Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.
Ireland.
County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.
When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…
Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1)Review:
I am forever a fan of Nora Roberts. I always love her books and Dark Witch was no different. While there were flaws in the story, I still really enjoyed it. I absolutely adored the Ireland setting and would love to know how accurate it was. I loved all the characters and really just everything about it.
We follow Iona as she picks up her whole life and moves to Ireland to find her cousins. I think I liked her so much because really all she wanted was to find where she belonged. She just wanted to be loved. And that’s something I can relate to myself. I liked that things worked out so easily for her. I know some people might not, but I liked it. She found exactly what she was looking for and just needed to figure out how she now fit into this new dynamic.
Boyle was the big manly man. He was a little bit of a stereotypical tough guy but I didn’t mind that at all. I liked his development with his new relationship with Iona. I think they two are really well matched and good for one another.
I am obsessed with the cousins, Branna and Connor. I hope Connor’s book is next, but I wouldn’t mind if it was Branna’s. Branna is the know it all responsible one. There’s a love/hate relationship with Fin and I frigging loved it. I can’t wait to see how they make amends and reconnect. Connor is the flirty, friends with everyone guy. I adore him. He’s open with his affection and I loved it. Finally, Meara. I loved her from the moment Iona met her in the barn. I love this group of six with my whole heart. I think they’re a fascinating team filled with love and conflict.
I would have liked a bit more explanation of the big bad. We see him in the first chapter but his origins are never really explained. We’re sort of just thrown into the story and sort of stumble along piecing things together. I managed but was still left with questions about the big bad by the end of the story.
Overall, no surprise that I really enjoyed this one. I love Nora’s writing and I probably always will. I definitely suggest this one. I read it at the end of October and it was the perfect mood for Spooktober.

Quotes:

“What’s an adventure if you know all the steps before you take them?”

“Emotions are a magick of their own, aren’t they? Love and hate the strongest and most powerful.”

“You can’t just hope for happy endings. You have to believe in them. Then do the work, take the risks.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

GoodReads Summary:
Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.
These Witches Don't Burn (These Witches Don't Burn, #1)Review:
Hello, I loved every single thing about this book. That is all. Goodbye.
Just kidding, friends. The cover is what drew me to this book. Then I saw the synopsis. Salem and witches? Sign me the F up. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this one because it was everything I wanted and more.
I loved the magic that Sterling has created. It was very clear and had well defined limits. I really love a well explained magic system and that’s what we were given in this one. I also really loved that there isn’t just one kind of magic. I thought that was really interesting. I loved the family aspect of the magic and of course, the setting. I would have liked to see a bit more of Salem, aside from the woods and the store Hannah works in, but it’s not the end of the world. Just something I hope to see more of in the next book.
Hannah was an interesting main character. She’s not really afraid to speak her mind which is something I want in all my main characters. She stands up for herself when her ex-girlfriend, Veronica, continues to try to get her back. This part was really relatable for me because I’ve been with people like Veronica and it was nice to see Hannah stand up for herself.
Gemma, Hannah’s best friend, was adorable. I adored her. She’s a dancer (which I’m super jealous of) and meet’s Morgan when she moves to town. She introduces Morgan to Hannah, as a good best friend does. I really liked Gemma. She’s was everything a best friend was supposed to be. Supportive when Hannah wanted to rant about her ex. But not letting Hannah do something she might regret later on. I’m really glad certain things were revealed, and I’m interested to see what kind of a role she will play in the next book.
Morgan was the new girl. I was pretty suspicious of her at first, but once Morgan shared her secrets, I was really happy for the two to be together. I really enjoyed seeing their new love blossom despite all the craziness going on around them. Morgan also brings a whole new aspect to the story with her secret. I’m interested to learn more about her.
The mystery in this book was one that had me guessing. I thought I knew who the big bad was several different times, but each time I thought I had it figured out someone else became even more suspicious. Toward the end of the book enough hints were dropped that I had a good feeling of who the big bad was before it was revealed.
Overall, I loved this book. It challenged characters when they did or said shitty thigns. There were a wide cast of diverse characters. The magic was well defined and fascinating. I just loved it.

