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Genre: Politics & Intrigue

Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
Setting: Wonderland
four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

First Line(s): Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.

First things first…there are FOUR days until HEARTLESS!

Can you believe it?!? The wait is almost over!

excited-baby

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland even if we’ve never read the book by Lewis Carroll we at least know the Disney version about a plucky girl who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on a most extraordinary adventure. There are songs and shenanigans and run ins with the evil Queen of Hearts. When you watch the movie or read the book the Queen is always cast as a villainous character and as a viewer its easy to sympathize with Alice and cheer her triumphs. But you don’t always think about why the Queen is so evil or that maybe Alice isn’t as nice as you originally think. We grow up conditioned to think about fairy tales in a certain way that it can be a bit shocking to see alternate versions of the stories we love. We see this in the stories of Gregory McGuire and on the show Once Upon a Time and now here, in HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer we get to see a new side to the Queen of Hearts. Not only does HEARTLESS make you think differently about a story you thought you knew but its also a bit of a unicorn in the world of fantasy books in that it is a standalone book.

lurking

HEARTLESS is a story that will suck you in from the start. This book is such a different sort of story from Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles and yet you still get her signature writing style and her ability to spin a beautiful story. HEARTLESS is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, its a prequel. Its a story that came about because Meyer’s asked the question why is the queen so evil? Was she born this way or did something happen to make her this way. Catherine (aka the Queen) is a girl much like the readers of the book she has hopes and dreams and a love for baking that will make a reader’s mouth water throughout this book. She’s of a noble family but she dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and maid.

cupcake

But we all know that’s not how the story ended up and I loved Meyer’s take on the story. I love the characters that she created and how she incorporated some old friends. It was a wonderful mix of original and new and told in a way that I think would make Lewis Carroll proud. HEARTLESS is a book that will suck you in with its whimsy and you’ll fall in love with Cath. You’ll turn the pages hoping against hope that somehow the ending of this story will be different and that Cath will get her bakery and her happily ever after. You’ll hope that in the end you’ll learn that the Queen of Hearts is a different girl altogether. But not all stories have a happy ending and sometimes your heart has to break. And boy does Meyer’s play with your heart but everything that happens needs to happen and despite the lack of a HEA its still possible to love this book. In fact, its kind of hard not to like this story and I highly recommend it.

broken-heart

irishdarkblue

JOIN THE #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they’ll be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes.

Fierce Reads will be posting weekly challenge updates and adding more links and information for some challenges as we get closer. Click here to take a look at the schedule and join in the excitement!

four-stars
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Brandon Rubin, David LeDoux, Elizabeth Evans, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Tristan Morris
Series: Six of Crows,
Published by Brilliance Audio on 29 Sept 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Mystery & Detective, People of Color, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Shadow & Bone, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: Ketterdam, Kerch // Dierholm, Fjerda

First Line(s): Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.

Narrators: Jay Snyder (Matthias), David LeDoux (Kaz), Brandon Rubin (Jesper), Lauren Fortgang (Inej), Roger Clark (Pekka), Elizabeth Evans (Nina), and Tristan Morris (Joost)

Confession time, although this won’t come as a surprise to some, but I did not like SHADOW & BONE (my review). It was such a struggle to get through and I just couldn’t be bothered with the other books in that series. So when I heard that Leigh Bardugo’s next series was also set in the Grisha universe I wasn’t sure if I would read SIX OF CROWS. But I was curious and so I kept sussing out what people thought about it and then when I was looking for a new audiobook it just up and stumbled into my basket. The SIX OF CROWS audio is a full cast recording and uses different narrators for each POV. I was intrigued by this and it wasn’t long before the story grabbed a hold of me in a way that SHADOW & BONE never did.

Curiosity

I’ll admit SIX OF CROWS did start a little slow but it wasn’t long before I was engrossed in the story. I loved how all the different narrators approached this story and the life that they gave to these characters. Each narrator really helped bring out the personality of the characters, not just the one of the POV they were acting out but all the characters that they voiced. It was interesting to see how the narrators saw the others in this motley crew and I never had any issues figuring out who was who. I also found it  very help to listen to the audio as I’m sure I’d have stumbled over many of the names and words used in this book.

