Book Review: Day Zero by Kresley Cole

Ashes to ashes . . .
Evie Greene’s story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game—like Death, Jack, and Fortune—must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams.

We all fall down.
Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero. . . .

This novella/short story collection is set up a bit differently from most, and Cole acknowledges that at the beginning with a small forward explaining the original intention of this collection.  Originally, this was going to serve as a guide for the possible television series that was proposed for this story, so each card in the major arcana, all 22, are given names, descriptions, information on their Arcana powers and traits, and those that are still alive during the game are given their own short story about where they were and what was happening to them on “Day Zero,” or the day the Flash occured.

Readers are treated to a bonus story featuring Death toward the beginning, showing him as he prepares for the new games, each of the icons fading from his skin.

This is a kind-of spoiler-y review, but since all but maybe one or two of these characters have shown up in the main novels, I don’t really find it too pressing.

We pretty much just get to see where each of the cards, including a rehash of Evie, were on the night of/day of (depending on where in the world they were at the time), and it gives small glimpses into who they were prior to their participation in the game.

The Sun is with his two romantic partners, their polyamorous relationship is going so well he was planning to propose to them on the day that the Flash happened.  You know, after they throw a bitchin’ rave in an abandoned insane asylum.  He also *Spoiler Alert* wakes up to them attempting to suck his blood, having been turned into bagmen (Queue The Princess Bride gif).  But he pulls a Michonne and keeps them around by chaining them together and dragging them along.

Fortune is a gun cartel leader’s daughter in Brazil with a wicked desire for revenge and her ability to steal luck from others pretty much causes her father’s death, although I’m not sure if she is aware of that, or if it is just something that the reader realizes.

The Hanging Man is still the inactivated card, and a lot of fandom members speculate that Jack is actually the inactivated card, but considering the entire entry in the book is blacked out (clever), Cole keeps us in the dark on this.  I assume that in the fifth installment the Hanging Man will come into play, as all players in the game must be either killed or participate, so it seems unlikely that we’d continue to not know who this card is. To be honest, I’d be a bit disappointed if Jack turns out to be the inactive card, because it just seems to predictable to put Evie in the middle of a love triangle with two major cards.  Not only do we already have to deal with the triangle as it is, but if it’s between two cards? It just seems too…obvious?

You get a glimpse into the life of Tess, The World, and how she can apparate to her crush’s house, where she finds him masturbating to her yearbook photo.  So romantic.  She also almost takes herself out of the game by simply attempting to save her parents’ lives, which is really sad.

Poor Circe, though.  She’s my little ocean queen. She not only lost the love of her life, but also ended up leaving him at the alter during the Flash because the ocean called her to her watery temple. She’s probably my new favorite addition to the canon of characters, and I’ve liked her since she showed up at the end of Dead of Winter.

Overall, I give this book a solid 3 bards.  It doesn’t really give us that much insight into things other than the character backgrounds.  These backgrounds are limited, and I’d consider this really just a collection of information that benefits the author to help keep her canon in order rather than something readers absolutely had to know.

My review of Arcana Rising will be up Thursday, September 8.

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Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Holy nail biting absolutely jaw-dropping awesomeness.

As I put in one of my tumblr posts about ACOMAF, this whole novel can basically be summed up in this gif:

Basically.

The entire novel is pretty much Feyre finally coming into her own as a high fae and discovering her own worth is within herself and that she is not just the woman who saved the entire fae race for the sake of first love.

Speaking of said first love, the best part of me reading this and remembering that the first novel was supposed to be a kind of Beauty & the Beast type of story, was realizing that Tamlin is actually the Gaston of the story and Rhysand is the Beast. Reasoning? Gaston consistently referred to Belle as serving as his loving, doting, “little” wife, who would be responsible for his household while he is out hunting and galavanting.  Belle, and Feyre, want more than this “provincial” life.  The only saving grace for Tamlin in opposed to Gaston is that he seems to genuinely love Feyre, whereas Gaston just wanted Belle because she was the prettiest lady in the land.

