Review for Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

TITLE: Fairest
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
NARRATOR: Rebecca Soler
PUBLICATION DATE: Jaunary 27, 2015 / January 27, 2015
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Audio
PAGES: 272 pages / 6 hours 36 minutes
FORMAT: Hardback / Audio
SOURCE: GoodReads First Reads Program / borrowed
RATING: 3 bows


We all know Queen Levana as the evil dictator who is trying to take over Earth, but here is her past. In this novel, we get to back things up and see the teen years that shaped Levana into the Queen we all love to hate. We get to see her overcome her sister’s taunts and rise to power. It’s an interesting journey, to say the least!

From the moment this book was announced, I knew I’d have to read it. I adore the Lunar Chronicles and it’s still quite a few months before Winter finally arrives, so I needed something to tide me over. I was also very apprehensive. I hate Levana. I want the bitch to die and die bloody. I want to watch as they torment her and kill her slowly. I want that, really I do. I was worried that we’d get redeeming charactaristics here, worried that I’d start to sympathize with her, maybe even feel sorry for her and I did not want that to happen. For all of those with the same fear, that will not happen. Yes, Levana has a sad childhood, being tormented by Channary, her elder sister, but that doesn’t really gain her sympathy because she is already well on her way to being a psychopath from page one of this. And her actions get increasingly disturbing as the novel continues. She is obsessed with her guard, Evret, and she takes that obsession to the extreme. She isn’t initially obsessed with ruling the kingdom, but it eventually shows up and once her mind latches onto that idea, nothing will deter her. The woman tries to murder her own niece, a goddamn toddler.

The rest of the cast is really insignificant. We get brief glimpses of Selene and just a few moments with Winter, the only two besides Levana that really play a role in the rest of the series. The only two I really care about. I felt bad for Evret because he is forced into a terrible situation and he has no way out. Levana will never let him leave and have his life with Winter. That is never a possibility, so he soldiers on with his life and tries to make due with what he has.

I think I was doomed to feel mediocre about this from the start. I am very (VERY) character driven and since I just want Levana to die, I wasn’t really invested in her life or what she did. There were a few tense moments with Evret or the moment when she “kills” Selene that I did want to keep going, but for the most part, this wasn’t something that held my attention. Again, this isn’t due to a lack of awesomeness on Meyer’s part, just a lack of interest on mine.

I originally won a copy of this gorgeous hardback from GoodReads and planned to read through it, but then I saw that Rebecca Soler was doing the audio edition and I’d have to listen to it. I’ve been listening to the prior books with my husband anyway, so why not enjoy this together as well? To really show how little of my interest this held, let me just put it this way. This audiobook is tiny, less than 7 hours and it took us 2 months to finish it because we just had no interest in getting through it.

It gets three stars because it isn’t bad. It had it’s interesting moments and I did like learning a bit more of Levana’s backstory, but I just didn’t care enough overall to love it like I have with the rest of the series.

Audio Notes:
Rebecca Soler is now my husband’s favorite narrator. She has done a wonderful job with this series in particular. My lack of enthusiasm here is not due to her performance. Though she doesn’t really get to stretch her vocal muscles as much as I’d like here because it’s mostly Levana’s narration and her voice is the only one needed, I still think she does an excellent job.

***Thank you to Goodreads and Feiwel & Friends for providing me with a hardcover copy of this in exchange for an honest review.***

3 bows
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Review for Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

TITLE: Cress
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles #3
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
NARRATOR: Rebecca Soler
PUBLICATION DATE: February 4, 2014 / February 4, 2014
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Audio
PAGES: 550 pages / 15 hours 40 minutes
FORMAT: Hardback / Audio
SOURCE: Gift from my husband / borrowed
RATING: 5 bows


Cress has spent most of her life orbited Earth in a satellite. She has been alone with only netscreens for company and has become a rather talented hacker. She has mastered anything with net access. She dreams of being rescued and going to Earth. Seeing the beautiful world and all it’s treasures up close. But when Cinder’s band of misfits tries to rescue her, things go horribly wrong and the group gets separated. Now, in addition to trying to save 2 worlds, they must also find their way back to each other. Plus, each character has their own troubles and turmoil to deal with. One thing is certain, they will stop Levana or die trying.

