Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Frozen Tides: A Review (Falling Kingdoms #4)

Goodreads (Description):

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

My Review:

This series has been quite the roller coaster of surprises and plot twists (P.S. if you haven't read this series, my review has some minor spoilers).

And this installment was no different. Man oh man. If you haven't read this series, I strongly suggest it.

The four MAIN main characters are Joans, Magnus, Cleo, and Lucia.

Jonas, despite ALL his MANY failures, continues to fight for what's right. He stands up for those who are unable to fight. He is a leader in so many ways, loyal, kind, and smart. Yes, he messes up a lot, but he learns each and every time how to go about his plans better. Though people have hurt and betrayed him, his heart has stayed good. He lives in a world of pain and sorrow, but somehow he is still able to function and move forward. It's incredible. He is becoming one of my favorites.

Magnus. I love him. This may sound strange, considering those who have only read the first two books, but yes. I do in fact love Magnus. I have since the beginning. There is so much potential for him to be good, and I believe he is finally realizing that for himself. He is finally making a stand for what he believes is right, instead of blindly following in his terrible father's footsteps.

Cleo. She's growing on me more and more. She's a girl who knows what she wants and will do anything to get it. Although she grew up a spoiled brat, she has grown up loads in the series. It's not about parties and drinking anymore, rather, it's about trying to save her kingdom and her people. She is finally looking beyond her own cares and needs, recognizing that she has the power to help people. And I think that's awesome, especially considering the sort of terrible person she was before.

Lucia. She's wacko crazy. Super cucukachoo. She has been so manipulated throughout her whole life that now she's free, she doesn't know what to do with herself. Lucia believes she wants one thing, then does a whole 360. Make up your mind woman! She's incredibly frustrating and frankly scary. Her power is incredible, but she is extremely unstable--which makes her a formidable opponent.

I also think King Gaius is an idiot. He's Magus and Lucia's dad. He was super scary before, but through his actions in this book, he just proved himself to be incredibly stupid. In fact, I am quite confident all the above characters will be able to end his reign. He's beyond mad, he's insane which causes him to react instead of act--leading to his stupidity.

There are loads of characters in this series, but these are the main four (five including Gaius) from the beginning. Most of my reviews focus on the characters, because that's how I come to love a series. Falling Kingdoms is set in a mythical world where magic is rampant and the characters are searching for four stones--water, earth, air, and fire--aka the Kindred. All the Kindred have been located now, and now we must see what the characters will do with this power in the next book. It's finally getting down to the nitty gritty and I feel the next book will be an explosion of surprises.

I'm excited.

4.5 out of 5!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Winter: A Review (The Lunar Chronicles #4)

Goodreads (description):

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

My Review:

I think I might cry. What am I going to do with no more Lunar Chronicle books?

This series has become one of my all time favorites. And the end just sealed the deal.

A perfect end to a beautiful series. I LOVE the way Marissa Meyer writes. She is clean and funny, while still maintaining intense action and clean sexual tension. The pace never slows and her characters are to die for.

WOLF!!!!!!!! (aka Ze'ev) I love him. What more is there to say? Read the series. He's so sappy and cute even though he's a hulking, scary looking beast on the outside. I want a Wolf. He's so perfect.

Scarlet is pretty awesome too. She's a no nonsense kind of girl. Don't you mess with her, because she can handle herself and then there's Wolf, who might rip our face off if you hurt her.

Cress. Sweet, innocent, shy Cress. Basically, her introvert tendencies were very relateable, but she was still able to stand her ground and state her opinion, even if she was shaking the whole time.

Throne. He is my second favorite. I also love him. His humor literally made me laugh out loud since the minute he entered the series. He is strong and handsome and willing to do the right thing even though his past says otherwise. When he sees the truth, he is willing to change, and that's an awesome characteristic to have, a strong one too.

Jacin kind of annoyed me at first, but my heart opened up to him during this book. Once I realized his motives and figured out why he did what he did, I started to like him. He's incredibly stubborn, but he's down to earth and knows how to handle anything.

