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Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody ARC {4 Stars}

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody ARC {4 Stars}

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 25th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

4 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Daughter of the Burning City from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

I so wanted to absolutely adore this book and for the most part I did. There were a couple of things that really annoyed me though.

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Legacy of Kings is a fantasy romance based loosely on the early life of Alexander of Macedonia, later known as Alexander the Great.  Since he was one of my favorite people of the ancient Middle East, I eagerly volunteered to read and review this book and gave it a solid six chapters before I realized that this is not a book for me.

Published by Harlequin Teen, it fits into the Harlequin Romance genre of bodice rippers.  Every woman in the book is lusting after the closest handsome man, and even young women who start out as strong-willed people with missions of their own are literally chasing after the guy who they turned down within a chapter or two.

For some readers, this semi-historical romance will be a good fit, but I just could not get further in the book to give a final review.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Legacy of Kings from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman {Just Hatched}

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (Blood of Gods and Royals #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 18, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Romance
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains, and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedon's sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world, but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while keeping hidden her own mission: kill the queen. But she doesn't account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander's unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

1.5 Stars

[Read more…]

Captive by Aimee Carter ARC {4 Stars}

Captive by Aimee Carter continues Kitty’s fight for survival in a future where the results from a test determine your entire future and worth to society and she is about to find out just how dark her country’s secrets are in Elsewhere. If you haven’t read Pawn, I definitely recommend stopping now and going to check out that review instead since there are some crazy awesome plot twists that you don’t want to spoil ;-). I know Pawn was a fairly divisive book, so really if you enjoyed Pawn, you’ll love Captive, but if you didn’t, Captive continues in the same style though darker, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether to continue the series.

Note: I read an advanced copy of Captive. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Captive by Aimee Carter ARC {4 Stars}

Captive by Aimée Carter (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Nov. 25th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

4 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Rain by Amanda Sun eARC {4 Stars}

Rain by Amanda Sun is the second book in the Paper Gods series and continues the story of Katie as she figures out how to live in Japan and deal with some rather strange mystical powers that have cropped up. If you haven’t read Ink, the first novel, there will be some spoilers below, though nothing too major. I can’t help but adore the magic system based on ink drawings and the view of Japan from an outsider’s perspective as Katie tries quite hard to learn how to fit in. Though I’m not very familiar with Japan’s culture and language, I thought that Rain successfully conveyed various cultural differences from the US and integrated Japanese phrases without leaving an American reader in the dust.

Note: I received Rain through Netgalley for review consideration. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Rain by Amanda Sun eARC {4 Stars}

Rain by Amanda Sun (Paper Gods #2)
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 24th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

4 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane {1.5 Stars}

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane is the first book in the Believers series. While Indigo Awakening had a promising premise, everything else was either annoying, confusing, or just plain boring. The cover is fairly pretty though, curse pretty covers and their deception!

Note: I borrowed Indigo Awakening from my library; all opinions are my own.

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane {1.5 Stars}

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane (The Hunted #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Dec. 18th, 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.

A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.

1.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I love the premise of children being born with psychic powers and a secret organization trying to hunt them down. Indigo Awakening even seemed to take a new spin on this fairly standard story with the blue flames and auras element.
  • I found myself with some lovely mental imagery while reading Indigo Awakening. There are fireflies conjured and I love fireflies!

Weaknesses:

  •  The psychic powers that the Indigo Children had were freaking all over the place. We only got details about a couple of kids’ powers, so I don’t even have a good idea of what the rule system is for this magic, but it very much seemed like powers were being made up as Indigo Awakening progressed for whatever was needed in the plot. This is one of my huge pet-peeves in fantasy stories! Rules are important for magic to be interesting.
  • On top of that, there are a couple of scenes during the epic battle that involve magic that makes absolutely no sense given what has been done previously and is never explained. This irks me unbelievably.
  • The church that is hunting these children is never given any background. How did this church emerge, how does it sit with the general populace, what are the tenets of its beliefs? The big bad organization needs to actually be something other than “those people who are hunting our MCs down, grrr on them” ya know?
  • The dialogue is sooooo cheesy. I’m all for people talking normally, but Indigo Awakening took teen slang to a whole new annoying level on top of teens saying cheesy romance lines.
  • Speaking of the romance: insta-love!
  • You know how we hate when animals are in stories just to be killed and make you sad? It’s even better when human characters are so obviously placed in the story just to die and make you sad. Except I wasn’t sad, I was really really angry at how cheap of a trick this was.
  • There are subheadings within the chapters that specify time and place, but some of them say “Minutes Later” or “Seconds Later.” This was so disruptive and unnecessary while I was reading. If there is a blank line, that very much implies that there is a slight break, such as to transition to a new scene, but not a huge one since that would be a new chapter. I’m not dumb okay!
  • The big reveal at the very end of the book is just freaking stupid. I didn’t see it coming because it’s just too unbelievably cliche, and that is not a good was to surprise me.

