The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3)The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS FOR THE KISS OF DECEPTION AND THE HEART OF BETRAYAL!

There is nothing better than an epic finale to a story that you have become so invested in. After going through so much with these characters you’ve come to know, there are so many emotions tied into how things will wrap up and eventually end. I love when I pick up the last book in a trilogy and realize it’s HUGE! To me, this means that I will be able to enjoy the story for that much longer, because most of the time I really don’t want it to end.  Mary E. Pearson did a really fantastic job with this final book in the Remnant Chronicles. I needed so much to put my heart at ease after reading the whirlwind of chaos that was the end of the second book, Heart of Betrayal.

Upon opening to the first page, you pick up exactly where book two left off. There is no time lapse to try and figure out what happened in between books, and for this I am grateful. My heart could not have handled anything less. The intense way the second book ended left me reeling as to what could possibly happen. And then our poor crew of runaway royals has now been thrust back into the Cam Lanteaux in a race against time. They must find a way to make it back to their kingdoms to warn them of the great danger heading their way. But not everyone believes in this danger like Lia does.  She was the only one to see what the Komizar was truly up to, and as unbelievable as it might be, she must stop him at all cost.

After having been through so much, Lia really has fallen into the path of royalty that she fought so hard to run away from in the beginning. But she realizes that it isn’t just about finding love, but defending your home and your people. And when she can’t leave her kingdom behind to fend for themselves, tensions arise. I found that Kaden really became a character that I was instantly drawn to, he grew immensely as well, after learning that what he’s known for so long wasn’t what he thought, he chose to go with his heart, and his heart lies with Lia. Meanwhile, Rafe is struggling with his own decisions that he is forced to make, whether Lia is by his side or not, he can’t let his people down. Together, all three must make some of the biggest decisions of their lives and for the better of the whole, or so they hope.  

I was so happy with the way Mary E. Pearson did not leave a single character out, we learn about what is going on in all the kingdoms we have visited throughout this journey, each character’s story is wrapped up, there are no loose ends left to wonder what might have happened. This to me is a sign of a great book, there’s nothing less satisfying than getting so far involved in a series only to be left hanging at the end. The story was unputdownable and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. I sacrificed sleep along with the characters, I felt their exhaustion and worry and passion to make it to their next destination and to save their people from danger and death. I felt the love that has grown between the characters, and the friendships that they have bonded. I never wanted this to end, but even though it did, I was so very happy with the ending. There were so many unknowns from the previous books as well that were explained in this final installment and there really isn’t a question left unanswered except for what might happen to these characters in the future. What I wouldn’t give to have another trilogy with my beloved trio.  

This world, and these characters, and this book were such a fun journey as a reader to experience. I am so glad that I took the plunge and read these and I will most definitely be adding these to my favorites shelf. There will be a reread in the future because I am not ready to let these characters go.  I don’t know what took me so long to read them, but I am so very happy that I did. Do me a favor, and yourself a favor while you’re at it, and give yourself the joy of reading these amazing books. Trust me, you wont regret it,.

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If You Liked This Book

29008738If you liked The Beauty of Darkness, I highly recommend picking up The Bird and the Sword. These both follow the journey of strong female characters while they discover who they are and what they were meant to accomplish. Both are set in beautiful fantasy worlds with kingdoms and royalty and a touch of magic. This book and the next one in this series, The Queen and the Cure, would be the perfect book hangover cure that you are sure to get after reading The Remnant Chronicles.

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Let’s Discuss

What are some of your favorite trilogies? Do you prefer stand-alones over series? Have you read The Remnant Chronicles? I am excited to read Mary E. Pearson’s new book soon to be released set in the same world, The Dance of Thieves. Is this also on your TBR? Let me know!