As for Rhysand being the misunderstood man who served his time as a beast underneath the mountain and thought he would never see light (literally and figuratively) or love again, gives Feyre/Belle her own space in his home to heal herself and find home.  He even has a merry band of amazing friends a la Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, etc that Feyre befriends and grows to love.  Speaking of his friends, Mor is my favorite of the new characters. Her quote, “There are good days and hard days for me – Even now. Don’t let the hard days win,” is one of my favorites from the novel. MOR YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL LAND MERMAID AND NO MAN SHALL TAME YOU OR CLAIM YOU, AS YOU HAVE CLAIMED YOURSELF.

There’s such an interesting juxtaposition between the Spring Court and the Night Court.  The Spring Court relegates Feyre, and consequently most women, to her miniscule role within their court, just a figurehead of the triumph Under the Mountain, rather than someone with actual opinions and powers.  However, the Night Court heralds two women as the second and third in command, providing them with the ability to govern themselves and have opinions in the matters of the court.  Not only does this environment allow Feyre to blossom and grow into her new abilities and life as an immortal, it literally restores her from the waif she was becoming while in Tamlin’s household.

Seriously though, Rhysand, Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren are squad goals.

I’m just going to put this here: Chapters 54 & 55 are jaw-dropping. Love it. I refuse to spoil these for you, just read the book and get to this part!

The end was absolutely awe inspiring and the little knowledge at the end that the conflict between these two courts and the King of Hybern is nowhere near completed is making me so anxious for the next novel that I’m tempted to steal a timelord, hop in the Tardis and go get the next novel now.

If you haven’t read the first novel, A Court of Thorns and Roses, you can check out my review by clicking on the title. (Yes you will realize that I was on Tamlin’s side at first. Big mistake on my part. Or was it just clever writing and character construction?) Or if you found yourself underwhelmed by the first installment, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of A Court of Mist and Fury, you will not be disappointed by the “wow women are powerful,” vibe and the smutty goodness.

I could keep gushing, but I’ll just end it with this:

5 Bards.

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Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

a-great-and-terrible-beautyIt’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

I love Libba Bray. She’s one of my favorite YA authors. I read the Gemma Doyle trilogy years ago, and while I remembered the premise, I didn’t really remember everything about it so I was really glad to be able to read it again and write a review this time!

What I love about Gemma is that we can see her internal struggle with wanting to fit in but also trying to still be herself. Especially, with her newfound, and as yet mysterious, power, all she wants is to be normal. But many times wanting to be normal doesn’t stop her from wanting to be different from the other girls at Spence Academy.

I think Bray does a great job of creating these very similar but also very different female characters, and making their friendship the focus of everything. With all that Gemma goes through, in only the first book, she learns more and more to rely on her friends, and for me that’s one of the most important things to read about in literature, especially literature aimed and young girls.

My favorite part of the story is the magic part. I’ve always been a sucker for magic and mystery and this definitely has both. The magic is unique to this story, and I’d never read any type of interpretation like this until this story, which makes Bray’s world-building that much more amazing.It definitely has enough mystery to keep you interested but not too much to leave wondering. I’d give the first in the trilogy 4.5 bards.

four.fivebards

Book Review: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

8705784One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

 

So I guess I am late to the game with the series.  I see on Goodreads that everybody has already read and loved the book…  This is what happens when I see a book store on vacation!  I end up with like 5 books to read that were all on sale!  I am a cover person, if the cover of a book looks cool or intriguing than I am sold.  Sometimes I don’t even read the back cover to see what the book is about.  I loved this cover, it drew me in and made me want to read the book immediately.  And then I figure out the rest of the books in the series are there, and on sale, done!  So the next couple of reviews will be on the Shadow Falls series.