What can I say about Cress? It might possibly be my favorite of the series yet. I loved Cinder and I really enjoyed Scarlet, but Cress may just have topped both of them. It was excited and intense. It was that book that you ignored the world for just one more chapter because you had to know what happened next. Does Cress get Thorne to like her? Can Cinder stop Kai’s impending nuptials? Will she ever tell him that she is Princess Selene? Can they rescue Scarlet? And, most importantly of all, does Iko ever get a real android body?!?!?

Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, and Thorne are all present and accounted for, with the new additions of Cress and Jacin. Cress, I must say, is a character I immediately adored. She reminded me a bit of Iko because of her enthusiasm for certain things. She’s smart and sweet and completely obsessed with Thorn in the most adorable way. Thorn, by the way, really shows his swoon-worthy side here. I already loved Thorne he’s smart and cocky and sarcastic, but he’s even better here. We really get to see him fight to protect Cress and that was a sight to behold.

I’m still unsure about Jacin. On one hand, I like him and I know we are setting up to give Winter a love interest for the final book, but I’m not sure I trust him. Though he is loyal to his Princess, that doesn’t necessarily mean he is loyal to Cinder and her cause. I feel like he might just throw a wrench in things and fuck the plans up if it suits his needs or desires. I guess only time will tell. I’m pretty anxious to get my hands on Winter. Why does it have to be so much longer until it releases?

Levana just needs to die. That bitch needs to die bloody and she needs to die now. I’m a little apprehensive to read Fairest because I know it’s going to try to shed a sympathetic light on Levana and I don’t want to have any sympathy for her. I want to continue hating her as I do now. I don’t think Fairest will truly change my opinion of her, but I think it will try.

If I could only use one word to describe this novel, it would be intense. This thing is jam packed with action and adventure and danger and tension. From the moment you start this and get inside Cress’ mind, you just want to continue. As with the rest of this series, I have listened to it with my husband, which means that we have only listened when we were together and neither one of us had anything pressing that needed to be done. We would use any excuse to get into his car and go on a trip, driving slow and going to long way around just to get in a few extra minutes. We would get home and sit in the car trying to find just a minute more time to get more of this compelling story. Because once we go into the house, real life kicks in and I have reviews to write and he has work to do and we can’t just sit and listen anymore. Anyone who has enjoyed the series thus far will fall in love with Cress. Anyone who read Cinder and loved it, but didn’t love Scarlet the same way, will fall back in love with the series here. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Audio Notes:
In Cinder, I was okay with Rebecca Soler. In Scarlet, I liked her a bit more. Here, I almost loved her. The more I listen, the more I like her. She does an excellent job of differentiating voices here, which is quite a feat considering that there are six characters I would describe as main characters and a handful more that are a bit more than minor. Her pacing is just a touch fast at moments. There was more than one time I had to skip 30 seconds back and relisten to discover what I had missed. And she still says Nancy weird. I can’t help but snicker every time she says it. Still, I enjoyed her narration and will be looking to sample more of her work.

5 bows
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Review for Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

TITLE: Scarlet
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles #2
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
NARRATOR: Rebecca Soler
PUBLICATION DATE: February 5, 2013 / February 5, 2013
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Audio
PAGES: 452 pages / 11 hours 19 minutes
FORMAT: Hardback / Audio
SOURCE: Gift from my husband / borrowed
RATING: 5 bows

Cinder is in a bit of a mess. She’s in prison awaiting transport to Luna, where Queen Levana will surely execute her. Given that she just learned that she is the lost princess Selene, she cannot allow this to happen and busts out of jail, using another prisoner to help. Now they are on the run and Cinder tries to determine her next move and avoid recapture. Everyone assumes that if they can just discover the identity of the lost princess and find her, all will be saved. Cinder doesn’t know how to save everyone, but the worse things get in the kingdom, the more she realizes she will need to find a way. On the other side of the world, Scarlet Benoit is searching for her grandmother. Everyone assumes the old woman ran away, but Scarlet knows she’d never abandon her like that. When she finds Wolf, a fighter with information on her grandmother’s whereabouts, she’ll stop at nothing to rescue the old woman, even if it costs her life. Meanwhile, Prince Kai is trying to find a way to avoid marrying Queen Levana and that may lead to more problems than any of them are ready to handle.

