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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes – Series Review/Recap/Overlook

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Bear with me, this review/recap/overlook will include spoilers and my own personal opinions of the events that take place in the books Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness, Frozen Tides, and Crystal Storm. If any of these are spoiled for you in the upcoming post, it is now your own fault, for I have given you this warning. I, in no way, own Falling Kingdoms or the characters in it.

Clearly, this being about the first 5 books in a rather long, tasking series, this will be a super long post. I will try my hardest to keep spoilers at the minimum, despite my prior warning, and I will do my best to keep this in sections. I will talk about the character evolution, the relationship evolution, and the plot evolution. As a reminder, these are my opinions and I don’t mean to offend anyone.

Evolution of Characters

Princess Cleiona Aurora (Cleo) Bellos of Auranos: It’s safe to say that Cleo is one of my favourite characters. Her transition from book one Cleo to book 5 Cleo is amazing and truly inspiring. She’s forced to become this strong, deceitful person so quickly, you can’t help but fall in love with her. In the first book, she is so happy-go-lucky and loose, she hates the Limerians by the end of book one, understandable. By the end of book five, though, she’s in love with her worst enemy. Strong, proud, and willing to do anything to get her throne back. All the loss she has endured, it’s only fair that something should finally go her way.

Prince Magnus Lukas Damora of Limeros: Magnus, like all the main characters, also went through a great transition. It’s obvious in the first book how closed off and cold he is toward everyone, which is no surprise given his parents. The only light being Lucia in his life for so long. The end of book five was so incredibly heartbreaking for me, reading what happens to him (shan’t spoil). After being with Cleo through so much, he finally opens up and when he does, it just turns on him. I just feel so bad for him. And I love him. So much.

Princess Lucia Eva Damora of Limeros: Being almost the sole hope for so many people must be a struggle in itself, but when everyone is fighting over the same power, it must be so much harder. I’m not saying that Lucia’s loss of Alexius is anything to excuse the destruction she caused after the fact, but I feel like she should be cut some slack at the very least. It’s possible, I think, for Lucia to redeem herself in the last book, having finally seen through the thick fog that blinded her for so long.

Jonas Agallon: Regardless of what I’ve read about Jonas, I find he has very few layers to his character. Simple peasant boy turned rebel. In ways it’s so predictable, it should be expected. But as a rebel leader, Jonas fails in so many ways, seeing as his plans seem to almost never work and even when they do they result in a great loss of life. I understand his rage against losing his brother, but in his quest for revenge, he basically left his family behind and almost single handedly caused the Auranian battle in book one.

Felix Gaebras: King’s assassin turned rebel. Somehow trained by some of the world’s hardest people, yet manages to get in the clutches of Princess Amara and imprisoned. I’m not going to say that Felix’s actions earned him his current position, but Felix’s actions earned him is current position.

Nicolo (Nic) Cassian: I’ve loved Nic since book one. His banter with Magnus (whom he needs to make friendship with) alone is great, but his friendship with Cleo is the most pure thing ever and they deserve to be friends forever. He’s just so sassy despite losing his sister and he’s so strong and independent, I just love it! P.S. Nic, please be okay.

Princess (Empress??) Amara Cortas of Kraeshia: Power hungry. To the very core, power hungry. I hope she gets what she deserves in the long run.

Relationships

Magnus/Cleo (Magneo): Nothing in this world or the next could possibly convince me that they don’t 100% belong together. They are passion and love and if they ruled together, they could become the most powerful couple, I’m convinced.

Jonas/Cleo: Dead end romance? Seemed like they had something going on that just kinda died off.

Lucia/Magnus: Started out super gross, but ended out being okay. I don’t ship it, but I do want them to make up and be close again. It’s the least that Magnus deserves.

Magnus/King Gaius: Super intense. Every scene with them is a show-down and I have to slow down to take in every minute. When Magnus finally stood up to him, I practically cried. Yet Gaius continues to intervene with Magnus’s life, as if anything he does could fix their relationship.

Nic/Cleo: Worlds strongest/best friendship

Ashur/Nic: I want them to be happy. Let them be happy *looks hopefully at Morgan Rhodes*

Lysandra/Jonas: I’m actually convinced that they would never have worked out. Jonas was so in love with Cleo and then suddenly he’s in love with Lys? SPOILER Right after she died?! I just don’t believe it.

SERIES AS A WHOLE

To get across just how much I love this series, keep in mind that in order to properly do this post, I reread all five books and book marked pages I thought were important. And after I finished book five like yesterday, I wanted to start all over again. This series is so beautiful and I can’t believe I called it a Game of Thrones wannabe the first time I read book one. I am so happy I decided to keep reading, it really shows that you should never judge a series by the first book. I will actually cry very real tears when I finish the last book, but until then I’ll just reread the series until my books fall apart.

