Tag Archives: fantasy

Flamecaster – Cinda Willaims Chima

Summary:
A burning vengeance.
Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic-and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers now to save a life, but to take it?
A blood-based curse.
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would one day make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.
Destiny’s fiery hand.
Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the ruthless king, Ash and Jenna will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Se in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series, a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

23253083
Review:
So if you read my last review you all know that I absolutely loved the Seven Realms series. Flamecaster is the next series based in the same world, only it’s a generation later. I also very much loved this book. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that the next three books aren’t out and there aren’t even any expected publication dates, which I guess it understandable seeing as this book just came out in April. But still, I don’t care if I’m being unreasonable! I need to know what’s going to happen next!
Cinda Williams Chima is an amazing writer. The way she sets up the plot for what going to come next and the setting, ugh, I wish this world was a real place. From the way she describes it, it’s beautiful even after twenty five years of war with Arden. She explains everything in such good detail I feel like I’m there with Ash when he’s at Oden’s Ford, or right alongside Jenna in Delphi. I just really enjoy the way the story is written. It’s an extremely action packed story; pretty much right from the start of the book, but there’s also a bit of romance and quite a few devastating parts as well as surprise after surprise. Chima seems to know exactly how to make it straight to my heart and get me way too involved in the story and beyond in love with the characters. She also does one of my favorite things, she tells the story from more than one perspective. From this, I knew as soon as I started to read the story that our two main characters, Ash and Jenna, would eventually meet. I love that I get more than just one part of the story. I get to see what’s going on in other parts of the world all at the same time.
The beginning of Flamecaster threw me off a little bit. In the start of the book Ash is thirteen and Jenna is twelve. We read a few chapters of their lives at this age while they both experience something traumatic and life changing. Then the story fast forwards four years. I took me by surprise and had me confused for a few pages until I realized what had happened. It’s not that I didn’t like the time jump, because I totally understand why the author did it, I just think she should have done it a little more clearly. Maybe she could have labeled underneath the chapter title “four years later” or something like that.
As always the characters are my favorite part to talk about. In Flamecaster I feel like there are so many more characters I’d like to talk about compared to the Seven Realms series. I think maybe there are just more characters that I’ve started to love. So I’ll start with our favorite prince, Adrian sul’Han also called Ash. He’s so his father’s son it’s ridiculous. He keeps secrets just like his father did, though his secrets didn’t blow up in his face like they did for his father, thankfully. He’s a smart and brave young man throughout all of these pages. Though, not everything he does is terribly intelligent. He gets it into his head that he needs to kill the king of Arden, which is why most of this story takes place in Arden. I thought that was cool because the last series took place mostly in the Fells and I really enjoyed getting to read about one of the other kingdoms in the Seven Realms. I understood why Ash felt that he needed to kill the king, but at the same time I don’t think he really needed to. I think it would have happened without his help and he should have gone back home instead of going to Arden. Part of me is glad he went because then he never would have met Jenna and we wouldn’t have gotten to learn more about his sort of friend Lila either. Thankfully, at the end of the story Ash decides it’s time for him to go home. At this point he’s grown up a great deal and I really enjoyed following him on his adventures to get to this point.
Jenna Bandelow was a very interesting character. I wasn’t totally sure where her part in the story was going to take us, except obviously towards Ash. Even after finishing this book I only have a slightly better understanding of what part she’s going to play in the Shattered Realms series, though I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a big one. I loved Jenna from the very start. She really cares about the people in her life and does her absolute best to protect them at any cost, even when doing so could cost her her life. Because of one of these moments she has to change her identity and starts her life over as a boy. She’s passionate about what she believes in and knows exactly what she wants. She actually reminds me a little bit of Queen Raisa. She consistently takes risks to try to make her town a better place and she never stops trying to do the right thing. I’m very excited to see where the rest of this series takes Jenna.
While Ash is studying at Oden’s Ford in the beginning of this story we meet Lila, who isn’t someone that I would call his friend, but they get closer to that by the end of this book. Lila was a very confusing character. I knew that I liked her, but I couldn’t always tell whose side she was on. She was a spy for the Arden kingdom, but never seemed to really agree with what she was doing and always seemed to have another goal in mind. When we finally find out who she really is I liked her even more. I knew there was something about her that I liked and as soon as that surprise was revealed I was very glad. I’m sure she’ll be a big part of the next three books and I’m excited to see more of her.
Flamecaster, the first book in the Shattered Realms series, was amazing. I’m glad I decided to buy it and even gladder I finally got around to reading it. I am going to try to patiently wait for the next three books to come out, but it will probably be more anxiously waiting than patiently. If you like action packed books with tons of plot twists with a bit of romance in the middle this is definitely the book for you.

