#BookReview Cress by Marissa Meyer

W-O-W-Z-A.

I love fairy tales and their adaptions, but Marissa Meyer takes this to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I haven’t been this glued to a series in a very long time (almost a decade… back when I was in high school). It’s seriously amazing that Marissa can pull my attention so well. Seriously, I just ordered the last book of this series. I have read almost an entire series in a few months, which is super rare for me as a reader. And, I have to say, this series pulled me out of my reading slump. It made me fall in love with reading again, so it’ll have a special place in my heart.

Onto the review:

I did not enjoy this book as much as the first two, but it was still mind-blowing. The first half of the book did not pull my attention as much as I wanted it to, but I still love our little Crescent Moon… I mean, Cress. I even had to laugh because Cress and her lover boy gave me serious Tangled vibes. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but I dig the giggles!

This book moves faster than the last two. There’s twists and turns in almost every chapter and kept me thoroughly hooked. It was disappointing when I had to put the book down because I knew something else was going to happen.

I also really enjoyed this book address Cress and her instant love for her rescuer. It felt like a parody as it was also participating fully in the narrative. At times, I felt like it was insta-love but then it’d go and make fun of it. By the end, Cress isn’t fully in love with Captain Thorne so it did actually pay off. I’m rather impressed with how this YA tackled that trope. Seriously, Marissa got some real respect from me.

And then, the ending. This book leaves on a bit of a cliffhanger (which I hate, by the way), but it did it in a very good way. The book had giggles but it also had absolute terror – murder, genocide and the likes. It seems weird to put that in a review about a fairy tale adaption, but it’s true. There were some really bad scenes in this book to show how cruel Levana is. With one book left, Winter is going to have some seriously work to do (but we all know Marissa is a genius, so she’ll be just fine).

To top it off, this book had some seriously amazing one liners thrown in. Kai talking about his wedding vows was killing me – remove love, respect and joy – like, Marissa, you’re killing it!

The most frustrating parts of these books for me is the last section of the books either “extra content”. I always think I’m getting 400-500 pages full of Lunar plot, but it seems like half the book is reader questions and Q&As with authors. It makes me feel a little cheated, but it obviously doesn’t affect the story at all. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

In the end, this book was another epic-ly fun read for me. I enjoyed every second of this book (even if it didn’t live up to my super high standards). I absolutely will be reading Winter (it’s being shipped as I type this!) and I can’t wait to see what else Marissa does in her writing career. Books like these make my heart sing – they make my love of reading SO much stronger. But, she does raise my standards a lot higher for other authors…

P.S. Thorne gives me Han Solo vibes and we all know I love Star Wars. ❤

Five out of five crescent moons!

 

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Check out my reviews of the last two books in this series:
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer

And if you enjoy YA fantasy and romance, check out some of these that are also featured on my blog:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

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#BookReview Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Hot diggity dang, I love this book!

Richelle Mead was one of my many high school guilty pleasures. I’d sneak off to read Vampire Academy over and over without a second thought. I always knew I wanted to read this series but it either continually slipped my mind or my local bookstores would sell out (and online bookstores wouldn’t have it available). So, I finally caved and remembered this book existed when I found book #4 at a local charity book sale. I bought this book full price (which is SUPER rare for me, I’m a deal hunter) and I do not regret it in the least! Especially since I am already hooked on this series. AND, I just ordered the second book FULL PRICE. Yes, ladies & gentlemen, I love this series so much already I’m buying the books FULL PRICE.

So, off to the review races:

Georgina Kincaid is a succubus. You know, the types of mythical creatures that lure men in with sex and intrigue. She’s sassy, a total book nerd and is totally the type of character I want to read about. She does have her flaws, her food source is energy from humans, but who doesn’t?

So, we meet Ms. Kincaid as she works at her local bookstore and learn that she is TOTALLY OBSESSED with Seth Mortensen (an author of her favourite book series that kind of sounds like Bones but sexier). One day, a man comes into the bookstore and she begins to rave about how she would totally be Seth’s book slave. And, wouldn’t you know it, SHE SAID IT TO SETH.

My gosh, I already was giggling because I totally saw it coming BUT IT WAS STILL FUNNY.

To keep moving along the plot: There is also many other immortal creatures hanging around – vampires, angels, demons, etc. Some of these are her friends, some are her bosses and some are just strangers on the street. Humans don’t know about them though, so SHHHH. Everyone seems to live in perfect harmony…. you know, until they don’t. Suddenly immortal creatures are dying and Georgina is pulled into the turmoil of figuring out who, what, why, when and how.

Meanwhile, Georgina is kinda into Seth but a hot guy Roman also comes into her life and chases her around the city. She eventually gives in, because he’s hot, and they dance (literally and sexually).