Six of Crows Quote

At its heart SIX OF CROWS is a heist story and if you like a good heist story then you will like this book. There is intrigue and betrayal and a whole lot of shenanigans. But its also a story of friendship, of family, and of finding oneself despite all of the odds. Its a coming of age story and its even a love story on some levels. There really is something for everyone in SIX OF CROWS and its fast paced enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I know that I spent every free moment I could listening to this audio because once I became invested in this story I couldn’t stop listening. I just wanted to know more and when I hit the end I was bereft because it was over.

Another thing I like about SIX OF CROWS is that it has an ending. Oh there are still things that are left to be done and even a wee cliff hanger but you know were most of the players stand and you see the set up for things that will happen in CROOKED KINGDOM. But best of all, its not predictable. I have no idea where this story is going I just have my hopes and my fears on what Bardugo is going to go. SIX OF CROWS is an intricately woven story and I h ave no doubts that CROOKED KINGDOM is going to be the same. There are twists and turns around every corner and a whole lot of heartache and shenanigans ahead.

I did not expect to like SIX OF CROWS as much as I did. I wasn’t even sure that I would read it. But I am so very very glad that I did because I was so engrossed in this story. For me, its a whole different style and delivery than SHADOW & BONE. The characters have more depth and they are smart and feisty and while flawed they aren’t broken. Bardugo weaves in the history of the Grisha world and the backstorys of this crews expertly in the story that there are no slow info dump moments. SIX OF CROWS is definitely a story that can be read independently of SHADOW & BONE. So if you haven’t gotten around to reading that one yet, or if you are like me and you didn’t like it all that much I would say that you can easily pick this one up and know what is going on with the world and not be lost.

thumbs up

irishdarkblue

IR - Six of Crows

Add The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, Book 2
Also in this series: The Fixer
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 Jun 2016
Genres: Abduction, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Social Issues, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Naturals

Place(s) Traveled To: Washington, DC

First Line(s): “Tess, has anyone ever told you that you’re an absolute vision when you’re plotting something?” Asher Rhodes shot a lazy grin in my direction.

I don’t know about you dear reader but I was crazy excited to be able to get my hands on THE LONG GAME after finishing the wild ride that was THE FIXER!! There was an ending with THE FIXER but there were also just enough threads to leave this reader lusting for more and THE LONG GAME did not disappoint! THE LONG GAME picks up almost immediately after the events in THE FIXER end only the mysteries are bigger and the stakes higher and poor Tess may just be a tad bit over her head. Tess is still reeling from revelations that happened in THE FIXER and dealing the the consequences of that story so she really doesn’t need anything else going on. But trouble as a way of finding Tess and she just can’t let sleeping dogs lie. After all, who can be a normal teenager when your related to the biggest fixer in DC and go to one of the most elite schools in America?

I was totally sucked into this story right from page one and really hated to put it down for such mundane things as sleep or food. I just needed to see where Jennifer Lynn Barnes would take the story even as she broke my heart a time or two in the process. As I said above the stakes are higher in THE LONG GAME, lives are at stake and there is betrayal around every corner. The twists are twister and Barnes does an amazing job at keeping the reader guessing while not being so obtuse that the big reveal comes out of left field. THE LONG GAME is a crazy intense ride and its so hard to talk about without giving anything away.

One thing I really liked in THE LONG GAME is how Tess really comes into her own despite all the upheavals in her life. She is strong and smart and can take care of so much on her own but she always knows when things are above her and to ask for help. She may run head long into danger at times but she always makes sure that help is on the way. I also like how this series is not romance focused. Yes, there is a romance in the book but it sits more on the sidelines as THE LONG GAME is a straight up thriller. Its a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat while occasionally making you laugh and a few breaks in tension for a kiss or two.

