Book Reviews

Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, #1) by Bree Barton

Heart of ThornsTitle: Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, #1)
Author: Bree Barton
Rating: ★★★

Fidacteu zeu bighotz limarya eu naj.

Trust your heart, even if it kills you.

I received this in the July 2018 FairyLoot box.

Once upon a time, an arranged marriage existed between Mia Rose and Prince Quin. But unlike her sister, Mia could care less about the fame and fortune. All she cares about is seeking revenge against the Gwyrach (pretty much a witch) who killed her mother. Following the below Hunters’ Creed as a lifestyle:

Heart for a heart, life for a life.

Trying to avoid the consummation of her marriage, Mia plans to escape with her sister. However, her plan backfires and she is stuck seeking revenge with none other than her beloved betrothed. Maybe not everything is how it appeared to be?

The First Law of the Dujia
The practice of magic shall never be used by Dujia to consciously inflict pain, suffering, or death on her fellow sister, unless the Dujia’s own life is in danger.

The Second Law of the Dujia
The practice of magic shall never be used by Dujia to consciously inflict pain, suffering, or death on herself.

The Third Law of Dujia
In situations wherein the practice of magic is necessary, it is at the direction of the Dujia to determine the most equitable balance of power and act accordingly.

Along their journey, Mia starts to uncover secrets, not only pertaining to her mother’s death, but about herself. 

The people you love are the ones who hurt you the most.

Speaking of love, Quin seemed, to me, to have some romance connections with three other people, so I totally get how Mia would be confused. At one point, I definitely thought things were going in a different direction. Quin is one confusing guy and everyone seems to want him.

What

So, I kind of saw the ending coming, but kind of not. I’m not sure why everyone kept blaming Mia for both deaths? Obviously, she didn’t do it and how do people make out that she did? Like, what?!

But, with that said, I did like it this novel! Unfortunately, things only start to get interesting about 75% of the way through the story. After that, I was entrapped in the plot. Two of the deaths I did not see coming whatsoever! I’m curious to see how everything will turn out in the next book as we now have a lot of loose ends to tie up. 

JULY 2018 FAIRYLOOT

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR + Q&A] The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

TheRagingOnes_BlogTourBanner_onsale

Welcome to my stop on The Raging Ones book tour! Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Raging Ones_cover image

Title: THE RAGING ONES (The Raging Ones, #1)
Author: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Pub. Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Formats: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

In Altia, everyone knows the day they’re going to die from the moment they’re born. But what happens when that day passes and you’re still alive?

THE RAGING ONES (Wednesday Books; August 14, 2018), a YA debut for bestselling authors (and twin sisters) Krista and Becca Ritchie plunges head-first into a sci-fi romance that will keep you guessing until the last page.
THE RAGING ONES follows three teens who should have died young: Franny Bluefort, a young orphan who lived fast and hard, only to wake up the next morning after her death day in the cold, unforgiving city streets; Mykal Kickfall, who was meant to die at 8 but instead was forced to flee his rugged home to avoid questions of his survival; and Court Icefort, the mysterious boy who acts like an Influential, but has a terrible secret. And, for some inexplicable reason, they can feel each other’s emotions as if they were their own.

With the threat of people learning the teens have dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet, Saltare-3, to survive. Who knows what will happen if people suddenly think they might be able to escape death? But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people who are far smarter, will live longer, and will never fear death the way that they do.

The Ritchie sisters have already amassed a large following for their steamy romances, infusing their young adult novel with romantic tension and displaying a new talent for excellent world building. Full of action and adventure, THE RAGING ONES is part space odyssey and part coming of age story with three teens trying to escape their difficult pasts.

“A potently addictive blend of romance, fantasy, and science fiction full of unexpected twists.”
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
“…a heartfelt, high-octane saga with gripping twists that will leave readers hungering for more.”
— Booklist Online


REVIEW

I’m not special because I’m dying. Everyone dies, and everyone knows when.

In a world where everyone knows the day they will die, we follow three teenagers on a journey to defy all odds.

I found it a little funny that the countdown to death hovered above the peoples’ heads for everyone to see. This reminds me of the video for “Remind Me” by Nickelback if anyone has seen that (and you’re old like me)?

I feel them. For the first time, I realize they’ve been my strength, my hope, and they can be my peace. I just have to let them help me.