Quotes:

“It’s hard when the people we loved move on without us.”

“What must it be like, to pray to a god you believe can hear you, a god who could answer your prayers is only you tried hard enough?”

“Would you want to be constantly punished for something your creator did thousands of years ago?”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Series Review)

GoodReads Summary:
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Review:
I loved Vampire Academy just as much as I did the first time I read it. I love everything about it. I love the vampire lore, the characters, literally everything. I know this isn’t a perfect book. But it’s nostalgic and it’s perfect.
I love Rose. She’s kickass, loyal as hell, and doesn’t take anyone’s shit. I love how much she loves Lissa. I also really enjoyed the fact that she learned she was wrong, accepted it, and tried to make amends for it. Rose is just one of my favorite fierce females.
Lissa was more complex. She’s got some serious issues, and Rose is the only reason she gets through them. I don’t know why I’d completely forgotten about the self-harming aspect of this story, but it’s there and it really showed the severity of Lissa’s issues.
Then there’s my favorite, Dimitri. My favorite book boyfriend. I love him. He’s strong and powerful, plus really hot. I love that he looked out for and mentors Rose.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite books. I’m interested to see how well the rest of the series holds up. I loved this first book, and I’m excited to continue on with the next.

But wait! There’s more! — So, I managed to finish the rest of the series on audiobook while I was on vacation and didn’t really have time to give a review for each book. So, I’m going to do a series review for the rest of the book. There are potential spoilers for all the books after the first one. So, if you’ve only read the first and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP HERE.

I love everything about this series. The second and third books, Frostbite and Shadowkiss, are my favorite and I honestly believe they could have ended Rose and Lissa’s story right there. Rose had so much incredible character development. She really grew into herself. But then book four comes around and her life goes to shit and she regresses. I understand that parts of that were Rose taking spirit’s effect from Lissa, but it just made me mad. I also absolutely HATED the fact that they made Dimitri a Strigoi. I understand the reasoning behind everything in books four, five, and six. But I just don’t know that it was needed. I think Richelle Mead could have made VA a trilogy and then had another trilogy with other characters. That’s complicated and probably over convoluted though. If that was the case, I’d probably be complaining that I hadn’t gotten enough of Rose and Lissa and the gang.
The gang was definitely my favorite part of this series. I loved Mason and he deserved better. I loved Eddie (and I’m still loving him in Bloodlines). I even adored Christian. I hated it when he and Lissa weren’t together. I adored Adrian as well. I love the bond they all form and how they become their own little family.
I really really didn’t like Rose and Adrian together. I felt like this was added just to have a love triangle. It wasn’t fair to Adrian for Rose to do him dirty the way she did. I really feel for the guy because everyone in the world (not really, like at all) knew that Rose and Dimitri were endgame. I just feel bad for him.
Overall, this is still an all-time favorite series of mine and I’m really glad it’s held up so well over the years.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Fifteen: Paranormal TBR

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Hi, lovelies! Last week we talked about books I’d recommend this Spooktober of the paranormal variety. Today, we’re going to be talking about those paranormal books that I would like to read and knock off my endless TBR list. These are all books that I currently own and just haven’t managed to pick up yet. Let’s get to it!

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

By Blood by Tracy Banghart

Half-Blood Jennifer L. Armentrout

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Half Bad by Sally Green

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Legion by Julie Kagawa

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Middlewest Book One by Scottie Young

Life is Strange: Dust by Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi, & Andrea Izzo

These are all of the books I have set aside and hope to read this month! There is actually a whole other list of mystery and thrillers that I didn’t include. I know I won’t read them all, but goals are important. What books from my list have you read already? Are there any you want to read too? Let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Day Thirteen: Graphic Novel Edition

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Hiii, lovelies! This year I’ve been trying all kinds of new things when it comes to reading. Graphic novels are the newest on that list. I’ve recently found out how much I love them. I’ve managed to read quite a few in the last several months. Today, let’s talk about some that are perfect to read during the spooky season.

