Review | Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (+ book swap footnote)

poison studyPoison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Study #1)
Published October 1, 2005 by MIRA, 431 pp.
Summary:

Murder, mayhem and magic…

Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman’s noose.

But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia’s food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander’s food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.


Ahh I love Yelena’s world! Even if I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes, I definitely want to explore more of Ixia. I thought Maria V. Snyder’s writing was great and her characters were all written pretty well, even if I couldn’t connect to them in this book. So glad I decided to start this on a whim while I was waiting and managed to finish this overnight!

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Review | The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

the immortal heightsThe Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas (The Elemental Trilogy #3)
Published October 13, 2015 by Balzer + Bray, 432 pp.
Summary:

In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.


If there’s one thing I will say about this series, it’s that this probably has one of my favourite romances ever. I love that Titus is so lovestruck and has zero qualms about expressing his love for Iolanthe.

That being said, The Immortal Heights is a satisfying end to the series: the characters we have come to know all have neatly tied ribbons around their stories, villains get their comeuppance, and I have another series finished under my belt!! Yay!

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Review | Road-Tripped by Nicole Archer

road-trippedRoad-Tripped by Nicole Archer (Ad-Agency #1)
Published August 1, 2016 by Twist Idea Lab LLC, 344 pp.
Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
Summary:

What’s worse than losing everything? Try driving a phallic-shaped RV across the country with a vile womanizing coworker.

Copywriter Callie Murphy has a bad attitude, a vicious tongue, and a serious aversion to Shimura Advertising’s resident manwhore, Walker Rhodes. Know where he can stick his good looks and Southern charm? She can think of a few creative places. Avoiding him wouldn’t be a problem, except her boss threatens to fire her if she doesn’t go along with him on their RV client’s cross-country tour.

Burnt-out art director, Walker, is sick of his job, tired of women, and in a big old creative rut. The upcoming client road trip is just what he needs to shake things up and rediscover his lost passion. But his plans go south when his partner drops out at the last minute, and Callie, the foul-mouthed tiny terror, takes her place. Unless he can find a way to thaw his icy coworker, he’s looking at two months of pure hell.

On the road, they experience one hilarious misadventure after another and soon find themselves on a life-changing journey. But when their paths veer off in different directions, will they hit a dead end?

Road-Tripped is a stand-alone novel and the first book in the Ad Agency Series.
Adult language and situations.


I love romantic comedies. I may not watch the movies as much but I love them in books! I think when done well they have just the right amount of angst to help the reader root for the couple and their happily ever after you’ve already invested in them because they fit.

Road-Tripped gave me more angst than I expected, but as a whole I think this was full of heart, and has a healthy dose of comedy as well in the form of Callie and Walker bickering while on the road.

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Review | Unseen Messages by Pepper Winters

unseen messagesUnseen Messages by Pepper Winters
Published March 30, 2016, 591 pp.
Copy provided by publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary:

“Instincts are what keep us safe from fate. Ignoring them can change your life forever.”

Fame and fortune arrived overnight and after months on the road with her singing tour, all Estelle craves is peace. Tired and ready for paradise, she travels to Fiji to recuperate.

Stubborn and surly, Galloway is avoided by most–which is exactly the way he likes it. However, he’s done spending his life in regret and hopes to find redemption in the tropical wilderness.

Together, they board the flight that changes their fate forever. Crash landing on a deserted island, they not only have to figure out how to survive with no skills and daily dangers–learning how to fish, find water, and build shelter–but also inherit two children who look to them to keep them alive.

However, staying alive might be the least of Galloway and Estelle’s problems. As days creep to months and rescue doesn’t find them, their desire for each other ignites.

They started as strangers.
They grew to be friends.
They fought the desire to be lovers.

Lust can be the most beautiful thing. Love the most rewarding. But not on an island where life hangs by a thread and giving into temptation can kill you.

Can they survive being forgotten or will love be their ultimate undoing?


First thoughts after finishing this: man this was depressing. I mean, Galloway and Estelle got out alive, but after what everyone went through… I don’t think I can celebrate. Also, I don’t think I can celebrate because I couldn’t exactly get behind Galloway and Estelle’s romance, which makes me feel selfish. Don’t get me wrong, they deserve it after all they’d been through on that island, but the romance didn’t feel real.

