The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Summary:
Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears at his potential new school, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this latest installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth – a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this latest book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)Review:
The last line of this book’s summary says it all. The Battle of the Labyrinth was funny as hell and had my heart racing at every turn. I think this was my favorite book in the series so far. We will have to wait and see if the final book in the series can beat it.
I could not put this book down. I read it in two sittings.
Percy was our brave and clever hero, as usual. I grow to love him more and more as I get further into the series. The same goes for Annabeth. Except the dance that these two are playing where they can’t seem to talk about their feelings. That drives me a little crazy. But I love and admire their bravery. They make a really good team and I enjoy reading about their adventures so much.
I completely adore the way Riordan brings mythology into the story. Getting to see Calypso was really interesting to me. As well at Daedalus and his Labyrinth. He has such a talent for bringing the myths into the modern world. His world building probably my favorite thing about this series.
Overall, I still adore the characters. Riordan has a special way of bringing them to life and making you care about them even when they’re being annoying. The world building was phenomenal. The Battle of the Labyrinth was fast paced and absolutely thrilling. I cannot wait to finish this series and see what ends up happening to some of my favorite heroes.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.
Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3)Review:
Queen of Air and Darkness is the finale of The Dark Artifices. This is why I’m just now reading it five months after it was published. I was not ready to torture myself with the things I knew were going to slay me. I was absolutely correct. I somehow read this 900-page beast in three days. I did pretty much nothing but read. I just couldn’t bring myself to stop. I needed to know what was going to happen. This honestly was the whole mood for the book and I think it really says a lot about a book. The Shadowhunter world is one that never fails to do this. The story and the characters suck me in and I enjoy being in the world so much that I just can’t seem to stop until I’m finished with the story.

“You may not yourself be luminous, but you are an extraordinary conductor of light.”

There is so much that happens in Queen of Air and Darkness that it’s impossible for me to talk about each part. All of the characters each find themselves off on their own sort of missions. They all have a part they need to play to prevent a civil war among the Shadowhunters. Or if your Ty to completely ignore everything around you to do something that is the most unwise. Every time I found myself thinking about how the current plotlines were going to weird places they were soon brought back to the rest of the story and the other characters. This is why the book was so big. There were certain parts that I thought maybe this wasn’t really needed and could have been taken out to make it a bit shorter, but after finishing I knew that every piece of the story was needed and made it exactly what it is.

“None of us are okay,” she said. “Maybe that’s part of it. When you’re hurting, it’s sometimes hard to see how other people may be hurting differently or worse.”

I do have to mention that I’d love to live in Cassandra Clare’s brain. The things and ideas that she’s come up for this story were WILD. I cannot wait to see what she’s going to do next with the next (last?) series. I’ve heard it follows Kit and Ty and the fact that there is no release date or even year makes me die a little on the inside.

“We all stumble around in the dark and we cause each other pain and we try to  make up for it the best we can.”

The characters are as loveable as always. I don’t know what it is but I find myself loving the supporting characters more than those that are supposed to be the main focus. In TMI I didn’t care all that much about Jace and Clary, but now when they appear in this series, I freaking adore them. I didn’t love Emma and Julian. As the books went on, I liked them less and less. I adored Emma in the first book and then as they fall in love I just didn’t like them as much. I’m not saying I don’t like them, but I honestly prefer every everyone else.

“Grief can be so bad you can’t breathe, but that’s what it means to be human. We lose, we suffer, but we have to keep breathing.”

I wanted more of Drusilla and Ty and Kit. I still liked them and I was happy with how their story turned out, but I know I’m going to love them more when/if they appear in The Wicked Powers. We get to see so many characters I love from previous books like Magnus and Alec, Simon and Isabelle, Jem and Tessa. I loved every page that these beloved characters appeared.

“You made me understand that love creates far more joy than any pain it causes.”

Overall, Queen of Air and Darkness might be my favorite Shadowhunters book to date. I loved the full cast of characters, new and old. I love the wild adventures they found themselves on. I love the racially and sexually diverse characters that we get to know and love. I cannot think of anything that I did not like about this book other than the fact that it ended. I’m really sad that this story had ended but I’m excited to see what Cassandra Clare is going to come out with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Crime of Magic by Linsey Hall

Summary: To solve this crime, I’ll have to risk it all

Training at the Undercover Protectorate’s Academy is kicking my butt. My sister aced it in a few months—but I’m lagging behind like a three-legged poodle at a greyhound race. I don’t want to have to leave my new home in this amazing castle, so I’ve got to get a grip on my magic. Soon.

