Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

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Title: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Review:

This series is one of the best book series I’ve ever read. It has everything: mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, romance. At the same time, it all makes sense. It’s like real life, with a little bit of everything.

It took me a while to get back into the story because it has been a while since I read the first book. It threw me off when I learned that this story follows different characters from the first one. I was disappointed when I found out. But I fell in love with these characters pretty quickly. It’s amazing how much emotion can be put into these characters who only speak through texts for the most part of this story.

At one point the two stories from the first and second books collide and I was so excited when it happened! The ending was also amazing and had my heart pounding. One thing I figured out by the end is that nothing is what it seems…

I loved this book! I can’t wait to read the next book, but I don’t want the series to be over!

What to read next:

  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
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  • Warcross by Marie Lu
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Have you read Gemina? What did you think of it?

 

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Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

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Title: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose … it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest … but she may be the darkest.

Review:

I’m so excited about this series! I wish I hadn’t waited so long to start it, but I’m glad that I can read the next two books right away.

I found the story a little confusing at first because there were so many characters! Each Queen lives with a different guardian family, and they each specialize in a different power, so it was hard to keep track of them. Also, there were some names that looked similar, such as Luca and Luke. This slowed down my reading at first, but once I figured everyone out, it was so good!

The narrative switched between each of the three Queens. I loved reading about each of them, but then I wanted to keep reading their stories when it switched to the next girl. The final chapters were so fast paced. They were each just a few pages long so I flew through them.

I have to admit that I guessed the ending correctly. I was glad that I was right, and now I can’t wait to read the next book!

What to read next:

  • One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake
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  • Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
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Have you read Three Dark Crowns? What did you think of it?

Review: The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles, #1)

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Title: The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles, #1)
Author: Laurie Forest
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Purchased
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.

Review:

I really enjoyed this story!

It may just be me, but I found a lot of similarities between this book and Harry Potter. There weren’t direct references, but there were a few things that reminded me of the series. For example, Elloren doesn’t know much about the rest of the magical world that she enters when she goes to university, just like Harry didn’t know about the magical world before he went to Hogwarts. They even have a teacher who is a Snake Elf, who teaches their science class. He reminded me so much of Snape. I loved the similarities between this book and Harry Potter, since that is one of my favourite series!

Elloren developed as a character throughout the story, as she learned more about the world around her. At the beginning, she was very naive because she was inexperienced. She had never been around different races or species, so she didn’t know what they were like. She took it on herself to try to learn the truth, rather than just follow everyone else’s beliefs.

I thought I figured out the ending, but it turns out I was wrong! I’m curious to see how the story continues in the next book.

What to read next:

  • Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
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  • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
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Have you read The Black Witch? What did you think of it?

Review: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)

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Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

Review:

I didn’t know much about Norse Mythology before reading this book, but I learned a lot.

This book was very fast paced. The chapters were short so they were easy to read. Magnus had to go on many small missions in this story, which were each like a mini plot by themselves.

I have read the first two books in the Percy Jackson series, and this book reminded me of the first Percy Jackson book. Magnus and Percy have a lot in common. They both have gods as fathers. Their mothers are also supposedly dead early in the story. They also both have protectors from the mythological world who were watching over them in the human world. I was disappointed when I saw these similarities at first, but once Magnus entered into the world of the Norse gods, his story took a different path from Percy’s story.

Another interesting thing about this book is that the main character dies at the beginning. It actually works in this story! You’ll just have to read it to find out how!

What to read next:

  • The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)

  • The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

Have you read The Sword of Summer? What did you think of it?

Review: The Last Magician

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Title: The Last Magician
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

Review:

I loved the plot in this story. It reminded me of the heist in Six of Crows, but less intense and complex.

I had a hard time getting into the story at the beginning, because there were so many characters! The narrative kept switching between different characters, and some had similar names, or were referred to as their first and last names alternately so I thought they were different people. It was especially confusing because there were a few different gang leaders who ran the city. At about a quarter of the way through the book I had everyone sorted out.

I loved the time travel aspects of the story. Though there wasn’t a lot of switching between different time periods, Esta’s actions in the past altered the future. She could see that from the way that the newspaper clipping that she brought from the future changed when different things happened.

The ending was fantastic. There were a bunch of surprises that I didn’t see coming. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

What to read next:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
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  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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Have you read The Last Magician? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Kiss of the Royal

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Title: Kiss of the Royal
Author: Lindsey Duga
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

Review:

I really enjoyed this book.

