I Heart Characters!

I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and you’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so you and others can blog hop and share the character love.

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This weeks topic is A Biker (Literally any character who rides a bike, a motorcycle or a scooter…)

Amanda

Del Bellator is a Firesoul. This means that she inherited part of a dragon’s soul. Because of this, she has the ability to steal the powers of others (but also killing them). She also inherited the covetousness of the dragons as well. One of the things that she covets is her motorcycle. She’s a kick-ass girl who is part phantom as well as firesoul. This means that she can basically be a ghost at will. Del is the star of the Dragon’s Gift: The Seeker series by Linsey Hall. I’d advise reading the first series before this one that follows Del’s sister. I just love everything about Del. She’s strong-willed and feisty. She’s loyal and fierce. She’s an excellent female lead that may or may not have a little too much affection for her motorcycle.

Antonia

Riley from The Talon series by Julie Kagawa. He’s the dreamy, gorgeous, rogue dragon that convinces Ember to abandon everything she’s known to follow him. Even though my feelings about their relationship changed by the end of the series, I will always love Riley. He’s an amazing character.

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m still working on getting through Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa on my Kindle. I haven’t picked it up since last week, but I’ll probably finish it in the next few days. I’m listening to American Gods by Neil Gaiman as I type this. I’m over halfway through and still somehow have six hours left. I’m also reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I finally picked it up and I’m glad I did because it’s super interesting and I’m only less than fifty pages in.

Antonia- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I cannot stop with this series. I blew through the first two books in a couple days and will probably read this last one just as quickly. I’m so glad Amanda practically threw these books at me.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I just yesterday finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I’m doing a reread of the series so I can finally read the last book that came out this year.

Antonia- I just finished A Court of Mist and Fury. I read this 600-something-page book in about a day. It was amazing. Expect to see my reviews of this series soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- After I finish Big Little Lies I will probably pick up Glass Sword, the second book in the Red Queen Series. I have quite a few books on my TBR list for this month but I don’t know what order I’m going to read them yet.

Antonia- I’m not sure. I barely started listening to the audiobook for The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg but got distracted by the ACOTAR series. There’s also a couple new books in The Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series by Linsey Hall that I’m excited to read. But I still have a bunch of new books from my haul from Book Outlet that I need to read so it’ll all depend on my mood when I finish my current read.

Thanks for reading! What are your W’s this week?

Institute of Magic by Linsey Hall

Summary: Where winning means survival.

According to legend, I’m supposed to be some kind of all-powerful DragonGod—gifted with the magic of gods. Instead, I’m a dud. In fact, I’m currently failing out of the Undercover Protectorate’s magical institute.

It’s the supernatural version of Scotland Yard, and I’ve got one chance left to earn my place here. To do so, I have to compete in a deadly race across the world. In order to win, I need to survive. And I’ll need the help of a sexy and powerful shifter mage named Lachlan Munroe.

When we figure out that the race is rigged, Lachlan and I must rely on each other to make it through. But will I be able to learn enough magic to save my life?

Institute of Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure starring a kick butt heroine, a powerful hero, and magic that will blow your socks off.

Review: This is the first book in Hall’s Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series. It’s the fifth series she’s written connected by the same magical world and characters. This one follows Ana Blackwood as she tries to master her magical powers and save the world at the same time. I’ve been really excited for this series to come out because I’ve always loved Ana from the previous series.
First, I was a little thrown off by the misleading book summary. (Don’t you hate when that happens?) Mainly the bit about the “deadly race across the world”. When dangerous magic is stolen, the Undercover Protectorate is called on to help retrieve it. Everyone splits up into small groups and spread out to try to find clues and there’s also reward money for whoever actually retrieves the spell but they’re still essentially working together. As soon as someone finds a clue they let everyone else know and they all team up for the big fight. There’s certainly a lot of obstacles but nothing’s actually rigged. No, it’s not actually a problem. The description just had me expecting something like The Amazing Race and it was nothing like that.
I liked Ana as much as ever. Now that I got to see things from her POV, I hated seeing all the doubts she had as she struggled to fit everyone’s expectations of her. Her sister, Bree, has already come into her DragonGod powers; she basically has most of the powers of the Norse gods. Everyone’s waiting for Ana’s powers to expand too and find out which pantheon she belongs to but it’s happening a lot slower for her than it did her sister and she kept comparing herself to Bree and feeling like she was failing. I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next books and hope she gains more confidence in herself.
Lachlan is still a bit of a mystery to me. He’s crazy powerful but we’ve only seen a handful of the twelve powers he possesses. I also really like the way he and Ana interact with each other. I’m excited to see where their romance goes. I just didn’t get to find out too much about him yet so I’m reserving some of my judgement but I think I’m really going to like him.
Overall this was a really fun story. It followed the same basic setup as her other books but there’s enough differences between the characters and the details of the plot that I never feel like I’m reading the same story over and over. It’s a really quick, enjoyable read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes paranormal or urban fantasy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.
-Antonia

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Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Give the Travel Bug

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week’s topic is – Top Ten Books That Awaken the Travel Bug in me. I’m excited about this topic because I love to travel. I’m going to try to pick books that are based in the real world instead of book worlds I’d love to travel to. So, here goes!

