Tag Archives: 3 Stars

REVIEW | Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate
AUTHOR: Jodi Meadows
SERIES: New Soul #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Asunder #2 | Infinite #3
RELEASE DATE: January 31, 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
EDITION: Hardcover, 374 pages
AQUISITION: Own
RATING: 3.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.75/5.00
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Why I Wanted This Book: I love the idea of reincarnation, and it’s always interesting to see other people’s ideas and thoughts about it. The concept seemed truly unique and fascinating so I knew I had to read it.
Story/Plot: I’ve never been into the fantasy genre before, so when I say that this book was like none other I’ve ever read, I’m not sure if that’s an accurate assumption. But for me, it’s the truth. The plot for this story is completely unique from the beginning to the end. The plot was quite slow until about the last third; that’s when action picked up and a lot of information was thrown at you. I sort of want to go back and reread the last 150 pages because this is where all of the important stuff that should’ve been spread throughout the whole book was all put out there in a big, huge rush. Two hundred and fifty pages had you wondering why Ana exists and how it happened and will there be more newsouls; and then within a few pages you know – kind of – but it’s not satisfying and you are left wanting to know more.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Janan, either. It was pretty predictable for me in figuring out that the temple had something to do with Janan. I was trying to explain the premise of this book to my boyfriend after I finished reading it and he said it sounded like a bad episode of Star Trek TNG. Sadly – I had to agree with him. There are parts that seem like Meadows really had everything plotted out, but then there were other parts where it didn’t feel like she’d thought everything out past what was going on right then and there in the book. I do like the idea of there being matching souls (i.e. – soul mates); and I love how Ana and Sam bonded through music,

Characters: It was difficult for me to develop a relationship with the characters in this book. If you imagine a character having several “layers” of personality and who they are, I would say we got maybe two layers deep into Ana and Sam’s characters. We get a little more than just top layer personality, but it didn’t go really far in depth. It was easy to understand Ana – from her life with Li, to meeting Sam, to moving to Heart – and the writing style also made it easy to see things from Ana’s point of view. There were a lot of times where Ana was very wishy-washy. She would be, “To hell with Li and telling me I’m a nosoul! I’m a real person with the right to think, and feel, and love just like anyone else…I’ll show her!” and then a few chapters later she was like, “Oh, I really don’t deserve to feel because Li told me so, and I’m really not worth Sam’s love and compassion.” That got to be frustrating at times. This style of first person narrative made it hard to connect with the other characters here and there as well. I also didn’t like how okay Ana was when she found out that Sam was lying to her about taking Li and Menehem’s diaries, and sneaking out at night. When he fesses up to it, she was just like, “Oh. Ok.” I would’ve been pretty peeved if it were me. It’s times like that where I felt a major disconnect.

It was refreshing to watch Ana and Sam’s relationship grow, and that there wasn’t the nauseating insta-love between them. Ana goes through a large metamorphosis from when she lived with Li, to living with Sam now in Heart. To watch her grow and learn is wonderful; and for her to finally understand that while some people may be threatened by her, there are others out there who are nice to her, and kind, and even friends with her.

Writing: I have a huge love/hate relationship with the writing style. Why I loved the writing style: It really showed Ana’s character as far as her inexperience; her hesitancy to trust; and her insecurities about herself and being a “nosoul” like Li beat into her head. Why I hated the writing style: It was very difficult to visualize  Range and Heart; the world-building was severely lacking. It was difficult to visualize the characters as very few physical descriptions were given, and they also would give previous incarnations for some of the Heart residents. It was difficult to keep everything straight at times. I really believe if the world-building had been stronger I think I would’ve given a higher rating and had an overall more enjoyable experience. It was too difficult to have to literally stop and try to see what was being told to me.
This is not to say that Meadows isn’t a good writer; she is, in fact, a wonderful storyteller and has pretty cool views on reincarnation. I have plans to continue on with the series, but do hope a few of the hang ups are resolved for the sequel(s).
Ending: The book ended in an okay spot, but leaves A LOT left to still be resolved. I don’t want to say that it was a cliff-hanger ending, but close to it. There was a lot of action in the last 100-150 pages and then it slowly waned to the finish. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, but I guess I didn’t necessarily hate it either.
Cover: The cover is beautiful and one of the reasons I wanted this book. It is very representative of the story and Ana, yet is simple in it’s beauty. The idea of Ana being like a butterfly is a huge integral part of the story and is very dominant on the cover as well.
My Hopes for Book 2: I am curious to see if any of the people that died in Incarnate are reincarnated; the relationship between Sam and Ana and if it changes at all now that things that Sam’s lied about have come to light; More information revealed about the symbiotic relationship between Heart, the temple, and Janan.
Happy Reading!
Laura
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REVIEW | The Sword and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski

Hey Bookworms! Today I am sharing with you my review of this paranormal dystopian as my stop on the tour! Continue through the review to the end to enter the giveaway! Leave comments and let me know if you plan on reading this one! Check out the rest of the stops on this book tour HERE.

THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE
SERIES: Thorn and Dagger Series – Book #1
AUTHOR: CJ Dushinski
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
MY RATING: 3.00/5.00 Stars | GOODREADS RATING: 3.61/5.00 Stars
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:  Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape…

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth’s Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…

To avenge his father’s death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love…

MY REVIEW:  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The first time that I read the summary for this book; I realized that it was one that I wanted a copy of ASAP.

My first thoughts were that it was a futuristic, dystopian re-telling of Romeo and Juliet – which I see lots of other reviewers saying they thought the same thing – even though this book isn’t marketed as such. Personally, I feel that I’d have picked this one up without a second thought if it had been marketed as such. Romeo and Juliet is one of my fave stories of all time!

The world-building in this story was pretty remarkable. I think that the author had a clearly defined world in her imagination and was able to perfectly portray her visions onto the pages.

I liked the characters too. Each was 3d and able to stand out from the rest. There was such an array of different types of characters too – apart from the main characters that really made this book stand out in its genre.

The writing style was just okay – I don’t think that there was anything that would make it stand out or have me remember it as being incredible.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes, if you love sci-fi/dystopian/paranormal/tragedies. 


Will I continue this series?
Yes, I anticipate finishing the series.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO BOOKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  While attempting to navigate life as a responsible human being, CJ graduated from university with a B.Comm and worked her way along as a marketer, copywriter, and graphic designer to earn a paycheck while pursuing her passion for creating fantastical stories set in dark and wondrous corners of the world. Born amongst the wheat fields and open skies of the Canadian prairies, CJ’s imagination has always run wild, taking her on adventures across the world from modeling in Seoul, South Korea to backpacking through Europe and surfing (poorly) in Hawaii.

After wandering through ancient cities and civilizations, learning from diverse cultures, and surrounding herself in new experiences, CJ was inspired and began work on her debut young adult novel THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE, to be published by Entangled Publishing 2014/15. CJ currently resides in Calgary, Alberta Canada – home of the Canadian Rockies – and keeps one hand on her passport and pen at all times, ready to pick up, see the world, and weave her experiences into stories.

CJ is represented by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency LLC.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook  

 
 

Happy Reading!

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REVIEW | Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

SILVER SHADOWS
Series: Bloodlines – Book #5
Author: Richelle Mead
My Rating: 3.50/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 4.40/5.00
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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 Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

 
LIKES
  • Sydney and Adrian’s love for each other.
  • Hopper – the dragon!
  • Sydney and Adrian’s relationship status – at the end of the book.
  • How fast paced and full of action this book (and ultimately the entire series) is.
  • How strong the bond of friendship is between Jill, Angelina, Eddie, Sydney, Neil, and Adrian. In a world where dhampirs and vampires do not have relationships (friendship or otherwise) with Alchemists, the way they’ve banded together and the loyalty towards each other is insane!
  • Sydney’s magic. I love this aspect of the book, I truly do!
  • Carly Sage.
  • Rowena.
  • Jill’s bond with Adrian – and her maturity.
  • Jill and Eddie. Please, get together! I’m OTP’ing it! Jeddie?
  • Diversity in characters and lifestyles.
 
