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The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Published by HarperTeen on February 6th 2018
Pages: 464

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

I’m so glad I got this book from the library, and didn’t buy it outright like I originally considered, because it was a huge letdown.

The world was too big and not properly introduced. The characters overcame incredible feats and developed deep emotions too fast to be believed. The concepts in this high fantasy were too fantastical to be contained in one book, and because of that, all the characters were luckily and conveniently able to overcome their own hurdles quickly and easily.

For instance, Bri gets about 5 lessons of swordsmanship, and then they say she’s great enough to fight in a battle. Whaaat? A lot of things in this book didn’t logically make sense.

The worst part though, was the fact that the first couple chapters basically outlined the entire story.  I was easily able to figure out who Bri was, what she was going to face, and where her journey was going to go.

The only thing I enjoyed about this book was the demure relationship between Bri and her Master, Cartier. Unfortunately it was fleeting.



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Guardian (The Guardian #1) by A.J. Messenger

Guardian (The Guardian #1) by A.J. MessengerGuardian (The Guardian #1) by A.J. Messenger
on May 18th 2014
Pages: 242

Eighteen-year-old Declan Jane is just trying to make it through senior year in San Mar, the Northern California coastal town she’s lived in all her life. Perpetually under the radar, she’s surprised by the pull she feels to a mysterious and attractive new student, Alexander Ronin. Despite all the girls vying for his attention, Declan is the one he’s drawn to, and she finds herself returning his interest. As the intensity of their attraction builds and she discovers the truth behind his appearance in San Mar, he reveals the danger she’s in and why their relationship holds deadly consequences. But as Declan overcomes her fears and fights for her life, the connection between the two lovers may be the only thing that can save them both.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, this story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Guardian wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either.

Most of the characters were fillers who stood in the background barely affecting the story. The MC Declan wasn’t unlikable, just unremarkable. She was the stereotypical, unaware girl that finds herself plain and unassuming, until a gorgeous mystery man shows up a.k.a. Alexander. Alexander is your standard attractive love interest with beautiful green eyes, warm chocolate hair, and a hot Australian accent. I had a hard time enjoying his character, because he’s so typical. Alexander is attractive, protective, secretive, hot and cold, and falls in love with the MC immediately. Alexander’s generic-ism was laughable.

The one thing I truly enjoyed about Guardian, was its take on angels. There were good and bad angels that weren’t capable of physically forcing a person to make a certain decision, but rather they stood on the sidelines emotionally and verbally encouraging them. These angels reminded me of the white and dark lighters in a favorite TV show of mine, Charmed.

At the end of Guardian there’s a breakthrough regarding the weird things that keep happening to Declan, and in future books this reveal could either be really cool, or really convenient to the story. I don’t plan on reading book two any time soon, but eventually I might give it a go just to see whether the series comes into its own.

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Blood Oath (Darkest Drae, #1) by Raye Wagner, Kelly St. Clare

Blood Oath (Darkest Drae, #1) by Raye Wagner, Kelly St. ClareBlood Oath (Darkest Drae, #1) by Raye Wagner, Kelly St. Clare
on November 9th 2017

Dark Fantasy. Dragons. Intrigue. Romance.

More than anything, I crave adventure. But in the disease ridden land of Verald, life is mapped out much like the well-established rings of our kingdom.

At the very heart reigns our vicious king and Lord Irrik, an invincible dragon shifter, at his side. Their power poisons the land and the people, leading to a steadily mounting number of enemies.

But change is coming.

When the rebellion surges, the king strikes back. Captured by Lord Irrik, I'm suddenly embroiled in a deadly game. One where I'm desperate to understand the rules.

Because I'm not only fighting for my life... but also a love that could be the very key to my freedom.

I’ve never been a huge high fantasy fan, but lately I’ve felt more daring to give books like Blood Oath a chance. I’m so glad I took the chance, because this book was so much fun!

Our main character Ryn, is well-balanced and easy to love. She’s stubborn, and funny, and doesn’t let people push her around. She has a tendency to throw herself headfirst into precarious situations, but I could easily excuse her recklessness, because she does it mostly out of love and kindness for others. I was devastated when Ryn lost her mother in the beginning of the book, and I was angry when it was revealed her mother had been keeping a lot of important secrets from her. I was quickly invested in Ryn and her difficult journey.