I also really really really hope that this isn’t the end for this series because I would love to see more from Tess and the gang. Especially with some of the reveals that happened in THE LONG GAME. There are still threads that could be followed to bigger and crazier things. Although, I am not entirely sure that my heart could take more of the intensity that Barnes brings to this story. For me, THE LONG GAME was a total edge of my seat read and I count it as one of my top books of the year. You are really missing out on good crafty story telling if you haven’t picked up this series yet. There really aren’t words to describe how good it is just know that you won’t be disappointed if you pick up these books. If you are, then we can’t be friends. (kidding….maybe…gives you haters the stink eye)

intense

 

irishdarkblue IR - The Fixer

 

Add The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

Add Also Known As by Robin Benway to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Audio Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Winter by Marissa MeyerWinter by Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Series: Lunar Chronicles,
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest
Published by Macmillian Audio on 10 November 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 23 hrs and 30 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Heartless

Place(s) Traveled To: Atemesia, Luna

First Line(s): Winter’s toes had become ice cubes.

Sometimes I wonder why I acquire a print version of a book because if I start a book (or book series) on audio then I typically like to finish in that format. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that despite my wonderful secret sister giving me a signed copy of WINTER by Marissa Meyer I ended up buying the audio version from audible. WINTER is a long book (824 pgs) and as such the audio seemed to take me forever to get through. For me, I think that WINTER could have done with another round or two of editing as there was a lot of repetition and things that just weren’t really relevant to the story at hand. The bulk of the story also took place over just two days so it just seemed overly drawn out.

I also think that WINTER suffered from too many POVs. I can see if it stuck to the main cast but there were many that were one off and to me that just comes across as lazy story telling. I love multiple perspectives to get a well rounded story, I hate a switch in POV just because it makes something a little easier to tell. My heart also wept for all the mangled science in this book. Oh my poor poor scientific heart and just when I’d become able to ignore (kind of) the antidote/vaccine issue too. But poor science aside, I do think that WINTER was a decent end to a series. There were many a heart achy (because emotions not bad science) that kept me invested in this story and the characters. I also adored Winter and Jacin and was glad to see things from their perspective this time around.

Winter Quote

 

I did have some issues with the narration as it seemed liked it was Rebecca Soler’s first time out of the gate and not the fourth book in a series. Soler would confuse voices that had been around since CINDER and the scene transitions were bad. Which made it difficult to follow along with the story. I often found myself hitting the rewind button to figure out what I’d miss and I’d also consult my physical copy (thank you secret sister!) just to verify what was going on when and who was the main POV at that time. I wouldn’t have thought that WINTER would have been a more polished audio than it was. And while I don’t entirely regret my choice to listen to this one over reading the print there were times I considered switching over before the book was done.

Now that the Lunar Chronicles is over I can say that I am glad that I read the series even if I didn’t fall head over heals in love with it. I do like Meyer’s take on all the different fairy tales and how she set them in a dystopian back drop. It was a fresh take on them and entertaining read. Though I will admit that Cinder wasn’t my favorite character of series and I lean more towards, Winter, Jacin, Cress and Thorne. Those are all characters that I would love to know more about and ones that I hope we’ll see in the anthology STARS ABOVE. Now I just need to find the time to read it and determine if I want to go print or audio. Oh, who am I kidding…I’ll most likely go audio.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Cinder

 

Add Cinder by Marissa Meyer to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Kings Rising by CS PacatKings Rising by CS Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit
Published by Berkley Books on 02 February 16
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Fortaine, Vere // Kingsmeet, Akielos // Ios, Akielos

First Line(s): ‘Damianos.’ Damen stood at the base of the dais steps as his name spread in tones of shock and disbelief over the courtyard.