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1. Twenty-Nine and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank – This series takes place in a small town in the south. I haven’t spent much time in the south, but these books make me want to go explore all the little out in the woods towns in the south.
2. The Lawless Saga by Tarah Benner – These four books start off in a prison in New Mexico and throughout the books, the characters move all around the south, from Colorado to Texas and back a few times. Even though this series is set in the distant future where the world is ruined due to lack of water and natural disasters and things of the like, it still gives me the travel bug because of all the traveling the characters do.
3. Dragon’s Gift Collection by Linsey Hall – So this collection is four full series and Hall just started on the fifth series, each following a different character. While much of these books take place in other realms, the characters do lots of traveling throughout the U.S and parts of Europe and I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe.
4. The Origin Mystery Series by A.G. Riddle – This is a series I read over the Christmas holidays while I was mostly dying in bed with the flu (also pregnancy nausea, but I didn’t know that yet.) So this series, where the characters travel literally the entire world, was great for me to escape my sick bed and travel from Antarctica to Italy to Africa and the oceans in between.
5. Agent of Enchantment by C.N. Crawford and Alex Rivers – There are four books in this series and they all take place in London, England which is somewhere that’s been on my dream travel destination list for legitimately my whole life. So I loved every page of getting to run through the streets of London with Agent Cassandra Liddel. (But also the parts in the Fae realm were pretty cool too.)
6. The Dominion Trilogy by Joe Hart – This is an incredible trilogy where our main character is trapped inside a facility in the first book and escapes. The next two books give the travel bug for sure while she makes her way around the country, hiding from those who seek to put her back where she escaped from. This series is dystopian, so the world isn’t as we know it now, but we still get to see enough to make me want to go out and explore.
7. Paper Towns by John Green – Am I even allowed to say I’m a John Green fan if I don’t include this on my list? The characters go on a big road trip adventure to find Margo Roth Spiegelman. Road trip, says it all.
8. Shadows of the Immortals by Marina Finlayson – This is another series where the characters do tons of traveling. We start in a small town where our main character Lexi is hiding out, but once she’s been found out we get to see a few different cities, including the Underworld.
9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – So I only read the first few books in this series, in the books I did read the characters traveled all over Ireland and Scotland. They also traveled through time, but that’s beside the point.
10. The Guardian Trilogy by Nora Roberts – I loved this trilogy (but I love most of Nora’s books). Our characters start off in Greece in the first book, moving next to the island of Capri and then to Ireland in the last book. These are three places I would die to visit. Roberts makes the perfect setting with these stories that for sure makes me want to visit.

This is my Top Ten this week! Books that give me the travel bug set (mostly) in the real world.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Best Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish (feel free to put your own spin on it). This week is “Best Character Names (make this as narrow/broad as you’d like)”. Since this weekly post is something that is completely up to me and my opinion, I’m going to choose names that I liked or really stuck with me for one reason or another. This is also in no particular order.

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Alaska – The main character of my favorite book Looking for Alaska by John Green. This name has always stuck with me, maybe because it’s my favorite book. But I think it’s more the story behind the name. Alaksa’s parents let her change her name once she reached a certain age and she chose Alaska because it means “that which the sea breaks against” and that’s just beautiful to me.

The A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – Every name in this series by Sarah J. Maas is one that I really liked. Again, this may be because this is one of my favorite series, but as you read through the books the names just keep getting more interesting. Our main character Feyre, her sisters (Nesta and Elaine), her two love interests, Tamlin and Rhysand. Theres not a single character in this book that doesn’t have an interesting name that’s stuck with me.

Celaena Sardothien – This is the main character from Sarah J. Maas’s other series, Throne of Glass. She’s a kick butt assassin who we later find out is someone who goes by another name (that I’m not going to say because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it) that is just as cool as the name we first know her by. There are other characters in this series with cool names, but Celaena’s is one that’s stuck with me.

Adrian sul’Han – From The Shattered Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima. So I love all the names of the royal family in this series and the one before it, but I didn’t want to be a copy cat and steal one of the ones Antonia chose, so I’m doing the kids. I really like the way that royalty is named in this series, using the names of those that came before them.

Cass, Del and Nix – They’re from the first three series in the Dragon’s Gift Universe by Linsey Hall. Their full names are Cassiopeia, Delphine, and Pheonix. They named themselves after the stars and I just love that. They named themselves in their past when they escaped something horrible together with no memories of before, so they chose constellations. But we find out that they all chose the right names for themselves when the girls learn more about their pasts later in their lives.

Zeroes Series – By Scott Westerfeld. I had to have at least one “superhero” book on this list. I just really love the whole super hero trend going on. And this one is great because they’re a bunch of kids that try to do good and usually just mess things up. But they’ve got some cool and funny names.

