don’t really see her character grow. By the end of the book she is still the same fierce, slightly emotional, girl who isn’t always confident. At least those are the characteristics I enjoy and her character isn’t exactly boring.  

Prince Daren’s character was sometimes confusing and I don’t think his character was as well developed as Ryiah. But I still enjoyed the slight hidden smiles and the relationship he had with Ryiah.

Overall, the book was enjoyable. The writing wasn’t perfect but it worked. The plot had some gaps, which is always irritating. And some of the conclusions Prince Daren came to, I have no idea how he came to them. It didn’t really make sense. 

The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy, #3)

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I have really enjoyed this series! For me, it was one of those hidden gems. And I’ll be honest, my review of this book is not an in-depth one.  I started reading the book and next thing I knew, I was at the end and all I wrote were 3 sentences. That’s how captivating this book is!!


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Author: Sherry Thomas
Published: October 15, 2015
Pages: 432

Stars: 5 out of 5

Series:
The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy #1)
The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)

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Synopsis:
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

Review:
This book doesn’t miss a beat and picks up exactly where the second one left off. And if you struggle remembering all the details from the previous book, no worries because the author does a fantastic job of reminding you. As normal, the writing style took me a little bit to get used to. But once I did, the book flowed effortlessly.

The heartache Titus and Iolanthe go through is hard to imagine. I wonder how painful it would be to know your loved one will die but not know how to stop it from happening. I’m impressed Thomas followed through and killed some of our most loved characters. Not every author is strong enough to do this. Although when I was reading the book, I was saddened by the loss, I do respect the author for making such a difficult decision. 

 The plot was fantastic, full of romance, black magic, and best yet it was unpredictable. You are going through the book believing one thing to only find out it was something completely different. 

It’s difficult to remember Titus is so young. His character comes off as such a romantic and someone who has experienced a lot in life. As much as his character has grown, Iolanthe as grown that much more. Starting this series as a scared girl, she has transformed into this strong, independent woman.

The ending wasn’t my favorite but overall I found it satisfying. I would recommend this series to anyone who loves Young Adult/Fantasy books.

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)

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I’ll be honest, I knew right away I did not want to finish this book. You know when you start reading something and you realize fairly quickly that this book isn’t for you? Well that’s what happened. Except instead of putting the book down, I kept reading hoping I would see what other readers are raving about. I’ll let you in on a secret, I never saw it..


Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Published: August 31, 2010
Pages: 335

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Review:
Evie is a teenager who can see through glamour. She is young and has been raised as a human by the government. Since she was eight, she has had the same job – bag and tag Paranormals. Her life is a bit sad. She doesn’t have any friends, zero family, and hardly ever gets to go out in the real world. But as the story progresses, she slowly pieces information together and things get a little clearer. 

Then Evie meets Lend, a Paranormal she caught but will end up helping. He is her age and wears the glamour of other people instead of his true face. His true form is difficult to make out but needless to say, our lead heroine finds him attractive. Unfortunately she also has to deal with Reth, a faerie who is determined to have her. Being both good and bad, Reth gets his hands on Evie and she begins to change. Both Reth and Lend hold secrets, are mysterious, and attractive. But it’s easy to see which one she puts her trust in. 

The writing style and plot is geared towards a younger audience. I couldn’t say the plot was bad, it just didn’t hold my interest enough. Besides the plot was somewhat typical- clueless girl desperate to be apart of anything while trying to figure out some big secret. Yet refuses the help of those who are actually trying to help her because she is scared and irrational. Evie’s character comes across as the perfect teenager and I think that immaturity was what made this book difficult for me to enjoy. In the end, I never finished the book. I just couldn’t do it. But I honestly think if I was younger, I would enjoy this book more. So please keep that in mind when reading this review and choosing whether you want to read this book or not. But for now, this book will end up in my DNF Graveyard.

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Author Spotlight – Tamara Sloan: Make It Count

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This book was scheduled to release on October 10, 2017. This Young Adult book sounds just as enticing as the cover looks. I wish I could read this book. Until then, I leave it to my readers. Comment if you’ve read this book or want to!!


MakeItCount

Published: October 10, 2017
Pages: 361

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Synopsis
:
He’s irresistible…but she’s the one person who knows his days are numbered

Casey’s touch can reveal the one thing a person would never want to know — the number of days they have left to live.

By the time Casey turns seventeen she’s learnt to withdraw. But the phobia she fakes in order to avoid human contact is sorely tested by hot, persistent, motorcycle riding PJ. For a girl who craves contact, maple eyed PJ is impossible to resist. When the inevitable happens, when hands, bodies and lips collide, Casey sees PJ’s number, one that can only be seen as a cruel twist of fate.

