Heart of Thorns book cover

Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett | Zero info-dump

Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett | Zero info-dumpOnyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett
Published by HarperAudio on May 15, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Purchase
Goodreads
four-half-stars

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.


I finished Onyx and Ivory in one day, because it was sooo good.
Why was it sooo good? Well…

Zero info-dump. This book introduces us to many territories, characters, and types of magic, all of which are easy to keep straight, because of the gradual introductions through casual and natural dialogue.

I was duped. I really liked the daydrake mystery, because the orchestrator of the attacks was not who I was expecting.

A great cast of characters. I liked all the characters in this book, especially Dal, because he reminded me of my favorite Shatter Me character, Kenji. Dal’s that awesome friend who always has your back. He also tells it like it is. If you’re being a jerk, he’s gonna call you out on it. Like Kenji, Dal will also do it in a funny and sarcastic way. There were a few other characters like Signe, who I wanted to know more about, but didn’t get the opportunity to, because she wasn’t fleshed out enough. Hopefully in the book(s) to come, she and the others will be.

A romance worth rooting for. Kate and Corwin had great chemistry, a by-product of their constant witty, funny, and swoon-y banter. I also adore romances that start with friendship, and then develop into something more, so I was team #Korwin from the beginning.

I really enjoyed Onyx and Ivory, and I hope that book two is just as good. I also hope that we get a little more Kate, and a little less Corwin in book two. I liked Corwin well enough, but sometimes his chapters dragged, and I was more interested in knowing what Kate was up to.

 

four-half-stars
Heart of Thorns book cover

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera CassThe Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on April 24, 2012
Pages: 336
Source: Purchase
Goodreads
four-stars

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.


The Selection was one of those books that I just couldn’t get enough of. I made the mistake of starting it later in the evening say around 10-ish leading to an all-nighter reading session which ended around 3:30 a.m. I even had to be up at 7 a.m. the next morning. However it was totally worth it!!! I was hooked from the beginning. True to it’s tagline The Selection is “Hungers Games meets the Bachelor”. Many might be aggravated over the blatant similarities between The Selection and The Hunger Games (there’s a lot) but I didn’t really care. I enjoyed The Selection for what it was and what it accomplished. The plot was captivating, keeping you enticed the whole way through.

And the characters – wow! Every single one was buzzing with personality and detail. Although our main characters were America and Prince Maxon the rest i.e. supporting characters truly did their job and supported the story. Except for the one or ones we’re meant to hate (I’m looking at you Celeste…) I loved every single character and the part they played. Oh and Ms. Cass thank you! This is the first time that I’ve ever loved and full-heartedly rooted for the sweet, kind “good” boy vs. the rebellious ”bad” boy. As you can probably gain there’s a love triangle and I’m totally team Maxon. Sorry Aspen — move along buddy

So lets talk a little about the setting. Through America Singer’s view were introduced to a world literally “of the future”. After the U.S. was ruined by attacks and such from other countries, Illea rose above the rubble bringing along an 8-caste system. Each caste is responsible and required to work a specific job. For instance, America’s family is in the 5th caste where the trade is of “the arts”, painters, musicians, singers etc. I should also mention that the further up in the system the poorer the individual. Aspen a boy that we learn America has loved for a while now, is in the caste above America and therefore not permitted to well canoodle (LOL) with anyone from another caste unless married. However, if they were to marry America would have to leave her family and caste and settle for an even more poverty-ridden caste. At the tippity top or rather bottom (1) is the royal family. When a princess or prince come of age, a princess is married off to a prince from another country while the prince holds a competition where 35 girls, picked throughout Illea, compete to become princess. Although some may have true intentions, the majority of girls are pretty much in it for the rise of fame and wealth.

Pressured by both Aspen and her family and believing that she truly doesn’t have a shot, America enters only to be completely shell-shocked when she gets chosen to compete. Her whole world is turned upside down when she arrives at the palace. Not only does she start living the life of the upper caste (beautiful gowns, surplus amounts of food) she realizes that first impressions can be completely wrong. She’s turned off from prince Maxon at the beginning believing him to be pompous and shallow. Early on though she realizes that he is extremely thoughtful, sweet and quite nervous just about all the time. Throw in conniving and downright bitchy frenemies that make the groups of rebels constantly attacking the palace look like fluffy bunnies and you’ve got one hell of an addicting story.

What I loved most about this book was our heroine America. She’s so caring and considerate in a world where girls are ready to yank your hair out just to get a better chance at being Illea’s princess. America is also extremely strong and witty. She’s not afraid to say what she feels, a quality that I truly believe prince Maxon admires. I love the dynamic between these two. Early on America promises to give Maxon the inside scoop in order to make sure he picks a good princess. However, it’s plain to see that the princess he’s got his eye on is the last one America expects…

I truly loved this book it was intriguing and interesting. The writing was clean, engaging and fast-paced. One of the reasons I gave it a 4 as opposed to a 5 star rating is, because the role that the “rebels” play. All we know is that some group or groups of rebels regularly attack the castle but that’s all we really know about them. I really would have liked to know more in order to fully get into the story.

four-stars