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The Girl in the Tower

34050917The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

5_stars

As Vasya is faced with the choice of the convent or marriage she decides she will take her life in her own hands. With the help of her friend Morozko she aims to see the world and experience a life of her own choosing. Yet attacks on villages has Vasya putting a halt to her travels to help them, drawing the attention of the Grand Prince putting her cross dressing adventure into a precarious position not only for herself but for those who know her secret.divider

The Story

I really liked the Bear and the Nightingale, but I loved The Girl in the Tower. Where the pacing in the TBATN could sometimes be slow, I thought the pacing in TGITT a lot more steady and kept my attention. I think what was particularly compelling about the book was how fierce and headstrong Vasya was. Like many books with feminist themes the book revolves around Vasya’s choices, and while they may not always be the most sensible or have results that she may regret later, they are still hers to make, as it is her own life.

I am not 100% sure but I am thinking that this was a loose retelling of Vasilisa the Priest’s Daughter. To my understanding there are a few Russian stories that include Vasilisa/Vasiya as a strong female character, and I really enjoy seeing it used in a similar fashion in this series.divider

The World Building

Where the Russian setting was essentially the same in the second book, Arden does an excellent job of immersing the reader into the cold vast world of Russian, culture and it’s folklore. All the magic and quirky demons add so much flavor to such a complex story. I think what I found really intriguing was Morozko’s power and am so eager to read more!divider

The Characters

I think Vasya has such a complicated character. There were times when I thought she was so selfish, but then she goes and puts her life at risk to save some village girls. She is so headstrong and stubborn, though that I want to just smack her up against the side of her head and say look what your decisions are doing, look how it affects those around you!  And I think towards the end she really starts to see what sort of mess she has caused.

Though it wasn’t entirely focused on him, I completely adored Morozko. I love that he is so powerful, yet so confused. His relationship with Vasiya is twisted yet so sweet as he battles with his feelings, his power, and his immortality. I often felt bad for Morozko because it seemed like Vasiya only called on him when she needed something from him, and I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t stand when a friend acts like that.divider

The Soundtrack

French for Rabbits – The Other Side

 

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WWW Wednesday July 18, 2018

For those of you who may not know, this is a weekly book blogging meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. The purpose of the post is to update you all on what I’ve  finished reading, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read. So without further ado, lets get started!

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30809677What I Finished Reading:

This was a discount grab on audible that I had gotten a little while back, but then hadn’t gotten around to listening to it until now. It started off a little slow for me, but then quickly picked up once we got through the introduction to all the characters and the plot began to unfold. I really liked that the alternating chapters between Kestra and Simon were told from two different narrators. That was a nice touch and really helped develop the characters in my mind.  A bad narrator on an audiobook can really ruin the experience for me, so I appreciate it when I can get into the story without worrying about how it sounds.

Synopsis:

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well – and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what – and who – it is they’re fighting for.divider

What I’m Currently Reading:20613491

This book wasn’t on my TBR and I had no particular interest in reading it but for some reason I decided that I’d go for it. It started off seeming like a contemporary about a girl with horrible allergies and boy problems and I was wondering if maybe they put the wrong cover on the book. But thankfully it has turned into something I can’t put down, with fierce characters and magic and romance! I have been flying through this book and have put aside all the other books I’m reading because I can’t seem to think about anything else but this world and these characters!

Synopsis:

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted… which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian… Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

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23127048What I Plan to Read Next:

Per recommendation from my book guru, Scrill, I have brought this lovely selection along with me on my dog sitting adventure this week! I should have plenty of reading time while hanging out with these dogs, so my plan is to devour as many books as possible! And Air Awakens is on the list!! The cover art on this book is beautiful and I can only imagine that the story inside will be as well. I know that these are said to be some really good reads so I’m excited to see what its all about!

 

Synopsis:

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

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Lets Discuss

Have you read any of these books? What are you all reading this week!??  I’m curious to know what you all have coming up on your TBR’s!

