Song of Blood and Stone Blog Tour Review

Book Description

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Title: Song of Blood and Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1)
Author: Leslye Penelope
Publish Date: May 1, 2018
ARC provided from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for a fair review.

From Goodreads

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.divider

Review

2_stars

The Story

This book has so many good things about it, the problem I found is that I think having it all in one book ended up taking away from the importance of each issue. Racial, refugee/immigration, power struggle, star crossed love, magical, social status, LGBTQ, and even good vs. evil all became too many good ingredients in the pot. Truly, there was so much good stuff in here, but I thought that they didn’t get the time spent for each attribute that it should be due. Although they each went hand in hand, the pitch seemed too much at once.

First of all, I thought the romance was a little unbearable. I’m all for instalove, but this just felt off to me. I’m not even sure where the romance was beyond Jack being healed by a woman who should have been scared for her life? I kept wondering if he would stop obsessing about her skin. And no, it wasn’t in reference to the color of her skin, but the smoothness. Hannibal jokes were passed between my BR and I, that’s how often her skin came up! Aside from that I never felt connected enough to either character to feel like I should be rooting on their romance. It was incredibly sweet, however, how kind Jack was towards Jasminda. In most of his actions, he often put her safety and position above his own. Albeit, it ended up repeatedly hurting her, his intentions were always good.

The story pacing seemed to bounce around quite a bit too. I do love that the book moved quickly and didn’t spend too much time moving the plot along, but I think in the end with the combined amount of topics hit within the story made it go from issue to issue to issue with stunted transitions. Meanwhile, the main characters sort of just go with the flow – sort of in a, if you say so I guess it’s true, sort of manner. Okay, so really, not that simple, but I kept thinking to myself, really? That easy? No questions, asked, just jump right in the foray.

I would like to point out how beautiful the cover art is. A part of me wants to rate this book so much higher because it is just so pretty. But I don’t personally think that’s fair. Just because the book covers so many important topics in a gentle way does not mean that it made a great book. I would have loved to read this book alone as a series where the issues were broken up a little bit more. Seeing that it is a series, I wonder what else can really be covered because the ending wrapped up so nicely for our main characters.

Trigger Warnings: attempted rape, kidnapping, violence, and racism.

The World Building

I loved the magical elements of this world. I thought that the imbalance of the magical power added to the conflict of the story. I think my favorite part was that the magic ultimately was used for peacefulness and never, except with the twisted or in self defense, was it used for violence or control.

I didn’t like how the word was built around a fantasy based magical realism. The fact that early 20th century vibes were underplayed with a fictional magical world just didn’t fit for me. I thought it could have gone full on fantasy and incorporated real world items like vehicles and telephones within those realms. It ended up making me more confused about time period and the possibilities to the world.

The Characters

Jasminda was such a sweet character. Her personality was one of acceptance and care with little resolve for self preservation. Throughout the story she continually puts herself in danger to help someone else. I think what I really appreciated about her as a character was that she wasn’t portrayed as the chosen one. There were many instances where she had the opportunity or capability to do something, and unfortunately, that wasn’t explained very well. What made Jasminda so much different than the other Earthsingers? Was she related to someone vital to the story? Don’t know, if I read it, I didn’t realize it was evident to the story. So even though Jasminda is a likeable character I just didn’t see how she was worked into the story with her greater purpose.

The Soundtrack

Nas feat Lauryn Hill – If I Ruled the World

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About the Author

Penelope, L._CREDIT Valerie Bey

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

 

 

 

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Furyborn

34323570Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand

Publish Date: 5/22/2018
ARC received from Fairyloot box.

2_stars

“The  angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens – one of blood, and one of light.”*

Lady Rielle has powers that have been prophesized to either safe or doom the world. A thousand years later, Lady Rielle is nothing but a story to Eliana, a bounty hunter/assassin working for the Empire. They fight for their own survival, and for that of the world, unbeknownst to them that their lives are woven together intricately.

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The Story

I had ridiculously high expectations for this book. I don’t know how I am going to explain how much of a let down this was without using any specifics (spoilers) but I will do my best. One star for the idea, another for the fact that I made it through half before I really started getting bored.

This book started off so good. I’m talking about the epilogue. After that the book draws out unnecessarily. Where was the editor? Told from alternating POV between Rielle & Eliana we get a story that is overwritten but also left spaces where I was utterly confused. So there’s this history of some saints that entrapped some angels, and they prophesized that two girl able to control 7 elements would bring ruin to the world (blood queen) and save the world (sun queen).

