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Morning Star

This book in a nutshell:

Betrayal || Violence || Redemption || Speeches || OMG!


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Characters:

Darrow (Reaper)

“If you’re watching, Eo, it’s time to close your eyes. The Reaper has come. And he’s brought hell with him.”

When we first met Darrow he was a 17 year old boy who was a low Red and helldiver in Lykos for his family. Now Darrow is 23, his body has been carved as a Gold and he has the whole weight of ‘The Rising’ and war on his shoulders.

Darrow leads ‘The Rising’ with inspirational speech after inspirational speech. He makes such an impact with his hard hitting monologues that stir a wide range of emotions for the characters in the book and for me as the reader.

Darrow was far less whiny in this book, he grew a lot as a person and moved from being driven by rage and revenge to understanding the importance and impact eradicating the colour system would have. He became more focused on rebuilding a society than making those who failed his people suffer.

I loved seeing Darrow repair the relationships he destroyed through his poor choices and mistrust of those around him. His inner circle grew and those that were left in the end, were pretty much exactly who I would have wanted by his side!


Virginia (Mustang)

“No. Don’t speak. It’s not your turn just because I pause.”

Mustang was a fantastic political negotiator in this book. She was important and crucial to ‘The Rising’ and the ultimate ending of the book. She still isn’t my favourite character and I was happy about where she ended up at the end of the story, but I understand her importance.


Cassius

I have such a soft spot for Cassius. I don’t know if this is Pierce Brown’s intention or if it is my absolute love for the underdog. By underdog I mean evil and nasty man who was misguided and I want him to win.

As I was reading I was praying that he would grow as a character, like Darrow, and redirect his rage to the Sovereign. There were a few times were I thought ‘OMG he is going to ruin everything’ – Brown had me on an emotional roller-coaster with this one.


Roque (The Poet)

“Blood begets blood begets blood begets blood.”

I gained a lot more respect for Roque in this book. Even though he didn’t chose to align with Darrow, his choices were admirable. It was very clear why he had done what he had done in the two previous books and I felt it was really easy to forgive him, despite the crimes he committed.

At the end of the day Darrow and Roque were fighting the same cause on two different sides.


Adrius (Jackal)

I don’t like the Jackal. I will never like the Jackal…but the one and only time I cried in this book involved the Jackal. 


Sevro

“You and I keep looking for light in the darkness, expecting it to appear. But it already has.” I touch his shoulder. “We’re it, boyo. Broken and cracked and stupid as we are, we’re the light, and we’re spreading.”

I bloody love this little Goblin. His loyalty never falters. He always has me laughing and often has me freaking out to whether or not this is the chapter where he has finally lost it.


Victra

“Bye, Felicia.”

Victra is a powerful and ruthless woman…or so Brown wants us to think. Really Victra is very good at acting. She plays the ‘tough bitch’ but I think she is really just a giant marshmallow on the inside.

She says the best quote in the book!


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Favourite Character

Ragnar

He is the stained and strongest/deadliest obsidian in the galaxy (in my opinion). Best of all his is Darrow’s champion and protector. I loved every single time he spoke. He shared his wisdom and understanding of the war. He was brave and bold!

Everything he does in this book melts my heart and destroys me at the same time.

Least Favourite Character

Aja

I hate Aja! like absolutely hate her. She commits such horrific and vulgar crimes against all the people I love. She deserves the most horrific death possible.


“A man thinks he can fly, but he is afraid to jump. A poor friend pushes him from behind.” He looks up at me. “A good friend jumps with.”


Spoiler Alert!

There will be spoilers below

Loves:

  • Brown write a brilliant ‘rallying the troops’ speech
    • The monologues Darrow does are empowering that I feel like I am shouting ‘I will join’ while I read
  • The chapters are not too long
    • This makes me feel like I am making mega process
    • I love the chapter names and the way they hint at what is coming
  • Break the chains!
  • There is so much god damn betrayal in this book
    • There was betrayal, then a double crossing of that betrayal and oh wait some more betrayal – I have now got some serious trust issues
    • That torture scene at the start of the book was pretty heavy, but it had me captured immediately

Dislikes:

  • RAGNAR DIDN’T NEED TO DIE
    • I needed him to make it, he was supposed to stand beside Darrow at the end
  • AJA
  • The eaters were so creepy and awful!
    • The imagery Brown wrote for these creatures was amazing. I had such intense and horrifying visuals that I needed to take a break from reading so late at night
  • This book was soooooooo long, it took up so much of my life!

Ramblings:

  • I genuinely thought that Cassius was going to be the Sovereign
    • I thought this was the main reason for keeping him around
    • I understand why it is Mustang – she is the best politician, but come on Cassius would have been great!
  • The Sevro and Victra wedding was so random!
  • I cried at the weirdest moment. When Mustang pulls on her brothers legs, I just lost it. Love shone through everything else, it just took every years to work that out.

“The Reaper has come. And he’s brought hell with him.”


Overall Opinion:

This book hooks you from the first chapter. It is a roller-coaster of secrets, revenge, reveals and plot twists. My heart can’t take it. This entire series has left me feeling fulfilled and hollow at the same time. I need more!