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth
Witchy, diverse, and mysterious. What more could you need?

Moonstruck Vol 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis
Diverse as hell. Werewolves, centaurs, seers, witches, vampires? Yes, please!

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
I know superheroes are not usually spooky, but Raven’s powers are more on the magical spectrum and this is a pretty spooky mystery.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu
I adored this one. Witches and werewolves, mystery, and a female/female romance? Sign me up.

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries
This one was on the lower end of the star rating scale for me, but I know so many others that loved it. It’s a bit fantastical and a bit witchy. Great for this time of year.

Are there any graphic novels that aren’t on this list that you think should be? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for new graphic novels to pick up, so leave me some recommendations, please.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Day Eight: Paranormal Edition

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Hi, lovelies! Today the topic of conversation is paranormal books! October is the perfect time of year to read some good (or not so good) paranormal stories. Ghosts, witches, and vampires, what more could a girl ask for?

Spell on Wheels by Kath Leth, Megan Levens, & Marissa Louise
This graphic novel was the perfect start to my spooky season. Kickass witches that meet all sorts of creatures. It was everything I wanted and way better than I expected.

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This one is definitely angsty YA paranormal, but I had to have a few of those on this list of course.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
This middle-grade story about a girl that sees ghosts is just the perfect Spooktober read.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Dystopian vampires. That is all.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
This one is technically horror, but I don’t read enough horror to make a whole list so I’m including it here. This has the best atmosphere for autumn and mystery galore.

Moonstruck Vol 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle
Such a fun and diverse graphic novel. I loved this first installment.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Gansey Gang and their antics are best read in the spooky season. The atmospheric setting and adventures are so fitting for this time of year.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
This one doubles as a great summer read and an equally great fall read. Witches and ghosts, drowning, oh my!

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest
This addicting series is full of mythical creatures you’ve never even thought about. With 30+ books in the series, this is a great one for some binge-reading.

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Supernatural summer camp? Great for the fall, but the summer too.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
If you don’t read at least one vampire book this month, who are you?

The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts
Witches and mystery and hot dudes. Yes, please.

A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands
This one fulfills any romance lovers need for some smutty vampires. There are about a zillion books in this series too, so get cracking!

The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
I’ll admit that I haven’t actually read this book or series is quite a few years, but I really remember loving them.

What books of the paranormal variety would you have included on this list? Leave a comment and let me know! Have you read any that made my list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Everneath by Brodi Ashton

GoodReads Summary:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her friends—before being banished back to the underworld… this time forever.
She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.
Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…
Everneath (Everneath, #1)Review:
I have to start this review by saying that I have read this book before. I know that I have read it, but I didn’t remember any of the story while I was rereading (which is the whole reason I reread it). Everneath was a very run of the mill 2012 paranormal YA fantasy story. I think the concept was better than its execution, but for a debut novel, it could have been much worse. I don’t want to talk too negatively about this book because I had fun while I was reading it but there were definitely some issues.
The pacing was pretty good. Each chapter started with a certain about of time left until her ‘return.’ But there were also flashback chapters that counted down until when she first vanished. I thought this was a fun way to tell the story.
There were a few things that I thought could have been further explained when it came to the world-building. I understand that we only got to know as much as Nikki knew, but I still think there were certainly more opportunities to fill out the world. I was left with too many questions.
The love triangle was…weird. It wasn’t really a love triangle because it was clear who Nikki really cared about. It was a little annoying too with Cole constantly trying to tell Nikki that he loved her, but never really showed it. I liked all the characters well enough, but I think the best friend Jules could have been further developed. I’m hoping we will get that in the next books.
Finally, I wish the author had shown more than told. There were a few times within chapters where there were mini headings that stated the location. Times that could have been shown to us rather than told in this way. There were a handful of other parts of the story that were told when they could have been shown.
Overall, this was a book that I enjoyed despite the things I didn’t love. It was a pretty average read for me. I will continue the series because I own all three books and I’m still a bit curious as to how things will turn out for our stubborn little Nikki.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

