ARC Review: The Girl Who Called the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand

40502367Goodreads/Amazon

“…but you don’t deal in death and escape the feel of it afterward.”

synvia Goodreads

Be very afraid of the Shadows.

I know what I’m not. Human.

I can’t remember my life before Earth, but I’ve grown up hearing the stories of a planet ravaged by war and a people in need of a leader who will bring them out of the darkness. I’m supposed to be their light.

My future terrifies me.

But I’m done waiting to have a real life. If I ever want a chance to live free of the Shadows, I’ll need to fight for it because freedom is never free. No matter what galaxy you call home.

(This is book 1 in The Girl From The Stars Duology. Previously published as Across the Galaxy, now revised & rewritten with brand new content.)

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review3 Stars 

PROS:

  • Heather Hildenbrand is the angst master. I swear, every single time I read her books there’s always some super swoonworthy, colossal build up of steam and languishing right off the bat. Then it grows and before you know it, you’re flipping through the pages on the prowl for a happily ever after…or at least one measly kiss. Jeez. But that tension is what makes the reader keep reading. 
  • The premise of this book is awesome. I loved the fast-paced tragedy and adventure, and also those horrifying Dementor-style demons. The mix of elemental-style powers with alien made this way different from your average space drama. Kingdoms in the space. I’m all for that. Also vicious wolf guardians? What’s not to love?
  • That explosive ending. I should have known. It was right there and somehow it went right over my head. Facepalm. 
  • Instead of being thrust into the typical long lost princess/heir trope, Alina has always known her purpose, she just doesn’t have the memories to back her up. Alina is focused, determined, and pushes through her fear for the future of her people. Plus she’s obsessed with coffee 😉 

CONS:

  • The plot didn’t feel cohesive. There was a quick jump into space that kind of slowed the pacing and then politics meets black magic. It didn’t feel like it fit together. 
  • Most of the secondary characters were so-so. Alina’s former best friend would have been stronger had there been more interactions. Also the catty, occasionally elitist arguments between some of the characters made a lot of the young people unlikable. 
  • Peter was supposed to be a sort of protector and father figure for Alina, but I feel like there wasn’t enough of that relationship built in the text-it was just there. I couldn’t establish an emotional connection that made me care either way about what happened to him. The issue with that is, the main character cares so much that it made it more difficult to connect with her. 
  • The book feels so short. A little more foundation here and there could have helped really build the emotions between all characters, not just the leads. 

Read and read some more, 

Jordan

 

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Review: Red Queen-Victoria Aveyard

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cooltext1889161239 copyThe poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

Red Queen is Red Rising meets The Young Elites. Equal parts dystopian and science fiction, Red Queen is a compelling journey into the lies, betrayals, and brutality of the Silvers and the desperate hope of those that serve them-the Reds.

PROS:

  • The Silver world is X-men in the Victorian age. The Silvers battle like gladiators with wicked powers that both shock and destroy. They’re merciless, violent, and their lack of humanity is appalling. Each section of society is rooted in unrest and social hierarchy. Each person has a role to be played and those that step out of line are brought to their knees by the awe-inspiring might of the Silvers and their armies.
  • Mare is feisty, quick-witted, and one crazy klepto. She thirsts for freedom and her heart bleeds for her brother and sister Reds. Mare is after justice and fairness. She’ll risk anything to save those she loves and to protect her family. Mare is sarcastic, aggressive, and has bursts of heart that leave you totally wrapped up in her character. Mare is imperfect and it is her imperfections-her humanity that draws you in and makes her easy to root for.
  • The twist was the equivalent of a karate chop to the face. Ouch. It was unexpected, vicious, and completely evil. Brace yourself for the rage, this reveal is a beast that takes prisoners and gleefully laughs at torture.
  • Violence is graphic and full of adrenaline –spiking horror. The speed, surprises, and elemental powers are astonishing and enthralling. Each training match and arena battle will leave you thirsting for more just to see their abilities.
  • The villains are devious, cruel, and truly terrifying. Just when you think they can sink no lower and can’t wreck any more havoc, they’re there more bloodthirsty and vile than before. No one can be trusted and the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.
  • Maven and Cal are two warring currents. Both talented and persuasive. They reel Mare in and open her heart up. Maven is sweet, emotional, and appeals to Mare’s softer side. Cal is determined, a warrior and oh so sexy.

CONS:

  • The first few chapters drag. It’s hard to get into the world initially because the pacing is so slow.
  • Romantic interactions lacked chemistry…at least, lingering chemistry. They were cut off and abrupt, they had no mulling over or analysis afterward, it was like kiss and then nothing. Mare’s emotions were a black hole; a sneaky little void and I needed to know what was going on in her head but mostly, her heart. Plus, they were so short. Usually there’s a lofty bit of description that talks about sparks or lack there of and zilch!
  • Some plot points were predictable. I made speculations at 15% that held true throughout the story.

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Release Day Blitz: Burnt Devotion-Rebecca Ethington

cooltext1889161239 copyBurnt Devotion, Book 5 in the Imdalind Series. Dawn of Ash – the previously announced book five has now been moved to book 6. Yes! An extra book. If you have been waiting for the next installment of The Imdalind Series this is the book you have been waiting for!
It was supposed to be the final battle, the one to end Edmund’s line, his life, and free the magic Edmund had taken from the world. That was how it was foreseen. The end of the battle that has raged for centuries, unbeknownst to the mortals around them, the battle that would end with Joclyn’s death.
 
But it did neither.
 
