Friday, March 16, 2018

Phoenix Fire (Phoenix Cycle #1) by S.D. Grimm

4 Stars!

Thank you to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC!

"Some of us embrace the light, even when it shines bright on the darkness inside of us."
             This was honestly one of the hardest books I've ever had to rate. I considered giving it 3.5 stars, but ultimately gave it 4 because I really did like it anyway. The plot was just so cool and different. Imagine if Buffy had Sam and Dean as her brothers and you might just begin to grasp Ava, Nick, and Cade's family life. Then, you have to add on the fact that they're Phoenixes, a race of beings with supernatural powers reborn over and over again to hunt what goes bump in the night.
             Ava has spent most of her life bouncing from foster home to foster home, never feeling quite like she belongs. Until, one dark  night, Wyatt Wilcox comes crashing into her life. Suddenly, she starts getting flashes of memories from countless lives she has lived with only three constants: two brothers she doesn't know but feel like home and Wyatt and the deep, confusing feelings she has for him. She has questions, but the mysterious Wyatt tries to play things close to the vest; warning her to stay away while simultaneously pulling her closer. After her brothers, Nick and Cade, show up on the scene, she gets some answers and some training, but is still kept largely in the dark, which is the worst place to be. Because, not all Phoenixes are good and the Dark ones are out to get them.
             This has the potential to be a 5 star series, but this first book did have some problems. The story appeared to jump a little sometimes and important was sometimes only half given/explained or missed altogether. This was partly because it was narrated by Nick, Cade, and Ava, who were all at different information stages and experiencing different kinds of flashbacks. I really enjoyed Cade's parts, but I think he should of just had his own book or novella because they just added to my confusion. The flashbacks themselves were also sometimes problematic because they tended to blend in too much to the rest of the text and I had trouble separating the past from the present off and on. However, issues aside, this was a good book. I just adore the Phoenix angle and complexities Grimm has going. Also, I absolutely love Wyatt and really liked that the author was able to keep his secret a surprise (at least from me). I can't wait to find out what happens next! The battle isn't over and if they want to win, they'll have to fight fire with fire...Phoenix Fire that is!  

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Secret Heir (Dynasty #1) by M.J. Prince

4 Stars!

A big thank you goes out to M.J. Prince for the ARC in exchange for a free and honest review!

"You were born a god and made to live like a human."
             A solid start to what's bound to be an interesting series! Jazmine had a strong voice to match her character as a funny and capable heroine! Prince has done an excellent job balancing a boarding-school, star-crossed romance with otherworldly powers and experiences. I'm excited to see how she continues from here.
             After being spirited away by her long lost grandfather and finding out she's half Seraph, a race of god-like beings with elemental powers that inhabit a world called Eden, Jazmine is having a hard time adjusting. It doesn't help that she's apparently a Dynasty Heir (Seraph royalty) and her fellow royals can't stand her and aspire to make her life in heaven hell. Leading the pack is Raphael St. Tristan, the asinine hottie and future king. Forced into the same house and boarding school with the other heirs, Jazmine is constantly being reminded of her inadequacy. Not about to be stepped on, Jazmine has no problem fighting back and engages in a full out war. Until, one day, something changes and the attraction between her and Raph becomes more than either can deny. Still, it may not be enough. No one in this world wants them together, do they want each other enough to make it work anyway?
            While I found the premise interesting and the feud between Raph and Jaz extremely entertaining, there were times that some of the description got a bit repetitive and over the top. However, the shining star is the great chemistry Raph and Jaz have. It's a perfect mix of hot and exciting that never seems forced. But even though there's an immense fire between them, not everything is as it seems. When there's royalty and power involved, lies and deceit are never far behind. Life is hard when you're a Secret Heir.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Emerald Lily (Vampire Blood #4) by Juliette Cross

4.5 Stars!

Thank you to Entangled Publishing, Juliette Cross, and NetGalley for the ARC!

"Perhaps I was born to be a warrior, not a princess."
                      I am so unbelievably unprepared for this series to be over! I loved everything from their creative fairytale retelling aspects to the way every book seemed to outdo the last. I honestly would be ecstatic if there were ever a spin off series or even a novella (maybe involving Grant and Katya? That could be interesting)! Even still, this was a spectacular, fiery, and heart-pounding finale and I'm grateful to have followed along for the ride!
                      Sent on an urgent mission from the Black Lily to rescue Princess Mina of Arkadia from her imprisonment in a bloodless sleep by the wicked Queen Morgrid, Mikhail finds the previously passive and gentle royal to be the last thing he expected. Their blood kiss awakens feelings that neither of them can deny. Mina finds that she is meant for so much more than she ever dreamed while Mikhail finds that he is tempted in more ways than the Captain of the Bloodguard or his own personal vendetta should allow time for. But, they don't have much time to figure things out. A war is coming. Battling secrets, prophecies, magic, and rabid vampires, can they emerge victorious?
                      I am having such a hard time deciding which of these books is my favorite. Honestly, I could argue with myself for hours on this. I wish this book had been longer but Mina and Mikhail are pretty amazing together as is. I love that the quiet and docile Mina turned out to be the fiercest of them all. That final battle was made up of some serious badassery. However, not everyone made it out unscathed. Will our heroes finally prevail against the tyrants of Izeling and the Glass tower? Will humanity be saved? Or will Queen Morgrid succeed in plunging the world into darkness and leave nothing on their graves except a single Emerald Lily?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