Okay, so I say “overwritten” because the Rielle chapters were the same thing over and over again. I’ll get to the nitty gritty about why I do not like her later. But she essentially has to do these trials to prove that she is the sun queen. Which, I’m not sure how they really think they are going to decide that? The only thing she’s doing is really proving her powers and saving what she cares about. The thing is, each trial was the same. thing. over. and over: Pumped up before the trial. See’s the challenge in person, and falters. Decides she’s doing it for her friends/loved ones. Succeeds. Big freaking whoop.

Eliana has this Celena Sardothian thing about her. She’s this Dread of Orline, and is the BEST, but really there are other people better than her, named Valentine and The Wolf. Anyway, we see her do one job, and even then she’s super wishy washy and got distracted. WHHATTT. Okay, she is bad ass in reality, but still, can we get an assassin that actually just assassinates without remorse? Pick a different job.

The idea of the plot was pretty awesome, execution was poor. As slowly as the story moved the relationships moved faster. See more, under characters section.

Those of you looking for any “bi rep” get your magnify glasses out, because they only lgbtqa+ rep in the book comes in 2 passing comments and 1 gay couple who is insignificant to the story. It honestly feels like this was added to the story just to reach out to the specific audience and throw in some diversity.

For those of you thinking this is a YA book, like many YA books this is a little on the mature end. Include two poorly written, slightly erotic scenes including masturbation and sexual intercourse. I say poorly written because imagine a lot of: “oh yes”‘s and “name”‘s with some movements and, as my buddy read friend, “earth shattering penis”. If you’re going to put it in the book, at least make it good. Am I right?

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The World Building

Legrand takes something that most people to take as good, angels, and turns them into the bad guy. Angels are at war with humans, why? Don’t know it’s not explained. But there are some with power that can fight back against the angels? The angels themselves? Not sure what their powers are, except they can use telepathy…and control humans. Not exactly sure how the humans originally trapped the angels, but I don’t even care anymore. Also, there are marque (which is a little commonly known as nephelim – part angle part human), some wraiths, AND good angels. Also, a flying horse just appears out of nowhere and can be whistle/summoned thereafter.

The emporium is some sort of power source? I think. It’s not explained. Also what’s not explained is where people get their powers. Are they genetic? Does everyone have at least one?

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The Characters

Rielle- This little spoiled, whiny little girl. She’s got all this super power, high ranking, killed her mom without repercussion, but she can’t seem to just be happy for her friends who are betrothed, and aren’t unhappy about it. This girl is so thirsty that not only does she lust after her best friends wiener, but gets all hot and bothered from a voice in her head. No joke. This voice in her head can also make her feel horny.

Eliana- So this one, also thirsty. It is sort of implied that her and her lover have an open relationship…because of their jobs. But seriously, once he was out of the picture she was all but ready to jump on her enemies dick. Sure she’s sort of running for her life and on a mission, but she can’t stop herself from lusting after this guy. Also, this girl is obsessed with her knives names. Each of her chapters brought up the names of her knives repeatedly. I get introducing the fact that this girl is intoned with her weaponry that she names them all, but really? Edit that crap out. I don’t care which knife she stabbed the guy with, just that she stabbed him.

The Wolf- When we first meet The Wolf he is not very friendly to Eliana. Spin a character whiplash and he is all worshiping at her feet and would do anything for her. WHAT? Son, are you bipolar?

Corien- why is this guy so powerful? Also, did he chose his body because of how much sexiness he drips?

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The Soundtrack

The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar – Pray for Me

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*quote listed is from an ARC and may be different/removed from final print.

Duty Bound

36116832Duty Bound (Angelbound #0.5) by Christina Bauer

ARC provided by Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish Date: February 27, 2018

2_stars

Prince Lincoln not only is a skilled demon hunter, but also will do whatever it takes as his role as prince that his duty calls. That includes marrying someone he has hardly even spoken to to form an alliance, though he has always known that he will not marry for love. In the midst of his own political scheme that risks his own life, but could potentially save many other demon hunters, he finds himself distracted by a half human half demon warrior girl.

