Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

GoodReads Summary:
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands… no matter what it takes
Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.
Annabelle is determined to resist Simon’s wicked propositions, but she can’t deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle’s courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.
Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1)Review:
I used to read Lisa Kleypas in high school. But it’s been many years since I’ve read any of her books. After reading some newer historical romance I decided I wanted to try some of the historical romance that I loved in my younger years. This was one of those.
I thought this story was fun. It was definitely entertaining. I love the concept of the wallflowers befriending one another and coming together to help each other catch husbands. The friendships of these four girls was most definitely my favorite part of the story. These girls are hilarious and outgoing and they make each other more confident. I’m continuing this series 100% for the friendship of the wallflowers.
The romance was actually pretty good in this book too. It’s an enemies to lovers story that follows Annabelle as she’s in her last season and desperate to get a husband to hopefully pull her family out of financial ruin. I think that’s what made me not hate her motivations. She’s only doing this for her mother and her brother. But the romance was pretty good. It was well developed and I really enjoyed seeing the couple fall in love even though they both really didn’t want to. I also enjoyed seeing Annabelle end up in a marriage that is very different from what she’d planned for her entire life. Simon Hunt is a businessman and not a part of the peerage. So, he doesn’t run in the circles that Annabelle’s hoping to become a part of. This was an adjustment for her and I think made the book that much better.
Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read. I liked the romance and the friendships were excellent. There were some great steamy scenes and I just all around had a good time reading this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she’s one of them. A Special. A super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn’t better than anything she’s ever known. Tally still has memories of something else.
Still, it’s easy to tune that out—until she’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.
Specials (Uglies, #3)Review:
My issues with this book are pretty much the same as they were with the previous book. I didn’t like the group of “new” specials that Shay created. They centered around self-harm, specifically cutting, and I really didn’t like that. I did like how Tally stood up and stopped cutting because she knew it wasn’t right, despite that sometimes it made her feel good.
Tally kind of annoyed me in this book, but it wasn’t really her fault. It was more than at the beginning of each book Tally was having to go through everything she’d just succeeded in the previous book. It was a little repetitive and just annoying. All her progress was lost at the end of each book and she had to go through it all over again. Despite this, I still liked Tally. She’s been through some shit at this point. I loved her and Zane together and was sad that we didn’t really get that in this book (I’m also just mad in general about Zane’s storyline).
I did really like how Shay and Tally we’re together again in Specials. They didn’t really have a very healthy relationship because of their past betrayals. I liked how their relationship was left. I think their forgiving one another and reconciliation was satisfying.
Overall, like the first two books, Specials was action-packed, fast-paced, and exciting. I know the fourth book doesn’t really follow the same characters but I’m still excited to see what’s going on in this world next. I really liked getting to see more of the world and the other cities in it. I thought it was interesting how things were all brought together from Tally’s various adventures. I also remember being really mad about the ending of this book when I read it the first time years ago, but I actually kind of liked it. I think it was a fitting end to who Tally has shown herself to be. I also appreciated that the romance between her and David wasn’t just immediately resumed. I’m going to stop now so I can read Extras.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

GoodReads Summary:
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.
Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.
But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.
Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #3)Review:
I was beyond excited when I approved for an ARC of this book, so to start, big thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was a wonderful finale for this trilogy. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but that was my own issue with fantasy at the moment. I pushed through and once the gang made it about halfway through the book (to the location where the big battle was going down) I was hooked. Julie Kagawa has created such lovable and well-developed characters. I just adored them all. Their relationship as a whole group was so heartwarming. They’ve been through so much together and it was absolutely devastating to see the end result for these characters. (Julie Kagawa takes “kill your babies” VERY seriously.) There is a wonderfully done male/male romance. And I would die for both of them. I’m purposefully not naming any names because I cannot spell any of them to save my life and I’m writing this on my phone because this review will never get written otherwise.
Overall, I really thought this was an excellent ending to a great series. I really loved the ending even though parts totally broke my little heart. I love this world and there were so many little details that just made the story that much better. Sorry if this review is a bit vague, but it’s the third and final book and I don’t want to spoil anything. But please read this series. It’s diverse and wonderful and everyone needs to love it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

