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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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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Review

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Maybe 4.5

Great way to start off the year! Beginning was a little slow, but amazing once it picked up!

Okay, after further reflection, I decided I should go a little more in depth about the first book I read for 2017.

I absolutely, positively, with out a single doubt in my mind, hated Helene with a burning passion to the point where I can’t even explain why without it sounding fake. She tries…way to hard to be tough. And I get it, she is, and in a world full of boys that aren’t necessarily trained with boundaries and respect for women, she is forced into taking on a tougher persona even more than she would have. Yet, from the minute we met her I just knew she was a bad seed. And the way she interacted with Elias was just not okay with me and my disinterest in her and her life just went all the way through the ending and will probably carry into the next book.

Elias. Dear, poor soul. I did get a little tired of his ‘taking the high road’ personality where he looked down on basically everyone, but I got over it. He and Laia…I love it. I’m not blind though, I see the instalove, I can’t ignore it, it’s there, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love them so much. I’m excited to see them in the next book without Helene there to interfere with my little mental image of the happy ending (Is that even a thing?).

Laia.
Honestly, not that sure what to say about her. Well, if I had one thing to tell her I would say “Your mother doesn’t seem that great.” Am I the only one that thought that? Based on what I know about her, she seems to have had a god complex, while her father was the real caring, smart one. Laia must take after him a lot, but her courage is probably from her mother’s side. To a degree, I would compare Laia’s mother to the Commandant. But enough about the mother. I like Laia. She’s tough and on more than one occasion I was genuinely scared for her, but dang she can be stupid. For reasons that I won’t bring up because I don’t want to spoil, but if you read it, you know what I mean.

Overall, it was a great book. Truly. Quite excited to read more.

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Alienated by Melissa Landers – Review

Title: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated
Book: 1
Format: Hardback
Pages: 344
Rating: 5/5

13574417Cara Sweeney is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Being the host of the first L’eihr exchange student. As much as it’s an honour, it’s also a curse. People of HALO (a group of humans against the L’eihr) are building their ranks. Tensions are rising quickly and on the verge of riot when Aelyx lands. Cara’s friends begin to turn on her one by one and soon there’s no one to trust.

Aelyx is less than pleased about being on Earth. The colours are too bright, the people are too touchy and harsh, and the food tastes like an explosion. But life on Earth isn’t all bad once you look past the group of protesters. Cara gives him his space and actually attempts to make his time on Earth mean something, but secrets are brewing and they can only stay hidden for so long.

Sci-fi is certainly one of my favourite genres, tied with fantasy. And boy does Melissa Landers know how to write sci-fi! From page one I was sucked into Cara and Aleyx’s lives. A world where everyone knows about and alien race that lives on an almost polar opposite Earth? Sign me up.

Seeing Aelyx’s transformation made me so happy. He showed so much growth and development over the course of the book. I felt so bad for him in the beginning. He lands on Earth and instantly feels homesick, because of the bright, earthy colours, then people keep touching him, which just throws him off even more. THEN to keep the bad times rolling, he can’t even eat the Earth food, because it’s so overpowering. BUT WAIT, HALO is trying to get him shipped away back to L’eihr and makes him feel as unwelcome as possible by protesting and shooting him nasty looks everywhere he goes. It gets to the point where Cara and her family can’t go anywhere, because no one will serve them.

I think Alienated really shows just how harsh people can be and how we refuse to trust people and adapt to change. People need to be more open minded and willing to hear the other side of the story before completely jumping the gun and rioting without cause.

Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to read more about Aelyx and Cara in Invaded.

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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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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon – Review

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander
Book: 2
Format: Hardback
Pages: 745
Rating: 5/5

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Goodreads excerpt:
For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time… and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart… in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising… and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

I truly don’t know where to begin with this. Usually I start off my reviews with summarizing the book in my own words and then giving my views, but the volume of this book seems near impossible to sum up on my own. Despite the fact that there are over 700 pages to this story, I found that I read this fairly quickly. Going into this, I expected to be reading this at least two weeks, but within the second day of actually reading it, I was well over halfway through. Looking back, the story wasn’t even all that interesting. Most of the story was Claire and Jamie going about their normal business with added flare ups of action here and there. Yet, even though I usually detest excess description (which this book is certainly not lacking), I found myself interested in the nitty gritty details that made up this great historical novel. Yes, believe it or not, the history is what ends up drawing you in. The raw material that Gabaldon brings is unlike any other historical fiction novel I’ve ever read. Not only does it give the harsh reality of hygiene and health as a whole, but also the politics and the economic setbacks that I hadn’t expected.

Let’s take a moment to look at time travel.

There is no definite way to write time travel. Until someone has gone back in time and actually been able to write out their experiences, which may never happen, then we will be able to understand it. Even then, going back in time may potentially change everything, causing you to never go back in time to begin with. Thus the paradox starts and everyone reading this gets a headache, because this could literally go in a loop forever. My thoughts on time travel. In my mind, time (construct of human intelligence or not) forms to changes. Meaning, what we live in now is how it always has and always will be, because even if people go back in time, that means that they must have done it already. There is no one time and it’s all happening at the same time, so in reality, no one can change time, because time is as time does. With that being said, I love how time travel is incorporated. I admire any author that even dares to touch time travel simply because it’s so complicated and uncertain. Claire keeps thinking time and time again that her movements will effect how her life was back in the 1940s, but time is funny and she had already made all those moves before she was even born. It’s so completely fascinating that I really don’t know if I can get my views on this across without completely confusing people. Now, with my little rant out of the way, I agree 100% with Gabaldon’s view of time travel. Love it.

As for everything else, I just love Claire and Jamie’s relationship, but dangit they make me so mad sometimes. They’re so hot and cold that it drives me insane, but they’re so intense that you can’t help but love every second of it. I really feel for Claire in this book, she deserves her happy life with Jamie and reality keeps throwing obstacles in the way. Overall, this was a incredible second installment to the Outlander series and I’m so excited to see where it goes in books to come.

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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!