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

36039614The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

4_stars

Funny side note to begin this review. I apparently had no clue how to spell “loneliest” before I began typing this title and spell check kept sneaking an extra “e” in there! Now I know! The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was such an entertaining, different, and surprisingly good book! I have heard so much about it lately and when it kept popping up I finally broke down and decided I needed to see what the hype was all about. I didn’t really know what to expect, and I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant at first. But then I got swept away in the mind of the MC Romy and all of the emotions she was going through being the sole occupant of a spaceship called The Infinity that is heading to another planet, Earth 2. I can’t begin to imagine how I would feel knowing that all communication with anyone on Earth had a two year delay in response, and being millions upon millions of miles away from all other life. My palms start sweating just thinking about it!

Being a book about a single character, alone, far away in outer space, there really isn’t a large cast of characters that you meet. There’s Romy the MC, her therapist from NASA named Molly (assigned to her after she sent word that her parents had died in an awful accident), and J who’s on another spaceship sent to help Romy get to Earth 2.  Yep, you read that right, NASA decided that after Romy having spent years completely alone captaining a spaceship all by herself since the age of 11, they are finally sending her help!!! And in the form of a man named J on a spaceship called The Eternity.

Romy was actually born on the ship after her parents accidentally got pregnant in the early years of their space travel to Earth 2. So she has never known Earth or anything really besides The Infinity and all its nooks and crannies. She was raised there by her parents until a horrible accident kills them while she’s only 11 years old, and she is then forced to run the spaceship all on her own. I found myself really connecting with Romy, the thoughts that ran through her head and the way she handles all the problems or questions she comes across are pretty realistic to how I would feel if ever stuck in the same circumstance. She craves touch, and love, and even just a conversation from anyone other than the halfway conversations in the emails she receives from Molly on a daily basis. The emails from Molly really aren’t conversations at all because as Romy gets further and further away from Earth, the longer it takes for her messages to reach Earth. And at the time we enter her story, it currently takes one year to make it to Earth and then another year for the response to arrive in Romy’s inbox. Two years just to get a response to any question she might have. I would go insane.

The format the book is written consists of the emails Romy receives, her fanfic of Loch & Ness (which was some of my favorite to read) and then the rest from Romy’s POV and all the thoughts running through her head. It hit me about halfway through that it was weird to read a book with little to no dialogue. I didn’t really notice it until Romy herself mentions at one point that she didn’t know if her voice still even worked, that she hadn’t actually spoken out loud in years. Can you even imagine that? I constantly talk to myself, so I know that wouldn’t be the same in my case, but who actually knows what it would be like to be so alone for so long. Maybe I would just cease to talk out loud, what’s the point when you are literally the only person around to hear it?!

This book had one crazy twist of an ending that brought me to almost tears at one point. It goes from being a mellow adventure of a 17 year old girl to something of a thriller. I was biting my nails hoping that she would survive. It was interesting the way that things were revealed over time instead of all at once. And you learn just exactly what happened on the ship that Romy doesn’t want to remember, or speak of. The whirlwind of an end had me consuming this book faster than my brain could keep up.  I read this in less than 24 hours and finished it feeling like I had just gone on a deep space adventure myself! This was a great read, and it will stick with me for a while to come. I’ll be putting this pretty book up on the favorites shelf along with all my other beauties!

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If You Liked this Book:

23395680If you liked this book, then you should read Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. As I was reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, I kept thinking it reminded me somewhat of the Illuminae Files so I wanted to recommend this one to anyone who might have liked The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. They both have a different reading format, as well as deep space exploration. Both are filled with crazy twists and turns and will leave you on the edge of your seat ready to find out what happens next!

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Let’s Discuss

What would you feel like being stuck completely alone in outer space? Would you survive? Mentally, do you think you could handle it? I’m curious to know if these kinds of books bring about the same thoughts that they did for me. I was constantly trying to put myself in Romy’s position, and asking myself if I could handle everything she went through. It really is such a hard concept to grasp my mind around where here I am constantly in contact with so many people on a regular basis. Can you imagine how you would feel left to your own thoughts for so long?! How would you deal?

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Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

31019831Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

3_stars

When Lucie begins working at Château Beaumont she  is besotted with it’s master Jean-Loupe, despite the rumors of a curse. That is until she is affected by his monstrous personality. A spell is cast on him turning him into a beast and Luce gets her wish to watch him suffer. But as time passes she learns that the beast that has taken Jean-Loupe’s place is actually nothing like the cruel man.

