Tag Archive | NA

REVIEW: The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Read: June 25-27, 2017

Format: ARC Ebook

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Random House, Del Rey Books

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Genre: YA / NA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Reading Challenge(s): Flights of Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the lush and magical tradition of Naomi Novik’s award-winning Uprooted comes this riveting debut from brilliant young writer Callie Bates—whose boundless imagination places her among the finest authors of fantasy fiction, including Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.

Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

First of all, can we look at this cover? How cool is this cover! And it’s entirely appropriate for this book. Like, I can’t think of any cooler cover for this book. It perfectly sums up the story and the character Elanna.

So, as far as I can tell this is a stand alone fantasy novel. It’s billed as YA, but it’s really more upper YA into NA due to one steamy scene. I hope this becomes a series though, because I was blown away. I’m just not sure what is left of the story to tell… but I’d still read it!

This world and magic system is so cool. Basically, El lives in a country where magic is outlawed. If someone is suspected of magic, the Witch Hunters are called, and it’s a death sentence. So El doesn’t tell anyone that plants come alive around her – one touch of her finger and she can make them grow. She has big plans of going off for further training to be a botanist. Of course, the king might have other plans, like an arranged marriage.

No worries about that whole arranged marriage by the king thing though, because the king is murdered. Oh, and El is one of the prime suspects. And aside from taking her away from her parents and homeland at five years old to become a political prisoner—due to her father leading a rebellion, she actually kind of liked the guy. So begins her tale. She goes through a lot of changes of heart in this book, starting with not wanting anything to do with her parents. Not wanting to accept her magic. Wanting things to stay the same for her in King Antoine’s court.

El’s journey is a long one. Like, this book could have been broken into like, at least a trilogy, but it wasn’t, and I’m glad the author chose to keep it as one book. It meant no wait time to finish this journey!

The magic in this book is so cool. The land is literally alive and that power lives inside Elanna. There’s a lot of talk of the ancestors and ancient magics and so on. I loved it.

The romance? I don’t know if I was just in the mood for this kind of romance or what, but I immediately fell under Jahan’s charms. His personality was just so… charming! And he’s got secrets of his own. He was very easy going and had a nice sense of humor.

This review does this book no justice. Seriously, none. I can’t even describe all the feels. I can say this though, I did not want to put this book down. Most times I have my specific reading times and I stick to them. With this book? That went out the window. I read and read, and then I read some more. Until I’d devoured this entire thing in 3 days time—which is pretty quick for me for a book this long.

So, long story short: fans of YA fantasy tales with really cool and unique magic systems and a swoon worthy love interest will enjoy this story.


Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

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QUOTES

 

It’s been fourteen years, last night. Fourteen year since King Antoine took me hostage; fourteen years since I’ve seen or heard from my parents.

 

I’m supposed to be safe here, safe to taunt myself with a magic I am not supposed to possess. A magic I still don’t understand.

 

I have no power but the king’s mercurial affection, which would vanish as soon as anyone named me a witch.

 

For a moment, I forget to be afraid. I just want to listen. I want to understand what the plants are saying.

 

“Jahan what?” I demand. “And I’ll thank you to state your intentions as well!”

A snort escapes him: He’s definitely trying not to laugh. “Jahan Korakides, at your service, demoiselle. I swear to you, my intentions are nothing but honorable.”

“Indeed?” I say. “A man takes a woman—by magic—and knocks her senseless, and she comes to on a horse in the middle of the night, and she’s supposed to assume his intentions are honorable?”

 

But I won’t use my magic to help them. It’s too dangerous, and it gives others ideas. It makes them think I might be what they want me to be.

 

“But you never came for me,” I say. “You left me there. You left me—”

“No,” she says fiercely. “I was always with you. Every day. Every moment. I am your mother, and I was with you.”

 

There’s a story in which Wildegarde makes an entire forest grow overnight; the next morning, the trees rip their roots from the ground and walk.

 

“…The Ereni had to fight their way through shifting forests and hills; they drowned in streams that appeared out of nowhere and valleys that seemed never to end. So by the time they reached Barrony, they wanted more than conquest. They were half mad. They wanted blood.”

 

The earth knew what I wanted. It did as I asked.

 

“So you trust me now?” His breath touches my face; his fingertips linger on my neck.

