Book Review: Winter Falls by Nicole Maggi

Genre: 

Young Adult, diagnosis Fantasy, discount Romance

Pages: 

N/A

Part of a Series?:

First in the Twin Willows Trilogy

Release Date: 

December 22nd, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.

My Review:

 

After meeting Nicole recently at the Ontario TBF, and moderating not one, but two panels with her, I knew I had to get my hands on her books. She had so much to share about her series and it sounded so intriguing especially since she had done so much research about the Benandanti, and it just all sounded really awesome. Plus she was so passionate about her books and I just loved Nicole period.

And I’m so glad that TBF, as usual, brought a new author into my life because I truly enjoyed this book. I’ve been in somewhat of a slump lately (as you could probably tell from my lack of reviews) and was pleasantly surprised when I borrowed the ebook from the library and proceeded to devour in the span of one day.

Nicole has a way of capturing your attention immediately from page one until the last. The idea of a normal young girl discovering there’s much more to her own story than she thought is not something we haven’t seen before but I loved the way that Nicole tackled it. Alessia has a very unique power, being able to separate her soul from her body, transform into a falcon and become a part of the Benandanti. But she also shares it with others as well. I liked that. Yes, this was a journey she had to take within herself but she also became part of something bigger than herself and I loved every bit of it. I was rooting for more than just Alessia, I was rooting for her companions and everything that the Benandanti fought for.

But I also love the romance. As someone who usually spends most of her time writing romance, I appreciate a story that can balance some really great fantasy with really great romance and I absolutely love the connection and story between Jonah and Alessia. It feels whimsical, magical, unbelievable, like a fairy tale almost (which is how the story feels at time, in a good way!) but it also feels real, because when you fall in love for the first time, all of those things are so true!

I’m really excited to see what Nicole has done with the first book of this trilogy and even more excited that I don’t have to wait long for the next installments. I just need to get my hands on them to find out what happens next, especially after how the book ended! I had a feeling something…big was going to be revealed but it wasn’t quite the way I had expected and damn, I have no clue of how this is going to play out but I definitely can’t wait to see how its done!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Power by Jennifer L Armentrout

Genre: 

New Adult, order Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 

344 pages

Part of a Series?:

Second in the Titans series, companion to the Covenant series

Release Date: 

February 23rd, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.

Fate has other plans.

 The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve.  Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.

 But the gods are sensing a greater threat. 

 Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

 The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

 Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back.

 And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.

 

My Review:

I was so afraid that when I went to read this book, I wouldn’t remember a thing about the first book and I was mostly right about that. I read the ARC of the first book nearly two years ago, so I had forgotten a little bit about what was going on. Luckily, the story picks up quickly and I was caught up fast. I immediately fell back in with Seth and Josie, both of whom I love to death.

What I really loved about this book was the struggle that both of the characters were going through. Seth really is trying so hard to be different than literally what he was born to me. And its a physical struggle for him and there are times when I want to throttle him and there are times when I just want to wrap him in my arms and cuddle him like a little baby. Oh, Seth, he does things to a reader’s emotions, especially since we had gotten to know him so well, as the bad guy, in the Covenant series. But I adore him, and I feel so much sympathy for his struggle, especially since he cares for Josie so insanely much.

Oh, and Josie! This is a girl after my own heart! I love her stubbornness and I love her flaws and I love how she is trying so hard to be a demigod and learn and harness her powers to get ready to fight the Titans but she’s also in love with French fries and she struggles with her feelings for Seth. I love that she’s SO incredibly human, because despite the fact that she’s this great power and she’s intended for great purpose, she’s so relatable. She reminds me of Alex that way.

Which brings me to my FAVORITE part of the whole book, the fact that we get to have Alex and Aidan back! I love the Covenant series so much, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love that series and Alex is one of my favorite characters ever, period, and that series has been so incredibly influential to me. So having them back, both evolved characters from when we knew them in their own series, but also so so…them, was amazing. Any time they were on the page, I did a little happy dance in my chair. I hope to see more of them in the next book!

And the next book! I need it now. Its called The Struggle, which is a fitting title since it doesn’t come out til NEXT YEAR. I don’t like waiting, especially after that incredible ending. I knew something big was coming but what happened was so unexpected and I am dying to find out what happens next!

All in all…another fantastic book by JLA!