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The Story

Okay, I am going to be honest. I don’t remember requesting this book at all from Netgalley. I haven’t read the Angelbound books prior to this, so I probably have no place reviewing a novella. None the less, I still read this and enjoyed it enough. since it’s a novella it’s rather short so I was able to get through it in a single sitting. The only problem is that since I hadn’t read the other books I found myself a little lost on some elements within the world. That all aside, I could honestly say that if the rest of the books were written in the same manner as this one, I probably wouldn’t read them, even if the world is intriguing enough.

Why? Because it’s written in that first person point of view style where it’s read like someone is telling a story or you’re reading their thoughts. Lines such as:

My heart lightens. Can it be?”
“It’s a mystery, but it’s one that’s proven unsolvable. It’s certainly nothing I’ll figure out right now. Besides, I have far better things to do…”
“After Walker leaves, I start doing….things. I believe reviewing paperwork and meeting some of the Earls is involved.”

I personally just don’t like this style of writing and find a lot of it to be just filler. In fact, I find that it takes away from the plot and world building, which in this case I found lacking.

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The World Building

Honestly, it’s my fault I probably found this lacking. This is what I get for reading a novella for a book series that I haven’t read. Again, I didn’t realize I had even requested this, but what am I to do?? I can’t let the publisher down now! I am guessing this is supposed to be a urban paranormal fantasy?? There was mention of Twinkies and parks that close at dusk, so that was really my only guess to that. Aside from that, I was put into a world with ghouls, demons, thrax (whatever that is?) and quasi demons, etc. There wer some small little world building bits sort of thrown in as a side comment, like why guns don’t work on demons (another hint to the urban paranormal bit). Anyway, a little less personal thoughts in the writing and a little more scenery description could have gone a long way and been a lot more use of page space/word length in my opinion. But you all know how much I like to mentally escape in my fantasy novels.

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The Characters

Lincoln seems like he is set up to be the ideal guy, and I guess that’s okay, but I personally like a guy with some flaws. Then again, maybe that comes into play in the rest of the series.

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The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

2_stars

“Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’” 

Hazel is a self-proclaimed, metaphorical grenade that could go off at any moment. Therefore, she keeps most, besides her loving parents, at arm’s length. Even when she meets the charismatic Augustus, she does her best to keep his NEC (no evidence of cancer) self away from her currently-on-drugs-that-are-miraculously-prolonging-her-terminal-diagnosis-self.

The Story– I’m going to be real, and admit that I am way late to the game, so I’m not going to try to do a full review, and thus here are my honest thoughts:

Was this book supposed to make me appreciate life and my fully working lungs? I am a bitter monster and only cared about the characters for about a blip – and it came at a point where they post an ad for a swing set.

This book was about a defeatist who, despite the risks and trying to friend-zone the entire time, falls for an optimistic guy. In theory, could be a sweet story, except it focused so much on the cancer that the romance was a little lost to me.

Let’s just face the facts: this isn’t the type of book I read, and I only read it because I promised a dear friend I would. So let me point out that the only thing that really drives this story is the peculiar dynamic that the characters present. I need more angst to really get me to feel things.

The Characters– Hazel is a pessimistic girl doing her best not to cause very much damage of her life, not seeing the reality is that she brings life to those around her. Between her and Augustus I feel like I have to brush up on my SAT vocabulary because of the way they so eloquently speak. I was so happy that it was addressed in the book jokingly how pretentious he was.I wanted to like them both a lot, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t be able to hang out with either for very long without rolling my eyes and screaming to get over themselves. Can we have a normal conversation that isn’t revolving around an existential crisis? Not everything has to be profound. Gosh, I sound like such a jerk right now. I don’t really care though.

Anyway, despite their ostentatious conversations being over the top, I did find them entertaining. It was the type of entertaining you might find by listening to banter between two hoity toity men discuss the meaning to life as they smoked their pipes and sipped their aged brandy. Anyway, it worked for me, and helped me finish the book.

The Soundtrack– I hate that I am dedicating a song from one of my most favorite bands to this book since I thought it was so-so. But it just fits SO dang well that I can’t NOT put this song to the book.

 

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Busted

21825764Busted by Gina Ciocca

2_stars

I received an ARC from SOURCEBOOKS Fire for a fair review. Publish date: January 1, 2018.

“Suspect your guy has a roaming eye? Our services are discreet, anonymous, and affordable.” 

After catching her best friend’s boyfriend cheating, Marisa finds herself “for hire” by non other than an estranged friend that is trying to rekindle their friendship to spy her her boyfriend too. Except that now that she has gotten to spend some time with the guy, she might be falling for her mark.