GoodReads Summary:
Grandma Mazur is a widow…again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen…well, the waiting’s over.
It’s a sad day, but if she can’t have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy’s former “business partners” are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself.
As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.
Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum, #26)Review:
I’m always excited for the newest Stephanie Plum release. This one was a little disappointing. I still enjoyed it in the usual way, but there seemed to be some unresolved issues. The story just ends after finding the one thing they’ve been looking for the whole book.
Stephanie is unhappy with her job and life at the moment. And that never seems to be resolved either. I’m not sure if it was left like this because of something that may happen in the next book, but I didn’t care for it.
As usual, I loved the family and other relationships. I’ll always be team Ranger, but I still like Morelli. I like that Stephanie and Morelli have reached a comfortable place in their relationship, but this doesn’t really allow for much Ranger love.
The mystery was an interesting one. I loved that it involved Grandma Mazur. She just cracks me up, along with the rest of Stephanie’s family. They’re so funny and wholesome, all around a great part of the story.
Overall, this story was as I expected. Full of antics and hilarity. Cars getting blown up and mystery. I will always love this series, for sure.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Sovereign Sacrifice by Elise Kova

GoodReads Summary:
Vi was supposed to be the perfect crown princess. Then, she abandoned her throne.
Vi was supposed to save the world as its Champion. Then, the world she loved vanished.
Now, all she knows is that she has deadly magic and brutal cunning and she’s ready to settle some scores.
Old loves and new allies tell her to play it safe. But Vi is done with caution. She has a chance to right ancient wrongs and this princess-turned-warrior isn’t turning back.
She’s ready to bring an end to the vortex of death the world is trapped in.
The magic, romance, and epic adventure continue in book four of Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles.
Sovereign Sacrifice (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, #4)Review:
I wish Elise Kova was a more widely known author. She is honestly just incredible. I absolutely adored this latest installment of the Vortex Chronicles. The way Kova ties the events in this book to all of the previous stories has me in awe of her writing abilities.
I love Vi and the path she is trying to follow in this book. I’m not going to get into too many details because this is book four in a series (and also a sister series to another five-book series). But, the way that Vi handles herself and uses her magic is interesting and I really enjoyed her trying new things and working on changing the outcome of the world.
I wish there was more going on with Taavin. I know he’s in the story, but I felt like his parts were minimal and I’m not sure where his path is headed.
I absolutely adored meeting all of the characters I already know. I won’t say too much about this. But I think Vi being in a world I know from somewhere else was so much fun. Seeing what parts she played was beyond interesting.
Overall, I really cannot wait to read the final book in this series. I love all these characters. I love their goals and their adventures. I love their relationships. I loved this book very much a lot.

Quotes:

“The world was a puppet, and it was her job to pull the strings.”

“I don’t know what pain fuels your flames, but I can see you’re burning alive.”

“You keep looking back. Those decisions have been made and the ink in the history books is already dry. Keep your eyes forward.”

“She felt herself burning from the inside out with a fire she’d never known before. A fire that felt like it could light the whole world.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Summary:
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small-town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.
Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)Review:
While I am a lover of dystopian books, I don’t think this is one I would have picked up had it not been for the BookTube SFF Awards. This is one of the nominees for the debut novel category and I’m interested to see which book wins.
Part of me is still a little unsure about my feelings for this book. I think I want to like it more than I did. It was a fun and fast paced book but there’s just a few things that I don’t know that I liked.
The characters were interesting enough but I honestly don’t feel like they were developed enough. I don’t feel like I know them like I want to. We get their back stories and they ‘why’ of what they are doing but I feel like somethings missing. I just don’t feel all that invested in them except for maybe the main character a little. I think my feelings with the main character is more that I want her to get her revenge.
The best thing about this story was the world building. Roanhorse has created an incredible interesting and unique world. I was fascinated by the mythology and all of the different Native American inspired tidbits. I loved everything about it. But again, I don’t feel like I got enough. I want to know more. I’m sure we will get more in the second book, but I want it now.
Overall, I liked this book but I wanted more from it. There isn’t anything specific I would say I didn’t like. I just feel like it could have been longer with more character development and more world building. I think I will be continuing the series to see what happens next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Summary:
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.
War Storm (Red Queen, #4)Review:
I wanted to like this finale more than I did. As with most books, there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I think I’m going to organize this review like I have with a few other series conclusions in the past because there’s just too much going on for me to talk about it in my traditional format.

