Wicked Saints

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints is a story of good and evil and the balance between. Nadezhda Lapteva, Nadya, is a young cleric who can communicate with the gods. She can hear them speak to hear and is granted their powers to ultimately do good. High Prince Serefin Meleski is a powerful blood mage. He has been on the front lines of war trying to capture and take Nadya back to his kingdom. However, both Nadya and Serefin have a common enemy. Though their ideals conflict, both must come together and fight to save their lands.

The story alternates points of view between Nadya and Serefin. We get to see both sides of the story–those who believe in the divinity and the gods as well as those who believe in the power of their own blood magic. I will admit that this book is dense. There a lot of names to remember, such as those of the gods and goddesses that Nadya can talk to. Blood magic is also a complicated subject. Some can write their own spells while others need them written for them. Some are more skilled than others as well. Because there are two elements of magic, it can be difficult to keep the details straight.

My biggest issue with this book is the predictability of the characters. For instance, Malachiasz continuously gives Nadya hints about who he truly is and what he truly wants. Even Nadya and Serefin are predictable. You know the paths that they will choose because they are confident in who they are and what they stand for.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. Some parts were slow to build and the characters were a little predictable. But I am excited to see where this series goes next.

Rating: 3.5/5

*Wicked Saints is available Tuesday, April 2, 2019*

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

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The Wicked King

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Summary

The Wicked King picks up where The Cruel Prince left off. Cardan has been crowned King but he’s still subject to Jude’s true rule. The Kingdom is in turmoil. Some support Cardan, some are slow to accept his crown, and others want to use this time of pandemonium as an excuse to usurp Cardan. Jude must find a way to protect Cardan and his supports. But there are threats from all sides. In this second novel, the main characters are faced with some tough decisions. Whether they should follow their hearts or play the game that has been set in motion.

Characters

Most of the characters I covered in my original review of The Cruel Prince. There are not many new players in this book, but we do get a closer look at the Undersea. I liked seeing the new underwater creatures, but they were not memorable.

Review

I struggled with this book. At every turn, I was left wanting more. I was waiting for Jude to take charge. I was waiting for Cardan to defy Jude. I wanted Taryn to stand up for herself. But we didn’t see any of that.

Jude panders back and forth. While it is true no one listens to her commentary and observations, she could do more to have a commanding presence. She may be the right hand of the King, but she does not have a strong voice. She does not take charge, and I constantly find myself rolling my eyes at her predictable actions.

Cardan just comes off as spineless. He did take an oath to listen to Jude and be under her control, but he’s supposed to be intelligent and is capable of tricking her. What happened the the Cardan everyone talks about? The one that finds loopholes and thwarts Judes plans or wishes. I will say that the ending of this book FINALLY had be cheering for Cardan, but it was not a plot twist.

Overall, I don’t think this is a bad story. It’s a quick read and things feel like they start to come together. I feel like Holly Black has A LOT of explaining to do in this next book, Queen of Nothing. But again, the events of this book are predictable. And I wanted to see more of the Fae Realm and its creatures. Sure, we got to see the merpeople in the Undersea, but I still feel like there was not much description. It felt like an event to rush through.

Rating: 4/5

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Summary

Jude and Taryn are twin girls who are ripped away from their human home and taken to the Fae land of Elfhame. There, they are raised alongside their older sister, Vivi, in a world that is far from familiar. While the Fae cannot lie, they all harbor secrets. Jude and Taryn separately try to fit in by going to classes and keeping up on their swordplay. But nothing in Elfhame is what it seems and each girl must decide the course of their fate.

Characters

Jade, the protagonist, is a young teen who wants to earn her place in the Fae Realm of Elfhame. She wants to rise through the ranks and use her skills to become part of the Royal Guard. She opposes some of the norms of Elfhame. Like humans being treated like their are dispensable. But Jade is cunning and knows how to trick some Fae into following her own plans.

Taryn is Jane’s twin sister. We’re constantly reminded of this as Jane refers to her as her own mirror. She is also determined to fit into the Fae Realm, but she plans to marry into a well-off family. Taryn is less determined than her twin, and is constantly willing to bend to the whims of everyone else around her. Above all, Taryn is a people pleaser who is constantly worried about what others think of her.

Cardan, the antagonist, is a spoiled young prince who does what he wants and gets away with it. He tortures Jade because she’s defiant and is the only one who stands up to him. Cardan is a bully. His passionate hatred for Jane is what drives him. He picks on her every chance he gets and even encourages his group of friends to do the same. Cardan hides behind is crown because he can, being one of the youngest. He knows he’s not destine to become king, so he acts out.

Vivi is the only one who is not in love with Elfhame. Although she is a fae, she desperately wants out and to be part of the human world. She defies her father whenever she can because she’s resentful for being pulled back to Elfhame. She’s the biggest voice of reason and tries to be rational.

