Category Archives: 4 Star Rating

REVIEW {32} RETRO REVIEW {6} The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
SERIES: Fire and Thorns #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: The Shadow Cats #0.5; The Shattered Mountain #0.6; Crown of Embers #2; Bitter Kingdom #3
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
EDITION: Hardcover, 423 pages
PUBLISHED: September 20th 2011 by Greenwillow
ACQUISITION: Own; ebook
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Adventure, High Fantasy, Paranormal, War, Review, 4 Star Rating, Book 1 In Series, Greenwillow Publishing, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson, Fire and Thorns Series
RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.86/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

MY THOUGHTS: This was my first foray into fantasy, and I was very hesitant to even give it a try. But when I stumbled upon it at the library, I decided, what the heck, let’s get it. And I am so glad that I did, because I was not disappointed!
In one word, I found this book to be very unique. I can’t think of any other book that I would compare it too; but again, at this point I hadn’t read very much fantasy. I felt that the book started out a bit slow, and was slightly difficult for me to visualize Elisa’s world; but once I finished Part 1 of the book, I realized that Part 2 really throws you into the meat of the book – and I was hooked!
One lovely thing about this book, is that it takes place in several different settings – all of which are unique in all aspects – landscape, inhabitants, purpose, and beliefs. Carson marvels at creating one unified world with these individual microcosms within it. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about it. There really weren’t any times where I knew what was going to happen – save for maybe one or two scenes. Otherwise, Carson kept you guessing until the end.
I really didn’t like Elisa when the book first began. She was this helpless, almost dumb fat girl who at all the freaking time and never did anything worth mentioning in her life. Cut to Part 2 and I love Elisa. Love her to bits! She is the perfect heroine! She’s smart, sassy, and steps up to the plate and fights for what is right. She’s very selfless, never thinking about herself, and puts others ahead of herself.
King Alejandro also bothered me. He’s pitiful and pathetic, but gains my respect by the end of the book. He likes to sit back and let others do his fighting and dirty work, and doesn’t take an active role in his son, Prince Rosario’s life. He also is in love with his mistress, Arina, and keeps his marriage to Elisa a secret.
Another amazingly wonderful character is Cosme. Cosme, who begins as a treacherous maid for Arina – doing her spying for her – despises Elisa. And in the end, it’s safe to say that they are probably as close to best friends as two girls can become. She’s smart and she’s been hurt and betrayed so she puts on a frigid, icy front but it’s to protect herself.
The issue that I had with the world building was that it had a very Spanish feel to it with the names and place names, but the description of the land being desert-like yet very hilly was making it a little difficult at first to connect everything together. I also thought that being a fantasy, the spiritual being would have a different name than “God”, but this does use “God” as the spiritual being and every century he chooses one person to be a “bearer” meaning that they have a “Godstone” in their navel. They then are supposed to do something amazing, maybe even miraculous. So there was a pretty heavy religious tone to the story, which typically is not my cup of tea, but it was done in a unique way that didn’t bother me at all. I think Carson handled the themes and tones of the book perfectly.
I also have to commend Carson on her ability to kill off characters. Holy heck is that a breath of fresh air! I haven’t been so ticked off at an author for killing off characters since J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series! Yes, I said Ticked Off, but what I mean is, thank you! Thank you for not creating a picture-perfect book with the ‘happily ever after’. Carson cares what her fans think and feel and want, but she also doesn’t herself or her story in the meantime.
Carson did exactly what I love with the ending too – gave a lot of closure, but left enough open to make me want, need, crave more! It ended absolutely perfectly, and sets up the main theme (at least what I think the main theme is… ) for the rest of the series.
SIMILAR READS: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke | Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta | Witchlanders by Lena Coakley | The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton | The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab 

Happy Reading!

REVIEW {31} RETRO REVIEW {5} Frostbite by Richelle Mead

FROSTBITE
SERIES: Vampire Academy #2 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Vampire Academy #1; Shadow Kiss #3; Blood Promise #4; Spirit Bound #5; and Last Sacrifice #6; SPIN-OFF SERIES: Bloodlines | BOOKS IN THE SERIES:Bloodlines #1; The Golden Lily #2; The Indigo Spell #3; The Fiery Heart #4
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
EDITION: Paperback, 327 pages
ACQUISITION: Library; Need to Own/Wishlist
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Vampires, Romance, Supernatural, Richelle Mead, Book 2 in Series, Vampire Academy Series, Razorbill, 4 Star Rating, Wishlist, Review, Retro Review
RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.37/5.00