Franny, Court, and Mykal have a grave secret. By sharing this secret, they become close friends, willing to die for one another. Instead of living a life hidden from the rest of the world, they decide to embark on a journey called the Saga 5 Mission. Five lucky Influentials will be launched into space to convey peace between the other planets. However, Franny, Court, and Mykal aren’t your typical Influentials. Competing against a thousand other applicants, will they make it abroad the ship and leave all of their worries behind?

It means my life. If I fail, I could die. Altia Law: people caught passing as Influentials will be sent to Vorkter Prison until their deathdays arrive.

But Court has a secret. Will Franny and Mykal ever find out the truth behind his past? If they do, does that also put them into danger? 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was fast-paced, action-packed, and sucked the reader into the plot. There were a couple unexpected twists and there was never a dull moment!  My only complaint is I’m still slightly confused by the love triangle, but I’m excited to see how that develops in the next novel. I honestly have been waiting to be able to give a 5-star rating to something again for a while now, and this novel more than deserved it! Having never read a book by the twins before, this was a great experience, especially since their previous novels were of a different genre entirely. By their answers from the Q&A, it was nice to have a picture of who they describe the characters, as well as, a playlist to go along with the novel while reading!

★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Krista & Becca Ritchie_Author PhotoKrista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times Bestselling Authors and identical twins, one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek. With their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Graduates from
the University of Georgia in Biology and English & Journalism, the twin writing duo now lives in Atlanta. The Raging Ones is their first young adult novel.

Follow Krista & Becca:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Q & A

Q: Working with another author is hard, let alone WITH YOUR TWIN, what was working together like and how did you address differing opinions on the work? What are your favorite and least favorite things about writing with each other?

A: We’ve been writing together since high school, so we’ve been able to really fine-tune our process. Being sisters seems like we’d bicker a ton, but we find our bond a huge strength. We understand each other’s vision and welcome varying opinions and ideas. We always describe what we have as a mini “writer’s room” where we constantly bounce thoughts off one another and try to improve our work. When we have different opinions, it kick-starts discussions, which often ignites better stories. Our favorite part of working together is definitely collaborating. We value our time together and our discussions surrounding our projects. Always having someone equally passionate and invested in the book fuels our love of writing. Least favorite part: honestly, there aren’t a lot of negatives! Maybe our three-minute silent treatments when we’re frustrated, and then we make up almost immediately.

 

Q: When did you first get idea for The Raging Ones? What was your inspiration for this book?

A: Back in college, one of us (Krista) had this concept about a world where everyone knows the die they’ll die, but three teens don’t die on their deathday. We’re huge fans of science fiction and fantasy, and we’d written several Young Adult novels that never saw the light of day. But we wanted to write a new story together with new characters, and I jumped on board once she agreed to add a fantasy element. While writing THE RAGING ONES, we were really inspired by character-driven stories with science fiction backdrops. From movies like Interstellar to television shows like The 100.

 

Q: THE RAGING ONES is your first YA novel. What made you decide to move into the genre, and was the transition difficult? Was writing in a different genre/for a different age group hard? Was your process different?

A: Even though THE RAGING ONES is our first published YA novel, it isn’t the first one we’d written together. In our childhood, high school, and college, we mostly only wrote YA. The harder transition for us had been going from writing Young Adult fantasy novels to writing contemporary romance. In a lot of ways, THE RAGING ONES was like returning to something we’d started but hadn’t finished yet. We always attribute our romance books as the reason why we’re better writers, and when we went back to this other genre, we realized how much more we could do and push ourselves. Our writing process is pretty much identical across the map for Young Adult and Adult.

 

Q: What is the weirdest thing you had to research for the novel?

A: Since THE RAGING ONES takes place on a frozen planet, we had to keep jumping down an Animal Planet rabbit hole. We paid close attention to the animals that could exist. It’s not too weird, but there were a lot of times we had to double-check each other and be like, “Cotton isn’t a fabric here” and “You can’t make them eat chicken. There are no chickens.”

 

Q: Did THE RAGING ONES have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: Yes! We always listen to music while we’re writing, and we complied a public Spotify playlist for the book, which includes songs that were in our earbuds as we were typing. We love the dramatic scores from Gravity and Interstellar, but we always say “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdy is the essence of the book.

THE RAGING ONES Spotify Playlist: https://spoti.fi/2AkHkXi

***I checked this out and I like a lot of the songs and it is really nice to listen to while reading the novel!***

 

Q: What is your dream cast for THE RAGING ONES?

A: We love dream casting our books and making Pinterest boards! For THE RAGING ONES, we can imagine Lyrica Okano as Franny Bluecastle, Henry Zaga as Court Icecastle, and Noah Teicher as Mykal Kickfall.

