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Book Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Claire- Book 3 in The Dark Artifices Series

  • Overall: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Reading Rate: **
  • Pages: 912
  • Release Date: December 4, 2018
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • I recommend if you liked: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices
  • Purchase on Amazon here

I am not sure if it was this story or if I have just read too much of the same storyline with the Shadowhunters’ novels. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices. I think this story was just too much a repeat of The Mortal Instruments and trying to push relationships in YA books. I had to take a break after reading the first two books in this trilogy and only started this one back up almost a year later because it was available on audiobook through Scribd.

I listened to the audiobook and while James Marten (LOVE SPIKE) was a great narrator there was just so much that was not needed. I would zone out while listening for a few minutes to realize what I had done… and didn’t even miss anything relevant to the story.

What I liked:

  • It was nice to see the world tie together with other books and see where prior loved characters are now.
  • While it was a little out there, I did like that things were shaken up with the alternate dimension.
  • Not to spoil too much but OMG there was a Shadowhunter wedding and I LOVED IT!
  • The ending was left open for another series and I am so hoping to see some of my all time favorite characters come back with less politics in this next series.

What I struggled with:

  • I didn’t like the way some of the older characters like Clary and Magnus were portrayed, it seemed to take them down a notch from the prior series where they were the MCs
  • While I get that CC is trying to make a statement about inclusion in her writing there was a lot that just was not necessary for the story. She also had too many independent storylines running. I feel like she could have had some great short stories or standalone spins offs rather than trying to cram it all into this one trilogy.
  • While I liked the idea of the blight and Thule, the fact that narrow minded Shadowhunter who never learn from their mistakes caused all of their own issues is so frustrating, especially when you are on about book 13 of reading it.
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Book Review: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

The Black Witch (Book #1 The Black Witch Chronicles) by Laurie Forest Book Review

  • Overall rating : ****
  • Reading rate: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Pages: 601
  • Release date: May 2, 2017
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen
  • Recommended if you liked: Serpent & Dove, Shadow & Bone
  • Purchase on Amazon here

I have had The Black Witch on my TBR for a VERY long time, so when some fellow Bookstgrammers put together a read along I jumped on the chance.

I actually went back and forth between audio and physical book for this read and I think starting with audio really helped with some of the heavy world building in the begging. Once things started to take off later in the book I picked up the physical book to finish off because I wanted to absorb all of the details.

What I liked: This books has all the feels

  • A great mix of politics, people and magic system.
  • Lots of great characters, I found myself caring for (and hating) so many people in just the first book.
  • I 100% know I am in for a serious heartbreak at some point, there are LOTS of great love lines going on in this series. While there are love interests in this book there are no explicit scenes so keeps it YA.

What I struggled with:

  • There is a lot of prejudice and bullying in this book, some of it was a bit hard to get through but it essential to the story and things pick up as it goes
  • There were quite a few scenes that felt a little repetitive and the story could have been a bit shorter and been just as good if not better for me

Overall I HIGHLY recommend this book… and no spoilers but I finished the sequel in a single day and it gets even better!!

Synopsis:

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of rebels…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.

Have you read The Black Witch? If so, what did you think of it? Any similar recommendations?

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Book Review: The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

The Dark Tide (The Dark Tide #1) by Alicia Jasinska Review

THe Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinksa

  • Overall rating : ***
  • Reading rate: ****
  • Romance: **** Lots of love, but nothing steamy
  • Pages: 336
  • Release date: June 2, 2020
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Recommended if you liked: The Wicked Deep
  • Purchase on Amazon here

As soon as I saw this cover I knew I had to request! Gorgeous right!!! Between that and the description I could not wait to get my hands on this book.

What I liked:

  • This was a fast-paced dark fantasy read with Beauty and the Beast vibes…. well, with a gorgeous Witch Queen as the “beast”.
  • The story dives right into the action and does not let up until the very end.
  • I enjoyed the concept of the world Jasinska set up, the way magic works and the idea of the island being a sanctuary where witches and humans escaped persecution from the mainlanders.

What I struggled with:

  • The book fell a little short for me due the lack of broader world building and predictability. I felt like I came into an already rolling story line and while some background was filled in as we went, I was still left with a lot of questions.
  • The way the story was set up also allowed you to predict characters actions and the overall outcome of the story but was still overall a good read.

