The Beauty of Darkness Review

Author: Mary E. Pearson | Published: August 2, 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. | Series: The Remnant Chronicles #3 | Length: 679 pages | Genre: YA Fantasy | Source: My local Barnes & Noble.

Lia has survived Venda—but so has a great evil bent on the destruction of Morrighan. And only Lia can stop it.

With war on the horizon, Lia has no choice but to assume her role as First Daughter, as soldier—as leader. While she struggles to reach Morrighan and warn them, she finds herself at cross-purposes with Rafe and suspicious of Kaden, who has hunted her down.

In this conclusion to the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, traitors must be rooted out, sacrifices must be made, and impossible odds must be overcome as the future of every kingdom hangs in the balance.

To say I was a little disappointed in this book is an understatement.  After flying through the first two books and loving every moment of them, everything came to a screeching halt with this book.  I’m just going to mention that I cannot stand when series end like this.  It feels like complete and utter betrayal from the author and everyone who made this book possible.

First off, let’s talk about the romance.  I kinda liked how the romance was going in the first two books.  I was desperately hoping that maybe there would be a twist at the end, but NOPE.  Lia was horrible to Rafe just about the whole entire book.  If I were Rafe I would’ve walked away long ago just from how she acted.  She didn’t care about their relationship or bring up major things that they should have discussed before she just went off and did them.  That is so not how a relationship works.  I feel like the romance with Kaden was a bit forced.  If he couldn’t have one girl he’d take the other.  I guess it gives him a happy ending, but not the ended I really hoped for him.

Lia’s attitude throughout this whole book just plain sucks.  Not only is she a jerk to Rafe, but she has to act all high and mighty like everyone is out to get her just because she’s a girl.  I get that girls can do somethings a guy does, but there is no need to have to prove yourself better than a man.

Her “gift” also ticked me off.  That was the only way this book moved forward.  Lia saw something or heard something and expected others to follow her completely blind.  I would’ve hopped off that crazy train long ago!  You have to have some other type of events to move the plot forward or it just gets so horribly redundant and boring for readers.  And just because she has this “gift” it does not make her infinitely smarter and better than everyone else.  That’s cause right there for a butt-whooping, at least in my family.  You don’t treat people like trash just because you can do something they can’t.

Also because she has this “gift” she blindly follows it herself.  Does she not have any regard for her future at all?  I guess not cause there she goes head first into danger because her “gift” told her to…  It’s like as soon as she found that book about the history of Venda she has to make sure that every prophecies comes true.

I listened to a good majority of this book on audiobook, but after about 55%-60% I had to stop listening for almost a week because I just couldn’t deal with this book.  I was so close to almost DNFing this book, but I figured I was that far I might as well stick it out and complete it.  In a way I wish I had just left it at the second book.

This book is massive!  I was expecting a really long and epic final battle, but that only took place in the last 10% of the book.  A few pages was all it took to defeat the enemy and wrap things up.  Plus her whole “speech” to get them to lay down their arms did not make a lick of sense.  People just dropped their weapons and followed her? I’m surprised she wasn’t shot with an arrow first.  This book definitely could have been cut down and the fight could’ve been written to be more believable.  I mean, come on, they have been prepping for a battle of the centuries and it is but a blip in the book.  We could’ve done without all of the whiney Lia in the beginning as well.

Overall, I just have to shake my head at this book.  I wanted to love it so much, but it seems like you either love this book or you hate it.  I hate to say it, but I’m leaning towards the latter.

I gave this book 2/5 stars.

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The Heart of Betrayal Review

Author: Mary E. Pearson | Published: July 7, 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. | Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2 | Length: 473 pages | Genre: YA Fantasy | Source: My local Barnes & Noble.

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

I absolutely love when a series starts out with a bang and continues to reverberate in the next book.  This series is definitely following that!  I regret that it took me so long to start this series.  Although I am grateful that I can binge them all and not have to wait for them to come out.

This book starts off right where Kiss of Deception left off.  Rafe and Lia are now Venda’s first ever prisoners and must come up with a way to get out.  Rafe is trying to lay low and wait for his soldiers to come, but Lia has some other plans as she doesn’t believe they’ll make it.  As they stay there longer and longer, Lia is paraded around Venda and learns so much about its people and what the Komizar is up to.

Ah, the Komizar.  I really loved to hate him.  He is ruthless, but oh so calculating in why he does what he does.  I get frustrated right there along with Lia when he tells her to do or not do something, yet get nervous if she tries to defy him.  At some points I do understand why he is the way he is, which makes me want to strangle him more.

After the first book, I thought that it was a given who Lia was going to go for, but as I got deeper into this book I couldn’t quite say what was going on.  There were fights and make-ups and more fights.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me who she ends up with, but after this book I’m a bit torn on who she may choose.

