ARC Review: Crystal Crowned

ARC Review: Crystal Crowned

Author: Elise Kova

Release Date: July 12, 2016

Pages: 305

Rating/Grade: A

Synopsis

Long live Solaris.

One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn?

Characters

Vhalla – At the beginning, Vhalla seems so lost. Due to the fact that Victor basically siphoned her powers from her, she has to learn how to be a commoner again. Since she is surrounded by sorcerers this is particularly hard for her to do. After learning how to be a commoner again, she is probably stronger and feels more convicted than ever about what needs to be done in order to save the empire.

Aldrik – Speaking of feeling convicted, Aldrik, who is now Emperor due to Victor’s rampage, has truly taken on the role of a leader. He no longer hides behind the black of the Tower. He truly feels like the leader of an empire.  He takes on all of the good qualities of the role, despite the fact that he knows he is flawed.

Jax – He is his typical, jovial, sarcastic self, and I love his character more than ever. He has vowed to be Vhalla’s personal protector as his last promise to Baldair. I love Jax’s character more than ever because we finally find out his backstory and why he is tied to the crown as well as why he is the way is, AKA, using sarcasm as defense mechanism. I always love characters that are a little broken because people are all broken in their own way, so it was nice to find out the cause behind Jax’s brokenness.

Elecia and Fritz – While we don’t spend a ton of time with these two characters in this book compared to how much time we’ve spent with them in previous books, they are present, and every page they appear on shows just how much they care for Vhalla and Aldrik. While I have amazing friends, and trust me, I do have some pretty outstanding friends, friends that will drop everything immediately to help me out, I did, on occasion, get a little jealous for not having Elecia and Fritz as friends.

Victor – Again, Victor is not someone we actually spend a lot of time with in Crystal Crowned, especially compared to how much time we spent with him in Water’s Wrath, but he is a constant presence because he is always being talked about. When we do finally see him at the end, it is driven home just how much of a psychopath he really is.

Review

It was once again another whirlwind of emotions brought to you by Elise Kova.  I was crying by the time I got about 10% of the way into the book, I mean, big huge tears streaming down my face.  After having spent 4 books with these characters, I have become so emotionally attached to them.  It is something Elise Kova is able to do so well through her writing.  As a reader, you feel as though these characters are real people and that you know them as if they were your friends.

There were some beautiful things that have gradually been communicated throughout the series and touched upon in each book that were wrapped up in beautiful quotes in Crystal Crowned. The idea of no one being perfect was something that definitely made itself apparent through each and every book. We are able to see that all of the characters are flawed in one or another at some point in time. The idea that we should accept someone, including yourself, for who they are, flaws and all, is also emphasized. At one point Vhalla reflects on her relationship with Aldrik, and thinks to herself, “She didn’t make him out to be perfect. [She] knew Aldrik was horribly flawed. But so was she.”

Another very strong idea that is gifted to us is the idea that people are constantly changing, that this is a good thing, and that change, especially change in people, is unfinished. Aldrik expresses his feelings to Vhalla by saying, “You’ve changed. . . And I love the woman that you’ve become, deeply and completely.” He also says something about himself to Vhalla that I think shows how drastically Aldrik has grown and changed. It also shows how heartbreaking the turn of events in his life were and how they affected him. He says, “I have no more family, so I am no longer the black sheep.” Vhalla has a realization about herself, and I think this is something we all need to realize about ourselves and our lives. “Vhalla was discovering that the path to being the person she wanted to be had no endpoint.” Elise Kova leaves us with this as a reminder that we are always unfinished, we are ever-changing.

Now that I’m done mooning over the wonderful thoughts and ideas that Elise Kova communicates to her readers through her reading, let me tell you about the last third or so of the book. It is non-stop, and I mean, NON-STOP action, I could NOT put it down. I actually finished about the last half of the book in a day, but during the last third of it, there was no social media, no eating, no sleeping, no moving from the spot I was stuck to in the house, which could have been my bed or the couch. Honestly, I don’t really remember because I was so enthralled with Elise Kova’s world that she has built over these last five five books that the real world around me didn’t really matter.