I am not entirely sure what to say in this review of KINGS RISING by CS Pacat that hasn’t already been said. How do I add to the gush fest that I wrote of the first two books in this series? How do I accurately sum up just how amazing this whole series was and all the feels it made me feel? There really aren’t words for me to use to fully describe this book or at least none adequate enough as I still have trouble speaking coherently about this book. I picked up KINGS RISING immediately after finishing PRINCE’S GAMBIT (my review) because I couldn’t wait another second before knowing what happened next. Especially with how PRINCE’S GAMBIT ended!! Secrets have been revealed and that is just the start of all the crazy twists and turns in this book.

Damen and Laurent have slowly been coming together and Damen’s secret could be the thing that finally breaks them. The final journey of these two is just so heartachingly good!! There are few couples in the book world that have effected me as much as Damen and Laurent have. Their romance is a slow burn filled with secrets and mistrust and eventually nothing but hope and love. It takes three books to get them there but oh what a journey it was to bring them to those final moments!! The Captive Prince series is such a roller coaster of emotion but oh my stars I would give anything to experience this read for the first time again. There is nothing like that first read where you have no idea what is waiting for you with each turn of the page and Pacat definitely excels at building up the suspense!!

Kings Rising Quote

Oh Pacat does still use her fancy $3 words but I didn’t care about that as much in this book as the others because I kind of thought that KINGS RISING might be the book that would kill me. (Spoiler: it didn’t…but it came close!). KINGS RISING really put my heart through the ringer and despite all my hopes I wasn’t sure that it would end the way I wanted to. This made my read of it complete torture but I wouldn’t change that ride for anything because the emotional investment in a story is part of what I love about reading. I totally lost myself for the hours it took me to read this book. I was Damen and Laurent and all the side characters. I wasn’t in my apartment reading in bed but right there on the battlefield wondering who I could trust and who would betray me next.

While PRINCE’S GAMBIT is probably my favorite in the series KINGS RISING is a close second. I read the two so close together that its hard to separate them at times. All I know is that I went into CAPTIVE PRINCE thinking that I would hate the books and I almost cried when I turned the last page of KINGS RISING because it was over. The end of a series is so hard especially when it was such an emotional read but as I’ve said I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. If you know me, you know that I don’t gush about a ton of books. I recommend a ton but I’m not a gusher. This series though, this series totally makes me gush, and for that reason alone you should give it a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I know I didn’t.

 

 

Kings Rising Thoughts

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. PacatPrince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince, Book 2
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Captive Prince

Place(s) Traveled To: Chastillion, Vere // Fortain, Vere // Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Marlas, Vere

First Line(s): The shadows were long with sunset when they rode up, and the horizon was red.

After finishing CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat (my review) I couldn’t get the story out of my head so had to get my hands on the second book in the series, PRINCE’S GAMBIT. PRINCE’S GAMBIT picks up right where CAPTIVE PRINCE ends and is filled with even more tension and political intrigue. It’s also in PRINCE’s GAMBIT where the romance between Laurent and Damen really starts to heat up. Though this series is still what I’d call a slow burn in the romance department. There are no grand declarations in this book but lots of forays into what is to come and of course drama and tension. But not crazy over the top drama or angst. Everything about PRINCE’S GAMBIT is real, raw and organic and I just couldn’t put this book down!! I loved the push and pull between Damen and Laurent as they worked together against the Regent and also worked toward forging a bond.

In CAPTIVE PRINCE, you learn that Laurent has essentially been on his own and had to keep his own council since the day that his father and older brother were killed. He doesn’t trust easily and there are still so many secrets between Laurent and Damen so you know that shit is about to get real before these two can find a happily ever after. As I mentioned about, the tension is off the hook in PRINCE’S GAMBIT and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next. The political intrigue that is the baseline of the story really hits its stride as events that were started in CAPTIVE PRINCE start to unfold. Laurent, as usual, always seems to be several steps ahead of the rest and yet there are still some things that take him by surprise which makes for much edge of your seat reading.

