Tag Archive | magic

Review: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Series: Seven Black Diamonds #1

seven black diamonds -melissa marrLilywhite Abernathy is a criminal. Her father’s “unconventional” business has meant a life of tightly held secrets, concealed weaponry, and a strict code. But Lily’s crime isn’t being the daughter of a powerful mob boss. Her guilt lies in the other half of her DNA—the part that can coax ancient rumors from stones and summon fire with a thought. Lily is part fae, which is a crime in her world.

From the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humanity and fae. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir—a death that was the fault of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has shielded her from the repercussions of her ancestry…until she is sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds.

Mysterious, glamorous, and bound together in their mission but constantly at odds, Zephyr, Creed, Will, Roan, Violet, and Alkamy are a Sleeper cell of fae, planted in the human world to help destroy it from within. With covers as rock stars and celebrity children, the Black Diamonds carry out the queen’s war against humanity. And unbeknownst to Lilywhite, she’s been chosen to join them.

Now more than ever, Lily’s heritage puts her in peril, and even the romantic attention of the fae singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the safer world of organized crime.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there.


1 Drink Me Potion


DNF at ~25%

Sigh. I haven’t DNF’ed a book in a long while, but oh, Melissa Marr, how I’m disappointed.

Let me start off by disclosing that I wavered on her popular Wicked Lovely series after we hit the middle books. There were just too many and I was tired of the plot. That being said, I came into this book and series with an open mind and hoped to God that I would love it.

Why this didn’t happen:

A) Too many POVs and characters popping up.

Sometimes it just got downright confusing and I found it hard to connect or care about any of these people.

B) Lilywhite.

Dang, that girl just made me cringe. Clearly she’s being set up as someone special but I just couldn’t take it anymore. She wasn’t particularly nice to anyone and didn’t seem to need good opinions from others. At least that was my impression of her.

C) The writing.

It was repetitive as other reviewers have noted and it made the book drag a little. Maybe it prevented me from connecting with the characters too. Who knows. But something about it bugged me.

D) The romances.

I JUST DON’T LIKE CREED. He doesn’t seem quite like a lovable bad boy or a very nice guy to play the love interest. I’d rather Lily pick anyone else (though I probably shouldn’t care ’cause I don’t even like her).

And then there’s Zephyr who seems cool enough but I don’t particularly think that’s happening. Plus, he seems to be denying himself from feelings for another girl and it’s just a bit much to me.

While I get these things aren’t the be all, end all of a story and other books may feature these flaws too, put together it just rubbed me wrong in this book. The only element I found myself liking was Eilidh (pronounced AY-LEIGH) and her POV. I empathized with her situation a bit and the potential budding romance, but she features so rarely here that it didn’t seem worthwhile to continue.

Maybe it’s just me but I tried to love this book and I couldn’t. It may not be so bad for others but it didn’t work for me. Marr may be a great fantasy author for some, but for now; her works on faeries just don’t captivate my heart.

Overall Recommendation:

Seven Black Diamonds could’ve been a great novel on friendships, romances and political intrigue with the fae. However, with too many POVs and characters to understand – not to mention the kinda writing that just bored me too easily – this book just couldn’t execute what I had hoped for it. It may just be me, but I don’t think this book is for everyone.


Fan or foe? Do you think faerie stories are getting overrated?

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Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy #1

before she ignites -jodi meadowsBefore

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.


3 Drink Me Potions


**Before She Ignites comes out September 12, 2017**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

What can I truly say about this novel, hmm? I know there are several factors that have gotten everyone excited. Dragons being namely the biggest one. In a world post-Game of Thrones popularity, dragons are a wonderful thing to have in a story. But does this do it justice? Or the rest of the story, for that matter?

Here’s what I liked and disliked about Before She Ignites.

LIKES:

There was a lot of interesting worldbuilding going on, although it came together very slowly. The 7 islands and their corresponding gods that ultimately belonged to a larger story of creation. I loved that although each island followed and portrayed the traits of their particular god, each Book of rules that they followed ultimately reflected similar beliefs and values. I’ve become pretty invested in how each island looks on situations differently, and how they may hopefully come to see each other from the other’s perspective.

The amazing morals of equality, both by race and by gender.
At the heart of this book is a fight for equality among all the islanders, without one group being lowered compared to all the rest. Our protagonist, Mira, really stood up for the Treaty she was named for and that she believed wholeheartedly where peace and equality could be found among everyone.

-That brings me to the growth of Mira.
It was slow and steady, but it did progress over time. She was a little naive and definitely unlearned in trials of hardship when she first was thrown into prison. I always love a good story that tests and allows the protagonist to find out just what she is made of. I’m glad to say that Jodi Meadows really honed in on this as Mira had so many difficult choices to make throughout the book.

The intrigue and mystery of what had brought Mira to the prisons in the first place.
She was the face of the Mira Treaty that provided new rules for peace among the islands. She was basically a political figure (without having all the power of one since there was a council acting behind her), so the downfall into a prisoner definitely played a major part in keeping me with this book, even with all the dislikes (SEE BELOW).
Plus, a good secret always got my blood tingling and makes me ridiculously stubborn in figuring it out.

Here it is, of course, the dragons are a plus.
Getting to read about how dragons were revered as children of the gods and were kept safe in sanctuaries to preserve them from extinction was a lot of fun. I think Meadows had a lot of fun with it, creating different Latin names for the various species and their particular abilities and features. I think she should make a glossary at the back to make it even more clear and enjoyable for all the dragon fans out there, but otherwise, I was impressed enough with the amount of detail provided here.