GoodReads Summary:
Some legends never die…
Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.
Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.
Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.
The Lady RogueReview:
The Lady Rogue was a fun and spooky read. I enjoyed all the different elements that made this story what it was. There’s magic and murder and mystery and I had fun with it. I really liked the characters and the romance.
Our main character, Theo, was fiery and fierce. She loved without abandon, even when she was feeling betrayed. I liked her obsession with crossword puzzles and her ability to translate ciphers. She’s clever and stubborn. She’s also wary of getting hurt, and it was interesting to watch her work through that.
Then there’s, Huck. I somehow loved him and hated him at the same time. I think that was because of Theo’s feelings. I liked that they had a history that took place before the events of this book. Huck’s just a little misunderstood and I’m a sucker for a boy with issues. I liked that Huck was such a contrast to Theo. Wildly skeptical to Theo’s desire to believe in the supernatural. I loved his fierce desire to protect Theo.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The characters were likable. The story was compelling and interesting. The only thing that was off to me was some of the characters dialogue. This is supposed to be a historical fantasy novel, but the characters use quite a bit of modern slang. This was alright, but it took me out of the story a little. Despite that, I still enjoyed the story. It was fun and fast-paced and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that likes fantasy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.
Obsidian (Lux, #1)Review:
This book will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s the reason that Antonia and I started this very blog. We were inspired by the main character, Katy, who was a book blogger. We read this and thought, “What if we did that?” And so, Classy As F*ck Book Reviews was born. I have to shout out a thank you to the Trashback Book club for prompting me to reread this book this month. Each month we read a paranormal book from the early 2000s. And it’s honestly been so bad but so much fun.
This book objectively was not great. I enjoyed it immensely, for mostly nostalgic reasons. But I enjoyed it nonetheless and I’m excited to reread the rest of the series.
I still loved Katy in all her book blogging and gardening nerdiness. She was fiery and fierce even when she just wanted to escape into her current read or go home and get her book mail.
Daemon is trash and I love him for it. The hate to love trope is strong inn this one. I loved every page of Daemon and Katy bantering and swearing at each other. He’s such a jerk and I’m honestly so here for it.
Then there’s the whole aliens of light thing. Very interesting but also bizarre. I don’t remember as much as I would like to about the rest of the series so I’m in the dark about a lot. I’m interesting to relearn what has happened to Dawson and what will happen next with Katy and Daemon.
This book was honestly not great, I loved it despite its flaws. I have to say, also,  that I’m totally obsessed with  the new covers for this series. They were redone  to  match w ith the  cover of The Darkest Star (the spin off series) and I love them so much.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Silver Queen by Josie Jaffrey

Summary: The last city on Earth is contaminated. Now blood is the only thing that can wash it clean.

Julia is trapped inside the Blue as the Nobles fight over the few humans who are still alive. When the dust settles and she finds herself shackled to a new master, she knows she must escape or die.

Meanwhile, Cam has gathered a handful of comrades and is on his way into the Red to rescue his queen. But not all of his friends can be trusted, and not all of them will make it back alive.

The Silver Queen is the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign trilogy, set in a dystopian Europe where vampiric Nobles control the last remnants of the human race.