Now she must decide. Will she continue counting the days of her life, or start living a life that counts?

With the memorable writing and humor of writers such as Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun blended with the attitude, chemistry and unexpected plot twists of Katie McGarry’s best sellers, Make it Count is a romance that will leave you swooning and smiling.


Excerpt:

A few steps down the path I slip the brownie from my sleeve. There’s no way I can wait to get out of the front yard before I taste this square of temptation. I should be sainted right alongside Ari’s grandson for not wolfing down the whole platter.

There’s a mega-sized tree in the front yard, so I head around it, lean back against its bark watching the brownie’s slow approach to my mouth, savouring the moment. I smell the chocolate, the sugar, the awesomeness. I bite down and my eyes flutter closed. Oh. My. Heaven-loving-tastebuds. Galaxies of spun sugar dissolve in my mouth, symphonies drowned out by the roaring in my ears. My body mirrors what’s happening in my mouth; I’m slowly, deliciously melting into a gooey, thick puddle.

The roaring stops.

“If you like my cooking, you’d love how I make breakfast.”

Everything stops. Every cell goes from puddly and quivery to upright and alert. I know that chocolately voice. I’ll never forget that warm, rich timbre.

I open one eye, then two.

PJ is sitting on his motorbike, helmet on his lap, that grin glinting in the sun. He hangs the helmet on a handlebar, swings a long denim leg over and swaggers towards me. And I mean a hip swaying, shoulder swinging swagger that evokes images of yellow-striped, denim-clad butts.

The moment he’s close enough for me to focus on his eyes the brownie turns to bread in my mouth. It could never compete with the symphonies and stars in those molten maple pools.

“They’re a family recipe.”

My brain clicks out of brownie-PJ heaven and into gear. Hang on a sec. I look over my shoulder at the door, the door that was just closed by a woman the colour of brown sugar. I look back to the very white, hot guy in front of me.

“Family?”

The moment PJ stops I take a step back, out of arm’s length, and out of smell’s reach. His eyes narrow ever so slightly as he notes my movement. He crosses his arm. “Yeah, family.”

I wait, but it seems someone else in this town took the course on stubborn silence. Instead he grins again. Man, I wish he’d stop doing that. Here, in the sun, it’s blinding. “I’m flattered.”

I raise a brow.

PJ shrugs, and somehow the movement seems to bring him a millimetre closer. Moving again would be rude and weirdo-whacky so I stay put, choosing to breathe through my mouth.

“It takes some effort to find out where a guy lives.”

My jaw slackens. Ego much?

“Hmmm.” I step to the side and head to his motorbike. “I’m glad you brought a second helmet.”

PJ turns and follows me, I step around the bike, using it as a barrier.

He places a hand on the leather seat. “You wanted to come for a ride?”

Eyes wide with mock shock connect with molten maple. “Don’t you need it for your ego?”

Instead of looking insulted, PJ grins. A wide, teeth-glinting, eye-wrinkling grin. “I think I might; it just got one heck of a hit.”

I cross my arms, glad I can do it safely this time thanks to my Personal Protective Equipment.

PJ brings one hand up to stroke his chin. “So you’re not here to see me.”

“Difficult to imagine, isn’t it?”

“What else would bring you here?”

Those delicious lips twitch. He knows exactly why I’m here. I’m not much of a blusher, but being here, for a therapy group for a phobia I don’t have, wearing the freaky lengths I have to go to avoid touch seems like a pretty good time to blush.

But I didn’t wear a balaclava, so instead, I own it. “I have ablutophobia.”

PJ’s eyes stray to my lips. “Well, it’s not a fear of brownies.”

I resist the urge to lick their suddenly dry surface. “Or the repeated use of pick-up lines.”

PJ chuckles, and it’s a sound that reminds me of crème brûlée, smooth and moreish. “Maybe it’s a phobia of stepping up to a challenge.”

That has me straightening. Everything in my impulsive but necessarily inhibited personality loves a challenge. PJ quirks a brow, and leans forward, placing both hands on the seat. The position pushes his shoulders forward, focuses my attention on those biceps. Mr. Sexy-Comes-Naturally is waiting for me to pick up the gauntlet.

Sensations and sights sharpen. Those molten maple pools watching me. The heat pressing against my body. Those Adonis lips parting on an inhale. The bead of sweat raking down my spine.

I lean forward, and my eyes widen the moment my next sense registers something. A scent, the kind of scent that has your head tilting reflexively, your mouth opening just a touch to see if it will land on your tongue.