I was a little nervous to start this. I adored Cinder (both the novel and the character) and I wasn’t very keen on the idea of changing perspectives. I’ve read books before where that has went disastrously. Shifts in perspective have caused me to abandon series before or make it very difficult to finish because I hate the new voice. The forth Vampire Diaries book by LJ Smith is the best example of that. I had a very difficult time getting through that because, regardless of how much I loved the characters and the story, Bonnie’s voice was dull. Luckily, that is NOT the case here. Scarlet voice is strong and clear and intense. She’s a very different character than Cinder, but just as enjoyable.

Cinder is the same character we remember from the novel of the same name. She’s smart and snarky and determined to stay out of Levana’s grasp. Her cyborg/lunar combination makes her a very unique character. She’s very interesting to watch and easy sympathize with. How can you not? She’s been forced into servitude her entire life and now that she is finally out from underneath her Step-Mom’s thumb, she is on the run, and learns that she must find a way to save the planet from her evil aunt. As if having an evil step-mom and step-sister wasn’t bad enough, she has to deal with evil blood relatives. And the loss of Peony still weighs heavy on her mind, as does the loss of Iko. Never fear, though, because she finds a new “body” for Iko. Iko, by the way, is probably my favorite character. The “malfunctioning” operating chip has such spunk and personality that you cannot help but love her. Her obsession with Prince Kai is comical all around, as is her desire to be pretty.

Kai is another character that I cannot help by feel sorry for. He’s caught in a no win situation. If he marries Levana, he knows he’ll basically be handing her the Common Wealth on a platter and that she’ll assassinate him quickly after her coronation. But the longer he refuses, the angry she gets and that could lead to a slaughter that no one is ready for. Not to mention the fact that she has the antidote to Letimoses (spelling? I listened to this entire thing on audio) and that could say billions of people with the terminal illness. Then he learns that he girl he likes is actually a cyborg? A Lunar cyborg? Was she lying to him the whole time? What, if anything, of their interactions was real? The doubt swirling around his head and her and his own ability to lead this country had me wanting to hug the poor guy.

We get quite a few new characters in this installment. My favorite new addition is Carswell Thorne. He is the prisoner Cinder escapes with. He might remind me just a bit of a certain pirate.
Captain Jack Sparrow Gif
He’s very cocky and sarcastic and maybe a bit more heroic than he wants to let on. Carswell and Iko are definitely the two comic relief characters and, as such, they both have a special place in my heart. I thought for a moment a love triangle would be set up between him and Cinder and Kai, but Meyer steers clear of that, thank goodness.

Then we have Scarlet and Wolf. I was unsure of both characters initially, but they grow on your. Scarlet is so feisty and determined to save her grandma that you cannot help but root for here. Even if you know her cause isn’t going to go how she plans, you want her to succeed. Wolf was harder to pin down. It’s pretty clear that he is hiding something and I was hoping my gut was wrong on that that was. It wasn’t, but things still turn out well enough for them.

In this adventurous installment of The Lunar Chronicles, we get everything we feel in love with in Cinder plus much more. I was more than a little irritated when I learned that Scarlet would be told via a new perspective. Can’t we just stay with Cinder? WHY CAN’T WE JUST STAY WITH CINDER? And I’ll admit that for first 100 pages or so, I was happier when the focus shifted back to Cinder, but Scarlet’s journey was just as interesting. Meyer gives us what we didn’t know we needed, a fuller, more rounded story that I couldn’t help but love as much as the first one.

It took me a while to get through this. I forced encouraged my husband to listen with me as I revived my memory of what happened in Cinder. He quickly become addicted and wouldn’t let me listen to any of Cinder without his presence. The instant it was over, he demanded we start Scarlet. My normal plan of listening my way through my audiobooks during my lunch hour and occasionally at breakfast went out the window quickly. Every time we were in a car for more than 10 minutes, it was Scarlet. We made excuses to run extra errands or take unnecessary trips just to get a few more minutes of the story. It is as addictive as Cinder was, if not more so, and I cannot wait to get started on Cress!