I enjoyed this book, but it was definitely my least favourite of the series. I think I expected a bigger ending, more of a climax that lead to this amazing finish, I started to predict when Brown was going to twist and turn the plot. It took me a long time to finish this book, in the end I gave myself a deadline to finish it. The big is just so big and the hype was so much, I just wasn’t sure I was ready to end it yet.

I am excited for Brown’s future projects, particularly his new trilogy set in the same world. The new trilogy takes place after the end of Morning Star and will center on the consequences of the hero’s actions as well as on those folks now living and growing up in a landscape that’s had its ruling order shattered.

Iron Gold


“If your heart beats like a drum, and your legs a little wet, it’s because the Reaper’s come to collect a little debt.”

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

by Mariana Zapata
Genres: Chick Lit, New Adult, Romance
Format: E-Book

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Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t even find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?


“I don’t know,” I stuttered, “Do you love me?”
His gaze was so intent the entire world seemed to stop. “You tell me. I never stop thinking about you. I worry about you all the time. Every beautiful thing I see reminds me of you. I can’t finish my practices in Colorado with out wishing you were around,” he said in a steady tone. “You tell me what I feel.”

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What did I think:

This is a slow burn romance story. If you are wanting immediate gratification and a love connection, then this is not the book for you. 

I wouldn’t normally pick up a slow burn love story, because I am impatient and want a happy ending from the get go! This story had the perfect pacing from “oh I am giving up on these two” to “Yaaaaaaaay they are making progress”.

The romance didn’t really start until about 63% through the book. That was when the first ‘moment‘ happened. Then it was all on from there! I loved the banter and dialogue Aiden and Vanessa had with each other. It was funny, witty and snarky all at the same time.

I was cheering for them as they each grew as people and started to become more than friends. It was quite a large sized book for a romance, but I read it all in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down.

The writing style is very thorough. The author has an amazing attention to detail, any questions I had while reading were quickly answered. She leaves nothing to the imagination, which was quite refreshing.


Likes:

  • The book is downright funny!
  • The molesting fan scene was hilarious
  • Aiden is extremely over protective and overbearing from the get go
    • I love this because you know he is going to turn into a softy at some stage
  • I picture Aiden as a hotter Gronk 
  • The way Aiden tells the receptionist that Vanessa is his wife was amazing!
    • But MUFFIN…nobody likes to be called muffin…ever
  • The halloween scene was sooooooooo cute.
    • I am not a Dragon Ball Z girl, I am a Pokemon girl
  • That thunder scene
    • OMG! This was about 63% into the book and is the first real moment that sets the rest of their relationship in motion. More of these scenes please.
  • Zac is the perfect best friend and room-mate. He is funny, good looking, supportive, loyal and everything a girl could ask for. He is like an older brother figure to Vanessa.
    • If there was a sequel, I would want it to be all about Zac. 
  • The moment when Aiden finally admits how much he knows about Vanessa was a moment I had been waiting for from the beginning. We get hints that he is really attentive and since he doesn’t talk much…ever, then we know he is surely observant. He didn’t me down.
  • Goofy smile is permanently plastered on my face when Aiden and Vanessa talk to each other
  • The kneading of her muscles…lord help me! 
  • HE HAS A NIGHTLIGHT FOR HER IN HIS ROOM *CUDDLES THE BOOK WITH HAPPINESS*
  • Aiden is always there when it counts
  • Silly questions for the win!

Dislikes:

  • Why is he such a dickhead in the beginning?
    • He was so damn hard to like 
  • Those child abuse scenes are so hard to read. I wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into Vanessa’s mother and sisters. The writing being so thorough meant that those scenes were written with such raw emotion and detail. The scene that hit me the hardest was the closet scene.
  • Cain – not sure about him, he is to interested and creepy
  • It was so obvious he was thinking past 5 years. Vanessa kept putting her foot in it and after awhile this was getting really annoying
  • TREVOR 
  • I felt like there was no need for kids to be introduced. I get that it is nice to see that their relationship progressed but you wrote this beautifully slow burning romance only to rush it at the finish. It was far too cliche and I would have preferred it to be taken back a step and hinted at a baby bump or buying a crib.

“I need a friend—I need you.”

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Football:

This is centered around Aiden Graves being this amazing football player. Although he is a football player and the book talks about games, training’s, teams and the process of being drafted it didn’t seem as authentic as I had hoped. Obviously the book is ultimately about love story between Vanessa and Aiden, I would have loved if they did include more of the football.

This year I really got into watching Football and I was excited that I would know all the terminology and references, but they were so surface. I wanted a bit more!


“It was right then, in that instant, that I realized I might be a little in love with Aiden. Not in a way that was anything like the easy crush I had on him in the past, but different. So, so different.”

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Ramblings:

What would your price be to marry someone that in turns means your committing a felony? I would totally marry for student loan debts and a house, hell I would marry for the student loan debts! 

I am a real fan of this book troupe. I love the boss/worker type romance. Especially because they Boss is usually quite dominating and then has to let his guard down.

Why in these books do they always make the woman so afraid to use the male love interests money. They would tell you no or not let you have access if they were worried. Drives me nuts!