Prince's Gambit Quote

I totally fell in love with this story and liked it even more than CAPTIVE PRINCE. I stayed up late to read it with my heart racing for much of the last half of the book. Not that this book has a ton of crazy action to it, because it doesn’t, but the political drama and of course the growing relationship between Laurent and Damen really sucks the reader in. Although, the super big fancy words that Pacat is so found of did distract a bit from the story. Using words like expostulation in place of protest just seemed so unnecessary and while I do hate when books are dumbed down there is such a thing as trying to hard to sound smart. I think that this series could have stood just as strong with words more commonly used than some of the word choices that Pacat makes.

Overall though, I loved PRINCE’S GAMBIT and found it even more compelling that CAPTIVE PRINCE. I was hooked from word one and am so glad that I decided to give this series a shot. Its such a heart achy read and has defied all of my expectations. Its so rare for a hyped up book to live up to the hype for me and this series is one of those few that make the cut. When I finished PRINCE’S GAMBIT I was DYING for KINGS RISING because I just couldn’t wait to see how the series ended. This is definitely one series where you’ll want to have access to all the books before starting because the cliff hangers between each are killer!!

 

irishdarkblue IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

four-stars
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Prince's Gambit, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 April 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Survival Stories
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Also by this author: Prince's Gambit

Place(s) Traveled To: Ios, Akielos // Arles, Vere

First Line(s): Damen came back to himself in stages, his drugged limbs heavy against the silk cushions, the gold cuffs on his wrists like lead weights.

When I first heard about CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat  prior to its release by Berkley Books I didn’t think it was a book for me and so promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to a year later and it seemed like I couldn’t get away from mention of this series in all my social media from a variety of readers. I then decided to look into CAPTIVE PRINCE further and requested a copy from my library to read. Regular readers know that I’m usually really wary of hyped up books and that was the case with CAPTIVE PRINCE and yet its because of the hype that had me curious to know more. The story is told from the POV of Damen who is the Crown Prince of Akielos who is captured and sent into a life of slavery by his own half-brother who has overthrown the kingdom. To increase tensions the place where Damen is sent is to Akielos’s rival nation and he’s given to Prince Laurent, whose older brother Damen killed years earlier during a war between the nations.

Tension abounds in CAPTIVE PRINCE and I have to admit that I was enthralled with this novel. The political intrigue was gripping and tensions were high. I loved Damen’s voice and really felt for the situation that he found himself in. I was also really drawn to Laurent, who reminded me a lot of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Like Gen, Laurent is always several steps ahead of everyone and is an expert at holding his cards to his chest and in pretending to be something he’s not. I loved how these two interacted together as they started to feel each other out and while there is no real romance in CAPTIVE PRINCE you can see the seeds being set for the romance that is to come. But first both Damen and Laurent must go through some personal journeys and deal with some hard truths before they can get to their HEA.

Captive Prince Quote

Another thing that I liked about CAPTIVE PRINCE was the world building. Pacat created a rich and vibrant world that was easy to visualize throughout the story. I loved how she set up the various kingdoms and how distinct they were. I also liked how vivid the tensions were between Akielos and Vere which were also reflected in the tensions between Damen and Laurent. Although, I will admit that there were some things that happened in the court of Vere that I did not care for. There was a rape culture that existed that just made me uncomfortable and I rushed to get through one scene in particular. I also felt that CAPTIVE PRINCE was well written although Pacat seemed to have a fondness for big fancy words that were often unnecessary where a normal word would do. I pride myself on my vocabulary but there were times that I was glad to be reading CAPTIVE PRINCE on my kindle as it was easy to look some words up.

CAPTIVE PRINCE isn’t a perfect book and its not a book for everyone but I for one enjoyed the story. As I said, I didn’t think that it was going to be for me but in the end I was really glad that I gave it a shot as I really liked the overall story even as there were things here and there that I didn’t not care for. CAPTIVE PRINCE was a book that took me by surprise and then stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Its a compelling read and one where I was glad to have easy access to the second and third books of this series because once I finished CAPTIVE PRINCE I wanted to jump into the other books immediately. This is definitely a book that I’ll be re-reading in the future as I just fell in love with the main characters and their story. And I think that many of you will as well if you just give it a shot.