Reason For Rating

There’s really not much to say here anymore. I think I covered all of it in the review. What I can say is that Elise Kova has taken me on a journey over the last year that I never could have expected when I signed up to be on her street team and got the ARC of Air Awakens in the mail. I don’t think I’ve been so excited about a book series, particularly an author in a long time.

Elise’s characters are so well-developed. They are real people to me.  Her world building is outstanding. Since she does these things so well, her books are not only enjoyable, but they also challenge you to think about who you are as well as the people around you. She is not afraid to take on hard or controversial topics in her books, to the point where they don’t really feel like your stereotypical young adult fantasy novel.  I guess I had plenty to say. Sorry for going off on a bit of a tangent, but Crystal Crowned definitely gets an “A” from me! If you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor and pick up the Air Awakens series.

Grade A

Check It Out!!

The Author, Where to Get It, and an Exclusive Excerpt

Elise Head Shot

Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she s not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

Where To Get It

Exclusive Excerpt

With just the one weapon and a leather jerkin, she struck a course northward. Given all the reports she’d been receiving, it seemed like the most logical location for her Emperor. A red sunrise streaked across the sky, mirroring the crimson land before her.

The casualties had been heavy, heavier than she expected given the number of soldiers who had been in the Western force surrounding the city. But the hulking corpses of giant winged beasts offered a chilling explanation. Teeth longer than her body jutted out from their massive jowls. They had almost canine-like heads but with thick leathery skin pulled taut against oddly shaped muscles. Some had two arms, some had four, one even had six. They had the wings of a wyvern and scorpion-like tails. It was a creature that the Gods had never intended to exist, and the now-dormant crystals embedded in their bodies glinted like dull obsidian in the sunlight, slowly cracking into dust.

A handful of men and women were surrounded, forced to their knees. Soldiers waited around them, sorcerers and Commons alike, ready to execute the traitors who had ridden in to kill them all on the backs of monsters. The lean figure of a man was mounted before the lot—an Emperor casting judgment on those who fought against his throne.

“. . . forsake the false king.” Vhalla could hear Aldrik’s words as she approached. “Those who give information will be rewarded with their lives.”

No one spoke.

“You protect a coward,” Vhalla called out, announcing her presence. Aldrik turned in surprise as she rode up next to him. “You stand with a man whose power comes not through his own merit—as he would have you believe—but through theft.”

“What would you know?” one of the kneeling sorcerers demanded, curiosity drawing the words from him.

“I know all too well,” Vhalla replied quietly, “because I was the one whose powers he stole.”

Now she had their attention.

“Victor could not open the caverns on his own; he wasn’t strong enough to manage the crystals. I know because he needed me to help him do it. When he had what he wanted, he stole my magic to make him immune from the taint.”

“Lies!” one sneered. “The taint only affects those of weak will, Commons, and lesser sorcerers.”

Desperation carved the way for stupidity in the hearts of men.

“You can’t possibly believe that. Is that what Victor has told you? That you are the strong ones and immune?” She shook her head with a bitter sorrowful laugh. “He has written you off as expendable with his lies.”

“Are you really the Windwalker?” a timid voice asked from among them.

“I was.” Vhalla spoke only to the man who had asked. “I was the Windwalker until he stole my powers. Now I am a Commons. It was my magic that unleashed this monster upon the world—”

“Vhalla . . .” Aldrik had a cautionary note.

“—but because of that, no one will fight harder than me to do what is necessary to right that wrong.” The words hurt. They hurt like the wind still hurt on her cheeks, plain and un-magical. But it was finally the right kind of hurt. The hurt of a confession that needed to be said. “This is but a night. The sun will rise again, and I stand with the dawn.”

She looked to the Emperor. His eyes were a chameleon over the past few weeks, constantly changing to match the woman she was becoming.

“Who will stand with the sun?” He tore his eyes away from her to make his final demand.

The man who had asked his timid question stood slowly. “A false king sits on a false throne.”

“You disgrace sorcerers,” another loyalist spat. “You’ll follow a liar and a Commons.”

“Strength channels its own magic,” the man said in reply, looking directly at Vhalla.

“Who else will stand with us?” Vhalla demanded.