The book is listed as being a series but I felt it worked well as a standalone and was not set up to have an immediate next issue to resolve.

Synopsis:

Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.

Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for a copy of The Dark Tide in exchange for honest opinion.

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Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi Book Review

  • Overall: ****
  • Romance: ****
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 338
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2011
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager 
  • Recommend if you like: Divergent, The Remnant Chronicles
  • Purchase on Amazon here

Shatter Me is one of those series I keep hearing about over and over and with the final book in the series releasing this month I decided I needed to finally dive in…. and of course to try and avoid some spoilers if possible.

For the record I LOVE Dystopian worlds in print and in movies…though this genre may not be your cup of tea I think there is enough of a romance element that it could still draw in some readers who normally would not take the plunge.

What I liked:

  • Really great mix of dystopian and YA romance. Adam and Juliette give me Tris and Four vibes from Divergent but with a little more steam.
  • I really liked the overall concept of the book. I normally don’t do well not having a lot of information but the book is set up to keep you guessing on whats real and who you can trust and I just ate it up. I feel like it was a great set up for a series with endless possibilities.
  • Fast paced. I listened to the audio book  through Scribd and blew through it I 2 days (admittedly during “social distancing”).

What I struggled with:

  • The writing style and the repeating of words a lot was a bit challenging to listen to so I imagine would have been much harder to read. The way things were written do give you good insight into Juliette’s mental state which overall was valuable to the story.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and dove right into listening to the sequel to find out what happens next… and if my ship can sail!

Synopsis:

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

 

 

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Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury Book Review

Blinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury Book ReviewBlinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury

  • Overall: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 330 for the paperback, however I read on Kindle
  • Release Date: October 2, 2018
  • Publisher: The Parliament House Press
  • Purchase on Amazon here
  • Recommend if you liked: ACOTAR, Shade of Vampire

This is a really cute Hades and Persephone retelling and the first book in a duology. The main character is a 20 year old art student from Rhode Island whose entire life changes when Hades swoops in the retrieve her from the hospital after her parents are killed in a car accident while traveling to Greece.

While this story does have a lot of ACOTAR similarities it is heavily tied to the romance story line between Persephone and Hades with the events of the broader world being more a sub plot. But she is an artist, rough relations with her family, the inner circle, etc.

What I liked:

  • This was a cute fast paced read, I love a good quick romance story.
  • The romance line was carried throughout with a little steam here and there, nothing that would not fall within what you commonly see in other YA books today.
  • I enjoyed the mythology aspect and the takes on traditional stories of the Gods.

What I struggled with:

  • While the MC is 20 years old but she acted much younger in my opinion. She was very resentful towards her parents and thought their affections were “icky” basically. She did seem sheltered and spoiled with an overprotective mom so this may be really where they were trying to get at but I had a hard time with it. I think she also took the death of her parents and change in her world a bit too well, but maybe just not time in the story to capture that recovery timeline.
  • The story never made it clear why Persephone had no choice of her own in staying with Hades vs returning to her mother. We also never received any insight into the mother’s side of the story. Hoping this gets cleared up in the second book in the duology.
  • There were also a handful or spelling/grammar errors as well as a few small contradictions in the story, nothing to the larger plot line.

Synopsis:

What if you were the missing piece in one of the world’s most epic legends?

Despite being an art history student, Summer isn’t thrilled to be stuck with her archeologist family all summer in Greece. While the rest of her college friends are posting a million selfies by the pool together, Summer is stuck alone, trying to entertain herself alone in a place where she doesn’t even speak the language.

Upon her arrival to Greece, strange dreams and even stranger shadows seem to haunt Summer, leaving her to ponder the meaning of pomegranate seeds and twisted, darkened faces.

Suddenly, her stay abroad leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of a dark stranger, who claims to be the god, Hades, whom she feels like she knows from another life. In a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, Summer is seduced to the lowest point of Greece where Hades’ lair awaits…the Underworld. Determined to find out who she is and where she belongs in an age-old myth, Summer joins Hades to discover that the secrets about her past life are beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

Thank you to Chantal Gadoury and the Parliament House Press for a copy of Blinding Night in exchange for my honest review.