Advertisements

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Beach Reads

I’m not really big on “beach reads” For me a beach read is usually just whatever I’m currently reading (as long as it’s not super depressing because I don’t need to cry in public). So I’m just going to try to direct my list more towards lighthearted reads that go well with beautiful summer days.

4b6b0-toptentuesday

  1. Anything by Julia Quinn- Forget her story lines. Forget her strong, witty characters. What I love most about Quinn is how funny her books are. Like laugh-out-loud-and-make-strangers-stare-at-you funny. It’s fantastic.
  2. Beastly by Alex Flinn- This one isn’t the most lighthearted book but it’s a pretty fast read that you could probably finish in one sitting. And it’s my favorite so I always recommend it.
  3. The Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts- This is one of her series’ that revolves a great deal around the friendships between her main characters. I just love how Nora can take romance novels and make them more about badass women being badasses together than about love.
  4. The Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts- This is the second book in her Guardians Trilogy which comes out June 14. This series has a little bit of everything; magic, a treasure hunt, even a mermaid. To me it’s a perfect beach read.
  5. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson- I read this one years ago and would love to read it again. It’s a great coming of age, summer adventure story.
  6. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson- I didn’t even know this book existed until about an hour ago and I would absolutely love to see where the story goes next.
  7. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- These aren’t lighthearted or beachy in any way. They’re just amazing books and I highly recommend them.
  8. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh- This is another book I learned about very recently but immediately decided I want to read. It’s not often you find books based on A Thousand and One Nights.
  9. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss– I’m not really sure this fits into what people normally consider a beach read but I’ve recently had several people recommend it to me and I’d like to finally get around to reading it.

Sorry there’s only nine this week. I managed to delete my entire post after I’d already written most of it out so I lost a lot of my motivation the second time around. Anyway, these are some of the books I plan to read this summer or just think you should read. Thanks for reading and let me know what your top ten are in the comments.

-Antonia

 


The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine & Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Sorry I’ve been slacking on reviews. To make up for the past three months of barely reading (seriously, four books in April, ZERO in May, and three in June), I’ve spent the last two weeks reading constantly and not really stopping for anything. So in the next few days I’ll try to write a bunch in between books.
One thing I’ve noticed about the more than thirty books I borrowed from the library is that there’s quite a few that have very similar storylines. In order to consolidate the number of reviews I need to write, I’m going to do something a little different and group some of the books together and compare them instead.
For this first review I’m comparing two middle-grade books about princesses: The Two Princess of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine and Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

Two Princesses of Bamarre Summary: When plague strikes Bamarre, Princess Addie must fulfill an ancient prophecy.

Brave and adventurous, Princess Meryl dreams of fighting dragons and protecting the kingdom of Bamarre. Shy and fearful, Princess Addie is content to stay within the safety of the castle walls. The one thing that the sisters share is their unwavering love for each other.

The tables are turned, however, when the Gray Death leaves Meryl fatally ill. To save her sister, meek Princess Addie must find the courage to set out on a dangerous quest filled with dragons, unknown magic, and death itself. Time is running out, and the sisters’ lives—and the future of the kingdom of Bamarre—hang in the balance.

Princess Ben Summary: “My gown suited me as well as I could ever hope, though I could not but envy the young ladies who would attract the honest compliments of the night. My bodice did not plunge as dramatically as some, and no man–no man I would ever want to meet, surely–could fit his hands round my waist. What I lacked in beauty I would simply have to earn with charm…”
Benevolence is not your typical princess–and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale.

With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts:mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle’s pantries, setting her hair on fire… But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom. Can Ben save the country and herself from tyranny?

Plot:
I loved both plots equally. In Two Princesses, shy and timid Princess Addie has to go on a quest to save her sister. There’s magic, dragons, trolls, fairies, etc. I loved the way this was executed. Since it’s not a terribly long book, you might think too much information was crammed into it but Levine makes everything work together wonderfully. With the help of her Seven-League boots, Addie can move between different sections of the kingdom instantly and encounters tons of different creatures. Many of them, (trolls, specters, gryphons) are simply monsters but I was happily surprised to find the dragon was intelligent and had a complex personality. She was still evil, but the depth she gave to the story was fantastic. Though the story revolves around Addie, the secondary characters were well rounded and I felt like I knew them just as well as I knew Addie.