Audio Notes:
Rebecca Soler does a pretty awesome job of narrating this. Though her name sounds familiar, I don’t think I’ve listened to her work before. She does a wonderful job of creating new voices for each characters, even giving Scarlet the proper French accent she should have. Sometimes the male characters can get confusing, but Rebecca does a good job of cluing us in on who is speaking. I only had one issue with her. She says the name Nancy weird. It almost feels like she has a natural southern accent and it shines through on that one word, despite her efforts. Every time she said the name, I couldn’t help but snicker.

5 bows
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Review for A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

TITLE: A Wicked Thing
SERIES: ? at the time of this writing there is no announced series nor a mention of one on GoodReads, but if not, than this thing was pointless
AUTHOR: Rhiannon Thomas
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 2 bows

Princess Aurora pricker her finger on a spindle many years ago and fell into a death like sleep. Now, Prince Rodric has kissed her awake and she is utterly confused. Everyone she ever knew is dead and her kingdom is in the middle of a rebellion. She does not know this Rodric nor does she understand why she is expected to marry him. As their wedding day draws nearer, this sleeping beauty must decide whether she wants to carry on with the life everyone has laid out for her or if she wants to break the mold and fight for what she believes.

I was very ambivalent about Aurora. At first, I really sympathized with her. This poor girl has basically been in a coma for decades and everyone she ever spoke to is now dead and gone. Her parents, her friends, her servants, even any pets are long gone and she struggles to maintain a happy face for the kind prince who awoke her. She was pretty annoying though. On one hand, she wants to help her kingdom because it’s obvious that things have changed since she fell asleep. But she doesn’t DO anything. Instead, she just sneaks around with a guy and doesn’t really give Rodric a chance.

Rodric is someone I kinda liked. He’s just trying to make the best out of his situation and do what he thinks is right. Sure, he’s a little slow and might not really be doing what’s best for his future kingdom, but he believes it is and therefore trudges on. The other two points in the love square are Tristan and Finnegan. Tristan was obviously up to more than just hitting on a pretty girl in a tavern from page one. He clearly has his own agenda, even if Aurora is too dumb to see that. I don’t know what Finnegan’s angle is. He’s the charming and flirting prince of another realm and I liked him a lot…except that I felt like he was hiding something as well. The only prince that seemed utterly sincere was Rodric and we all know she is not going to end up with him. If she did, this would be a new spin on a classic fairy tale. I think she’ll end up with Finnegan in the end, but we’ll see.

I am know officially finished with fantasy fairy tale sounding novels for a while. I’ll stick to contemporary. First it was Stray and now this. Both promised fairy tale epic-ness and both failed miserably and I’m just done for a while. Because this sounded so amazing! Sleepy Beauty wakes up and has a realistic response to her sleeping fit? Awesome! Prince Phillip Rodric might not be the one for her. Cool. I was totally ready for a action-packed fairy tale with the required happily after and that’s not what I got. This novel is very slow, with little action. The first half is basically Aurora thinking about the changes and sneaking out to meet Tristan and learning that the king is a world class dick. There is just a bit of action in the second half, but basically, it’s all Aurora whining. Don’t get me wrong, her plight is understandable, but damn women, do something about it. I realize your reach is limited and there isn’t really a perfect option for you, but do something, anything!

Then, we get all this story and stuff building and building and building….and then it’s over. It’s done. No more story. No wrap up, no real conclusion, and certainly no happily ever after. I’m sorry, I was under the impression that this was a stand-along Sleeping Beauty retelling. Riding off into the sunset with the Prince Charming of your choice is a must for fairy tales. And you failed to provide that for me. Even now, a month before the release, there is still no word on whether there will be a sequel, if it is will just end this way. If that is the case, then it was pointless. Nothing was resolved. Nothing was fixed. This felt like middle book syndrome, but it’s book one. That doesn’t bode well if it is a series.

In the end, I was wholly disappointed in this novel. It was rather boring at times and downright irritating at others. If you are looking for an epic Sleeping Beauty retelling, this is not it. It gets two stars instead of one simply because I was liked Finnegan and his flirty self. No reason beyond that. The writing is decent, but not great. The plot was slow and dull. The characters (besides Finnegan) were boring. Oh, and be aware that a character dies. Yeah, that didn’t make me happy. So…you know…I am unhappy with this book and will not be recommending it to anyone or reading the possible sequel. That’s a massive pile of nope for me.