When Sh*t Gets in the Way (When Life Gets in the Way #2) by Ines Vieira

4.5 Stars!

A huge 'Thank you' goes out to Ines Vieira for the e-book!

"...don't tell me you're not mine when everything that I am has your imprint on it."
                  I loved it even more than the first! Quaid and Jess are just so cute and lively that I read it in a day and a half. I like that the timeline overlaps with the last few chapters of When Life Gets in the way because I think it adds something more to all the characters and helps make their lives so much richer.
                  Jessica Silva has a lot going on in her life. Her cousin Isaac is gone and her uncle Hector is still hell bent on proving that he's the most disgusting human being in a hundred-mile radius, she isn't handling her first year at Columbia as well as she hoped, and having to spend time with Quaid Stevens is absolutely driving her up the wall. Sure, she had a thing for him in high school, how couldn't she when he's so seemingly perfect? But, Jess believes perfection is a beautiful lie. And she can't stand liars.
                  Quaid comes from a family obsessed with perfection. It doesn't matter if your life is a shit-show as long as you keep up appearances. He isn't used to letting people get close enough to know about the skeletons hiding in the closet or the ones running around in broad daylight in expensive high heels. But, Jessica Silva has him thinking about changing his mind. That girl is a force of nature and he'd better strap himself in so he can ride out the storm. She wants to see imperfection he's trying to hide, but can he survive showing her?
                 I absolutely adore Jess! She's so fiery and passionate about everything she does that you can't help but feel yourself get ready to take up arms with her. She's smart and funny in a way that keeps the normally quiet Quaid on his toes. They challenge each other in the best ways possible. He pushes her to be all that she can be and protects against those who try to kill her spirit. In turn, she teaches him to relax and enjoy life without the constraints his grandparents try to put on him. Together they could be unstoppable. But, can they make it through all the lies and hurdles or just give up and call  it quits When Sh*t Gets in the Way?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2) by Erica Cameron

4 Stars!

Thank you to Chapter by Chapter, Erica Cameron, and Entangled Teen for the ARC through NetGalley and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour!

"We're fighting to get home... to keep the salvageable pieces."
               I've been so excited to read this book it wasn't even funny. I loved Island of Exiles and couldn't wait to see where Khya's adventure took her next. This has honestly been one of the most original and intricate series I've ever read. I adore the interesting dynamic Khya and Tessen have and welcome the refreshing break it gives readers from the old cliches.
               Khya and her people have been lied to their entire lives. Yorri is not dead. The Miriseh are not gods. Ryogo is not the heaven they get to go to if they serve them well and the Miriseh do not guard its gates. Each one of these lies has been shattered to leave one truth crystal clear: they must kill Varen. However, the one thing he didn't lie about was being immortal, so Khya and allies have traveled to the real Ryogo in search of the secrets Varen had hidden there before he was exiled five-hundred years ago. Many of the Ryogans still fear magic even if they don't believe the legend of the bobasu, so Khya and her friends are being hunted even in the land they're trying to help save. In order to save Shiara, Ryogo, and her brother, Khya will have to make sacrifices and learn to be the leader she always wanted to be.
               Because it's apparent that this series is going to go on for a bit, it makes sense that a lot of this book would be a set up for the ones to follow, and it was, but a lot of really important things happened too and there are a couple of interesting plot twists. I like that Erica Cameron doesn't skip steps to get to where she's going, she takes her time to build her plot which makes the world she's shaping so much more rich and developed. The only problem I had was I feel like Khya and Tessen's relationship was a little more....muted than it was in the first book. I mean, it was there and they interacted often, but it just seemed to me that something was missing. Still, they're one of my favorite pairings. I'm usually a total sucker for a hot alpha male, but this relationship was just so different and interesting. It was the epitome of an equal relationship that is so rarely seen in writing. I love that, while Khya often takes control of the romantic interactions in their budding relationship, Tessen is in no way seen as meek or submissive; he is confident and capable of holding his own. And, while Tessen was originally the one constantly pursuing the prospect of a relationship, he respects her wishes and boundaries. So, I'd love to see more of that brought back in the next book. If they survive that long. Will they make it home to save Shiara or will they remain forever adrift, hunted in Ryogo amidst a Sea of Strangers?