Winter. Hehe. She's freaking crazy, but I love that about her. She handles herself well, despite her hallucinations and babble. She is the kindest and most loving, despite all the torture she's endured. She is capable, even when everyone believes she will fail, she succeeds. And I find that awesome!

Kai. Yes. I also adore him. I love how he was willing to give everything for the welfare of his people, even if it meant giving up his own life.

Konn Torin. He's amazing. Kai wouldn't have survived without him. Plus, he's basically like the guy who knows how to handle everything, but also lets the others make their choices and supports their actions (as long as they are doing the right thing).

Iko is also super funny. Her humor just made my day, espcially since there were lots of dark days in this series. I love how loyal and kind she is. It's also fantastic at how much she fights for android rights. She's awesome.

And Cinder. Dang that girl has grown up. She is awesome. All throughout her life she has been given crap and treated like a slave. Yet, she rose above it all in order to fight the Lunar suppression and take back what was hers. She had her down days, she had her hard times, but she made it. She stayed strong, even when she wanted to fall apart. She had her friends above to help her through the trials she had to endure, they were good to her and she was good to them. I can't help but think that she, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter became sisters throughout this series. The sense of sisterhood was strong and I really loved that.

Honestly, this series is beautiful. It's so much fun and the BEST fairy tale retelling I have ever read ever.

I give this book a 5 out of 5! This whole series, a 5 out of 5! A must read!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Queen of Shadows: A Review (Throne of Glass Series #4)

Goodreads (description):

(Also a winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards)

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
My Review:

(This contains spoilers for those who haven't read this series yet).

Oh. My. Gosh.

This book had so many twists and turns I wasn't expecting...There aren't even words for it!

Although I still must proclaim the third book in this series my favorite, this book was still  AMAZING.

Aelin is back and she is ready to fight. And fight she does. Holy moly I can't even say much without basically giving the WHOLE book away. But let me just say, Rowan comes back. And he is my favorite and he is ever as amazing as I thought he would be. We saw his more tender side here, and it just tugged my heart strings. Him and Aelin are so perfect for each other. They are able to build each other up from their horrid pasts. He also helps Aelin's really, really dark side fade away. I still shudder from a lot of things Aelin did in the second novel.

Choal. I sort of hated him for a while in the last book, but my love for him returned in this novel. He has given up for much and fought so hard. I love him and if he doesn't end of up with Nesrin, I might have fit.

Aedion... I love him! I liked how we got to know him more in this book and his past relationship with his cousin, Aelin. His loyalty is prime and his strength incredible. He's also kind, which is a very much needed quality in these lead characters. Needless to say, him and Lassandra would make an interesting couple, and I sort of hope it happens.

Lassandra...I like her now. Use to hate her, which if you've read this series, I'm sure you understand why. I like how we got to know the real her.

The witches, though. Mannon and her Thirteen. Wow. That's all I can really say. Needless to say, there was a huge plot twist with them I didn't see coming, and I really liked it.

I can say even less about the King of Adarlan....

Seriously, this series is awesome. It's full of intrigue and adventure and so many twists and turns. It's glorious. The character development is fantastic, and I learn to love and/or hate the characters the more I read. And characters are what grab me. I don't think I'll forget these guys anytime soon!

I give this a 4.5 out of 5!

Monday, March 14, 2016

RE-RELEASE: Pieces of Eight

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Welcome to the Re-Release Celebration for

Pieces of Eight
By Melissa Wright

Pieces of Eight, a YA/NA Fantasy, has been re-released with a fantastic new cover! Check it out and enter the giveaway below...

(Frey Saga #2)

The story of Frey continues in this, the second book of the series.

After revealing her dark history, Frey is forced to join with a group of strangers whose pasts seem to intertwine with her own. She struggles to regain her memories and her full power, only to discover there is more danger on the other side. Except now, there is no turning back.

Other Books in the Series

(Frey Saga #1)

Unaware she's been bound from using magic, Frey leads a small, miserable life in the village where she's sent after the death of her mother. But a tiny spark starts a fury of changes and she finds herself running from everything she's ever known.