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The Story

This book was not at all what I was expecting, and while I thought the unique point of view and change in the story was pretty great, the pacing was quite slow and a little on the darker side. I was almost pushing myself to just finish the book, until about 75% when I was finally invested enough into the characters to actually care about the ending. And while it was almost necessary to have all that transpire, there wasn’t enough to break up the monotony. I think a big portion of that was due to Lucie’s POV because there wasn’t a lot actually involving her, I felt like we spent a lot of time just…sitting there basically looking out a window.

Trigger warnings: rape and suicidal thoughts

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The World Building

I appreciated the story being kept in it’s French roots, despite being a retelling. I also loved how descriptive the book was with how Beast was dealing with the transformation and adjustment to his body – going from a human man to a beast with body parts he was not used to.

I also really liked the changes in the enchantment of the  Château and how the roses play a part of the story. I liked how it added to the humanity that was within beast.

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The Characters

I think the part that really stands out with this book was the Jean-Loupe/Beast combination. The drastic changes between the curse set upon them really sets this apart from other BATB retellings that I have come across. I think it’s in the fact that Beauty doesn’t change him per se, but the fact that the goodness is within him to begin with and it is such a drastic difference from who he was in the beginning of the book.

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The Soundtrack

Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla

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WWW Wednesday July 11, 2018

For those of you who may not know, this is a weekly book blogging meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. The purpose of the post is to update you all on what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read. So with that in mind, here we go!

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36039614What I Just Finished Reading:

I just finished this book yesterday afternoon. This was a book that I  keep hearing about, and so when I saw it pop up yet again, I gave in and bought it on audible. From the moment I popped my headphones in and settled down to maybe listen for an hour or two, suddenly time went into warp speed and the next thing I know its 2 am and I’m 50% through the book. This was great!

Synopsis:

The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on theInfinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of theEternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….

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What I’m Currently Reading:36342017

This is part of a buddy read on twitter hosted by @thecheerfulweds #TCWVicious. This has been fun so far, even though I’m still a little behind, I love having people to discuss the books I’m reading with. This book has been a crazy roller coaster of evil doings from the very first page. It literally starts with the characters digging up a grave.  You find out as it progresses why they are committing such a dark and twisted crime. But like all stories there’s always another side, and there is always a reason to the madness!  I’m curious to find out what it might be! I can already tell this is going to be another that I will have a hard time putting down. I guess I should be used to no sleep by now.

Synopsis:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find–aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge–but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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37976320What I Plan to Read Next:

I have a couple of books on deck but this one has been especially calling my name. I have had it on my TBR for the last couple of months, just waiting for me to pick it up. But as well all know life has a nasty habit of getting in the way. So this month I have vowed that IT WILL HAPPEN! I will read this book! I really think that the blurb sounds interesting, and the reviews I have seen for it so far are promising. I hope that after staring at it for so long it really is everything I hoped it would be!  We will see!

 

Synopsis:

One space station.
One throne.
And the girl who holds the key.

Tesla Petrov, daughter of an infamous traitor, no longer lives a life of promise in the Atlas space station’s elite flight training program. Stripped of her military rank and banished to the slums, she now scrapes out a brutal existence competing in illegal robot fights for Minko, ruthless leader of the Red Ashes crime syndicate. But when a wrong move costs her a fight—and a fortune—for the crime lord, Tesla knows her days aboard the Atlas are numbered.

Daxton Larose isn’t just visiting the station to celebrate the Centennial of the Crown—he’s hunting a terrorist threatening to end a century of peace on Earth. To do so, he’ll need someone who knows the station. Someone willing to strike a deal at any cost.

Someone like Tesla. 

But as the hunt for the terrorist threatens to expose secrets from both their pasts—and as their dangerous attraction pulls them together—Tesla and Daxton must fight to protect what they love… or watch it burn.