DISLIKES:

-The slowness. Moving at like a glacier’s pace.
I’m not kidding. By 50% of the book, I was wondering if Mira was ever going to see the outside of her prison walls. I truly thought that this book would probably just be in this one setting: the darkest prison of all the islands.
The only action took place when she was being tormented by her rival, aka a guard who seemed to have taken a particular interest in Mira’s secret. Otherwise, it was pages of what should I do? and let’s mimic the girl in the dungeon across from me in her cell exercises. It was frankly tiring at times and I wished for a change in scenery (besides the BEFORE flashbacks that occur between chapters).

-A romance with Aaru?
I put this in the dislikes simply because I’m uncertain if there is one? I think it’s hinted but it’s hard to tell as Aaru is from the island of Idris, known for being silent. Their secret coded language (aka like the Morse code) was cool enough, I suppose, but at this rate it seems their relationship is rather cool and on level with a good friendship. Who knows? I may start cheering for something to happen with her bestie and personal guard, Hristo. Since nothing literally fired up my heart between any of the characters.
And that would have at least made things more exciting.

I’m not sure how to sum up my feelings, even after finishing this novel for a while now. Before She Ignites has its merits and I can plainly see that book two is being set up for great things. It’s just getting through the foundational stuff here that can be slow and somewhat confusing at times as the pieces slowly start to fall into place. I regrettably say that I have mixed feelings about the book.

Overall Recommendation:
Before She Ignites really lays it on with the world building and its secrets. Jodi Meadows holds these secrets close to her chest as we slowly figure out what has brought upon the downfall of beloved political figure, Mira. The suspense is slow in simmering, and the pace can feel utterly exhausting at times, but as secrets start unfolding and the bits of action occur, there are wondrous things that this book could do to me. If you can last through the slow layout of the core foundations to this world building, I believe this book could truly astound with a protagonist who learned more about who she is and what her role is among her beloved islands. Before She Ignites has the potential to blow us away – especially in book 2.

Review: Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno

everything all at once -katrina lenoFrom the author of The Half Life of Molly Pierce and The Lost & Found comes a magical new YA novel about 24 dares, 3 weeks, and taking a leap into the unknown.

Lottie Reeves has always struggled with anxiety, and when her beloved Aunt Helen dies, Lottie begins to fear that her own unexpected death might be waiting around every corner.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the best–selling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers.

In her will, she leaves one last writing project—just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions designed to push Lottie out of her comfort zone. Soon, Lottie’s trying some writing of her own, leaping off cliffs, and even falling for a boy she’s only just met. Then the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series. Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice, one that will force her to confront her greatest fear once and for all.

This gorgeous novel is perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, with the scavenger hunt feel of Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, and a dash of magic that evokes Tuck Everlasting.


3 Drink Me Potions


Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**Everything All At Once came out July 25, 2017**

[Books] help with everything. Books can make you live a thousand lifetimes, a thousand different lives. Books make you immortal.

Everything All At Once was a poignant novel that took a deep look at life, or rather, how short one’s life can be. Lottie’s aunt whom she was really close to had passed away, leaving her with 24 letters instructing her on different tasks to carry out after she was gone. This was a unique concept that really drew me in. The voice of Aunt Helen was so real, it didn’t matter that she had technically never breathed a single breath during the time span of this novel. Her fears and hopes for Lottie were made clear and her love for those she left behind was written everywhere, both explicitly and implicitly.

Besides that wonderful fact, Aunt Helen was a novel writer, a famous one akin to J.K. Rowling in this world. The little snippets and excerpts from her children novels at the end of each chapter was so cute and the story of Alvin and Margo Hatter drew e in as much as the main story did. In fact, sometimes I looked forward to those little paragraphs more than the book itself.

Now, I absolutely adored Katrina Leno’s writing and prose. It was heartfelt but simple. The characters came to life. From Lottie’s funny but smart brother who had the most realistic sibling relationship I’ve read in a long while, to the family dynamic with the parents, I came to know this family. Not only that, but I bled for Lottie as she struggled with her anxieties, what made her different from the rest of her immediate family aside from her aunt, and the aftermath of the loss of a loved one.

Panic attacks and anxiety wasn’t made the forefront of this story, but its presence was still just as crucial as Lottie learned to take a risk occasionally, to be brave, and to seek help when needed. This was powerful. Especially with the way it ended.

And what an ending. I did not really see that strange aspect coming. The big secret Aunt Helen had kept from everyone. And likewise, how this interesting boy who came into Lottie’s life would also be more meaningful than just a love interest to check off for the protagonist. That brought up my excitement for sure.

That being said, I felt the book dragged a lot. I loved the idea of the 24 letters, and there’s one chapter for each task that Lottie embarked on for that specific letter. Occasionally, I just wished it went by faster so we could get to the exciting parts. At the end of the day, this book was 100% heartfelt but 20% suspenseful in carrying you through all of Lottie’s pain. It just needed something more in the beginning and middle to really get readers excited.

To close, I did enjoy this book no matter the crazy slow pace. It made me think a lot. About life and death. Big themes like immortality and what we leave behind when it’s our time. I think they’re important to discuss and this book did it beautifully.

The possibilities [of death] were endless, and it didn’t matter if you played it safe or not. Here one minute, gone the next.

Overall Recommendation:

Everything All At Once is one of those books that just seems to have a little bit of everything that may attract different audiences. It was heartfelt and real about loss, while also being a little bit explorative and fun with the letters Aunt Helen had left behind for our protagonist, Lottie, to carry out. With a cast of down-to-earth and genuinely real characters, this book would’ve had it all if not for the EXTREMELY slow pace it was set at. While I encourage you read this book for its overall big themes such as death and life, it may not be the easiest book to get through. But the little book within a book element may just be the thing to keep you going.

Note: all quotes are subject to change when published