The world in this story is a matriarchal society. The Princesses hold the power of the Kisses to protect their Prince partners. There was a hierarchy of who has the most royal blood. The more royal blood, the stronger the Kiss’s power.

The arrival of Zach disrupted Ivy’s life in many ways. He had a different belief system, which threatened their relationship. But they had to find a way to work together.

I really liked that Ivy grew as a character throughout the story. When she was given evidence that there are other options out in the world, she listened. She didn’t just dismiss them without hearing both sides of the story. She was also willing to try new things.

This was a great story. Have you read this book or are you planning on reading it? What did you think?

What to read next:

  • The Queen’s Rising
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  • Shadow and Bone
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About the Author:

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Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

Tour Schedule:

June 25th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

June 26th

Book Slaying– Review & Favorite Quotes
The Clever Reader– Q&A

June 27th

Feed Your Fiction Addiction– Guest Post
Library of a Book Witch– Review

June 28th

Flyleaf Chronicles– Review
Velvet Spade Reads– Review & Favorite Quotes

June 29th

Rambling of A Book Nerd– Q&A
The Reading Corner for All– Review

June 30th

Jill’s Book Blog– Review
Sincerely Karen Jo– Review & Favorite Quotes

July 1st

The Reading Faery– Creative Option
Donnie Darko Girl– Review

July 2nd

Vicarious Bookworm– Review & Favorite Quotes
The Lovely Books– Review
Book Lady’s Reviews– Review

July 3rd

BookCrushin– Creative Option
Rattle the Stars– Guest Post

July 4th

F A N N A– Review
The Book Dutchesses– Review
Lisa Loves Literature– Review

July 5th

The Bibliophagist– Review & Favorite Quotes

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Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting me participate in this blog tour.

 

Review: Song of Blood & Stone

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Title: Song of Blood & Stone
Author: L. Penelope
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Review:

This is a great YA fantasy story.

I loved how quickly the action began in this story! I was immediately thrown into Jasminda’s life and problems. And right after she was introduced, Jack and some soldiers appeared on her doorstep. The only problem with this was that there wasn’t any background given about this world, so when things started happening in the world around Jasminda and Jack, I was a little confused.

Once I figured out what was happening in the wider world of the story, I really enjoyed it. The pacing was great. It all moved very quickly, so I flew through the book.

I’m curious to see where this series goes. I can’t wait to read the next story.

Review: Vicious

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Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Review:

V.E. Schwab is one of my favourite authors. She is an amazing writer. This book is a fabulous example.

Throughout the story, the setting switches between the present, two nights ago, ten years ago, and other time periods in between. In many stories, this is confusing, but it made sense in this book. In each chapter, the main character was introduced quickly, so I knew exactly where we were in the storyline.

The information in the story is unraveled slowly, but it made it so addicting to read. I had lots of questions right from the beginning, and the answers were slowly given. It was enough to keep me intrigued but I also didn’t have any idea where the story was going.

I loved the way that the disinction between good and evil are blurred in this story. It isn’t clear who is a villain or a hero, or even if there isn’t a hero or villain. Victor and Eli both have reasons for hunting out people, and they both think they’re right, but who are they to decide who lives or dies? I loved this philosophical layer to the story. 

I’m glad I read this story now, because the long awaited sequel is coming out later this year. I loved this book!

Review: Glass Sword

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Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Review:

I enjoyed this book much more than Red Queen.

The characters were much more developed in this book, since we already know them from Red Queen. It was sometimes hard to know who to trust in this story, between the two princes, but it made the story more exciting.

The plot was very dramatic and unpredictable. It was a real journey, both literally and figuratively from beginning to end. Plus there was always the threat of Maven coming after them.

I think Victoria Aveyard’s writing is improving with each book. (She’s also hilarious on Twitter!) I look forward to reading the King’s Cage next!

You can check out my review for Red Queen here.

Review: Red Queen

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Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart

Review:

This story is a lot like other contemporary YA Fantasy novels. Mare is a low class girl who finds herself at the palace where she discovers she is special, and she is valuable to the kingdom. This plot is like the Throne of Glass series or the Selection series. I was disappointed that it had an unoriginal beginning.

I did like the dynamic of the Reds and Silvers. Though I wasn’t happy that the story began in a predictable way, I was shocked at Mare’s powers. She’s a unique character. I liked her strength, though her bravery often got her into trouble.

Though I was initially disappointed by how this story began, I am going to continue with the series. It’s very popular, and I hope the rest of it heads in a different direction from other similar series.