Monday 30 September 2013

Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #4)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Romance
Publication Date: August 27th 2013
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?


This is definitely my favourite Lux book so far. Actually, this or Obsession, which inst really a Lux book but its the same universe. Just wow, to think of where this story has come since Obsidian. Its almost unrecognizable.

And you know what else it almost unrecognizable? Daemon. I really didn't like him to start out with. He was such an ass. And although I am still not totally in love with him, he is pretty incredible. Even knowing it was a
romance series, I never could have predicted how deep their love would grow. This is the kind of romance I search for in YA and rarely find.

"She was beautiful, and I was so, so desperately in love with her."

The only thing holding me back from really falling for Daemon and giving this book 5 stars, is that the attempts to make him witty and cocky seem to fall flat. It doesn't seem natural to me and always manages to ruin the mood and throw me out of a scene. I know that this is what most people love so much about him, but for some reason, to me it just seems contrived.

The scale this series has taken has really blown me away, and I can hardly even imagine where Opposition will take us next. I really look forward to the grand gestures of eternal love to be made, and the epic battles to be fought.

“Did you think you could stop me? I'll burn the world down to save her.”

Thursday 26 September 2013

Child of Stone by Amanda Gerry, Christy Hall (Shardwell #3)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: August 2nd 2013
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


I was engineered for war.

As an elite soldier of the Blended Coalition, I go where they tell me. I don’t ask questions. The mission. That’s all there is.

But somethin’s changing’. Gods and magic? That skrit makes my head hurt. Things aren’t what I fraggin’ thought they were—or was told.

Turns out the Coalition is rotten from the inside. Orders don’t make sense. I feel doubt in my gut. Now I’m stuck, tryin’ to decide what to do.

But somehow, I got the feelin’ that I ain't gonna get a choice anyway.


This book was just as amazing and epic as Guardian of Time, but so different! This is set 400 years after the events of Guardian of Time. It may have just been too long since I read it, but I don't remember it being mentioned that Margariete and Raeylan had such long lifespans. They spent the last 400 years searching for Esilwen, traveling the shards, many of which had advanced technology. So when we meet Margariete and Raeylan again, they are already somewhat familiar with technology and aren't completely out of their depths. And we also meet Kyleren again. I missed Kyle in Guardian of Time, and was glad to see that this book was his story. 

I expected this book to show us how he ended up with Margariete. Unfortunately things didn't progress that far. I am glad that their relationship is one that grows over time. It will get more time and focus than Raeylan and Esilwen, but I was still a little sad to see them hating each other to begin with. Its like Daemon and Katy from Obsidian, without the random hot make-out sessions. Just lots of glaring and smart-mouthing. I look forward to seeing their relationship grow to what it was in Phoenix Angel. I am just worried about the chronological placement of the next book. Don't skip another 400 years! I have to see them falling in love!

The magic and mythology grows even more complex in this book, with so much depth and more of Kirion's plans revealed. It's so hard to believe he is the same person as Carter from book 1. But I enjoy a villain who isn't black & white. There's a lot more to him than just "evil". I am usually hesitant to start a long series, and I was skeptical when I heard that this series was planned as 6 books, but now I know that the story will need at least that many, and I wouldn't want it to be shorter anyway. I love all these characters so much. Margariete, Raeylan, Esilwen, and Kyleren. Even Kirion and Farrelblade in a weird way. And the new introduction of Gene. He was kinda funny in his awkward way and I hope he sticks around.

This story encompasses more than all of the known universe, it spans millenniums, and features elves, gods, kings, assassins, and genetically engineered soldiers. There is no way that it won't have something for you!

“I was too hard to decide just what she hated most about [Kyleren]. There were so many thing. She hated his humor. It attacked her without fear. She hated the way he laughed. It was too irresponsible. She hated his smile. Full of confidence, it displayed too much self-assurance. She especially loathed his clarity of mind. His singular obsession with achieving the next objective. Kyleren possessed no ambition, no need to prove himself. It made him predictable, honest, and easy to trust.”