Summary:

Honestly, there are more weaknesses listed in my notes, but I feel like this list is too long as it is. Indigo Awakening is almost certainly not worth your time. If you don’t care about a complete lack of world-building, character development, interesting plot development, or dialogue and the premise sounds awesome, go for it! But maybe borrow it from the library or keep that receipt. I definitely would have DNF’d Indigo Awakening if I hadn’t stupidly requested the sequel for review before realizing it was the sequel to this one…. I swear I thought Crystal Fire was a first in series! Why did I do this to myself???

1.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane

Pawn by Aimée Carter ARC {4.5 Stars}

Pawn by Aimée Carter is the first book in a new dystopian series that impressed me with its focus on clever plotting in a genre that is a bit overburdened at this point. So many YA dystopians have been focusing heavily on romance and love triangles, so I was freaking thrilled that Pawn dug in, showed its dark side, and didn’t get side-tracked. I am very excited to see where this series goes, since I haven’t read a good actual rebellion series in a while!

Note: I received Pawn from Harlequin in exchange for an honest review. I read an ARC and so some things might be different in the final version!

Pawn by Aimée Carter ARC {4.5 Stars}

Pawn by Aimée Carter (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Nov. 26th, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Pawn has a bit of a prince and the pauper type premise, but pulls off a unique and interesting plot despite a fairly typical dystopian setting.
  • Did I mention how much I loved the plot? I love being able to sit back after finishing a book and really process the ending. I didn’t see twists coming until right before they happened (if then!) and I really enjoyed the flow of Pawn; it just seemed to work.
  • Crazy fact: boys and girls can be friends (even in YA) without falling in love! It’s true and Pawn proves it <3.
  • You might get worried, but I can assure you Pawn does not have a love triangle. Kitty really does love her boyfriend of years and childhood sweetheart and she proves it through her commitment despite really crazy situations.
  • Pawn has lined up so much potential for The Blackcoat Rebellion series. I’m not sure where the second book will go with it, but I’m really freaking excited to find out!

Weaknesses:

  •  There were a couple of times when characters seemed to do things that didn’t really make sense. There is a fine balance between showing another side of a character and bringing in something out of left field so that it doesn’t feel natural. Pawn didn’t quite pull off all the character revelations.
  • Kitty has some really flaky emotions surrounding one particular thing which I can’t tell you. But it kind of annoyed me that she would vow to do something and then not do it and then vow to do it again. Just make up your mind!
  • Kitty’s inner dialogue also got a bit annoying. Not in a “I want to punch this girl” kind of way, just in a “Kitty, I know you’re stressed, but please just be decisive” kind of way. I empathized with her, but she was that friend who discussed her dinner options far too long ya know?

Summary:

Pawn had a couple of slip-ups, but was otherwise a phenomenal start to a darker kind of dystopian series. It doesn’t pull punches, proving early on just how far the corrupt government is willing to go, and just how little the ruling family cares about their people. Pawn went in directions that I didn’t expect and I’m so happy to still be surprised in a genre that I’ve read a lot of over the past couple of years. Why can’t Captive come out sooner??

4.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Pawn by Aimée Carter

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa eARC {2.5 Stars}

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa is the second in the Call of the Forgotten spin-off series in the Iron Fey world. I decided to test the theory that you can start Call of the Forgotten without reading the first four Iron Fey books, so I’ve only read The Lost Prince prior to Iron Traitor. There are some mild spoilers for The Lost Prince in the description for Iron Traitor, so feel free to check out my review of The Lost Prince if you want to be safe ;-). I must admit that Ethan is not my favorite narrator in the world of books, so Iron Traitor didn’t go all that well for me. It felt like major second book syndrome unfortunately, since there is potential awesomeness for the series in the future, but Iron Traitor didn’t accomplish that potential in my opinion.

Note: I received an eARC of The Iron Traitor through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may be different in the final version.

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa eARC {2.5 Stars}

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (Call of the Forgotten #2)
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 29th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.

2.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • We get to journey to more parts of the Nevernever in Iron Traitor and I quite enjoyed seeing more of the faery realms. It’s always fun imagining that goblin markets are hiding just out of site in whatever major city you are visiting ;-).
  • I’m such a fan of new and interesting critters, and Iron Traitor definitely delivers on that front. We get to meet more Forgotten and more fey of all persuasions.
  • The writing of Iron Traitor continues to be light and fast, making for an easy read when you just want to have fun!