Lord Irrik is one of those delicious,  dark and broody guys that make your ovaries go nuts. He’s a drae (dragon shifter) who has spent most of his life destroying villages and killing people for a hideous, cruel king. When Ryn is kidnapped and tossed into the king’s dungeon, she spends a lot of time with Lord Irrik. She doesn’t excuse the horrible things Lord Irrik does, but she does start to accept that there’s more to his situation. I’m a sucker for that brooding bad boy who has the potential to find redemption, so of course I fell hard and fast for the sexy drae. Ryn and Lord Irrik’s relationship is complicated from the beginning, and only gets more difficult throughout the book.

Ryn’s world kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games, because there’s different sections of the kingdom that cultivate different things. In The Hunger Games it was food, trees, coal etc., but in Blood Oath each sector cultivates a different type of crop. Everyone in these sections are peasants and slaves to a king who rules in the center with a bloody fist.

The ending of Blood Oath was devastating, and shocking, and left me incredibly enticed for book two. Blood Oath only introduced a small part of Ryn’s world, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about the other kingdoms in book two, Shadow Wings.

Seriously, read this book if u love dragon shifters, high fantasy, and extremely strong and resilient heroines. This book has characters you’ll immediately love, and magic you’ve never seen before.


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Amid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy #1) by Chani Lynn Feener

Amid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy #1) by Chani Lynn FeenerAmid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy, #1) by Chani Lynn Feener
Published by Swoon Reads on July 18, 2017
Pages: 368

Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Squee! Thinking about this book makes me so giddy. It’s such a fun story with a lot of heart and great character-building. Ruckus and Delaney are just too great together. Their interactions made my heart pitter-patter. No insta-love guys. I repeat NO-insta love. Just two individuals who meet in a kind-of-funny, yet also unfortunate way, and make the best of it by getting to know one another.

Delaney is the perfect YA heroine. She’s brave, but not reckless, sweet, but not naive, smart, but not cocky. She’s the complete opposite of Princess Olena who slyly switches places with Delaney. Olena, who everyone (including myself) hates, is a spoiled child who plays with people’s emotions to be cruel and to amuse herself. I felt bad that Olena was being forced into the marriage with prince Trystan in order to solidify a peace treaty between two opposing alien kingdoms, but the more I got to know Olena, the less bad I felt. I feel totally horrible saying that, but she’s not one of those characters you can easily feel pity for. Olena is selfish and entitled and doesn’t see the big picture. She likes to play games and only serves herself. Delaney is like a whiff of fresh air in the palace, because she actually has compassion and cares for others. She doesn’t let the icy prince Trystan intimidate her, at least, she doesn’t let on that he does. Delaney is a fake-it-til-you-make it girl. Even when she’s scared and full of sorrow, she raises her chin and gets the job done.

OMG. Trystan is so horrible. Entitled. Rude. Demanding. Intrusive. And yet. I’m so in love with him. Not like new bookish boyfriend, but just like, invested in him. It’s my weakness, those damn broody, rude, bad boys that I hope a strong girl will come along and soften up. It’s those attractive jerks who are on the cusp of redemption that I fall the hardest for. Regardless, I’m still team Duckus… or is it Relaney?  Ruckus is just so perfect. He’s attractive, sweet, and protective. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t want to lock you away in a tower, because he knows your’e not a damsel in distress. He treats you like an equal and wants to teach you self-defense so you can kick ass too. Those book boyfriends are so hard to come by. Most YA book guys are so overprotective and you have to fight with them constantly just to show them how strong and bad-ass you are.

I felt like this book lacked planet Xenith world-building, and that there was also a lack of details regarding how Earth coped with the aliens revealing themselves a few years ago, but I still gave it five stars. Call it personal preference, but sometimes when a book has characters that are so enjoyable, and reveals that continue to surprise and delight me, I can overlook small disappointments in other areas.