This is also a pretty long read, just a bit shy of 600 pages and I regularly read books around the same page count – it’s just that the first 45% of this dragged. Like I struggled to get through that for almost a week. Once you do get past that though, you can finish it within the day.

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Review | The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

the neverland warsThe Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
Published May 9, 2016 by Clean Teen Publishing, 302 pp.
Copy provided by Clean Teen Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary:

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.


 

Ahh that cover. If only I could love the book as much as I love that cover.

The Neverland Wars feels a bit incomplete – a lot of loose ends are left, and I still have so many questions, the foremost being: how in the world do “adults” transmute magic and funnel it into the “real world”? The last time I heard and read the word “transmute” was when I was a huge fan of Fullmetal Alchemist and suddenly it pops up here without a concrete explanation.

Also, I’m trying out a new-ish review format, so if you don’t feel like reading through this review, there’s a handy summary at the bottom! 😀 Skip to TL;DR, haha.

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The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

the star-touched queenThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
Published April 26, 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin, 342 pp.
Summary:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself

How goes it?

The Star-Touched Queen is like cotton candy – fluffy, sweet, but when you bite into it there’s not much to it. Not to say that I don’t like books like this, because goodness knows I do, but if you’re expecting something epic, then maybe you’ll be a tad let down.
This is also a standalone, but will have other books in the same universe, so I’m looking forward to those! The world-building here is awesome, so even if this book isn’t my favorite, I’m looking forward to reading other books set in this universe!

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating

dreamologyDreamology by Lucy Keating
Published April 12, 2016 by HarperTeen, 336 pp.
Summary:

Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

How goes it?

I am not even going to lie: my favorite parts of this are the last bits where Max and Alice are just two saps when they profess their love for each other – the multi-color leaves and Oreo cake is a great touch. What can I say, I like to live vicariously through fictional characters, hah.

Dreamology, overall, does feel a bit dreamy – in a sense that it’s kind of detached? Like it doesn’t feel grounded and everything just seems like you’re watching/reading it through some sort of filter. This is perfect, however, if you want something to reaffirm your belief that dreams do come true, and your dream guy does exist.

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The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

shadow queenThe Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine (Ravenspire #1)
Published February 16, 2016 by Balzer + Bray, 387 pp.
Summary:

A dark epic fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White, from C. J. Redwine, the author of the Defiance series. Perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Cinder.

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic of his own—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman—and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

How goes it?

The charm of retellings has yet to fade on me, and I’m always on the lookout for more (hit me with recs!), so here’s another addition to my shelves! This book is in the middle ground for me – not bad, but I feel like there is untapped potential in it.

The Shadow Queen is a Snow White retelling, following Lorelai in her quest to overthrow Irina and reclaim her place as Ravenspire’s true queen. In the neighbouring kingdom of Eldr, Kol finds himself the reluctant king when his family is killed on the battlefront. With magic-wielding ogres threatening Eldr, he needs to fight fire with fire – and the closest source is Ravenspire’s queen. In exchange for Eldr’s protection, Kol is tasked with getting back the princess’ heart. Complications arise, loyalties are tested, and Lorelai’s mardushka mettle is tested when she and Irina face each other in a battle that can only end when one of them dies.

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Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers + Series Wrap Up!

mortal heartMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, #3)
Published November 4, 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers, 444 pp.
Summary:

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…

How goes it?

Oh my god! I’ve finished a series you guys! This is an accomplishment, I can’t believe it. So, seeing as this is the end of the road for this series, this will be part-review, part-series wrap-up!

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Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

into the dimInto the Dim by Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim #1)
Published March 1 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers, 425 pp.
Summary:

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing

How goes it?

While Into the Dim didn’t exactly meet my expectations, it’s still interesting enough if you have an intense love for Scotland (where it’s set, although the description of the Scottish countryside is minimal), and time travel (which everyone does in this book). That being said, if you don’t, I don’t think you’d feel the same way I do. Though really, give the book a chance.

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