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The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima continues the story of Raisa and Han as they both venture outside of their homeland and learn about magic and fighting :D. The Exiled Queen is the sequel to The Demon King and so there will be spoilers for the first book in the blurb. As long as you skip that though, you’re pretty safe since The Exiled Queen is pretty removed from the events of The Demon King. The Seven Realms series continues to have a seriously awesome strength of strong and logical female characters, and The Exiled Queen has the added bonus of a magic school!

Note: I listened to The Exiled Queen on audiobook, which strongly shapes my experiences with it.

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
Narrated by Carol Monda
(Seven Realms #2)
Published by Hyperion Books on Sept. 24th, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 586 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

4 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner eARC {4.5 Stars}

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner was a group read with a couple of friends and I am so happy it was! I was a little worried about the “pretty dress” cover syndrome, but it’s fine if it’s a real dress that is salient to the book :D. I was reading These Broken Stars during the time that I was preparing for my qualifying oral exam (ie big scary time where three professors interrogate you!), so it took me a grand four days to finish instead of the one or two I’m sure it would have if my brain wasn’t fizzling out ;-). These Broken Stars has so many wonderful sci-fi elements along with a cute YA romance, doesn’t get better! :D

Note: I received and ARC of These Broken Stars through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may be different in the final version.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner eARC {4.5 Stars}

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner (Starbound #1)
Published by Hyperion Books on December 10th, 2013
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I have long been waiting for a sci-fi story to go where These Broken Stars goes. I seriously was so excited when I realized that it really was going to go there :D. Of course I can’t give any spoilers, so you’ll have to find out what I mean for yourself ;-).
  • The romance of These Broken Stars is both sweet and saucy ;-). There is a nice slow build, even though you know it’s coming, and given the setting it’s completely realistic. Getting both POV makes it all the more entertaining since you kind of just want to bonk the lovebirds’ heads together.
  • There are a couple creepy moments that gave me goosebumps, but not so much that I was really scared. I just had to keep reading to find out what was going on!
  • So many feels D: Have your tissue box ready! But there are happy feels too :D
  • I always enjoy a good philosophical puzzle, and These Broken Stars raises a couple, so enjoy!

Weaknesses:

  •  In retrospect, These Broken Stars had a fairly convenient ending, which made me pout a bit, but I’m excited to read the next Starbound book anyway!

Summary:

Love love love These Broken Stars! I’m super excited to see YA and classic sci-fi mixing and mashing. Space ships and mysterious planets and mysterious moons oh my! Basically if you are even a bit interested in a mysterious planet investigation, you have to pick up These Broken Stars. You will not regret it!

4.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

4 Stars: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima Audiobook

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima was my first Audible purchase! I remember seeing a number of reviews gushing about this series, and I can never let a great high fantasy series pass me by ;-). Since The Demon King is pretty long, it made sense to get the audiobook for when I ran out of review audios to listen to. I’m so glad I started this series, though I think I might try to read the next one to make sure I get everything straight, hehe.

Note: I purchased The Demon King on audiobook.

4 Stars: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima Audiobook

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Narrated by Carol Monda
(Seven Realms #1)
Published by Hyperion Books on October 6th, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 13 discs pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raisa aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for. -- Goodreads

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • High fantasy kind of has to have a full cast of great characters right? While at times I had to sit back and remember who someone was, I love a world that is filled with named people that have depth and their own motivations.
  • I enjoyed all of Demon King, but the last third was my favorite by far. It was the perfect combination of suspense, dislike of the villains and cheering enthusiastically for the heroes.
  • While we stuck mostly to one country in The Demon King, there is obviously a lot of world to explore in the coming novels. I’m freaking pumped to find out more!
  • I liked the feminist culture that existed with the Queendom and Raisa’s attitude toward kissing boys ;-). Usually high fantasy falls back on the medieval trope of men in charge, but I don’t think Raisa would like that very much, haha.