Things I liked-

The changing perspectives was probably my favorite thing about this book. It was done in the previous book too (see my review for King’s Cage). I really felt like we got to see into the heads of the rest of the characters that play a part in this story. I started to really feel for certain characters (read: Evangeline) instead of hating them like I did in previous books. Seeing things from her point of view, what her thoughts and opinions were rather than just the face she puts on for the world was really interesting and was the best part of this book. The same goes for Iris. I liked seeing her plans and thoughts. The way that her country works and what her values and ideals were.

I liked seeing the different parts of the world. We get to see the Lakelands and more of Montfort. I enjoyed exploring more of the world. Along with this, we’re learning more about the Newbloods and how the world is changing.

Finally, I liked the action. The fighting was exciting and fun. I thought the battles they chose and the places they strike were good choices. I was convinced that Aveyard was going to kill a certain character, but she didn’t thankfully.

Things I didn’t like-

The ending. I wanted more. This was not very satisfying to me.

Mare and Cal. I remember being pretty broken up with their drama in the last book, but reading this one and the choices they both make just annoyed me. I wanted them to just get over it all. I didn’t care if they ended up together or not. I didn’t care about them in general.

Which leads me to the rest of the characters. For a book so thick, there was so much focus on characters I didn’t care about. In the first few books, we’re learning all about these Newbloods. Rescuing them and training them, but then we just get two or three sentences here and there about them and no further development. I really didn’t appreciate that.

Overall-

I’m happy for the series to finally be over and to see it concluded (though I am excited for the novella collection coming out in May.) I found myself really struggling to pick this book up and actually want to read it. I think maybe pushing myself to finish it despite these feelings made me enjoy it less but I didn’t want to keep waiting and then forget everything from the first three books. I’m glad I read the series because I did enjoy it, but I’m equally glad for it to be over.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Summary:
It’s been only months since Eragon first uttered “brisingr,” the ancient language term for fire. Since then, he’s not only learned to create magic with words—he’s been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
When danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices—choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimaginable sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?
Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3)Review:
I’m going to be honest here. I had a really hard time with this book. It didn’t keep my interest like the first two did. I don’t know if that’s because of the different perspectives or something else, but I kept putting it down and really had to convince myself to pick it up again. Part of me is wondering how I’m going to get through the final book.
Things I liked are as follows; I love that we’re seeing some really great character development from Eragon. He’s grown so much from the annoying boy he was in the first book. I’ve really grown to care about him and his journey. He’s making better choices and really thinking about the effects that his actions have on the world around him. I also really enjoyed the big reveals we were given. We learn a few things that pull the story together. I thought they were unexpected and I really enjoyed the plot twists. I also enjoying seeing more of the world this story takes place in. Eragon travels all over and I love seeing the world because it’s full of so many interesting characters and places. There are some great relationships that have been developed over the time line of the story and the just get better and better.
What I didn’t like; no surprise here. Roran, Eragon’s cousin. I just don’t care about him. I think I might have cared had we learned about him in another way, but when the story is in his perspective it just makes me want to put the book down. I don’t care what he thinks or says. Katrina is annoying with always worrying and him never wanting to worry her. I just don’t care about him. I don’t know what it is.
Overall, I’m still hooked enough into the story, especially since I’ve read three of the four books. So, I’ll be continuing onto the fourth book because I need to know how Eragon is going to defeat the villain. I am excited to see how this saga is concluded and what Eragon comes up with to beat the big bad.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.
But having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.
Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
The Song Rising (The Bone Season, #3)Review:
The third book in The Bone Season series. I think I should have read this a bit sooner after finishing the second because of all the terminology. I was a smidge confused for the first few chapters because I didn’t remember what everything was. Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. I cannot wait to see where this series will go next. I’m going to say now, if you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you shouldn’t continue reading this. This is the third book in the series so, if you haven’t read books ONE and TWO, please leave and I’ll see you after you enjoy those wonderful stories.
So, in this book we follow Paige after she’s kicked ass and taken names and made herself Underqueen of the Mime Order. I loved Paige in this book because she’s fierce and full of fire. She hates being pushed around and skirts the rules and restrictions at every turn. She’s passionate and determined, she’s smart and loyal. She does what she needs to in order to protect her people. I gained so much respect for her in this book because she never once puts herself ahead of anyone. Even though she’s the leader and she could just send people to accomplish things, she insists on doing the dangerous things herself. She will not put her people at risk. I think this is so admirable. She really proves over and over the lengths she’s willing to go for the people she leads.
There’s so much going on politically in this story. There are so many pieces in play at this point that it’s hard to even explain so I’m not going to. The politics were interesting and complex and had me completely involved in the story. I felt for these people we saw suffering. I wanted to help them just as much as Paige did. I think this world is so incredibly well-built and I loved seeing more of it. We did a fair bit of traveling to places outside of London and I thought it was so interesting to see how other places had been affected.
Finally, the Warden. The slowest slow burn I’ve ever seen. I can’t even handle it. I just want them to get together already. I’m a suck for forbidden romance. I’m really intrigued to see where this relationship is going to go and how things will end up. They are already irrevocably connected and I love it. I loved their few moments where they allowed themselves to show their feelings, but I wanted more. I want them to be together forever already. I don’t want slow burn anymore.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The politics are getting serious. Paige is proving what kind of leader she is. Things are really getting thrilling. With that ending I’m dying to know where the next book is going to go. I hate that I have to wait until next year to find out.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
Review:
I am currently experiencing ALL THE FEELS. Queen of Shadows might actually be my favorite out of all of these books because there’s just so much love within the pages. I don’t know how Maas does it, usually the sequels are okay or alright, but the further this series goes the better it gets.
Queen of Shadows was full of drama and friendships and forgiveness and I loved every page. There were so many new characters that made new friends and mended fences with old friends or enemies. The character development was excellent so was the storyline and the pace of the story. We get to see so many of the things we learned about in the first three books finally come together. The start of the many different pieces falling into place.
I loved getting to learn and explore more of this world. We learn more about the traditions of Terrasan. I liked learning more about the world that Aelin was meant to rule.

