Goodbye and Hello: July Wrap-Up/August TBR

Goodbye and Hello: July Wrap-Up/August TBR

July Books:


The Wrath and the Dawn
by Renee Ahdieh

I’m so glad I reread this before reading The Rose and the Dagger. It reminded of everything I loved about the story and was a good reminder of everything that happened before jumping into the second book.

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

I really enjoyed the second book of this duology. Check out my full review here!

Wrecked by Maria Padian

I picked this one on NetGalley because the topic was really relevant. It’s about an alleged rape on a college campus, and the crazy that ensues afterwards. It seems to address several topics of situations like this very realistically, and the book definitely addressed college campus rape culture. This one comes out in early October, so my full review will be out at the end of September. I definitely recommend it!

The Hazards of Skinny Dipping by Alyssa Rose Ivy

I picked this one up for fun, while I was wading my way through the beginning of A Clash of Kings. It was a quick and easy read, but I got super annoyed with it at times. You can check out my mini review of it  in my WWW Wednesday post from last week.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I’m about halfway through this one, but I’m on a retreat with a bunch of high school students this weekend that I am super excited about, so I don’t think I’ll be getting much reading done, but a review will be coming for this one as soon as I finish it.

August Books:

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 I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series.

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 this series?

I love the TV show, and really enjoyed the first book, so I thought I would continue with the series.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Why I want to read it?

This one has been on my TBR for awhile. I had a student recommend it to me last school year. This upcoming school year, which starts in just under a month, I am leading a discussion group on this book as part of the summer reading program.

Jack by A.M. Homes

In Jack, A. M. Homes gives us a teenager who wants nothing more than to be normal—even if being normal means having divorced parents and a rather strange best friend. But when Jack’s father takes him out in a rowboat on Lake Watchmayoyo and tells his son he’s gay, nothing will ever be normal again. Out of Jack’s struggle to redefine what “family” means, A. M. Homes crafts a novel of enormous humor, charm, and resonance, the most convincing, funny, and insightful novel about adolescence since The Catcher in the Rye.

Why I want to read it?

This one is another book I’m reading in preparation for the school year. I’m working with sophomores in addition to working with freshmen this year, and this is the first book we are reading this year.

Tears of Time by Joel Lawrence

Cal State freshman Eden Ellis feels like a stranger in time, and her dreams are growing more dangerous each night. Is she really the reincarnation of a Bronze Age princess, or is that just the medication talking?

Dreams and reality start weaving together, and Eden and her friends begin to develop extraordinary powers and find themselves confronted with ancient secrets, government experiments, and the return of the same demonic force that nearly shattered the world 3,500 years ago.

Eden’s dreams hold the key to saving the future—if she can embrace her duel identity and defeat the reincarnation of the man she used to love.

Why I want to read it?

I was sent this book as an ARC in return for an honest review, so that’s what I’ll be doing. It, of course, sounded super entertaining too!
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What are you guys reading during the month of August??

Happy Reading!

Erin

 

ARC Review: Children of Icarus

ARC Review: Children of Icarus

Author: Caighlan Smith

Release Date: August 1, 2016

Pages: 313

Rating/Grade: B

 

Synopsis

It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.”

Characters

Clara –  Clara is a daredevil. She has always wanted to go into the labyrinth and become an Icarii.  It is part of who she has always wanted to be.

Narrator – She is nameless. She is quiet. She is nothing like Clara who is her best friend. However, when she makes into the labyrinth and survives her first day. She takes on Clara’s name unintentionally.

Elle – I feel so bad for her. She is broken and the labyrinth has done terrible things to her. It has taken from her, and because of this she is not who she was when she came into the labyrinth.

Collin – The actual Clara’s older brother. He is a the leader of a group within the labyrinth. The Labyrinth has changed him as well, he has become heartless and cruel. He is willing to punish people in the group in the worst of ways.

Review

Children of Icarus was a refreshing dystopian YA novel.  While the YA dystopian genre is definitely not a new thing, the concept of this book was definitely different than any other dystopian novel that I’ve read. One of the things that I think this book does well is it addresses the fact that a lot of the characters are really screwed up due to this dystopian world, which I’ve found isn’t necessarily true of other dystopian YA novels.

However, the fact that the narrator of the book never has a name drove me nuts. Even after I realized why Smith doesn’t give her name, it still bugged the crap out of me. It was especially frustrating because the story is told completely through her eyes, so there was very little actual dialogue. I read an ARC, so I would be really interested to see the print version of the book to see if it is drastically different.

Reason For Rating

Like I said, this book is like no other dystopian YA novel I’ve read, which was super refreshing. It was also fast-paced and pulled me in immediately. These things are probably what salvaged its rating. My annoyance with the main character not having a name and everything being filtered through her is what brought it down. While I understand why Caighlan Smith did the things she did in regards to the main character it, unfortunately, doesn’t make it any less annoying to read. I give Children of Icarus a B, but if you think you can get past the fact that the main character doesn’t have a name throughout the entire book, and just enjoy the story for what it is then I would definitely recommend it.

B Rating

Happy Reading!

Erin

WWW Wednesday 7/20/16

WWW Wed

WWW Wednesday 7/20/16

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?clash of kings

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

I’m excited to jump back into this series now that I’m having some Game of Thrones withdrawal with the latest season of it having ended a few weeks ago.

 

**The Hazards of Skinny Dipping by Alyssa Rose Ivy

I decided to pick up an NA romance to balance out all the heaviness of A Clash of Kings, so we’ll see how I like it. I don’t typically read a lot of NA, but I thought I’d try.

 

What did you recently finish reading?

**The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

I ended up really liking this book in the end. I still didn’t like it as much as the first one. The Wrath and the Dawn pulled you in so quickly. Check out what I thought about it in my review.

 

**Wrecked by Maria Padian

I could not put this one down. While it is about some heavy content, a rape case on a college campus, it was very good. This one comes out Oct. 4, so my review for it will be up just before it’s release date. Keep on the lookout for it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

(All synopses are from Goodreads)

**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.

**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.

ca084-whatareyoureading

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

Happy Reading!

Erin

Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger

 

Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Pages: 416

Rating/Grade: B+

 

 

Synopsis

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.

Characters

Shahrzad –  Shazi starts the book in the Badawi camp that Tariq was in at the end of The Wrath and the Dawn. If I thought Shazi was a sassy badass in the first book, man, her true colors, sassiness, and badassery really shine through in this book. It takes a while for those things to come out, but eventually they do, and they come in full force.

Khalid – Khalid is weak and seems very lost, especially at the beginning of The Rose and the Dagger. It seems as though he is trying to figure out who he is, or at least who he wants to be, now that Shazi is gone.

Tariq – Tariq simply doesn’t know what to do anymore. He has gotten himself into a situation in which he is in over his head. He enacted this plan of saving Shazi with emotion rather than thinking it through,and it is in The Rose and the Dagger he must now deal with the fallout. Tariq grows up a lot in this book. He faces feelings and circumstances that doesn’t want to face and he learns to work with someone he doesn’t necessarily like.

Irsa – Irsa’s role in this book grows immensely compared to what we saw of her in The Wrath and the Dawn. We spend a lot of time with Irsa as she is learning who to be without Shazi. It’s a lot of fun to watch her become her own person. Irsa then becomes Shazi’s right hand woman, in a sense. The two of them really grow to be best friends in this book.

Review

The Rose and the Dagger seemed to start a lot slower than The Wrath and the Dawn did, so I had a hard time really getting into it. I was excited about it and knew I wasn’t going to DNF it, but it wasn’t one of those books that I wanted to spend all my time with, at least for the first 100 pages or so. Then, all of sudden, the story got super intense, the action kicked in, the romance became super passionate.

There were also some great quotes later in the book. Irsa gets sassy when she meets and talks with Khalid. “Really? Irsa blinked, astounded.”Goodness, but you’re odd? Has anyone ever told you that?” I love it. Irsa is this meek, quiet character at the beginning of the book, but by the time Khalid shows up in the encampment, she is this little firecracker talking back to the caliph of Khorasan. It is also a testament to Khalid’s growth in the story that he is does not fire back at her in anger.

There is also a really beautiful line between Rahim, Tariq’s servant and friend, and Rahim’s love interest where Rahim says, “Because when I kiss you, I want yours to be the first. . . and last lips I ever kiss.” I just swooned when he said this. Lines like this are the reason we readers have book boyfriends, and often like characters in books better than real people.

The last 150 pages of The Rose and the Dagger were some of the most fast-paced pages I have read this summer. They were also full of so much emotion that I cried multiple times. Renee Ahdieh did a beautiful job wrapping up this story. I wasn’t left wanting more or feeling as though something was missing. It was beautifully ended.

keep reading

Reason For Rating
So, The Rose and the Dagger is getting a B+ simply because the beginning was hard to get into. The last two-thirds of the book drastically made up for that, which is why it isn’t getting a B or a C. And it was so beautifully ended that I was more than pleased with the book overall.

I’d love to hear what you thought of The Rose and the Dagger, if you’ve read it.

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

Book Review: These Shallow Graves

 

Book Review: These Shallow Graves

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Release Date: Oct. 27, 2015

Pages: 488

Rating/Grade: B+

 

 

 

Synopsis

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Characters

Jo – She is a character built before her time. Jo is a high society girl in New York, and while all the other girls her age are focused on getting married and having families, Jo wants to do things. Jo wants to write stories for the newspaper and reveal the things in the world that those in high society pretend don’t exist. The last thing she wants to think about is being paired up with someone she doesn’t love in order to breed like grandmama’s spaniels. Jo is headstrong and sassy, but likeable and proper. I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to her because she is in a place where she doesn’t feel like she entire belongs.

Eddie – Oh, Eddie. He is very rough around the edges, but very charming, and I think that’s why Jo likes him so much. He works for a newspaper called The Standard, and he just wants his next big story so that he can move on to bigger things. He has a little bit of those bad boy qualities that Jo can’t have in her proper, high society life.   

Review

This book was a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, and a lot of frustration (but, in a good way).

animated GIF

I think the thing I appreciated most about this book was while the romance plays a large part in the story, it never overwhelms the mystery of the story, and it definitely doesn’t distract from the bigger point, or theme, of the book. The romance becomes a piece of the bigger theme. Jo is working to determine who she is versus who she wants to be, and the love story and the mystery that make up the story help her to build who she becomes. While it is frustrating while being in the middle of it, it is so unbelievably satisfying by the end.

  

Jo and Eddie are some great characters. They have a chemistry that is sweet, yet strong. They aren’t a couple of piles melted marshmallow for each other. They are each their own person, and it is so satisfying to read a love story like that because while they are becoming more common in YA they can be difficult to find depending on what sub-genre of YA you are reading.

Rating
Overall, I give These Shallow Graves a B+. It took a little bit of time to really get into the story, but I was highly satisfied with the story once I got into it.  I think another reason I give it a B+ was the frustration I felt throughout it. The rational part of me says that’s not fair because the characters should be frustrating. They shouldn’t be perfect. But the B+ was my gut reaction as a rating, and when I rate a book my gut is usually what I go with.

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!!

excited gif

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

 

ARC Review: Water’s Wrath and GIVEAWAY!

Water's Wrath cover

ARC Review: Water’s Wrath

Author: Elise Kova

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Pages: 350

Grade: A-

All The Things You Need To Get Water’s Wrath:

 And The Other Books In The Air Awakens Series:

Air Awakens:

Fire Falling:

Earth’s End:

 

Synopsis

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

Review

Elise Kova, you have toyed with my emotions again! They were all over the place while reading this book. Confusion, pity, anger, shock, grief, hate, joy, heart-wrenching sadness. I felt as though I was on a merry-go-round of feels, and I kept being forced to change horses.

Kova brings her literary finesse and beauty to Vhalla’s story once again. This can particularly be seen in a rather rousing speech that Vhalla gives to the Imperial family. Kova has woven a beautiful and complex world that we, as readers, get to dive even deeper into this time around. Especially the mythology of the world we have spent so much time in so far.  We are really beginning to learn where all the conflict stems from as well as the importance of the crystal weapons that supposedly exist.

The characters, especially Vhalla, continue to develop into evermore complex people.  We also get the opportunity to learn more about characters we, maybe, thought we wouldn’t get to learn much more about, and we get to reconnect with characters we thought we’d never see again. I think I understood and connected with Vhalla more in Water’s Wrath than I have in any of the other books in the series.

And, of course, a novel by Elise Kova wouldn’t be complete without some heartbreak, and prepare yourself for it in this one. If you thought it was bad at the end of Fire Falling and Earth’s End, get ready. Like I said before, you’ll be on the merry-go-round of emotions, and you won’t be able to get off until you’ve read the very last page, and maybe not even then.

Characters

Vhalla

I was reminded, once again, while reading Water’s Wrath that Vhalla is an awesome character, and her badassery just continues to be put on display in every book in this series.  When Air Awakens was released, several people I talked to said they thought Vhalla was a weak character.  This was something I didn’t understand at the time because I thought she was a pretty strong character, but Vhalla’s character has been amped up through each book. Now, I get why people said.  However, that was four books ago, and Vhalla is an infinitely stronger character than she was in the first book.  She has morals and principles that she will stick to until death, if need be. She is physically stronger and more willing to fight for what she feels is right.

the incredibles feminism feminist strong women

While she, at times, feels as though she is a bit lovesick (still), I have determined that it is not so much that she is lovesick, but that she is in love, and when she agrees with and stands by Aldrik it is not because sh is a teenager who is infatuated with a prince. It is because she truly deeply loves him, and that is what people do when they love each other. Vhalla stands tall and strong on her own, and does not need Aldrik to complete who she is as a person. The fact that Vhalla still believes that love is worth it despite all her heartbreak is hopeful.

Aldrik

We learn more details about Aldrik’s past that have previously been very fuzzy. Again, Aldrik has a tendency to annoy me in this book.  One minute I really like him and respect him, and the next he is annoying the crap out of me. However, he is less of lovesick puppy dog than he is in Earth’s End, which is greatly appreciated. I enjoy the fact that he is shown to be a “real guy” when he “begrudgingly accepts” a  condition that Vhalla has laid out for him.  Aldrik is not perfect! There are some epic reactions from Aldrik, especially when he is in the alone in same room with the Northern princess and Vhalla. Again, these reactions from him show me that he is not the perfect man and he has his flaws, just as we all do.

At the end, he has a tendency to play the martyr, and find that especially annoying. He stays so emotionally strong throughout the novel, and at the end he falls to pieces, and wants to feel sorry for himself all of a sudden. It really threw me off.

Baldair

He plays his usual charming self from the minute he makes an appearance.  I’m so glad I was finally able to get to the point where I could fully trust, and know that he only wanted the best for Aldrik and Vhalla. His relationship with Aldrik and Vhalla really develops during the first half of Water’s Wrath, and we are able to see just how important they are to him.  He even goes so far as to say that Vhalla is “the sister he never had.”

Jax

Jax returns to us in true Jax fashion in Water’s Wrath.  Helping Vhalla in what she is going through in his own sarcastic and crass Jax way.  He helps Vhalla develop her skill and strength as a soldier, and I love the fact that despite his hard outer shell, he is a little bit like pudding on the inside.  He cares for Vhalla and the princes you didn’t think was possible based on the way he behaves outwardly.

Fritz

We learn so much more about Fritz in Water’s Wrath!! We get to see more of his relationship with Grahm and we get to meet his family, which by the way are so sweet, and tell you a lot about who Fritz is as a person. They are just as down to earth and heartwarming as Fritz is. Finally, there are some really sweet and tender best friend moments that take place between him and Vhalla.

Victor (the Minister of Sorcery)

I had always assumed that Victor was significantly older than the rest of the sorcerers due to the fact that he is in charge of the Tower, but it actually turns out that he is only 4-5 years older than Aldrik.  We find out a lot about Victor’s background as well as his relationship with Aldrik. In addition, we learn what kind of role he has played in all the previous books as well as what kind of role he’ll end up playing for the last book. I will leave you with this piece of information: at one point Victor says, “The line between genius and madness is so very thin.”** Do with that what you will.

**Quote is taken from an ARC, so I don’t know if it will be accurate for the published version.

Sehra (the Northern princess)

I don’t have a ton to say about Sehra, but what I do have to say is important.  We get to know what her motives are for marrying Aldrik.  Any face off between her and Vhalla would be extremely interesting. Sehra is a smart one. She is ruthless and smart. . . which makes her dangerous.

Rating

There is so much shit that goes down during this book, which is why I am so looking for Crystal Crowned, which comes out in July!  I can’t wait to see what happens! But, it is the end of this book and the development of the secondary characters that earns it the rating that it gets. There are no words to express the shock and awe that you are left with at the end of Water’s Wrath, which is why it earns A- in my gradebook.

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GIVEAWAY!

Elise is doing a pretty cool giveaway for the release of Water’s Wrath. She is giving all of you the opportunity to have your name in Crystal Crowned, which comes out in July! Here it is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

View More: http://radred.pass.us/joseph-wedding-2015-jpegElise Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she’s honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.

Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she’s currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of “geekdom.” She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook.

Follow Elise Kova on Goodreads

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My Website: http://www.EliseKova.com

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Happy Reading!

Erin

Book Review: The Firebird Series #1 and #2

Book Review: A Thousand Pieces of You & Ten Thousand Skies Above You

So I decided to combine these two books because I slacked off and didn’t read A Thousand Pieces of You a year ago, when I should have.

Synopsis

a thousan pices

A Thousand Pieces of You

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

ten thousand skies

Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

Review

A Thousand Pieces of You was beautiful. I have to say, it was the cover that pulled me in, the sci-fi piece of the story that started me reading, but it was the love story that kept me reading. Claudia Gray weaves together a love story that spans dimensions, and makes you question whether the concept of fate is actually true. But, a fair warning, if you are expecting this to be a sci-fi book first and foremost, be prepared to be disappointed because this beautifully written book is first and foremost a love story. There is a bit of a love triangle, so be ready for that as well, but it is small, and pushed aside relatively quickly. If you appreciate an epic love story, you will love Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You continues the well-written beauty that was A Thousand Pieces of You.  This book pulls you deeper into Marguerite’s world, and the complications that come with it.  We get to visit five more dimensions, and return to one that was introduced to us in the first book.  It is in Ten Thousand Skies Above You that we see just how deep Marguerite’s and Paul’s love goes. Assuming alternate dimensions are real, it examines the ethics of interdimensional travel.  Is one version of a person more important than another? The existence of destiny and fate. Are we only one soul that is the same across all universes? Should one soul be held responsible for the thoughts and actions of another? The ethics of destroying other universes…Is it ok to destroy them if they don’t know they aren’t the only ones that exist?  

Unfortunately, the characters don’t seem to grow much and stay rather one-dimensional (no pun intended), but it is really the themes of the books that drive the plot forward and cause you to think, that makes the book a great story.

Characters

Marguerite – Marguerite is so unsure of herself, and she stays this way for the vast majority of both books with very little growth. Although, she does seem to gain some strength and independence toward the end of the second book. As I write this I am realizing that it can be hard to see a character arc because there are multiple versions of the same character due to the multiple dimensions.  Each version can be very similar and/or very different from the original.

Paul – Paul never really changes. He is delightfully awkward and anti-social because of the scientist that he is until Marguerite starts to bring him out of his shell.  After Paul starts to become more social, he is one of the sweetest and adorable male characters I have ever read. He cares so much for Marguerite, and I am so interested to see what happens with his character in the next book.

Theo – Theo is a bit of a bad boy in the beginning. There is a tiny love triangle in A Thousand Pieces of You between him, Marguerite, and Paul, but don’t worry, it is quickly swept to the side.  Theo is often kept on the outside of Paul and Marguerite’s relationship for a variety of reasons despite the fact they are all friends.  It almost gets to the point where you start to feel sorry for him.

Conley – Oh, Conley. In many ways you are the perfect villain: cold, heartless, always justifying your actions and insisting you are helping the world by doing the terrible things that you do.  And you are like this in every version of yourself. Conley is probably the most one dimensional character out of all of them.

Rating

I feel the need to rate these two books as a whole because they should really be read together considering the cliffhanger at the end.  Really, I should have waited until the series was done before reading them because Claudia Gray is outstanding at cliffhangers.  The love story is beautiful and fulfills my YA indulgence of a good love story with a minimal love triangle.  Overall, these to books get a B+ rating due to the one-dimensionality of the characters, but they get boosted due to the amazing thematic questions that I am forced to ask myself while reading them, even if inter-dimensional travel isn’t currently possible.

Happy Reading!

Erin

 

Book Review: Wolf by Wolf

wolf by wolf

Book Review: Wolf by Wolf

I read this book as part of a read along hosted by Mariam at Flying Through Fiction. We had a lot of fun, so you should check her out!

Synopsis

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Review

I got really excited when I read the synopsis for this book because what could better than a YA book version of The Man in the High Castle, which, I admit, I have not read, but I watched the Amazon Prime series, and that was outstanding.  If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it immediately! You don’t need to know much about World War II to enjoy it, but the more you know, the more interesting it becomes.  

Wolf by Wolf did not disappoint. The characters are complex, the main character has a really interesting backstory that drives the plot, there are flashbacks built in to explain the backstory (I’m a big fan of a flashback), there is suspense and an air of mystery, and there is an ending I was not expecting, which is always a good thing.

There is a plot hole or two that I am hoping will get wrapped up and addressed in the second book, Blood for Blood, which is supposed to be released November 1st, 2016. I’m really excited to read it!

Characters

Yael – The main character of the story. Yael is Jewish, tested on in a concentration camp that put her through so much pain, emotional and physical. She is strong and independent, sometimes to a fault. While she questions right from wrong as well as her motives and moral compass throughout the story, she is probably one of the least complex characters mainly because we know the most about her. We know her background, we know why she joined the resistance, we know why she wants to kill Hitler.

Since we don’t know what Yael looks like in her original body and true form, we do know what she looks like as Adele Wolfe, so here is how I see her throughout most of the book. She definitely doesn’t have Taylor Swift’s personality, but I pictured her with the fierce blue eyes and the almost white blond hair that Taylor Swift has.

 

 

Felix – He is a protective older brother, and doesn’t want his sister to participate in the Axis Tour at all. He thinks it’s too risky, so at the last minute he joins the race to try to protect Adele throughout the race in any way he can. As we learn more about Felix, we see that he is willing to do anything for his sister, even keep a very risky secret and help her carry out a very risky mission. I am interested and hoping to learn more about Felix in the next book.

Luka – Oh, Luka, how delightful and charming you are.  Luka is exactly how I like my fictional male characters: sarcastic and kind of a jerk, with a hard candy shell on the outside, but melty and sweet on the inside.  In this particular case, he might be served with a side of poison. Luka is interesting and complex because we are not really sure where his loyalties lie, so we can never really trust him.

 

Rating

Ryan Graudin’s writing is really easy to follow considering she is working with a character that changes form and is having flashbacks.  In addition, the book is historical fiction which can be challenging to read anyway. Luckily, I never got lost due to seamlessness of Graudin’s writing. Her ability to pull you into a somewhat complicated plot and create such a thrilling and beautiful story, and leave you wanting more at the end is outstanding. Graudin’s ability to do all of these things causes Wolf by Wolf to earn an A- from me. I have already recommended this book to several students and friends.  

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Happy Reading!

Erin