The Story– So I was really glad I didn’t have to spend a majority of this book sneaking around spying on guys. As easy of a read this book was I was a little bored until about halfway through when the book resembled that of a reality TV show starring a bunch of people who were ultimately being awful to each other. The only thing that really kept me going was the drama. It was like watching a car crash.

I was honestly disappointed by the lack of consequences that seemed to affect the majority of the relationships. I mean here we have a bunch of teenagers go from immature antics to rationalization, forgiveness, and acceptances. In reality, as much as we are set up to hate the girl, I was quite concerned for the well being of the antagonist.

The Characters– I was disappointed that the relationship development wasn’t a little deeper, unfortunately the romance aspect stemmed primarily from mutual attraction and similar interests in crafty hobbies. The characters seemed rather shallow and mostly concerned with how good looking someone was and who they had or hadn’t hooked up with.

It really bothered me how focused the book was about appearance. The main character was specifically said to be five feet four and a half inches as well as 116…and still hand ample cleavage to distract boys through the book. In this day and age, I would have expected us to have moved past this sort of writing.

The Soundtrack– Hailee Steinfeld – You’re Such A

 

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A Conjuring of Light

29939230A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)

 

2_stars

 

An enemy finds its way from Black London to Red London and it’s darkness is seeping into the very souls of its citizens. Only the antari and friends (with their powers combined!) can stop this foe.

The Story-Okay, unpopular opinion time. I did not like this book at all. It was soooooo loooongggg. With that being said, there was so much that wasn’t necessary in the book. From points of views to full scenarios. There is some conflict that arises between the countries that could have been left out of the book entirely. The only thing it really offered was an out for some characters. I honestly think there was too much time breaking each character down that it ended up being wasted on me. By the time we finally got to the end, it was anticlimactic and really proportionate to the buildup that spent leading to it. I think some of the arena scenes in the second book lasted longer than what we finally got with Osaron, or at least it felt that way. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there wasn’t so much blandness in between though! It was only my determination and love for the second book that got me through this one.

The World Building– I think the thing that bothered me most about this book was that there was no explanation for our villain. Like what’s his deal besides needing more, more, more.

The Characters– I still adore Delilah and Kell. What I did like about this book was the background story for Holland and all that he endured. I was really happy to get to know one of our villains, except for the fact that we don’t really know anything really about Osaron. He is such a vague villain that we don’t even know what he really looks like.

The Soundtrack– Hawkboy – Scoundrel

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Related Reviews:

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A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

 

 

 

 

 

20764879

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

Adorkable

28791088Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

2_stars

“He was my Huckleberry, my Han Solo, my one, but most of all he was my Becks and I was his Sal.” 

Sally Spitz hasn’t ever had a boyfriend, and her good friend Hooker is bent on playing matchmaker by setting her up repeatedly on blind dates – that go pretty bad. In an attempt to dodge more awkward moments with boys she’s not into Sal adopts the plan to use a fake boyfriend as her get-out-of-blind-date card. Fortunately, her best friend Becks would do anything for her. Unfortunately, she has been in love with him since they met in elementary school.

The Story– To start, I’d like to point out I think it’s stupid that her friend and mom are in cahoots to set her up over and over with boys. Like seriously? She’s just 17, let her meet boys on her own. The premise that started the whole book was funny yes, but I just wanted to push her friend down a very long flight of stairs (see below).

Anyway, if you are a cliché trope devourer then this book is probably for you. I love that stuff. But the entire time I was reading this book I was wondering, why did I pick up this garbage?. Super cute popular boy? Love triangle? Misunderstanding? Girl who melts at the touch of said cute popular boy? Happy ending? Yes, it’s got all this and more. I am totally okay with all of this, I especially love the hidden feelings best friend trope that it is centered on. Even though I am okay with all of it, I sort of feel like when you’re doing a same ol’ story you still have to bring something fresh to the table….also those characters. I am not sure how by the end though I thought, dang that was cute. I think it’s the grand gesture….it has to be, because who can get over that?

Another thing that just sort of bothered me on a really small irrational scale. Each character was introduced with a first and last name (except the brothers because duh, they have the same last name). I don’t even know why it bothered me so much why each character’s full name had to be pointed out.