 

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

8709528Genre: 

Young Adult, cure Paranormal

Pages: 

348

Part of a Series?:

The finale to the Bloodlines series

Release Date: 

February 10th, stomach 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, about it 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.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

My Review:

Please keep in mind, while there will be NO spoilers for The Ruby Circle, there might be spoilers for previous books. Please check out my past reviews for those books!

I feel like I have been waiting for this book to come out forever, and really, it hasn’t been that long. But I WHIPPED through this thing and I’m so completely satisfied.

I love this story and I love that Richelle Mead was able to take the world that she built in the Vampire Academy series and continue it so well in this series. The relationship that she builds between Sydney and Adrian, especially after their marriage in Silver Shadows, is so real, and feels like it was just meant to happen all along. Who knows? Maybe it was haha. But I love the continuation of their relationship in this book. Now that they’ve got the chance to be honest about their relationship…they have the struggle of getting everyone else on board with it. But they also have the struggle of figuring it out themselves. What they are willing to do for each other, how they fight together, how they trust each other. Its a beautiful, real relationship and I enjoyed every single minute of it while reading this book. The love that Sydney and Adrian have for each other…its just beautiful.

But what I really love about this book is how it concluded the series. It was GREAT. I’ve had such wariness with authors lately on how they conclude series. They’ve been sloppy or rushed, all kinds of things. This ending was great. From the beginning, they’re on the hunt for Jill and the hunt for Jill takes a lot of time, effort, hard work  and a lot of super fun fight scenes. What I love about this is that everyone has their piece in it. We get to see Sydney using her magic, Adrian using his spirit magic, the guardians fighting their way. I love every bit of it. In Vampire Academy, it was centered on the fighting of the dhampirs and a few Moroi but in this book, we get such a hodge podge of people working together: Moroi, dhampir, alchemist, human witches, the Warriors of Light, etc. Its amazing.

We also get to explore and discover more. We see a commune of dhampir women who have chosen a life different from a guardian. We have new revelations about dhampirs and Strigoi and spirit magic. We have a super fun revelation about Dimitri and Adrian that I won’t go into because SPOILERS. We get to meet new characters and revisit old characters and I just loved every single minute of it. It was action and romance and drama and it was a great ending. I loved seeing Adrian and Sydney’s story conclude and I loved seeing new things happen but I also loved seeing Rose and Dimitri together. ESPECIALLY after the epilogue!

But I’ll also say this…I love the things that Richelle did with this book. She concluded the story, left us with a satisfying ending, all the loose ends tied up. For the most part. She opened up some new ideas, left us hanging a little, left us wondering. I think that means we just might get some more VA stories soon and I’m ALWAYS okay with that.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Collector by Victoria Scott

13449677Genre: 

New Adult, buy information pills Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

352

Part of a Series?:

The first in the Dante Walker trilogy

Release Date: 

April 2nd, 2013

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.
Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

My Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time now. I absolutely ADORE Victoria’s Fire and Flood. I just recently finished the sequel to that, Salt and Stone, and I just love her. She’s super sweet and her books are great and I’ve been wanting to read The Collector for awhile now. So when it went on sale for Nook for only 99 cents, I was SO there.

I nearly finished it in one night except I had to go to work fairly early the next day so that was a total failure but I immediately finished the next moment that I was able to. I LOVE this book. I love that its told in the point of view of Dante because you alternately want to punch him in the face and throw him down on the bed and make out with him? I mean, a bright red Escalade? Who does that?! But then he’ll do something incredibly sweet for Charlie, like carry her out of the woods and it KILLS my heart. He’s addicting as a character, and he has a natural character progression. Nothing about his transformation through out the novel seems forced or wrong. You watch as Dante changes and its beautiful. Its my favorite part of the book.

But I also just love Charlie as well. She’s SUCH a great person, which would kind of drive me crazy but it doesn’t because everything she does seems so genuine and real. As soon as you meet her for the first time in her room, dorky and fantastic, I knew I was already madly in love with her. She’s not your typical heroine. Most heroines are always beautiful, even if they don’t know they’re beautiful. They think they’re ugly or average but of course, they’re extraordinary. But that’s not Charlie. She’s straight up not classically beautiful at all. She has frizzy hair, a limp, crooked teeth, freckles, the whole nine yards. And I know it can sound kind of stereotypical and all that but Charlie really wins everyone over with her beautiful personality. She’s so beautiful on the inside that she brings in her best friend and, eventually, Dante, because she’s such an incredibly beautiful person. Obviously that’s a huge part to the general plot of the story but I loved that about this book. Its good to see a character that is so genuinely good on the inside that Dante slowly falls for her, not immediately. I really really enjoyed the freshness of that.