Review: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
This is the second book in the Sovereign series. You can read my review of the first book here.
So I just reread my review of the first book to remind myself of which points I’ve already spoken about so I don’t repeat myself too much but I’ve just confused myself more. My feelings about the second book are practically opposite of what they were from the first; at least as far as the characters are concerned.
Originally I felt more connected with Cam and Felix’s relationship than I did Julia and Lucas’s. However, after the second book that’s been reversed for me. Maybe it’s because I started liking Felix less and less the more I read but I no longer support their relationship.
My favorite part of Julia and Lucas’s relationship is that, after he abandoned her in the Blue, she still loves him but no longer trusts him the same way. She’s learned to be independent and even after they’re reunited she questions their relationship. Not just because of the way he left her but because she realizes they’re different people now.
That being said, the romances are still my least favorite part of these books. They feel a little forced to me and I would’ve liked the story more if they weren’t part of it at all.
I like Julia even more now than I did after the first book. Things have changed. She’s had to learn things about herself and the world the hard way, make tough choices, fend for herself. I really admire the strength of her character after everything she’s been through.
Cam is still one of my favorites (except where Felix is concerned). Even after all this time he still tries to believe the best in people. He’s a soldier but doesn’t really want to be and I think those two aspects of his personality were blended really well. I can’t wait to see how the events of this book affect him in the next one.
Another problem I had was the maturity of the characters. Julia, Claudia, Lucas being immature sometimes I can understand. They’re young and emotional, it makes sense. Cameron and the other immortals being immature though? Many of these characters are close to a thousand years old. I could forgive it once or twice, especially where love is involved because people do stupid things when they’re in love and I don’t believe that gets better with age. That wasn’t the case here though. The immortals made the same kinds of decisions that the teenagers did and that didn’t seem realistic to me at all. It felt like some of their actions were forced to steer the plot in a certain direction and not because it was natural for that particular character.
My absolute favorite part of the book was the world-building. It really feels like a dystopian world. Travel takes weeks or even months because the closest thing to vehicles they have are horses and there aren’t many of them. There is no communication over distances because there’s no internet or mail system and they can’t train birds to send messages because animals have contaminated blood.
Even the different cures and contaminations were well thought out and interesting. (I won’t go into too much detail about that though to avoid spoilers.) I think Jaffrey did an amazing job on the world-building aspect of it and kept really great continuity throughout.
I only wish I could have seen some of what’s happening in other parts of the world. We really only get glimpses into a handful of settlements in what seems to be Europe. I’d love to know what’s happening in America and Africa and to find out how different places might be handling this new world. I can’t really be mad about it though because it would ruin that communication continuity I was just talking about.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I had a few problems with the characters but the plot and world-building more than made up for it. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA, dystopian, and paranormal. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

Review:
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White is a book that I read years ago when the whole series was first released. I remember liking this book so much more than I did this time. Though last time I read the books and this time I listened to the audiobook via my library.
I loved the audiobook honestly. I loved the narrator. She did a great job differentiating between the various characters. She was an excellent voice for Evie. She really kept me interested in the story even when Evie’s actions and some of the things she said had me rolling my eyes.
The story and plot was super interesting. I liked the uniqueness of the paranormals characters. This wasn’t just another supernatural story with the same old characters. There were obviously the usual vampire and werewolves, but they weren’t the typical beautiful vampires and big macho wolves. I like that White made these popular kinds of characters unique and different.
I adored our love interest, Lend. He’s a shapeshifter so he can be whatever hunk we want him to be. He’s also fiercely loyal to those that are part of his circle. He’s funny and sarcastic and sweet. I just loved Lend. I loved how he wanted to look out for Evie and do everything he could to help her in whatever way she wanted, even if that way was getting to spend a day in high school.
As for our main character, Evie.  Honestly, she annoyed me a little. She’s kind of super immature and I can’t remember if that changes in the next books, but I’m hoping that it does. She was super boy crazy until she met Lend. Then she was Lend crazy. She was so focused on wanting to have a ‘normal teenage life’ getting to go to high school and prom and all of the things she would see on her favorite high school drama TV show. I understand it a bit because she’s never had a normal life. She craves the normalcy that she sees on her favorite show, but she just talks and thinks about it to the point where it’s a little annoying. Even after her situation changes, but she’s still getting new information that could help with the craziness that’s part of the story, she doesn’t do anything to help or share her information at first. She tries to just pretend she’s not a part of it anymore and give up any sort of responsibility. She drove me a little nuts for a decent amount of this book, but she got a bit better at the end. She made the right choices and accepted responsibility, her part in all of everything going on.
Overall, I really liked the unique plot. I liked the interesting twists on the typical paranormal sorts of characters. I loved Lend and I grew to love Evie. I’m excited to see where the second book goes. This book was one that I picked for the Transfiguration (a book with a shapeshifter) requirement during the Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