The big problem I had with this book was how it took peoples names and made it a point to make fun of them. MAINLY SPEAKING when my name, Priscilla, was changed to Pisszilla. GTFOH! I’ll never get over that.

The Characters
Sal-So Sal was supposed to be a dork right? She as obviously beautiful without really knowing it, because she is repeatedly told she is good looking throughout the book, but at least she wasn’t Debbie-downer about herself either. But really, the things that made her a dork I didn’t personally think was dorky. Like really, I’m pretty sure guys think it’s pretty cool when a girl can be into things like Star Trek or Star Wars. Liking Harry Potter? Pretty sure that’s not dorky at all – there’s an entire theme park and franchise dedicated to its fan base, what other book series ever got its own theme park?!. This girl is sort of rude though. For example, she’s a Griffindor so she had to go and bash on Slytherin – not cool in my book at all.

Becks-Oh Mr. Perfect? He’s incredibly good looking and just so amazing at soccer. He’s pretty much the prince of the school. What bothered me about this book was that he was making out with half the school, and of course is spared the man whore card, all the while his best friend Sal is judging every girl for going after him. Like I know you’re jealous and all, but quit objectifying the girls vying for his attention.

Hooker-Can we just talk about how much she pissed me off? If I had a friend that acted like this I would bitch slap her to Antarctica where she can set up some penguins. Seriously, screw this chick. No means no doesn’t apply to just sexual situations….so when your “bestie” says to please stop setting up her with blind dates because she’s not interested and only 17…then you should probably stop. She had zero personality and added nothing but premise to the story. She could have easily been taken out of the story all together and been set up by guys her mom randomly bumped into. Really, half the guys that she was sending to Sal was her cast offs. What kind of friend does that? He wasn’t good enough for me, so you can have him. Hooker you are awful.

The Soundtrack-Okay, now since I wanted to punch a hole through this book, I have a few qualms about assigning some good jams to this book, alas, it cannot be helped.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – Can’t Take My Eyes of You (because big gestures in stadiums make me think of Heath Ledge & 10 Things I Hate About You)
Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games with My Heart
Jimmy Eat World – Carry You
Civil Wars – Poison and Wine

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

8591107The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin

2_stars

“I didn’t know what was real, what was a nightmare, what was a memory.” 

Mara Dyer survives an accident where three of her friends die. She has no idea what happened or what is happening to her. In her recovery strange things start to happen around her and she can hardly handle the stress that is honing in around her life, including the attention of heartthrob Noah Shaw.

The Story-Okay, to start I was pretty intrigued about the plot. I just really, really wanted to know what was going on. At about 70% I had a major “why is this even happening” moment. It sort of felt like this story was jumping from scene to scene of Mara’s delusions. I’m not sure if it comes up again later, but there were a few things that I felt sort of just dropped off in the story line, and I am not sure if it’s for mysteriousness or…? I think my biggest issue with the book besides it sort of being jumbled was the fact that Noah would speed off in his Prius…I am pretty sure those go zero to sixty in about an hour, so it was really hard for me to imagine him doing that.

Truthfully, as a whole I didn’t care for the book, and I think a big part was also the characters. The only reason why I even went more towards a 2 star than a 1 was because I finished it so quickly. Despite its flaws I still kept turning the pages, and you know what? I actually want to read the next book…even though I almost want to hate this one.

The Characters-Guys, these characters made me want trap them inside a building where they can all die when it crumbles.

Mara-I really hate girls who know to stay away from a guy and then melt into a puddle when they come near. Like really Mara, just because a guy tells you to do something and is grossly charming doesn’t mean you have to do what he says or follow along. Get a back bone.

Noah-Can we just point out how awful this guy is? Somehow we get through the story with only Jamie telling Mara that it’s basically a bad idea to get involved with him. Honestly, great, he’s not perfect, but you know what? Maybe he could feel just a little bit ashamed about how he used the girls at his high school. Oh and his possessiveness was really not attractive, despite how often we are told that he is basically McDreamy. Hey Noah, when a girl says no, that means no. That doesn’t mean pursue her more just because you have some weird fascination with her as well as a disposition of getting everything that you want. Also, I really hate when writers point out how much someone is smiling. Okay enough already with the smiling, smirking, and upturned lips!
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Joseph-How can this kid be so smart but then just roll over and take Mara & Noah’s word for something that happened that was incredibly sketchy.