Weaknesses:

  •  Especially at the beginning of Iron Traitor there are a lot of info dumps to tell the reader everything that happened in the Iron Fey series (it seemed, probably not absolutely everything) and a summary of The Lost Prince. I understand giving reminders for important characters from previous books, but Ethan was explaining everything and reminded me of annoying boys I know….
  • Speaking of annoying boys! Ethan had some fairly sexist thoughts in Iron Traitor that really grated on me. He kept obsessing about protecting “the girls” and keeping “the girl” away from danger. The combination of the two female characters being inherently weak due to illness and the way Ethan kept lumping them together just did not work for me.
  • Ethan and the gang were strangely touchy about some things that really didn’t seem like a big deal to me and then didn’t see a problem with other things that were obviously really bad ideas. Priorities people!
  • I understand that teenagers sometimes fall in puppy love quickly, but it still annoys me when characters declare their undying love after a week of knowing each other. They didn’t even know each other before they started dating! One week is not long enough no matter the circumstances.
  • The Iron Traitor mostly felt like a set-up for the next book in the series. Nothing much happens until the end when a whole lot of bad things happen that clearly can’t be resolved before the end of the book. Then there is a huge cliffhanger that is only kind of a cliffhanger (you know what I mean if you’ve read the book, I mean what do you really think is going to happen??) but is clearly declaring the plot of the next book.

Summary:

The Iron Traitor has basically cemented my decision that Call of the Forgotten is not the series for me, though I know a lot of people have been enjoying it. If you don’t mind Ethan as a narrator and enjoy a mostly romance-driven plot, you’ll probably enjoy Iron Traitor just fine. I can see potential for the rest of the series because something interesting definitely has to happen at the beginning of the next book, but it was too little, too late for me.

2.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

Waterfell by Amalie Howard eARC {1.5 Stars}

Waterfell by Amalie Howard is the start of the Aquarathi series and I have to admit that I’m once again disappointed in a mermaid book. Though mermaid isn’t exactly what the Aquarathi end up being, the point still stands ;-). As an evolutionary biologist I was close to throwing my Kindle across the room with the misrepresentation of science in Waterfell. Further (and probably more interesting to you), the characters irritated me, the insta-love made me cringe, and that ending was just… ugh. I was going to go with 2 stars and then realized that “okay” does not describe my feelings for Waterfell unfortunately.

Note: I received an eARC of Waterfell through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Some things might have changed in the final version.

Waterfell by Amalie Howard eARC {1.5 Stars}

Waterfell by Amalie Howard (The Aquarathi #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Oct. 29, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, YA
Page Length: 360 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE QUEEN

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright-the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon-until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday-the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

1.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I didn’t like Riss to begin with, then she grew on me in the middle of Waterfell, and then it all went to hell. But I liked her for a bit there.
  • Jenna is the human best friend and she is the only character I could stand! Well, her boyfriend Sawyer was also lovable in a goofy way, but those two are it.
  • Waterfell isn’t actually about mermaids, it’s about critters way cooler than that, and it had so much potential!

Weaknesses:

  •  Info dumps for the first half everywhere! Riss just does a little aside for the reader to explain everything about her race in the middle of scenes. Why Riss, why??
  • The romance is cheesy and so cliche. Riss tries to hate the annoying boy that keeps getting under her skin, until she realizes she doesn’t actually hate him! Who would have guessed?
  • There are some pretty annoying inconsistencies in Waterfell. Sawyer is described and both outgoing and not talking to many people. Various things about the origins of the Aquarathi definitely didn’t fit together. These little things just kept cropping up.
  • I am so tired of love saving the day. SO TIRED!
  • The attempt at a plot twist was so obvious (because it’s so cliche), that I’m pretty sure only Riss was surprised.
  • Waterfell has cutesy lessons for you to learn about friendship and forgiveness and it will bash them over your head with a mallet! A Lesson Mallet!
  • I am generally okay letting some scientific slip-ups go because science fiction has fiction in it. However! Waterfell attempts to back up the Aquarathi and the plot with science and IT IS SO WRONG! Lamarckian evolution, seriously??? (Google it, it’s interesting, but wrong.) That is not how DNA works, that is not how recombination works, that is not how mutation works, that is not how adaptation works. The thing that pained me the most is that Waterfell could have actually gotten things mostly right (though the plot would need to be smooshed around a bit), but it just didn’t. I was going to let it go the first time, but again with the mallet! D:

Summary:

Whew, I’m calm, I promise. Waterfell really annoyed me (obviously >.>) because it hit some buttons that probably won’t bother most people, but also because it was so painfully cliche and trope filled. I’m actually really proud of myself that I pushed through to the end. I kept hoping for certain someones to die or something, but I was disappointed. (Well, there is some dying, or is there?? No spoilers for you!) So unless you are looking for some complete fluff, there are probably better books to read. Also please know if you do read Waterfell, that is not how evolution works.