In Princess Ben, Benevolence must overcome unforeseen circumstances to save herself and her country. There’s magic, dragons, a somewhat evil queen, a war with neighboring country Drachensbett, etc. This was also executed fairly well and I enjoyed the little bits of history of Montagne that we were given. I also enjoyed the fact that the love interest started out as the enemy. I love when misunderstood characters are simply that: misunderstood. That probably stems from my long-standing love of Beauty and the Beast.

The Heroines:
I adored Princess Addie. At first I thought I wouldn’t because of how timid she was. Terrified of everything, she hardly ever left the castle and when she did, she stayed on castle grounds. I was expecting to be annoyed by her, but when her sister’s life is in danger, Addie pushes back her fears in order to save her. She doesn’t suddenly become fearless, but she doesn’t let her fears control her either and by the end of the story she comes to realize that some of her fears (not all of them) aren’t as scary as she thought they were. I loved watching Addie grow into herself and couldn’t help but admire her strength and resolve.

Princess Ben, quite frankly, annoyed the crap out of me for most of the book. I understand she’s young and I understand her parents didn’t raise her to act like a princess, but from what we learned of her parents I would have expected her to be a lot more mature than she was. She was petty and spiteful and made the same mistakes over and over again. No matter how many bad things happened, she never grew up or took responsibility until she became a prisoner of Drachensbett. After that, I liked her much better and she became someone I could relate to, even though she was still a little impulsive and stubborn.

Overall:
Two Princesses was a quick, fun read that I enjoyed immensely. Everything tied together to make an exciting, heartfelt story that I couldn’t put down.
I also loved the ending. It wasn’t what I was expecting and was a little bittersweet, but I was glad there wasn’t a random and improbable miracle to make everything end perfectly. Even though I love reading about magic and fairytales, I also believe magic should have limits and while I want every book to have a happily ever after, I don’t particularly like when they become completely unrealistic.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairytales and strong, smart heroines.

Princess Ben didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The first half was slow and I didn’t like the protagonist at all. Murdock made up for it in the second half where the pace picked up and it became a story I couldn’t put down but I still can’t forget the fact I almost put it down in the beginning. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes fairytales, but if you’re the type of reader that needs a fast-paced book to hold your attention, this might not be the book for you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on either of these books and what you think of this joint review. Should I do another like this or stick to regular reviews?
-Antonia.


Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Goodreads Summary:Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other’s countries in the name of better political alliances–and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale–until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.

Jessica Day George has done it again. Princess of the Midnight Ball sucked me in until I couldn’t put it down until I was done and now the same thing has happened with Princess of Glass.
I loved Princess Poppy from the start. She was a strong, quirky, funny character that I grew attached to immediately. I liked the fact that I already knew of Poppy from Princess of the Midnight Ball and was wicked excited to get to know her more in this book.
I also fell in love with Prince Christian immediately. He was a little awkward and shy. He never liked people fawning all over him because he’s a prince and was kind to everyone whether they had a title or not. I liked the fact he and Poppy became friends as soon as they met. He thought she was a little strange but in a good way. It was a nice way to start their relationship.
I loved the secondary characters as well. As I mentioned in my review of Princess of the Midnight Ball (which you can find here), George gives all her characters very distinct personalities. Because of this, I cared about everyone’s lives and what was happening to them instead of just Poppy and Christian.
George’s version of Cinderella was fantastic. It was nothing like any other version I’ve read and it kept me guessing the entire time.
Overall, I loved this book. It was funny, suspenseful and romantic. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fairytales and romance. It’s a quick but fun read.
-Antonia


The Iron Fey Series – Julie Kagawa

Hello fellow readers!
I just finished The Iron Fey series. There’s four books in this series. I couldn’t seem to stop myself from picking up the next book as soon as I finished one. So I’m going to review all four books together in this post.

Summary:
The Faery realms have always weathered the clash of Summer and Winter fey, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Now a new breed of faery has emerged to challenge both… to their peril. Forged by Man’s insatiable pursuit of technological superiority, the terrifying Iron fey are massing…and the fate of all faeries hangs in the balance. The greatest weapon in this epic magical war? A half-human teenage girl.