“Stones were eternal–flowers were not.”

The characters were absolutely my favorite part. I love seeing Aelin really develop into a leader and the Queen she is meant to be. I love seeing her mend fences with others she previously swore to kill. I definitely died a little seeing her reunite with Aedion. She’s grown so much in the last few books and I don’t even want to be writing this I just want to read the next book.

“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”

Rowan, sigh. I just really adore him. That’s all.

“You make me want to live, too, Aelin Galathynius,” he said. “Not exist–but live.”

Chaol really comes a long way. He forgives Aelin for a lot of things. He tries not to hold the whole world on his shoulders like he always did in the past. (He mostly fails, but he tries.) I like seeing his relationship with another rebel grow despite his subconscious attempts to sabotage it.

“Let’s go rattle the stars.”

Oh, Dorian. Dorian’s chapters were honestly so hard for me to read. Poor poor Dorian. I don’t want to say too much, but he really gets the shit end of all of the sticks.

“They were infinite. They were the beginning and the ending; they were eternity.”

Kaltain is another that didn’t deserve what she got. But she proved that she was stronger than anyone knew. She bided her time before ruining lives and taking her own revenge. I loved her, even though I wish her story ended differently.

“She’s forgotten the name she’s been given, but it made no difference. She had only one name now: Death, devourer of worlds.”

Manon is the one that has the most growth. She’s growing and maybe even has a heart. I love reading her chapters because she really has changed so much and I’m so proud of her. I think some of my favorite parts of this book were seeing her interact with the other characters, especially Dorian. Any time she and Aelin met there was chaos and excitement and I loved it so much.

“I loved her in a way I cannot describe–other than to tell you it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever felt, greater than rage, than lust, than magic.”

Elide was another new character that I really just adored. She was broken and seemingly frail but proved in every page that she was exactly the opposite. She was strong and brave and willing to do whatever it took to gain her freedom and returned to her queen.

“Blue,” she whispered. “My blood runs blue.”

Lysandra yaaaas. She’s fierce and sassy and loyal and all the good things. She’s such a good friend. She proves herself over and over again. I loved her attitude and bravery and I can’t believe I’m still writing this and haven’t started the next book yet.

“Please,” Lysandra said, waving a manicured hand, “you and I are nothing but wild beasts wearing human skins. Don’t even try to deny it.”

This has been my favorite book out of all of them, but there are still three more books so, I guess we will see. I’m going to go read the next book and probably die inside now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.
Review:
I believe I mentioned in my review of the first book, City of Bones (read it here!), but I’m doing a reread of the whole series in anticipation of Queen of Air and Darkness being released this December. Who else is as psyched as I am?

“You are mortal; you age; you die,” the Queen said dismissively. “If that is not hell, pray tell me, what is?”