Daniel-What kind of dick big brother pushes his sister to spend time with a known playboy?

 

Fireblood

Fireblood (Frostblood Saga, #2)Fireblood (Frostblood #2) by Elly Blake

2_stars

“The flame, eternal, like the spirits of the Fireblood people. Crush us, beat us, cut us down. We will not be extinguished. We live in the embers and rise again to consume our enemies.”

Taking over the country after his brother, Arcus has set out to create peace with Sudesia and have a safe place for firebloods. Unfortunately the court is less inclined to accept the warm blooded people.Meanwhile, the Minax is possessing citizens and wrecking havoc in the city by making them kill other people. When his court is attacked because of his new policies, Ruby takes the opportunity to protect Arcus by separating herself from his court and set out on a mission to infiltrate the Sudesian court to find the Fire Minax so the Frost Minax can be destroyed.

The Story– The things I liked about the first book were completely lost here. There was maybe 5 pages of broody Arcus, and obviously no arena scenes. Ruby did have to go through some challenges in order to accomplish her goal, but it wasn’t nearly as captivating as the gladiator-esque scenes while battling the willpower of the Minax. Fireblood was this drawn out story of Ruby just needing acceptance and the entire time she was like “Arcus forever”, turns around, “mmm Kai, you’re conveniently here and flirting with me.”

Around the 80% mark I realized, that this just isn’t going to wrap up nicely in time. Which caused me to realize, that this just isn’t the end.

“‘We need to be prepared for the worst.’

Except the worst keeps getting…worse.'”

 riverdale cw the cw jughead cole sprouse GIF

The World Building-There was pretty much no additional world building in this book. What little there was was spent on the dynamic of the Fireblood masters and the trials to become a master.

The Characters

Ruby-Despite there obviously being a love triangle, it was really just so lighthearted that it should hardly count. Ruby being the key element in the triangle turned out to be flighty in the fact that she was so easily swept away. I found that she fell more into the convenience rather than actual feeling.

Arcus-True to form, Arcus was broody and romantic at the same time. Unfortunately, he was only in maybe 10% of the book, yet his presence was enough to keep Ruby faithful enough. My dear Arcus, you deserve better.

Kai-I don’t have any feelings for this guy. Despite him being a fireblood I found him to be lukewarm at best. Honestly, if he was going to sweep Ruby off her feet couldn’t he have had a bigger impact of character traits?

 

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Unspoken Rules

35424123Unspoken Rules by Lora Inak

ARC provided by Netgalley for a fair review.

Publish date: September 17, 2017

2 Stars

“She wasn’t like the other kids at school. She didn’t have the same freedoms. She had to live the life decided for her. Tread the same terrain trodden on by her mother, her grandmother, no doubt her sister and countless other girls and women from her community. Her road was set – long straight, even, the scenery black and white.” 

Unspoken Rules is about a Syrian girl, Natalie, living in Australia desperately trying to balance life at home within the Syrian Christian Orthodox community and her secular life at school.

The Story-What I liked about this story was that it instilled quite a bit of culture around Natalie’s choices. It’s a lot more than just strict parents with lots of rules – it has to do with the background of why there are rules. So when she went around trying to hide her choices from her family it was understandable. Here she was trying to live a life as a modern teenager in Australia, when her life was shrouded by religion, tradition, and expectation. Her life at home at school was so drastically different that it was just so much easier to separate the two rather than merge them as one life – her life.

The Characters-Natalie could be the biggest hypocrite. Like here she was complaining about how traditional her family was, and then flip out and unfriend her best friend because of a modern choice she made, that frankly didn’t actually affect Natalie in any shape or form.
I did however adore how unsuperficial she was when it came to her judging people, especially when it came to including one of the unpopular girls at her church.

The Connection-I was raised in a fairly strict household, so I definitely get how she would feel when it comes to not being allowed to do a lot of things. I honestly got a little annoyed at how much she was complaining about her different lives. Like, dang girl, you’re the one who made it that way. At least she admitted she needed to grow up. I also found it a little weird how open she was to changes in her life once a boy was involved. It was a big relief to see that at some point in their relationship she realized the choices she was making was drastically different than how she was raised. Now while I do not agree with some of the way the orthodox religion is, I do not agree with someone just flip flopping without a thought – and I was incredibly happy that she didn’t just get carried away with the moment.

All in all, I thought the book was okay, but nothing to really grab my friend and rave about to.

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