THE RAGING ONES Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/kbmritchie/the-raging-ones-series/

 

Q: What was your greatest challenge in writing this book? *My personal question*

A: Krista: One of the hardest parts was not revealing the end twist too soon. We didn’t want to give too much away, and we had to build the world around the idea that no one would see the twist coming. Which meant that the reader wouldn’t see it coming either.

Becca: Definitely what Krista said, and we went into THE RAGING ONES with a goal of making the characters the number one focus. We always hope that readers are invested in the characters first and foremost, and so we took a lot of time shaping these three characters into unique individuals, who we can only hope that readers will love, too.

 

Q: What writers inspire you? *My personal question*

A: Krista: Writers who juggle different genres and are hybrid really inspire me like Jennifer L. Armentrout and Wendy Higgins. On an indie romance level, I’m awed and inspired by so many; the list would be endless, too.

Becca: Like Krista, I’m inspired by so many authors. To name a couple of YA writers who have written books that still sit with me: Swati Avasthi and Lena Coakley.


 

Book Reviews

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Darkest MindsTitle: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Rating: ★★★★

Since the movie is coming out in theaters August 3, I figured what better time to read this novel since I’ve been wanting to for a while now!

They were never scared of the kids who might die, or the empty spaces they would leave behind. They were afraid of us-the ones who lived.

The world as we know it has been plagued by a disease that has killed most of the children’s population. However, there are those who survived and now have amazing abilities unlike anything the world has seen before.

Don’t be scared. Don’t let them see.

At the age of ten, Ruby surprised her parents with her unique ability and was sent to a rehab camp for the children infected with this “disease”. After escaping, she wanders upon some new friends: Liam, Chubs, and Zu. Not only do they have to worry about the Psi, but also people looking to turn them in for reward money.

Ruby, give me one reason why we can’t be together, and I’ll give you a hundred why we can.

Please pick me up from swooning over the above quote. I wish someone said that to me! Liam is the ideal selfless guy who cares more about everyone else than himself, however, that is also his downfall. Why does there always have to be a competition for the female protagonist? Why can’t she ever just be happy with the nice guy?! 😦

The novel was a little slow-paced for me. That, and it irritated me that Ruby wouldn’t stick up for herself at times. Not only did it endanger her, but those around her. As bad as it sounds, there were times I felt more connected to “Black Betty” (the kids’ escape-route mom van) than to Chubs and Zu. Their connection enhances slightly as the story goes on, but I wish I knew them both a little better.

I totally knew who the bad guy was going to be! That, I found was predictable. Hopefully the sequel is faster-paced!

I’m curious to see how the movie will compare. As I was reading, I was thinking “Rue would be a great Ruby.” Little did I know that the actor who played Rue is Ruby! 

Movie release date is August 3, 2018.

 

Book Reviews

Onyx & Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett

Onyx and IvoryTitle: Onyx & Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Rating: ★★★★

I received this in the May 2018 FairyLoot box.

Traitor Kate

Kate Brighton, member of the Relay (aka Rime Postal Service), inherited her new name after her father took a go at assassinating the high king. Every day poses some troubles with nightdrakes on the prowl to devour any Relay members and their horses if they don’t make it behind castle walls on time. But Kate has a secret…she is a wilder: she can use magic to influence the minds of animals. However, if she is caught, the same beautiful magic could quickly lead to her death.

In moments like these, atop a horse and flying over the ground, she glimpsed her old life. She became Kate Brighton again. Daughter of Hale Brighton, master of horse to the high king. She was free. A girl with a future. Someone who mattered.

Things take a turn when Kate saves the life of Corwin Tormane (with the help of magic), the high king’s son and her former lover. Unbeknownst to the lie behind the secret weapon, Corwin invites Kate and her two closest friends to accompany him to Norgard in hopes that with their help (and the manufacturing of this new secret weapon), the people won’t have to live in fear of the drakes any longer.

The uror sign was a horse. One half of his body was inky black, the other white as ivory.

The sign of the uror was always equally half black and half white, and always would appear when it was time for an heir to be named king. Edwin and Corwin were tested for their “worthiness as heir”, bringing them to multiple decisions and tasks, many times making them re-hash not-so-pleasant moments of their lives.

What is Kate’s father’s secret? What led her father on his attempt to assassinate the king?What will Kate do with her secret power? Will she ever tell Corwin, and if she does, what will happen? Who will become the heir?

Was anyone else’s favorite Dal? He was funny, serious when needed, and always trying to brighten the mood. Then again, I tend to always like the supporting characters more than the protagonists.

