Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist Review

Action, romance, sibling rivalry and court intrigue combine for a page-turning read in this sequel to The Princess in the Opal Mask, which VOYA called “engaging and action-packed.”
In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father's death, and he reveals the girls' deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.The sequel to the Princess in the Opal Mask.

Published: October 2014
Page count: 368
Series: Second book in The Opal Mask series.
Rating: 4 stars

My librarian recommended this two book series to me and I'm honestly quite glad she did. I love the mix of fantasy and fairy tale type, add in a bit of political drama and several characters vying for the crown and I'm very happy. I enjoyed the first book a lot and I thought there were some really good plot twists. This one, I think, didn't have as many. I felt like the main focus of this book was the crown and Elara and Wilha trying to become sort of friendly with each other. There might not have been as much action either, except for a mob or two and a few attacks and sneaking about ;) But the vibe of the story was still enticing and I finished this book fairly quickly. I was nearly finished with the book last night when I realized how late it was and decided to finish it this morning, haha. I also think this is a good sequel and demonstrates how things are changing and the twins are developing and maturing. Depending where I was in the book, I was often on one girls' side or the other. Now that I think about it, that's pretty realistic. There were times that I wasn't happy with something Elara had said or a way Wilha had handled a situation and that's how it is irl. 

The writing style fits the setting so well. I don't think that I've read any of the author's other books but she has created such a great group of kingdoms and villages for this series. Then there are legends, secret passageways and all kinds of fairy tale-esque things that I loved. Character wise, I liked both the girls (except for the few odd scenes or moments) and their love interests. At first I was rather confused as Wilha had been seeing someone when the girls were in another kingdom, yet when she returns home to Galandria she goes back to swooning over her sort-of-beau from before she left. It was explained later, but at the time it felt odd to me that she seemed to immediately forget about this other boy she'd been with for months. I liked that Wilha was quiet yet the one who could handle a sword masterfully. I liked how strong and determined that Elara often was, I felt that she also could really understand what the Galandrians are going through in this book. The ending was satisfying, although there was just a little hint of something at the end that would almost make you wonder about another book...but it seems like this is the final one so oh well :)

Overall, while this sequel wasn't quite as good as the first book, I still liked it a lot. It's got a cool setting, two fiery main characters, and turned out to be a pretty nice ending. I really liked this series as a whole and found the romances sweet and the twins (although a bit irritating in this book because they don't communicate with each other well) lovely princesses with good hearts. I'd definitely recommend if you like a good medieval/fairy tale sort of book.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble Review

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.
The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery's marriage before it's even begun.
After Sarah receives word that her fiance, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner--despite her strong misgivings. But when Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive--and that Ben Croftner knew it--she indignantly breaks off the engagement and goes in search of Rand.
But Ben Croftner does not take rejection lightly--and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. When Sarah is abducted by her treacherous fiance, Rand finally comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and intends to take her there as his wife. But could Sarah leave her dying father's side for the love of her life? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

Published: March 2015
Page count: 90
Series: First book in the A Journey of the Heart series
Rating : 3 stars

It was quite interesting for to read this book. You see, it's the first book in this series and Colleen Coble explains it's actually the first series she ever wrote that's now been published at last. I've read a lot of her other books, not all because there are quite a few, and I found it wasn't quite up to their standard. Maybe it's because they were some of her first stories or maybe because it's a bit shorter and I'm used to having her books being longer. Either way, it's still a charming little read, somewhat along the lines of a Janette Oke book. 

In the little note at the beginning of the book, Colleen Coble explains that this is going to be a six book series and that she split up what was originally two books. So far, I'm quite interested in the story and there have been a few twists and turns. There are some interesting characters and I love the setting. It's just after the civil war was finished and now there was still the drive to move west lingering in a lot of people (or that was the vibe I got). So I'm pretty sure we're going to get some very scenic settings in the next few books. The romance is pretty sweet and I can't wait to see how it will develop.

Overall, it's a good book, but if you got super excited that Colleen Coble has a new release out you may be a little disappointed with this book when compared to some of her others. I liked this introduction to the characters and I plan on reading the rest of the series :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Talon by Julie Kagawa (April)

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.  

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.  

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

Why I'm excited: I love this author. I've read every book she's written and caught most of her short stories in anthologies too. I love her writing style and she's had some great series too. There was her vampire dystopian series, her, what I would call, fey fantasy series, and now her modern-day dragon series. I liked the first book well enough, so I'm hoping that I'll get even more into the story with this book. I adore dragons so I was very excited to hear that she would have them as a main part of this series. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Rook by Sharon Cameron (April release)

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place.                                             
Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?
Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. 
But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.  

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Why I'm excited: Just based on the synopsis I'm excited to read this book. It sounds like a really fun dystopian romance mix. I've read a steampunk series by this author previously and enjoyed them fairly well. So I have hopes this one will be interesting and great dystopian book, as I do love a good dystopian story. This book is scheduled to be released April 28. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole Review

Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.
Heartbreaking decisions Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.
Uncertain victory Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.
Two heroes returned There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first...?