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. I think I expected a lot because there was a huge ope surrounding this novel. I have always been a fan of Holly Black’s writing, but this book falls short.

My biggest problem is Jude. I don’t feel a connection to her. She’s not likable. You spend most of the book yelling at her to stop being an idiot. She thinks she’s being defiant and standing up to someone who bullies her, but she’s at a huge disadvantage. Jude is human and is navigating through a world that is not her own. She constantly underestimates her opponents. I want more for her and I feel disappointed with her.

I also have a problem with Taryn. Much like her twin, she’s not likable, but for different reasons. She’s weak and selfish. She doesn’t care about her sister’s feelings, she only wants what’s best for her. She’s more than willing to lie to and manipulate her twin to get what she wants. But Taryn isn’t even cunning, she does these things because she’s told to. It’ll make her loved and more desirable I she does what she’s told.

I have heard a lot of people praise the world building of Elfhame, but I don’t see it. While there are beautiful new creatures, I don’t otherwise see the draw of Elfhame. It seems like this realm is similar to every other faerie realm I’ve read about.

I also feel frustrated with the potential of Vivi. I was excited to see a bisexual character in this story. Vivi is vibrant and rebellious. She’s like any teenager, but she’s not human and not typical. She’s the only one who wants to escape Elfhame. Vivi has a much better story to tell than the twins do (combined). I wanted to see more of her and why she has a chip on her shoulder.

Overall, I don’t understand the hype surrounding this book. The characters and the faerie realm are nothing spectacular. The only thing that saves this book is how well written it is. But there are some points that feel too verbose or too amateur. I don’t have high expectations for the rest of this series, but I will continue reading the rest of the books.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Haunted in Hollywood

Haunted in Hollywood by Loey Lane

As a general preface, I have no idea who Loey Lane is because I have not watched her YouTube channel or seen her social media. I didn’t know her name until I saw this book. I picked it up on a whim because I was looking for a light book to read after finishing a dense nonfiction book. This did the trick and refreshed my reading palate.

Haunted in Hollywood follows aspiring model, Loey Lane, to the set of Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic photoshoots. Loey is supposed to be a young Marilyn in a cover spread as a tribute to her greatest and most memorable moments. But when Loey arrives, things don’t seem right. The model she’s replaced has mysteriously disappeared. Everyone says she’s checked out, but she left her makeup in the closet and Loey believes there’s something greater at work. Then, Loey comes encounter with a pink mist and bouts of electricity. She believes that a ghost is after her and calls in the rest of her LitSquad to help solve the crime. But things do not go as planned, and Loey’s enemies, the Grimm Brothers, show up at the hotel and stop up some trouble of their own.

Take this book at face value: it is a short fictional story about a young millennial girl who wants to become a famous model. With the help of her friends and some unlikely allies, the hauntings are solved! The characters are young and predictable. The plot twist you can see coming from a mile away. And this story is littered with millennial slang and hashtags galore. But the story is a little charming and delivers what it promises. I do recommend this book for anyone that wants a quick read and an easy distraction.

Rating: 3/5

Pretty in Punxsutawney

Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

The description of Pretty in Punxsutawney offers a mashup of the movies Groundhog Day and Pretty in Pink. I feel like this is an adequate description of the story, and if you walk in with these expectations, you will not be disappointed.

At the beginning of the summer, Andie and her family move to a new town. She spends the summer obsessing over Colton, a soon to be senior and football star who works at the local movie theatre. Andie is a movie buff, but the main reason she spends most of her summer at the theatre is in hopes of having Colton fall in love with her. Finally, at the end of the summer, Andie is ready to make her senior debut at her new school with Colton by her side. However, Andie’s first day at her new high school proves to be anything but typical. After an embarrassing first day, Andie is given the chance at a do-over. But the day keeps repeating, and Andie must find a way to break this curse or she’l be a first-day senior for the rest of her life.

The story gives a huge nod to filmmaker John Hughes and his classic 80s movies. From Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, to The Breakfast Club and more, many of the themes, characters, and issues presented mimic Hughes’ classics.

Andie finds that her new school is separated into different cliques. Just like students coming from different backgrounds and leaving as friends in The Breakfast Club, Andie hopes to knock down social barriers. She spends each repeated day trying to find a new way to impress Colton, but she quickly learns that not every social clique is what it seems. The cheerleaders are nice, they’re driven by the sense of being a team and like to give back to the community. The goths are kind and love to laugh. The popular girl is struggling with personal issues and her body image. The nerdy girls are more caddy than you’d expect. Each cycle through the same day opens Andie’s eyes a little more about how Punx High works and the type of person Andie wants to become.