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Lets Discuss

What do you think of my WWW so far? Any books on here you have read? Or would like to read? What do you have coming up on deck for your next read? Have you read anything exceptionally good recently? I’m curious to know all of your three W’s!!

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Kiss of the Royal

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Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

3_stars

ARC received via Netgalley for a fair review.

The Forces of Darkness seem to continue to grow stronger, no matter how many battles the royal army wins. They have fought the war for 500 years, and every princess has the power to Kiss their prince to enhance their abilities, and Princess Ivy is the direct descendant to the original queen and therefore has the most powerful kiss. Because of this she must have the most powerful swordsman, Prince Zach at her side. Together their combined magic would be able to finally put an end to the war. The only problem is Zach wont Kiss Princess Ivy.

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The Story

I loved the underlying concept in this book, but unfortunately the delivery just wasn’t all there for me. As the story progressed there was a lot of repetitiveness as Princess Ivy told the reader how powerful she was rather than showing. She also spent a great deal reiterating why things were, usually one chapter after a massive info dump. I felt this stunted the pacing of the book, and ultimately made it a lot longer than it needed to be.

However, the story itself was fun and I loved how much of a slow love story it was, at least on Princess Ivy’s side. There was a lot of action sequences that helped break the story up as Ivy & Zach encountered more and more dark forces.

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The World Building

I had a hard time really getting into the world that this story was set in. First of all the princes and princesses were descendants of one queen and king. They are ultimately bred to have as much of the original bloodline. I’m not sure if the writer thought about this, but sounds like a LOT of incest to me, and it just made me rather uncomfortable, sure, 500 years later there’s quite a few generational lines they can choose from, but I mean, the second generation? In order for it to be a pure blood they would have had to have children with their siblings, or eww, their parent. I am probably thinking too hard on it, but it really just made me egghhh. Anyway, the entire time, Ivy kept saying that she was a Princess that was a direct descendent of Myrna, the original queen….but all of the royalty should have been a direct descendant if they held that power.

The other thing I had issues with was that the war was all encompassing around the Evil Queen’s ambitions and all the creatures she was making, which was great and all, but sometimes during the action scenes little factoids would be introduced in the moment that created conflict with the characters. To me it made for some poor writing as the information wasn’t built up ahead of time that could have been used, the information was given at the moment for convenience sake. It’s not exactly bad, but in a world where there are so many books that are set up so well, it definitely doesn’t make it stand out as far as world building goes.

On a positive note, I loved how the world had construed the belief system on love and how it tied in with familial bonds and lust. I think it helped support the use of Kisses as a fighting tool rather than a romantic gesture.

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The Characters

I actually really liked Ivy and Zach. I loved how they were both very headstrong in what they believed and were willing to put their lives at risk for the safety of others. At times I did find Zach to be a little full of himself and honestly, quite a tease. But that really helped the dynamic between him and Ivy really falling for each other (if you can’t predict that yourself then I am sorry for spoiling that for you, because obviously that would happen).

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The Soundtrack

The Neighborhood – Stuck With Me

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The Heart of Betrayal

21569527The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS FOR KISS OF DECEPTION.

After finishing The Kiss of Deception. It was all I could do to keep my mind from wandering back to this world, so when I started reading Heart of Betrayal it was like feeding my starving mind, giving it exactly what it had been asking for.  Like getting a bag full of Reese’s on Halloween night. Like a tall glass of ice water on a hot summer day. Let’s just say that I was happy to pick this series back up and get back to these beloved characters that captured my heart from before.

Lia is no longer a runaway princess thriving in a small village, but the prisoner of the Assassin, Kaden. He has plans for her back in Venda, where if she can survive long enough to prove that her gift is real, the Komizar might see that she is worth more to him alive than dead. Or so Kaden hopes. But Kaden wasn’t the only one that Lia made an impression on back in Terravin. The Prince of Dalbreck, Rafe, fell in love with her during their short time together before she was whisked away. And now he is determined to rescue her from whatever the Vendan Barbarians have in store for her.