Thursday 19 September 2013

The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (Princes #3)

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: September 1st 2007
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 7 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


When the devil meets an angel...

Country bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man—a naked unconscious an—and loses her innocence forever.

He can take her to heaven...

Viscount Simon Iddesleigh was nearly beaten to death by his enemies. Now he’s hell-bent on vengeance. But as Lucy nurses him back to health, her honesty startles his jaded sensibilities—even as it ignites a desire that threatens to consume them both.

Or to hell...

Charmed by Simon’s sly wit, urbane manners, and even his red-heeled shoes, Lucy falls hard and fast for him. Yet as his honor keeps him from ravishing her, his revenge sends his attackers to her door. As Simon wages war on his foes, Lucy wages her own war for his soul using the only weapon she has—her love…


I think I enjoyed this one more than The Leopard Prince, but The Raven Prince is still my favourite from this series.

I loved how in this book the hero did not corrupt the heroine. In the first two books there was a lot of sex, and excuses for not being able to be together or marry until the very end. In this one, Simon and Lucy marry less than half way through the book and dont have sex until after. I liked seeing that their relationship could be so intense and passionate without being scandalous or forcing Lucy to give up her principles. 

But the whole conflict of the book seemed a bit pointless to me. Why did Simon have to duel? Why did he find it so absolutely necessary? Even de Raaf told him it was not worth losing his wife over, but still he would not stop. Until he did. He just suddenly came to the realization that he did not enjoy it and had lost his taste for blood. For no apparent reason. I really thought Lucy would save him in the end. That she would run out into the duel at the last moment and say something profound that would finally snap him out of it. But she didnt. She had nothing to do with it. It seemed like such a waste.

I was also sad that Simon lost his friendship with Christian. But besides his stupid dueling I loved Simon. He was so much more fun than the other two heroes in this series. And I also loved Lucy for being so incorruptible, despite the husband she chose for herself.

"...he opened a door into a whole new world I never even knew existed. I've stepped through that door, and I cant return. 
Its like being blind from birth and then one day suddenly being able to see. And not just see, but to witness the sun rising in all her glory across the azure sky. The dusky lavenders and blues lightening to pinks and reds, spreading across the horizon until the entire earth is lit. Until one has to blink and fall to ones knees in awe at the light."

Monday 16 September 2013

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (Chalion #1)

Genres: Adult, High Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1st 2002
POV: Male - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril, has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, as the secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule.

It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it will ultimately lead him to the place he fears most, the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies, who once placed him in chains, now occupy lofty positions. In addition to the traitorous intrigues of villains, Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle, are faced with a sinister curse that hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. Only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics, can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge—an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous, and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.


When I asked for recommendations for High Fantasy Romance, this is not exactly what I had in mind. Romance was about 2% of this book. This was a High Fantasy court intrigue through and through, with a touch of magic.

I really liked the main character, Cazaril. He was intelligent, loyal, humble, unusually kind and selfless, determined, and brave when fighting for who and what he believed in. But as a love interest? He was not at all what I look for in a love interest. He was bookish, quiet, and sickly. He was also 16 years older than his love interest.

The romance in this was by no means a focus. There were a few random moments that were enough to make it known that Cazaril had feelings for Betriz, but it was not an epic love. It was a common love. The kind that is good in real life, but not in books. In books its rather disappointing. Its the kind of love that is mostly respect and fondness. The kind that results when a modest girl finds a good husband who will take care of her and provide for her.

The story was somewhat epic though. The story of Cazaril, the most loyal servant anyone could ever ask for, risking life and limb, risking his very soul, facing long avoided enemies, and traveling across mountains and countries to protect his mistress and free her family from the shadow of a curse. And of course, Cazaril is not particularly imposing or physically capable. The fact that he can barely walk and usually vomits after a day on horseback makes it more impressive that he does it at all.