Let’s get down to it. I think because I’m rereading this series so many years after originally reading it my feelings have changed. Along with how popular and discussed these books have become I’ve heard and read so many other viewpoints that I’ve come to look at this series in a different light. I don’t love these books as much as I used to. I see more of the flaws in them. That’s not to say that they’re not still good books, because they are. I still enjoyed the series (so far) for sure.
I really like the twist with Clary’s powers and abilities. I think it’s really interesting. It’s cool because, on top of her being this super cool shadowhunter, she’s also more than that. I think this twist was written into the story well. When it comes to Clary, I still love her. She tries to do the right thing for as many people as she can (most of the time.) Every now and then she throws all sense out the window, but in a way that works. She’s being crazy for good reasons. I honestly thought I was going to find Clary annoying in this reread because it’s been so long since I last read the books but she’s a well-written character that is smart (mostly) and caring and passionate.
Jace however, was a little annoying. He’s headstrong and macho. He’s snarky, and not always in a good way. He always has to be right or have the last word and it got on my nerves a little. I think the attempt was to make him the ‘bad boy’ but it didn’t work. He was just kind of an asshole, even with his tragic backstory of abuse and lies. Though I do like that everyone keeps assuming the worst from him and he proves them wrong every time. So maybe its the facade of bad boy that I don’t like because it’s fake. He shows us that he’s really mostly a good guy.
The rest of the gang adds hilarity and entertainment like usual. The lightwoods will forever be excellent supporting characters. I love how kickass Isabelle is. She’s funny and snarky and sassy in all the best ways.

“Isabelle shrugged philosophically. “I’m pure at heart. It repels the dirt.””

I love seeing Alec develop more and more. He starts to come out of his shell in this book. Taking more risks and being more open about who he really is. The same goes for Simon. I’m enjoying seeing him develop and grow and I’m glad the whole Clary/Simon relationship is over. I forgot about that and it was weird. But Simon is finding his place in the craziness that is the shadowhunter world and I like who he’s growing into.
I liked this book well enough. I didn’t love it to pieces but I definitely didn’t hate it either. It was a fun story with good development for most of the characters with of information that helped them grow and a few little tidbits that left the reader saying, hmm I wonder how that will play into the story in the next books. There are also a few excellent quotes (like there is throughout all of Clare’s books.) If you haven’t read this series, I recommend it for sure.

“Maybe it was true what the Seelie Queen had said, after all: “Love made you a liar.””

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Silver Queen by Josie Jaffrey

Summary: The last city on Earth is contaminated. Now blood is the only thing that can wash it clean.

Julia is trapped inside the Blue as the Nobles fight over the few humans who are still alive. When the dust settles and she finds herself shackled to a new master, she knows she must escape or die.

Meanwhile, Cam has gathered a handful of comrades and is on his way into the Red to rescue his queen. But not all of his friends can be trusted, and not all of them will make it back alive.

The Silver Queen is the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign trilogy, set in a dystopian Europe where vampiric Nobles control the last remnants of the human race.

