Tag Archives: magic

Book Reviews
February 5, 2015 posted by Nichole

The Sorcerer Heir (The Heir Chronicles #5) by Cinda Williams Chima

The Sorcerer HeirThe delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them. 

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.


Praise for The Heir Chronicles:
The Warrior Heir

*”Chima offers a pitch-perfect blend of high fantasy and small-town reality…” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

* “Twists and turns abound in this remarkable, nearly flawless debut novel that mixes a young man’s coming-of-age with fantasy and adventure.” –VOYA (starred review)

The Wizard Heir 
* “Chima uses her pen like a wand and crafts a wonderfully rich web of magic, while thankfully leaving some dangling threads for subsequent tales.” –VOYA (starred review)

“Chima is a talented storyteller…a strong choice for teens seeking a rousing read.” –The Cleveland Plain-Dealer

The Dragon Heir 
* “A superlative accomplishment.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Chima spins a finely structured tale that roars to a satisfying conclusion.” –School Library Journal

The Enchanter Heir 
* “A smoldering story soaked in tears, sweat and blood, constantly threatening to blaze into an inferno. Spellbinding.” –Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

“Chima continues to excel at building tension and populating her well-told tales with new and returning characters we want to know better.” –Booklist

 

My Review:

I LOVED this book! There was nothing even remotely negative to say about it. The character were amazing; the plot line was off the charts; the magic was even more magical that could be expected. Then again, I never have anything negative to say about any of Cinda Williams Chima’s works. Just…amazing. I still haven’t even recovered from it.

The only thing that slightly confused me (and it was my own fault) was that I had some confusion over some of the characters who appeared in the first three books. Realistically, I should have reread them before I read books 4 and 5 (since there was such a long gap between them) but…I didn’t. I would definitely recommend that fans of this series (or any reader in general) read or reread the first 3 books before moving on to 4 and 5. Simply for your own sanity.

I didn’t understand how this was the finale to the Heir series. I had thought and expected that there would be at least one more book. Not only do I want to read more from this series, but I also thought that the ending wasn’t finished. There’s a lot that still wasn’t covered or was just kind of left open ended. Also, being such a fan of Emma and Jonah, I expected more from their relationship at the end of the series. So, I’m pretty disappointed that this is the finale (even though it was amazing!) Hopefully, Chima changes her mind down the road and continues the Heir series.

There were so many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming in this book. I had moments where my mouth was literally hanging open and I was like whaaaaat just happened?! There was never a dull moment. I felt that the action just kept right on pumping and I was entertained (and in love) the whole read through.

There’s absolutely nothing negative that I can say about this book. Cinda Williams Chima is one of my all time favorite authors, and I will promote everything that she writes with nothing but the highest regards. If you haven’t read any of her works yet, then I highly recommend that you do so! This was just so good!!!

 

Pages: 560

Publication Date: October 21st, 2014

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Rating: : ★★★★★

adult books
April 9, 2014 posted by Nichole

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs

night broken_front mech.inddAn unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

 

My Review:

I can honestly say that I loved this book from start to finish. It was a constant whirlwind of action and romance. Never once was I bored or irritated. It was just a fun read. I’ve glad that I’ve enjoyed the last two books in the series, because the Mercy Thompson series started to hit a rough patch there for a little bit. I even rated one of the books two stars! It broke my heart /= Night Broken strayed away from  that rough patch, though.

Night Broken introduces a new character. Actually, let me rephrase, Night Broken introduces several new characters. Two of those said characters are Adam’s ex-wife, Christy, and Mercy’s half-brother, Gary Laughingdog.  First of all, let me say how hilarious it was to finally have Christy in the mix. She and Mercy did not get along at all, and it was a riot to have them in the same room together. As for Gary Laughingdog, I didn’t really think anything of him until the last chunk of the book when he started to appear more. He was definitely an interesting character who I’m excited to read more about. Thankfully, the ending of Night Broken sets it up for both of those characters to be  continue in the series. I hope that Briggs decides to keep Christy around simply for the entertainment!

One negative thing that I’ve noticed about this series as it has progressed is that it’s getting a little stuffy in the romance department. For example, Mercy and Adam tend to act like an old married couple in every single situation. I want to see them have those light and fluffy moments. Additionally, I want to see those hot and steamy moments that Briggs seems to be lacking on lately. It doesn’t take away from the book that much, but it does take away from my love for them as a couple.

Overall, I loved this book. I can’t say all that much in my review since this is the eighth book in the series and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. If you haven’t read the Mercy Thompson series, then I highly recommend it! It’s a great adult paranormal series that is full of fun, magic, action, mystery, and romance all rolled into one amazing series.