Beyond Lia’s journey, Kaden’s homecoming, and Rafe’s rescue there is the story of a city that has been built on hardships and rejection. Venda was the city that was neglected from the rest, considered to be barbarians instead of the chosen or the gifted. The Vendans have been struggling to find a way to get by for a long time and they refuse to be left behind any longer. I love that there is this rich history that we learn about in Venda. The ghosts of the past come to play a large role here as LIa learns about the people she thought were savages that are actually just families and tribes trying to make a life for themselves. With her gift finally becoming more than a lie, Lia is wrapped up in this city and quickly becomes someone that the people look to save them from their hardships. She wants to become their voice and to give them a better life than the one they’ve been stuck with for so long.  Starving, and oppressed they quickly accept her and welcome her. She gives them hope for a better life. This is good and bad for Lia, because while she is favored by the people that means that the Komizar also begins to notice her, and he has a more devious plan in mind.

Through all that she’s been through, Lia really grows as a character over the course of this book, she becomes someone that has passion and knows what she wants to fight for.  She not only learns about herself, but about everything she has been taught from a young age up until now, and that she was never given the whole of the truth. This has become more than her selfishly wanting to find love, to a much larger problem of a city that needs saving from itself and from the tyrant that rules it.  And in the end its not just Venda that needs saving, but her own home as well. Lia also discovers that there are traitors among the Vendans that she thought were still in Morrighan, and that this has been going on for a lot longer than she can imagine. And to prevent destruction of the rest of the land, she must somehow escape and warn the others.  But how to do that without getting herself and even Rafe killed in the process is the hard part.

Not only do we see Lia’s character grow immensely in this book, but we also learn about Kaden, and his past, and how he came to be the Komizar’s right hand man.  My heart went out to him even though at first all you want is to hate him, things are never as simple as they seem. Lia learns this too, but she also knows that there are no rules to survival, and that she must do whatever she has to in order to get out alive. But to break poor Kaden’s heart was almost too much to bear. I secretly found myself rooting for him throughout this book even though I knew that she still loved Rafe.

I think that this was an excellent follow up to The Kiss of Deception. And once again we are left with a cliffhanger of all cliffhangers! The whirlwind of an ending leaves you with the urge to immediately grab the last book and consume it as fast as humanly possible! The world building is amazing, the characters grow into individuals that you learn to love and want to see succeed, the history and plot keep you involved throughout and I could not put it down. Its safe to say that these are very well written and enjoyable books. I highly recommend grabbing these as soon as possible and see for yourself.

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The Kiss of Deception

16429619The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

Here we have the story of a Princess. A Princess who is on the eve of an arranged marriage with a Prince from a neighboring Kingdom. A Prince that she’s never even met.  This marriage will bring honor to her family name, help build an alliance, and to bring peace to an age old feud between the two Kingdoms. But this is no ordinary Princess, it’s no ordinary feud, and its definitely not an ordinary story.

From the very first page, this story ensnared me, and kept me captivated through to the very end. I enjoy that this wasn’t your normal story of a princess learning to follow the rules. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. Princess Arabella, or as we come to know her, Lia, did not want to conform to the plans that were laid out for her life. She wanted a life of freedom, to choose who to love, and who she would marry. To be more than a bride used for political gain. And then to run from it all on the day of her wedding, leaving it all behind for a simple life in the fishing village of Terravin, earning her keep as a tavern maid, living in a shack, I knew then that this was no ordinary princess.

Through the unique way this is written we not only get the story of Lia, but we also hear from a few other POVs. One being the Prince of Dalbreck who Lia left at the altar, and another being an assassin sent to find the runaway princess and kill her. There is an air of mystery around these two specific characters because when our prince and assassin meet Lia, we still don’t know their names, or which is the assassin and which is the prince. We learn along with Lia, each of their unique qualities and get caught up in the crazy love triangle right along with her not knowing which is which until she finds out their secrets for herself. Kaden and Rafe are surprised to find that the princess they are in search of, and find, isn’t quite what they expected either.