What really got me about this story was that its something I haven’t really read before. Dante is a collector the devil, basically. Its his job to go around, marking people for their sins and collecting them for the devil’s collection in hell. He’s sexy and kind of addicting but he’s a bad person. He’s working for a bad guy and yet you kind of can’t help but be on his side, no matter what he’s doing. Dante is kind of an anti-hero who eventually becomes a hero and its not really something we see a lot in books, not written this well, with this kind of story line. I read a LOT so sometimes I need a really good, fresh story to keep me addicted and satisfied and this book definitely did that. After reading this (now I need to read the next two), and reading the first two books of the Fire and Flood series, I’m completely sold on Victoria Scott as a writer. She’s fantastic, she’s great at world building and her characters are unique and fresh and relatable. I can’t wait to see more. I’m hoping to get The Liberator soon!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

18309803Genre: 

Young Adult, thumb  Fantasy, and Paranormal

Pages: 

400

Part of a Series?:

The finale novel in the Lynburn Legacy

Release Date: 

September 23rd, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

My Review:

While this review will have no spoilers for Unmade, there will be spoilers for Unspoken and Untold. Click on the titles to read spoiler free reviews of those novels. 

I have been anxiously awaiting this release for over a year now, since the release of Untold last year. I absolutely adore this series and love Sarah and the characters in these books and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book.

I was so glad when I finally did.

Sarah Rees Brennan managed to do what I think a lot of people struggle to do with finale books: she created a fantastic ending that was both happy and sad at the same time, bittersweet. She wrapped up the story, had such a great ending but managed to create loss, to break my heart. The people that we lost in the book, I felt so much, especially since I was reading this late at night and I was already fairly emotional. She makes the sacrifices necessary. She kills off a particular character (minor spoiler but really did you expect people NOT to die?) and I just lost it. I couldn’t believe that she did it. I can see why, and it was a great point in the story but it killed me. She was able to make these sacrifices that seemed so genuine to the story and yet still just broke your heart in pieces.

What I’ve always loved about Sarah is her characters. All of her characters are unique and real, and beautiful. Kami, Jared, Ash, Ten, Tomo, Jon, Lillian, Holly, Angela, Rusty, they’re all fantastic and you fall madly in love with each and every one of them because they feel so real. What I love about this book is that each one of their stories continues. Obviously we are focused mainly on Kami, Jared and the Lynburns but everyone has an important story line. You don’t forget who anyone is and I think that’s beautiful, to care about each and every single character and where they end up.

What makes me happy about this book is that it takes everything from books one and two and comes together in a beautiful and unique ending. Sarah stands out in this crowd of paranormal YA, because her stories are unique, her characters fresh, and her dialogue engaging and hilarious. I want to turn the next page without realizing that I’ve gone through 100 pages in less than an hour…She’s an addicting author to read and I am so sad that this series is over and I honestly can’t wait until I see a new book by her on the shelves.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book of the Week-The Abandon Trilogy

Today’s Book of the Week post is a little more unique than the others. Instead of reviewing just ONE book, shop I’ll be reviewing three, approved an entire trilogy.

I’ve done that once before with the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie because I was determined to get people past the slower second book to reach the really good third book.

But I wanted to do the entire Abandon trilogy because the third book, order Awaken, came out this past Tuesday, the 2nd, and I sat down and devoured the entire thing in a matter of hours. So, instead of doing a review of just Awaken, I decided to do a post about the entire trilogy.

This is also a special post because it is part of the Meg-A-Readers blog hop. Mandy from The Romance Bookie and Diana from Little Miss Drama Queen came up with this idea of having a couple of months of all things Meg Cabot. They would get a bunch of blogs involved and people would just write all about different things for Meg Cabot: reviews, how they met her, how they found her books, ANYTHING.

And I definitely had to be a part of it because she’s one of my absolute favorite authors since I first picked up The Princess Diaries when I was 12 years old, 13 years ago.

