City of B

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina Pérez

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina PérezSweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
Published by Imprint on June 5, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural
Pages: 448
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.


So I’m a complete mess right now. I’m stuck between wanting to scream or cry. Maybe I’ll just cry very, very loudly, because I’m angry and so intensely sad. The ending of Sweet Black Waves shattered me. This book is loosely based off of Tristan and Eseult, a story that I’m not entirely familiar with, except for the fact that it’s a tragedy. I knew going into Sweet Black Waves that it wasn’t going to end with sunshine and daisies, but ugh, I still didn’t expect it to hit me so harshly.

Branwen is a complex character, who I loved immediately. She’s got a huge heart, always giving, and putting everyone, especially Essy, first. Sometimes I was mad at her, because she kept harmful secrets and made dubious decisions. I wished that Branwen had been more forthcoming sometimes, and let herself lean on others, instead of always letting them lean on her. But that’s not in her nature. She wants to fix everything, and everyone, herself, and her constant love and sacrifice made me love and care about her even more.

The Tristan and Eseult connection wasn’t what drew me to Sweet Black Waves. I immediately knew I wanted to read Sweet Black Waves, because it was described as being a book that fans of The Mists of Avalon – a huge favorite of mine – would love. I’m also obsessed with the Mabinogion, which some of the characters and their stories in Sweet Black Waves, are loosely based on. I loved Pérez’s new spin on this beloved literature of mine! You can tell that she also really loves the Mabinogion.

I thought the story was dragging a bit during the last third of Sweet Black Waves, but then thankfully two hugely significant things happened. One that thrilled me, because I never ever expected it, and I’m really excited to see how it plays out in the future books. The second thing completely broke my heart. Even though I knew something of the sort was coming, it still caught me unawares.

I read an ARC of Sweet Black Waves, but fully plan on buying a finished copy for myself.

four-stars
City of B

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4) by Tahereh Mafi

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4) by Tahereh MafiRestore Me (Shatter Me, #4) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by HarperCollins on March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Supernatural
Pages: 448
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
three-stars

Juliette Ferrars thought she'd won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she's still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she's got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?


 

I wish that the Shatter Me series had ended at 3 books, because Restore Me left a bad taste in my mouth. This book felt like it belonged to a completely different series. The original three books had always been a bit dark and scary, but Restore Me took it a step further. It morphed into a horror story. The last part of the book especially shocked and disturbed me.

Restore Me didn’t feel right to me, not just because it stepped into the horror genre, but also because I didn’t recognize the characters anymore. Except for Kenji, who’s still that fiercely protective, lovable goofball, with a good heart, I didn’t recognize Warner or Juliette. It felt like their characters reverted back to their book 1 versions. I thought Juliette and Warner made all this remarkable progress with themselves and their relationships in books 1-3, but then it all went to hell in this 4th book. I mean, yes, Warner still had some issues to work through, which I understood, but Juliette just reverted back to that scared, low-confident, little girl trapped in the darkness who we were introduced to in book 1.

The last book, Ignite Me, was left a bit open-ended, so we were left to imagine what the future held for Juliette, Warner, Kenji, and all the rest of our favorite characters. At the time I was bummed, because I was dying for more, but now I wish that the series had ended there. I felt like book 3 had a great send-off.

So how come I gave this book 3 stars when I’ve only talked negatively about it so far? Well, because it was still a decent read. Like I previously mentioned. Kenji was still awesome, which was a relief, because besides Warner, he made books 1-3 for me.  What I also liked about Restore Me, is how we learned more about the other sectors, and their leaders.  It was great having the world and cast of characters expand.

So yeah…The ending of Restore Me was insane and creepy, and I’m not a big fan of where the story seems to be headed, but regardless of my disgruntle-ness, I’ll still be reading the books to come.

 

three-stars
City of B

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3) by Tahereh MafiIgnite Me (Shatter Me, #3) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by HarperCollins on February 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Supernatural, Dystopian
Pages: 421
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
four-half-stars

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all.

Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

 

 


 This review doesn’t take into account book #4 in the Shatter Me series, which surprisingly came out four years after Ignite Me was released.

Ignite Me is my favorite book in the Shatter Me series. Juliette’s character ARC came full circle. She finally learned how to love herself and her abilities. She’s not scared anymore. She’s not alone and she’s not weak. What an incredible journey Juliette has had!

Warner… swoon! He’s always made this series for me, with his many sad, sweet, and sexy scenes. I love a lot of things about him, but especially the fact that he’s been Juliette’s number one fan since day one. He believes that she’s powerful, and can overcome any obstacle. He’s so incredibly supportive. Swoon!!