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
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Review for Drowned (Drowned #1) by Nichola Reilly

Drowned by Nichola Reilly

TITLE: Drowned
SERIES: Drowned #1
AUTHOR: Nichola Reilly (AKA Cyn Balog)
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Via author
RATING: 4.5 bows

Coe has been shunned her entire life. She lives on a small island, probably the last bit of humanity left, where the ocean’s tides threaten to wash them away. Every day they have to climb up onto a platform until the tides go out with the 400 or so other members of her clan. She is shunned because she is weak and deformed. Missing one arm means she’ll never be very useful. She can’t fish or fight or scavenge in her condition. All she is good for is cleaning the craphouse. Joy! She has accepted her lot in life until the king falls ill and she is taken on as the princess’s new lady-in-waiting. From there on, she learns that life on the island is not all it seems and maybe the truth will set them all free. Or maybe it will lead to their inevitable doom…all one way to find out!

When the story starts, Coe is far from that brave badass YA heroine we’ve been seeing a plethora of. She’s smart, but weak and scared and….whatever the opposite of badass is. I don’t want to say pathetic, because she definitely wasn’t, but maybe a little defeated? She had this sad attitude because she knew once her sixteenth hard season (comparable to 16th birthday) was upon her, her rank would go from the safest part of the platform, the the outer edges where she’d surely meet her death quickly. And it was completely refreshing to read from such a perspective. Right now, I’ve read a ton of novels about the brave and special girl who knows how to sword-fight or use a bow or is just a special little snow-flake who manages to save the world. While Coe does have a tinsy bit of the snowflake syndrome, she isn’t like any other YA heroine I’ve read. She isn’t utterly unique, she just believes in love which is an antiquated thing to these people and her love for others is what sets her apart, even if it isn’t immediately apparent. And her confidence builds throughout the novel when she gets more sure of herself.

Then we have sweet, brave, amazing Tiam.
Glee swoons gif
He’s kind and caring and tries to help everyone and a totally annoying good guy and somehow I fell for him anyway. He’s that “I’m good at everything, but I’m not rubbing it in your face” type. You know, that one who you love, but secretly you want to punch in the face because he’s so damned skilled at everything? That’s him. At first, I didn’t love him, but the further into the story I got, the more I wanted to see…which brings me to my next point…

This book has a cliffhanger…involving my sweet Tiam. For all of you who don’t know (and weren’t clued in by the author bit of this review), Nichola Reilly is a pseudonym for Cyn Balog. I have been incredibly spoiled in the past because all the novels I’ve read by her were standalones, meaning no cliffhangers. I went into this with expectation that that standard would be upheld, but no such luck. If you haven’t already read my spiel, I hate cliffhangers…a lot. I have kinda let it go a bit
Frozen let it go gif
because everyone is doing it (which isn’t the best excuse) and if I hated anything that ended ambiguously, I wouldn’t be able to read any YA series at all until all the books were out. Sorry Cyn, I still love you! And I love this book! I just wasn’t a fan of the particular moment you chose to end on. On one hand, it was hopeful, but Tiam…..I can’t say more without spoilers. ::sobs:: Also, love triangle alert. It’s not one of those Bella Swan, I love both of you so desperately how could I ever chose?!?! ones, but it is there. One hot guy, two very different girls, may the odds be ever in your favor.

The rest of the cast was diverse. You have Fern who I absolutely adore. She so young and resilient and happy. Even when bad things happen, she bounces back to that smile pretty quickly, definitely quicker than I’d be able to. Then there is Star, the princess, who I liked? Hated? I’m not sure? This character’s personality jumps around so much, I wasn’t sure what to make of her and our leading lady feels about the same way. Everyone else is pretty much as asshat. Finn and the rest of the crazy villagers are just that, crazy. After the king dies, they seriously lose their shit and I wanted to smack all of them. How can you do this? What the hell is wrong with you? How is this going to solve anything?