You can find out more about Meg-A-Readers here.

But let’s move on now, to the actual review!

The Abandon Trilogy by Meg Cabot

Picture 5

Abandon, Underworld, Awaken

Genre:

young adult, paranormal, romance, fantasy

Part of a Series:

In the charming words of Severus Snape, “Obviously”

You May Like if You Liked:

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy

Plot Summary:

All summaries are taken word for word from Amazon. 

Abandon: Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Underworld: Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead. Not this time. But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey. Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance . . . on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves. But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there . . . and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies. And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

Awaken: Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go. Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves. But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

The Bad:

The only beef I have with the entire series is that Abandon takes some time to get into. I remember reading and going, okay, Meg, you’ve never let me down before. Don’t let me down now. I think because I am unfamiliar with the tale of Hades and Persephone and Fates and Furies and THAT aspect of Greek mythology. I love Greek myths but I have always been fascinated by Artemis (I wanted to name my cat Artemis when I was like 13 but my mom wouldn’t let me…). I’m wondering if that’s why I wasn’t able to get into this series as quickly as I was able to get into her others. This series is also very different (in a good way, of course) from her other series, so it also could have been that it was not what I was expecting out of a Meg Cabot book. However…I continued to read the series and I love it. Its one of my favorites. I probably say that about all of her series but she’s just so great.

I won’t go on and on about her, because that’s not the point of this blog, but I did write about how her Heather Wells series changed my life and you can read that here.

The Good:

Now on to alllllll the good stuff that is here. I love these books because of the unique storyline that they present. I’ve seen books about Greek myths, about Hades, Persephone and the Underworld but this is the first series that I read and really liked of it. I loved diving into myths that I wasn’t so familiar with. I think Hades gets a bad rep sometimes and this story, with John Hayden as the lord of the Underworld, as someone who once lived and breathed like any other human, and was shouldered the responsiblity of running the Underworld, as a person who cares and loves, really gives you an entirely different perspective.

I also like Pierce as Persephone. I don’t know much about Persephone and whether she was a badass or not, but Pierce? Definitely a badass. She’s in love with the LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD, who has all these intense powers and has one of those super fun death glares and she still does what she wants, when she wants it, being brave and risking herself and doing all sorts of things that John thinks is completely detrimental to his goal of protecting her. I love that. I piss off my own boyfriend probably a lot, but I don’t stand down. I’m not going to be one of those girls that agrees with their boyfriend 100% of the time, just because they don’t want to start fights. I like that Pierce is strong and has her own opinion and does what she feels she needs to do.

That being said, I do like the build up and the relationship of Pierce and John. Its very realistic (as much as a relationship between a regular person and the Lord of the Underworld can be), in that they fight and bicker and disagree but they have fun together and make each other laugh. I love that when they do fight, its not the end of the entire universe like it is in other books. Its realistic. I love it.

Plus, these books make me laugh. No matter what she writes about: princesses, girls who can talk to ghosts, girls who get struck by lightning and are psychic, girls who date the reincarnation of King Arthur, whatever, she always, always, always makes me laugh. Her humor no matter what the situation is makes her such a great novelist. Her way of writing like a teenager, of writing the book in that sort of conversational manner, is fantastic and I think is why she is so popular and remains so. I find myself shaking my head, smirking or full out laughing out loud because she just makes me laugh so hard. She’s so funny, and she brings a realism and a humor to all her novels, including this series.

Rating: 

Abandon: 4 out of 5 stars

Underworld: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Awaken: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not:

Definitely. Easily. I recommend anything by Meg Cabot. I think a lot of people are wrapped up into the fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi/paranormal worlds of YA right, and Meg Cabot’s Abandon trilogy is up there with all those other books. She’s written other paranormal/sci-fi stuff like The Mediator and Vanishes series.

But yeah, definitely read these books. They’re going to make you laugh, and clutch the pages with anticipation, as you power through those pages, wondering what is going to happen to next with Pierce and John and the fate of the Underworld. Anyone who is NOT reading these books are seriously missing out on the wonderful charm that is Meg Cabot.

*     *     *     *

I hope you enjoyed this special edition of the Book of the Week.

Don’t forget to stop by The Romance Bookie and check out other Meg-A-Reader posts!

And you can see past book reviews for the Book of the Week here!

Happy Reading!