Review:
The first thing I noticed about this book was the descriptions. Julie Kagawa absolutely has a way with words. The imagery that was in this book was amazing. I loved being able to picture all of the places these characters visited. These were very fast paced books, with lots of action. The main character, Meghan Chase, was one that I really admired. She’s passionate, strong and determined. The series starts off with Meghan trying to rescue her younger brother who’s been kidnapped by the fey. Meghan would do anything for the people she cares about. As the books go on she does anything and everything in her power to protect the important people in her life. She seems to do a really good job of getting herself into dangerous and crazy situations. She does an even better job of getting herself and her loved ones safely out of these situations. All while saving the day in the process. Meghan is a wonderful strong female lead and I loved reading her story.
Meghan’s best friend Robbie, who is actually Robin Goodfellow also known as Puck, was a great addition to these books. He added hilarity as well as chaos. I loved Puck, but I also hated him. He is hopelessly in love with Meghan and she doesn’t see it until she’s fallen in love with someone else. I felt really sorry for Puck in this aspect. Pinning after a girl that would never love him. Although Puck was funny and someone I really enjoyed reading about, he had a tendency to piss me off. There were a lot of things he kept secret from Meghan that when we found out about them, I just wanted to punch him in the face. One thing I will say about Puck is that he tries to be a good friend. He’s always there for his friends even when they don’t want him there. He’s stubborn and sometimes annoying, but he always means well. I liked Puck, but not as much as other characters.
Ash, the Winter Prince of the Unseelie Court, was such an infuriating character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ash so much and if he was real I would find him and make him love me. But he was a real pain in the ass sometimes. He tried his best to be the cold, emotionless winter prince that everyone saw him as. I just wanted him to be himself. He spent so much time in the first two books trying to ignore his feelings for Meghan. He was always too ready to give her up. This really frustrated me. He’s so unwilling to try to find a way for them to be together, I just wanted to smack him. I have to admit, Ash stepped up later in the books. Ash was one of my favorite characters. As we get to know him better he shows us that he is another character who will do anything to take care of his loved ones any way he knows how. This is something he proves countless times. Toward the end of the third book Ash really shows Meghan how much he’s willing to give up for her. Even though The Iron Queen doesn’t end in the happiest way for the couple, the fourth book makes up for it. The Iron Knight is told from Ash’s perspective unlike the first three told from Meghan’s. I think the fourth book was my favorite because of this. I loved getting to know Ash much better in the last book. His thoughts and his feelings are something we actually get to see and I really enjoyed that. He literally goes to the end of the world to try to find a way to be with Meghan, talk about a grand gesture. Ash really shows his stubbornness and determination as well as many other things. I just loved Ash so much.
The last thing I’m going to mention that I loved about this story was the story itself. Kagawa really outdid herself with this series. Yes, there are quite a number of books out there about faeries, but the unique twists in these books had me captivated. There were so many surprises in this series that I had a really hard time putting the books down. The Iron Fey series was beautifully written with it’s own special twists. This is definitely a series that can be interesting to a wide range of readers. You like action? Kagawa gives you action. Romance, humor, suspense? She’s put all that into these four books.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Goodreads Summary: Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servents. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.

I am so glad I discovered Jessica Day George and I can’t wait to read more of her books. I’d seen a review for Princess of the Midnight Ball a few months back but hadn’t gotten a chance to get it. When I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and saw her name, I knew I’d have to get at least one of her books. Unfortunately, they only had Princess of the Silver Woods (the third in the Twelve Dancing Princesses series) and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. Though Sun and Moon wasn’t what I’d originally been looking for, it looked interesting enough so I decided to try it. I’m so happy I did. I read this book straight through and enjoyed every part of it.
First off, I loved the fact it was written the way an old legend would be told. I have a soft spot for legends and myths, so I immediately fell in love with the writing style.
The lass entertained me from the very beginning. She was quiet, but strong, brave and intelligent. She cares about people and animals in need even if she’d be better off ignoring them. She faces her fears instead of letting them control her. I admired the lass more with every page I read.
I also loved the bear though I wish I could’ve seen more of him. He remained pretty mysterious for the majority of the book and I would have enjoyed getting to know him better.
Rollo, the lass’s wolf pet, was hilarious. He acted and spoke exactly as I’d imagine a pet wolf really would. The other secondary characters didn’t play enough of a part for me to have grown terribly attached to but I loved seeing different types of creatures you don’t see often in other fantasy books.
Overall this book is a quick read but a very entertaining one. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, young adult, or old stories and myths. As always, I’d love to hear your opinions on the book itself or my review of it.
-Antonia


Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

Summary:
Orphan Tessa Gray, sixteen, crosses the ocean from New York to find her brother Nate in Victorian London, her only possession a clockwork angel necklace from her mother. She is ignorant of her power to transform; the Dark sisters are not. They kidnap her for the Magister, who wants to marry Tessa and claim her power.
Shadowhunters, warriors of angel blood, battle demons and keep the peace in the Downworld of vampires, warlocks and other supernaturals. Orphan teen Shadowhunters Jem, Will, and Jess rescue Tessa and agree to help save Nate. Vengeful vampire Lady Camille Belcourt and her current lover, warlock Magnus Bane provide entree to the Magister’s secret Pandemonium Club.

Review:
I just finished reading this book and I’m still slightly undecided on how much I liked it. I’ve loved every book that Cassandra Clare has written. I tore through the Mortal Instruments Series. It wasn’t like that for me with Clockwork Angel. I did definitely like this book even if I am undecided on how much. The characters were some that I absolutely got attached to. The story line was definitely a little unusual, but familiar to me because I’ve already read The Mortal Instruments series, well what’s already out of it. I’m excited to see where this series will go with how Clockwork Angel ended.
The characters were very similar to those in The Mortal Instruments series, some of them are actually in the other series so it was interesting reading about their past. The main character, Tessa, was a really interesting girl. At the beginning of the book she was thrown into a terrible situation and things seemed to only get worse for her. I think she handled herself very well. She was more concerned about her brother than herself. She was a very caring person and I really liked that. She tried to make the best out of whatever she had at the moment. She had this new ability and she learned to control it in terrible circumstances without much choice in the matter. Tessa experienced a lot of new things all at once. Things that would be very overwhelming and she handled everything relatively well. I liked Tessa’s character for the most part, but there were times where I just wanted to reach in the book and smack her. She could be a bit ignorant at times. But it was kind of expected with being introduced into a whole new world she knew nothing about. I admire Tessa for how strong she was through this book. I just hope she continues to be like this through the rest of the series. Then there’s Tessa’s brother Nate. I didn’t particularly like his character. He was kind of an asshole and wasn’t very appreciative of Tessa and her new friends saving his life. Then once he wasn’t dying, all he did was hit on Jessamine because she has money and he’s a douche. I really didn’t like Nate’s character, but who knows you might feel differently.
Next the Shadowhunters, Charlotte, Henry, Will, Jem, and Jessamine. Charlotte was probably one of my favorites in this book. She’s smart, determined, confident, caring, and just an all around good person. She runs the Institute with help from her husband, Henry. Although, he tends to be more trouble then help. Charlotte isn’t really taken seriously as the head of the Institute by other Shadowhunter, but I think she does a fantastic job with what she’s handed. Henry would rather stay in the basement and invent things, mostly things that don’t work. But hey, he tries and that’s what counts. I liked Henry. He was pretty funny, usually by accident, and he just cared about everyone so much. Will Herondale. It was really hard for me to not hate Will, but at the same time I had a really hard time not falling for him. He has so much going on. He wants to save the world, but won’t let anyone in to save him. And boy does he need saving. He has the mysteriousness going on and tries really hard to keep it that way. I just wanna know everything he’s hiding already! Next is Jem, he was another one of my favorites. He’s honest, funny, sweet, and just a genuinely good person. He went through a lot growing up and only wants to make the world a better place. If I could find Jem in the real world I would marry him, immediately. Last is Jessamine Lovelace. I really didn’t like her, at all. She’s stuck up, self centered, and sometimes really rude. She’s a Shadowhunter, but refuses to act like one. She sits at home and tries to find a way to make everyone’s lives difficult. I definitely think the story could have done without her, but I imagine she has a purpose. I’m just waiting to see what it is.
Overall, I liked this book. I liked most of the characters. The story line kept me interested and I’m kind of really excited to see where Cassandra Clare goes with this series. If you’ve read the Mortal Instruments Series and liked it, you should definitely give this series a try. Or if you like the paranormal, supernatural kinds of books these are right up your alley.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks Top Ten is favorite books before I became a blogger. These are my Top Ten favorites. There in no particular order. Let me know what you think.

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green – Looking for Alaska has been my favorite book for almost four years now. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon. You’ll actually be getting a review on this book in the near future.