“Maybe,” I say with a laugh that catches in my throat.

 

REVIEW: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Read: December 1 – 6, 2016

Format: ARC ebook

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Thomas Dunne / St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

First – look at this cover. Is this not a stunningly beautiful cover? Wow. I want to frame it and hang it on the wall. I love this cover so much. This cover is the reason I wanted to read this book, well, that and the fact that it’s also about the Goblin King.

Now let’s talk for a moment about the 1986 movie Labyrinth staring the fabulous David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly. This book is not at all like the movie, aside from the connection with the Goblin King, the taken sibling, the midnight balls, the oubliette, and those weird hand things. You remember that scene, right? “Up or down?” Anyway, that sounds like a lot in common, but it’s really not. It’s the ideas, but the way they’re weaved in the book is very different from the film.

So, back to the book. First, I believe this is billed as a YA. There is a LOT of sex in a book for teens! I would actually classify this more as a new adult novel, or a YA/NA crossover at best. I would not let my kids read this book until they were 17 at the earliest, and even then if they were mature enough to handle it. As an avid adult YA reader, it was fine for me.

This story takes place in 18th century Bavaria and follows Elisabeth aka Liesl, the 19 year old daughter of an inn keeper. She is the oldest, but unlike her younger sister Kath, she is not beautiful, but plain. She is as talented as her little brother Joseph, if not more, but she is a girl, and therefor her talents have largely gone ignored.

S. Jae-Jones has proven that she has a voice to be heard with this book. The prose is hauntingly beautiful. I felt like I was taking this journey with Liesl/Elisabeth. I felt what she felt, I saw/heard what she did. I fell into this world of music and folklore and got lost. This book made me feel like I knew something about playing the violin, when in actuality I have nothing more than a couple of months piano lessons under my belt.

Despite the beautiful prose, this book dragged for me. At times there were pages and pages of nothing happening. Repetition of Liesl/Elisabeth’s feelings and thoughts. This book is actually broken into sections and within Part I I wondered if anything would actually happen. And then it did. And it was fabulous. Part II was strange. Part III is where things got really weird and Liesl/Elisabeth began to act very out of character. I get that she’s changing on this journey, but it was odd. I didn’t like her much here. By the end, I mostly liked her again. Ultimately, this is the story of Elisabeth finding herself, and I think she succeeds.

I did love how vivid the characters were, even the Goblin King who is so shrouded in mystery, became real. I loved how protective Liesl/Elisabeth was of her siblings, especially her close relationship with Joseph.

I didn’t care much for how Liesl/Elisabeth and the Goblin King treated each other. It was obvious they each had strong feelings for the other, but neither expressed those feelings in a healthy way. It was very uncomfortable.

The end of this book is bittersweet. This is a very dark romance. There is no chance of a truly happy ending, no matter the outcome. I won’t tell you what happens, but I feel like the author ended this with the best possible outcome. And with a sequel due out in 2018, I wonder where that will lead us. And I wonder if it will be as many pages!

So, would I recommend this book? Eh…. It depends. This book is very long-winded, but the prose is utterly beautiful. If you like quick paced books, skip this one. If you don’t mind a book to take its sweet time getting from point A to point B, then you may enjoy this one.

Walking away from this book I really am conflicted. I’m still thinking about it two weeks later, which is something all authors want for their book! And if not for

the extremely slow pacing at times, I think I would have rated this book much higher. I’m curious to see what my friends think of this book, if any of them read it.
 


 
Wintersong releases February 7, 2017
Preorder Wintersong here

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

Will you mary me, Elisabeth? The little boy asked, and the little girl did not yet understand his question was not part of a game.

 

Time—like memory—was just another one of the Goblin King’s playthings, a toy he could bend and stretch at will.

 

Dangerous? Little Liesl had asked. Dangerous how?

Dangerous as a winter wind, which freezes the marrow from within, and not like a blade, which slashes the throat from without.

 

This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground. But was he also not the friend of my childhood, the confidante of my youth?

 

“Your sister,” he said, nodding toward Kathe in the crowd, “would prefer pretty enchantments to the stark ugliness of reality, I think.”

 

There was a grace to every line of his body; elegance was not only in his air, but in the way he moved. Even when he was unsure.

“I—I—“ He was flustered. I relished this bit of power over him, this ability to unsettle him as much as he unsettled me.