One thing I was really blown away by here was the world. This is an incredibly unique world unlike anything I’ve ever read about before. These people have lost the ability to love or even care about their fellow man. They seem to be an entirely selfish group and they don’t care how others perceive them…not that there are others. They have lost the ability to read. Let me say that again, these people can’t read. Coe is the only person on the island who knows how, a secret she guards closely. I can’t imagine not being able to read. I get that in the scheme of things and in their life style it was a superfluous skill, especially when their books would all float away, but I’m just floored by that. I don’t think I could tolerate this world without the option to escape into fiction constantly!

This novel is near perfect, only failing short at the end with that cliffhanger (I know, I’m beating that point to death). The only thing that could have made it better is a bit more from the journal. Coe has a journal that several of her ancestors wrote in and I was very interested in learning more about them. I would love an epilogue or a novella or something along those lines that is just a story (or several stories) from that journal. It has everything I have come to expect from Cyn, regardless of the name she writes under, with great characters and a wholly enrapturing story. All I can really say is this: Can I have the next one? Please?

****Thank you to Nichola Reill for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

4 bowshalf bow
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Review for Mine To Tarnish (Mine #0.5) by Janeal Falor

Mine To Tarnish by Janeal Falor

TITLE: Mine To Tarnish
SERIES: Mine #0.5
AUTHOR: Janeal Falor
PUBLICATION DATE: December 2, 2013
PUBLISHER: Chardonian Press
PAGES: 128 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

Katherine has always fought to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. A woman has one place in this world, silently standing beside her husband, bearing magical-blooded sons. If this goal cannot be accomplished, said husband has the right to do whatever he wants to her, including physical abuse, mental abuse, or even murder. Katherine has just been sold to a cruel, smelly old man who she cannot tolerate the idea of belonging to. She does the unthinkable, she runs. And in running she discovers a new world and a renewed resolve that woman are more than objects to be used and abused.

Katherine is reminds me so much of how I’d be in her situation. I’m too independently minded to allow this shit and the very concept that I must keep my mouth shut because my opinions are completely invalid makes my blood boil in a way nothing else does. I don’t consider myself a feminist, but fuck we have rights! Wants, needs, and thoughts all our own. This novella was a bit appalling in how these men treated the woman. We take a lot of things for granted, but there were times when things weren’t much better than that. I believe there are still places in the world today where the men think the same way…..::coughs:: back to Katherine. She’s so strong and determined to get away from her new master that it was impossible to believe that she wouldn’t succeed. She is constantly landing herself in trouble for her inability to accept that she is a lower class being.

Like I said, this is a bit appalling. These woman are spelled and abused in all manner. They aren’t even allowed to sit unless given explicit permission to do so, instead forced to stand next to her husband or father while he lounges comfortably. The idea that any father would now only allow this kind of abuse, but promote it is unthinkable. Katherine’s own father treats her terribly. Katherine’s running away is admirable to me, trying to escape her fate rather than grinning and baring it as she is meant to. Once she gets out and we meet the tarnished, things improve considerably. Finally we see men who don’t follow this ridiculous belief and Katherine is even more empowered by them. They help her run and you get a light romance between her and a tarnished man. I hope they get the revolution going, but don’t die in the crossfire.

This is a novel that really makes you think about the common rights we take for granted. It had me enraptured, dying to get to the next bit of the story to find out if Katherine succeeds in her evasions or if she is caught and punished. I recommend it to everyone wanting something magical and empowering, if a mite depressing at first. I can’t wait to dive into the next one!

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Review for The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2) by Shana Abe

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe

TITLE: The Deepest Night
SERIES: The Sweetest Dark #2
AUTHOR: Shana Abe
PUBLICATION DATE: August 13, 2013
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Eleanore Jones has always been different and she finally knows why. It is because she is a dragon. Seriously people, it is because she can transform into a dragon. While she is still devastated by Jesse’s untimely death, she tries to carry on with her life at Iverson’s, the boarding school she attends. Then she learns that Lord Armand’s older brother, who was thought to be killed in war, is actually a prisoner of war and she is destined to save him. Though she is not sure she is up for the task, she wants to help Mandy in any way she can, so they start creating a plan to rescue brother dearest, though things never go as planned.