DISLIKES
  • The Re-education center and the Alchemists.
  • Queen Tatiana’s voice in Adrian’s head. (Curious to see what that’s all about.)
  • Adrian’s negative Spirit attributes.
  • Some parts that seem to lag and drag.
  • The Alchemists. Did I already mention them? I hate them.
 
MY THOUGHTS:
*I cannot promise that this is a spoiler-free review. If you haven’t read the first 4 books of the series, I recommend not continuing with this review!*
 I have been obsessed with the Vampire Academy world from the first page of Vampire Academy, and when I found out that there was a spin-off series, it made my little vampire-loving heart leap with joy! So far, I’ve loved Sydney and Adrian’s story, told throughout the Bloodlines series.With  every book, I’ve closed the cover and had the worst book hangover – desperately awaiting the next book to come out.
While I did enjoy the continuation of the story, I felt that this one was just a little stagnant. At the end of The Fiery Heart, Sydney was taken by the Alchemists for re-education, and Adrian is left fighting to find her. But in his spirit-wielding way, Adrian falls back into old habits at the start of Silver Shadows, and Sydney is wasting away in a dark cell, drugged until she admits she sinned, and is willing to undergo re-education to find her way back to the light. She is in this dark place both physically and emotionally – as it was her own sister, Zoe, who betrayed her, and her father who committed her to this place. She leaves her hopes of rescue in Adrian – who is back at Court, after his mother came to get him and bring him back after Jill contacted her. Back at Court, Adrian teams up with Nina – another Spirit user – who joins him in his drinking escapades, and makes sure he gets back to his room. She also has feelings for him.
Mostly, this book just starts to tie up the loose ends from the series, getting ready to end it all in just one more book.
While it ended on a cliffhanger in true Richelle Mead style, I found large chunks of this book leaning towards boring. Even though we get the typical unexpected – like what Sydney and Adrian do in the end – that I can say that I wasn’t expecting AT ALL – for the most part it’s Sydney in re-education, confirming what we already know – that she is a bad ass – and Adrian falling back into old drinking patterns and we follow him around Court while he parties. I don’t feel like a lot happens, which I suppose being the last book before the finale, it can happen.
I still love Mead’s writing style, and her characters feel like they are really some of my BFFs. Her characters have such depth and emotion that it’s hard not to get invested in them. Even though this was not one of my favorite books in the series, I still fully enjoyed it and I am so sad that when I read The Ruby Circle, that this series will be finished. I don’t think I am ready for that!
Would I recommend it? Obviously, if you’ve read the first 4 books then YES you need to read it!

Happy Reading!

Laura

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REVIEW | Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes
AUTHOR: Sara Raasch
SERIES: Snow Like Ashes [Book #1] | Ice Like Fire [Book #2] Release Date: October 13, 2015
PUBLICATION INFO: Harper Teen | RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014
CATEGORY: Young Adult, Four Star Rating, Fantasy, Romance, Kick Ass Heroine
ACQUISITION: Library | EDITION: Hardcover; First Edition, 416 pages
RATING: 3 STARS | GOODREADS RATING: 4.05/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

MY THOUGHTS: Snow Like Ashes was one of my most anticipated reads for 2014. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to it last year, and I also didn’t get it for Christmas – even though it was on my Wishlist. So, when I was recently at the library and saw a copy sitting there on the shelf, my greedy little hand grabbed it so fast I swear there were flames!