Published: January 2015.
Page count: 336
Series: Third book in The Arcana Chronicles. 
Rating: 5 stars

This is the third book in the Arcana Chronicles. I loved the first two books and I was very excited for this book, I waited close to a year or so I think for its release. And when I got it and I feel like each book gets better. Maybe it's because there's new adventures and characters and Evie's world is changing and growing as is her knowledge and strength. Plot wise...hmm the majority of the book there were things happening, whether it be their main objective or a battle along their journey to their goal. There was a very disgusting twist towards the end. That's one thing, this is quite full on dystopian/apocalyptic. There is some gore and there are some gross scenes. Especially in this book as Evie and her allies are fighting against master torturers. And then there's the ending, the last page or two just left me gaping at the book to be honest.

Evie has grown a lot. She still has her moments and I think her main struggle is her powers and how much is too much. She is very powerful and sometimes her emotions or the powers can control her. That being said, her powers are very fun and she's constantly recovering her memory of a new way to use them or mastering something new. The other characters have come a long way too. My favorite part of this book was the love triangle between Jack and Death/Aric. They have to work together and be somewhat nice to each other on Evie's behalf and not only is it hilarious but it's totally swoon-worthy as well. I myself am on Team Death, but I still love Jack. Which made the ending (where she chooses) very hard for lots of reasons. Jack really comes into his full potential in this book. Not that he wasn't amazing at being tough and a survivor, now he's organizing military movements in his own sort of rebellion. Aric we grow to know more and more about and you tell he's really trying to adapt for Evie. So it's basically a very very hard choice.

So...the characters and plot are amazing. The ending leaves you with so many questions and lots of shock over what the book ends with. The world-building is still great, since they're mainly in one area the majority of this book it doesn't come off as strong as it did in the other books for me, but it's still there and you're reminded of it. I think this book and the whole series are amazing. If it sounds interesting to you I'd 100% recommend it. Just maybe wait until close to the last book's release because this series will keep you up at night reading and make you get a "book hangover" when you finish it.

And as for my predictions of what's going on in the next book: I believe Jack is actually an Arcana. The author provides a list of the players at the beginning of the book and I've looked through them trying to figure out which on he could be. I honestly don't know which he might be but I can't see him doing all he does without being Arcana. Plus Matt said he couldn't read his future. He's also hinting at so many things. I think that the main challenge the next book will be tension between Aric and Evie. And this emperor is going to be who she's fighting most of the time. Just my thoughts ;)(Highlight to read, contains spoilers)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Four by Veronica Roth Review

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.
Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.
Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling DIVERGENT series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—THE TRANSFER, THE INITIATE, THE SON, and THE TRAITOR—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the DIVERGENT trilogy.
Published: July 2014
Page count: 285
Series: Short story collection based off of the Divergent trilogy. 
Rating: 5 stars

I love when author make short stories between books or little extras or rewrite a scene from a different character's perspective. The thing I love even more is when all of those stories are put together in a collection and released as a single, physical copy. It's so much easier for me to get my hands on ;)

But getting down to the contents of the book, we had six short stories, if I remember correctly. They're all from Four's point of view which I loved. He's a character that everyone loves and it's really interesting to get a feel for his inner voice and see some of his scenes with Tris from his perspective. I really liked it. It was a nice chance to gain insight to Four's world and past. I also found his POV quite enjoyable and calming haha, so I finished this book within a single morning. I really loved it.

Overall, this is a great collection of short stories and I think it's a great expansion to the world of Four and Tris and the factions. There are three short stories about Four's past in Abnegation and how he arrives in Dauntless. Then another, shorter three stories as he's meeting Tris. If you loved the Divergent series (or at least the first two because that last one, well I like to forget about it ;-;), I'd definitely recommend picking up this collection because I loved revisiting the characters and world they live in.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole Review

In this seductive follow-up to Poison Princess, #1 New York Timesbestselling author Kresley Cole takes us deeper into the dark world of the Arcana Chronicles.
Shocking secrets Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who've been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It's kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.
Unexpected allies With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.
Gut-wrenching treachery When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she's drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can't remember--but Death can't forget...
Published: October 2013.
Page count: 336
Series: second book in The Arcana Chronicles. 
Rating: 5 stars

This is my second time reading Endless Knight and I think I might have enjoyed it even more than I did the first time. I got drawn into the Arcana series when I decided to try the first book, The Poison Princess, I ended up loving it and since them I've been waiting for the next book's release. This series is really unique, it's a dystopian/apocalyptic style book but it's got incredible world-building and the characters are very unique. Basically they're characters from the tarot cards and have all sorts of amazing powers and are pitting against each other with a sole winner. This happens every few hundred years or so. Basically, it's a type of story I'd never seen before and it's written very well.

There's Evie, our main character. I found her slightly annoying in the first book at times, but in this book I think she's better. The thing that's most interesting in this book (other than that they meet more and more arcana players and learn of their powers and such) is that Death comes to Evie. He's a card that has won the past few games and he's out to get her. And in this book he finally reaches her and a lot of stuff goes down. A lot. And it can really change a lot of the things you thought about the story and characters so far ;)

Overall, I think this is a great book. The world-building and plot are great, the vibe of the book is a great apocalyptic one and the world and history that the author has created about these tarot cards battling it's just amazing. I've never read anything quite like this book before. I love it. I finished this book very quickly because I couldn't put it down and I enjoyed Evie, her friends, and their adventure ^-^ I'd definitely recommend it if it sounds interesting to you and you don't mind some slight sexual content and language. And you know creepy kids who are out killing each other in almost Hunger Games style ;)