Lora/Eleanore is exactly as I remember her. Strong and clever, with the ability to know when to back down and when to fight. She has been through so much and yet she is still striving to continue and to better herself. She’s still a bit too stubborn and refuses Mandy’s help most of the time, but an all together enjoyable character that you cannot help but to root for.

I fell a bit more in love with Mandy in this one. In the first one, I liked him, but I was 100% team Jesse. In this one, you see how much he is trying to help her and what he is willing to sacrifice to keep her safe and happy. Unfortunately, that is part of why this gets 4 stars instead of 5. Even though Jesse is dead, he is still a big part of this story because he is now a star who guides Mandy, which means, the love triangle aspect is still very much in play. For the entire story, Lora fights her attraction to Mandy because she loves Jesse and then we get a handful of shots from Jesse’s perspective, watching from above which just makes it worse. It would be one thing to kill Jesse and let Lora get over it and be with Mandy. I wouldn’t completely agree with that option, but it would be better than ending book 2 with no more resolution on the triangle front than we had at the end of book 1. What’s worse is that now I don’t even know who I want her to be with more! I can’t pick a team. X_X

The writing is just as eloquent and beautiful as before. Abe has this amazing ability to write on a higher level but not make it come off as pretentious or condescending. I don’t know about you, but I have read one too many historical fictions where it feels like the writer is just using those big words and old time phrases to say “Hahahahahaha I’m smarter than you!” and this doesn’t come off that way at all. The storyline kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat wondering if these two crazy kids would pull it off and how they would accomplish it without getting caught.

I really enjoyed this and I cannot wait to get my hands on book 3, which isn’t listed on Goodreads yet, but the authors website says she is writing. Please hurry and finish it? This doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, just a sense that the story isn’t quite finished yet.

****Thank you to Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: City Of Glass
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments #3
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PUBLICATION DATE: March 24, 2009
PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Divison
PAGES: 541 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

You would think that after two full-length novels, Clary would have, at the very least, found a way to wake her mom, but that is just not the case. The third book in the Mortal Instruments series starts with Clary going on another quest to find a warlock by the name of Ragnor Fell who can wake her mother up. Then there is always the added plot of finding a way to defeat Valentine, which eventually seeps in.

I have to say that after reading this, though I intend to finish the entire series eventually, I cannot imagine it ended better than this did. Everything ties up in a neat little bow, giving everyone a happy ending…well, everyone who is still alive gets a happy ending. Therein lies the problem.

My first issue with this was the deaths. Yes, the war with Valentine has been bloody and there has been no skimping on the character deaths before this novel, but there was one that I found intolerable. ****SPOILER****And that was Max. Seriously, he was just a little kid who didn’t get much time in the series anyway, so why fucking kill him? Don’t say it gives Isabelle the motivation she needs later to go after Jace and Sebastian/Jonathan/whatever the fuck you want to call him, because that bullshit. Hodge’s death didn’t make me all warm and fuzzy, but I felt it was an acceptable loss considering the bad he had done in book one.****END SPOILER**** The deaths alone bring the star rating down. If a certain character had lived, I would have given it five, but I’m so fucking tired of pointless character deaths, in books, movies, and shows, that I just cannot give it five stars.

On the whole, the novel was just as enthralling and enchanting as the other two, with good writing, witty dialogue, and a big enough mystery to keep you guessing until the very end. I knew that the sibling issue between Clary and Jace would finally be revealed and I must say that I didn’t see the way it played out coming. Some plot twists were a bit more transparent, but not one really got me, so bravo Clare, bravo.

I think my two favorite things about this was finally getting Jocelyn’s history, from her perspective and all the couples finally getting together. The biggest is Clary and Jace finally being able to be together without feeling like it is an abomination. Jace really stole the show in this one, in my opinion. The way he confesses his love, despite everything else, and the speech he gives to Clary at the end was just….

