Review: Supernova by Marissa Meyer

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Title: Supernova
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #3
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Dan Bittner, Rebecca Soler
Length: 17 hours (552 pages)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan Audio
Release Date: November 4, 2019
Source: Library (Libby)
Recommended for fans of: superheroes, comics
Content Warnings: death of family members, violence, manipulation

SYNOPSIS

All’s fair in love and anarchy…

The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian fighting to keep their identities secret. While the battle rages on between their alter egos and their allies, there is a darker threat shrouding Gatlon City.

The Renegades’ worst enemy is back among them, threatening to reclaim Gatlon City. Nova and Adrian must brave lies and betrayal to protect those they love. Their greatest fears are about to come to life, and unless they can bridge the divide between heroes and villains, they stand to lose everything. Including each other.

Intrigue and action will leave readers on edge until the final, shocking secrets are revealed.

MY THOUGHTS

This was an explosive finale full of twists, turns, deception, betrayal, and redemption. The events in this book were shocking and impossible to predict.

However, at times it was too much. SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book, it was hard to keep up. While the final battle kept me on the edge of my seat, it felt a little too long. There was so much back and forth, I wish things had wrapped up more quickly.

I am conflicted about the ending. The final battle was so dragged out, but so much happened right at the end it gave me whiplash. I was very satisfied with Nova and Adrian’s journeys and where their relationship ended up. But then the epilogue included a major reveal that needs to be explored, expect this is the last book in the trilogy. As far as I know there are no plans for a spinoff, so I don’t understand the purpose of the epilogue.

Despite the confusing ending (I understood what was happening, but I didn’t understand why Marissa Meyer made all of those choices), I overall enjoyed this book and I recommend this series!

Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Archenemies
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #2
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Dan Bittner, Rebecca Soler
Length: 15 hours (474 pages)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan Audio
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for fans of: superheroes, comics
Content Warnings: violence

SYNOPSIS

Time is running out. Together, they can save the world. But are they each other’s worst nightmare?

Nova’s double life is about to get a lot more complicated:

As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian’s patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.

As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist—a group of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them the most.

But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.

In this second installment of the Renegades trilogy, Nova, Adrian, and the rest of their crew—Ruby, Oscar, and Danna—are faced with escalating crime in Gatlon City, while covert weapons and conflicting missions have Nova and Adrian questioning not only their beliefs about justice but also the feelings they have for each other.

The line between good and evil has been blurred, but what’s clear to them both is that too much power could mean the end of their City—and the world—as they know it.

MY THOUGHTS

A lot of reviewers criticize this book for “second book syndrome,” but I disagree. Maybe it’s because I listened to the audiobook, but I think this book did a great job of expanding on the events of book 1 and setting up an epic conclusion for book 3.

This book did not have as much action throughout as Renegades, BUT it excelled in character development and expansion of prodigy lore and Renegades history. The blossoming romance between Nova and Adrian was SO SWEET. I thrived on Nova’s inner conflict as she struggled to reconcile her villainous goals and hatred of the Renegades with her feelings for Adrian and friendships with actual Renegade members.

The ending of this book was so exciting, and the slow build definitely paid off. The fallout of this book’s ending opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for an epic conclusion to the series in book 3.

Series Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

BOOK STATS

Overall Rating: ☆☆.5
Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobooks
Narrator: Emily Shaffer (books 1-6), Alden Ford (books 4-6)
Publisher: Razorbill; Listening Library
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for fans of: Vampire Academy
Content Warnings: rape; body image issues/dieting; teen drinking, smoking, drug use; cults; brainwashing; psychological and physical torture

#1 Bloodlines
Pub. Date: August 22, 2011
Length: 13 hours (421 pages)

#2 The Golden Lily
Pub. Date: June 11, 2012
Length: 12 hours (418 pages)

#3 The Indigo Spell
Pub. Date: February 11, 2013
Length: 12 hours (401 pages)

4. The Fiery Promise
Pub. Date: November 18, 2013
Length: 12 hours (412 pages)

5. Silver Shadows
Pub. Date: July 28, 2014
Length: 11 hours (380 pages)

6. The Ruby Circle
Pub. Date: February 9, 2015
Length: 10 hours (348 pages)

BOOK ONE SYNOPSIS

I wasn’t free of my past, not yet.

Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

MY THOUGHTS

Y’all. I really wanted to like these books. I saw many reviews saying that Bloodlines was even better than Vampire Academy. I didn’t buy into the VA hype because I found the series problematic (as I explained in my series review), but I enjoyed the writing enough that I wanted to try this spin off series with the hopes that it would be everything I wanted VA to be.

It wasn’t. Sydney is a BORING protagonist in the first few books. She is too perfect and righteous, obsessed with following rules, doing homework, and wearing beige. She is also obsessed with dieting, counting calories, and her weight, and I thought the way her body image issues were described was problematic for teen readers. The first book also includes another romance with a problematic age gap (what is it with Richelle Mead and normalizing gross age differences in relationships?).

I really liked the introduction of witches into this paranormal universe, and Sydney finally became interesting when she began exploring magic in earnest. I did like Adrian (he was one of my favorite characters from VA), and I supported their romance initially…until it went off the rails. The Alchemists turned out to be much more culty than they appeared in VA, which took the series in some bizarre and unexpected directions.

I almost DNF book 3, and I wish that I had. While I thought book 4 was the best in the series, book 5 was straight up ridiculous, and I only read book 6 so I could put this series behind me for good. I do not ever plan to read anything by Richelle Mead again. After 12 books, I can safely say that I do not support her writing and the problematic elements she includes in books marketed for teens.

Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: NOS4A2
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Kate Mulgrew
Length: 20 hours (694 pages)
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: April 28, 2013
Source: Library (Libby)
Recommended for fans of: Stephen King
Content Warnings: harm to children, addiction

SYNOPSIS

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

MY THOUGHTS

What a wild ride. I read this in a buddy read, and general consensus was that this is an acid trip in a book. This creepy, disturbing, and creative horror was perfect for Christmastime, but it will give you chills year-round.

Kate Mulgrew’s narration on the audiobook was FANTASTIC. Her character voices were spot on and made the story even more disturbing and vivid than the writing alone.

This story is very well written with strong Stephen King vibes. It’s perhaps a bit longer than it needs to be, but I was captivated every minute.

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: New Adult
Format: Hardcover novella
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Source: Personal collection
Recommended for fans of: ACOTAR series

SYNOPSIS

Hope warms the coldest night.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court. 

MY THOUGHTS

This was a nice check-in with Feyre and friends after ACOWAR, but ultimately it didn’t have enough substance to wow me like the rest of the series.

I did enjoy it more on my reread, and it was perfect to read around the holidays since it is set around the Winter Solstice. I appreciated some of the sentimental moments among the Court of Dreams and Feyre’s healing journey, and I think this novella will be an important bridge between the original ACOTAR trilogy and future books set in Prythian, but I miss all the conflict from the full-length novels.

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: New Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 720 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: war-related trauma

SYNOPSIS

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

MY THOUGHTS

Oh how I love this series. I think I loved it even more on my reread. Feyre really comes into her own in this book, displaying so much growth over the series.

There are so many twists and epic moments in this book. I absolutely love the found family, and let’s not forget the romance!

Sarah J. Maas always astounds with the depth and breadth of her world building. This book nicely resolves Feyre’s trilogy, but leaves plenty of characters and realms to explore in future books.

Review: A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: A Sky Beyond the Storm
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #4
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Fiona Hardingham, Katharine Lee McEwan, Steve West, Maxwell Caulfield, Nikki Massoud
Length: 17 hours (516 pages)
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Library (Libby)
Recommended for fans of: Roman Empire-inspired fantasy like the Dark Shores series or The Winner’s Trilogy

Series Reviews:
An Ember in the Ashes
A Torch Against the Night
A Reaper at the Gates

SYNOPSIS

Prepare for the jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahir’s beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off…

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows.

MY THOUGHTS

OH MY HEART! Amazing conclusion to this series. Expect tears, gasps, smiles, and all the feels.

This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. Expect the series’ signature plotting, mind-blowing misdirection, heartbreaking losses, slow build with epic payoff, and emotional roller coaster.

This has become one of my all time favorite fantasy series. I am sad this series is over, but I cannot wait to see what Sabaa Tahir writes next.

Cover Reveal: Glimpse of Time by JM Buckler

BOOK STATS

Title: Glimpse of Time
Author: JM Buckler
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: New Adult
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook
Publisher: Gratus Publishing
Release Date: Early 2022

SYNOPSIS

Three worlds.

Two families.