The cliffhanger was totally cruel, but also totally understandable. I mean, how could you not need book 2 immediately after the end of book 1?!!

This book made me smile and melt and left me shocked. I re-read many passages, one, two, even three times, because I wanted to re-feel the feels they gave me. This is one of the books you keep in your head for a while down the road. I just know that I will have a hard time not comparing it to the next couple books I read, because it was so good and the next few have a lot to live up to. I’m not huge fan of aliens, but this book made me a believer!

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Curse of the Gods books 1-3 by Jaymin Eve & Jane Washington

Curse of the Gods books 1-3 by Jaymin Eve & Jane WashingtonCurse of the Gods books 1-3 by Jaymin Eve, Jane Washington
Published by Self Publication Goodreads

For the past three weeks, give or take, I’ve been in a serious, and I mean, SERIOUS, reading binge. Like legit, all I do is read, work, sleep, and read while I eat.

Because I read the first three Curse of the Gods back to back (I’m developing a wicked bad habit),  I’m going to speak vaguely about the events and my feelings so I don’t spoil a bunch of stuff.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me smile and laugh so much. Willa Knight is just so hilarious and adorable. Saying Willa’s a clutz is too simple of an explanation for the wacky things that happen to her and chaos she bestows. Willa is the most unluckiest person in the entire world. She accidentally burns buildings down, throws tar on a teacher’s head, stabs people, trips while going up and down the stairs, walks into people and inanimate objects, and just about any other horrible thing you can think of. Willa can’t multitask, thinking and walking is a disaster waiting to happen to her, and the people around her. Regardless of her chaotic nature, Will is just so darn endearing, because even though she’s had the short stick since birth, she’s still so bright and cheery. Willa doesn’t let the fact that she’s constantly making a spectacle of herself bring her down. She’s so full of hope and happiness even though she’s a menace to herself and the world.

Willa lives in a world where there are dwellers, her rank, and the lowest of all the races in Minatsol. Above the dwellers you have sols who each have a special magical gift, and have the potential to ascend to godhood after death. Then of course there’s the gods who live in a special, beautiful world called Topia. Dwellers are pretty much slaves. They’re conditioned from birth to serve the sols and worship the gods. Willa calls bullshit on that whole hierarchy. She tries to stay in line, if only for the sake of supporting her best friend Emma, but finds herself standing up to the powerful sols, physically and verbally, often.

Willa becomes involved with 5 incredibly attractive and notorious sol brothers, who dwellers, and sols fear. Not Willa though, it’s like her brain operates on a different frequency. She is constantly surprising everyone around her, especially the 5 Abcurse brothers who can’t understand why she doesn’t cower in front of them like everyone else does.

This series so far has followed Willa and the horribly, funny situations she gets into. No matter the unlucky situation she gets into, so far, three books in, she finds a way to laugh it off and keep persevering. Even though everyone thinks she’s pretty nuts, they still can’t help but love her because of it.

This series is unlike any other series I’ve read before. I enjoy reading these books because I’m so invested in Willa’s life, and love seeing what crazy thing will happen next, and how she’ll crazily react. I’m also obsessed with the scorching hot Abcursed brothers. Some readers out there favor one or more brothers, but I love them all equally. I could never pick just one or two. I’m selfish and want them all!

Later on in book one I realized this book wasn’t YA. I’d say it’s straddling the NA/Adult line. I don’t read adult books because I don’t like smut or erotica novels, and even though there is some sexual themes, undertones and scenes in this book, the author handles it tastefully. There’s so much more to this story than just naked bodies and sexual innuendos. It’s a one-of-a-kind gem and I’m SO looking forward to the last two books to come.

I used KU to read these books, but now, as of 2-13-18, I’ve bought hard copies to proudly display on my bookshelf, and to help support the wonderful ladies who wrote these wonderful books.


P.S. I read these books all over again a couple days after reading them the first time. That’s never happened before! Even when Deathly Hallows was released, it took me a year to re-read it. I blew through Curse of the Gods 1-3 so I wanted to slowly re-read and savor it all. I’m so glad I did because I enjoyed it even more the second time around and I know I’ll re-read them more in the future.