Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Genre:  YA Thriller

Description (taken from Carrie Ryan's website):
I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the deadly devastation of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace, rescued from the ocean after torturous days adrift with her dying friend Libby, knows that the Persephone wasn’t sunk by a rogue wave as survivors Senator Wells and his son, Grey, are claiming—it was attacked.

To ensure her safety from the obviously dangerous and very powerful Wells family, Libby’s father helps newly orphaned Frances assume Libby’s identity. After years of careful plotting, she’s ready to expose the truth and set her revenge plans into motion—even if it means taking down the boy she’d once been in love with: Grey Wells himself.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

Frances has just fallen in love with a boy while on a cruise ship.  Her family is vacationing on the Persephone and Frances has no greater care in the world than the boy named Grey.  That is until disaster strikes and everyone aboard the ship is killed.  With sheer luck, Frances and her friend, Libby, end up in a raft that becomes their savior as well as their doom.  When Libby's father finally finds them, only Frances is left living.  But when they get back to land, Libby is announced as the sole raft survivor and Frances buries her past.

Libby cannot let her past go.  There are too many unanswered questions.  Why were Senator Wells and his son, Grey, lying about that night?  What really happened on the Persephone?  With all her careful planning, Libby returns home to expose the truth.  One way or another, she will get Grey to admit what happened that night.  But she soon finds out that emotions buried in the past are closer to the surface than she thinks.

Have you ever heard of the show Revenge?  How Emily seeks revenge from the powerful Grayson family?  Isn't it funny that Grey's full name is Greyson?  Yeah, too many parallels here.  And while I found the story to be a good mystery that explains things well and goes through the emotions, it still felt like a copycat.  I couldn't get over the fact that it was way too similar to this tv show that I like to watch.  Both set in beach cities on a beach house with the main character assuming a different identity while seeking revenge.  I can't separate the two.

While this book is good, I don't feel like it's very original.  If you've never seen Revenge, then you won't have the same reservations that I had and will probably like this one.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey

Genre:  Adult Fantasy
Imriel's Trilogy, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Imriel de la Courcel's blood parents are history's most reviled traitors, but his adoptive parents, the Comtesse Phèdre and the warrior-priest Joscelin, are Terre d'Ange's greatest champions.

Stolen, tortured, and enslaved as a young boy, Imriel is now a Prince of the Blood, third in line for the throne in a land that revels in art, beauty, and desire. It is a court steeped in deeply laid conspiracies ... and there are many who would see the young prince dead. Some despise him out of hatred for his birth mother Melisande, who nearly destroyed the realm in her quest for power. Others because they fear he has inherited his mother's irresistible allure - and her dangerous gifts. And as he comes of age, plagued by dark yearnings, Imriel shares their fears.

At the royal court, where gossip is the chosen poison and assailants wield slander instead of swords, the young prince fights character assassins while struggling with his own innermost conflicts. But when Imriel departs to study at the famed University of Tiberium, the perils he faces turn infinitely more deadly. Searching for wisdom, he finds instead a web of manipulation, where innocent words hide sinister meanings, and your lover of last night may become your hired killer before dawn. Now a simple act of friendship will leave Imriel trapped in a besieged city where the infamous Melisande is worshiped as a goddess; where a dead man leads an army; and where the prince must face his greatest test: to find his true self.

While this is book one in Imriel's Trilogy, it's actually book four in the Kushiel Universe.  So if you're new to this story, be sure to check out Kushiel's Dart.  This story is the beginning of Imriel's take on Terre d'Ange.  He lives in a city blessed by Elua where the main command is Love as thou wilt.  But Imriel has spent his teenage years living in his foster parents' shadows: the Comtesse Phèdre, the city's most infamous courtesan, and Joscelin, a deadly Cassiline warrior who gave up his vows in the name of love.  As this story suggests, Imriel makes it out in the world once he is of age and begins to create his own heroic tales.

Imriel, a prince of the blood, has spent his later childhood years knowing he was born as a tool to help overthrow the ruling family: House Courcel.  With the shadow of his mother surrounding him, his loyalties are often questioned.  No one knows if he truly supports his cousins, Sidonie and Alais, who are above him in succession.  And the pressures of court get to him.  When he is finally of age, he denounces his name and looks towards knowledge in Tiberium.  While there, he studies under a philosopher and makes new friends as well as enemies.  But only time and dangerous situations will test his loyalties to determine who he truly is.

These stories are so well-laid out that you forget how long they are while reading them.  There are so many connections and intrigue within this world that it becomes a well-rounded life you are reading.  And this story has everything: love, war, lies, mysticism, friends, and family.  While I enjoy these books, I felt like Imriel's beginning left a little to be desired in the grand scheme of his world.  It set the scene and introduced him as the newest protagonist, but the story I'm looking for is yet to come (like when are they going to find his mother and get retribution?).  However it was still good.

