Water’s Wrath Book Review

waterswrathTitle: Water’s Wrath
Series: Air Awakens #4
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 350
Format: Purchased eBook

Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.

The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.

As this is a sequel, there will most likely be spoilers.

Okay, I’m not going to lie: I can’t remember the beginning of the book. In my defense, I started reading this back in April and I just finished now in December, so… Yeah. I mean, I remember bits and pieces, but not everything.

Anyway, from what I do remember, I was very impressed with Vhalla’s character without Aldrick always by her side. We got to see how strong she was without him and how far she’s come since she was the shy library apprentice a year ago. She definitely showed that she is strong in mind and magic without him, but despite that there was still that aching longing for Aldrik that never went away (for either of them for the other). She showed that she had a lot of knowledge and she didn’t have to rely on her magic all the time, or Aldrik all the time, to make decisions and get things done. I think that’s one of the things I enjoyed most about her in this book.

Aldrik was a very distant character in this book in the beginning, but as the book continued and more went down (so many feels, omg), he became much more open and more raw with Vhalla than we’ve seen him, which was unusual for him. I did, however, think that that vulnerability was healthy to see. Although I do think that his emotions often clouded his judgement in some instances, he was still the Fire Lord we’ve come to know.

We got more of Fritz and Jax in this novel and oh man, Jax just makes me smile. He’s so full of himself and so charming that it’s funny, and I love how Fritz reacts when they’re around his sisters and Jax keeps flirting with them. Too good. I liked that there was humor sprinkled in because there was a lot of sadness and hard times going on that it was nice to have that bit of humor. I also think that the friendship between Fritz and Vhalla really shone in this book and I was really thankful that Vhalla had such a close friend.

So there were several major plot points that happened in this book that CRUSHED ME. I won’t mention either because of major spoilers, but just know that I am 1) heartbroken that both happened, and 2) and I’m being hopeful that things will happen in the last book that will remedy at least one of them. P.S. One of said major plot points did actually have me shedding actual tears and Ican’tevenwhydidithappen.

Also, I knew that Victor couldn’t be trusted but DAMN. I wasn’t expecting him to go to such an extreme and to learn more about his past a little with Aldrik and just… wow. So much happened toward the end that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it.

This book hasn’t been my favorite of the series and I think it’s because of the feeling I get when Vhalla didn’t really… react to the major plot points. I mean, she did with one really well, but the other? Not so much. And then there were just a few things I found very convenient and just… I don’t know, I’m having a hard time placing my finger on it. But I did enjoy the book, don’t get me wrong. I just think the focus was kind of all over the place and not super centralized.

Overall, I did enjoy the book (what I remember of it, haha…ha…), and I’m anticipating the last book. I can’t wait to see how it’s all wrapped up and how the conclusion unfurls in this beautiful fantasy series.

I rated this book 4/5 stars.

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Scarlet Book Review

scarletTitle: Scarlet
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Retellings
Pages: 452
Format: Purchased Paperback

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison—even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does—in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

As this is a sequel there may be spoilers.

Guys. This sequel. I was so enthralled with reading it, needing to turn the page to know what happened next, that I read it in under 12 hours. That’s right: I read it in one sitting. ME. A SLOW READER. HOW. I don’t know. But anyway, that’s not the point of this review. The point of this review is to inform you: I enjoyed this more than Cinder.

When I read the first book of the saga last year I didn’t get the hype. I don’t know what it was, but I ended up putting off this sequel for a long time as a result. And now I regret not picking it up sooner because this sequel was one that drew me in, kept me on the edge of my seat, made me laugh, go “WHAT THE HELL,” and so much more.

I knew that the fairytale retelling element in this book was all about Little Red Riding Hood. I wasn’t sure how the elements of the story were going to be incorporated into this world, but I think Marissa Meyer did a really great job of showing the elements without outright saying what it was! Scarlet (other than her name) had a favorite red hoodie that her Grandmother had given her, and then there was Wolf who had a lot of surprises and secrets of his own. I also loved seeing Cinder in there (she grew on me in this book) and seeing her work at being a mechanic and use her sass and wits in many situations. She wasn’t perfect, which I appreciated. And THORNE. I LOVE HIM.

So let’s talk about some of the things that happened, yeah?

When the book started out with Scarlet in an alleyway delivering produce from her Granny’s farm – and the fact that her Grandmother had been missing – was an instant hook for me. Scarlet had a fierce love and loyalty to her grandmother that I thought was so unseen in many YA novels, so I highly appreciated it. Scarlet has a temper which she tries to control, but sometimes it slips through her fingers and she unleashes her anger on the inanimate things around her (or people, depending on the situation). I thought it was endearing. Scarlet’s resolve to find her grandmother was inspiring, honestly. Her fierce determination was a constant in this book, even when she faced betrayal and imprisonment.

Wolf was a mystery from the start. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but something in me knew that something was going to happen for him to betray Scarlet. He wasn’t anything like the “Big Bad Wolf” that I was expecting – you know, strong, distant, cold, fearless. No, he was much more timid and wary, super cautious. But he was definitely strong, that’s for sure. When circumstances unfolded and it was revealed who and what he was, I was a) shocked, and b) in disbelief. There were so many questions running through my mind and I didn’t know how to place them.

Also, I’m forever shipping Scarlet and Wolf because they’re EFFING ADORABLE, OKAY?

Anywho, then we have Cinder who I don’t remember if I was impressed with or not in the last novel. But in this novel I felt much more attached to her, like what she was fighting for, what she was struggling with and what she wanted to do not only for herself, but for others, was purposeful and I wanted to see her achieve. I loved her sarcasm and wit, and I also liked the fact that she doesn’t have complete control over her powers, that they’re so underused that she doesn’t completely understand how to use them. And that she feels guilty when she does use them. I find that makes her realer than I was expecting. I also just love the mechanic aspect of hers because a) I love female mechanics in stories, and b) I find those scenes extremely fascinating given that she’s a cyborg and can use her own body to do so many things. It’s so cool!

And then we have Captain Carswell Thorne. I love him. That is all.

No, but seriously, he was so hilarious and charming, but he was also strong and smart in his own ways, even if he did act dumb a lot of the time. Does that make sense? Either way, I thought Thorne was kind of like the much needed comedy relief in this story? He had his uses, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of what came out of his mouth was really funny. I highly appreciated him and need more of him, thanks.

Kai was struggling so much in this novel and it makes me wonder what’s going to go down in the next two books now that he’s made a decision about something huge. I’m glad to see that he still cares about Cinder despite everything that happened and despite how much he tries to deny it, even to himself. I think that his role will become greater AND I have a theory about one of his advisors. Hmm.

I was surprised to see a chapter from Queen Levana’s point of view! It was interesting to see how observatory she is and how her mind works, even in that little snippet. I’m interested to see if we’ll see more from her point of view in the next books.

The plot of the book was centrally geared around Scarlet saving her grandmother and Cinder finding Scarlet’s mother for answers. It was fast paced and definitely upped the ante of the book. I thought that the plot of the book and the dangers within them were definitely heightened given that Cinder is now a fugitive, and that the story itself was well done. I did have some questions, though, at some points where I was like, “But why are you doing that?” that had me unsure of what I wanted to rate this. Also how things took place in only a matter of days and a few certain romantic things happened (which I’m totally fine with and was glad that even the characters acknowledged the short time span of things).

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

Siege & Storm Book Review

siegeandstormTitle: Siege & Storm
Series: Shadow & Bone #2
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry, Holt, & Co.
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: Purchased Paperback

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

As this is a sequel there may be spoilers.

This was a solid sequel filled with so much action, character development, romance, snarky responses, hope, creepiness, and darkness.

I wasn’t expecting a lot of the twists and turns that happened at the beginning of the book, as well as at the ending. I thought that the way the plot progressed I would’ve been able to see more foreshadowing, but a lot of it was a surprise to me, which I enjoyed. I thought that the action sequence at the beginning with the Darkling and Alina, Mal, and Sturmhond’s crew were all very tense, but at the same time curious because there was something about what was happening that had me questioning the motives of several people. Then it progressed into an escape, political calculations, angst, and more unhappy darkness in the end. Honestly, I enjoyed this book more than the first.

Alina, I felt, is starting to really grow more as a character and she’s really trying her best to hone her skills as the Sun Summoner, to not let her powers or her amplifiers control her. I find it interesting how she has those glimpses of darkness within her and only at the end does she realize that it’s because part of the Darkling became a part of her when he claimed her with Morozova’s stag antlers. I wished she had spoken her mind more, had made more mistakes, more slips when in the political settings because I felt she was becoming a very bland person in those situations. And outside of those situations, she still didn’t seem to know what to do, but I think she just had a better understanding of where she belonged in that moment.

Mal was kind of a little overprotective in this book, in my opinion, but I could understand and see where he was coming from in those situations. He was frustrated at the situations, frustrated that he doesn’t understand Alina and what she desires, but also he feels trapped like an animal. I have a feeling about him that maybe he has hidden Grisha powers (no spoilers, please!), but I’m not entirely sure. I didn’t appreciate when he pulled himself so far away from Alina and just went in a small downward spiral. He had a lot of control up to that point, and I understand that their relationship got complicated, but I don’t know why he didn’t try to talk it out with her (and vice versa).

Can we just talk about Nikolai because he’s my new favorite and I need him in my life and I’m adding him to my Book Boyfriend List. He has many masks that he wears, different personas for different moments of time, so you never really know if he’s being sincere or not, but every time he’d joke or say something snarky I couldn’t help but laugh aloud. I personally much preferred seeing him as a Privateer, but as a Prince he was also very much in control of the situations around him and I think that was definitely a strong point for him. I just need more of him, that’s all.

The Darkling… Oh man, he got all kinds of dark and creepy in this book. New powers unfolded from him and his obsession with Alina and power just keeps growing. I can’t tell if he actually cares for her or just wants her power, but dang. He’s kind of scary. There actually wasn’t as much of him in this novel as the last one, which was fine, but it does make me wonder just what he was doing to prepare himself for when he’d return for Alina.

The romance in this book was much more apparent and actually I wished it had developed a different way, but that’s only because I was upset that years of friendship and trust could be so easily broken because of misplaced words and hurt feelings and egos. But the small bits of it that were in there were well placed and I think that we’ll see a bit more in the next book.

The action sequences and the descriptions of the creatures in the book were amazing. I think these were some of the strongest points of the novel because they were all very vivid and fast paced. I loved thinking up the world in my mind, about Sturmhond’s flying ship, about the lands and everything in between. I think that there’s some sort of dark secret behind the creatures that live in the Fold and I hope to learn more about it in the final book.

I definitely enjoyed this book more than the first and I feel that the plot is only going to thicken more now that Alina and the others are in the situation that they’re in now.

I rated this book 4/5 stars and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the first book in this trilogy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

tttsept27

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is all about the books that we want to read this fall. Now, let’s be real: I probably won’t read all of these books this fall. If my pattern of not reading continues, I might be lucky if I finish one or two of these, BUT I’m going to try my best and read what I can. So here are the books I’m looking forward to reading this fall:

1 . The Goal by Elle Kennedy – Book #4 in the Off Campus series is out NOW and if I haven’t already started this by the time this post is up, then I need to slap myself because DAMN I AM HOOKED ON THIS SERIES. I’m also pretty sure this is the last book in the series, which makes me sad, but as my first foray into New Adult: I approve.

2. Water’s Wrath by Elise Kova – I have been reading this since it pretty much came out and I just keep PUTTING IT DOWN because new books come out and my interests change and then I’ve been in a rut AND I NEED TO FINISH IT. I love this series so much, and I need to know what happens next. Speaking of which….

3. Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova – This is the last book in the series and I obviously can’t read this one until I read the one before it (see above). I’ve heard good things about the ending and so I really just want to see what happens and how everything comes together.

4. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West – I started reading this before my husband and I moved and I just put it down and haven’t picked it back up, but it’s SO cute so far and I’m really enjoying it, so I just need to finish it. I’m pretty sure I’d finish quick, too, because it reads really fast.

5. Style by Chelsea M. Cameron – This F/F story also reads fast and I like that the two voices of the two main characters are both different! I don’t think I’ve ever read a lesbian love story in novel form before (manga, yes), and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far, just, again, I pick things up and put them down.

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – Honestly, this TBR is just the books I’m ASHAMED of having started and NOT having finished. Like, seriously, what is wrong with me? I’m pretty sure I started this book two years ago, so I just need to finish already. And it’s not like I’m not enjoying it, because I am! I think the size is just intimidating me.

7. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson – The third and final installment of another favorite trilogy of mine and I still haven’t finished it!? Ugh. I actually barely got through it because, like last year, I just wasn’t feeling it at the time I was reading it. It’s not that I don’t want to read it and see how everything comes to a close, I just wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time.

8. A Torch Agains the Night by Sabaa Tahir – I’m very excited and happy to read this sequel because they told us we weren’t getting one last year, but the reader hype was so real and now? WE HAVE THAT SEQUEL. I am very excited to see what happens next as I haven’t been spoiled by anything anywhere yet (yay!), so I hope to start this sooner rather than later.

9. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews – I really enjoy this adult urban fantasy series a lot, and this is the fifth book, but I haven’t gotten super far in it. I do want to read it, though, because this series is ongoing and on it’s eighth book, so I need to catch up. (Plus one spin off book that I’ll be reading after this one…)

10. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs – Another adult urban fantasy book that I’m interested in but I just need to finish reading. I started it but didn’t get far because, again, I just wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time. But so far it’s interesting, just a little info dumpy, but I think that kind of happens with the first books in adult urban fantasies, as far as I’ve noticed.

So there you have it, my list of SHAME. Honestly, I just want to finish these books so I stop feeling guilty that I haven’t yet. And also because I HAVE BEEN enjoying them, I just… you know.. stopped reading them.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What top three books are on your TBR for fall? Do you have a long list of SHAME books like me, or are you more hopeful for recent releases? Tell me all the things!

Empire of Storms Book Review

empireofstormsTitle: Empire of Storms
Series: Book #5 in Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 689
Format: Purchased Hardcover

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

As this is the fifth book, there will most likely be spoilers in this review.

When I first started this book, I knew it was going to be intense. I just wasn’t expecting it to be as intense as it was.

There was so much going on, so much that happened, and my mind was reeling after reading it, trying to comprehend everything that happened, everything that is to come, and so much more. And to be quite frank: I absolutely enjoyed it.

I found that the plot followed a steady stream from where it left off in Queen of Shadows and took a lot more darker turns, a lot more sexual turns, and showed a lot more teamwork, friendship, and hardship. It was one that I found to be full of action – and a lot more devastating action than before. There were heartbreaks and upsets, but there was also hidden joys and bits of happiness that could also be found.

So let’s take a look into the characters, shall we?

Aelin continues to grow stronger in her magic in this book, which I highly appreciate given I wanted more after the last two books from when she really started to hone her skills into the Fire Wielder she is now. Holy crap, she’s powerful, and at times I felt like she was too powerful, but I was also glad to see that even her magic has limits, that even she is susceptible to burnouts, and that she needs to replenish her magic just like all of the others who have magic have to, too. I found Aelin to be more arrogant in this book, even if it was a front sometimes, but I also found her to be more unwilling to share any sort of plans with her comrades. I felt that that was where her downfall was, because then maybe some certain events could have been prevented more, but at the same time, probably not.

Despite having so much arrogance, it’s not that Aelin doesn’t trust her friends with things (she does tell Lysandra some things), but it’s that she feels that if her plans fail that her friends will hate her for it – again, another character flaw, but one that was well done, in my opinion, because her friends got that and understood it (even if they did get a bit mad afterward). She was such a strong, kickass version of herself in this installment, and I need to know what happens to her next because she just got into a lot of shit at the end there. Oh man.