The world is black and white and all the shades of gray in between

A war storm is brewing. Who will win? What devastation will come from this brawl? 

Besides for the opening scene (ugh! it almost made me cry…I used to ride horses) and infidelity (oh, how I hate thee), I really enjoyed this novel. Also, the cover is absolutely astonishing. 

MAY 2018 FAIRYLOOT

Book Reviews

Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2) by S. Jae-Jones

ShadowsongTitle: Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2)
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Rating: ★★★ 

Since I read Wintersong, I figured I must read Shadowsong.

Once there was a little girl, who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was an innkeeper’s daughter and he was the Lord of Mischief, but neither were wholly what they seemed, for nothing is as simple as a fairy tale.

After deciding on life at the end of Wintersong, we come to find Liesl trying to figure out her purpose and how to live without the Goblin King in the conclusion of the duology.

The story begins when Liesl receives a mysterious letter from her brother living in Vienna. Finally figuring out that Josef is a changeling, his demeanor starts to change. Liesl’s relationship with Josef is changing, while her lack of closeness with the Goblin King is proving her inability to produce without inspiration. In order to bridge the gap between the worlds, Liesl is forced to find a way back into the Underground.

“Take me,” I whisper. “Take me back.” The green and gray of the Goblin King’s eyes flash white and blue, white and blue, the pupils shrinking to a pinprick of black. The corners of his lips curl, close-so close-to mine. As you wish, my dear. As you wish. A breath, a sigh, a kiss, and we are met.

By giving away his bride, the Goblin King has made himself less human. However, there are times when glimpses of Liesl’s austere man come out to play. 

It isn’t life that keeps the world turning; it is love.

Once in the Underground, Liesl is given a choice between saving her brother and the man/goblin she loves. Who will she choose? If she chooses her brother, what will happen to the Goblin King? If she chooses the Goblin King, will she ever see her brother again and how will their relationship change? Is there a way to save both?

Your music is a bridge. Play it, and we shall always be together. Play it, and I shall always remember. You. Life. What it means to love. For your music was the first and only thing in this world that kept me human, the first and last thing I give back to you.

The ending was predictable, but I wasn’t disappointed in it. It was, perhaps, the only part of the novel I actually enjoyed. To say I was disappointed by the novel as a whole, would be an understatement. There was just so much more potential to go a different direction with the second book…and I wish the author would’ve.

Personally, I have had a really hard time getting into this novel. And, unfortunately, I think it started a book slump with me :(. I found it extremely hard to get into, and after finishing, struggled to find the purpose of this novel. I felt that the series would pretty much be the same without it besides for the very end. I’m not really one for character growth in a novel and this specifically focuses on Liesl’s journey to find herself (talk about a bore! considering she changes who she is as a person). Perhaps S. Jae-Jones should’ve focused on how the Goblin King came to be? I mean, really, don’t people really just care about him?

 

Book Reviews

King’s War (The Kinsman Chronicles, #3) by Jill Williamson

King's War

Title: King’s War (The Kinsman Chronicles, #3)
Author: Jill Williamson
Rating: ★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

To get a little background, please see my reviews of the first two books in the series: King’s Folly and King’s Blood.

 

THE RELUCTANT KING: PART 7

I had a hard time getting through this section. I’m starting to dislike some of the characters and not enjoy those chapters. Give me some action!

The new king is having a hard time getting the support of his subjects. Not being able to relate due to his priest upbringing, he is having trouble honing his fighting skills. Subject to the perception of his people, he experiences much disdain. Not only that, but he cannot seem to make the correct moves in order to appease the large masses. His wife, Mielle, does not seem to help with her discerning heart; she has accused the incorrect people of being in the wrong. 

Meanwhile, will an alliance between Jazlyn, Charlon, and King Barthel be made? Who is the “Deliverer” and who is the “Deceiver”? Are the prophecies wrong?

 

A DELIVERER COMES: PART 8

The war is looming and Trevn is preparing himself to ride into battle with his men, hoping to gain some respect at the same time.

Low and behold, more traitors are among us. Barthel is luring young Shanek to be in his alliance by hosting events where he can bring his crush and troublemaker, Amala. Captain Agoros and his wife are plotting to dethrone Trevn so their son, Oli, sworn to protect Trevn, can become the “rightful” king. Is Oli in on the plan or will he stay true to his word tot Trevn?