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IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog. 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy,
Also in this series: The Revolution of Ivy
Published by Entangled Teen on 04 Nov 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Family, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 282
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Revolution of Ivy

Place(s) Traveled To: Westfall, Unknown

First Line(s): No one wears white wedding dresses anymore.

THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel is one of those books that I hadn’t heard much about until I recieved an ARC of its sequel THE REVOLUTION OF IVY (goodreads). It was also around that time that talk about BOOK OF IVY started to appear in my social media streams and while I haven’t been much into dystopian reads of late I decided to give this one a chance. Like most YA dystopians THE BOOK OF IVY is very thin on details. There isn’t a whole lot of world building or history given to why the world is how it is. As a reader you are immediately thrust into the every life of this society that has formed in the bones of the former United States and its up to the reader to figure out what’s going on.

At first, I thought THE BOOK OF IVY was going to be a standard ‘girls are only good for making babies’ sort of story which is all too common a theme in YA dystopia and so I was hesitant on the story. But then there was just something about this one that really lulled me into its pages. Amy Engel’s writing is seductive even as it doesn’t have a ton of substance behind the words. I found myself engrossed in Ivy’s story and found this book really hard to put down. I liked her struggle between what she had been raised to do and what she wanted to do. And most of all I liked Bishop.

Book of Ivy Quote

Bishop is one of those book boyfriends that I’m surprised I don’t hear much about. He’s smart and funny and he appreciates Ivy for who she is. He doesn’t have lofty expectations of her nor does he expect her to be a simpering housewife with him the general of the household. He’s sweet and caring and the sort of character that you really wish you could meet in real life. He’s the bright light in an otherwise cliched and fairly typical YA dystopian novel.

THE BOOK OF IVY is what I’d call a brain candy read and would be perfect for a day at the beach. It doesn’t take a lot of thought and makes for a good distraction. Its a really fast read with a likable main character even though it does lack for a bit of a plot. As I said the writing is seductive so while you are reading the story its easy to forgive its flaws and just get lost in the nuances and flow of the words. THE BOOK OF IVY is one that I think would be great on audio with the right narrator as it really is a lyrical story. I was invested enough in Ivy’s story to read the sequel but its not a series that will win any awards. If you like YA dystopian then you’ll probably enjoy THE BOOK OF IVY. I also think those new to dystopia will enjoy it as well.

irishdarkblue

IR - Book of Ivy

 

Add Matched by Ally Condie to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 02 April 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift, Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Nantes, Brittany/France // Rennes, France // Morlaix, France //Tonquedec, France (1489)

First Line(s): I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

When GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (my review) came out back in 2012 I devoured it. While I was wary at first I totally fell under the spell of these Medieval assassin nuns. I then later received an ARC of DARK TRIUMPH and my first thought was to pick it up immediately and read it but it was far out from publication date and so I put it aside. And there it sat on a shelf until last year when a friend and I made a pact to do a co-read of it. DARK TRIUMPH picks up right around when GRAVE MERCY ends but switches POV from Ismae to Sybella. Sybella was an interesting character in GRAVE MERCY so I was looking forward to her story. However, I didn’t quite fall for DARK TRIUMPH as deeply as I did with GRAVE MERCY and I think that’s due in part to the POV change.

I just didn’t find Sybella to be as likable as Ismae nor was she as nuanced a character. Yes, Sybella was a strong heroine that overcame a pretty shitty upbringing but I just didn’t care about her the same way that I did Ismae. I also really didn’t buy the romance in this story. There was just so little development in that area that I just didn’t feel any chemistry when Sybella and Beast finally declared their love for each other. Though I really did like Beast, he was an bright and entertaining light throughout the story. I liked the camaraderie that he and Sybella shared but there just wasn’t enough of them together for them to form that much needed spark.