Summary: In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

Review: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I’m so glad she reached out to us about it; this book (and the prequel series Solis Invicti) hadn’t been on my radar yet and I’m so excited about them.
The Gilded King is the first book in Jaffrey’s Sovereign series. One thought I had throughout this book was that I really wished I’d read the Solis Invicti series first. The Sovereign series is meant to be standalone but I had so many questions about the history of this world and the way everything worked. Usually I like when world-building is added gradually to a story. I hate when a book starts with a giant chunk to explain the basics of that world to you. It’s frequently tedious and boring. With this book though, those details were added too slowly; I didn’t understand important details about this world until very late in the book. This just left me feeling confused for a lot of it and I kept going back and rereading sections to try to understand.
That being said, once I understood the world better I really enjoyed how unique it was. We’ve all seen enough dystopians that start with terrible plagues and vaccines that have unforeseen consequences but I thought the twist with the paranormal added a lot to it. The fact that the cure for the humans made their blood poisonous to vampires was something I wouldn’t have expected.
Another thing I thought was unique (at least from books I’ve read personally) was that humans have essentially become a slave race in certain parts of the world. There are still human settlements but in places where the Nobles (also called the Silver, depending on who’s talking) live, humans are treated like dirt. They’re called Servants but they have no rights. They’re not paid for their services and they have no choice in what they do. When Julia’s sent to serve Lucas, she’s going so he can drink her blood and she’s not allowed to say no. If they do, they’re exiled from the city which, as far as they know, is a death sentence.
I liked Julia for the most part. She was tough and intelligent. I liked that she questioned what the Nobles told the humans. One of the biggest problems for the humans living in the Blue was that the only information they’ve been given for centuries has been what the Nobles wanted them to think. Julia doesn’t always ask the right questions but at least she keeps asking them. The only thing I didn’t like about Julia was her behavior where Lucas was involved.
Lucas was a good character. He’s sweet, considerate, and tries to be true to himself even if it goes against the way Nobles are supposed to act. I was mildly annoyed that Julia happens to meet the only Noble who’s kind to humans; it’s a trope I’m a little sick of. When you have an entire race of people it’s not logical to think only one of them is morally good.
My main problem with Julia and Lucas though is their romance. First of all, it happens too quickly. Julia’s terrified of Nobles but is instantly attracted to Lucas and vice versa. Their relationship makes the mistake so common in YA, in that it progresses at an unrealistic rate. I also felt that I was being told-not-shown, if that makes sense. For most of the book, the romances (I’ll talk about Cameron and Felix later) felt very forced. I was not emotionally invested in these relationships.
Cameron was a really interesting character. He’s a member of the Solis Invicti, basically the guards of the Blue. For centuries he’s been exploring the Red (anything outside the Blue) looking for the lost queen, his friend Emmy. I found myself sympathizing with him quite a bit. No matter how long it’s been, he never gives up on Emmy or stops looking for her even when everyone else has. I’ve seen other reviews from people saying they were bored during Cameron’s parts but I didn’t have that problem at all. He was my favorite character so far.
I liked Felix for the most part. Seeing the difference between humans of the Blue and humans of the Red was really interesting. His attitude is bitter and resigned because he understands more about this world than others, like Julia. I particularly enjoyed seeing the contrast between them. He was also so mysterious that I just wanted to know more. His relationship with Cameron was also more believable, at least after the beginning. There was a sudden twist at the end about Felix (no spoilers, I swear) that I was extremely frustrated about. It just seemed so unnecessary.
Now to the part I loved: the plot. It was surprisingly intricate for the genre. There were times when I brushed something off as irrelevant or unimportant then it would suddenly tie into something later. It was also really cool watching Julia and Cameron’s opposite journeys. They never meet in this book and a lot of what happens to one sort of parallels the other but they almost always have one-half of certain information and the other has the rest. By the end I was screaming “If they could just have a conversation then everything would be okay”. It was infuriating but in a good way. I always like when I know more than the characters do. The ending also left me with so many questions half answered. It feels like this first book was just an opening for the second; it set the scene for all the craziness that’s going to happen next.
I wasn’t sure how much I liked this book and I definitely had some problems with it, but the ending made me really excited for the rest of the series. I think I’ll read the Solis Invicti series before the next book comes out and hopefully that will solve some of my confusion.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA, paranormal, or dystopian, though if you’re a reader who doesn’t like being left with tons of questions, this might not be the book for you. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