Terravin might have been one of my favorite settings to read about. I loved the atmosphere with the colorful houses and shops to the feel of the small village life. The simplicity to every day, and the friendships and love that formed between its occupants. Pauline, who Lia ran away with from her old life in Morrighan, became almost like a sister to Lia. They loved and cared for each other and helped each other heal after all that they had gone through in order to find this quiet life of freedom. Berdi, the owner of the pub, was another wonderful side character. She mothered the runaways and gave them what they needed to make a spot for themselves in the small village.

The small peaceful life doesn’t last as long as we’d all like though, and soon Lia is swept away on a journey that she has no control over. She has fallen in love and lost so much yet, still has so much left to lose. Through it all there is immense self discovery on Lia’s part as she learns what lies inside of her and just what she is capable of accomplishing when she has to learn to survive. Beyond the story of Lia’s journey, there is an ancient story wanting to be told. Lia’s life might be connected to it more than she knows.

This was a beautifully told story with a touch of magic, a runaway princess, a prince, an assassin, and ghosts that refuse to stay in the past. There is a lesson to be learned and Lia learns the hard way just what that lesson is, and what she is, and how she can lead those she encounters to live a better life. One without the rules she has been oppressed by for most of her life. One with freedom to live and love.

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Let’s Discuss

Scrill was a big part in getting me into this series. After hearing how amazing they were from her, I decided to join her for a reread for her and first time for me. Had I not gotten the recommendation from her to give this a try, I’m not sure if it would have been on my TBR list anytime in the near future. I am so glad I did jump in on this read because this book definitely found a home on my favorites shelf.

Have you had any stellar recommendations from your friends? Maybe even a dud? I’m curious to hear about your wins or flops. Or even a recommendation! Sometimes all it takes is a little nudge to find a great book!

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Ruin and Rising

35529926Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo

5_stars

After The Darkling sweeps across Ravka taking over the capital, Alina and co are left to flee. Spirits are broken and she must find the last amplifier to have any chance of defeating The Darkling and his shadow army. As Alina learns more about her own powers, she in turn learns more about The Darkling’s history and what sacrifices will need to be made to finally defeat him.

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The Story

I know that I am probably in unpopular opinion area, because it seems that so many people were not  happy with the ending. But honestly, I’m not sure if there is any other way to finish off this story. I have to admit, the beginning was a bit drab, but once it got going, it was really non stop from there. There really was a lot going on in this book and there’s so much I could say, but that would be too spoilery. What I liked I think most was that not everything was a happily ever after. There was so much sacrifice, destruction, and loss that really drives the characters’ desperation and my heart just ached so much for them.

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The World Building

I love the continued influence that Slavic folklore and culture plays in the story. In this book we end up exploring a little bit more of Ravka and Bardugo has really made a vast land with magical creatures, unique magical abilities, and an expansive history. There’s a crazy twist in the story towards the end that I just did not expect, and it really made the magical aspect just so fantastic and my feelings were just all over the place from happy to sad.

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The Characters

Okay, the ending of the trilogy means off with the bad guys and happily ever after for the good guys, right? But like I said it’s not the happiest of endings, and I think that is one of the reasons why it’s so perfect. It’s just so desperately broken after everything has happened that there is no way it could be a happy ending. What we do get? Some redeeming qualities and info about characters we hate, and unfortunate happenings to those we love.

Mal was someone I just couldn’t stand through the second book, but was that Bardugo’s intention? There’s no way that anyone could believe that Mal was such a heart throb after all that went down in the second book. But I feel he redeems himself in this book. This is coming from someone who was constantly was messaging a friend that “MAL IS THE WORST”.

The Darkling is set up to be that bad boy we all secretly (and not so secretly) love. I know that I was holding out for him to be saved by Alina, and you know, I was really happy with what happens with his part of the story.

Nikolai. Oh, sweet Nikolai, can your book come any sooner please????? Everyone is ready for their favorite cinamon roll to grace us again.

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The Soundtrack

Banks – Alibi

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