Adam… ugh! In his novella, we started seeing a very unappealing side of him, one that continues to grow in Ignite Me. Juliette originally thought that Adam was perfect, and that he could do no wrong. Adam finally becomes a realistic person, when his big flaws start to show and grow in Ignite Me. He’s pissed off, and immature, throughout this book, which irritated me and the characters, because there’s so much stuff going on in Ignite Me, like, I don’t know – a WAR. He was such a drama-lama.

Ignite Me was great! I felt like Juliette blossomed. She finally started listening and acting on her heart. Looking back, I think as a whole, this series was solid. It never rushed through creating the setting, the romances, and the characters. Everything felt well-developed.

four-half-stars
City of B

Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy #1)

Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy #1)Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy, #1) by J.A. London
Published by HarperTeen on May 29, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Supernatural
Pages: 342
Goodreads
two-stars

At seventeen, Dawn Montgomery knows that monsters really do come out at night—after all, they are her job. It’s just after the thirty-years war between vampires and humans, and as an ambassador between the two sides (a role she inherited when her parents were killed), Dawn quickly learns that balancing schoolwork, teen life, and the requests of Lord Valentine, the most frightening vampire in the region, isn’t easy.

And it only gets more complicated when she forms a tentative friendship with Victor, the mysterious stranger who rescued her from a hoard of vampires…only to discover that not only is Victor a vampire, but that he is Lord Valentine’s son.

Soon Dawn is struggling to remember that with everything on the line, she can’t afford to fall for the enemy…


I was searching through my read-shelf on Goodreads, to see what series I had started but never finished, when I came across Darkness Before Dawn. I had remembered loving it a few years back, but not why, so I decided to reread it in order to refresh my memory, and make it possible for me to finally finish the series.

Originally I gave Darkness Before Dawn 5 stars, and now, after rereading it, I give it 2 stars. What the heck happened?!! I’ve known for a while now that my tastes and expectations have changed in the last few years, but wow, that’s a huge drop in stars.

This time around I disliked just about all the characters. The lot of them were immature, cheesy, or just downright annoying. Our MC Dawn was always talking about how hot Michael was, and how he made her feel sooo protected. That was the gist of her thoughts and dialogue, at least, until Victor came along. Then Victor was all she thought about.  He smelled sooo good, and made Dawn feel so safe. Michael, who Dawn glowed about it the beginning of the book, suddenly became a huge jack*ss. I felt like his rapid personality change was too convenient for the plot, and that the author was trying too hard to justify Dawn’s sudden decision to want to be with Victor, instead of Michael.

Victor was the only character who I didn’t fully despise. Even though he could be very soapy at times, I thought he was the best character by far, because he actually had depth.  He was the only one I cared to know more about.

The story line for Darkness Before Dawn, which I didn’t remember at all, was still interesting. I had forgotten that it’s like a PG-13 version of True Blood, a show I loved. #RIP True Blood – we had a few really good years. *sniffle*

So yeah. Ugh. I don’t plan on continuing this series, because I highly doubt I’ll enjoy the last two books.

Someone please recommend some YA vampire books. It’s been too long since I’ve read good ones. No Twilight, Morganville Vampires, Vampire Academy, Vampire Kisses, Evernight, or House of Night.

two-stars
City of B

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep by Shea ErnshawThe Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6, 2018
Genres: Supernatural, Romance, Young Adult, Macabre
Pages: 320
Source: Library
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I think my reading experience for The Wicked Deep was doomed from the beginning. My expectations were too high because of the many ravings by bloggers, authors, and the already announced Netflix adaptation. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t horrible, but I felt like it should have been better.

I’m not 100% sure why this book didn’t workout for me, but I suspect it mostly had to do with the fact that I was often able to correctly guess where the story was headed. I try not to, but more often than not, I find myself scrutinizing characters, guessing the decisions they will make, and contemplating what the most logical and/or shocking outcome the author can conjure up . I really need to learn how to kick this bad habit, because it’s helped ruin too many books for me.

This review was purposefully left mini and vague, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone interested in reading this book. The Wicked Deep is built on WTF moments, and I don’t think it has much else going for it once they are revealed.

If you love macabre, supernatural books, and aren’t the type to scrutinize story-lines, you might enjoy this book.

*One last irrelevant thought – this book cover is stunning! It’s a bummer I didn’t love this book, because it would have looked gorgeous on my bookshelf.

two-half-stars