I wanted more football.


Dream Casting:

Capture

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

This Raging Light

This Raging LightThis Raging Light by Estelle Laure
on December 22nd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
two-half-stars

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?
Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she's about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend's brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure's soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

I chose this book on recommendation from my local bookstore. I was told it was extremely popular and that they had ordered thousands of copies in. I hadn’t heard of the book but I loved the cover, so I figured why not.

The only word I can use to describe this read is RANDOM. I was hoping this would be a nice quick/light read, in between series. This was a quick read but it was anything but light. This review is going to be a jumbled mess, because that is how I feel after reading.

Where do I begin…

The main character is Lucille and she has been through a world of pain in her short life. Her Father is in jail for a crime he committed against her Mother, her Mother has fled and left her two daughters to fend for themselves, there isn’t enough money or food and Lucille has to get a job to support her and her 9-year old sister, all while keeping this giant mess a secret. Lucille fears if others find out her and her sister will be separated and placed into foster care. She initially believes her Mother will be back but as time goes on she starts to realise her life and responsibilities are changing rapidly.

It is so wrong for the girls to be left on their own, but I was sincerely rooting for them to succeed. I didn’t want the Mother to come back. She has burnt her bridge, silly selfish woman. This book was just so frustrating. Eden is a terrible best friend, Digby is terrible love interest, the strange person/people who were breaking in to commit acts of kindness was treated as way less creepy than they were and Lucille worked ridiculous hours and dressed beyond her years to try stay afloat. Lucille was a mess – Obviously with good reason – but who wants to read about that. Not me! 

The book just ended so abruptly, that I literally exclaimed ‘What the hell’ out loud after reading. I mean was anything resolved? What happens next? Surely that can’t be how the story ends?

Overall I wouldn’t recommend this book…to anyone.

5


Loves:

  • I really enjoyed that each chapter was a day
    • Some chapters took huge leaps. Day 28 to 49 was a huge leap
  • liked the little sister, she was funny

Dislikes:

  • I like the cover but I do not understand the cover choice, the colours or any of the meaning behind the choices.
  • Why is the book called ‘This Raging Life’
  • The characters have the most Random names
  • The ending…or lack there of
  • Eden has got to be the worst best friend
    • I understand the logic of siding with your twin and worrying about his happiness, but what best friend doesn’t want their bestie to legally become their sister?!
  • Way too much was going on. The novel was way to short to have that much drama!
  • I didn’t like Digby. I really wanted to, he was weird, the dialogue between him and Lucille was cringe worthy and lets not forget he cheats on his long term girlfriend repeatedly.
  • Too predictable
  • I thought it was going to be an ‘All The Bright Places’ change my life and give me all the feels kinda book – NOPE

“Music carries the weight of being human, takes it away so you don’t have to think at all, you just have to listen. Music tells every story there is.”

two-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
two-half-stars
Characters
half-star
Writing
one-half-stars
Pacing
one-half-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: two-stars

I’ll Meet You There

I’ll Meet You ThereI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on February 3rd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 388
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
four-half-stars

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

I love a stand alone book! Sometimes I just want to read a book and close the door on the characters and hopefully feel happy and satisfied with the ending. I picked this book up because the cover stood out and I had seen it photographed on tons of bookstagram accounts.

I love picking up a book without really knowing what it is about. I am super glad I hadn’t read the blurb because everything that happened was unexpected and exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It wasn’t by any means a bubblegum pop romance novel (I am always expecting this generic turned out formula). It was gritty, raw and emotionally charged. It dealt with death, grief, alcoholism, PTSD, life after war and growing up in a small town with bigger aspirations.

The two main characters  Skylar Evans & Josh Mitchell are the most amazing ‘real’ characters you could ask for. I loved them together and also loved them apart. I could have followed both their story lines happily even without the end result. They both dealt with real life issues in ways that made you think, feel, wonder and admire.

There were definitely parts throughout the book where I was losing interest, however something would always happen to lure me back in. Even though some might feel certain aspects of the book were far fetched, I would beg to differ. Coming for a family riddled with mental illness and alcoholism, this book was a brilliant read.

There weren’t any plot twists or moments that shocked me, it was just a real contemporary romance from start to finish. I look forward to more to come from this author.


“He was the parts of the day where I smiled.”


Likes:

  • I love POV novels where each character has a chapter. I really enjoying hearing each characters perspective
  • The story was realistic – Yay!
    • There is nothing worse than a book claiming to be contemporary and then having themes, characters and plot lines that seem too far fetched
  • Dylan
    • She is such a good friend. Even though her two best friends find the small town life stifling and uninspiring, she does the best she can for her child and supports her friends in their endeavors
  • I loved that Sky was into creating collages
    • I couldn’t visualise any of the work she described
  • Sky was just good and pure! 
  • The money in the letter box, the dedication to Josh, the no drinking (not giving into peer pressure), working her butt off and wanting more for her life and for her Mum. She was such a role model. 
  • Marge
    • Her story about her son was heartbreaking and eye opening! 
  • Josh
    • He does so many dumb boy things! Yet he is real, honest and I mean come on, hes a Marine. He is selfless and I just couldn’t get enough of him.