When thieves steal valuable dragon magic, it puts our whole castle is put at risk. Worse, our friends are dying. It’s my destiny to hunt the thieves, but my boss doesn’t get that. When she tells me to stand down, I have to listen. And that means our magic keeps weakening, and our friends are closer to death.

Unless I ignore my boss… 

My home and friends are in danger, so I’m going rogue. Fortunately, I’ve got the sexy shifter mage Lachlan Munroe on my side. Together, we’ll race against time to solve this crime of magic.

Crime of Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure starring a kick butt heroine, a powerful hero, and magic that will blow your socks off.

Review: I blew through the second book in Hall’s Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series. All of these books are pretty quick reads but I finished this one even faster than I normally do. It was one of my favorites that I’ve read so far of Hall’s books.
I really enjoyed watching Ana finally start to gain a little control over her magic. In the first book she had so many doubts about herself that it was nice to see her start gaining some confidence. As with the first book, she’s trying to get a handle on her newly developing magic while trying to figure out which pantheon she belongs to. (Ana and her sisters are DragonGods, which means they possess the powers of the gods of whichever pantheon they belong to.) We sort of find out Ana’s pantheon at the very end of the book but I still have a ton of questions about what it actually means.
At first I was a little disappointed because this meant there wasn’t really any mythology in this book and that’s one of the things I love about these series. I ended up being really happy with the alternative though. Instead of mythology, Hall used twisted fairytales. Some were from old, lesser-known versions and some she simply put her own twist on but they were all really interesting and fun.
I still don’t know what I think about Lachlan. We don’t know too much about him yet which I hope is remedied in the next books. I like the stuff that I do know about him but, personally, I need more from the male MC. The romantic tension between Ana and Lachlan was done pretty well; enough small details inserted into scenes to show it’s something continually on their minds but not so much that it becomes overbearing and ridiculous.
Overall I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes these characters. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal and urban fantasy though I suggest starting with the first Dragon’s Gift series. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and thanks for visiting our blog!
-Antonia

*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!

Institute of Magic by Linsey Hall

Summary: Where winning means survival.

According to legend, I’m supposed to be some kind of all-powerful DragonGod—gifted with the magic of gods. Instead, I’m a dud. In fact, I’m currently failing out of the Undercover Protectorate’s magical institute.

It’s the supernatural version of Scotland Yard, and I’ve got one chance left to earn my place here. To do so, I have to compete in a deadly race across the world. In order to win, I need to survive. And I’ll need the help of a sexy and powerful shifter mage named Lachlan Munroe.

When we figure out that the race is rigged, Lachlan and I must rely on each other to make it through. But will I be able to learn enough magic to save my life?

Institute of Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure starring a kick butt heroine, a powerful hero, and magic that will blow your socks off.

Review: This is the first book in Hall’s Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series. It’s the fifth series she’s written connected by the same magical world and characters. This one follows Ana Blackwood as she tries to master her magical powers and save the world at the same time. I’ve been really excited for this series to come out because I’ve always loved Ana from the previous series.
First, I was a little thrown off by the misleading book summary. (Don’t you hate when that happens?) Mainly the bit about the “deadly race across the world”. When dangerous magic is stolen, the Undercover Protectorate is called on to help retrieve it. Everyone splits up into small groups and spread out to try to find clues and there’s also reward money for whoever actually retrieves the spell but they’re still essentially working together. As soon as someone finds a clue they let everyone else know and they all team up for the big fight. There’s certainly a lot of obstacles but nothing’s actually rigged. No, it’s not actually a problem. The description just had me expecting something like The Amazing Race and it was nothing like that.
I liked Ana as much as ever. Now that I got to see things from her POV, I hated seeing all the doubts she had as she struggled to fit everyone’s expectations of her. Her sister, Bree, has already come into her DragonGod powers; she basically has most of the powers of the Norse gods. Everyone’s waiting for Ana’s powers to expand too and find out which pantheon she belongs to but it’s happening a lot slower for her than it did her sister and she kept comparing herself to Bree and feeling like she was failing. I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next books and hope she gains more confidence in herself.
Lachlan is still a bit of a mystery to me. He’s crazy powerful but we’ve only seen a handful of the twelve powers he possesses. I also really like the way he and Ana interact with each other. I’m excited to see where their romance goes. I just didn’t get to find out too much about him yet so I’m reserving some of my judgement but I think I’m really going to like him.
Overall this was a really fun story. It followed the same basic setup as her other books but there’s enough differences between the characters and the details of the plot that I never feel like I’m reading the same story over and over. It’s a really quick, enjoyable read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes paranormal or urban fantasy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.
-Antonia

*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!