2. The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen – I can’t even explain in words how much I love this book. The Ugly Duckling is the book that pulled me into the reading obsessed world. It was suspenseful and full of action which I’ve come to expect from Johansen. Reading this gave me a thrill that never went away.

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – I’m putting this on my list of favorites because when I finally decided to read this series I immediately fell in love. I don’t usually read fantasy type books but this book sucked me in so quickly. I didn’t out it down until I was finished.

4. Identical by Ellen Hopkins – The first time I read this book I was a mess by the time I finished. This book shocked me, made me think. I couldn’t put it down. I love everything about this book. You should too.

5. The Next Always by Nora Roberts – The Inn Boonsboro books are a fantastic read. The first is my favorite because, basically, Claire. I fell in love with Claire and her three boys and her bookstore very quickly. Read this book now.

6. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey – I’ve read this book a few times and it’s on my favorites list because the truth of this story blew me away. The powerfulness of this man’s struggles really got to me.

7. Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich – I love the Stephanie Plum series because they’re enjoyable and seriously funny books. Eight’s my favorite because lots of things happen with my favorite characters. Along with the new characters that are introduced and the crazy things Stephanie gets herself into.

8. Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn – This book was shown to me by my brother which, if you knew him, you’d know that he doesn’t belong in the same sentence as the word book. I didn’t know what to expect from a book my brother recommended but I gave it a shot. I’ve read many of Alex Flinn’s books and this is by far my favorite out of all of them.

9. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter will forever be a favorite of mine. That’s it. End of story.

10. Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – I have read so many books by her and I love them all but this is my favorite. It’s hilarious, heart breaking and suspenseful all at the same time.

Love them like I do, read them all.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Summary: Many legends begin as history, and much history begins with a single person caught up in an extraordinary time. So it is with the great Elven Queen Vieliessar of Farcarinon, who was the first to lead the forces of Light against the Endarkened. Perhaps the greatest Elven Mage of all time, Vieliessar was the first person to ever bond with a dragon. On behalf of her people and to save the world, Vieliessar worked astonishing magics…and paid a heartrending price.
But long before those days, Vieliessar was Varuthir, a young orphan who dreamed of becoming a knight. Varuthir’s dream was cruelly ripped from her when she was abruptly banished to the Sanctuary of the Star, to spend her life in service to the greatest Mages of the Fortunate Lands.
The Sanctuary was Varuthir’s prison- and Vieliessar’s birthplace. For ti was there that she learned that she was not just the last heir of the vanished kingdom of Farcarinon but also the Child of the Prophecy, whose coming heralded the destruction of the hundred kingdoms. More, Vieliessar discovered she was a Mage of undreamed-of power.
But magecraft alone will not make Vieliessar High King over the Hundred Houses. Her campaign to seize the Unicorn Throne is a tale of loyalty and betrayal, of love and loss, and of sacrifice and salvation. Of moments of humanity in the midst of war. And of the greatest battle of all, between Light and Dark.