As this series gets further along I fall more and more in love with Lia’s character.  She has so much growth from when she first arrived in Teravin until the end of this book.  Her strength is astounding!  She becomes such a cool and calculating character even when she just wants to enact her revenge.  I don’t know if I could even muster as much self-control that she did at some points.

Again, the world building in this book is extraordinary!  Not only do we get to see the ruins that Venda is built upon but also the mythology that comes out of those ruins.  I have to give Mary props because this world is so intricate.  It must have taken her forever to piece together every single detail in this book. I desperately need to take lessons from her!

And finally, the ending of this book!  OMG!  I did kind of see it coming with all the tension building and building, but I did not anticipate that much of a cliff-hanger.  Man, am I glad that I have the third book and can start reading it right away!  Don’t mind me as I now slip away to start the next book!

I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

The Kiss of Deception Review

Author: Mary E. Pearson | Published: July 8, 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. | Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1 | Length: 486 pages | Genre: YA Fantasy | Source: My local Barnes & Noble.

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
She flees on her wedding day.She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

I absolutely loved this book!  I have been meaning to read it for such a long time now, but I think I was a bit intimidated by the size of all the books in the series.  You could kill somebody with the last book!  I ended up having an extra credit to spend on my audible account so I went and purchased this book to listen to on my commutes to and from work.

First off, I really liked the world building.  We get to see a tiny bit of the kingdom that she lives in, and then a little sleepy fishing town.  I’m not sure if the book itself has a map as I haven’t looked at my copy, but the world in this book seems very expansive.  I can’t wait to read more about it in the rest of the series!

I really loved how you had no idea who the assassin or the prince were.  It’s even a while before we get to know their names.  I was searching so hard for defining details to see if I could even put a name to which boy was which, but I couldn’t find one until of course you find out later in the book.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like that at all.  I really was on edge trying to figure it out.

I liked the romance in this book a lot.  At first both boys sound like great love interests.  Of course you know one is a prince and the other an assassin, but even with that in mind, she could have been with either of them depending on who was who.  I really give the author props for doing this because I was almost fighting for both boys until that fateful moment.

One thing I hope gets more explained in the next few books is the magic system.  We find out a little bit about it, but what are her powers exactly?  It left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

All in all this book was a very fun read for me and I’m very excited to get to the next book!

I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

The Way the Light Bends Blog Tour **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: Cordelia Jensen | Published: March 27, 2018 by Philomel Books | Series: N/A | Length: 390 Pages| Genre: YA Contemporary | Source: I received this book from Philomel Books in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.  Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school–via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously–Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.  A novel in verse that challenges the way we think about family and belonging.

Review:

First off, I want to say a huge thank you to Philomel Books and Penguin Teen for the amazing opportunity to read this book.  I was so ecstatic when I was asked to read and review this book!  I had my eye on this book from the moment I had first heard of it.  Now, after having read the book, I cannot say enough great things about it!  With its lovely free verse this book reminds me a lot of the Ellen Hopkins books that I used to read way back in high school.  The was so much emotion that was conveyed through the free verse that you might not have seen if this book was written in a normal format.  I really connected with the character of Linc as most of my hobbies (reading, photography, horseback riding, etc.) are not shared by my parents and sometimes they just didn’t understand my want to know more and do more in those hobbies.  Although my parents were a bit less harsh than hers and they actually let me pursue the things I loved.  I did struggle a bit in school like Linc, but not as much as she did.  All of the characters seem so realistic in this book!  At first a few seemed “too good”, but you later see that under that facade they have flaws and wants just like everyone else.  Another thing that I absolutely adored were all the photography elements in this book.  Like Linc, I absolutely love photography and it was amazing to see how much photography was implemented into the text.

Overall, I adored this book!  If you are a big fan of Ellen Hopkins, love photography, or love an emotional story about a girl trying to find her place in the world, then this is the book for you!

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads.

The Traitor’s Game **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen | Published: February 27, 2018 by Scholastic Press | Series: The Traitor’s Game #1 | Length: 388 pages | Genre: YA Fantasy  | Source: I got this book at Yallfest.

For three years Kestra has been in exile, but that doesn’t stop her from being dragged into her father’s political plots.  With him being the right hand man of the king, Lord Endrick, Kestra is very valuable.  While on her way back to Woodcourt a band of rebels attack Kestra’s entourage and blackmail Kestra into finding the Oden Blade for them.  This dagger is rumored to be the only weapon that can kill Lord Endrick, but it has been lost for years.  In the group of rebels a boy named Simon is tasked with being her protector and to see their mission through no matter the cost.  As he struggles to fulfill his orders more and more secrets emerge that none of them see coming.  With motives shifting left and right Kestra must find a way to not only protect herself but also try to find out who she’s fighting for.