Overall, this is a cute book but it’s not very memorable. I feel like it tries too hard to bring nostalgia for a few 80s classics and blurs the lines into something that has already been done, and done well. The storyline is predictable because the setup is there from the beginning. The main character is likable but frustrating because she’s blinded by some good looking guy and she forgets who is is. This is a quick read that would be ideal for someone who wants a taste of a modern day Pretty in Pink meets Groundhog Day meets The Breakfast Club. Or, you could spend an afternoon watching the movies this book is molded after.

Rating: 3/5

Pretty in Punxsutawney is available today, January 15, 2019.

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

The Dead Queens Club

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

Synopsis:

If your school’s homecoming king had a little too much in common with Henry VIII, would you survive with your head still attached?

You’d think being the new girl in a tiny town would equal one very boring senior year. But if you’re me—Annie Marck, alias Cleves—and you accidentally transform into teenage royalty by entering Lancaster High on the arm of the king himself? Life becomes the exact opposite of boring.

Henry has it all: he’s the jock, the genius and the brooding bad boy all in one. Which sort of explains why he’s on his sixth girlfriend in two years.

What it doesn’t explain is why two of them—two of us—are dead.

My best friend thinks it’s Henry’s fault, which is obviously ridiculous. My nemesis says we shouldn’t talk about it, which is straight-up sketchy. But as the resident nosy new girl, I’m determined to find out what really happened to Lancaster’s dead queens…ideally before history repeats itself.

Review

The description of this book drew me in, on goodreads, someone mentioned that this book was a cross between Henry VIII and Mean Girls. I think I went in with too high of expectations because of this, or maybe the writing was too convoluted to understand. Either way, I was not impressed by this one.

Cleves is obsessed with her best friend Henry. He’s everything she’s not. Henry is cool and popular and people are inherently drawn to him. Perhaps because he oozes charm, or he’s good looking, or people just seem to trust Henry. But Henry also has a bad streak with his ex girlfriends. They always seem to cheat on him or break his heart. So Henry enlists the help of Celves to get back at them, through pranks to embarrass the girls. 

But Cleves is uprooted to Henry’s town and thrown into his school and inner circle. Cleves becomes torn between what Henry has told her and what her new friends tell her about events in their small Indiana town. 

There is a lot of back and forth in this book, but it is not done well. You get confused because there are not distinct chapters distinguishing the past and the present. Instead, flashbacks are in the middle of chapters and you have to pay attention to what is taking place. 

This book is also a giant cliche, every high school troupe you can think of rears its head at some point. From the girl swooning over her best friend, to the popular jock getting together with the cheerleader. If you like (pointless) high school drama, then this is the story for you. 

I don’t believe that there are any twists or turns in this book. You can see the ending coming from the beginning. There are attempts at high-stake action, but they all fall flat. The characters are predictable and this makes the plot seem boring. But, everything also feels drawn out. I stopped reading so many times because I was either bored, not invested, or rolled my eyes so much I got a headache. I cannot recommend this book. 

Rating: 2.5/5

The Dead Queens Club has an expected release date of January 29, 2019.

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

Bring Me Home Review

Bring Me Home by Bree Howland

Synopsis:

While Kailey was growing up, she was sure of two things:

1. She wanted to devote her life to helping animals.
2. She would never be without her best friend Cole Martin.

When her father had them pack up and move two provinces away two years before graduation, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under her.

Now she’s in college, finally pursuing her interest in veterinary medicine. Even better, Cole is at the same school. But Cole has changed and so has she. Gone was the innocence of childhood friendship and easy conversations.

Between new friends, unexpected feelings, and a road trip, Kailey’s first year in college will be more eye opening than she ever imagined.

Review

I LOVED this book. I want to start out by stating that I am usually not a romance reader, but this is a story that should be on everyone’s TBR list. It’s not cheesy and it will not make you roll your eyes into oblivion. It is a sweet story that will make you believe in love and happy endings. I binge read this book in one sitting because it was that good. I suggest curling up in a warm blanket and settling in while reading this book, because you will not want to put it down.

Kailey (Kail) and Cole are wonderful characters. Their friendship and love feel real and in no way forced. All of Howland’s characters have great chemistry. You can picture yourself in college along side Kail and her friends and you can easily fit into the friend’s adventures and witty banter.

This is a beautifully written story that will leave you wanting completely satisfied. There’s friendship, true love, cute animals, and an atmosphere of pure delight. Whether you’re an avid reader of romance stories or a fair weather fan, you will find something in the story to connect to or believe in. I cannot recommend this book enough!

Rating: 5/5

I received this ARC from the author, Bree Howland, in exchange for an honest review

Bring Me Home will be available on January 1, 2019 

Preorder Links!

*Bring Me Home is also available on Kindle Unlimited!

About the Author

Bree Howland lives in Atlantic Canada with her husband and two fur children, two finicky felines. When she’s not working, her life revolves around reading, writing and taking care of her foster cats. You will more than likely find her curled up somewhere quiet with a book or scrolling aimlessly through Twitter.