These books are pure fantasy meant for adults.  They're set in olden times where the gods are still young and mysticism isn't superstition.  I highly suggest reading Kushiel's Dart if you are a high fantasy lover looking for a book to steal a lot of your time.  The books are huge and sometimes daunting but worth it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Genre:  NA Paranormal Romance
The Sweet Trilogy, Book 4
Expected publication date:  September 8, 2015

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Author Note:
Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai's life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story. It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

Kaidan is your typical Nephilim: living the life guys are envious of and getting the girls with no strings attached.  Kaidan's father is the Duke of Lust, so obviously Kaidan's sin is lust and he pretty much works every night.  It's something he has no qualms with until he meets Anna, another Nephilim who doesn't know what she is.  Innocent Anna who sees the good in everyone and doesn't let people's sin define them.  But as Kaidan leads her farther into her heritage, will she still hold onto that goodness?

This story is told from Kaidan's point of view and spans across the original trilogy of this series.  It is a definite must for those who absolutely loved The Sweet trilogy.  Getting into Kaidan's head, seeing his point of view, and feeling his emotions...  It's a different feel.  There's a lot of distrust in the beginning because Kaidan has grown up with so much fear and paranoia.  But in the end, he gets his happily ever after.  Not really a new plot to the story, but a different side.

If I'm allowed to have multiple book boyfriends, then Kaidan's one of them.  Whatever, I'm allowed.  This series is one of my favorites, and I absolutely adored this fourth book.  I loved seeing inside Kaidan's head.  All the vulgarity and straight-forwardness.  It was nice to watch his motivations change from the beginning to the end.  And I still think the very last chapter is still the perfect ending to this perfect happily ever after.  It was so much sweeter hearing it from Kai's point of view.  Awww....

If you haven't read this series, go start it.  This book is a definite for those who loved the trilogy and just can't get enough of Kai.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Genre:  YA Fairy Tale Fantasy
Expected publication date:  September 15, 2015

Description (taken from Sarah Prineas' website:
When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

She wakes up and is given a plain, itchy dress.  She's brought to a room filled with women, fabric, thread, and needles.  She is a seamstress and she will sew.  In between sewing she is given meager portions to eat, a little bit of time to rest, and cold showers to keep herself clean.  The only thing that makes the days interesting is when punishment is being doled out at the post.  But when she meets a shoemaker, she decides this life of servitude isn't enough for her.  She calls herself Pin and the boy Shoe, and she dares to escape the Godmother's fortress.

After finally getting a glimpse of freedom, Pin is caught.  And the Godmother has special plans for her.  She forces her into a story where there's a prince and a guaranteed happily ever after.  But Pin notices cracks along the edges and isn't sure if it is her own happy ending that she's trying to achieve.  And when the mysterious Shoe appears in the city, she's not so sure who she can trust.

This is the perfect fairy tale retelling, however I will admit the beginning was a little disorienting.  It follows the Cinderella story but with some twists.  Pin isn't your typical girl who swoons over any Prince.  Instead, she thinks for herself and realizes not all endings need a Prince.  I loved this about her.  While I agree that finding true love is one of the best things out there, I can certainly say it is never perfect and almost always involves a little bit of pain.  This story just feels so real even though it;s interwoven into a fantasy world involving magic and fairy tales.

I would say anyone looking for a good fairy tale retelling needs to pick up this one.  It doesn't disappoint and leaves you feeling happy...

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Genre:  YA Fantasy
The Orphan Queen Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Jodi Meadows' website):
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Wil is just an average street rat in the Indigo Kingdom.  She helps lead a band of kids who steal food and supplies in order to survive.  But they also have a plan that will free them from the streets and give them back their titles.  Only problem is it involves infiltrating the Indigo Palace in order to gather information about their homeland: Aecor.  Wil will have to pretend to be a duchess from Liadia seeking sanctuary in the Indigo Kingdom.

Wil and her best friend, Melanie are in the palace searching for information.  They plan to return home and reclaim the throne.  But as suspicious behaviors occurs, Wil finds herself on the streets meeting a vigilante who's trying to clean the kingdom of magic.  And as Wil looks into the origins of the Wraith, she determines her magic is more dangerous than she thought.  With everything going on, will Wil be able to stick to her plan and reclaim her throne?

This review has been sitting for a couple of days with me trying to absorb my thoughts.  But all I've really got to say is "I was bored."  Wil was a little too whiny in the beginning to keep my interest.  And once I was halfway through the book, I realized the story wasn't picking up for me.  So many things happen in this book to keep a reader satisfied, but I felt like the right questions weren't answered for me.  What is the mysterious wraith and how does magic create it?  I felt like I was running from a nameless enemy.  Maybe this story had too much cliché in it, and that's why it sort of fell flat for me.

There are others out there who enjoyed this book.  I suggest reading those reviews before making an educated decision on whether or not to pick up this book.  And I have to say the writing flows well; I was just too bored to care.

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