…okay, so maybe I got just a little carried away there, but what can I say? I love Jace and though I know many people were against Jamie Campbell Bower being cast as him, I think he’s perfect for the role and exceedingly pretty, so bite me. Back to my original point, I loved that the main couples do end up together. We finally get to see ****SPOILER****Alec and Magnus be together, in front of the other Shadowhunters and the rest of the Lightwoods, which was amazing. I love Magnus, he’s probably my favorite character or at the very least, he ties with Jace for favorite. We also finally get to see Jocelyn with Luke, which we were all routing for. Simon doesn’t end up with anyone, but it’s obvious he has a choice between Isabelle and Maia, so it’s up to him.****END SPOILER****

This novel is an excellent conclusion to the storyline of the first three novels. I don’t know what the main conflict of the next three will be but I can say definitively that if you don’t like longer series, you can legitimately stop here and not be left wanting. As for me? I am planning on reading the next three, but I’ll be treading lightly because the longer a series continues, the more opportunity there is for it to go south. Wish me luck!

Review for City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: City Of Ashes
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments #2
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PUBLICATION DATE: March 25, 2008
PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Divison
PAGES: 453 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

I’ll be honest, there is a lot going on in this sequel. I really don’t know how to summarize this plot, because, like with most middle books, there is just too much happening. The most basic thing I can say is that they are still battling Valentine and things get really complicated, really fast.

I had a hard time getting myself to both start this and continue reading it. Not, mind you, because of any problem with writing or character development, or any of the normal nonsense that gets in my way, but because I knew that still particular installment wasn’t going to end with Jace and Clary happily together. Reading my little sisters review told me quite clearly that, regardless of how well written and entertaining this book is, I just wasn’t going to love it. The love triangle aspect is played up even more in this one, where Clary obviously believes Jace is her brother and starts dating Simon. Can I just say that sibling thing is bullshit? I know it seems like they are and all the evidence points to that end, but just fuck no. I can feel it in my bones that it’s just not true and deep down, I think Clary and Jace know it too. But that doesn’t stop Clary from being horrified by the feelings she has for her “brother” and the whole dating Simon thing that just irritated the fuck out of me. I’m sorry, I love Simon, but we all know he is going to end up with Maia. That much is completely obvious after one fucking meeting between the two. Besides I want Simon to be happy and having Clary settle for him will never make him happy.

I really hate reviewing middle books, it’s so fucking difficult to put how I feel for them into words. This one manages to more or less escape that middle book syndrome, being entirely entertaining and action packed in its own right, but I just hate being dead center in the middle of the story, you know? Or better yet, still just at the being since now this tale is a now a six book series instead of the originally planned trilogy. There is so much that’s happened that I don’t approve of ****SPOILER****like Simon becoming a vampire****END SPOILER****, but there is still so much to come that I don’t exactly know how I feel. It’s hard to rate middle books properly because how I will feel about the series overall is entirely dependent upon how it ends. I can’t love it if Clary and Jace don’t end up together. Speaking of endings, I can just say that the ending of this one fucking sucked? The whole Jace/Clary/Simon triangle and the ending conversation in the epilogue between Clary and Jace and just….grh!

So, I’ll just say this, it was an enjoyable ride and I can’t wait to start the next one…in fact that what I’ll be doing this afternoon, before reporting to college for my first day of fall semester.

Review for Saint Dragon Girl, Vol. 01 (Saint Dragon Girl #1) by Natsumi Matsumoto

Saint Dragon Girl: Volume 1 by Natsumi Matsumoto

TITLE: Saint Dragon Girl: Volume 1
SERIES: Saint Dragon Girl #1
AUTHOR: Natsumi Matsumoto
PUBLICATION DATE: December 2, 2008
PAGES: 200 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

My very first manga. I must confess that I’ve never gotten into them before. I took several different Japanese language classes in high school, but never could get into manga or anime, despite my best efforts. However, a few weeks ago, I came across a used book store that had a great selection of manga and decided to give it another go. I must say I’m rather satisfied with this decision because this was adorably cute and very funny.

Momoka Sendou and Ryuga Kou have been friends since childhood and though it’s clear to everyone that there is a deeper attraction there, Momoka refuses to acknowledge it. This makes for quite a few embarrassing, hilarious moments. Ryuga seems to be aware of her attraction and is constantly teasing her about it, but when danger strikes, he’s always there to save her. It’s a pretty amusing fantasy type manga with adorable drawings. It also has the appeal of being one of the few mangas I’ve seen that features a protagonist with a small bust.

I have already purchases the next two in this series and can’t wait to dive in. Momoka and Ryuga better end up together in the end!