I felt that the synopsis of the book is misleading, it leads you to believe that the book is going to be about a girl who is going down the wrong path, drugs, sex, and all that but that is not what the book is about at all.  In fact Kylie has had a relatively normal, calm, un troubled upbringing.  She comes off as slightly whiney really.  But not bad or annoying enough for me to stop reading.  I liked the concept of the camp, it was a really cool idea.  How much fun would it be to go to that camp!

You can tell that this is the first book in a series, it does a lot of stage setting for future books.  I will say I thought the other books were better, and the stories were more developed than this book.  So if you were eh on this one I encourage you to read the other books.  Kylie gets less whiney and more independent and strong.  The secondary characters have more of a voice and the love connections are great!

4.5 Bards

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Book Review: Talented by Sophie Davis

13466202Block it out. Impossible for Talia Lyons. When you’re a Mind Manipulator, it’s hard enough to block the thoughts of others, let alone your own.

Block it out. The pounding, siren-ready world Talia inhabits as she trains with her fellow Hunters, the country’s top-secret covert operatives. The physical demands. The emotional toll.

Block it out. The secrets that Talia’s boyfriend is hiding. Talia’s unbidden feelings of frustration and annoyance toward her teammate, the Casanova of the compound. The wondering why she cares what he thinks.

Block him out. Ian Crane. The man behind the bloodshed marring Talia’s memories of her murdered parents. The man she’s determined to kill.

Block it all out. Focus.

So I received this book at BEA directly from the author Sophie Davis, and we bonded about being from NC.  I was hesitant to read this because if I didn’t like it, and had to give it a bad review I would feel super bad.  Fortunately I really liked the book.  There were a few problems, but overall not enough to turn me off of the book.

I thought the story was really good.  The concept of this dystopian world was realistic and really well explained.  I thought at times her explanations and descriptions were a bit wordy but almost necessary to gain a good picture of this new world.  Also while I’m talking about things I didn’t care for, the cover, Talia is supposed to have unruly curly hair.  The chick on the cover has straight hair… It bugs me more than it should.

Anyway back to the story, I kind of want her talent, it sounds cool.  And Erik, yum, new man crush there.  I am looking forward to the next book, I hope we get some answers and some stuff resolved!  Good job Sophie Davis!

4 Bards

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Book Review: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

13644055Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

 

Well its the bitter sweet moment with this book, its the last one.  I am both happy to have read this book and the story has found a ending but sad it is over.  I have enjoyed reading the Lux series so much!  They have been a pleasure to read.

As for this book the violence, and sex was defiantly more prevalent than the previous books.  Not that I minded I just mention that as a warning to the younger readers out there.  This book.  Wow,  It packs a punch.  There are a lot of twists and turns, a lot of reoccurring characters, some you never thought you would see again.  Friends became foes, and foes became friends.  It was a jumbled mess that comes together for a perfect book.

I don’t want to write too much about this book.  If you are reading the others in the series there is a good chance you already love the books, and know the character.  So I will just say this, if you have not started reading this series, start.  None of the books disappoint.  They are all fantastic.

5 Bards

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Book Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Origin (Lux, #4)Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

 

Now are you not supper happy for listening to me and getting the Lux Consequences book???  So this is the book where stuff starts to get real.  It gets darker and the mood changes from Oh cool an Alien, to Oh man, people are getting hurt.  The POV changes from mostly Katy to mostly Daemon which is nice.  It adds something to the books.  More depth I guess?  Anyway it was a nice change to hear what Daemon was thinking.

I really like Archer, and the whole story about the Origins.  They are super cool, and I was glad Luc had more of a presence in the is book.  Although those children are super creepy!   Its good when you are introduced to new characters in a series so things don’t get dull.  And this series is anything but dull.  This book is a thrill a minute and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

So I won’t give away spoilers but that part towards the end with Daemon and Katy, OMG, so hot then so sweet!  *Fanning my self*  And that ending, lets just say, go ahead and buy the last book right away.  The only thing I didn’t really care for was the stuff that happened in Vegas.  I get why it happened I just am a peaceful person and wasn’t a fan of all the fighting.  It was still good don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t for me.