Review: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
This is the second book in the Sovereign series. You can read my review of the first book here.
So I just reread my review of the first book to remind myself of which points I’ve already spoken about so I don’t repeat myself too much but I’ve just confused myself more. My feelings about the second book are practically opposite of what they were from the first; at least as far as the characters are concerned.
Originally I felt more connected with Cam and Felix’s relationship than I did Julia and Lucas’s. However, after the second book that’s been reversed for me. Maybe it’s because I started liking Felix less and less the more I read but I no longer support their relationship.
My favorite part of Julia and Lucas’s relationship is that, after he abandoned her in the Blue, she still loves him but no longer trusts him the same way. She’s learned to be independent and even after they’re reunited she questions their relationship. Not just because of the way he left her but because she realizes they’re different people now.
That being said, the romances are still my least favorite part of these books. They feel a little forced to me and I would’ve liked the story more if they weren’t part of it at all.
I like Julia even more now than I did after the first book. Things have changed. She’s had to learn things about herself and the world the hard way, make tough choices, fend for herself. I really admire the strength of her character after everything she’s been through.
Cam is still one of my favorites (except where Felix is concerned). Even after all this time he still tries to believe the best in people. He’s a soldier but doesn’t really want to be and I think those two aspects of his personality were blended really well. I can’t wait to see how the events of this book affect him in the next one.
Another problem I had was the maturity of the characters. Julia, Claudia, Lucas being immature sometimes I can understand. They’re young and emotional, it makes sense. Cameron and the other immortals being immature though? Many of these characters are close to a thousand years old. I could forgive it once or twice, especially where love is involved because people do stupid things when they’re in love and I don’t believe that gets better with age. That wasn’t the case here though. The immortals made the same kinds of decisions that the teenagers did and that didn’t seem realistic to me at all. It felt like some of their actions were forced to steer the plot in a certain direction and not because it was natural for that particular character.
My absolute favorite part of the book was the world-building. It really feels like a dystopian world. Travel takes weeks or even months because the closest thing to vehicles they have are horses and there aren’t many of them. There is no communication over distances because there’s no internet or mail system and they can’t train birds to send messages because animals have contaminated blood.
Even the different cures and contaminations were well thought out and interesting. (I won’t go into too much detail about that though to avoid spoilers.) I think Jaffrey did an amazing job on the world-building aspect of it and kept really great continuity throughout.
I only wish I could have seen some of what’s happening in other parts of the world. We really only get glimpses into a handful of settlements in what seems to be Europe. I’d love to know what’s happening in America and Africa and to find out how different places might be handling this new world. I can’t really be mad about it though because it would ruin that communication continuity I was just talking about.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I had a few problems with the characters but the plot and world-building more than made up for it. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA, dystopian, and paranormal. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve. Either you’re his true love…or you killed him.”
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them-until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, and he’s a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven  Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Review: I’m going to keep this review pretty short because I just finished The Raven Boys despite the relentless crying of my very overtired daughter that is now asleep in my arms as I attempt to type this in my phone.
I liked this book. I liked Stiefvater’s other books too so liking The Raven Boys isn’t a surprise to me. The surprise is that I didn’t like it as much as I thought I was going to. I think I had some pretty high expectations because of the hype surrounding this series (though I’ve heard it gets way better in the next books.) I definitely liked it, but not as much as I thought I was going to.
The characters were my favorite part. The raven boys (as Blue calls them) were a great friend group. With Gansey being the glue that keeps them together, they each bring a very different personality and set of circumstances to the table. I think it’s because they’re all so different and unlikely to be friends that the dynamic works so well.
Blue is also great. She’s a girl that has grown up in a pretty weird household. Never knowing her father, living in a house filled with psychics, you’d think she might even be a little whiney about her circumstances but she isn’t. She accepts what she’s given and (mostly) goes after what she wants. She added yet another different and interesting personality to the group of raven boys.
I have to say, I really loved women that Blue lived with. A house full of psychics makes for some funny times. This was a fun and creative addition to the story for sure. It added a sense of family for Blue, just not in the usual way at all.
As for the plot, I’ve seen many reviews that said the reader didn’t really care about the storyline but I liked it. They found themselves on a quest to wake this mysterious king, except what they really find themselves in is so so much more. They get themselves into something where they really have no idea what’s going on and how dangerous it might be.
The book ended without giving the reader answers about a few things so I’m interested to see where the story goes and to get those answers when I read the next book. I will be continuing this series for sure. I’m excited to hear that it only gets better.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Summary:
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.
Mare Barrow’s blood is red-the color of common folk-but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince-the friend- who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: She is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known-and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
Review:
Glass Sword was a story that kept me trapped within the story until the very last page. There were tears and laughter and all of the other emotions as well. I fell even more in love with the characters in this story.
I reviewed the first book of this series, Red Queen, here. Feel free to see what I thought of the first book and how my feelings for these characters have changed. My favorite part of this second book is the development that Mare Barrow has undergone since the beginning of the series. She is strong and clever and passionate and feisty. She’s grown from a girl who’s decided that her fate is to fight in a war that isn’t hers and will likely die for it. Now she fights for something she really believes is worth fighting for. She’s found herself made into a leader and a symbol of a revolution that’s getting a bit out of control. I like Mare because she’s flawed. She does what she thinks is best, even if it may cause some problems before it proves to be the best choice in the end. There was so much about Mare that I liked. She was betrayed and hurt and it was shown by her actions. She was dealing with horrible events and she didn’t just get over them like too many other books do. There may be a lot going on, she may be starting a revolution but she’s still a bit broken inside and that’s shown. She’s finding that there’s a darkness alive inside of her.