I don’t know what amber smells like, but I think this could be it. Woodsy, spicy…tempting…moreish. It’s the kind of smell that makes you wish you could spend more time breathing in than out. One hand reaches out to the red plastic fender rising from the back of the bike. The moment woven cotton presses into my fingertips, rather than smooth plastic warmed by the sun, I stop. It’s all I need to return me to reality.

I take a step back, having to mentally force my nose to follow. PJ was never meant get close enough to smell, because exactly what I thought would happen just happened.

He smells as good as he looks, and I don’t need any more temptation to fight.

I take another step back. “You’ve got the wrong girl, PJ.”

PJ exhales, possibly because of the pent-up tension, but probably out of frustration. “It seems we have one thing in common, Casey.”

With another step back I decide it’s safe to ask. “What’s that?”

PJ straightens, his eyes twinkling. “We both love a challenge.”

I start to walk backwards, shaking my head. “The difference is I can pick a lost cause.”

I turn and start creating even more distance between us. I walk away from hot, sexy, available maple, knowing this is what I need to do. Telling PJ, with everything I can, he’s wasting his time.

“See you at mini motos.”

I keep walking. The tenacity is admirable and flattering, but wasted. “I’m not going.” I call over my shoulder.

“Don’t forget to bring your little brother.”

I shake my head, glad PJ can see that and not my smile. Sure, I love to look, I like the flirting, and I’d love to be someone that could go there.

But PJ is the last person I plan on touching.


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A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy and Touched by Love Series. Tamar is also the author of PsychWriter: where psychology meets writing, a blog that supports and extends writers.

When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush.

Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related.

You can find her at www.tamarsloan.com or on  Facebook or Twitter.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

There are a lot of good reviews for this book, so I don’t plan to go into too many details. I recommend reading the book but I’m still up in the air about the series.


Daughter of smoke and bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Published: September 27, 2011
Pages: 422

Stars: 3.5 of 5

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Synopsis:
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Review:
It took me a bit before I figured out what was happening in the book. And then it took me till I was half way through before I truly understood. Karou is strong, compassionate, and cares deeply, but has no idea who she is. And when faced with love or finding out her identity and saving her family- is there any question on what she will choose…

Akiva knows only death and war. A long time ago he lost the one person he loved, Madrigal. And recently he meets someone who is no closer than a stranger yet as familiar as Madrigal. What will Akiva do when faced with a second chance, will he choose an old love or family?

I thought the characters were creative and the plot was familiar yet unique. I really enjoyed Brimstone’s character. The plot surrounds themes such as oppression and forbidden love. And so much pain.  

I didn’t really like how the story kept going from present to past without much if any transition. And at times, I felt like the plot dragged or I was reading information that didn’t add anything to the plot. Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to want to read the second. 

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)

Glittering Court

Author: Richelle Mead
Published: April 5, 2016
Pages: 400

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

Review:
This book is about freedom and getting a second chance. The book opens up to an arranged marriage. The lead heroine is arranged to marry her boring and pathetically unremarkable cousin Barron Belshire. Even though She never expected to marry for love, she wasn’t sure she could marry her cousin. Well, that is she wasn’t sure she could handle his controlling mother. As the weeks pass, things don’t appear to be getting better. And thus bringing the reader to the introduction of the glittering courts. 

Glittering courts was founded to help bring more women, proper women, over to Adoria. I will admit, I can see the desire the glittering courts bring, the adventure and opportunity of a new life. As the book continues, I was periodically reminded of the similarities in plots to the selection series. Although the girls aren’t competing for a crown,they are competing for marriage. The competition isn’t as cut-throat but it’s nonetheless a completion where the main character is acting and hiding secrets. 

Cedric runs the Glittering Courts with his father and uncle. But he has many secrets. I wasn’t too impressed with Cedric. His character was thin and didn’t seem to have much to offer beyond looks and charm. I found his character frustrating for most of the second half of the book. He either needed to act on his feelings or leave things alone. I hate the in between game that is being played. 

Adelaide’s character was equally frustrating and I thought her character lacked depth as well. She came off as strong yet spoiled, saying she wants freedom but when faced with the opportunity she falls short. 

Warren seems like a nice enough guy. Kind of clumsy and rash but logistically, a good match for Adelaide. But the reasoning behind Adelaide not wanting him at first seemed pointless and ridiculous. As the book went on, Warren came off more as a closed minded and spoiled. 

The plot wasn’t extremely captivating and overall the book was alright. I found myself underwhelmed for most of the book and considered not finishing it.