Islah, Rogedoth’s (aka Barthel) “dead” queen is not so dead. She is also known as Grayson’s grandmother. And she happens to have many secrets, secrets that may help the Armanians to take down Barthel.

Who can I not stand? Mielle. Honestly, she reminds me of Daenerys Targaryen, who most of you know I cannot stand from the books. If she would just do what is best for the Armanians and not try to rush into saving everyone else, half of these wars wouldn’t happen!

But, I can’t decide who I like more: Grayson or Oli. They are both so selfless and sweet, yet entirely misunderstood. I just want to hug them!

The two Rurekan kings who were poisoned are now healed. An assassination attack on the king. Someone almost committing suicide in order to better the Armanians. Two new people accepting Dominion of great shadirs. What’s next?

The readers are left with Mielle and Grayson being captured by Lady Mattenelle.

 

WARRIORS OF THE VEIL: PART 9

The “Deliverer” and the “Deceiver” bring us an all-out battle. But who will win?

A new realization has occurred: Shadir can be sentenced back to the Lowerworld.

Will Arman come to the rescue and save the Armanians from the wrath of Rogedoth and the shadirs?

Where does the end of the war lead us to?

Book Reviews

King’s Blood (The Kinsman Chronicles, #2) by Jill Williamson

King's BloodTitle: King’s Blood (The Kinsman Chronicles, #2)
Author: Jill Williamson
Rating: ★★★★

I received the ARC King’s War from NetGalley. It is the third book in the series, so I figure I probably need to read the first two, amirite?! Check out my review of King’s Folly

Every fall is an opportunity to stand.

We last find our beloved characters aboard ships taking them to the “new land” after facing Arman’s wrath.

KINGDOM AT SEA: PART 4

Charlon has taken the form of Lady Zeroah in an attempt to trick Wilek to help her bear the “Deliverer”. However, once Mielle asks Trevn to receive her necklace, the real Lady Zeroah is found. But is it too late for the Armanians? Has Charlon achieved her goal?

Meanwhile, Trevn and Mielle are cute as always. I really admire Trevn and his mission to understand the functions of the ship, to be just like you and me. And he is just so respectful of Mielle and it is so apparent how much he really adores her (heart eyes smiley).

Wilek is tasked with taking over authority as the King’s sickness worsens. But will this just put him in more danger?

Gentlemen, get your tuxes! Ladies, put on your dresses! A royal wedding is about to happen!

And then…the next chapter a sea monster attacks!

What will happen with Charlon? Is she pregnant? Will most of the ships make it to land before the serpents destroy them all? 

 

MAELSTROM: PART 5

Two royal weddings. Multiple births and more on the way. So much deception. And so many deaths.

Mreegan and the mantics now have the “Deliverer”. Traitors loom on all sides. With the death of one of the sârs and the king close to death, who will gain control? Five realms, one leader…a fight to be King.

Poor Hinck! He literally got the short end of the stick. Always doing things to help others, he is also punished worse and worse each time. Rogedoth is on his trail that he is a traitor and Wilek’s spy. What lengths will he go to in order to keep his secret? Will his family ever learn the truth? Will him and Pia (she is my favorite) ever be together?

Land ho! The chapter ends with both the Armanians’ and Rogedoth’s ships ready to step ashore this unknown land.

Where is Mielle? What will happen with the “Deliverer”? Did the ships land on the same island? Is war looming?

 

VOICES OF BLOOD: PART 6

Different is special. And being special is a blessing.

The “Deliverer” is growing at a rapid rate, his new strength and powers surging the older he gets. But with a adolescent body and a child’s brain, he doesn’t see the consequences of his immature actions. Will this lead to trouble down the road, or worse, death?

Trevn seeks to find his lost bride. Along the way, he encounters giants. But which side do the giants’ alliances lay?

Our beloved Wilek is declared king and announces his loyalties to one god, Arman. How will his people react: will they follow or choose to abandon his rule? And was his wife and baby poisoned? Who is behind all of this?

Charlon, “Mother”, gives free reign to Shanek, the “Deliverer”. But will this only hurt the outcome? Now that she is Chieftess, what trouble lays ahead for her?

Originally, I was going to give this novel only three stars, however, the last two chapters changed my mind completely. Williamson pulled a George R. R. Martin on me. I didn’t even realize I liked this character that much until she ripped out my heart, threw it on the ground, and stabbed it continuously. And then, to try to gently pull a fast one on me in the last chapter. I’m book burning mad, but can’t do that since this is a library book…I already hate the next novel and I haven’t even started it yet.

Anyways…War is brewing. Who will take over control of the island?