Dislikes:

  • When the characters make really stupid decisions…Josh I am talking about you!
  • Blake really annoyed me for roughly the first two thirds of the book
  • Skye’s mum was so insanely frustrating – You don’t deserve the title Mum
    • On the plus side, I enjoyed the real world view/situation on what it would be like to live with an alcoholic mother
  • Billy was made out to be a bad guy and I actively despised him, yet we didn’t get a lot of insight into why we hate him
  • I got over them both putting up barriers, by the end I was getting to the point where I didn’t care if they didn’t end up together.
  • Chris
    • I could have just erased all of this characters interactions and been happy. He was whiny and annoying. I just couldn’t connect with his unrequited love and behaviour. I also kept thinking his character came across as gay and it was all just a mess really.

“If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” I opened my mouth to say San Francisco or maybe Madrid—somewhere exotic. But what came out was, “Here. Right here.”


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3

 

four-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: four-stars

With This Heart

With This HeartWith This Heart by R.S. Grey
Published by Createspace on April 6th 2014
Genres: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 318
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

If someone had told me a year ago that I was about to fall in love, go on an epic road trip, ride a Triceratops, sing on a bar, and lose my virginity, I would have assumed they were on drugs.
Well, that is, until I met Beckham.
Beck was mostly to blame for my recklessness. Gorgeous, clever, undeniably charming Beck barreled into my life as if it were his mission to make sure I never took living for granted. He showed me that there were no boundaries, rules were for the spineless, and a kiss was supposed to happen when I least expected.
Beck was the plot twist that took me by surprise. Two months before I met him, death was knocking at my door. I'd all but given up my last scrap of hope when suddenly, I was given a second chance at life. This time around, I wasn't going to let it slip through my fingers.
We set out on a road trip with nothing to lose and no guarantees of tomorrow.
Our road trip was about young, reckless love.
The kind of love that burns bright.
The kind of love that no road-map could bring me back from.
**Recommended for ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.**

Sick girl + Mysterious boy = Steamy road trip

This book was not at all what I was expecting. I read the blurb (well the first few sentences…I should have read the entire thing) and thought I was going to get some ‘Fault in Our Stars’ contemporary romance. This book is definitely not that, it is a steamy new adult story, full of explicit scenes!

The cover is beautiful, this is originally what drew me to the book – plus I had read ‘Scoring Wilder’ which I absolutely loved. 

Beck is this quirky, non conforming, sweetheart with a desire to break out of the mold he has built from himself. Abbey is this young, naive, sheltered smart ass that wants to explore the world and live up to the heart she has been given. Together they have this smart-ass, sweet, hormone charged relationship.

“He was a handsome guy in a baseball cap and I was a cynical girl picking out an urn.”


“So you’re a stalker?” I asked with a hard stare.

He smirked, a knees-turning-to jelly kind of smirk. “I prefer gravitationally linked to your presence.”

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Loves:

  • It is funny
  • The story for the most part felt realistic
  • I liked the character development. You saw Abbey grow in confidence and character throughut the story
  • I really enjoyed Beck’s character. He had this carefree personality and confidence – He didn’t care what others thought about him!
  • I loved the beginning of the book the most. There was element of mystery that each character had more story to tell but they weren’t ready to open up yet. The story didn’t feel rushed and I was just enjoying learning more as the plot unfolded – normally in situations like that, I would want to speed read to get the answers
  • Love the title and the cover!
  • That grand gesture at the end – corny and beautiful 

Dislikes:

  • Originally I had written a note in my phone to say I was impressed that there wasn’t any overplayed cliches and then towards the end of the book it got cheesy and way to predictable. It felt like any other story I had read about a sick girl
  • Abbey’s self consciousness got annoying. Her banter was brilliant, I just kept getting frustrated in her lack of belief in herself
  • I am all for swearing in a book if it adds to the plot or depth of characters, but dropping the ‘C bomb’ is just never going to be acceptable in my books. It is an ugly word that makes me shudder when I hear or read it

I can’t give this book higher than a 3.5 because it just didn’t stand out from any other New Adult story I have read. It’s such a shame because I was loving the first third of the book. I thought it was going to be cool and quirky with something unexpected, but alas, I was wrong. I don’t really know where I envisioned the story going but for once I was really hoping to be surprised. I did enjoy the grand gesture at the end and I was proud of the growth both characters made, but to get a 4 or even a 5 for me you need to leave me feeling something…anything.

1


“Love will make you reckless. It can drag out parts of you that common sense and fear usually keep hidden away. Because love is selfless and selfish.”

three-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
three-half-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

Confess

ConfessConfess by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books on March 10th 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 306
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

A quick and easy read. You can never go wrong with Colleen Hoover…except for this one book – I don’t love this book. Dammit! I have read almost all of Colleen Hoover’s books and have sincerely loved every one of them. This one was just not up to her usual standard.

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There is so much hype circling this book. I am seeing it pop on Goodreads every other day. So many people are sharing pictures of it on Instagram, saying how much they love it. Stop reading here if you haven’t read the book. This post is riddled with spoilers because I need to just air out my thoughts and opinions.