The battle still reigns, Joclyn still lives, and the sight that was given eight hundred years ago is broken.
 
And it’s not the only one.
 
Sights that were once thought infallible have become nothing more than scattered glass, with broken pieces shattering into incorrect visages. Sain clings to the magic that he knows to be true, but there is something else, something that he is not saying. And what he does say is no longer adding up.
 
Something is wrong.
 
Ilyan and his people move through the caves, following a sight they hope to be correct, fleeing a battle that should have been the end while the battle within each of them grows with each step.
 
Ryland fights the monsters his father has infected him with.
 
Wynifred fights the confusion of who she is.
 
Dramin fights to live. 
 
Prague may not survive this battle, it may be ripped to shreds… or burned to ashes.
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Rebecca Ethington is a story teller and author from Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been telling stories since she was small. First, with writing crude scripts, and then in stage with years of theatrical performances. Rebecca’s first stint into the world of literary writing, The Imdalind Series, was released in October 2012 and since its release each book has been found in several top 100 lists on Amazon. Rebecca is a mother to two, and wife to her best friend of 14 years. Her days are spent writing, running, and enjoying life with her crazy family.
Pleasant reading,
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ARC Review: Bridges Burned-Chris Cannon

cooltext1790897456 copyDon’t just fight the system…burn it.
     Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking…
     But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally. Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.
cooltext1790896132 copy 3.5/5 Stars
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and Mark My Words Publicity.
Bridges Burned is a quick, fun read with lots of sass and heart. 
PROS:
  • Bryn is magnetic. She’s saucy, bold, courageous, has a solid moral compass and believes in fighting her hardest for rights for those who refuse to fight for themselves. Bryn is antagonistic, playful, and has the wittiest comments. At the same time, Bryn, despite her unique circumstances as an outsider and dragon, has the same issues as a normal teenage girl. Her troubles with boys, confusion over where she stands in a relationship and if she’s worth the effort of tackling the system for places her on a playing field that’s relatable and extremely likeable. 
  • Valmont is a sweetheart, he’s loyal, masculine, and the warm arms Bryn needs to comfort her when no one else seems to understand. Bryn is searching for someone that will stay, to love her for her faults as much as her assets and Valmont is super attentive to her needs. Valmont is soft and compassionate one moment and hard, threatening lines the next. He’s a definite contender for Bryn’s heart.
  • The relationship between Jaxon and Bryn has come a long way. It’s almost amicable and there might be some sexual tension brewing beneath the surface, no matter how hard they try to resist. Jaxon is a jerk. He’s blunt, doesn’t spare Bryn her feelings and let’s her have it when she’s being too cocky. Jaxon is surprisingly nice when he wants to be. He has quite the heart hidden deep within him and a giant soft spot for the women in his life.
  • The sheer extent of the Directorate’s reign and corruption is revealed and it’s horrifying just how far they go to maintain an image of perfection and order. The difference between humans and dragons is outlined, those with imperfections are disregarded and hidden from sight like an ugly piece of furniture. Women are subservient and told not to speak up but their voices are there and it’s wonderful to finally hear their side. 
CONS:
  • A substantial portion of the plot was overwhelmed by the relationship drama between Zavien and Bryn. Her constant sulking and the run around detracted from the serious threats made to the school. 
  • The battle scenes were viewed from the outside. Secondhand word of the carnage was not nearly as suspenseful and it was hard to really gage the extent of the damages and threat. 
  • Zavien. I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed in a character. 

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Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. Going Down In Flames is the first book in Chris Cannon’s shape-shifting dragon series.

 

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Review: Dissever- Colee Firman

3.5/5 Stars

Dissever (Unbinding Fate, #1)- Colee Firman

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Plot: Hundreds of years ago during the time of the plague, which one is not specifically mentioned but I assume the Black Plague, two beings named Eva and Andrew materialize out of thin air and offer Oren a proposition. Oren disposed of the bodies of the plague victims and continued to while his whole family died around him. Eva and Andrew make a deal with Oren that they will bring his only heir back from the dead if he help them by taking the position of an overseer of their sacred stone tablet. This position was to be passed down to the male heirs in the family. The Akori are a race of beings marked with blue symbols on their hands and have magical powers. They don’t die but scatter, rematerializing 15-20 years later without aging. The current guardian of the stone, Fate, is sickly and his power will hopefully be passed down to Addy, even though she is a female and there is a strong possibility that everything will end if she does not inherit the power. There is a faction of the Akori known as Mesen that want to destroy the stone because it blocks the true nature of Akori power. These Mesen also torture, steal, and share powers with one another. Addy, after a series of trials and suffering finds herself in the middle of a war between Mesen, the Akori who live is Tremain(the mansion where the stone is guarded), and rogue Akori. With a mysterious Akori symbol and a whole bunch of unanswered questions, Addy struggles to find a solution to the war, which side she’s on, and learns the sacrifices she has to make to save her loved ones.

PROS:

  • Great story line
  • Sexual tension
  • Surprises!
  • The characters interact seamlessly
  • Layer upon layer of lies, scandals, and puzzling questions about what really happened creates an air of mystery that is sometimes infuriating because it is so well planned.

CONS:

  • There were a couple typos and strange sentence constructions that were confusing.
  • The first few chapters of the book were jam packed with characters so that it almost felt like being bombarded with so much that it was hard to keep them straight.
  • Not quite sure what the Akori are, whether they’re angels or something else, or if the whole book is an allegory…

If you liked the Angelfire series you’d definitely like this.

-BB