Dragon’s Gift: The Valkyrie by Linsey Hall

Summary: From Book 1: I’ve got two choices. Join the Undercover Protectorate. Or die.

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In a world of controlled magic, I’m an Unknown. Deadly power, little control. I’m only alive because I pay a Blood Sorcerer to keep me hidden. But when he comes to collect on the debt I can’t pay, one of his goons slams me with a deadly curse. Suddenly, I’m out of options and out of time.

When I’m given a rare chance to join the elite Undercover Protectorate and train at their academy to become an investigator, I have a way to hunt the cure for the curse. They have resources I don’t. Easy, since I’m broke.

Seems like a good plan, right? At least, until they tell me Cade will be joining me on my hunt for the Blood Sorcerer. He’s an actual Celtic war god–and the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. The catch? I can’t let him know that I’m an Unknown, or I’m out on my ass and deader than Hades.

Undercover Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy with a kick-butt heroine, a tough hero, and magic that will knock your socks off.

Review:
Amanda got me into Linsey Hall’s books on Kindle and I’m so glad she did. This is the fourth Dragon’s Gift series, each consisting of five books. It sounds like a lot but they’re very quick reads; I could read one in a day. Each series follows a different women as she tries to master her magic and defeat the evil she’s tasked with getting rid of.
Let’s start with the basics. I really enjoyed these books. They’re quick, funny, suspenseful and have some kickass heroines. I also really liked the world Hall created. It’s mostly based on our world but with a magical twist. Magical creatures of all kinds exist in secret; hiding among us or in hidden magical cities. This allowed Hall to do all sorts of fun stuff with history and myth. (Fun fact: Since Hall was an archeologist before she started writing, her books have a lot of historical accuracy and she includes a section at the end of the books where she explains the different connections to history and what she may have changed for creative reasons.)
Let’s start with Bree. I LOVED her and her sister Ana when they appeared in a previous series. They’ve basically been hiding on the outskirts of society their entire lives and because of this they’re a little awkward, a little crazy and completely badass. Ever since their older sister Rowan disappeared five years ago, they’ve been trying to keep it together while spending all their resources to find her. Unfortunately the series starts with them being deeply in debt to a bad guy because of it. Cue the Undercover Protectorate; a secret, magical organization that fights for the little guy and protects the world from magical threats. They find the girls to recruit them and end up helping them with all the problems that keep popping up in their lives, including finding Rowan.
Bree is awesome. She’s a fighter through and through, proven by the fact her fear response is to dive head first into everything. She works on this impulse control throughout the series which actually proves to be a VERY good thing during an especially surprising plot twist. She also starts to get past her (understandable) trust issues until she’s able to make a home with people she cares about. Bree had some really amazing character development.
Now I’ll talk about Cade, Bree’s love interest. Very swoonworthy. He’s an earth walking god; basically a mortal who inherits godly powers. At first I was a little annoyed. One thing I noticed throughout all the series was that we got these really powerful women who suddenly meet the one man who’s more powerful than them… I’m sorry, why can’t the women be more powerful and not have it be an issue? The one saving grace was that most of them either gain powers or come into their own more strongly until they’re at least level with the male MC. Once that started to happen, I liked Cade a lot more. He has his own trust issues and together he and Bree help each other to start working through them. He’s a tough guy and wants to protect Bree but understands that she’s her own person and has to fight her own battles. While he certainly saves her a few times, he never tries to stop her from going into danger which I thought was a refreshing change from what you frequently see in male MC’s.
Overall I loved this series. I really enjoyed all the mythology throughout it. Mostly Norse since that’s where Bree gets her powers but you get bits from several other pantheons as well. I’d recommend this series to anyone who likes mythology, urban fantasy, or the paranormal. I suggest starting with the first Dragon’s Gift series. You don’t have to read them in order but there’s enough crossover that some of it will definitely make more sense if you do.
As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
-Antonia