Hunted by council for practicing dark magic, she is certain she's been wrongfully accused. She flees, and is forced to rely on strangers for protection. But the farther she strays from home, the more her magic and forgotten memories return and she begins to suspect all is not as it seems.

FREE in ebook everywhere.

(Frey Saga #2.5)

Molly dreamed her whole life of living in a world of magic... until the day she walked into one. This short story falls between The Frey Saga Book Two: Pieces of Eight and the third book, Rise of The Seven.

Rise of the Seven
(Frey Saga #3)

As Frey works to regain control of the North, a small silver dagger nearly brings her end. She raises her guard and proves her abilities, but another attempt on her life, from what appears to be fey, reveals not all are pleased with her return. If she could only figure out the force behind the attacks, she might be able to relax enough to decide what to do about her other problem... Chevelle.

About the Author

Melissa Wright is the author of the Frey Saga and Descendants Series. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be found collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest.

Re-Release Giveaway

$10 Amazon eGift Card, signed copy of FREY, and swag

Open internationally
Ends March 16th

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

GRAND FINALE: Courting Cassandry

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Courting Cassandry
By Joyce DiPastena

We hope you enjoyed going back to Medieval times, finding tokens of courtship from Gerolt to Cassandry, and their story at their chance for a rare second chance at love! If you have been gathering tokens for the giveaway, here is the eighth one (previously not posted):

If you missed any of the stops or tokens, go back and check them out now...

Launch - Author Q&A

What is your motivation behind Courting Cassandry? Why did you want to write it?

Courting Cassandry is the second book in my Hearts in Autumn Romance series. The couples in this series are older than couples in most romances, in their 40s and 50s. Now that I’m, oh, somewhere around those ages myself, I thought it would be interesting to explore how romances might develop between more mature couples, all based on the premise: “You’re never too old to fall in love!” Because really, don’t we all want to be loved regardless of our age?

The Written Adventure - What is a Hearts in Autumn Romance?

These are characters who have already lived rich lives, who have experienced depths of heartache and joy that my younger characters only stand on the threshold of. That gives my autumn couples layers of complexity that I can’t quite reach with younger characters. And I am finding that aspect exceptionally enjoyable!

Lampshade Reader - Interview

6. If you were presented with the opportunity to travel through time, which period would you choose and why?

My fascination with the Middle Ages began with King Henry II of England, who has played an offstage role in several of my books, so I suppose I would like to go back to the days when he was king and see what he was truly like. Not what his modern critics or supporters say he was like, but what he was really like.

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

Fire churned in her stomach. How dare you make me feel again? After you failed me so abysmally. You abandon me, then sweep back into my life as though you were never gone. But I will always be a child to you, your sparrow, when at this moment I want nothing more than to wipe away the taste of Sir Samson with your kiss on my lips.

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"The characters and story are well written. This is a clean romance that pulled me in from the beginning. I love reading Joyce's books and this book lived up to my expectations!"

deal sharing aunt - Excerpt

At the risk of another rebuff, Gerolt took her hand again, allowing some of the purple blossoms to scatter at their feet. How could she not feel his longing for her in his touch? His thumb swept lightly over her knuckles. “I cannot let you simply disappear again.”

I Am A Reader - Medieval Tokens

One event at which a lady might quite openly give a token to a man with few repercussions was at a tournament. These tokens were usually called “favors” and when worn by the knight, indicated that all his successes on the tournament field would be won on behalf of the lady whose token he wore.

Letters from Annie Douglass Lima - Medieval Rules of Inheritance

Sometimes well-meaning readers question the lines of inheritance in my medieval romances. More familiar with the popular and wide spread Regency romance, they assume that the strict rules of inheritance that basically disowned the rights of daughters during the Regency or even Victorian eras have always stood in England. This was not the case.

EskieMama Reads - Excerpt

“I hate seeing you in such distress.” The vehemence that shook his lowered voice made her turn her head to gaze at him. “As much as we love them, children can sometimes be the very devil. If you would like me to shake Egelina for you, I should be happy to oblige.”