This book is absolutely marvelous for me as a reader. I totally dig Richelle’s writing style and tone, her books move at a relatively fast pace, and they are funny AND romantic AND sexy. This style might not be for everyone, but it is totally for me!

I could see some of the plot twists from a mile away, but I didn’t come to this book for some Dan Brown style mystery. I came for the love triangle, the sassiness and the fantasy. It felt like Vampire Academy but 18+, meaning more sex, more adult-like themes but all the drama and intrigue the YA universe gave me.

Is there negatives? Absolutely!
Georgina made some poor drinking decisions, couldn’t see some of the bad guys (even though it was painfully obvious) and has a bit of a ‘poor me’ complex. It’s been centuries since you’ve been in love darling, get over the mistakes you made and LIVE.

Other notes: for Georgina being a succubus who has sex with lots of men, this book is not the erotica you might think it’d be. It seriously felt like a good mix of New Adult and Adult romance novels. It’s more romantic comedy with fantasy than erotica.

Overall, I love this book. It was a fun ride that let me enjoy it. As long as you don’t take this book seriously, you’ll enjoy the ride to. I’d highly recommend it to any Richelle Mead fans (especially Vampire Academy fans).

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
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Love fantasy? Here’s some other books you might like to!
#BookReview Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

 

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#BookReview Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen

A little birdie recommended Valyo Rising to me, and man they were spot on!

R.A. Mendsen has crafted one truly fantastical journey that will give you The Witcher and Game of Thrones vibe. And, if you LOVE LOVE LOVE fantasy, you’ll be totally addicted to this book.

Now, you need to keep in mind that fantasy is not a genre I venture into often. I haven’t found much luck with fantasy so I’ve avoided it unless I absolutely want to read the book. That being said, my views on fantasy are definitely not the end all, be all. I’m not some book reviewing wizard about what works in fantasy.

I’d like to use the word swashbuckling for this book because it seems fitting, but that gives me pirates vibe. The level of fantastical fun that Pirates of the Carribean gave me the first time I saw it was the same level of fun I had reading this book. It’s packed full of high stakes, maxed out fantasy and a wicked hunt.

Now, what is this book about?
The seventh son of the seventh son has always been said to have magical gifts according to lore, and in Valyo Rising this appears to be accurate. Our lead has visions of death and fear, and must try to survive in a brutal world with his siblings. There’s drama though, is the seventh child the magical one, The Valyo? Or is the seventh son? These siblings try to survive in a wicked world full of evil people, all the while trying to deal with the fantastical world elements coming at them from all angles.

This book is one hundred percent R rated, so I don’t recommend if you don’t like brutal scenes. I relate it to the rating Game of Thrones would have, for a comparison. This isn’t a book I’d go recommending to your middle grade and YA fantasy lovers. Dayne’s horror is absolutely brutal and should be read with careful eyes.

I picked two parts of this book I really enjoyed, even though the entire book is absolutely delightful:
1. Desyderia is a pretty name that I have no idea how to pronounce.
2. Linnea is sinister, scary yet sultry and I am totally enchanted by her character.

My biggest flaws were:
1. Similar names. I literally had to keep a little note to myself since I was reading this book on and off for weeks. Having lots of characters has always been a turn off for me, and similar names made it more confusing. Most fantasy readers are used to this though, so it shouldn’t be an issue for anyone else. The characters are well written and have lots to do on their own, so don’t be worried on that front.

Overall, this story about a group of kids trying to survive in a fantastical, dark world is a real hit! If you love epic fantasy then you’ll absolutely adore this book. I can’t recommend it enough! R.A. Mendsen has a way with words.

Be warned though, this book is long! Just the way epic fantasy should be.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, R.A. Mendsen, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
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You can find R.A. Mendsen on:
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https://indiepublishauthors.wixsite.com/ramendsen

 

If you love fantastical fun, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
Book Review: NYV: Punk by K.D. McQuain
#BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt

 

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#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs

I was absolutely thrilled that I bought the first two books in this series together, because I NEEDED to continue this series. The first book, Virals, was an absolute hit for me and Seizure continued the insanity!

This time around Tory, Ben, Shelton, Hi and Cooper are off on another adventure…. except… get this… PIRATES. The loss of LIRI absolutely sucked because the loss of potential science plots devastated me. So I was reading it, hoping that somehow these authors had some cool science-y plot to follow and NOPE! But they got the next best thing – pirates and treasure!