Weaknesses:

  • I admit that I had a bit of a hard time getting into The Demon King. I kept wondering when the plot would really get going. There was just a bit too much intrigue and build-up for me, but I’m quite confident in the action of the second novel!
  • The ending of The Demon King was a bit unsatisfying since nothing really got resolved. It is obviously building up to the second book, but I like the endings of even books in a series to have some sort of conclusive feel to them.
  • The narration was a little low quality compared to what I’m used to unfortunately. The recording just didn’t sound up to par and the narrator didn’t do a great job of separate voices for each of the characters. I couldn’t really tell who was who until a name was given :(

Summary:

Don’t mind me while I go read The Exiled Queen :D. But seriously, if you like high fantasy, you’ve probably already heard of The Demon King. However, if you’re like me and just somehow missed that memo, go pick it up and stick with it! You’ll be glad you did :D.

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Four Stars: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Read and Review HopThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan is a strong start to another thrilling and fun series combing ancient Greek and Roman culture with the perils of being a teenager!

When I spotted The Heroes of Olympus series on the bookshelf of the new guy in my lab’s bookshelf, I new they were good people!
Well, I knew that I would be great friends with his fiance, whose books they were ;-). It doesn’t hurt that she makes these really delicious chocolate desserts whenever she has people over, freaking fantastic! In any case, she was gracious enough to lend me The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, making her possibly the coolest person ever :D.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan Goodreads Amazon
Title:
The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 553 (hardcover)
Genre-ish: YA Fantasy
Rating★★★★☆ – Light and fun
Setting: The Greek gods are real and periodically fall in love with mortals, producing demi-god children. These children have powers associated with their god parents, as well as the ability to speak ancient Greek, uncanny prowess with weapons and other helpful things. There are also all of those ancient Greek monsters, however, and they things demi-gods are tasty. We knew all this from the Percy Jackson novels, however. Now, it seems there may be more than just Greek heroes and gods, where did the Roman gods go after all?
Premise: Jason wakes up on a bus with no memories at all. He doesn’t know why he is holding this pretty girl’s hand, nor why an angry old man is yelling at him. His day proceeds to get worse as wind monsters attack him and his friends and they discover that they are actually demi-gods and things are pretty bad in the world right now. This is all par for the course though. The weird part is that everyone important keeps looking at Jason as if he, in particular, is a really really really bad omen, but they refuse to tell him why…. Oh well, before he can figure that out, they need to go save the world.

Strengths:

  • Riordan can write! The Lost Hero is fast and fun, so that even though is is fairly long, you’ll have no trouble buzzing right through it. The writing is lightly descriptive (not too much, as we’ve all complained about before!) with plenty of humor thrown in.
  • The three main characters are all good kids that care about each other despite the odd situation they are in, yet they all have their own personalities and weaknesses to deal with. The Lost Hero benefits from three points of view that switch each chapter, so we get a good idea of what is going on, and get the chance to follow three subplots that weave together throughout the book.
  • It’s so interesting to start finding out about the Roman side of things! I won’t say more, since I don’t want to ruin anything (and because I don’t actually know that much yet), but I’m so excited to find out :D.

Weaknesses:

  • I was super creeped out by the description of two of the female deity figures at first. Like, I had to turn the light on because the descriptions were so creepy! Isn’t this book supposed to be for younger-ish kids??
  • There is only so far that you can push the epic “Omg something more horrible and all powerful is going to try to take over now” and I really am not sure that I’m convinced it’s going to work. The Percy Jackson books used up the Titans trying to take over, and so now Riordan has to go bigger, and while he seems to have found something bigger in the Greek myths, I’m just not quite convinced yet.
  • The YA nature of The Lost Hero annoyed me at times, with big words being a little overused and then explained, or kids being just plain annoying.

Summary:
The Lost Hero was very similar to the Percy Jackson books, so if you liked those, you should definitely pick this one up! Riordan continues his light and fun style, while incorporating the Greek myths that so many of us were so interesting in in school :D. While The Lost Hero has the weaknesses that many YA books have for those of us that don’t read YA as much, anyone who reads and enjoys YA should definitely love The Lost Hero! I’m super excited to borrow the next book in the series *sneaks over to friend’s house*.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan