Sky Without Stars Review

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Splintered Review

384 pages
Release date: January 1st, 2013

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Review (ARC):
This is one strange book. You think you know the Wonderland story until you read this twist. Alyssa is certain that she's coming down with whatever madness seems to affect the females in her family. As a descendant of the original Alice, Alyssa has been looked at as possibly being crazy all her life. I admire Alyssa as a main character because despite everything she remains strong and finds a way to get answers to what the family curse really is about. The Wonderland in this novel is darker and more terrifying than the one told of in books. Everything is so twisted and different from what you may expect. There are two love interests, one a product of Wonderland and the other of the human world. It's interesting to see the hold both guys have on Alyssa and the motive behind their interest. There is quite a bit of adventure as Alyssa tries to figure out why Wonderland is so familiar and how she can break the family curse as well as pass the tests. The thing I liked the most about this novel is that the world building is extremely creative and intriguing. I definitely recommend reading this if you love twists on classic tales of a darker nature. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Releases This Week

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Essence Review

352 pages
Release date: January 1st, 2013

At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness. Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two. As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

Review (ARC):
I liked this novel a bit less than the first one in this series. Charlie annoyed me in this novel because of her tendency to keep secrets and general weakness. I feel like Charlie was much stronger in the previous novel but was very unsure of herself and her friends in this one. The fact that Sabara still remains in Charlie's psyche doesn't help at all. We learn a lot more about Sabara in this novel and some of the other kingdoms as a whole. I don't feel like we get to learn as much information about the other queens at the summit, everything moves too quickly. Despite that it is soon made clear who the betrayal comes from. Charlie's relationship with Max isn't a major focus in this book and we don't see as much of him as I would have liked. Other than that the action and adventure of traveling to another country makes this book entertaining. Everyone is out to get Charlie now that she is Queen so her being a target attracts all sorts of danger. I enjoyed this novel especially since it answered a lot of questions I didn't know I had. I definitely recommend reading this but only if you read The Pledge first.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Promised Review

304 pages

After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and upending the rigid matriarchy of Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her biggest challenge ever. She must lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge from the wasteland. In Gaia's absence, the Enclave has grown more cruel, more desperate to experiment on mothers from outside the wall, and now the stakes of cooperating or rebelling have never been higher. Is Gaia ready, as a leader, to sacrifice what--or whom--she loves most?

As the final book in the trilogy, this isn't the strongest, but it does a good job of tying up the story. Gaia is the leader of the Sylum people but she doesn't always act like it. I feel like Gaia was a lot stronger in the other books but a bit more on the passive side a lot in this one. The Protectorat has only grown more cruel in Gaia's absence and she has to find a way to change that along with Leon and the rest of her friends. I appreciated that we got to learn a lot more behind why things are the way they are in the Enclave. Leon and Gaia's relationship go through so much yet they continue to remain as strong as ever. There is a lot of action and climatic moments that make this story exciting and a fun read. The ending is a bit strange, I didn't really understand why things had to end up that way but it was acceptable I guess. All in all I would recommend you read this if you've read Birthmarked and Prized so that you can finish off the series.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Crimson Frost Review

384 pages
Release date: December 24th, 2012

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will. I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming. I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

Review (ARC):
I am extremely glad that I continued reading this series as it has only continued to get better! I admit when I first started reading this series I was not a fan, but I'm not the type to judge all books by their predecessors so I kept reading and this author made me a believer! These last two novels have been extremely well written and exciting. Even though Gwen isn't the best fighter she is still an amazing heroine who fearlessly takes on those who threaten her family and friends. There is a lot of drama as usual between Gwen and Logan which keeps the romantic aspect of the book interesting. This novel was full of turmoil and danger since Gwen finds herself being blamed for something she didn't do. It's interesting to see the way Gwen's friends react to her newfound situation, and not everyone is who they seem to be. The one thing I love about this novel is how it finds a way to incorporate different types of mythology into one story. It makes things more interesting instead of just focusing on one type. This novel builds into a climatic ending that left me hungry to see what happens next to Gwen and her friends. I definitely recommend reading this novel if you love mythology, magic, and action, but first check out the other three books in this series.

Mythos Academy series
Touch of Frost
Kiss of Frost
Dark Frost

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Releases This Week

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twisted Thursdays

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Because It Is My Blood Review

350 pages

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.

This novel was significantly more enjoyable to me than the first one in the series. Even though Anya is finally out of jail, she still finds it hard to fit into a life that doesn't include her criminal past. Since a hit has been placed on Anya's whole family, she is in a race to try and find out who wants them dead and why. Anya is still a strong person despite all that she has been through and she's also learned a bit from it which makes her smarter too. Some new characters are introduced and they help teach Anya quite a bit about herself and what she wants for her family's future. While this is a dystopian novel, don't expect a lot of action, its more of a mystery crime novel. The ending throws quite a few surprises your way especially with the way enemies and friends are interchangeable. I definitely enjoyed reading this and if you've read All These Things I've Done then you should absolutely read this too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Secondhand Charm Review

352 pages

In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . .

This was a nice fantasy novel with a middle age feel to it. I like the mystical world that Evie suddenly finds herself thrust into. It was actually completely different and unexpected from most magical tales. I wasn't too happy with a lot of Evie's decisions at times. I wasn't too fond of her romantic choice at the end as well but I guess when you compare her love interest's personalities he was the better fit. I like that you could see the changes that Evie went through as a person and I appreciate her bravery and ability to think for herself. The characters that Evie meets along her journey are mostly not memorable, but a few do stand out at times. There is a lot of action which partially ties into Evie's newfound magical abilities and adventure in Evie' s travels to becoming a healer. I did like this novel although I didn't love it, so I'd recommend it for a quick and fun read.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Releases This Week

Friday, December 14, 2012

Scent of Magic Review

400 pages

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle. Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat. War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

Review (ARC):
As the second book in the Healer's series, this continues an intriguing and fresh story. This novel is once again told from both Avry and Kerrick's point of view. Avry is her usual brave self, although she does tend to rush into things at times. Kerrick is still the brave and intense man that Avry came to love in the first novel. Things still aren't going smoothly in the Fifteen Realms so Avry and Kerrick have to separate to try and help make things better. No one knows that Avry is alive, not even her friends, except for Kerrick. This of course gives her the brilliant idea to go under disguise into the holy army. How could that go wrong? In plenty of ways as you'll come to find out. There are new characters and quite a few heartbreaking moments as well. There is a lot of action, adventure, and harrowing events as Avry and Kerrick go on their separate journeys. This is a very exciting read and I can't wait to pick up the next one when it comes out. I definitely recommend it if you like fantasy and magic novels. However, I would recommend that you read Touch of Power first.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twisted Thursdays


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Princess Curse Review

328 pages

Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice--will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?

This is a wonderful spin on both the Twelve Dancing Princesses and Beauty and the Beast with some Greek mythology also incorporated into this tale. Reveka is remarkably intelligent yet has to deal with the spoiled princesses that live in the castle every day. Reveka's father doesn't know her very well and thinks that she's a liar which makes her life even harder than it should be. No one in the kingdom has been able to break the curse on the twelve princesses so Reveka takes it upon herself to do so. Reveka desperately wants to become a herbalist and she needs the dowry reward that the king is offering to obtain her dream. Of course the curse ends up being far deeper than Reveka can imagine and it leads her on a journey to discover herself and the hidden qualities in others. This story has been perfectly blended together to make a thoroughly exciting and beautiful tale. I definitely recommend this if you like fairytale retellings and mythology as well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Breathe Review

400 pages

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.
Alina has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.
Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.
Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.
And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

This is quite a different concept from most dystopian fiction. Oxygen is rare and hard to get so people have to pay for the oxygen they use. Can you imagine if you were monitored with how much oxygen you breathe? Alina, Quinn, and Bea are three different people who all survive in different ways under Breathe. Alina is a strong and fierce character who does not live in Breathe, so she has to steal the air that she wants to use. Quinn is smart but he is also extremely privileged, although he doesn't let this affect the way he treats others. Bea is smart but follows the rules closely. All Be a wants is to be on the same level as Quinn, who she is in love with, but she doesn't have the same status. Somehow all three characters collide which takes them on a journey through the Outlands that they won't forget. There is a lot of underhandedness with what Breathe is doing to control the survivors and a lot more to what's going on in the world outside of Breathe. There is a lot of action and discovery as these three encounter all kinds of unexpected trouble and people in the Outlands. I can't wait to read the next novel in this series and I definitely recommend reading this if you love dystopian fiction.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Releases This Week