Last year while I was at Yallfest, I was headed to the Cassandra Clare signing and saw that they were having an ARC drop for this book with the author actually signing the copies as they were handed out.  I really wanted one, but didn’t think I’d have time to stop before the signing.  So I went to the signing and then quick hopped in line and got to meet the author and get this ARC signed as well.  It was amazing and Jennifer was so sweet.  I loved this book!!  While it does tend to follow some of the typical YA tropes, Jennifer A. Neilsen is able to put a spin on them to make them her own.  I really like Kestra’s character and how much internal struggle she has and how much her character grows throughout the book.  She is honestly just a stubborn girl who wants her father’s love, but is thrown into a crazy plan to get a legendary weapon for a group of rebels she thought were vanquished.  Some of those plot twists had me gasping and my boyfriend asking me what happened to her now lol.  There was a tiny part in the end that kinda had me a bit annoyed with how the same conversation seemed to keep happening over and over, but it was very miniscule.  I so cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out.  I need to know what happens to Kestra and Simon and where their stories will go.  All in all, this is an amazing book and I highly recommend it to anyone that likes a good YA fantasy book.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

American Panda **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: Gloria Chao | Published: February 6, 2018 by Simon Pulse | Series: N/A | Length: 304 Pages | Genre: YA Contemporary | Source: I got this book while at Yallfest.

After graduating high school a year early, Mei Lu starts her freshman year at MIT.  She’s right on track to fulfill her predetermined medical career, marry another Taiwanese doctor, and pop out a litter of kids.  Not wanting to disappoint her parents, Mei hides her germophobia and her crush on a non-Taiwanese boy named Darren Takahashi.  When she reconnects with her brother, Xing, who has been shunned due to his relationship with the wrong girl, she starts to wonder if the secrets are worth it. Amidst the guilt and accumulating secrets Mei must learn to be herself even if things get hard.

First off, I want to point out that this book has some language that may not be suitable for some younger readers.

This was such a cute and funny book!  I have had a few situations similar to Mei that almost cost me a couple important relationships in my life so I really understand her struggle first hand.  I Also liked learning a bit more about the Taiwanese culture as I don’t really know too much about it in the first place.  I was a tad bit disappointed that this book did not go a bit more into the college aspect.  Mei does attend some classes, but the book mostly takes place on the weekends with her parents or even off campus all together.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that there is another YA book that has a college setting, I just wish it had just a smidge more college than it does.  Other than that this book was really good and I cannot wait to read something more by Gloria in the future!

I gave this book 3.5/5 stars on Goodreads.

Zenith **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: Sasha Alsberg, Lindsay Cummings | Published: January 16, 2018 by Harlequin Teen | Series: The Androma Saga #1 | Length: 512 Pages | Genre: YA Science Fiction | Source: I got this book while at BookCon.

While running from her past, Androma and her all-girl crew are forced to work a mission with a sadistic bounty hunter from her past.  Meanwhile, in another planetary system, a queen of a dying planet waits in the shadows for the opportune moment to use her newly created super weapon to exact her revenge.  As the queen’s plan unfolds, Andie and her crew get sucked into the possibility for the greatest war Mirabel has ever seen.

I am such a sucker for a good science fiction book!  After having read a lot of fantasy lately, I needed to pick up a good sci-fi book so I grabbed this one.  One thing that really drew my attention to this book is the fact that the spaceship has an all female crew.  How cool is that?  And each of them come from such different lives, but they still work like a well oiled machine.  Androma is such a tortured character, and she has such a rough past that lead her to be the way she is.  This was the first book I have read by both authors and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.  One thing that kind of struck me as weird is that I don’t remember exactly how old Androma is, but it sounds like when she was younger she had a pretty explicit relationship with another character.  Maybe I missed her exact age, but this is what I noticed with how it seems her timeline goes.  Other than that I really liked this book and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!  I highly recommend this book if you liked books like Illuminae, The Lunar Chronicles, The 5th Wave, or Across the Universe.  It’s also perfect for anyone who likes action packed thrillers.

I gave this book 4.5/5 on Goodreads.

The Cruel Prince **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: Holly Black | Published: January 2, 2018 | Series: The Folk of the Air #1 | Length: 372 pages | Genre: YA Fantasy | Source: I recieved this book through a trade on Twitter.

When Jude was seven years old, she watched her mother and father die while her and her sisters were whisked away to the High Court of Faerie to live with their parent’s murderer.  Ten years later, Jude despises her mortlity and just wants to fit in with the fae around her.  But to win a place in the Court she must defy Prince Cardan.  In doing so, she is tossed into the maylay and deceptions of the fae.  As tensions run high and civil war threatens the kingdom,  Jude will need to risk her life and discover her own capacity for bloodshed to save her family and Faerie itself.