The formula was pretty stock standard. 2 people, with somewhat of a difficult background that they are keeping from one another, throw in some plot twists, some characters that aggravate you as the reader and top it off with an ending we are all happy with.

That ending…did he ever share Adam’s confession with her? I don’t even know what happened here. This book was all over the place. I think the book felt slow in getting to the truth, but rushed in the development of themselves as characters and in their relationship. What makes it worse is I didn’t even really like the characters. Owen seemed okay at first but got way to intense to soon and Auburn was just whiny and like a lost puppy doing whatever people told her.


Loves:

  • Confession Art – I thought it was originally going to be some pop culture reference to PostSecret, but I was pleasantly surprised by the spin. What an amazing idea, if someone in the world is doing this then I want to check it out
  • Love how she said about buying the paintings anonymously, because if you are buying it then you are most likely identifying with the confession. This was spot on, I thought I would buy a painting that spoke to me, but I probably would feel a bit judged depending on what the confession was
  • I loved the art – it was absolutely gorgeous
    • I wish there was more of it, but I understand that any more and it probably would have been less effective and felt overused
  • I love Emory’s bluntness and complete lack of social norms
    • I don’t even know if it was a lack or if she just didn’t care – I kinda hope she just didn’t care
  • Harrison
    • I wish there was more of him, he seemed like a character I could have really liked and rooted for – even though he was peddling pills
  • Owen
    • He was so quirky and odd (in a good way)
    • He was wasted on Auburn! – I think he would have been less needy and annoying without her – he needs a strong independent woman 

 

Dislikes:

  • The name Auburn
    • It just didn’t suit the character for me
  • I got a bit annoyed by Auburn and Owen keeping secrets from one another and all the drama that followed. Just get over it and talk to each other! 
  • Lydia, oh there is a special place for people like you in the world. I already didn’t like her for what she said at the hospital, but keeping someones son from them. Selfish cow of a woman
  • Trey is a slimy weasel
    • I could swear up a storm about how pathetic his jealousy was
    • Does he have no respect for his deceased brother?
    • The way he treated Auburn was actually a struggle to read – the physical attack followed the mental and emotional abuse that followed
    • I can’t believe he slut shammed her! Especially because she got pregnant by her boyfriend…who died! 
    • I hate dirty cops!
    • What I hate most is that there are people like this in the world that get away with the same behaviours – I was very angry reading his parts
  • Auburn dating Trey to get closer to her son
    • Some people would see this as strong and powerful, a woman doing anything to see her son – which I am sure is what the author was going for
    • I saw it as weak and showed she had such a low self esteem – she didn’t deem herself worthy of better, she didn’t fight for better – even though she was able to redeem herself in the end, it felt a little to late. By then I was already over her as a character

 

“I love you so much.” His voice is breathless and full of fear. “I’ll love you forever. Even when I can’t.” My tears fall harder at his words. “And I’ll love you forever. Even when I shouldn’t.”

 


Capture

Photo Credit: Auburn // Owen

three-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: three-half-stars

Glass Sword

Glass SwordGlass Sword (Red Queen, #2) by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Published by HarperTeen on February 9th 2016
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Magical Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
five-stars

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The unfiltered thoughts, feelings, wonderings and ramblings as I read ‘Glass Sword’


A little break down of the characters:

Mare Barrow (Lightning Girl) – A red/silver

Maven Calore – The little Prince (formerly Mare’s fiance) turned traitorous King

Tiberias Calore VII (Cal) – Prince, betrayed by his brother Maven

Diana Farley – Known leader of the Scarlet Guard (Rebel forces)

Kilorn Warren – Mare’s childhood friend from the Stilts – Fish boy – No powers

Shade Barrow – Mare’s brother –  A red/silver – He is a jumper

Queen Elara – Maven’s biological mother, the woman who killed Cal’s mother – EVIL!

 


Before Reading:

  • I have been waiting soooooo long for this book, it is one of my most anticipated reads of 2016
  • I loved the first book! I had dreams of scenes from the first book, weeks after reading
  • I had to visit the Red Queen Wiki to brush up on the characters and refresh my memory on the book, as it has been ages since I read the first one
  • After reading the Wiki, I got even more excited about reading the book