Friday, December 7, 2012

Falling Kingdoms Review

412 pages
Release date: December 11th, 2012

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Review (ARC):
Wow this was an amazingly written fantasy tale that left me completely breathless and longing for more at the end. This story is told from the point of view of four different characters from different kingdoms. Cleo isn't a very strong person when it comes to her character at the beginning but that isn't necessarily her fault. Cleo is willing to put herself in any danger to help someone she loves and as she grows as a person she also develops into a worthy princess. The one thing I did not like about Jonas was that his thirst for revenge seemed to outweigh all. However, Jonas does have his moments of compassion which seems to show that all may not be lost for him. Lucia doesn't know about her past and the power she has at her disposal. I didn't like that Lucia seemed to be an extremely gullible character despite her potential for greatness. Magnus is Lucia's brother but he doesn't have "brotherly" feelings towards her. This makes Magnus a bit creepy at times but he does have a good side despite the brutality of his father. There is a lot of action and plenty of adventure that of course all boils down to a huge battle. I can't wait to see what happens to all of the characters in the next novel and whether their characteristics change for the better or the worst. I definitely recommend this novel if you love epic fantasy with magic, battles, and mystery.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Twisted Thursdays

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Crimson Crown

598 pages

A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed—Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love. Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana’Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love. Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

This is the perfect ending to the Seven Realms series! There is nothing I like better than a long book that is both exciting and intriguing. This book was one non stop journey of action and adventure. Raisa is a strong and mostly fearless leader although she has a hard time figuring out how to appease everyone now that she's come to the throne. Han still has a lot of prejudice and other issues to overcome while trying to help Raisa keep control over her tenuous hold on the kingdom. The one problem that Raisa and Han continuously have is lack of communication which of course creates a lot of unnecessary issues between them. The other characters all have different kinds of growth or failures in character that make things more complicated for Raisa and Han. There is betrayal in unexpected corners and all kinds of revelations that show the real story behind a lot of the historical lies in the Fells.
I was absolutely satisfied after reading this conclusion and I'm certain that if you love this series you will be too. I definitely recommend reading this novel if you love fantasy but make sure you read the rest of the Seven Realms series first.

The Demon King
The Exiled Queen
The Gray Wolf Throne
The Crimson Crown

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem Review

288 pages
Release date: December 11th, 2012

Stuck in her family's apple orchards, Kat's got plenty of work to do and only pesky Jeremy to help. But when Jeremy convinces her to run away, Kat will discover that nothing---and no one---in her life is quite what it seems. Wonderfully reimagined, this is the magical tale of Snow White as you've never read it before!

Review (ARC):
This is a beautifully written spin on the Snow White fairytale. I love the fact that this story is written from the point of view of the magic mirror and you actually get to learn its history as well. There are quite a few twists in this novel that make it different from the original Snow White and at the same time make it more intriguing. Kat is a sweet yet strong main character who doesn't know much beyond the apple orchards she helps tend. There are quite a few tragic moments in Kat's life but she finds a way to overcome them although she does go through life a bit more naive than others. There are two instead of just one potential love interest and the back story on their lives are an amazing twist as well. The dwarves are different from what you may expect but their characteristics make them even more endearing. I definitely recommend this novel if you love a great fairytale retelling.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Island of Silence Review

416 pages

The battle is over. The magical barrier between the dreary land of Quill and the fantastical world of Artimé is gone. Now residents of both places are free to mingle, but tensions are high. The artistic warriors of Artimé struggle to forgive those in Quill who condemned them to death, while the Quillens attempt to recover from the shock of Artime’s existence, the loss of their leader, and the total collapse of their safe, orderly world. 14-year-old Alex Stowe has recovered from his physical wounds since his death-defying role in Artime’s victory, but his confidence is shattered. He battles self-doubt after Artimé’s beloved mage, Mr. Today, makes a stunning request, which is further complicated by the mysterious arrival of two silent, orange-eyed teenagers. Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron is devastated by his fall from grace and seething with anger toward his twin brother Alex. Spurred by rage, Aaron recruits a team of Restorers and devises a masterful plan of revenge that will return him to power…if no one gets in his way.

If you thought the first novel was good, this one completely blows that one out of the water! I admit I wasn't the biggest fan of the first novel but I absolutely loved this one! Even though the barrier is down between Quill and Artimé, there is still a lot of dissension with most Quillens. Alex doesn't believe in himself as much as he should especially after what happened with his twin brother Aaron at the end of the first novel. Aaron's mind has become extremely warped and its interesting to see the way he influences the Quillens to come around to his way of thinking. Besides all of the drama and battles going on between the Quillens and those in Artimé, there are other problems and mysteries to uncover on the other islands. Be forewarned, there are some dark moments in this novel that make you wonder what else can possibly go wrong. There is more action and adventure in this book than the previous one and it makes for an exciting read. Although this novel ended on a bit of a cliffhanger I wasn't disappointed with it at all. I can't wait to get my hands on the next novel in this series. I definitely recommend reading this if you love fantasy novels but make sure you read The Unwanteds first.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New Release This Week