Dark Triumph Quote

But what bothered me the most about DARK TRIUMPH was how repetitive it was. I get that some recap is needed to refresh fans from what happened in GRAVE MERCY but Sybella just kept thinking the same thoughts over and over again. So much so that there was very little in the way of plot development in DARK TRIUMPH. This book was all hurry up and wait and there was very little action. It was very much a middle book in a series and was more filler and fluff than anything of substance. As such I found this one really easy to put down and stay down while I was reading.

When I did pick it up I was I found myself in the story but I had to force myself to pick it up each day. And I did that mostly so that I could finish around the same time as my friend. There were times where I was tempted to skip over parts and I feel that if I had done so then I wouldn’t have missed very much at all. Most of the action/plot that happens in DARK TRIUMPH comes at the end. The rest is just waiting around for something to happen. There were just so many missed opportunities in DARK TRIUMPH that just left this one lacking for me. As such, while I do plan to finish the series at some point, I don’t have the burning need to rush out and see how it all ends. What say you readers, does the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy end with a bang or a fizzle? Leave a comment or catch me on social media and let me know if I should prioritize MORTAL HEART or not.

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IR - Grave Mercy

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by AC Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Finnikin of the Rock to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, April 8, 2016

Audio Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel AaronThe Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: The Legend of Eli Monpress,
on 28 September 2010
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards
Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Mellinor

First Line(s): In the prison under the castle Allaze, in the dark, moldy cells where the greatest criminals in Mellinor spent the remainder of their lives counting rocks to stave off madness, Eli Monpress was trying to wake up a door.

A long time ago I received an ARC of THE SPIRIT THIEF by Rachel Aaron and I remember that it sounded good but for whatever reason I never got around to reading it. Life and other book commitments got in the way until it dropped off my radar. Then not too long ago, I started to see a lot of chatter in my social media about THE SPIRIT THIEF and I remembered how I wanted to read the book and when I saw that Luke Daniels was the narrator I knew that listening to this one was the only way to go. As always, Daniels is phenomenal at the narration and even though I’ve grown really used to him reading the Iron Druid books I never once though that Eli was Atticus or that this world was the realm of the Iron Druid books. It was Luke Daniels’s narration style that kept me listening to this one until the end because sadly, for me, THE SPIRIT THIEF didn’t live up to all my expectations.

First off, there wasn’t much in the way of world building to THE SPIRIT THIEF. I couldn’t easily picture that world that Eli Monpress and his gang inhabited and wish that more time had been spent setting it all up. As a reader, we are just thrown into the waters of this world and we weren’t given a life preserver in order to help us swim. Also, for such a short read/listen (the paperback clocks in at 300 pages) there was so much information that was repeated. These were all wasted words because I understood the 1st dozen times that Eli is a special magical case and what he does is impossible or that he’s the most wanted criminal in all the land and how Miranda will make him see justice, blah blah blah. Those words could have been better put to use by building up this world and these characters and giving them all those little details that make them seem real.

Spirit Thief Quote

Because they never did seem real. All the characters seemed flat and wooden and while Eli’s snark did make me laugh a few times I just never got why I should care about him or his companions. The overall plot of THE SPIRIT THIEF was also a bit juvenile and again I never really cared about the outcome of the story. I didn’t care if Eli was captured or if he got away and I didn’t care why he was in Mellinor in the first place. The only really strong reaction that I had in THE SPIRIT THIEF was an intense dislike for Miranda. And I kept hoping that someone would burn her to ashes. ***SPOILER*** No one does.

THE SPIRIT THIEF is an adult book but its one that reads young and while I didn’t finish the story I don’t know if this is a series that I’ll keep reading. There were more things in this book that annoyed me than I liked. The only really draw to other books in the series is that they too are narrated by Luke Daniels but is a good narrator enough when there isn’t a whole lot of substance to the story? I’ll admit that there is potential to this series but I don’t know if there is enough of it for me to spend time on it.

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IR - Spirit Thief

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Plain Kate by Erin Bow to Goodreads.

three-stars
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