Two more stood.

“Why take pity on them?” a Western soldier finally spoke. “They fight against your Empire. Put them to death.”

“Because a wise woman taught me that no soul is beyond saving,” Aldrik replied easily.

Vhalla’s chest tightened, instantly thinking of Larel.

“Those who stand with us, live; those who do not, die. Make your choice. Dawn comes and it will wait for no man.” Aldrik turned back to Victor’s sorcerers.

Two more stood, five in total. That was all who were spared. Vhalla bore a silent witness to the other sorcerers who died for Victor’s ideal. Men and women who had become so tainted with his lies that they valued his dogma more than their lives.

Vhalla counted every man and woman put to death. Twenty-three in total. She shifted in her saddle and felt the sword pulling heavy on her shoulder. The next time she saw Victor she would stab him herself, Vhalla resolved, twenty-three times.

Make sure to pick up the whole Air Awakens series!! It’s outstanding!!

Happy Reading!!

Erin

WWW Wednesday 7/6/16

WWW Wed

WWW Wednesday 7/6/16

This is my weekly WWW Wednesday post in which I answer three simple questions.  It is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Go check her out, her blog is great!  Each week I will answer the following three questions about what is happening in my book world.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

So, here we go.

What are you currently reading?

**The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 

**Wrecked by Maria Padian

 

What did you recently finish reading?

**Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova

Crystal Crowned, the last book in the Air Awakens series comes July 12th!! My review will be up on Saturday, July 9th.

 

**A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Love, love, loved this book!! Review for it is here.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

(All synopses are from Goodreads)

**The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

clash of kings**A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment; a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.

**Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world

 

ca084-whatareyoureading

I can’t wait to hear what all of you are reading!  Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

Erin

Goodbye and Hello: June Wrap-Up and July TBR

 

Goodbye and Hello: June Wrap-Up and July TBR

June Books:

 

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

I really enjoyed These Shallow Graves. You can check out the review I wrote for it here.

 

 

Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith

It feels like I read this book so long ago when I actually only finished June 5. That tells me I did a good job reading several books this month. Yay me!! I don’t have a review up yet for this one because I want to put it up closer to the date of release, which is August 1st. It was a good read. A different type of YA dystopian book that wove in a little fantasy and a little mythology. I haven’t read another book like it. Look out for my review on July 23rd.

Crystal-Crowned-Cover-sm

 

 

Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova

I’m still working my way through this one, and I’m loving it. It makes me sad that this is the last book in the series, but we are going to see many more beautiful things from Elise Kova in 2017, I just know it. This book comes out July 12th. My review will be out July 9th in celebration of it!

 

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This was a reread for me, and I think I had just as much fun reading it this time as I did the first time around.  I read it so fast the first time that I had forgotten a lot of it, so I reread it before A Court of Mist and Fury. I loved every page all over again.Tamlin and Feyre are delightful and perfect. Their love story just as frustrating and beautiful the second time around.

 

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I have 60 pages left in this one, so I’ll finish it today! I have loved every piece of it!! The characters have grown so much since the first one. I cannot wait to see what happens in the last one. I know that a lot of people categorized ACOTAR as a YA book when it is actually NA. You can definitely tell that ACOMAF is an NA book. It pumps up the sex and the relationships between the characters, so if you’re not into NA and you still want to read it, you have been warned. My review for this one will be out on Saturday, July 2nd.

 

July Books:

 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This is  reread. I was warned about the lack of reference to The Wrath and the Dawn in The Rose and the Dagger, so I thought it would be a good idea to reread this one before diving into the next.

 

 

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love. This one comes out April 26th.  I hope Amazon delivers it on time

Why I want to read it?

I have been looking forward to this book since I finished The Wrath and the Dawn, which was my favorite read of 2015! So, due to the awesomeness of the first book I have some very high expectations; I hope it rises to meet them.

clash of kingsA Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment;a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.

Why I Want to Read the Series?

I have been a fan of the show since the beginning, and I love fantasy.  So many of my friends have recommended it to me and have been waiting for me to read it for over a year. I plan to read the remainder of the series, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to get through the whole thing this month. This is the year that I’m going to tackle it despite the book series not being completed, damn you, George R.R. Martin!  Can’t wait!!