Be sure to check out Bree’s website and social media pages: Website; Twitter: Instagram; Goodreads

Fortunate Felines Rescue

If the story alone is not enough to convince you to buy and read this book, all proceeds from Bring Me Home go to the Fortunate Felines Rescue. If you would like more information about this organization, check out their Facebook or Instagram pages. 

Be sure to check out all posts on the Bring Me Home Blog Tour!

The Darkest Star

The Darkest Starby Jennifer L. Armentrout

“That was what I wanted at some point in my life, for someone to look at me like I looked at tacos.”


Synopsis:

In the aftermath of the Lux war that changed the face of the Earth, there is still a stark divide between humanity and Lux, an alien race inhabiting the planet. As tensions rise in a small town, a string of murders take the town by surprise. The murders are suspiciously supernatural and the bodies are left where they are sure to be found. Seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher must decide what secrets are worth keeping and which ones she’s willing to share with those closest to her. As Evie gets mixed up with the Luxen, and a new guy, Luc, in her life, she questions everything she’s ever known. In a race to find answers, Evie and her friends are met with new threats and more questions at every turn.

 

Characters:

The characters are brilliant and dynamic, each in their own ways. As a reader, you know something is amiss about some of the characters and their physical traits. But we’re not told until well into the storyline the mystery we keep guessing at.

Luc is a mysterious bad boy with captivating violet eyes. He is tough, powerful, and everyone seems to be afraid or at least apprehensive of him. But there is more to Luc than meets the eye.

Evie is a painfully naïve teenager who gets more than she bargained fro when she joins her best friend, Heidi, at a club in town. This club, Forsaken, is special because this club allows humans and Luxen to intermix without judgment. But Evie’s life changes the moment she walks through the big red doors.

Sylvia & Jason are Evie’s parents, but both held secrets from her. Jason died during the war, and Evie and her mother moved

The rest of Evie’s friends fit into categories we know, without being a boring sterotype. You have the overprotective, semi-jealous friend, James. James is leery of Luc and everything unraveling, but he’s still supportive of Evie. April is loud and brash, quick to jump to her own conclusions even without having all of the facts. Zoe is calm and open-minded, and will do anything to ensure Evie’s safety. Heidi and Emery are more free-spirited, but both know more than they let on.

 

Review:

As a caveat: it has been quite some time since I’ve read a book by Armentrout. I forgot that I read part of the Luxen series until I read this book. However, I don’t think that reading the original series is a requirement to enjoy this spin-off series, as the characters in the Origin Series are not main characters in the original series.

I immensely enjoyed this book. While parts of the writing style read like the way a teenager would speak, I think this adds to the main character’s internal dialogue. You genuinely become immersed in Evie’s thoughts and the world in which she is living. Yet, Armentrout is still not predictable. The Darkest Starwill take you on an adventure of twists and turns. Once you think you have it all figured out, you’re thrown another curve ball. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

 

 

Rating: 4/5

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

The Darkest Star will be available on October 30, 2018 by Tor Teen Publishers.

 

Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Synopsis: Jesse Holmes lost her mother two years ago. Now, her father eloped with a woman he met online and up and moved his family from Chicago to California. Jesse is forced into a new life and a new school, Wood Valley High School. That’s not the only weird thing that happens, Jesse receives an anonymous email from someone at her school under the screen-name of Somebody Nobody (SN). This mysterious guy turns into Jesse’s “spirit guide” at school. As Jesse navigates the waters of her junior year, SN helps Jesse discover what truly matters to her. All the while, Jesse is determined to learn more about SN and who he is.

This book had me hooked from the beginning. I will say that there are a lot of cliche’s in this book, the hot blonde California stereotypes are strong in this high school settling. And Jesse is supposed to be like a “breath of fresh air” who catches the eye of the most popular guy. But, you know that’s the kind of story you’re getting into from the beginning. The emails are also a way to get to know this cool mysterious guy from another angle.

This book is not subtle, it is in your face and melodramatic. I like this about it because I genuinely laughed out loud at how ridiculous some of the situations are. This is not a realistic tale of someone moving from the Midwest and being forced into a Hollywood glamour lifestyle. In the first chapters, we discover just how ridiculous and painfully self-absorbed Jesse’s new stepmother is. And how loud, cruel, and stuck up the students are at the high school.

A small part of me hopes that this book is a means to make us laugh at how badly self-absorbed we can all be in the Internet age. Because these are not serious characters. They are outlandish and take stereotypes too far, from the hatred of costal elites to the need to fit in and be as skinny as possible. If you take it with a grain of salt, you’ll likely find this book funny. And you’ll probably love the ending–I know I did!

Rating: 4/5

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