Love, love, love

5 Bards

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Book Review: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

13362536 After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger… and they know it.

 

WHY ARE MORE PEOPLE NOT READING THIS  SERIES?  I really would like to discuss this book with people but for some reason people are not picking it up.  Trust me read the books, its worth it.  And when you are done comment or tweet me @missmisD to discuss please!  Oh and just a helpful hint, buy the Lux Consequences version so you can read Opal and immediately read Origin, trust me you will thank me for that.  I still can’t find the books in the major book chain stores so you might have to get them from Amazon.

First off, poor Dawson, I really felt for him.  I liked that this book was the all about Dawson book, it really focused on his stuff.  It gave me a little break from the Katy and Daemon drama.  Don’t get me wrong they are still the main characters but the book was more about Dawson.  And bless him he is a world full of crazy.

And um can we talk about Blake for a minute?  Super creepy right?  Like I would have taken off his manhood had he pulled that stunt he did on Katy on me.  Anyway back to the book.  See I love this series because you loose your self in the story, the real world just floats away and you are right next to Katy and Daemon living the adventure with them.  It is a fast moving but hilarious book and I love that they take the time to do normal teenage things like Prom.  That was cute and a nice break between all the action.  And the ending, this is when you will be glad you bought the Lux Consequences book with Opal and Origin together, talk about a cliff hanger.

Such an awesome book!!!!

5 Bards

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Book Review: Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout

13047090Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

So this book picks up right where Obsidian leaves off.   Katy is connected to Daemon (who wouldn’t want that) and she is having some issues of the paranormal kind.  Along comes Blake , who I didn’t like from the start, to “save” the day by offering to help Katy control her quirks.  He adds some competition for Daemon, by showing interest in Katy and being kind of normal and not all mad, brooding, or mean.  Competition as we find out can be good, especially with a very self assured character like Daemon, it sort of puts him in his place.

This book will keep your heart racing.  Between the story line and the uh hem tension between Katy and Daemon you really can’t put it down.  The characters are more developed in this book, as you expect from the second book in a series.  The plot is good, all be it slightly predictable, and moves at a great pace.  I like that there are weeks in between action, it gives the characters a break.  I hate when you read a book filled with so much drama that happens in ONE day.  That sounds exhausting.  I also love that Jennifer L. Armentrout allows each character to have flaws, and to not be great at everything.  It makes the books more relatable.

Have I mentioned that Katy is a YA book blogger?  Armentrout captured our essence perfectly with Katy, the way we get excited to receive packages, or when we can’t blog how we feel like something is missing, and books are everywhere in our houses.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Now if only a hot “mature” alien with a steady job would move next to me…

Just a fair warning I went to two bookstores to try to find the next books in the series and they didn’t have them.  Also as a side note/gripe I went to Books a Million and asked where the YA section was, and the dude working there didn’t know what YA was…  If you work in a bookstore at a very big mall you should know what YA is.  Grr.  So if you are looking for the books I found them on Amazon.

5 Bards for all the feels

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Book Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

8130839But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. In this remarkable final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, international bestselling author Andrea Cremer crafts a dynamic novel with twists and turns that will keep you breathless until its final pages.

Wow, that was a long book! It was pretty good, consistent with the first two books, but it dragged on longer than it should have. It is so hard to write a review for a book in a series that I have already reviewed. If you want to see my reviews for Nightshade (Book 1) click here and for Wolfsbane (Book 2) click here. Everything seemed to wrap up together nicely and I didn’t feel like things built up to a tragically short ending. The characters kept pulling me in with their developments and achievements and yes, I cried when some were lost.

I got to say though, the ending through me for a loop. Not in a bad way, but in a different way. I won’t give anything away, but it was definitely a change from the normal. The ending also left all the characters at a good place, but also a place where the series could continue in a different direction if the author chooses.  Just to give you a little something to look forward to, I will mention the two gay teen werewolves scuba diving and chasing turtles.  And that is part of the reason I like this series.

4 Bards

fourbards

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