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose… 

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed Vampire Academy, and when people started telling me that Frostbite was even better, I was psyched to read it… which I did, immediately after finishing book one. The most appealing aspects of these novels are the incredibly abundant amounts of action, and the insane emotions you feel from Rose. Rose is such a complex character, even though you seem to get her at face value, and you think there’s just maybe two sides to Rose, you then finish book two, and you are like, nope! Rose is Rose, regardless of who she’s interacting with; but she handles situations so differently. Every reaction that Rose has is so emotionally charged, and when she’s put to the test she always manages to kick butt! Everything about this book was addicting and delicious, and I can see myself adding the entire series to my personal library, and will be rereading these too, because the re-readability is very high.
The story line as well is so captivating, it literally grabs you and doesn’t let go. I would literally find myself doing things with the book clutched in my hands – cooking dinner, cleaning the house, etc. I did not want to put it down. There are momens where I was literally shocked at what Rose was put through, and awed at how amazingly she handles things. If you haven’t read this series, and you love vampires – you need to go get it right now. Like. Right. Now. Immediately. Go.
SIMILAR READS: Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine | Jealousy by Lili St. Crow | Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide by Michelle Rowen | Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz | Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Happy Reading!

Review {12} Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole
Series: The Arcana Chronicles #1
Publication Information: October 2nd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Edition: Kobo ebook, 384 pages
Acquisition: Own
Categories: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural
Rating: 4.00/5.00 |  Goodreads Rating: 4.33/5.00
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What the Back of the Book Says

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world—or destroy it.


Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.


But she can’t do either alone.


With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?


Who can Evie trust?


As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….


My Thoughts

I have been impatiently waiting for this book to release since earlier this year. I love anything to do with tarot cards, and have several decks myself. As a student of the tarot, I’ve always loved the stories that each card has to tell, and when I found out that Kresley Cole – whom I’ve never read before – was releasing a book based on the major arcana cards, I was beyond stoked! 


I found Cole to be an exceptional storyteller, however there were times that I found myself a bit lost. There is tons going on in this story between the apocalypse, Evie’s visions and voices in her head, as well as the interactions between the characters in the book. I’ve read quite a few of the reviews up on Goodreads and some people complained that Evie’s visions made some parts of the story confusing. I can easily see how this happened, however I was able to still follow the story line easily. The issue that I had with Evie’s visions is that they were VERY cryptic. There were times I would read a scene, reread it, and still not fully understand. With tarot, this happens. Each and every person will read or interpret a card a different way, so I am just going to assume that these visions were Cole’s own personal images and interpretations of the cards and how they wove into her story and characters. 

The characters were wonderful, each with their own voices and personalities. I wouldn’t say that I loved Evie’s character. I liked her well enough, there were times where I thought she was a whiny, irrational brat, but they were few and fleeting. By the end of the book I thought she was pretty kick ass with her powers, able to finally protect herself, and fight for her life. I’m curious to see how she develops in the remainder of the series. Jackson pissed me off a lot with how he tended to let his male parts think for him instead of his brain. Selena was cool in the supernatural, embracing her super powers kind of way, but other than that she seemed vindictive and conniving. Matthew annoyed the piss out of me with his awkwardness and cryptic ways of talking. His psychic abilities were pretty cool though. And Finn was okay, I really didn’t like or dislike him. He’s super cocky and like Jackson wants a girl in his bed. Arthur is also a very interesting character. He plays a small yet HUGE part. I do like how Cole interprets each card and developed them into characters. I had fun trying to guess which card each character was, and how Jackson will fit into all of this!

The world building was pretty incredible. I know I’m really into a book and that the author is amazing at world building when as I am reading the book, it’s almost playing like a movie in my mind’s eye. This happened for me through most of the book. To go from everyday life to a post apocalyptic landscape would be a huge shock for anyone – especially when most all of the women in the world perished, and Bagmen – aka Zombies – are swarming as are Slavers – aka men who enslave people and use women as “toys” – as well as militias that are forming. To deal with this along with lack of food, water, shelter, and gasoline add up to one incredible story.

As with any book that you end up really liking, Cole leaves us hanging at the end – wondering what’s in store for the characters after Evie makes some realizations – including remembering bits of what her Grandmother told her as a girl (Spoiler:(highlight over to read) Including that only ONE card can survive. Therefore Evie has to kill ALL of the other major arcana cards/characters including those she’s already met: Finn, Selena, and Matthew. Each kill earns her that cards “mark” tattooed on her arm. Cool!) that will make things incredibly different for book two!!

My Recommendation: If you love action packed, post apocalyptic tales woven with romantic tension, zombies, tarot and incredibly developed characters fighting to survive across a barren, danger filled landscape, then this one is for you!

If You Liked This Try: Dark Star by Bethany Frenette | Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter | Black City by Elizabeth Richards | Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson | Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Happy Reading!