After having read a few of Holly Black’s other books, I was a bit skeptical of this one. I didn’t really care for the couple books I did read so I had rather low expectations going into this book. Not even halfway through I knew this book was going to blow my expectations out of the water! I honestly think this is one of Holly’s best works yet! I never saw that ending coming at all!! I did think Jude and her sisters relationship with their parents killer was a bit weird. How could they be so calm about it? I would freak out a bit if I were them. Either way, this book was a big hit for me and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it early. I’m also very happy that this book was so good. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a classic faerie book with lots of twists.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Warcross **ARC Review** and Givaway!(Spoiler Free)

Author: Marie Lu | Published: September 12, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | Series: Warcross #1 | Length: 353 pages | Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-fi | Source: I got this book through a trade on #booksfortrade on Twitter.

For the millions of people who log into Warcross everyday, it’s not just a game, it’s a way of life.  Created ten years prior, Warcross is now a global phenomenon in which people use it to escape their reality or make a profit.  For bounty hunter, Emika Chen, Warcross is a way to make ends meet. But the bounty hunting world is very competitive, and on a whim, Emika decides to try a hack to gain a little extra cash.  Something during the hack goes wrong and it glitches Emika into the opening match of the Warcross Championships-making her an international sensation overnight.  Dreading that she’ll get arrested, Emika is surprised when she gets contacted by none other than Hideo Tanaka, the creator of Warcross, who has an irresistible offer.  He wants her to act as his spy to sniff out a security issue in this year’s championships.  Emika is quickly whisked off th Tokyo, but as she delves deeper into finding the security breach, she uncovers a sinister plot that could ruin all of Warcross.

When I first heard that Marie Lu had another book coming out, I knew I just had to read it!  I’m so happy that I was even able to get my hands on an early copy of this book as well.  Not only was this one of my most favorite reads of 2017, but it was also my first time reading a book by Marie.  I know, I know.  Shame on me for not having read anything by her beforehand, and now I just want to binge read everything by her!  As of late I’ve been a little dystopianed out and I wasn’t sure how I would like this book as it has some dystopian themes, but once I started I just couldn’t put it down!  There was a crazy twist near the end that makes me so desperate for book two.  I could not wait for this book to come out so I could talk to others about how amazing it was.

Silly me accidentally preordered two copies of Warcross so I want to give one of y’all the chance to read this amazing book!  Please read all of the rules below to make sure you qualify!  Follow the link below to enter!!

I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

Rules: 

  • Giveaway runs from December 12th-31st
  • US only (sorry, but shipping is ridiculous 😦 )
  • Make sure you go to the link and follow everything there

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Furthermore **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

As I was reading and getting ready to write my review on Whichwood, I realized that I had not yet written a review for Furthermore.  Shame on me!  Due to the fact that I read this book as an ARC I am going to label my review as such because I did not actually read a finished copy of this book.

I read the Shatter Me trilogy a while back and loved how Tahereh Mafi spun the words to form that story.  I was very eager to see how her writing style would translate from a young adult novel to that of a middle grade novel.  I was not disappointed in the slightest!  Now, I am not normally one to read a middle grade book as even as a middle grader I was never really into that style of writing, but Tahereh quickly changed my mind!  Granted, the middle grade novels nowadays are quite different from the time I was an awkward and shy middle-schooler, but I don’t really know why I still just want to skip over them.  Old habits die-hard I guess.  I know for a fact that I will never skip over a middle grade novel of Tahereh’s for the rest of time.

This book was so well written that I quickly was immersed into the worlds of Ferenwood and Furthermore  I could practically see the color bursting before my eyes as I flew through the pages.  Now, mind you, this was a fairly good-sized book and I finished it within two to three days, which is almost unheard of for me.  This book gave off a lot of Alice In Wonderland vibes.  Even the main characters share the same name!  I also really loved how this book is told in second person point of view.  I don’t think I have ever read a book with this point of view, and it was neat being able to hear little snippets from the narrator of the story.  There was one particular thing I didn’t really care for though.  I felt as if the ending was rushed and almost a bit sloppy.  I got a bit nervous as I got to the last few pages and the main character had still not gotten what she was searching for.  Then it was like BING-BANG-BOOM done and I was left a bit shell-shocked.  I had to reread the last few pages to make sure that my copy wasn’t missing any.  I cannot say for sure that they did not change this from the ARC to the finished copy, but I’m still not over how abruptly this book ended.

Altogether, this book was still very good despite my despise of the ending.  I would highly recommend this book if you like middle grade novels or if you like Alice In Wonderland.  Now I’ll have to impatiently wait for Tahereh’s next middle grade novel.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.