Rhoma Grace – The main character of the Zodiac series by Romina Russell. I think she makes the list just because I really liked her as a character. Also this series is mostly in outer space and traveling among a few different planets and there are lots of cool and interesting space names throughout the whole series.

Lexi JardineShadows of the Immortals series by Marina Finnlayson. This series really stuck with me. And interestingly enough for our main character, we have another situation where her name isn’t actually what she thinks her name is. Again, I won’t say what her name really is because I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s a plot twist for sure. I liked this character and all the others in this series some have basic names, but their characters are so much more than their names. Also, there’s a ton of different gods and goddesses from different cultures and I love stuff like that.

Mae WaylanderThe White Hart Series by Sarah Dalton. Our main character, Mae Waylander, a peasant girl who has the name of a hero, I just hear her name and it gives me hero feels.

Aza – She’s our main character in Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I just like this name. It’s interesting to me, just like who she is as a character.

These are my top ten “best” character names. Mostly they’re just names I liked enough to remember while I was making this list. What’s your top ten on this fine Tuesday evening?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Dragon’s Gift: The Valkyrie by Linsey Hall

Summary: From Book 1: I’ve got two choices. Join the Undercover Protectorate. Or die.

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In a world of controlled magic, I’m an Unknown. Deadly power, little control. I’m only alive because I pay a Blood Sorcerer to keep me hidden. But when he comes to collect on the debt I can’t pay, one of his goons slams me with a deadly curse. Suddenly, I’m out of options and out of time.

When I’m given a rare chance to join the elite Undercover Protectorate and train at their academy to become an investigator, I have a way to hunt the cure for the curse. They have resources I don’t. Easy, since I’m broke.

Seems like a good plan, right? At least, until they tell me Cade will be joining me on my hunt for the Blood Sorcerer. He’s an actual Celtic war god–and the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. The catch? I can’t let him know that I’m an Unknown, or I’m out on my ass and deader than Hades.

Undercover Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy with a kick-butt heroine, a tough hero, and magic that will knock your socks off.

Review:
Amanda got me into Linsey Hall’s books on Kindle and I’m so glad she did. This is the fourth Dragon’s Gift series, each consisting of five books. It sounds like a lot but they’re very quick reads; I could read one in a day. Each series follows a different women as she tries to master her magic and defeat the evil she’s tasked with getting rid of.
Let’s start with the basics. I really enjoyed these books. They’re quick, funny, suspenseful and have some kickass heroines. I also really liked the world Hall created. It’s mostly based on our world but with a magical twist. Magical creatures of all kinds exist in secret; hiding among us or in hidden magical cities. This allowed Hall to do all sorts of fun stuff with history and myth. (Fun fact: Since Hall was an archeologist before she started writing, her books have a lot of historical accuracy and she includes a section at the end of the books where she explains the different connections to history and what she may have changed for creative reasons.)
Let’s start with Bree. I LOVED her and her sister Ana when they appeared in a previous series. They’ve basically been hiding on the outskirts of society their entire lives and because of this they’re a little awkward, a little crazy and completely badass. Ever since their older sister Rowan disappeared five years ago, they’ve been trying to keep it together while spending all their resources to find her. Unfortunately the series starts with them being deeply in debt to a bad guy because of it. Cue the Undercover Protectorate; a secret, magical organization that fights for the little guy and protects the world from magical threats. They find the girls to recruit them and end up helping them with all the problems that keep popping up in their lives, including finding Rowan.
Bree is awesome. She’s a fighter through and through, proven by the fact her fear response is to dive head first into everything. She works on this impulse control throughout the series which actually proves to be a VERY good thing during an especially surprising plot twist. She also starts to get past her (understandable) trust issues until she’s able to make a home with people she cares about. Bree had some really amazing character development.
Now I’ll talk about Cade, Bree’s love interest. Very swoonworthy. He’s an earth walking god; basically a mortal who inherits godly powers. At first I was a little annoyed. One thing I noticed throughout all the series was that we got these really powerful women who suddenly meet the one man who’s more powerful than them… I’m sorry, why can’t the women be more powerful and not have it be an issue? The one saving grace was that most of them either gain powers or come into their own more strongly until they’re at least level with the male MC. Once that started to happen, I liked Cade a lot more. He has his own trust issues and together he and Bree help each other to start working through them. He’s a tough guy and wants to protect Bree but understands that she’s her own person and has to fight her own battles. While he certainly saves her a few times, he never tries to stop her from going into danger which I thought was a refreshing change from what you frequently see in male MC’s.
Overall I loved this series. I really enjoyed all the mythology throughout it. Mostly Norse since that’s where Bree gets her powers but you get bits from several other pantheons as well. I’d recommend this series to anyone who likes mythology, urban fantasy, or the paranormal. I suggest starting with the first Dragon’s Gift series. You don’t have to read them in order but there’s enough crossover that some of it will definitely make more sense if you do.
As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
-Antonia