Category Archives: 5 Star Rating

REVIEW {35} THE FIERY HEART by Richelle Mead

THE FIERY HEART
SERIES: Bloodlines | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Bloodlines #1, The Golden Lily #2, The Indigo Spell #3, Silver Shadows #5 (Release Date: 7/29/14)
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: November 19th, 2013
EDITION: Hardcover, 438 pages
ACQUISITION: Own
CATEGORIES: Bloodlines, Richelle Mead, The Fiery Heart, 5 Star Rating, Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Witches, Review, Love Triangles, 2013 Release, 2014 Read
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.47/5.00
ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

MY THOUGHTS: *MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* Considering I have absolutely loved every book in this series so far, as well as the entire Vampire Academy series, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d absolutely adore this latest installment in the Bloodlines series as well.
Can I just take a minute to state the obvious, and tell you all what the best part of this book is? I can do it quickly in just three words. Ready? Sydney and Adrian. They are full steam ahead with their relationship – which we all know is totally not okay by Alchemists standards – but really, the heart wants what the heart wants and Sydney’s wants, needs, has to have, Adrian.
This book follows suit with it’s non-stop action and “Whoa did that just happen?” moments. We have all the regular players, plus a new dhampir named Neil, whom Jill and Angeline both are crushing on. But Neil’s heart lies in a recently-restored-from-Strigoi named Olive. And besides – Angeline can’t stop thinking about Trey (Yep, that Warriors of Light Trey), and Jill and Eddie are both interested in each other, but Eddie can’t get over his feelings of not being good enough for a Princess. Luckily, Jill takes the first step towards showing Eddie she doesn’t care if he’s “just” a dhampir. 
The main theme of the book, is Sydney’s continuing to help Marcus and the rebel ex-Alchemists, while juggling her job in Palm Springs in the midst of hiding her relationship with Adrian from her Little-Sister-Turned-Alchemist who is disgustingly loyal and obedient to their controlling Alchemist father. Sydney’s magic use and training goes even further, when she joins a coven and starts working on her own formulas to make the ink Marcus needs to break the Golden Lily tattoos that Alchemists are given to control them.
Everything is going great – Sydney’s able to hide her love for Adrian, keep Zoe under wraps, and make sure everything’s running smoothly. That is she thinks everything is going great. Unfortunately, it’s the person she loves nearly as much as Adrian who betrays her and causes her entire world to come crashing down.
I loved every minute we got to spend with Sydney and Adrian together. They are the textbook definition of opposites attract, and their dynamics work so well together. I usually do not like dual-narration in books, but I think Mead was able to wonderfully give Sydney and Adrian their own voices, and gave us the ability to see things from both of them – as well as what was going on with one when the other wasn’t there. They both have their fair share of struggles and inner demons carried over from the previous books, but one challenge we experience with Adrian, is his choice to start taking medication to help control Spirit, after he is left to suffer the consequences of a “Spirit Hangover”. He fights within himself to justify that the meds will help, and in true Adrian fashion, begins beating himself up when he needs Spirit and isn’t able to access it because of the pills. One of my favorite Adrian-isms is his “Escape Plans” for himself and Sydney.
We see more of how controlling the Alchemists are when we spend time with Zoe. Sydney sees so much of her former self in her younger sister, and hopes she can help Zoe see that the Alchemist way of life isn’t the best choice. Unfortunately, Zoe is under her father’s mind-control, and ultimately causes the destruction of Sydney’s life in Palm Springs, and that of everyone she loves and cares about. With the details of their parents divorce, we can see love isn’t something the Alchemists tend to really consider being important. 
The Fiery Heart leaves us at a gnarly cliffhanger, which is Mead’s M.O. We have Sydney in a “jail” cell being held captive by the Alchemists, who are ready to re-educate her; and Adrian and Jackie Terwilliger who are desperate to save her. I cannot wait to read Silver Shadows, number five in the series to see if Sydney and Adrian are able to find their way back to each other.
SIMILAR READS: Daylighters (The Morganville Vampires #15) by Rachel Caine | Revealed (House of Night #11) by P.C. Cast | The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2) by Julie Kagawa | Oblivion (Nevermore #3) by Kelly Creagh | Sentinel (Covenant #5) by Jennifer L Armentrout
Happy Reading!
Laura

REVIEW {33} Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

CROWN OF MIDNIGHT
SERIES: Throne of Glass #2 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Throne of Glass #1;  The Assassin and the Pirate Lord #0.1; The Assassin and the Desert #0.2; The Assassin and the Underworld #0.3; The Assassin and the Empire #0.4
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
EDITION: Hardcover, 432 pages
ACQUISITION: ARC from publisher/BEA
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Romance, Adventures, Fairies, 5 Star Rating, Bloomsbury USA, ARC, Review
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.61/5.00 (pre-release)

WHAT IT’S ABOUTAn assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.

But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

MY THOUGHTS: I am still completely awestruck after finishing this book. Being the second book in the series, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be just as good as Throne of Glass, but I have to say it was, if not better! There was so much action and suspense and mystery and romance in this one that every single page turbo-charged my emotions and left me with a wicked book hangover!
When I finished Throne of Glass I had marked Celaena down as my #1 Favorite Heroine of All Time. When I finished Crown of Midnight, that statement was confirmed ten times over. Everything that Celaena goes through would break any other person, but she is able to navigate it all with calm and grace. She is one of the strongest, most selfless people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.
Crown of Midnight really puts Celaena to the test. She is now the King’s Assassin, and is sent out on routine missions to take out any of the people he suspects are starting a rebellion against him. But, Celaena of course has secrets of her own – ones she keeps even from Chaol, her maybe-more-than-just-a-crush, and her first true, best friend Nehemiah. She’s still in an awkward spot with Prince Dorian, but luckily we see their friendship resurrected, and become even stronger.