LIRI is going to be shut down, so the Virals need to acquire some funds to try to help their parents keep their jobs. Otherwise, all of them will be moved around the continents and might never see each other again. This is a big problem since they are Virals with their crazy powers. In walks a famous myth about a female pirate and her treasure. And, of course, she buried it near the home of our lead characters! Our Virals decide to go on a treasure hunt, and get in LOTS of trouble along the way. And I mean A LOT.

I loved the sense of adventure in this book! I was hooked to every word and it was really difficult to put the book down. There’s a good mix of 75% action and 25% goofy, high school drama. Tori takes on Madison in this book and the drama is hilarious. I’ve never considered these books to be “serious” or “realistic” books (come on… Tori’s eyes turn yellow and she has magical powers), so I absolutely loved the angst that was added in this book. Also, cue in potential love triangle? Or square… Either way, I see one coming. It’s a YA book, you KNOW the romance is gonna be thrown in there eventually.

So, what are my cons?
1. Kit seems mighty dumb in this book. Did he really not notice Tori sneaking away so much? I know he works a lot and is busy… but dude. Kit is related to Tempe and he’s this dumb?

2. The bad guys were predictable and also dumb. I’m honestly not sure how Kathy could change this (I don’t have any constructive criticism about this, to be honest) but I have to say it. It was one of my cons.

But along with the cons, I have some mighty pros:
1. This series isn’t focused on romance like most YAs. There is a pinch (and I mean a PINCH, like a pinch of salt. Very little) but the story mostly focuses on friendship and adventure. That makes this book way more fun when you’re not worried about who’s gonna kiss who.

2. Riddles, myths and legends make everything more interesting. Some of the riddles are easy to solve, but some of them were a little more difficult.

3. This book has comedy in it! There’s some seriously funny quotes lined in this book that made the action and adventure just feel more fun. I’m tired of mopey YA books, we need more positivity in this world!

4. This book is super knowledgeable. Various animals species, the Gaelic language and more science-y info is shared with the reader. Kathy Reich’s books are always smart! It’s just another reason to love this series.

Overall, this book was AWESOME! It was a fun read for me and I really want to continue this series. It’s closer to PG-13 mainly because of the language (a couple swears) but the fun could easily be read by middle grade.

Five out of five stars!!

 

Check out this book on:
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Check out the first book, Virals, by clicking the links below:
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Looking for something else to read? Here’s some other books I’ve reviewed that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Loki’s Wolves is a truly fantastical, middle grade novel that focuses on Norse mythology.

I love Kelley Armstrong and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a novel by Marissa Marr for YEARS. So, when I heard that the two of them were writing a novel together I had to get my hands on it! On top of it all, I love a good, middle grade novel that I can sink my teeth into and not think *too* hard when reading.

Loki’s Wolves has Percy Jackson vibes, but for a little younger base. Matt Thorsen is, you guessed it, a descendant of Thor, and of course he’s the chosen one! He has been chosen to defeat a mythical serpent that will aid in the destruction of Ragnarok. Laurie and Fen are descendants of Loki, and they will join Matt on his epic quest. Along the way, they must find the children and descendants of the other Norse gods and try not to make their corresponding tales come true.

This book leaves itself on a WILD cliffhanger. I NEED to know what happens, and unfortunately for me I don’t have the next novel in my hands yet. The story does not stand alone, which is a real shame. I totally get leaving a cliffhanger so your audience wants to keep reading, but MAN I AM FRUSTRATED. The story just stopped, it didn’t end!

These 13 year old leads were shockingly like 13 year olds! Sometimes when you read a book like this, the leads act like adults. Lucky for us, Kelley and Marissa are amazing writers and were able to craft characters that felt like their age. They make silly mistakes, they trust people they shouldn’t and sometimes they are down right goofy. What more can you expect from a pre-teen cast? Especially when said pre-teens are the chosen ones who need to save the planet.

The plot itself is fast paced, full of fun surprises, and has lots of literal fun. This is a fantasy novel, so it’s not going to be some Oscar winning, realistic drama. It has monsters and amulets and silly tricks (I mean, you’ve got Loki in the title… what did you expect?). To me, I think it’s the perfect way to introduce the middle grade audience into Norse mythology. It’s a fun story with just enough mythology to make it interesting! Also, I totally binged it in a few hours. It was THAT good.

I’d highly recommend this book. Seriously, whether it’s for your middle grade readers or adults who just want to sink into a good, fun book! I loved it and I’ll definitely be continuing this series if I can ever find the sequels.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Goodreads
Indigo
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Check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

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#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Many, many years ago I saw this book at a local Wal-Mart and had one of those “OMG I NEED IT” moments. I bought this book, put it on a bookshelf, buried it in said bookshelf, and then lost it until I reorganized my entire house. When I reorganized all of my books I decided to put this book on the “Read Next” physical shelf. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!