1.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Waterfell by Amalie Howard

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa {3 Stars}

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa is the fifth book in the Iron Fey series, though it’s also the start of the spinoff Call of the Forgotten series. Harlequin claimed on NetGalley that I could start with this book, so I decided to give it a try and test the theory ;-). While I didn’t end up loving The Lost Prince, I did enjoy the concepts and definitely think you can start with The Lost Prince and still enjoy Call of the Forgotten. I’m actually kind of glad I started here, since I don’t think I would have loved the romance in the first four Iron Fey books.

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa {3 Stars}

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa (Call of the Forgotten #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Oct. 23rd, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 377 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

3 Stars

Strengths:

  • I haven’t read that many books about fairies, but enough that I was quite excited to see a new premise in The Lost Prince involving creepy ghost fey. Taking the fluffy idea of fairies in modern day and turning them into sharp and dark things is so much fun :D.
  • I’m such a sucky for adorable sidekick characters and there is a gremlin named Razor that stole my heart! He’s kind of like an intelligent dog in that he is very eager to please and not quite human level intelligence, but he can talk (he reminded me of Doug >.>) and it’s so cute! Plus he’s a gremlin and so he gets all static-y when he’s excited haha.
  • As I said above, I think starting with The Lost Prince and only reading Call of the Forgotten would work fine. There is plenty of filling in the important parts of the previous series and I didn’t feel lost at all :).
  • Ethan, the MC, has the Sight and can see the fair folk. I thought that this element was handled quite well in that it had strengths and weaknesses and was always there (like a normal sense), not only when it was convenient for the plot.
  • Ethan practices Kali, which is apparently a Filipino martial arts (though I can’t find anything on the Internet about it besides this Kalis blade), and it was fun seeing that hobby utilized through out the plot. A character who has trained for years in order to defend himself instead of just having magic abilities :D.

Weaknesses:

  •  The romantic dialogue in The Lost Prince was a bit painfully cheesy at times. There might have been some eye-rolling >.>.
  • Ethan has some pretty angsty, annoying and sexist internal thoughts and I just wanted to smack him upside the head at various points.
  • The Lost Prince has a fair amount of repetitive phrasing, in that I felt like I was reading the same sentence again that I read one page ago. This feeling was because I basically was….
  • The only people who didn’t see that plot twist coming were the characters….

Summary:

The Lost Prince has an interesting premise and was perfectly fine to read as a fluffier book. If you don’t mind some cheese with your romance, you will probably quite enjoy it :). I’m looking forward to reading the second book (Iron Traitor) mostly because I’m hoping that there is betrayal >.> I think there are good odds given that title!

3 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

3.5 Stars: Ink by Amanda Sun ARC

Ink by Amanda Sun lured me in with its beautiful cover and interior illustrations. I was intrigued by the premise of ink drawings coming to life and couldn’t imagine a better setting that Japan. Ink had the right mix of Japanese concepts and explanations for those of us who aren’t as familiar with the culture. While I hope the next book in the series goes a bit deeper than Ink did, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the second Paper Gods book.

Note: I received an ARC of Ink from a friend. Some things may have changed in the final version.

3.5 Stars: Ink by Amanda Sun ARC

Ink by Amanda Sun (Paper Gods #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 25th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 326 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Japanese mythology is pretty awesome and throwing Kami into the paranormal genre was an exciting direction to go.
  • As I said above, Ink has interior illustrations along with the gorgeous cover :D. I’m really hoping there are even more in the finished copy since the drawings really added another element to a story about ink having power.
  • Books that are supposed to take place mainly in another language are always tricky. I found that Ink had the right balance of japanese words and explanations for me as a person who doesn’t know much about Japan and certainly doesn’t know any Japanese.
  • The romance was very sweet and for once I found a “bad boy” character that I actually liked :D.

Weaknesses:

  •  Ink turned out to be quite predictable. I could tell that it was trying to have plot twists, but they were fairly obvious to me.
  • There was a lot of repetitive phrasing in my copy of Ink, though hopefully this will be fixed in the final version.
  • Ink spends most of its pages focused on the MC and her love interest, leaving little room to develop any of the secondary characters. I really liked two of Katie’s friends and wish that they had gotten more developed.

Summary:

Ink had a great premise and good moments. I wish that the plot had been as original as the premise, but I ended up being a bit disappointed by lack of depth. I also know very little about Japanese culture and language, so it is possible there were errors that I didn’t catch (if you’ve read it and know there were mistakes, let me know!). I’m excited for the second book, with hopes that some more time will be spent on character development all around and a fresh plot to match the premise.

3.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Ink by Amanda Sun