If I Should Die by Amy Plum

Summary: I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

Review: I really enjoyed the final book in this trilogy. It had all the elements I expect from a good conclusion with no loose ends. I also loved that there was a little epilogue which jumped five years in the future so I got to glimpse the characters’ lives later on. It’s something I always want more of in books.
The only thing I didn’t love about this book was that it was really predictable. I couple of the big twists were things I saw coming since the first book so nothing surprised me. Now, this isn’t a huge problem for me personally. I’m one of those weird people who frequently reads the ends of books before I start them so I have no aversion to spoilers. However, it’s always nice when a story surprises you and I didn’t get that here. That being said, it wasn’t so predictable that reading it became tedious. It was more the larger plot points that I guessed but the small details surrounding them were unique enough to keep the story interesting.
I continued to love Kate more and more up until the end. The end of the last book was so traumatizing for her, especially since it hasn’t been all that long since her parents died, but she didn’t let it destroy her. She kept pushing past it to try to find a solution because she refused to accept that this was her and Vincent’s fate. I really admired her strength throughout this book.
As for Vincent, my feelings for him are pretty much the same they’ve always been. I like his character, he’s romantic and brave, but I never felt like I got to know him very well. Everything is continuously through Kate’s eyes and they’re so frequently separated that up until the end, Vincent didn’t feel like a very complex character to me. There’s nothing wrong with him; I just didn’t get a chance to love him and I found it a little disappointing.
I really enjoyed how detailed this book was when it came to revenant history. I’ve always enjoyed the way Plum created these supernatural creatures and got to learn so much more about them in this last book. I thought they were extremely unique, with a complex mythology behind them.
Overall, (despite the predictability) I loved this book. It had an interesting plot, fun characters, and excellent supernatural creatures. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA or paranormal, particularly if you enjoy a little romance. I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this series. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

 