World Building
Snow Like Ashes follows the story of Meira, a sixteen-year-old girl who is one of only a handful of refugees from the kingdom of Winter. In this world, there are eight kingdoms – 4 Season Kingdoms (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn) and 4 Rhythm Kingdoms (Cordell is the one that plays a major part in this book). Spring is ruled by Angra, the major villain in this series. He has taken over Winter and enslaved all of the Winterians in slave labor camps within the kingdom.
A majority of the first few chapters is spent on world-building and back story. We know that deep in the Klaryn Mountains is the source of the magic that exists in this world; however, the entry into the caverns has been lost over the centuries. Each of the rulers of the kingdoms has a conduit (be it jewelry, a weapon, etc.) that contains the magic, and they can only use it for the good of their kingdom. It also passes down by bloodline, and gender. The conduit for Winter – a locket – has been confiscated by Angra, and the sixteen years since Winter fell have been spent trying to recover the locket, which of course, Angra has split into two.
So the book begins with a mission to steal back the first half of the locket, and sets into motion events that will carry us through the rest of the book.
Plot & Pacing
We are thrown immediately into action, and for the most part there really isn’t much lag in this book – it’s pretty must fast paced until the end. I can’t remember many slow parts, or parts where I was bored. I also found Raasch’s writing to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, though, I did have trouble connecting with Meira in the beginning. I have to admit first though, that I was distracted at the start and may have not given the book the full attention it deserved. I found myself having to reread some paragraphs. Such is life with a one year old *insert ‘wah-wah’ face*.

Characters & Development
The major characters of this book are:
Meira – the main character; Winterian Refugee
Mather – the heir to Winter; son of Queen Hannah and future King of Winter.
Sir – Winterian General; leader of the refugees
Theron – Prince of Cordell
Angra – King of Spring
Herod – Angra’s Second in Command
Noam – King of Cordell
The Refugees – Alyson (Sir’s Wife), Finn, Greer, Henn, Dendera
Queen Hannah – Queen of Winter when Winter fell
Nessa, Conall, and Garrigan – Winterian slaves in Spring labor camp
I think each character had their own personalities and desires that were conveyed well; however, I felt as though the main character, Meira, was lacking. I was able to connect more with Theron, whom I dare say is my newest fictional crush! Together, I believe Meira and Theron can become a force to reckon with. They each have characteristics that the other lacks, so as one they will be unstoppable. Nessa, a winterian currently enslaved in Spring’s labor camp with her two older brothers was also one of my favorite characters. Her hope is what keeps her going, that someone will free them and lead them back to a free Winter. I also feel as though a “good” character at some point may turn “evil”. I can’t explain it, just a hunch. It is also interesting to see how the alliance between Winter and Cordell holds up. Not in the aspects of Meira and Theron, but King Noam.
Writing
I found myself enjoying Raasch’s writing style, and I found her ability to tell Winter’s story pleasing. However I did have trouble connecting with Meira’s character in that I couldn’t “read” her. I knew what she wanted and how she felt, but I was having a lot of trouble getting inside of her head. I truly felt that Winter’s story was being told, not necessarily Meira’s. I believe this will change in the second book – at least I’m hoping for it. I truly want to know more of Meira.
I also felt that when it came to the world-building, Raasch did a little too much telling, and not enough letting my mind “show” me what the world looked like. It caused me too much confusion, and feel that it was rehashed too many times what the world was like. Especially since the major kingdoms are season kingdoms and reflect the characteristics of their said season. Regardless, I really enjoy the world she has created and I definitely look forward to spending more time here once the second book in the series is released.
It doesn’t happen very often, but I found myself very intrigued by the villain in this story. Angra has been able to take in dark matter/magic “decay” and make himself a sort of “conduit” and that is how he carries out his evil deeds. He is a dark, evil character that I’m so interested in that I cannot WAIT to see what happens in the rest of the series. If Meira can become this amazing, kick-ass heroine that I think she has the potential to be, it could make for an interesting fight between the two.
 
Review Summary
A less than impressive introduction to this fantasy series, but enough excitement, action, intrigue and potential to make me excited for book two.
Would I Recommend This Book? Yes. If you love YA Fantasy with magical themes and evil villains with a heroine who has tons of potential. There is lots of action and adventure; magic and romance mingled in to keep anyone fully engaged.
SIMILAR READS: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas |  Winterspell by Claire Legrand | Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh | Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburn

Happy Reading!
Laura

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