Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review - Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)Title: Unhinged
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: 2nd (Splintered)
Pages: 400
Published: January 7th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams
ISBN: 9781419709715
Source: Library





Description: Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs. As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind. If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head. 

 I Give This ...

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Another case of why didn't I read this sooner, especially knowing how much I loved the first book.  I can't say enough about this book and the series so far.

I was happy to be back with Alyssa even if she's in complete denial that Wonderland exists.  She has her mom back, even if she's become a bit overprotecting.  Jeb is still alive, although he has no recollections of the events in Wonderland.  In her opinion, her world is almost perfect.  The only thing out of place is her art has taken on a mind of it's own, beautiful but a bit morbid. Because blood is not a normal medium used and she's not really guiding the picture that forms.  That, and Morpheus continues to haunt her dreams. 

There's so much that happens in this book that it's hard to describe it all in one messily little review.  The Red Queen is trying to infiltrate the human realm in very subtle ways.  One the twins that guards the graveyard has left her post, which leads to way for some of Wonderland to cross over.  But through it all Alyssa is convinced that she's not needed.  It isn't until she learns that the truth not only about her mother, but her father as well, that she begins to accept just how deep her destiny runs.  

I think the most fascinating thing about this series is how the author has managed to give even more life to the world created by Lewis Carrol.  The characters and scenery are familiar, but the have more depth.  Each element is darker and more malicious.  It seems everything and everyone has an ulterior motive.   The only part that lost me a little was the ending at prom seemed a little cliche.  But, it had to happen at some point.
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?




What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
 
Read Last Week:

Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes, #1)Shattered (Scorched, #2)
  • Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine 
  • Shattered by Mari Mancusi
Currently Reading:

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)
  • Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
 
Up This Week: 
 
Illusions of Fate
  • Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review: 

The StoryspinnerThe Cure for Dreaming
  • The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
  • The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Gifted: 

The One (The Selection, #3)
  • The One by Kiera Cass

Library: 

Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods, #7)
  • Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

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Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review - Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods #5.5) by Melissa de la Cruz

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods, #5.5)Title: Bloody Valentine
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: 5.5 (Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Misguided Angels)
Pages: 147
Published: December 28th 2010 by Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423134497
Source: Library

 




Description: The Blue Bloods have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shape-shift, and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even those immortal vampires, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, part of the best-selling Blue Bloods series, author Melissa de la Cruz offers three tantalizing stories that delve deep into the love lives of the all-powerful vamps (and their Red Blood friends) from New York's Upper East Side. Might a witchy new girl help cure Oliver's broken heart? How did Allegra fall in love with a human? Will Schuyler and Jack finally be bonded?

I Give This ...
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I don't normally do short stories.  It depends on the story I guess.  I this case, I'm actually glad I read it.  I think it bridged a few gaps that I was missing in how things came to be the way they are.

I loved all three stories.  I was curious as to what would happen to Oliver.  I think the pain of being bonded to Schuyler was almost to much for him to bare.  It's event in some of the things he tries to do to be rid of her in his soul and his blood.  I was happy that the witch was able to cure him of the bonding, but sad when she left.  I felt that Oliver might have grow attached to her to quickly as a replacement.  

I think the story of Allegra and Ben  is my favorite.  She was willing to go against time and tradition by not renewing her bond.  She tried to not let that happen for the better of everybody involved.  But, she found she loved Ben to much and he loved her.  In the end the realized that it was better to be together no matter what the cost than live without each other.

Jack impressed me a lot in the last short story.  It's taken a long time for him to prove to me that he really does love Schuyler.  For some reason, I was never as sure of him.  I admire the great lengths he went to for all their friends to be there on their bonding day.  He made it special and meaningful despite all the dangers they were facing.

I do think reading this short book made certain events in the next major installment make a little more sense.  I also think it filled in some back story that I really wanted to know (like Ben and Allegra). 
 
   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review - The Boleyn Reckoning (The Boleyn Trilogy #3) by Laura Andersen

The Boleyn Reckoning (The Boleyn Trilogy, #3)Title: The Boleyn Reckoning
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: 3rd (The Boleyn King, The Boleyn Deceit)
Pages: 416
Published: July 15th 2014 by Ballantine Books 
ISBN: 9780345534132
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss





Description: Elizabeth Tudor is at a crossroads. After a disastrous winter, the Duke of Northumberland has been executed for treason while his son, Robert Dudley, claims from the Tower that the true traitor has not yet been caught. And though her brother, William, has survived smallpox, scars linger in the king's body and mind and his patience is at an end. As English ships and soldiers arm themselves against the threat of invasion, William marches to the drumbeat of his own desires rather than his country's welfare. Wary of this changed royal brother, Elizabeth assembles her own shadow court to protect England as best she can. But William, able to command armies and navies, cannot command hearts. Minuette and Dominic have married in secret, and after an ill-timed pregnancy, they take to flight. Faced with betrayal by the two he loved most, William's need for vengeance pushes England to the brink of civil war and in the end, Elizabeth must choose: her brother, or her country?  