Run – Fight – Escape – Tuck – Betrayl

Chapter 1 – 5

  • I love not knowing where this book is going to go, there is nothing worse than reading a book and predicting the entire plot line. What makes it even better is that there is so much depth to the characters, you can’t even begin to assume how they will respond to each situation
  • Shade! I forgot about him, he is a red and silver (I just read Golden Son – Red Rising #2 – and this makes me think of their colour class system)
  • Cal sitting quiet and almost peaceful is alarming. What is he plotting? Can he be trusted?
  • Geeeez after that description of what is to come how on Earth can they possibly outrun or survive Maven?
  • What the?! How can Mare sympathise with Maven. It was all an act, he admitted that, how can she think things he told her were his true self shining through? He is a monster!
  • Mare is coming across very self righteous and entitled. I understand her role and important in the red/silver hybrid cause, but calm down you still bleed like the rest. She is basically Katniss/Darrow!
  • OMG Maven using a red army as a shield, shackled together…disgusting
  • Where the hell is Cal during all of this?
  • Maven’s arrogance is painful, please electrocute him Mare
  • Hahaha just laughed so loud, his crown is too big and fell down – why did Mare not make a snarky comment, oh I wish she had made him feel pathetic 
  • I am seriously wondering how the heck she is going to get herself out of this situation, I hope Shade does some cool teleporting trick, or even better I hope Cal does something epic
  • This escape plan better work, I thought it was going to be something a little bit more exciting than an underwater boat
  • Julian, I forgot about him, where is he at? 
  • The Scarlet Guard seem so damn sure of themselves, I am with Mare on this one. I’m not sold!
  • An Army of Newbloods – my mind just went straight to Twilight and the newborn vampire army, now it is all I can picture. I wonder if there will be a spin off novella from the perspective of one of the newbloods – that would be quite cool!
  • Team Mare and Cal
  • I am getting sooooooo over Mare talking about how powerful she is. We get it, you make lightning! I liked her better when she was a poor thief, new Mare sucks
  • Omg no Barracks #1 my heart just dropped
  • I hate how everyone is walking on eggshells around Mare – she has been through a lot, give the girl some credit and keep her in the loop or she is going to go all crazy
  • I am feeling quite afraid of the bloody eyed man

What did I think about this book?

I loved this book, as far as sequels go (I always struggle with the 2nd  book) I found this book to be better than the first. There were a lot of things that annoyed me, but it was just so tense and I needed to know what was going to happen next. I liked it more than the first because the plot line was brilliant! I knew a lot about the characters so I didn’t feel like I was having to learn about to many new people, settings or things. The second book had me constantly thinking Who do I trust? Can you trust anyone? When is the next betrayal?

Trust is such a big theme throughout this book. All the characters are going through their own issues with trust and betrayal. Almost everyone has their own story that is sad and shows them in such a human way (good and bad) that I am still asking myself – Who do I trust? 

Victora Aveyard has a beautiful writing style. She has the ability to make you love and hate a character at the same time. I care deeply for a lot of these characters but was also finding myself wishing for them to take a beating or get a taste of humble pie. Victoria sets up these amazing settings for the characters to explore and I think she introduced just the right amount of new without overloading you as the reader. I love how everything is easy to visualise, I didn’t have any one or any place in the book that left me thinking, what does that look like?

I desperately need that third book, and don’t even get me started on the cover art. The cover art for this book is beautiful! I love the way it looks on my bookshelf, it is so hauntingly beautiful and chilling at the same time.


Character Breakdown

Mare Barrow

Mare drove me absolutely nuts throughout this book. Towards the middle I was really starting to not like her. I honestly wanted her to be captured so at least she would have something to really complain about. She was so whiny, cold, manipulative and self righteous. I started to feel differently towards her at the end of the book when other characters called her on it and she started to realise she wasn’t being viewed as a leader, she was something to be feared. However what she did in the prison was despicable and monstrous, it made her no better than Maven. I struggled with what she did and her reaction to it afterward.

View Spoiler »

The selfless decision she made at the end of the book however completely shocked me, I am already thinking and plotting all the ways she can get out of that situation. God the start of book 3 is going to be amazing! Why must I wait so long?


Cal 

Where do I start? I am 100% team Cal. I still don’t know if Cal is good or bad. He did so much on the missions and throughout the story to make you believe he is good. His story is so sad and broken that I want to believe deep down he is good. Arghghghg Victoria what have you done to me? I am basically Mare questioning everyone’s motives even when they have done no wrong. God I hope Cal becomes King.

Cal’s relationship with Mare blinded me a bit, I was surprised he went there. She is a creature of habits and comfort and well really she is just downright selfish. I thought Cal would hold such resentment towards her.


Maven

Maven you little monstrous child. I want to rip your head off.

I can’t talk about Maven!


Farley, Kilorn and Shade

For some reason I didn’t really connect with these three characters. If any of them were to die I wouldn’t be bothered.

View Spoiler »

Minor Characters

Jon

View Spoiler »

Colonel 

Don’t know how to feel about him, I still don’t trust him!

I wonder if we are going to hear more about the backstory for his family?


Newbloods

Love all these guys! Except Cameron, she is annoying. It’s like having two Mare’s – there is only room for one whiny, self-righteous young-in.


Queen Elara

View Spoiler »

Setting

I love every aspect of all the settings in this book. We see so much, the writing style and use of description makes all the settings really easy to visualise. We got experience underground, under the sea, in the sky and numerous on land locations. My favourite settings in this book were definitely the training grounds surrounded by the woods, the Colonel’s chambers and Corres Prison.

I am most interested in the devloping of the Choke and what is going to happen there.

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Why is this book a 5 star read?

That ending!

This book has just the right amount of plot twists Vs. predictability. Sometime I want to just know that my characters are going to behave in the way I would think of them. In the same breath I also love it when I am blindsided, which can be hard to do given the amount of YA books I read.

Safe to say Victoria Aveyard you have written a brilliant and beautiful book. I am reading for the next one.