All of the characters in this series are wonderful! They are so well developed that they feel truly 3D and real. Maas has no problem putting her characters in completely crazy scenarios and letting them live, die, figure out secrets, solve mysteries, you name it. This series has a little bit of everything (including a talking door knocker named Mort!) so no matter what your usual genre is, you’ll definitely be able to find something you love in this series.

One of my favorite things about this series, is that it goes places you are not expecting, and introduces characters you’ll be thinking about long after you finish the book. I cannot think of anything that I would change that happened plot-wise in the second installment of this series. Everything is so unique and different but ties together in the end. I cannot wait to see where book three takes us, because I know that it is going to be different from the first two books, but I think Celaena’s adventures are just getting started.  

This is one series that I already find myself recommending to people, whether they read high fantasy or not. It’s one that I do find myself thinking about weeks after I’ve finished the book. Maas is an absolutely incredible storyteller, one that I’ll happily read without a second thought.

SIMILAR READS: Deception by C.J. Redwine | Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | Shadowscale by Rachel Hartman | Toxic City by Theo Lawrence | Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Happy Reading!

Review {27} The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

THE DARKEST MINDS

SERIES: The Darkest Minds #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Never Fade #2 (Release Date: October 15th 2013)
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken
PUBLISHED: December 18th 2012 by Disney Hyperion
ACQUIRED: Borrowed | Library
EDITION: Hardcover, 488 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Romance, Adventure, Dystopian, 5 Star Rating, Disney Hyperion, Alexandra Bracken, Series Book 1, The Darkest Minds, Review
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.26/5.00
WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.


When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.


When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

MY THOUGHTS: Holy cow, guys! This book seriously was more than I ever imagined it would be! Not that I didn’t have high expectations or anything like that, I’m just saying I went in hoping to like it, but came out LOVING IT!

Can we talk about Ruby, our main character who tells the story from her POV, for just a sec? I adore her. Truly, I feel like we are BFFs now, and she is telling her story directly to me, just me, like it’s a well-guarded secret. Ruby on page one is not the same Ruby on page 488, that’s for sure. The situations she encounters, the emotions she experiences that she never knew were possible make her into one of my favorite heroines  by the time I closed the book after the last page. Ruby is a very selfless person who cares so deeply for others that it could be considered one of her flaws. She wants to think the best of everyone, even when they prove unworthy of her trust. She still believes there is good in people, which she chides Liam for at times. 

Besides Ruby, we spend time getting to know Liam, Chubs, and Zu. This is one dynamic foursome, let me tell you! From younger, nonspeaking Zu, to strong, level-headed Liam, and blind as a bat Chubs we get to experience their joys and sorrows, their happiness and their setbacks. Each character is so wonderfully created with such love and detail that you literally feel like you’re in Black Betty (their minivan) with them as they try to find East River.

The pacing of the book is fast, flying by page after page with no lags or slow parts. There’s continuous action, lots of adventure, and so many anger inducing, tear jerking, want to throw the book against the wall because that SO did NOT just happen moments that it’s like you’re on an emotional roller coaster while you’re reading. From run ins with PSFs, to run ins with The Children’s League, to moments where one of them uses their superpowers or has them used against them, it’s constant up and down, oh my god moments.

The relationships between characters is very real and tangible. Nothing ever feels forced or awkward – even moments between Ruby and Clancy (Which, yeah, can’t wait to read more of, because I know we haven’t seen the last of Clancy, that weasel!) It was very refreshing to see the relationship between Ruby and Liam grow and wasn’t any of that insta-love. While both knew they had feelings for each other, they took their time (Thank you, Miss Bracken, seriously. Thank you!) getting to really know and trust each other, and even then it was stolen kisses that they shared in moments of fear and worry. There is still so much more to their relationship that we haven’t even seen yet, so I am extremely anxious to find out where they take their relationship in the next book(s)… especially with how the book ended.

As easy as it is to hate Clancy, it is also him we can thank for the strength and confidence that Ruby develops by books end. She’s managed to learn how to somewhat control, or harness and use her powers. While she still struggles with keeping her distance so that she doesn’t accidentally erase herself from people’s memories, Ruby is also able to grow her confidence in her abilities as well. She’s also learned to fend for herself, and to rely only on herself and not trust anyone until they’ve proven to be trustworthy. 

I would recommend this book to absolutely any- and everyone on the face of the planet. Even if you typically do not read paranormal or dystopian, I beg of you, give this book a whirl! You will not be disappointed. (And if you are.. well, then I am sorry. lol)
SIMILAR READS: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes | False Memory by Dan Krokos | Beta by Rachel Cohn | Black City by Elizabeth Richards | Renegade by J.A. Souders

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken wrote Brightly Woven as a birthday present for a friend, and the story grew and flourished during a year of unpredictable, wild weather. A native of Arizona, she is a recent graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she majored in History and English. She now lives in New York City.
Happy Reading!