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Until I Die by Amy Plum

Summary: Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

Review: Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the third. However, I did not enjoy it quite as much as the first. In my review of Die For Me, I talked about some of the annoying YA tropes that were present in the first half of the book but that it got better by the end. I was hoping this book would continue that way but was a little disappointed to find more of those tropes I dislike so much.
First, after ending the last book with Kate and Vincent being in a good place in their relationship, this one starts with them keeping secrets from each other and continues that way for most of the book. This is something I’m getting really sick of seeing in books. It’s one thing if the relationship isn’t healthy to begin with but making these otherwise honest characters lie to their S/O just to add some sort of challenge to the relationship is seriously aggravating. Kate and Vincent’s relationship is based on the promise to never lie to each other. When she finds out he’s a revenant and starts learning about his world, she specifically asks him to never keep her in the dark about the supernatural stuff even when he only wants to shield her from it. Now he does just that. At first it’s just, “I don’t want to get your hopes up if my idea doesn’t work but I’ll tell you soon” then turns into six weeks later and she knows something’s wrong and she’s scared but he still won’t tell her. This in turn provokes Kate to start keeping things from Vincent. I was kind of sad about all this especially because it meant I didn’t get as much of the romantic Kate and Vincent as in the first book. It seemed they were barely together for half the book.
Another thing I found annoying was something that seems to happen anytime the supernatural is involved. The human’s parent/ guardian finds out and forbids them from seeing each other. I mean, are you serious? If it was a natural progression of the plot I wouldn’t mind but it always feels like it’s thrown in just to add another challenge to the characters’ relationship.
Otherwise I liked this book. I felt that Kate kept growing in the right direction (keeping things from Vincent excluded of course). She’s a lot more sure of herself and starts taking more initiative instead of letting others solve her problems for her. I’m really excited to see how she handles this most recent challenge that was thrown at her at the end of this book.
I still liked Vincent about as much as I did before. The problem is that because he and Kate weren’t together for a lot of this book (and it’s entirely from Kate’s perspective) I didn’t get to know him any better. I was really hoping to learn more about him and I didn’t get that.
I really liked both the plot and setting. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m actually really excited about it. Sometimes you can kind of guess how cliffhangers will be resolved in the next book but I have absolutely no idea. I won’t go into detail since it’s a pretty big spoiler but I’ll just say Plum has her work cut out for her fixing this.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA and paranormal. I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Summary: In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.94628121

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

 

Review: I had very mixed feelings for the first half of this book but ended up really loving it by the end. When I first saw this book, I thought the idea of revenants- sort of undead guardian angels- was really unique and had to know more but I still approached this book with a little trepidation.
YA can be really hit or miss for me and too many of those YA cliches annoys the crap out of me so I was worried this one would fall under that category. For the first part of the book, it did. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bad boy. Written well, they can make the best, most swoon-worthy love interests. Written badly, and I want to strangle the protagonist for being stupid over a guy. There was definitely some of that at the beginning. She knows he’s keeping secrets and thinks multiple times that he’s dangerous but still keeps seeing him. There were also some stalker jokes and, while it’s sort of explained away as a revenant thing, there were a few too many for my tastes.
Luckily Kate started to get smarter about it and about halfway through was making choices I approved of. I liked her character from the beginning, her naivete over Vincent excluded. She’s still trying to cope with the trauma of losing both her parents which in her case means shutting down and just going through the motions without really living. Meeting Vincent is what starts to wake her up and I loved watching her sort of evolve into this new person; not quite who she was before the accident but heading in the right direction. I really admired her by the end. She’s been sucked into this supernatural world that she doesn’t fully understand but no matter how scared she is she always tries to help the people around her. She’s a very brave, strong-willed character and I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next books.
I wasn’t sure how much I liked Vincent at the beginning. Most of that stems from my problems with the whole “bad boy” trope but I’m happy to say my opinion of him increased after the story finally got away from all of that. He ended up being really sweet, romantic, and badass all at the same time.
One of my favorite parts was the setting. Paris is not a place I read about often and I frequently struggle to really visualize settings. I think because Plum has lived in Paris and used many real places in the book, it was a lot easier for me to picture where the characters were. Her descriptions were really detailed without those overbearing, page-long paragraphs that we all hate.
I enjoyed the storyline a lot. I think Plum’s idea for the revenants was well thought out and detailed enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading about vague supernatural creatures without any substance. The story was fast paced and nothing felt forced in order to push the characters in a certain direction or create suspense.
Overall I loved this book and am excited to see where the series takes me. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes YA or paranormal. Leave your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading.
-Antonia