Dream Cast

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Photo Credit: Norta Map // Mare // Maven // Cal

five-stars
Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the AshesAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Published by Razorbill on April 28th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Magical Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 446
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
four-stars

Laia is a slave. 
Elias is a soldier. 
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Destiny | Family | Allegiance | Trial | Betrayal | Redemption

This post is riddled with spoilers, if you haven’t read the book yet, turn back now!


Elias is 20 years old and came to Blackcliffs at the age of six, after his mother abandoned him in the tribe lands. He is a senior skull and just days away from his graduation. Elias wants to desert and has been planning and plotting his escape for months. He is a mask, though his peers question why it is yet to mold to his skin. Is he built for a life of inflicting torture and violence on others?

Laia a beautiful young Scholar, who cares for her family above all else. Her parents were killed for being part of the Resistance, her brother has been captured and suspected of assisting the Resistance. Laia’s grandparents will killed in front of her. With nothing left in the world but to save her brother Darin she seeks out the Resistance. Her mantra is: Save Darin, find the Resistance. Will she get to him on time?

We learn early on in the book that the Scholars are the worst treated citizens under the Emperor. They can’t own land and they can’t attend schools. The Scholar’s quarters are often raided by the Masks of Blackcliffs and this never ends well. Blackcliffs is a school of violence and brutality. Their essential lessons are to obey, conform and keep your mouth shut. 


I was so excited to read this book.

1

I hunted high and low to buy it – New Zealand can be a bit of pain when trying to find new release books. There was so much hype and expectations and I was left quite disappointed.

3

I can say that it was captivating, suspenseful and action packed. It hooked me enough that I read the book in a 24 hour period. The world building I thought was minimal, which was nice because there were so many characters to remember. The biggest thing that let this book down for me was not one love triangle, but two?!

I hate love triangles more than any other literary component. The fact there was two, frustrated the hell out of me. It felt unnecessary and cheap. It made me begin to resent some of the characters for putting their feelings above what I felt like the author was trying to present as the bigger picture.

Love triangles aside I enjoyed the development of the two lead characters. I wasn’t expecting there to be such a large supernatural component. The book felt very similar to the ‘Throne of Glass’ series. I will read the sequel, but it wont be that high on my anticipation list.


Loves:

  • Elias is innately good and kind in a situation that should have caused him to be violent without remorse
  • Laia is an extremely strong female character
  • The supporting characters are interesting and well written that I care what happens to them
  • Great tension built
    • I was always nervous when ever the Commandant was around
  • The synopsis had led me to think this book was dystopian and it ended being a mix of dystopian and fantasy – This was a happy surprise
  • I preferred Elias’s chapters – he has a lot more action, while Laia just suffered abuse (verbal, physical, mental & emotional) from all those she seemed to ally with.

Dislikes:

  • Double love triangles
  • Mazen
  • The talk of rape was quite hard to read, the way Marcus belittled the female characters with his actions and words just left me feeling gross
  • Too much unnecessary drama
  • Helena – ugh!!! Most annoying character in the book for me. She was so self righteous when it came to her commitments as a Mask and then packed a tantrum when Elias didn’t feel the same way about it. Whiny brat!

I couldn’t give this book 5 stars due to the double love triangle situation. I felt certain plot points were drawn out and there was just too much unnecessary drama. I mostly enjoyed everything else but that ultimately I would give this a 4.

I feel like the hype surrounding this book possibly ruined it for me. I was expecting great things because I had seen this book pop up on Instagram and on lots of blogs I follow.


Questions for the sequel ‘A Torch Against the Night’

  • What has happened to Mazen?
  • Is Sana safe?
  • How are two people expected to break into the toughest prison?
  • Is Izzi safe with the Resistance?
  • Can the resistance be trusted?
  • Will Helena be true to her duty or help her unrequited love?

“There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.”


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Photo Credit: Laia // Elias

four-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

Queen of Shadows

Queen of ShadowsQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1st 2015
Genres: Magical Fantasy
Pages: 648
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
four-stars

I am going to keep this review short because unfortunately I am not feeling all the positive about the book, and nobody wants to read a giant rant!

This book took me so unbelievably long to finish. I have been attempting to read it for over a month. I think I may have burnt myself out of Fantasy stories – I don’t know, but for whatever reason I struggled to get into this book, yet I love, love, love the series!

I felt like this book was a slow start, it wasn’t till I was about 65% through the book, that I found myself hooked and not wanting to put it down. Which is giving it way more than the 100 page rule, but because I know Sarah J. Maas is a goddess of story telling I had to stick it out. What makes me sad is I loved the third book so much, that I just assumed it was going to be just as good and sadly for me it wasn’t.

There were definitely changes in characters that I hated, but then some characters were developed and I felt like they grew as I turned the pages, that I was feeling proud of them.