 

Pages: 341

Publication Date: March 11th, 2014

Publisher: Ace Hardcover

Rating: : ★★★★☆

 

Book Reviews
March 4, 2014 posted by Nichole

Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1) – Sally Green

18079804A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

 

Half Bad is one of those books that just pops out of nowhere and slaps you in the face with how good it is. I picked this one up because it was about witches, and who doesn’t love witches? I was amazed at how raw and powerful the storyline was. I was so intrigued and mind blown over the twists and turns that Sally Green provided. I felt like I was constantly being knocked off my feet. Whenever I picked myself back up again, I was instantly knocked back down.

When I first started Half Bad, I didn’t like it. That didn’t last long; it only lasted about 20 pages. The problem was that it’s written in second person point of view for the first two chapters, and I cannot stand having the word “you” thrown around that much. My preference is first person. I can handle third person POV, but do NOT stick me with second person POV. I actually almost DNF’d it right away because of that. So if you have that same problem starting out don’t freak out. Stick with it and it WILL get better!

What I absolutely loved about Half Bad was all of the messages thrown around. I loved how Half Bad really twisted around the common definitions for black and white. White magic is often depicted as “good” while black is “bad.” This book really makes you think about those concepts since the “white” witches were very hostile, abusive, aggressive, and dangerous. The “black” witches weren’t the best witches, either, but I did see more good come from them than the white witches. I think that’s a great concept for people to think about. It’s difficult to just place people in certain categories, and I felt that Half Bad did a really great job challenging those beliefs.

While Half Bad is about witches and is obviously a paranormal read, Contemporary lovers are going to absolutely adore this one. It’s actually pretty low key on the paranormal aspects. It focuses a lot more on Nathan’s trauma and trying to work around his personal scars. My heart broke for Nathan so many times. It was difficult for me at times to watch this little boy grow up in a semi normal life and then watch three years of his life be full or torture and abuse. Once Nathan is captured, he is never the same. I thought that Half Bad did a good job of showcasing trauma, depression, and mental illness. It seems weird to me that so much could be going on in one book. I really think that this is a book that could suit lovers of all genres.

As far as romances go, Half Bad doesn’t really have any. Nathan has a crush on a girl from the very beginning of the book but that is so low key to the rest of the story. I feel like that relationship will probably grow a little more as the series continues. So people need to be aware that this is not a book to fall head over heels in love with a romance story. That aspect doesn’t really exist in this one. I actually found it a little creepy that Nathan was so hung up on his crush because he went for years without even seeing her. Seeing as they hadn’t seen each other since Nathan was 14, I felt that it was a little weird he was so hung up on her at 16 and 17.

On to a more negative note, the last 100 pages of Half Bad were very difficult to get through. It started to read more as an adult novel than a YA book. It also got reallllllly boring and weird. I obviously wasn’t going to DNF it when I had invested over 300 pages into the book, but if it had started out that way I never would have finished it. It concerns me a little bit about the second book. It’s rare that such a good book loses it’s heat toward the end….so….we’ll see.

Before I reached those last 100 pages, I was comparing Half Bad to the Harry Potter series. That’s how good it was. It obviously wasn’t AS GOOD as HP, but it’s been a long time since I’ve found such a good paranormal/witch book. However, I do wish that there would have been more magic and paranormal aspects to the book. Don’t go into this book thinking that it’s full of witches and magic. It’s not. While the majority of the characters are witches, I can’t really think of any magic that happened in the book. I can think of the “gifts” that some of the witches had, but this is not a book filled with wands, spells, and magic cauldrons.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It was originally a 5 star book for me, but those last 100 pages bumped it down to a 4. I would still recommend it, not only because it’s a great book but because it has also been optioned for film by Fox 2000. I will be reading the second book when it comes out, and I can’t wait to watch the movie. Fingers crossed that it happens!

 

Half Bad is out in stores today. Go buy your copy!

 

Pages: 416

Publication Date: March 4th, 2014

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Rating: : ★★★★☆

 

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Book Reviews
January 8, 2014 posted by Nichole

A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1) – Alyxandra Harvey

16059442In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.
But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.
Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the most terrifying of all: the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters-are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers.
And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away …or even worse, another witch is killed?

 

I read an early ARC of this book when it was still called Witching Season: Stormcaster. There may be changes and/or edits in the finished edition.

 

The first 100 pages of A Breath of Frost were absolutely amazing. I was instantly hooked to the 3 main characters, Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope and their magical ways. I thought that the beginning had a very similar feel to The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, which is a HUGE compliment from me considering that that was one of my favorite books of the year.