I Give This ...
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I've really enjoyed this series so far.  I love the play on "what if."  Considering that Queen Elizabeth I is one of my favorite people in history, I was also extremely curious how this would come full circle.

The author has done a fabulous job at creating a monarch that mimics so many of the characteristics of Henry VIII and Queen Anne.  I also see some of his sisters in him.  I thing his biggest flaw is what ultimately brought down his mother and lead to his father having so many wives.  He knew what he wanted and would stop at nothing to make sure he got it.  It got in the way of his friendships, his family, and in the end ... his kingdom.  Sad as it was, none of his actions surprised me.  I held my breath every time he flaunted Minuette in front of everybody.  I wish he could see how much she hated it.  As a person whose job basically demands that you be able to read people, he was horrible at it.

I loved Minuette throughout this.  She's playing a delicate game and one that she has to know might cost her everything.  She may not come right out and tell William how she really feels, but I think she does it in lots of subtle ways.  I was happy when she finally confided in Elizabeth.  It was slowing eating at her to keep such a huge secret.  I was kind of surprised at how Elizabeth reacted.  But, at this point I know she's setting up her chess pieces to win the game. 

The court is just as treacherous in the alternate reality as it was in history.  People still were tried for treason, just not the ones that I was expecting.  William never became the king destined to rule the kingdom in all its glory.  That right was reserved for Elizabeth.  I don't think she ever betrayed her brother.  She just played the hand better.  Perhaps Elizabeth was always meant to rule the Golden Age, no matter what reality you look at.

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish.  It was almost like this was how it really happened.  I laughed, I cried, but most of all I just enjoyed the ride to get there.  I'm looking forward to what Laura Andersen produces next!
 
  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review - Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1) by Livia Blackburne

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)Title: Midnight Thief
Author: Livia Blackburne
Series: 1st
Pages: 376 
Published: July 8th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423176381
Source: Publisher via Netgalley






Description: Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs. But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull. Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease. When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives. In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life. 

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This sounded like something that might be that it book, the one to rave about.  For awhile it really was.  I enjoyed so many aspects of this novel.  But, somewhere in the book an event occurred and the story took a different turn.  And one that just no longer resented with me.    

I really enjoyed Kyra.  Her ability to sneak into places undetected and leave the same way she came was fascinating.  That part of the story really drew me in.  I was hesitant when the Assassins Guild offered Kyra a place in their ranks.  But, I wasn't surprised that she accepted the offer.  I never felt it was about the money that was offered.  It was all about being able to prove that she could do the job and all it's challenges.  I think she also enjoyed skirting around those in charge without their knowing.  A way for her to prove that she was more than just a street urchin.  

I also really enjoyed Tristam.  He's your poster boy for someone who fully supports whatever government is in place.  To him, there's only black and white and no grey.  So, I think it's really hard for him to admit that Kyra might have got the best of him.  He never imagined that it was a women sneaking in and out without being seen.  I also like that as he gets to know here, he realizes that not everything is as clear cut as it seems.  That sometimes the good guy and the bad guy aren't always what you think.

So what happened?  It's actually really hard to explain without giving away something that I think is suppose to be a surprise, although an intricate part of the story.  Let's just say that there's something off about those Demon Riders and their wildcats.  I could see it coming, but I kept hoping the story wouldn't go there.  When it did, I was so disappointed.  I have no idea why the story effected me that way.

It's likely that I won't continue this story.  There are parts of me that are greatly intrigued.  But, I was put off by an element of the story that might be to much to overcome.    
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review - The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1) by Joanna Hickson

The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois, #1)Title: The Agincout Bride
Author: Joanna Hickson
Series: 1st
Pages: 578
Published: January 3rd 2013 by HarperCollins 
ISBN: 9780007446971
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss






Description: When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court. Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position. But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France. Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger? 

 I Give This ...
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I've read another book recently about  Catherine de Valois.  Given that Tudor England is perhaps my favorite period in history, I've been eager to read more about the women who started it all. This was an interesting addition to my knowledge of the time period.

The beginning is almost depressing to read.  I think one always thinks of the grandeur part of royalty.  But, these children lived in horrible conditions as barely an after thought of the King and Queen. It's not until the children become a pawn in some way or another that they are given any thought what so ever.   Mette feels she is the only stable figure in Catherine's life and forms a deep bond with the child.  This was the only part of the story that troubled me.  Mette seems to be willing to go to great lengths for Catherine, more so than even her own family.  She gives reasons, but just couldn't agree with them.

I found the history to be the most interesting part of this story.  Catherine had to witness a lot in her lifetime which I think explains a lot of how she reacted later in life.  Her mother had little care for her.  Her father didn't know she was most of the time.  She was sent away in her early years to be given the proper upbringing when her mother was influenced by one of the Dukes.  It seems it was always noticed what Catherine could do for France.  She was often used as a bargaining tool for King Henry V to stop warring with France.  In the end she was forced to choose between her brother the rightful heir to the throne and King Henry declaring war on France.  

I fear the thing that really drug this book down was it's length.  Granted I know this is a huge time period to cover, but it was very slow in parts and it seemed like the pages would drag on.  However, that won't stop me from reading the next book in the series. 
 

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