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Traveler by L.E. DeLano – Review

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Title: Traveler
Author: L.E. DeLano
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Fair warning: may be spoilers

So, I put off this review for a while solely because I’m not entirely sure what to say about it without being repetitive of the review I wrote a while back. Of course, this book is the final copy, therefore different, but for the most part, it’s the same.

It is no secret that I absolutely love this book and that it’s one of my (if not my all-time) favourite books and has been since I first read it on Swoonreads.com. The way DeLano writes is like I’m actually in the pages of the book. From page one through the last page, you are having adventures with Jessa and Finn. With this writing, you are a Traveler. And I think that’s all a book lover really wants. To have the adventure of a lifetime. So, when you read a book that gives you the sense of that adventure, what more could you ask for? Besides a book 2, of course.

I could read this book a dozen, a thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, a million times and I will fall in love with it every time. I could read this book until it falls apart in my hands, turns to dust, and I have it memorized and I would still fall in love with it. In a day and age where supposedly there are ‘no unique story ideas’, L.E. DeLano sure did find a way.

Now that I have my swooning (see what I did there?) out of the way, let’s get down to some points and characters.

Let’s start with Jessa; creative, clever, caring (especially when it comes to family), and down to earth. In the beginning, Jessa comes off as the normal day-to-day teenager; school, work, home, repeat, but Jessa is a writer. Her dreams are so vivid that she can take those and put them on a page like no other. That is, until she meets a guy from her dreams. After some coaxing, Jessa finally gets the truth behind her vivid dreams. She is a Traveler, a person who can travel between the different realities using reflective objects. But all is not as it seems as Jessa learns that being a Traveler isn’t all it’s made out to be. Some of her “other lives” don’t have it as well as she does, not to mention she’s being hunted in every reality.

Finn. The thing that I just can’t get over about this book is that you can have one character, but actually have him be like a hundred different characters at the same time. But he’s still always the same character. It might be a little confusing when you look at it that way, but trust me, it makes sense. I can’t say much about Finn without giving away some things, but just a warning, this character will make you cry at every turn.

Another thing about DeLano that just blows me away is that she must have had to come up with dozens of back stories and lives for every reality, because they are literally so detailed and insightful, it’s almost hard to believe. I could spend weeks just reading about all the different realities and how they differ from the one we’re in.

There’s just so much about this book that I love that if I went over everything I want to, this would win an award for world’s longest review, so I’ll just leave it to the reader to find all the amazingness (and pirates). This story and this world has so much to offer, I can’t believe I have to wait a year for book two!

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The Rose Society by Marie Lu – Review

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Title: The Rose Society
Series: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: 5/5

Okay, to sum it up, I’m very dissatisfied with the steps that were taken throughout the novel. Beware of spoilers, because I have a lot to say about this.

I do not like what happened to Enzo. I can understand that it was for plot and character development. As well as the whole “telling from the perspective of the villain” idea. I get it, really. But I shipped Adelina and Enzo sooooo hard and, regardless of the things that happened in this novel, I still freaking do. Magiano is great. He has a good vibe and I think he has great chemistry with Adelina that I would love to see more of in the next book.

I just don’t understand why Adelina can’t just explain what happened. Why can’t she get the Daggers together and calmly explain to them and Enzo what exactly happened when he died. Maybe then they could work together again. Or perhaps I misread entirely and no one was willing to hear her out, but me thinks it’s more because she craves the power to herself. Either way, I find it upsetting.

It probably seems like I’m just spewing a bunch of hate, but while I don’t agree with the course of things, I can’t deny that this was still an amazingly written book. The ending especially is what finally convinced me that this was a five star book. No matter how much I hate Violetta, I can’t turn away the fact that she does have a point about what’s happening with the Elites and while my fondness of Raffaelle has turned rotten and sour, it won’t blind me to the fact that he has discovered a genuine problem. I can’t wait to see how Lu decides to execute this in the last book.

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Blood Obsession by L.E. Wilson – Review

Title: Blood Obsession

Author: L.E. Wilson
Series: Deathless Night
Book: 3
Format: Paperback
Pages: 312
Rating: 1/5

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**I received this book in exchange for an honest review**

Goodreads Excerpt:
Sacrifices had to be made for the greater, bloody good.
At least that’s what vampire Aiden Sinclair kept telling himself when he woke up in an unfamiliar city, with no phone, no money, and no memory of how he’d gotten there, or why. All he wants is to get back to Seattle, and back to his job as a Hunter. But when he happens upon the lovely derriere of a cheeky witch in distress who is being hunted by creatures he finds he is all too familiar with, Aiden must make a choice: Suppress his fears and be with the girl? Or embrace the truth and save them all?

This book just lacked all substance. The characters were all one dimensional and were driven by nothing other than their own desires and selfish whims. Aside from that, none of them were even remotely likable. I’m not even convinced that there was a plot. The book moved in a seemingly stiff way, with the characters just moving from one spot to another and learning small, pointless details that didn’t fit together well. The romance was cheesy and had a Fifty Shades of Grey mixed with Twilight feel that made me cringe. Regardless of how you use the word ‘love’, it is still spelled L-O-V-E. Using it as an endearing term doesn’t mean it’s spelled L-U-V. And to top it all off, no male living in this time period should be allowed to say the word ‘poppet’ to anyone other than their daughter under the age of five. Not only did Aiden use said word on almost every page, but the way I visualized him saying it made me extremely uncomfortable.  Overall, this book was just not worth my time.
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The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos by Kristin D. Van Risseghem – Review

Title: The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos
Author: Kristin D. Van Rissegham
Series: Enlighten
Book: 1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 260
Rating: 3.5/5

25168166**I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review**

Zoe Jabril’s life completely changes when she finds out her best friend is an angel. Things get even stranger when it turns out he was sent to be her guardian angel. Zoe is the supposed Redeemer, meant to keep the devil at bay, but meant to bring about Armageddon in the process. Only Zoe can stop the end of the world from happening. If she’s the Redeemer, she will take on her true form when she turns 18, sprouting wings and taking on her angel form. It doesn’t help that, along with the weight of the world, demons are trying to kill her at every turn and her feelings for the nephillim, Shay, are amplified beyond anything she’s ever felt before. Can Zoe overcome her feelings and do what she needs to before the devil is released? Or is Armageddon hopeless to stop?

I found that this was a quaint, fast read. The story had a good flow and made me want to keep reading. I can’t help but note, though, that every guy in this book is model-like and charming. I understand that 2/3 of the guys are of some angel form, but you have to draw a line at some point. While I love Shay, he’s simply too open. I respect it, but even nephillim guys can’t be that willing to be open about their feelings. Other than that, the relationship between Shay and Zoe is adorable and I ship them so hard. The music references threw me off a little. I was willing to let it by with Glad You Came by The Wanted, but I draw a line at One Direction. Guys aren’t usually open about stuff like that, especially to the point where they admit to having their emotions take over when listening to a certain song, it just threw me off. I liked this book, but it focused more on relationships and talking about Armageddon rather that actually trying to stop it. If there’s a whole new world opened up to a completely ordinary person, I want the action behind that, there was more time for talking before, now we need action! I’ll place an assumption that there’s more action in the next book. Overall, it was a lovely book and I can’t wait for the story to continue on to the next book!

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The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Review

Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites
Book: 1
Format: Hardback
Pages: 355
Rating: 5/5

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When a terrible blood disease storms through Kenettra, the land is left with a surprise. Most of the young people that survive come out of the disease differently, some with terrible markings and scars, some with mild changes, but all are outcasts. They are called malfettos. Some malfettos are different than others. While all of them are marked by the disease, only a few of them develop abilities. Adelina lost her left eye to the disease and is a malfetto, cast aside by her father and forever living in the shadow of her younger sister who came out of the disease unmarked. After a horrible accident, Adelina finds herself among a group of Young Elites that call themselves the Dagger Society, but darkness is growing and no one can trust anyone.

Marie Lu never fails to amaze me with her lovely writing and utterly heartbreaking stories. She pulls together things that some authors never seem to think about. I don’t know many female leading characters that have been scarred to the extent of losing an eye. And then there’s so much darkness that you can’t help but get sucked into the story. Main characters are almost always these light, bright people that are trying to bring out the good in everyone, but with The Young Elites, they embrace the darkness. 

I could never get enough of Enzo. His character fascinates me. Especially when he’s with Adelina, because I feel like we didn’t really get a lot of their relationship. Minus a roadblock or two, I really hope we get to see more of the two of them in future books. Then, there’s Raffaele. Sweet, beautiful Raffaele that made me so sad over and over again. Yet another surprising thing Lu brings to the table, Raffaele is a consort in a ‘pleasure court’, which is a nicer and a watered down version of a brothel. Overall, I truly can’t wait to get my hands on The Rose Society.

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Outsiders by Tammy Ferebee – Review

Title: Outsiders
Author: Tammy Ferebee
Series: Outsiders
Book: 1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 335
Rating: 4/5

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**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Jaylen’s life changes when she starts attending Trinity High. Her expectations for a church school go out the window when she meets Indigo. She feels a connection to Indigo unlike anything she’s ever felt for anyone else. A sense of belonging. Indigo and Jaylen instantly become friends. But Indigo isn’t the only person Jaylen feels a connection to. Her connection to Michael is just as strong if not stronger than her pull to Indigo. But there’s clearly some bad blood between Michael and Indigo and Jaylen doesn’t know who to believe.

This was a fun, fast read. The plot moved smoothly and there was never a time when I felt like putting the book down. If there’s anything I love it’s relationships like Jaylen and Michael. Heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time! I love the idea of the whole “pretending to be human but really we aren’t” thing, but I feel like it wasn’t played up as much as it could have been. There was a whole opportunity to explore the culture and to ask questions, but the book focused more on human stuff with a few scattered tidbits of other-worldliness. Of course, that might just be because it’s the first book, so it’s developing the characters and all the information about the “other species” will be in future books, but I would have enjoyed just a little bit more of it in Outsiders. 

I love the incorporation of LGBTQIA+. You don’t see that a lot in books, especially in the case where all the character seemed really chill about it instead of being flabbergasted. But even so Indigo made me quite mad at times and by the end of the book I was thoroughly convinced that she’s slightly mentally unstable. Michael was by far my favourite character. He just seemed so at ease all the time and every scene with him and Jaylen together just made me want more. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2 when it comes out!

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The Whispers of the Fallen by J.D. Netto – Review

Title: The Whispers of the Fallen
Author: J.D. Netto
Series: Whispers of the Fallen
Book: 1
Format: Ebook
Pages: 245 (according to my Nook)
Rating: 1/5

18399878I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Isaac and Demetre are simple farm boys. They help their village and their parents on a daily basis, harvesting, planting, and anything they can do to help. Until one day when they both wake up to find their parents missing. Turns out that their parents are a part of a group of people that protect a diary. A diary written by the devil. Their lives go from simple to complicated and in a work with angels and demons, no one is really safe.

I followed the author J.D. Netto on Instagram long before I read this. First off, the covers look amazing, the idea sounds unique (an angel book told in the POV of a guy…RARE!), and I felt a pull to it. It started off well enough, but I started noticing a few things that just bothered me and as I progressed through the story, it kept nagging at me and I found more and more small little problems. It began to take away from the story.

Warning: This will probably have spoilers, so if you don’t want to see that, look away now.

1. The very first thing I noticed in the dialogue is the severe lack of contractions.
These boys are farmers, they aren’t royalty or poised in any way, they should know a contraction or two. In my mind, the lack of contractions leads to the voice sounding bland and mechanical. It sounded stiff and awkward. The more I thought about it, the more I noticed it happening. For example: “What is wrong?”. Now, I might be able to accept this if it was an exclamation, but in normal conversation, I would think someone with Isaac’s background would say “What’s wrong?” or “What happened?”. Another example: “‘It does not look so bad,’ I said in a cheerful tone”. It sounds too formal for a farm boy and happened consistently throughout the novel.

2. The use of “us” and “our” for things that Isaac alone knows he’s feeling.
This one isn’t that big of a deal. It’s mainly me focusing on the smallest, most pointless detail ever, but it bothered me for some reason. I can’t find an example straight from the text, because I forgot to bookmark one, but there was a time when Issac said something along the lines of “It made us feel safe” or “It unsettled us both” in times where they never talked to each other about their feelings and Isaac couldn’t possibly know that Demetre felt that way. Like I said, though, just me nitpicking.

3. The use of “now” and “this”.
I don’t even know if this is technically grammatically incorrect, but in a past tense book, I don’t expect to see this. For example: “I had never heard of the Kingdom of Mag Mell, but right now the only thing that concerned by was leaving”. By saying ‘right now’, to me it indicates that it’s really happening right now, not in the past, so I don’t think that fits. I forgot to mark an example for ‘this’ as well, but it’s something like “This tower is tall and obviously showed it’s age”. That’s an awful example, but it’s the best I could think up. It makes me think the narrator is literally looking at the tower, not looking back on it. As a bonus for this, I also found a part that used ‘these’ in a place I didn’t think fit. “I suppose they were paying tribute to these two beings”. I don’t know if this is technically incorrect either, but maybe if ‘these’ was replaced with ‘the’ instead it would make more sense.

4. The characters are emotionless and flat.
Issac’s life is literally thrown away and he gets all this information thrown at him, but he just doesn’t care and he goes along with it. If I was put in that situation, I would ask a few more questions, not just blindly throw trust to people I don’t know! At some point, Demetre gets killed and Isaac watches completely stone-faced as his best childhood friend gets murdered. No tears, no emotion, just nothing. How awful is that?

I wanted to like this book, really I did, but even without the grammatical stuff that I was overly focused on, the story just lacked the kind of emotion and adventure that I need in a book like this. There was too much description for little things and too little description and explanation for things I really wanted to know about. The character’s flatness just caused me to not care about any of them. When Demetre died, I felt nothing, because there was nothing to feel, we never get an emotional connection to the characters and in books, that’s very important.

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To Nowhere by C.E. Wilson – Review

Title: To Nowhere
Author: C.E. Wilson
Format: Ebook
Pages: 205
Rating: 4/5

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I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Lyris’ life is turned upside down when she meets a handsome stranger while getting coffee. He’s odd and doesn’t say very much about himself. All Lyris knows is that his name is Wyatt and he has an obsession with the house next door to her’s, an abandoned building called the Shaw house. Wyatt warns Lyris against going into the house without him, especially a door that leads to nowhere. When her curiosity gets the best of her, Lyris is thrown into a world full of giants that speak in a language she can scarcely understand. Is Lyris stuck living the life of a pet or are things not quite as they seem?

When I first started reading this, I was a little confused. Wyatt seemed off and way too shifty for my liking. I kept wondering what on Earth was wrong with Lyris to trust a guy like that, clearly he had some problems! Their flirting was awkward and it just seemed weird. Things really picked up, though when Lyris ended up in “nowhere” . However, even with all the excitement, I was extremely frustrated with the exchanges between Brindt and Lyris. The amount of time they spent trying to understand each other threw me off and left my eyes swimming trying to make sense of the odd language. It was around this time I expected this to be a 3 star book. Thank goodness for the collar, without the communication between Brindt and Lyris, the constant back and forth of piecing together the giant language would have driven me up the wall. As the story progressed, I really felt sorry for Brindt, but Lyris was certainly not wrong in fearing him, because if someone triple my size that didn’t speak my language and kept me in a cage occasionally would scare the crap out of me. By the end of the story, I just loved the interaction Lyris had with Brindt and the last fifty or so pages caused me a lot of emotional distress because of it. Only problem with the end is that it ended off with such a cliff hanger I wonder if my copy somehow shaved off the last hundred pages. I do hope we get more of “nowhere” in the future!

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The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse (ARC) – Review

Title: The Neverland Wars
Author: Audrey Greathouse
Format: Ebook
Pages: approx. 231
Release Date: 5/9/2016
Rating: 4.5/5

27910924Gwen’s stories are captivating and amazing. At least, that’s what her sister Rose would say. As much as she loves telling her little sister stories, Gwen has accepted that that’s all they are. Stories. Having already given into the inevitability of growing-up, her life gets turned upside down when Peter Pan steals her sister away during the night. It isn’t long until Peter and Rose come back to take Gwen with them to be a storyteller to the lost children. Unwilling to let her sister out of her sight, Gwen leaves with them without a second thought, when she’s sucked into the magical world of Neverland. A beautifully freeing place with mermaids and fairies seems all fun in games, but Neverland is being threatened. Is Gwen stuck in a doomed Neverland? Or can she team up with Peter and the lost children to fix everything?

I can honestly say that I’ve never actually read the original Peter Pan and what I remember is based solely on what I can remember from the Disney movie adaptation. This book is interesting instantly, because Gwen’s description of growing up and high school life is one of the most accurate that I’ve ever read. I loved how aware Gwen was with the world and accepting about how things play out. Peter was not what I expected. Again, basing my assumptions on the Disney movie, I expected a completely flighty (no pun intended) child that just wants to have fun, but Greathouse gives Peter’s character so much depth that it’s not hard to see what emotional traumas Peter’s been put through. The reader can obviously tell he’s struggling with keeping everyone safe, including Neverland. I was thrilled to see the controversy around the redskins. Before picking this up, I myself actually thought about that. As a child, it never occurred to me that that could be offensive, but society now has molded my mind to know that calling someone a redskin could be and most likely is entirely offensive, so I love how that was pinpointed! Gwen’s time with the mermaids was one of my favourite parts and something I would like to learn more about, I found them very interesting and they added greatly to the plot. The only thing that kept this from a solid 5 stars is the ending. In a way I like how open it was, because it leaves room for perhaps (I hope) another book in the future, but if there isn’t a next book, I’m left unsatisfied. It’s a toss-up, really, but overall I certainly recommend this book for lovers of Peter Pan and fairy tale retellings!