Rowan was ever the protective Fae male warrior who definitely lusted after Aelin a lot, but as those scenes between then grew and grew until they practically burst, I found that I was growing to like it more and more. Even if it was a bit much sometimes. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy what went on between them, but I feel like we lost a bit of the warrior Rowan we saw in Heir of Fire in these last two books. I mean, he still kicks ass and he’s still fierce, and willing to take down a whole arming of ilking if the need arose, but I wanted more of that stern, snarky warrior we once had before.

Manon. Oh, my ever loving heart, Manon. She was phenomenal. She was still cool and calculating, ready to rip peoples’ throats out, but I saw that humanity in her, the one she thought didn’t exist, especially when it came to a brutal decision that was forced upon her and her Thirteen. When she stood up to her grandmother, you bet I was cheering for her. She’s powerful and strong, and cunning, and I love that even though she says she doesn’t need anyone, she really does. I don’t know if she’s truly realized that yet, but she’s definitely a powerful force to be reckoned with and I’m really interested to see how she goes about accepting her bloodline, what will happen next, and if there will be any resolve as a result of it.

ELIDE. FREAKING. LOCHAN. Where the hell were you hiding, girl!? Elide definitely grew on me in the last book, but in this one? Oh, she has my whole heart now, because she just showed so much growth and strength and heart, and I thought that she was just incredible in this book. Not only did she set out on her journey to find Aelin, to do what she could for her queen, but she also showed that she’s not this frail little thing, but she has a fighting spirit. I loved her time spent with Lorcan, strained though it was, and I thought that the two were two sides of the same coin in ways. We got to learn more about her, how she uses her cunning to get through many situations, and that she’s willing to risk a lot for those she cares about. I need more of her in my life. Now.

Speaking of Lorcan, I love him. And yes, I’m totally 100% shipping him and Elide together. Even though he was kind of a jerk at the end and all of that, I want them to be together. He was very hard to crack at the beginning, very serious and hellbent on completing whatever mission he had set out to complete, but as time progressed alongside Elide, I thought that he softened a bit and slowly came to realize that there is more to life than fighting and death and destruction. I think he’ll really try to atone for his mistakes in the next book for sure.

Dorian was so cool in this book (no pun intended). He really got a hold over his magic and I thought that he did really well in learning just what that magic held. He was still kind of a lost puppy at the beginning, but he still proved that he was worth something as the book progressed, and that he was still hurting when a certain scene happened that I feel didn’t really need to happen, but there it was because ohmygodthatsexualtension. Anyway, I thought that Dorian was strong in ways even he didn’t realize, and I really appreciated that.

Aedion and Lysandra just need to get together already. Both of them proved how strong they are in different ways and how far they’re both willing to go for their companions. I found that Aedion was just as protective and hot headed as ever, and that Lysandra was really a cool calm before the storm. They really mixed well and balance each other out nicely, that’s for sure. I love how much potential each of them holds and am anxious to see more of what they’ll have to show in the next book.

As for the rest that happened? Oh, where do I even begin? There was so much more added to the story, and bits and pieces of the story from before we even knew certain characters that was shown and unfurled as the plot progressed. I loved seeing a lot of it and felt that it wasn’t too much or overbearing, but just what the characters needed in that time.

Also, can we talk about Erawan and Maeve? I seriously feel like they’re conspiring together, but both of them are so good at hiding things from everyone around them, I can’t be sure that that’s actually true. And I really don’t like Maeve. At all.

ALSO, all of those characters that came back from the novellas!? I loved that! Seeing Rolfe, Ansel, and the others was just so, so awesome and I hope that they play a bigger role in the next book.

There were just a few things that nagged me and bugged me that happened in the book that is causing this to not be a full five star read for me, and that is the amount of sex scenes in the book. I mean, I’m all for a good sex scene and it being a positive experience for the characters and all that, but I felt like there was just too much of it going on amidst the chaos of the rest of the book. Maybe it was to break up the tension, but maybe it could have been done in different ways. Like, every other character pairing wanted to get into each other’s pants. Chill your hormones.

I’m very interested to see what happens in the last book *insert sobbing here* because there is going to be a LOT of action, a LOT of heartbreak, and I can already feel my heart sobbing in many different ways.

I rate this book 4.75/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’ve read the rest of the series.