Wrecked by Maria Padian

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

Why I want to read it?

I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. It sounded like a really interesting and controversial read especially considering all the rape cases being publicized recently, so I wanted to dive into an intense read that takes on a very hot topic right now.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Why I want to read this series?

I imagine when my sister sees that I am finally starting this series she will be very excited. She has been pushing me to read this series for over a year. So much so that between my mom and her, I received the entire series for Christmas last year.  It is also super helpful that I am absolutely in love with anything Sarah J. Maas writes.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Why I want to read this series?

I love everything that Sarah J. Maas writes. And with the way everyone talks about this series, I am going to want to read them all back to back so that’s why the first and second books are both going to be read in July.

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What are you guys reading during the month of July??

Happy Reading!

Erin

WWW Wednesday 6/29/16

WWW Wed

WWW Wednesday 6/29/16

This is my weekly WWW Wednesday post in which I answer three simple questions.  It is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Go check her out, her blog is great!  Each week I will answer the following three questions about what is happening in my book world.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next

So, here we go.

What are you currently reading?

**Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova


Crystal Crowned
, the last book in the Air Awakens series comes July 12th!!

 

**A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I am loving this one!! Review for it will be posted on Saturday.

 

What did you recently finish reading?

**These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Book review on this one can be found here. Loved every piece of this one!

Cover art**A Court of Thorns and Roses

I’m so glad I reread this one. I think I read it so fast the first time around that I didn’t remember a lot of it, and I got the chance to reconnect with the characters all over again.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

(All synopses are from Goodreads)

**The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Rereading this one before The Rose and the Dagger because I was told I would need to.

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

**The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

**Wrecked by Maria Padian

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

Maria Padian offers a kaleidoscopic view of a sexual assault on a college campus. Wrecked will leave readers thinking about how memory and identity, what’s at stake, and who sits in judgment shape what we all decide to believe about the truth.

ca084-whatareyoureading

I can’t wait to hear what all of you are reading!  Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

Erin

Crystal Tour – #FlashbackFriday

Crystal Tour Clearer

Crystal Tour – #FlashbackFriday

Well hello all!

I can’t believe it is the end of this series. I will miss new books in it, but also cannot wait for the new things to come for Elise Kova. For example the Loom series, with the first book due out January 2017. But that is for another post at another time. Let’s focus on the present.

In celebration of the release of Crystal Crowned, the fifth, and final, book in Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series, I am taking part in the Crystal Tour, and this week is all about Fire Falling.

This is one of my favorite reviews I’ve ever written, so in case you missed the first time around here is another look at my Fire Falling review:

Fire-Falling-Cover

Fire Falling

Synopsis

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?

Fire Falling is the second book in the Air Awakens Series.

Review

Ok. So I finished this book days ago. I had absolutely no idea how form coherent thoughts when I finished it at 1:00am on a Monday night when I had to get up at 5:30am.  I texted my sister, I jumped on Twitter, I went to the Goodreads Fan Club, and I still couldn’t fall asleep. I needed to talk to someone about it.  The following morning wasn’t much better. I spent a lot of morning reading through what other people thought about it, reading their predictions for Earth’s End, the third installment in the series. Now that I am about a week out from it, I can focus a little better, but when I start to think about it I get all excited again and want to reread it immediately, so get ready for some serious fangirling in this post.

I cannot even believe how amazing this book was. I can’t tell if it was better than the first because I was so crazy for it, and now that I’ve read it and it’s over and I am just that excited about it. But, seriously, this was so good, and unbelievably, better than the first, so a huge to Congrats!! to Elise Kova on being able to do that. You guys, that never happens!!

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One of the many beautiful things that happens in Fire Falling is the character development, especially of the secondary characters.  We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, I want to talk about the thing that is developing between Vhalla and Aldrik.  I was so thankful that there wasn’t the insta-love that often is present in many YA novels.  Not that I’m not a fan of the occasional insta-love story, but in this particular instance, I am really glad that it wasn’t the case, probably because it was between a prince and, for al intents and purposes, a peasant.