 

Loves:

  • Manon
    • I am loving her character, she surprises, makes me laugh and I love her attitude
    • Is it wrong that I love Manon more than Celaena/Aelin?? 
    • View Spoiler »
  • Plot twists!
    • She is queen of these. Always a surprise lurking in each chapter
  • Lysandra
    • View Spoiler »
  • Every woman in this series is strong and powerful, they don’t need a supporting male – which is just so refreshing to read. No one is a damsel in distress, they make their own path
  • View Spoiler »
  • View Spoiler »

 

Dislikes

  • The change in Cealena and Chaol’s relationship
    • How can he look at her like she is a monster after the life she has led?
    • She had no choices but to survive, she finally tries to take back some semblance of who she is and he gets all righteous about it – Chaol I have left your team!
    • I know this got a lot better towards the end, but they went from being such a great companionship to what seems like acquaintances brought together by their “love” of Dorian
    • Who is Chaol in this book? This can’t be the same character I loved and adored in the previous books. I don’t like this new Chaol at all.
  • The slow pace of the book
    • The action didn’t really start until the last third of the book
    • The book just felt way to long for the events that transpired – So many hours invested!
  • Elide – Where do I begin… this character is obviously going to be important and I am not sure if I am looking forward to this or dreading it. She came across as this weak, sniveling, sad sack of human.

 

I so  badly wanted to give this book a 5, because overall the series is a 5 star series. But I just can’t do it, the slow pacing of the story let it down for me. I feel like this book was a set up for an action packed book 5. I really hope so!

The trend I have noticed with this series is:

  • Throne of Glass – Love
  • Crown of Midnight – Boring, worst book so far
  • Heir of Fire – Love
  • Queen of Shadows – Too long
  • Book 5 – Please let me write perfection!

It seems like every other book is a hit. Bring on book 5!

four-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

The Illuminae Files Spoilers

The Illuminae Files SpoilersThe Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
Genres: Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 599
Format: Paperback
Goodreads

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

Wow, wow, wow. It scares me to read a book so brilliant, so early into the year. How is anything supposed to top this?! This book absolutely blindsided me and has earned a place in the ‘BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ’ category of life.

The beginning of this book starts with a tragedy. Kady and Ezra break up (not the tragedy… although the way these two carry on you would think so) followed by an all out massacre, deadly plague and fight for survival.

Kady and Ezra are downright hilarious. The initial interviewing transcripts give us subtle hints into the type of people these two characters are. Kady comes across as this sarcastic know-it-all, with no respect for authority. Ezra is the athlete, popular kid, who is angry in all the right ways and he is head of heels for Kady. Ezra is conscripted as a priority 1, he learns to fly and the military believe they can use his anger to target those responsible for his father’s death. While Kady with her issues with authority, hacking skills and downright difficulty is considered a ‘no conscription’ – too much work and not enough pay off.

We follow these two characters through the a range of different challenges that they each need to overcome while being on separate ships. Which gave me heart palpitations that entire time I was reading. All I could think is ‘What if they never see each again and this is their last form of communicating’ – Alas this was not true – YAAAAAAAY!

The countdowns had my heart racing. There were a few times I had to get up and busy myself for 5-10 minutes before I started to read again. I found myself pacing, cleaning, checking Facebook – anything to hold off the tension that was building.

AIDAN is sooooooo creepy! (Initial thoughts on creepy artificial intelligence system) Anytime AIDAN was mentioned or popped up I started to feel extremely panicked. Obviously towards the end I started to change my tune about him. I am a little nervous for his state of well being, he might derail the entire next book with his decision making! – Also pretending to be Ezra, AIDEN! Not cool at all! You gave me a heart attack, I was so sad for length of however long it took me to finish the book. Well played…

This book has a brilliant way of blending the serious with the humorous. I was initially worried that by having the story centered around the evolving relationship of Kady and Ezra, the book was going to end up corny and cheesy. I have to say this was not the case. The author’s Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have a brilliant way of developing characters. These two were funny, serious, supportive, sincere and honest. It was so refreshing!

Can you tell how much I loved the book??! 

This review is so disjointed, I just can’t function. I need to get all my feelings out, before I hit a book depression of waiting for the next one =(

I will say this, that ending has me sharpening my claws!

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Things I love about Illuminae:

  • The email to Kady from Ezra – He is drunk typing and the part where he lays his face on the keyboard followed by gibberish was hilarious
  • I like the name Kady – it made her sound strong yet beautiful before I knew anything about her
  • The unique layout of the book – This is what sold me in the first place. I picked it up in the booktore and just knew I needed to resd this book
  • I loved the swearing – I know that sounds really bad, but in that situation they were in and the type of characters Ezra and Kady are, I find the swearing to fit perfectly. It almost brings more to the story for me, it makes the whole sitation seem more real
  • The suspense and tension throughout the whole book! It is absolutely gripping. At one stage I kept telling myself ‘I will only read 20 more pages’ – Next thing I knew it was 2am and I had read 150 pages
  • This book had me eating out of the palm of its hand, it was my master! I read it in a 24 hour period. It is very rare I find a book that utterly captivates me
  • I am dying for the sequel. I would do bad things to get my hand on book 2!

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Quotes

“You don’t F*** the Alexander, the Alexander F*** you”

“Am I not merciful?” 

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

“He presses the triggers. And like roses in his hands, death blooms.” 


Dream Casting

Capture

Photo Credit: Ezra // Kady