 

The surrounding forest was unfamiliar, lit with the otherworldly glow of starlight. The trees grew into twisted shapes, sculpted by centuries of wind—or a goblin-led hand. They grew as though striving to dance and roam free, only to be rooted fast and trapped by the earth beneath them.

 

“That sort of passion she inspires in me is all flash and no heat. I need an ember, Elisabeth, not a firecracker.”

 

He tastes like a winter wind, but the heat of our mouths warms him up, and then everything is languid, humid, hot, like still summer night.

 

I want to lie with the Devil and would do so again and again, just to feel like this.

 

“Go to bed, Elisabeth,” he said. “You’re drunk.”

 

I knew who I was not: my sister. Without my sister to define me, I was unsteady, unstable. I had lost the crutch that propped me up.

 

REVIEW: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

ALERT: One day only – December 7, 2016 – This book is on sale EVERYWHERE for only $1.99!

Check it out on Kindle here: http://amzn.to/2gbq2Bq

All images borrowed from Richelle Mead’s Facebook fan page!

I’m skipping Friday Favorites today in lieu of posting my review of my favorite author, Richelle Mead’s, latest release, The Glittering Court. It’s all good though, because this book has instantly become one of my favorites!


The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Series: The Glittering Court #1

Read: April 5 – 7, 2016

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: YA Romance

 

This book! Be still my heart, this book!

Okay, so I’ll be honest, from the books description, I wasn’t sure I was going to like The Glittering Court. All of the comparisons to The Selection had me weary, because I really didn’t like that book very much. The early reviews weren’t looking all that good either. (But really, they were mostly complaining that this is labeled a fantasy, when it’s really not. It’s a fantasy world, but contains no fantasy elements like magic or dragons.) But you know what? I took a leap and preordered. On April 5, release day, I dove right in and ended up staying up until two am the night of April 7th finishing. #WorthIt

 

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! Never again will I ever doubt Richelle Mead’s storytelling abilities. I will read anything and everything she writes.

 

If the TV shows Reign and When Calls The Heart had a baby, it would be The Glittering Court.

When the young Countess of Rothford is forced into an engagement with her “itchy” cousin, she panics. Taking a risky leap, she assumes the identity of her maid, Adelaide, and takes her place in The Glittering Court. The Glittering Court is basically a finishing school for young women of the lower castes. For a year they are trained to behave like noble women, and eventually are to be sent to the overseas to Adoria to wed the wealthy men who have made their fortunes in the new world.

The first half of the book takes place in the finishing school of The Glittering Court. Adelaide makes friends with her roommates, Tamsin and Mira, and ends up with an enemy in mean girl Clara. You’d think this school would be easy for her, considering she already excels at everything they’re teaching. However, in order to keep her true identity a secret, she has to purposely fail to avoid attention, which is sometimes easier said than done.

Along the way, the only person who knows her true identity is Cedric, the son of the man who co-owns The Glittering Court. Their relationship is tenuous at first, if she is caught they’ll both be in trouble. Big trouble. But along the way they become friends as well as partners in crime. Adelaide and Cedric partake in some not so legal activities, but as a reader I couldn’t help rooting for them, hoping they’d pull it off!

The second half of the book takes place in Adoria, the new world. Think of it as the wild frontier of America. Everything is new and dusty, men are staking their claim of land in search of gold, and taming the wild frontier.

As much as I love everything about the nobility, it was the second half of the book that won me over. Seeing Adelaide so out of her element in Adoria was great. And Cedric, poor pampered Cedric, such a good sport with where life leads him!

 

“Don’t you know that I’d lie with you in groves, under the light of the moon? That I’d defy the laws of gods and men for you?”

 

The romance was the best part of this book. It’s obvious from the beginning that Adelaide and Cedric are meant to be. I spent the whole book with my fingers crossed, hoping they could find a way to be together.

And the ending! Oh my, the ending! I can’t say much, except it opens the doors for the next book(s?) in this series, which I’ve heard will follow Adelaide’s friends.

 

“You need to stop this. Stop . . . Um, being a heretic.”

“It’s not something I can just stop being. It’s part of me.”

“They could kill you if you’re caught!”