So, if you cannot tell by now, I think that Cazaril carried this book, but even he wasn't enough to make me care about the "romance", if you can even call it that. All in all, it was engaging, if a bit slow. I was very invested in his character, and it had a pleasing ending. But I will not be continuing the series, since it does not continue the story of Cazaril.

“Take heart, sir," Cazaril consoled him. "It is not your destiny today to win a royacy for your son. It is to win an empire for your grandson.”

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Romance
Publication Date: July 23rd 2013
POV: Alternating - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.


This book was absolutely nothing like I expected. Even the blurb didn't give away the fact that this was a futuristic sci-fi and not a high fantasy. And it wasn't much of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, either. There was not much left of the original tale. The only similarities I saw was that their love could break a curse, but even the details of that were very different. Besides the drastic change in story and setting, one of the more major changes is the fact that there is no clear beauty and no clear beast. They were both a little beautiful and both a little beastly, and I really loved that about it. The whole point of the story is that we are all the same, we are all human in the end, regardless of the differences we see at first glance.
“Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it.”

This book wasn't the type of book that made me want to yell with excitement or made my heart race. It had a lot of darkness, but being a standalone novel, it didn't have time to dwell on it. It had to bring a resolution sooner than in a series, so I am left mostly with feelings of peace, warmth, and happiness. It was a love story, not an adventure. The setting and story itself reminded me a great deal of books such as Under the Never Sky and Cinder. But the atmosphere, feelings of peace, HEA, and the focus on the power of undying love reminds me more of For Darkness Shows the Stars.

Isra and Gem were amazing characters who had been through so much, had been put through so much by others, and still found the courage in themselves to love without reservation. They were brave, incredibly kind, and capable people whose love was real and tangible, beautiful and selfless. And it saved the world. And although that leaves me with incredible warm and fuzzy feelings, my blood is not pumping. I am not holding back any emotions that want to burst out.

"I am her monster, and she is mine. But right now none of it matters."

Monday 9 September 2013

Destined by Tess Oliver (Years from Home #3)

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: June 29th 2013
POV: Alternating - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


All Poppy Seabrooke wants is to marry the man she loves, Cade Tanner, but she has unwittingly signed a blood pact promising herself in marriage to Angus Wolfe, a powerful warlock. And in the witch’s realm, the pact is unbreakable. Now unless the past can be changed, happiness is forever out of her reach.

Cade Tanner would follow Poppy Seabrooke to hell and everywhere in between if it meant she’d be his forever. When Poppy’s powerful aunt and grandmother devise a scheme to break the pact with Angus, Cade and Poppy are transported back to fifteenth century England. But Cade soon finds that Angus Wolfe isn’t the last of his troubles.


This was a great conclusion to Cade and Poppy's story. We visit a third new world, meet new characters, and have new adventures. I loved the setting in this one. I have always been intrigued by the time period and I loved seeing Cade adapt so well. Except for his jealousy. I thought he was being very foolish about that.

I liked Colin and Pearl and I am sad that I won't see them again. In a way, this story felt incomplete or that it could be revisted in the future. Cade and Poppy are safe and together and happy, but Angus is still out there, and the Council is still corrupt. They saved themselves but not their world. I suppose that is more than I should expect from them, but I am just used to stories where the characters go all the way to solve all the problems they see, especially in all the dystopians I have read.

Although a sacrifice was made in order for them to be together, I am so happy that they finally are. The ending reminded me why I loved Distraction so much. It was my favourite from this series, and this would be my second. I felt like I didn't see enough of Cade and Poppy together in this one. While they were on their mission in the past they didn't get a lot of opportunity to be together and I was beginning to really miss that by the end of the book.

Another reason why this story felt like it could be revisited is because of Mari and Jackson. I would love for Mari to find happiness like her sister but it was unclear whether or not that had happened. All the book said was that they had become inseparable. That's a word usually used to describe friends or children, and I don't know if I would be reading too much into it to assume they were more than friends. But I choose to assume that they are.

So, a great conclusion to the series, with a bit of tragedy mixed in with their happiness. And another great book from Tess Oliver. I will continue to read more from her.

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