While Vhalla became more comfortable with the Crown Prince Aldrik toward the end of Air Awakens, there was so much chaos and drama when she finally did that you never got to really see the fun parts of who they were. There are so many fun parts that we get to see in Vhalla and Aldrik’s relationship this time. I love when they challenge each other and make fun each other.  We get to watch it develop as though we are on the inside of it, and it is so much fun to see.

pot meet kettle

There are also amazingly sweet parts to their relationship. Things that even the biggest fans of Aldrik weren’t really sure he was capable of, and this is coming from a huge fan of Aldrik. Aldrik has always given Vhalla the choice as to whether she wants him to be in her life, but as they grow closer there is more risk attached to it, and he makes sure to remind her of that. Yet, Vhalla always returns to him and reminds us that she “likes playing with fire.”

Finally, the tension between Aldrik and Vhalla breaks, and Kova writes some of the hottest scenes. The ones where you stop breathing and get so caught up in the story that it feels like you are actually there watching this really intimate thing unfold right in front of you, but not in a creepy or embarrassing way. Watching it as though you were completely invisible, or, if you are a fan of Aldrik, as though you are Vhalla.

fanning self

Now that I am done swooning over Aldrik, at least for the moment, let’s jump into the characters in the novel.  How have they changed? How have they grown? Are there any new ones?

Characters

Vhalla

Vhalla really starts coming into her own in this book, and shows just how deep the fire that burns within her goes.  To me, this is perfectly encapsulated in her when she thinks, Why not shatter the sky?

shatter the sky

Aldrik

He opens up so much in this book, telling Vhalla things that I never would have expected him to be willing to tell her. He tells her about his past and about what kind of person he used to be and sometimes still is. Even when Vhalla questions how close they are getting, and how dangerous it could be, Aldrik admits to her that it will always be dangerous for them, and that if she wants to make the appropriate decision, she should leave now because he can’t do things halfway.

aldrik

Baldair

I am slowly starting to trust Baldair more. He does nothing, but look out for Vhalla’s best interests.  He even does whatever he can to help Aldrik. It was eye-opening to find out a bit more about Baldair’s and Aldrik’s relationship works.  It is definitely different from sibling relationships that I am used to seeing, but it is definitely an interesting one.  But just fir the record, I still don’t fully trust him.

thor and loki

Fritz

Fritz, oh, Fritz. You are one of my favorites. I liked you from the moment I met you in the Tower Library.  I liked spending more time with Fritz in this book. He is truly an all-around good friend to Vhalla. He is whatever Vhalla needs him to be while they are on the march, someone to listen to her, someone to comfort her when she gets too confused about Aldrik. Fritz and Larel are the perfect best friends for Vhalla to help her get through this.

best friend fritz

Larel

I wasn’t sure about Larel in the first book. So many people that I talked to loved her immediately, I thought maybe I was missing something.  I think I realized who she full is in Fire Falling. She is so caring, and only wants what’s best for both Vhalla and Aldrik.  I loved learning about the past that her and Aldrik have together. After learning about it. Larel is probably one of the truest best friends anyone could have.

best friend Larel

Daniel

We were introduced to Daniel briefly at the end of Air Awakens. He was one of Vhalla’s guards while she was sitting in prison.  Now, he’s back, fighting as a soldier in the march, and as another friend that Vhalla can have while on the march. Which is really a good thing because she could use all the friends she can get. Kova does an interesting thing with Daniel’s character because while he is another friend to Vhalla, there does seem to be some sexual tension that comes and goes when he is with Vhalla. It will be interesting to see what type of role he continues to play in Vhalla’s life.

daniel

Rating

Like I said earlier, it is rare that a second book in a series is better than the first, but this one is, and sets very high expectations for the others, specifically Earth’s End, which comes out in February, and I can’t believe I have to wait a whole ten weeks for it. At the same time, I am grateful that I only have ten weeks for it and not a year.  Thank you, Elise Kova, for releasing your books so close together.  