 

Richelle also explores many themes in the book, weaving them seamlessly into a beautiful story I couldn’t put down. There’s the yearning for true love, and changing your fate to make your own destiny; religious persecution; friendship and betrayal; she even touches lightly on same-sex relationships.

Something that is very common in books these days, especially YA, is to end on a cliffhanger and keep the audience waiting for the next book. This book could have ended any number of times, but it didn’t. Richelle Mead chose to keep the story going until the actual end of Adelaide’s adventure. Having that true ending helped (a bit) with my P.B.D. (Post Book Depression) upon finishing.

 

This book is 100% worth the read. So much so that even though I already purchased the Kindle edition, I’m going to be buying the hardback as well to have Richelle sign when she’s in town next month.

REVIEW: Remembrance by Meg Cabot (A Mediator Novel)

I apologize for not posting a review in some time. I’ve been keeping very busy with my work over at Melange Books, Satin Romance & Fire and Ice YA Books. Keeping up with the web design, cover design, and releases is a lot of work!

To add to my list of excuses, I had to take some time to binge re-read all six of the original Mediator YA novels by Meg Cabot, so that I could read the new NA novel, Remembrance, which I’ll be reviewing today!


 

I’m only slightly annoyed that the new book is taller than my copies of the original books and won’t line up perfectly on the shelf.

 

Remembrance by Meg Cabot
Series: Mediator #7
Read: Feb 10-11, 2016
Format: Paperback
My Book Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Paranormal Romance

This book. THIS BOOK! So many FEELS!

Okay, so about 6 or 7 years ago my mother-in-law told me about this series of books by Meg Cabot called The Mediator. At that point in time I don’t think I’d ever read a Meg Cabot book, though I’d seen the Princess Diaries movies and LOVED them. So she loaned me the books… and I read the entire series back to back a good 5 or 6 times. No joke. I was smitten. I bought the entire set of books and they have a permanent home on my bookcase.

Fast forward to about a year or so ago and I heard that a new Mediator book was being released. Ecstatic is the best word to describe my feelings over this. I love the characters of The Mediator so much, I was over the moon to go on another adventure with them.

So first, if you have NOT read The Mediator books yet, DO NOT READ THIS FULL REVIEW!  It will spoil it for you! You can keep reading for now, then I’ll tell you when to stop!

A quick recap of the premise of the original 6 books is this:
Sure Simon has just moved to Carmel, CA from Brooklyn, NY due to her mother remarrying. Not only does she have a new stepdad (the first father figure in her life since her own dad died ten years prior) but she’s also got three step brothers, whom she hilariously refers to as Sleepy (Jake), Dopey (Brad) and Doc (David).

The thing about Suze is, she sees dead people. She’s a mediator of spirits, a skill she was born with, and learned early on to keep secret. It’s a ability considers a curse. Imagine her surprise when, upon walking into her new bedroom for the first time, she discovers it haunted by an incredibly gorgeous Spanish ghost named Jesse. *Swoon*

In each book Suze has ghostly challenges, and Jesse is always there for her, whether she wants him to or not. Of course she falls in love, but nothing can ever come of it – he’s dead! To add to the fun, she’s got new friends at school CeeCee (the albino), and Adam (the boy who CeeCee is in love with, even though he shamelessly flirts with Suze). She’s also got some new enemies in the form of popular mean girls Kelly and Debbie (who are both somewhat in love with two of Suze’s new stepbrothers, though Suze can’t imagine why.)

Sure is a punch first, ask questions later kind of girl, which doesn’t sit so well with her new high school principal, who happens to be both a Catholic priest and a mediator himself! He becomes her mentor and together they help solve the area’s ghost problems.

Hooked yet? You should be. Seriously. Go check out the books! They’re nice quick reads. Now, if you haven’t read them yet, STOP READING NOW! SPOILERS AHEAD!

This book was… so much…. everything.

Time has passed since we last left Suze and Jesse. They are now engaged. He’s a doctor working as a resident at a local hospital. She’s working an internship at her former high school, well on her way to getting her masters to be a school counselor. What could go wrong? Well, Paul Slater, that’s what could go wrong. The basic gist is Paul is still in love with Suze and will do anything to win her heart (or at least one night with her). After Suze’s step-dad Andy’s TV show took off and started airing in syndication on cable TV, her parents moved away and sold the house – unknowingly to Slater Industries, owned by none other than Suze’s arch nemesis Paul Slater.