Getting Your Read On - Review

"I loved the stories within stories. Each character in this book has a story to tell. They all weave together but shape each character separately. It was a gentle and slow unfolding and I feel like I became more personally acquainted with each character page by page."

underneath the covers - Medieval Entertainments, Part 1 – Dancing

The curious thing about medieval dancing is that no one knows how medieval couples actually danced. Written descriptions of dancing in Europe didn’t appear until the mid-1400s, during the Renaissance. Nevertheless, we know people did dance during the Middle Ages because there are references to dancing in medieval poetry, as well as glimpses of dancing in medieval paintings and illuminated manuscripts.

Singing Librarian Books - Review & Interview

"Readers will be captivated by the charming and beautiful love story, as well as the wonderfully developed characters. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy medieval romance novels."

5. What inspired the idea for your Courting Cassandry or Hearts in Autumn Series?

A couple of years ago, a writers group I was in challenged us each to try to write an autumn-themed story. While I was trying to come up with an autumn theme, the thought came to me, “What if I wrote a story about falling in love during the characters’ ‘autumn years?’” So I wrote a romance about an older couple and enjoyed it so much, I decided to turn it into a series called “Hearts in Autumn.” Courting Cassandry is the second title in the series. (The first was Loving Lucianna.)

Zerina Blossom's Books - Medieval Entertainment, Part II - Chess

Chess was a hugely popular game among the nobility of Europe during the Middle Ages. The game is believed to have originated in India in the 6th century and made its way to Europe somewhere around the year 1000. The rules were somewhat different than the modern game and the names of some of the pieces changed, translated into more familiar European concepts.

Courting Cassandry
(Hearts in Autumn #2)
by Joyce DePastena
Adult Historical Romance
ebook, 348 pages
February 17th 2016

Is it too late for second chances when the girl you loved in your youth comes back into your life?

Gerolt de Warenne became guardian to a child-heiress named Cassandry when he was only nineteen-years old. As he watched her grow into a lovely young woman, he found himself falling in love with her, but Cassandry viewed him as an older brother. So, burying his feelings, he gave permission for her to marry another.

Twenty-four years later Gerolt and Cassandry meet again. With the loss of their respective spouses, Gerolt hopes to finally court Cassandry, but she desires to remain a widow. Instead, they agree to a betrothal of their children.

Matters become complicated as their friendship begins to evolve into the romance Gerolt has always wanted. But by the law of the medieval Church, Cassandry and Gerolt can’t marry if their children do. Can they find a way to be together? Or must they sacrifice their future for the love of their children?

"Courting Cassandry" is a “Hearts in Autumn” romance, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because love isn’t only for the young!

The First Book in the Series

Loving Lucianna (A Hearts in Autumn Romance, #1)Loving Lucianna
(Hearts in Autumn #1)
by Joyce DePastena
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 220 pages
October 11th 2014

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life. 

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love. 

"Loving Lucianna" is the first in Joyce DiPastena’s new "Hearts in Autumn" romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiTunesSmashwords

Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).

When she’s not writing, Joyce loves to read, play the piano, and spend time with her sister and friends. A highlight of her year is attending the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival .

Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.

Tour Giveaway

$20 See's Candies Gift Certificate (if US) or $20 PayPal Cash (if international)
Copies of Loving Lucianna and Courting Cassandry (signed print if US, ebook if international)
Ends March 12th

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Keeper's Quest: A Review (The Keeper's Saga #2)

Goodreads (description):

A tragic death. A fatal trap. A daring quest.

"I woke to the flash of counter coordinates and a rush of adrenalin. Suddenly, it hit me. I was a pawn in someone’s game of chess, and I’d just been moved. Master Archidus required my services. I was a Keeper—the Protector, to be specific. I hadn’t wanted this, but I wouldn’t shun my duties, either. The other Keeper’s life wasn’t the only one at stake." —Chase Harper

After a turbulent start to his senior year, Chase expects his life to return
to normal now that Ellie Williams is back. But when a Sniffer’s trap leads him on a journey spanning two worlds, he soon realizes things aren’t always what they seem. Will his calling as Keeper require a sacrifice he isn’t willing to make?