Seriously, this book is an absolute GEM and I’m hitting myself (figuratively speaking) for not reading it sooner. It’s everything I love in a YA – potential love triangle, crazy fantasy, typical friend and families woes – and it has an epic cover! It was a home run! It hit it out of the park! It was the best YA book I’ve read in a good while! I loved every second of it! And gosh darnit I need the next book and I don’t have it!

On top of all of that, my friends have been telling me for years to read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout and THEY WERE RIGHT!

So, let’s get down to business….

The positives:
Gargoyles. Yes, you heard me right. FREAKING GARGOYLES. If there’s one set of monsters I haven’t read about in my reading life, it’s them! We have people who turn into gargoyles – so right off the bat I’m impressed because it’s something different. Then you have to throw in the demons who are the greatest foes of said gargoyle people. Now, before you get all excited over this, the gargoyles change forms like a shapeshifter so they do survive out in public. But, the public also know about gargoyles? It’s kind of confusing for me, but she makes it work.

I liked that this book had lots of romance and flirting it in. I love a good romance story! There’s just enough action and adventure to keep the plot going – so it felt like a good mix.

On an even brighter note, Jennifer has an amazing writing style and tone. I got addicted to this book SO FAST that it was unbelievable. I couldn’t put it down and it was almost making me mad! It’s a great story to binge! I absolutely want to read the rest of this series and whatever else Jennifer spits out of that brilliant mind of hers.

And then there’s Roth. He’s super hot, he’s funny, he’s slightly inappropriately and I love him. Zayne kinda bores me but whatever. We’ve got two hot guys and I have already picked my side! Also… Bambi. A giant snake tattoo demon creature. Yup, this book is that cool.

The negatives:
In typical YA fashion, the heroine is the master of the universe. She’s the special one everyone’s been waiting for. Am I tired of this trope? Yup. Did the story suffer because of it? Nope! So, essentially, it doesn’t really affect the story at all but I did get a little judgey because OF COURSE she’s the answer to everyone’s problem.

The virgin side of the story had me feeling cringy and icky. When your adoption/step father like figure starts talking about your sex life and not in a “Birds and the Bees” or “Stay Safe” kind of way, I always get creeped out. I get that’s apart of the prophecy in this story but… EW!

Additionally… there is a fair bit of slut shaming and women against women vibes. I hope that disappears in the next book but… ya never know.

Overall, I think this was a fun YA ride. I don’t take it to be some seriously, Oscar-winning drama book but I don’t think we’re meant to. It’s a lot of fun and whisked me away from my real world for a few hours.

Five out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you enjoy YA books with romance and fantasy, check out these other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

 

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#BookReview Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was an intriguing novel.

It’s my own fault that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have. It has been YEARS (and I mean, literally years – probably five?) since I’ve read the first two books in this series (The Raven Boys and The Dream Theives) so I don’t remember much of what this series is all about. But, I really love Maggie Stiefvater so I wanted to continue on with this series! It’s safe to say that I was REALLY lost about what was going on.

What I got out of this book was: witches, fantastic friendships, parental drama, ghosts and death, and a giant cave.

I really enjoy Gansey in this series even though I’m not quite sure about what his character is supposed to be. He’s not the love interest, he’s not the typical best friend side character and he has no typical trope about him. I love that aspect of these characters (Maggie is great at not making a typical trope-filled book) but I’m still just so unsure. I love him, but… I need to know what happens in this last book to see how it all plays out.

Noah the ghost interests me too. What was going on with him and Blue? He’s still her energy but he is also acting very strange. Something is up with these ley lines! I want to know more. I’m too analytical for books like this – I need to know everything now.

The plot itself just confused me. The screaming man, the man they found in the cave, the lady at the end… Don’t stop this series if you intend to keep reading it. That’s my biggest suggestion. Reading other reviewers’ reviews helped a lot but I really should have re-read the series to make sure I knew what was going on. It’s a real shame too, because Maggie has a beautiful writing style and her prose is to die for! She’s fabulous.

I did binge this book in one sitting. Since I forgot most of what happened in the previous books, I knew that if I put it down I would never pick it back up. The binging was okay, but I’d rather have read it in bits and pieces.

My biggest praise is the cover. My gosh, all of the covers for this series fall into the realm of absolutely beautiful!

Overall, this book is marvelous but didn’t hit high with me. Hopefully one day I will be able to jump back into this whole series and mass read the entire set. Maggie is such a good writer but it’s a shame that we had to wait for her books. That’s what really did me in – waiting for books to come out and then not being able to afford them so I had to wait until I could. One day Maggie! One day I will read this excellence in full and understand the whole darn thing!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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