There are so many beautifully quotable romantic lines in this book. You’ll just have to read for yourself to experience them. The kind of quotes that make a book especially memorable. It is an amazingly romantic story that, at the same time, takes place in the middle of a war in which its characters are soon to be on the frontlines. It allows the reader to see the characters at both their strongest and their weakest times, making the characters into extremely relatable people that you want to get to know more and more.  I give Fire Falling by Elise Kova an A+!!

A+

So there you have it folks, my Fire Falling review in all it’s glory. This was probably my favorite book of the series, although it’s really hard to choose.  I’ll know after I finish Crystal Crowned.

If you haven’t checked out the Air Awakens series yet, now is the perfect time to do s0.

Here are the dates for the remainder of the Crystal Tour:

  • Air Awakens (June 9-16)
  • Fire Falling (June 17-24)
  • Earth’s End (June 25-July 2)
  • Water’s Wrath (July 3-10)

Don’t Forget!!!

Crystal Crowned comes out July 12th!!!

Happy Reading!

Erin

 

WWW Wednesday 6/15/16

WWW Wed

WWW Wednesday 6/15/16

Edit: Hi, all. Sorry, I just realized I am a day ahead of myself. This is what happens when I don’t have to go to work. So, you get my WWW Wednesday a day early. Enjoy!

This is my weekly WWW Wednesday post in which I answer three simple questions.  It is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Go check her out, her blog is great!  Each week I will answer the following three questions about what is happening in my book world.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

So, here we go.

What are you currently reading?

**These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

This book only gets better, and I am loving the main characters, Jo and Eddie!

**Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova

What did you recently finish reading?

**So I didn’t finish anything this week, but I’m about to finish These Shallow Graves, and now that I’m done with work for the summer, I should powering through books a bit faster than normal.

What do you think you’ll read next?

(All synopses are from Goodreads)

**A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

**A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beastwith faerie lore.

 

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

**Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

**Wrecked by Maria Padian

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

Maria Padian offers a kaleidoscopic view of a sexual assault on a college campus. Wrecked will leave readers thinking about how memory and identity, what’s at stake, and who sits in judgment shape what we all decide to believe about the truth.

I can’t wait to hear what all of you are reading!  Let me know in the comments below.

ca084-whatareyoureading

Happy Reading!

Erin

The Crystal Tour – Top Ten Tuesday

Crystal Tour Clearer

Crystal Tour – Top Ten Tuesday

Well hello all!

In celebration of the release of Crystal Crowned, the fifth, and final, book in Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series, I am taking part in the Crystal Tour, and this week is all about Air Awakens.

Crystal Crowned will be available on July 12th. So make sure to be on the look out for it.

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Make sure to check out the rest of the tour as well.  Here are the dates:

  • Air Awakens (June 9-16)
  • Fire Falling (June 17-24)
  • Earth’s End (June 25-July 2)
  • Water’s Wrath (July 3-10)

I have compiled a list of the top ten swoon-worthy moments between Vhalla and Aldrik in the first book, the book that made me fall in love with Vhaldrik. The following are in no particular order.

Top 10 Most Swoon-Worthy Vhaldrik Moments

  • The moment when she takes off his crown when they meet in the courtyard outside the ball.  She takes off his crown so he can pretend to be a common man in order for them to be together.

fanning self

  • When they dance in the courtyard outside of the gala.

  • Meeting in the rose garden for the first time.

  • When Vhalla turns the pages of her book with air and doesn’t even realize it, but Aldrik does and gets so excited.

  • Their banter back and forth in the letters that they write before they meet.

  • The first time they meet in the library after Vhalla thinks she’s dreaming. Because who doesn’t want to meet a gorgeous swoon-worthy prince in a library?!?

  • When they fight after Vhalla is injured after falling off the roof of the castle. Vhalla and Aldrik fighting is often one of the sexiest things, and not just in Air Awakens, but in all the books.

  • Every time Aldrik calls Vhalla “my parrot.” I think it is an adorable pet name.

  • When Aldrik helps her return to her body after Vhalla projects at the Sunlit Stage.

  • The second time they meet in the rose garden, and have their picnic in the gazebo.

Make sure to check out more info on the author of this wonderful series, Elise Kova, on all her social media outlets:

About the Author:

Elise Head ShotElise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she s not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

www.elisekova.com

Happy Reading!

Erin