This book is the third trilogy Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have collaborated on. The first was the Obsidian Mountain Trilogy (possibly my favorite series ever) and the second was the Enduring Flame trilogy which takes place about a thousand years after the events of the first. They’ve just published the first in the Dragon Prophecy trilogy, which explains the history of events and people from the Obsidian Mountain Trilogy. I’m not sure what the timeline is for this one. I want to say it’s two thousand years or so before OMT, but I’m not sure so don’t quote me on it.
I’m so happy I finally read this book. At the same time, I’m really upset I finally read this book. This is only because I have no idea when the next one’s going to come out but probably not for at least a year. A fact that makes me want to cry.
I loved this book. In my personal opinion, Lackey and Mallory can do no wrong. I’ve read many other books by Lackey and liked all of them. I haven’t read any by Mallory yet but I’m sure I will at some point. I’ve loved both series they’ve written previously. They’ve created such an extraordinary world with amazing characters.
I was worried that I’d be disappointed by this book because I’d had my hopes up for so long. I wasn’t disappointed at all. I loved this story. I only wish I didn’t have to wait for the rest of it.
The characters are elves that live for about a thousand years, give or take a few centuries. This makes it so they’re still considered “young” long after what it means in our world. This meant I got to watch Vieliessar grow up through several decades. And no, it felt neither rushed nor drawn out. Vieliessar is a great, strong, female lead. At first it seems everyone and everything is working against her, but she doesn’t let it stop her. She fights against the prophecy set on her from birth, but when she realizes it’s something she’s meant to do to save the Hundred Houses, she sets everything else aside and whole-heartedly throws herself into the task, despite everyone telling her she’s crazy. I love her and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
Runacarendalur is basically the equivalent to the male lead. I didn’t really like him much at the beginning. He seemed like all the other ambitious, arrogant War Princes. Eventually, I realized he’s not and now, I love him. Also, SPOILERS, they’re bonded! (It’s the equivalent of soul mates, just more magical. If one of them dies, the other does also.) It makes me so happy even though they think they hate each other. They don’t. They’re going to love each other. How do I know this? Well, because it has to happen or I’m going to cry. Also, I CAN’T BELIVE HE FUCKING LEFT! And then the book fucking ended! I am so not happy about this. But it’s okay. Because he’s going to come back and love Vieliessar for forever. …Because I said so. END SPOILERS.
If you like fantasy books I would absolutely recommend these books. If you haven’t read the other two series, I would advise you start with the Obsidian Mountain trilogy, partly because it’s my favorite and partly because it’s the first one they published. I would advise reading the Enduring Flame trilogy after Obsidian because it gives away some very important details. If you’d rather read them all chronologically (which I know some people prefer), that might be a little difficult considering only the first book in the Dragon Prophecy trilogy is out.
However you decide to read them, you absolutely, 100%, without hesitating, should run to your bookstore or library and read them. Right now.
I don’t get the chance to talk to many people who’ve read these series, so if you have, I would love to hear your opinion on it.
-Antonia


Wings – Aprilynne Pike

Summary:
Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful-too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They almost looked like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Review:
This book has received many different reviews. Many did not like it, and compared reading Wings to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, but there were also some positive reviews. My opinion falls around the middle of this scale. I didn’t hate it, but was definitely a little bit silly. The main character, Laurel, is like any normal teenage girl, except for the fact that one day she found flowers sprouting from her back. This is the silly part. I couldn’t help but giggle a little picturing a girl freaking out because she had flower petals growing right out of the skin on her back. Pike did a pretty good job keeping everything in the book pretty realistic, except of course for the girl growing flowers and all of the rest of the fairy parts.
Despite the ridiculousness of some aspects of the book, I was sucked in very quickly. I read this book in a day and immediately started the second. I couldn’t put it down until I knew what was going to happen next, I wanted to know it all. Which brings me to something else I liked, I had no idea what was going to happen next, I was kept in suspense the whole book.
I liked Laurel as a character overall. She has so much love for her family and newly made friends. But this love sometimes leads her to not so smart choices. Laurel is very brave throughout all of Wings, to the point where it’s almost more stupidity or ignorance rather than bravery. She gets herself into situations that she can’t always get out of by herself, but other than her misguided bravery, everything she does is to protect the ones she loves.
There are some things that I don’t particularly like about Laurel. First off, as I said, she’s like any normal teenage girl so she obviously finds a boy that she constantly thinks about. This is where David comes in. When things start getting crazy for Laurel, she seems to want to focus more on what’s happening between her and David, rather than trying to figure out the life changing events happening to her. Her boy craziness doesn’t get much better when Tamani comes into the picture. So now we have the typical “which boy should I be with” dilemma. Of course, it doesn’t help that David is part of her human life and Tamani is part of her fairy life. Personally, I want her to love Tamani. I don’t have anything against David, and I do like him too, but i like Tamani better and I think Laurel should too.
Something else that frustrated me was that any time Laurel went to see Tamani for answers about everything happening with her, he never actually answered most of her questions. He mostly said he couldn’t tell her, or gave her an answer that didn’t actually help with anything. I’d imagine that this was done on purpose, to keep up the suspense.
Toward the end of Wings, Laurel starts to smarten up. This is where the love for her family and friends come in. She makes the smart decision to stay with them and try to protect them, rather than abandon them for the fantastic new world she’s found. You can definitely see how much Laurel has matured at the end on the book. Well, as much as any sixteen year old girl who just found out she’s a fairy can mature.
Overall, I thought this book was pretty good. Pike put a new and unique spin on fae, and kept me guessing the whole time. I would definitely suggest this book to the younger age group of supernatural readers, or if you like fairy themed books. And if any of my fellow readers have read this series, let me know if you agree or disagree, or any thoughts you have on these books.

Keep reading lovelys, Amanda.