My Review:

(My Review does have some spoilers).

This series has become quite fun. It is a world filled with time travel. In the first book, we meet who the head time traveler is, Master Archidus, but we only saw his world very briefly.

In this second installment of the saga, we see Chase Harper, our main character, and his girlfriend Ellie Williams travel not only through time on earth, but now in the world of Master Archidus. Granted, it takes a lot of tragedy and adventure to bring them to this new fantasy-like world.

The tragedies occur when Chase is sent to protect several other Keepers (those who hold the time travel devices called Counters), throughout this book. And when he returns to the 1900s to help build the transcontinental railroad so he can help pay for Ellie's medical bills from her stay in the hospital in the previous book. These two things are also the main actions of the story, so it ended up being a bit slow at parts.

And yet, I fell more in love with Chase this book. He is so honest and kind, while still being very protective. He gives his utmost respect to Ellie, and honestly, I love how much in love he is with Ellie. It's just soo...sweet. Plus, she's from the 1800s, so he makes sure he goes along with some of her customs when it comes to dating. There was a lot of character growth for him in this novel, which made up for the fact that nothing really happened until the last fourth of the book.

Anyways, I love the concept of this series. It is time travel, which is always cool, but there is also fantasy elements. The history in these stories is always fun and accurate. I love when authors bring history into their stories. This was a bit slower than the first book, but I do look forward to how Chase will handle what's happened in the next book. I'm also really excited to see more of what Master Archidus's world contains.

I give this a 3.5 out of 5!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Castle in the Air: A Review (Howl's Moving Castle #2)

Goodreads (description):

In which a humble young carpet merchant wins, then loses, the princess of his dreams
Far to the south of the land of Ingary, in the Sultanates of Rashpuht, there lived in the city of Zanzib a young and not very prosperous carpet dealer named Abdullah who loved to spend his time daydreaming. He was content with his life and his daydreams until, one day, a stranger sold him a magic carpet.

That very night, the carpet flew him to an enchanted garden. There, he met and fell in love with the beauteous princess Flower-in-the-Night, only to have her snatched away, right under his very nose, by a wicked djinn. With only his magic carpet and his wits to help him, Abdullah sets off to rescue his princess....

My Review:

You know, I read the third book before reading this one, because I thought Sophie and Howl wouldn't be in this book...Well, I was wrong. So yeah, definitely read these in order. Granted, it didn't give too much away and since the stories are about different people, it was find reading them out of order.

One thing I really liked about this book compared to the first and third is that this book had far more action in it than the others. A lot more happened and I feel that I got to more the characters more. Abdullah was truly an interesting character. Not that Charmain wasn't, but... Abdullah just had more depth and history to him. He was put in so many strange situations, and yeah, at times it got hard and he made mistakes, but he always fought for what's right. I appreciate that in a character. Because life is hard, but when people learn to look on the bright side, they find that everything always works out. And that's exactly what Abdullah did.

Another thing I really liked was the variety of magics in this book, and the way we got to see more of the world Jones created. There were djinns, angels, geneies, wizards, and witches. Seeing how the different magics reacted with each other was quite fun and entertaining. It was great world building and fun to see the landscapes and the different cultures and peoples. Jones has created a wonderful, imaginative place.

Flower-in-the-Night, a princess and Abdullah's love interest, is a really unique name. One thing I love about names is their being unique. Also, despite the way Flower was raised, she is one smart girl. I appreciated how Jones held to her naivete, but still allowed Flower to show her intelligence.

One thing I didn't like about this story was how quickly Flower and Abdullah "fell in love." Granted, most of it was considered fate and magic, but eh. At least, Flower got kidnapped so they couldn't act stupid like most insta-loves. And actually, when they finally met again...twas sweet and realistic... At least, as realistic as you could get :)

Honestly, though. The adventure in this story was fun and it was a great way to get to know Abdullah and the soldier 'friend' he acquired. There were some great plot twists, and of course, we got to see Sophie and Howl again!!

I give this a 4 out of 5!