I loved that A Breath of Frost was about witches. You don’t really see that a lot any more. I’m always dying to get my hands on a good witch book, so you can only imagine my excitement when this one came in the mail. For the most part, I really enjoyed the witchcraft in this book. However, I did think that it was a bit downplayed. I would have liked to see a little bit more magic, and I also would have liked the girls to have more power than they actually did.

I thought that A Breath of Frost had a few too many POV’s. It didn’t really give me a lot of time to connect with the characters and some of them honestly just confused me. I still don’t understand why Moira’s POV was even included in this book…nor did I understand why she was even a character. Moira’s character in the few parts that she actually appeared in seemed to take away from the story because it was so confusing why she was even there. She didn’t really fit in with the rest of the plot.

Another thing that was weird was that sometimes there would be large gaps between scenes or sometimes there would be an implied conversation that never appeared in the book and then all of a sudden a character who didn’t previously know something knew it. That happened quite a few times. Again, I read an early ARC of this book so that may not happen in the final printed edition.  But it was a little confusing at times to have things happen that I didn’t have a chance to read about.

There was a cute romance in this book between Emma and Cormac. It wasn’t quite as adorable as I wanted to be, but I liked how low key it was compared to the rest of the book. What I would have liked to see, though, is some side romances between some of the other characters. I feel that this was the type of book meant for a few different low key romances, and I was a little disappointed that I just had to settle for Emma and Cormac. There was a certain scene with Pen that made me thing a romance was about to happen for her…so maybe we will see that in the next book.

One of my biggest complaints with A Breath of Frost was that halfway through it started to slide out of the YA genre and reach MG ground. That’s middle grade for those of you who don’t know. It got a little boring, really cheesy, and somewhat exaggerated. I think that YA historical witch books need to be geared more for older audiences, and I was a bit disappointed with the different turn of events. While I did enjoy this book, I feel that it’s something geared more for my 5th graders. They would absolutely love it.

On a more positive note, I loved how snarky and funny this book could be at times. I laughed out loud so many times, you don’t even know. I really enjoyed how Harvey’s personality shown through at certain times, and then the characters voices covered the rest of it. I like to read books that make me feel emotion. I laughed at this one. I got angry. It made me feel stuff.

Unfortunately, I had to skim the very last 100 pages of this book because it got way too boring, cheesy, and predictable. I will see that there were some shocking turns of events, and the book went in directions I didn’t foresee, but I was just a little bored. I really loved it at first, but it just seemed to go a little downhill after that. So, while I WILL be reading more from Harvey, I don’t think this was my all time favorite witch book. But I did enjoy it, and I would recommend it!

 

Pages: 496

Publication Date: January 7th, 2014

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Book Reviews
December 17, 2013 posted by Nichole

DNF: Snakeroot (Nightshade Legacy #1) – Andrea Cremer

17372472Fans asked for it, and now they’ve got it! Andrea Cremer is continuing the story she began in in her internationally bestselling trilogy: Nightshade, Wolfsbane and Bloodrose. In this new installment, Bosque Mar haunts the dreams of both Adne and Logan, trying to escape for the Nether, where Calla, Shay and the other Guardians trapped him in the final battle in the War of All Against All. Will he turn Adne to the dark side? Will Logan reclaim his birthright? And will darkness take over our world? In a novel filled with magic, romance and breakneck action, master storytelling Andrea Cremer’s newest installment will not disappoint!

 

This one breaks my heart, because I am such a fan of the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer. I was a little nervous for Snakeroot simply because of all the negative things that Andrea Cremer pulled in the 3rd book. I wasn’t thrilled with several things that went down, and I wasn’t really sure how that could be recovered in this book. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work.

My biggest complaint with Snakeroot is that there really wasn’t a lot of background information on the details or the characters to catch me up to speed. I think I either read the series before I started blogging or right when I started blogging. So it’s been awhile! As a person who doesn’t like to reread books, I needed a little refresher on who was who and what all was going on. Cremer didn’t provide that at all. I felt like I was drowning in a pull of nonsense for quite some time until things started clicking in place. It was really confusing.

The characters all seemed very bland. Nobody had their own individual personalities. Everyone tended to blend in together so that it was difficult to tell people apart at times. I wasn’t overly interested in anyone. I think that if you get to the point where you just don’t care if anyone is killed off there’s a problem.

Nothing overly exciting happens in Snakeroot. It was a little shocking because the first three books in the Nightshade series are action packed. I was just really bored. I only made it halfway through this book before I gave up, and then I just skimmed the rest of it.

There’s not a lot of romance in this one. There’s Connor and Adne and Ethan and Sabine…but their characters seemed different than in book 3. I used to really like their characters, but when the focus was on their relationships I wasn’t a huge fan. They also didn’t have the cute couple qualities that I would have enjoyed reading about.

Another thing that I hated in this book was that everything that happened in book 3 seemed to happen for no reason at all. They started bringing people back and trying to counteract the things that happened at the end of book 3. Those of you who remember what happened to Calla and her friends at the end of book 3 know that they paid the price for that. There was an exchange for that, and I felt that that was all for no reason in Snakeroot. I just didn’t understand this whole book.

One thing that fans of this series will love is that Ren is back. Yes, you heard me correctly. Ren. Is. Back. But…it’s not all that great. I spent most of the time feeling absolutely horrible for him. I would have preferred that he just not come back at all versus what was done to him in this book.

Overall, I don’t think that Snakeroot was a very good idea. A lot of YA authors today are trying to extend their series longer than they should go. Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, and now Andrea Cremer. I understand that fans wanted this book because of the god awful things that happened in the third book, but it just didn’t work. It was too much, too boring, and it just didn’t flow with the rest of the series. I love Andrea Cremer, but I will not be reading any more books in this series.

 

Pages: 336

Publication Date: December 10th, 2013

Publisher: Philomel

Rating: DNF

Book Reviews
November 13, 2013 posted by Nichole

Waiting on Wednesday #61

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

night broken_front mech.indd

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series has been hailed as “one of the best” (Fiction Vixen). Now, Mercy must deal with an unwanted guest—one that brings a threat unlike anything she’s ever known.

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

 

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs

To be released March 4th, 2014

Published by Ace Hardcover

Book Reviews
October 6, 2013 posted by Nichole

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) – Alexandra Bracken

10576365When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

 

I read this book for my September pick for Secret Readers. I’m so sorry that I didn’t finish this in September, but at least I have it up  now!

 

The Darkest Minds was a very interesting book for me, because I almost DNF’d it. I hated the first 100 pages. I found them boring and very difficult to read. The child abuse that occurred in this book was heartbreaking. I wasn’t okay with reading about adults abusing children, children abusing children, and children dying. I remember once that I argued with someone that Divergent was filled with child abuse. They couldn’t understand the concept that even in a dystopia book, if a child is getting abused by an adult….there’s an issue. It’s abuse. And, yes, I do have a slight problem reading about that in the YA genre….any genre actually. So, it bugged me in this one. A lot. To the point that I was bitching about it on Facebook and begging people to tell me there was a reason to continue this book. Thankfully, there was.

After I got through the initial 100 pages of The Darkest Minds, things really started to pick up. It was action packed and full of adventure. The characters…omg…the characters! I laughed so hard during this book. It was like being in the background of this book and actually watching real people. I would often forget that it was an actual book and just lose myself in it. It was so real, so mysterious, so action packed, so….everything. I loved it!

A couple negative things about The Darkest Minds. First, it was very predictable. I was never shocked. I always knew what was going to happen. WHERE is the fun in that? I mean…I still loved the book…but I wanted a few moments where I could just be like WOW! Did that REALLY just happen?! Yeah…that didn’t happen. Also, I didn’t care for the last 100 pages of the book. I guess that figures. I didn’t like the first 100…I didn’t like the last 100. FIGURES! I went back to my mind frame during the last 100 pages that it was full of abuse. It also got really boring. I don’t want to tell you why, because that would really just spoil a lot of things for you, but it was.

One thing that I really liked about this book was the paranormal magical quality that it included. Normally you don’t really see that type of stuff in Dystopia books. I liked that the kids were categorized into “colors.” I would have liked to see a wider diversity of colors and powers. I didn’t really like that all the kids had pretty much the same powers as their color.  I wanted to see more of an X-Men quality. I wanted to see someone come out who had the power to freeze someone to death or something. Or move metal with their minds! I mean….obviously not JUST the same as X-Men, but I did want a little more in the power department. I really enjoyed the power thing, though.

The romance is The Darkest Minds didn’t seem very “insta-lovely,” and there wasn’t a love triangle! It seemed to progress from acquaintances, to friends, to a crush, to love. We really didn’t see any kissing or anything until the very end of the book. The whole thing seemed more about friendship and survival…with a little mixture of romance. I liked that the romance didn’t smother the entire book.

Even though I have some negative things to say about this book, I really adored it. I read through this practically at the speed of lightning, and I’m already itching to get my hands on the second book. I NEED IT! It’s a great dystopia with amazing characters. Go get your hands on this one!

 

Pages: 488

Publication Date: December 18th 2012

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Rating: : ★★★★☆

 

Teaser Quote: “…crackers…” a voice breathed out nehind us, “yesss…”
Both of us turned, watching as Chubs twisted around in his seat and settled back down, still fast asleep.
I pressed a hand over my mouth to keep from laughing. Liam rolled his eyes, smiling.
“He dreams about food,” he said. “A lot.”