One war.

The Capturing Time Saga is the name of the new series.

AUTHOR BIO

JM Buckler has been featured in top media including ABC, NBC, and Fox. She is the award-winning author of Seeker of Time, Stillness of Time, and Passage of Time, young adult fantasy-fiction books which have received praise from the likes of Kirkus Reviews and which have been best-selling young adult books on Amazon. Game-changers in the young adult marketplace, Buckler’s novels combine electric storytelling with deep spiritual lessons and meaningful takeaway on how to cope with life’s hardships – addressing everything from betrayal and heartbreak, to violence and death.

Buckler offers writing-based programs to diverse audiences – teaching how to use the power of the pen to reshape and reclaim one’s life, as Buckler did when she began her own writing journey: After years of drifting through life, feeling insecure and lacking a sense of meaning or purpose – always trying to be the image and fill role that others held out for her – Buckler took a leap of faith and walked out on the person she was supposed to be, instead diving into the world of her imaginary characters. Through developing their lives, Buckler discovered that she cultivated her own – ultimately finding her calling and passion, transforming her reality, and emerging a grounded and confident young woman. Buckler lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and Havanese dog.

CONTACT LINKS:

• Website: http://jmbuckler.com
• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_j.m.buckler
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorjmbuckler
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seekeroftime

Thank you Literary Bound Tours for including me in this cover reveal!

Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Adult
Format: Hardcover/ebook
Length: 848 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Source: Hardcover from personal collection, ebook from library
Recommended for fans of: dragons, slow burns, epic fantasy
Content Warnings: death, violence, miscarriage

SYNOPSIS

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

MY THOUGHTS

The Priory of the Orange Tree is truly epic fantasy. I am astounded at what Samantha Shannon managed to accomplish in a standalone. The expansive world building encompasses a complex global political system with distinct cultures, 1000 years of rich history for each region, mythical creatures such as dragons and ichneumons, and strong complicated characters. I cannot say enough good things about Ead and Sabran.

That being said, sometimes this hefty book was A LOT to handle. There were a ton of side characters to keep track of throughout the entire book. One of the four POV characters was incredibly unlikable and unenjoyable. The plot dragged in certain sections, and this book was definitely longer than it needed to be. I also expected more from the final battle.

Part of the reason the book felt so slow to me was that my buddy read group read 100 pages per week, so it took us two months to finish the book, which was too long. I purchased the hardcover, but the book was so bulky and cumbersome that I ended up borrowing the ebook on Libby and switching back and forth. Just some things to keep in mind if you plan to read this book!

I recommend this book for fans of slow burn epic fantasy with complicated politics, magic, and history. However, if you are someone who reads a lot of YA and NA fantasy like me, the pacing is different from what you are used to.

Series Review: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK STATS

Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Title: Wicked
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Audience: New Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Amy Landon
Publisher: Tantor Media
Source: Library (Libby)
Recommended for fans of: Shadowhunters looking for a steamier romance, Sookie Stackhouse
Content Warnings: kidnapping, drug use, torture

Book 1: Wicked
Pub. Date: December 8, 2014
Length: 12 hours (376 pages)

Book 2: Torn
Pub. Date: July 19, 2016
Length: 10 hours (369 pages)

Book 3: Brave
Pub. Date: December 11, 2017
Length: 11 hours (362 pages)

SYNOPSIS – BOOK 1

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

MY THOUGHTS

I absolutely loved this series. This is the perfect trashy fantasy romance about a secret order of fae hunters. Ivy is the kind of passionate heroine with a secret I love. Ren is ultimate book boyfriend material. Tink is delightful and provides much needed comic relief. I always love a New Orleans setting. The world building is straightforward and interesting, the romance is very steamy, and what the story lacks in depth it makes up for with an engrossing pace and addicting storyline. The twisty, action-packed, cliffhanger ending at the end of book one solidified it as a 5 star read for me.

I did not love the direction book 2 took as much. It took some strange turns that put the characters through hell. Ivy and Ren’s relationship was challenged, but there was still lots of steam.

Book 3 featured great character development, great action, and again, plenty of steam. Ivy struggles to overcome the aftermath of Torn, but Ren and Tink are there to help her through. Ivy has to make some difficult decisions to save the world from the fae, and there are plenty of surprising twists! The ending could’ve been a bit more satisfying, but overall I loved this series and it was just what I needed at the time.