“The girl I see is both familiar and foreign, Mare, Mareena, the lightning girl, the Red Queen, and no one at all. She does not look afraid. She looks carved of stone, with severe features, hair braided tight to her head, and a tangle of scars on her neck. She is not seventeen, but ageless, Silver but not, Red but not, human-but not. A banner of the Scarlet Guard, a face on a wanted poster, a prince’s downfall, a thief…a killer. A doll who can take any form but her own.”

I liked Cal in the first book but I like him even more in Glass Sword. He’s just lost everything he’d ever thought he had. He’s just trying to figure out who he is now that he’s lost his family and his crown. He still manages to do his best to help even though he’s not sure if he’s ready to fight for a cause that’s fighting his brother and the only life he’s ever known. I really enjoyed seeing the crown prince try to figure out who he is now and what his next step is supposed to be.

“His bright flame has grown dark indeed.”

These two characters had the most significant development and I loved watching them grow. There were so so many new supporting characters introduced. The variety of abilities and personalities all together was an interesting addition to the story but I feel like it didn’t really allow for much development of these supporting characters. There was just too many. I have a feeling we will get some more in the next book, but who knows.
This story is fast paced and exciting. There is so much action and adventure I couldn’t put it down. We get to see and explore more of the world. I’m excited to continue on with this series and dive into the next book! There was darkness within this book. Characters doing and feeling things they didn’t know they were capable of feeling or doing. It was a dynamic that kept me interested in the story for sure.

“Lightning has no mercy.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Summary: When kingdom come, there will be one.
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

Review: I have very mixed feelings about this book. Overall I enjoyed reading it, but I had a few problems that kept me from loving it.
One of my main concerns before starting the book was how Blake would be able to make triplet queens who have to kill each other for the throne while also making them likable. I could never imagine harming my sisters so the idea seemed ridiculous to me, though it makes more sense when you find out the queens are separated as small children.
I found that it did make me like them less. Mirabella at least struggles with the thought of killing her sisters because she has memories of them as children (the others do not). Her fight between what she’s been taught her whole life and how she feels seemed more realistic to me. However, she still kills an innocent girl as a sacrifice to the goddess.
Katherine seemed sweet at the beginning but she’s killed many people and is the most willing to kill her sisters. She’s the only one by the end of the book to actively make an attempt to kill one of the others.
Arsinoe is my favorite of the three. She’s the most down to earth because of how she was raised; not like a future queen but more like the way children should be raised. She has actual friends and free reign of the village while her sisters have basically been locked up their entire lives. Unfortunately, her only real qualm about having to kill her sisters is that she’s the one most likely to die because she’s ungifted, not because murder is wrong.
Which is my main problem with this society. Literally no one thinks that a succession based on children murdering each other is wrong. People constantly look at the queens sadly because it’s just so tragic but no one ever says outright “Hey, this is wrong and we need to change”.
My other issue with this society is how the succession works. The last queen standing becomes ruler of Fennbirn; until she gives birth. So if they’re sixteen when they ascend the throne they rule for maybe about ten years since women had children at much younger ages in societies like these. Then once she’s given birth to the next queens, she immediately steps down as queen and leaves Fennbirn forever. Until the queens come of age at sixteen and start killing each other, the council rules and the council is generally made up of whichever people supported the last queen. So, since poisoner queens have sat on the throne for a few generations, this society has been ruled entirely by poisoners the entire time. Though it’s mentioned at the beginning that people with the poisoner gift can also heal, none of the poisoners are shown with any redeeming qualities. They’re only ever portrayed as ruthless murderers.
So generally, this council rules longer than the queens do and it only ever changes after three teenage sisters viciously murder each other. My main thought for the entirety of this book was that this society could not be sustainable.
I liked most of the other characters though some were a little two-dimensional. I liked Joseph particularly until he does something that seemed vastly out of character to me and for the rest of the book I found him extremely annoying.
Jules and Camden were amazing; I’d read a book just about them.
The story was a little slow, the only thing that kept it from dragging for me was that the POV changes happened pretty quickly so it felt like it was moving faster than it was. However, all the POV’s made it so that I didn’t get to know the characters as well as I’d like to.
The plot was certainly unique. There were several twists (especially the one at the end) that made me like the story more and more. Despite the problems I had, I’m definitely invested enough to read the next book and am extremely curious as to where the plot could possibly go next.
I’d recommend this to anyone who likes YA fantasy, especially those who enjoy darker themes. Thanks for reading.
-Antonia