In a last ditch effort to have his chance with Suze, Paul is blackmailing her. According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (from his Egyptologist grandfathers collection of Mediator lore), destroying Suze’s former home – the one Jesse haunted for a hundred and fifty years – will unleash a curse on Jesse.

You can take the boy out of the darkness, but you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

Meanwhile, the ghost of a young girl is clinging to one of the students at the Mission Academy. In an attempt to help said student, Suze unintentionally unleashes the child spirits wrath upon her, nearly getting her killed.

The rest of the old gang is back, and they’ve been up to some pretty hilarious things. I won’t spoil all the details for you, but you can look forward to seeing: Gina (Suze’s BFF from Brooklyn, who is now crashing on her futon), Kelly, Debbie (married to Brad! Mother of 6 year old triplets! I love those triplets!), CeeCee, Adam, Jake (who happens to be roommates with Jesse!), David, and of course, Father Dominic.

There were a few inconsistencies from the original books to this one (I re-read all 6 original books before I let myself read the new one,) but nothing to really spoiled the plot. Just minor details, like for example, it’s said that Suze had Mr. Walden for junior and senior years, but she had him for sophomore and junior years in the book, we never actually get to experience senior year with her.

If you loved Suze’s crazy schemes and hilarious dialogue in the past as much as I do, you can absolutely expect more in this beast of a book. (I’m not kidding, this book is a beast! 388 pages people!)

I Instagrammed a couple of hilarious passages while I was reading, this will give you just a taste of what you’re in for. (For some reason the blog is only letting me embed one, but if you click on my Instagram photos there are a total of 3 from this book.)

I’d forgotten just how much I love to hate #PaulSlater. #amreading #mediator #remembrance #suzesimon #JesseDeSilva #suzeandjesse #megcabot #yareads #bookish #bookquotes #bookboyfriend #bookstagram #bookboyfriend #lovetohate

A photo posted by Caroline Andrus (@caroline_andrus) on

Ultimately, was the book perfect? No. There were some things I’ll change, such as (SPOILER ALERT!) I wish Jesse had stuck to his guns and waited until marriage to sleep with Suze. It was such an important thing to his character, that I felt like he changed too much. And yes, I get that it had been like, 7 years between the evens of the last book and this one, but I still don’t like that he didn’t wait that short time longer. (/END SPOILER)

However, this book had me laughing out loud, sometimes until I was nearly in tears, and for me, that makes this completely worth it. I didn’t feel the immediate need to re-read it though. Maybe that’s because I have so many more books to read right now, or the fact that the book is so much longer than any of the originals. I don’t know.

End result though, if you LOVE the original Mediator books, I’m sure you’ll love these as well.

NOTE: Because the characters are older now, Suze is 24 and Jesse is 28, there is adult language as well as adult situations. While I would totally let my daughter read the other Mediator books as soon as she wants—though I don’t think she’d appreciate them until she was at least 14 or 15—I would wait to introduce her to this book until she was at least 16 or 17, depending on her maturity level at the time.

REVIEW: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

Series: Heather Wells #5

Read: October 11-12 2015

Format: Audiobook

My Book Rating: 5/5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance (New Adult)

 

Meg Cabot’s Mediator and 1-800-Missing series’ are two of my all time favorites. The last time I ventured into her adult books I was less than impressed. So, I shied away from them for a while. Therefor, this is my first Heather Wells book, and after reading (rather listening to…) this book, I’m kicking myself for not picking them up sooner!

Former pop superstar Heather Wells is in the midst of planning her wedding to PI Cooper Cartwright while working her job, helping run a dorm at the local collage. Things are going smoothly until a resident in her building ends up dead.

The events in this book are improbable and crazy, but Meg Cabot has a way of making them work. She makes a book about a murdered girl seem lighthearted. Her characters are fun, interesting and at times, down right hilarious.

Possibly my favorite character was Detective Canavan. He wasn’t in the book much, but he stole his scenes. I laughed out loud when he told Heather she has a habit of “kicking up shit.”

This book is definitely for the older teens to new adult crowd, but while there is sex, it’s pretty much innuendo and “off camera.” Which is what I prefer.

I’m eager to read the rest of the series and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys lighthearted mysteries with romance and humor.