Breath of Fire

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2) by Amanda Bouchet

4 stars!

“You’re the shield, and I’m the sword.”

What an action packed and thrilling series!

Breath of Fire begins where A Promise of Fire left off, and with one of Cat’s big secrets revealed. It becomes clear that Griffin and the team need more to protect their city from outside. From there they go on a quest to a wizard to tell them what they need to achieve this, and the adventure begins from there…

“It’s time to be the person you were meant to be, Cat. You don’t just have to make decisions and stand by them now. You have to live with them.”

From the first page of this book I was enthralled with the story. We get a major overdose of angst right at the beginning (much to my delight) and then things smooth out from there. I love fantasy novels so mixing fantasy and romance together is like a dream come true. My favorite parts of this book included Cat and Kato in the labyrinth, a truly thrilling part of the book.

Cat definitely matured in this book, her annoying aspects have disappeared somewhat because lots of her internal fears were resolved. She’s still strong and sassy as ever, and she has the best man alongside her. I love Griffin, he’s an excellent mix of alpha male and partner, being dominant and yet letting Cat be herself and fight. He just fights alongside her.
A thrilling follow up novel filled with action, romance and mythology. I am so ready for the third book and I wish it was out right now.

“I will always come back to you.”
…I lean forward and kiss him because he’s my hunger and my food, my thirst and my water, my air and my every breath.”

The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

4 stars!

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

A retelling of 1001 arabian nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is the story of Shahrzad. Shahrzad volunteers to be one of the many wives of the king, knowing the risk that by the morning after her wedding she will be dead. But she volunteered as a part of a plan of vengeance, for her best friend was one of the many brides murdered by her King. She survives the first night by enrapturing the king with a story until dawn, and she lives to see another day. As the days pass she begins to learn there is more to this story than she knows, and more dangers afoot.

“You have a beautiful laugh. Like the promise of tomorrow.”

I’ve seen lots of reviews being tossed around for this book, and it was a finalist in the Goodreads choice awards so I decided to give it a chance. What I found was a unique story and a strong heroine, alongside a fresh take on the beloved story of 1001 nights. There were parts that were a bit slow/confusing, hence four stars and not five, but ultimately this book captured my attention and didn’t let go until I was done.

I kept reading because I had to know what came next, ever unsure of where the story would lead me. I hope the wait for the next book isn’t too long so I can read it right away! There were lots of unanswered questions at the end of this book and I need to know what happens next! Bravo to Renee Ahdieh for this story, and for a writing style that captivates and entertains the reader throughout the entire story.

“There is no one I would rather see the sunrise with than you.”

The Return

The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4 Apollyon stars!

“You’re just…you’re just Seth.”
“And you…you’re just my salvation.”

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***First off, I just want to note that you must finish reading The Covenant series before reading this book. The Return is a new adult spinoff of the young adult series, the first book titled Half Blood and it’s a serious I rated 5 stars across the board so I highly recommend reading it.

The Return is about Seth, the Apollyon who aided in several unforgivable crimes a few years before. In order to atone for all of his actions, Seth agrees to be the bidding boy of the Greek Gods. This changes when Apollo tasks Seth with protecting someone at all costs.

Josie is a college student who is worried about her next test and her unwell mother back home. Upon meeting Seth she is whisked into a new world, one containing Greek gods, demigods, sentinels, titans, furies, daimons and more. After shit hits the fan at her college, Seth must escort Josie to a safe location but they face many obstacles along the way.

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I love that Seth got his own book. There were so many times when reading The Covenant series that I wished we as the readers knew his motivations or his side of things, so I was very grateful to get his perspective in this book. Seth’s main focus is toatone for all of the horrible things he’s done in the past, and the horrible tragedies that his actions ultimately led to. There is an undeniable attraction between Seth and Josie, but Seth cannot believe he would deserve a girl like her, and believes he would not be the man she deserved. Based on all of his baggage, I can see where he is coming from with that.

I really liked Josie as a new character, she had a lot of spunk but wasn’t at all reckless. Her goal was to survive to live another day. I look forward to seeing her development in the next book. I feel like we just scratched the surface with her.

I loved the character cameos we got to see in this book, mostly Apollo, Luke and Deacon. Deacon always seems to put a smile on my face and I hope he’s around a lot more. I would have liked more cameos but hopefully they will come later.

Overall, I really liked this book, but because of some unresolved plot points at the end I can’t say I loved it.

Oh and I’m not normally mean about this, but who the f*** chose this cover?? It is AWFUL! That guy looks like he’s high and he looks nothing like Seth. If you’ve seen the original cover (in my updates below) you can see what I mean, and I strongly wish they had stuck with the old cover. It was much better.

Of Neptune

Of Neptune (The Syrenna Legacy #3) by Anna Banks

3 Neptune stars

“Emma, I will love you with every breath in my body and beyond my own death. I swear to be your shield, your protector, your worshipper. There is nothing I will deny you. I am yours.”

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A great conclusion to a fun series!

To be honest, I was surprised when I heard there was going to be a third book in this series. Personally I thought book two had wrapped up the series fairly well. Boy was I mistaken. This book wrapped up any remaining plot holes from the first two books, and gave the readers the ending they’ve been wishing for.

After the death of Rachel in Of Triton, Galen has been having a rough time. He and Emma agree that some time away from everyone, just the two of them would be the best for a while. Before they both leave on their trip, Emma is given a cryptic suggestion from her grandfather for the two of them to head toward the mountains of Tennessee. There, they find a whole community of Syrena and humans living together in peace, including other half-breeds.

The discovery of the town of Neptune has Galen and Emma at odds with each other, Emma has finally found a place where there are others like her, and Galen sees a community breaking the law. Angst and drama ensues.

I really liked the beginning of this book, it started off very strong, but somewhere around the middle of the book it faded out for me and continued that way. I thought it was strange that pretty much right away Emma and Galen started fighting and not seeing eye to eye, because by the third book, these two should really be on the same page and not be indulging in angsty teen drama (even though I secretly loved it).

The ending was way too quick, it went from build up to –> everyone’s good and happy now in 2.5 seconds. So closure was not exactly perfect, but congrats to the author on an enjoyable teen series. I will be recommending this to teen patrons at work in the future.

I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews (on other sites) that I don’t really understand why the author switches her point of views between first and third person. Is there any real reason why Emma is first person and Galen is third? Because I found it to be unnecessary and distracting.

Honestly, this series is a guilty pleasure read for me, as it does a good job at dealing out angst.

And as I always say, 3 stars means I liked it/enjoyed it. I just didn’t love this/wouldn’t reread it.

Evertrue

Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton

2 WTF HAPPENED?? stars

The Mockingjay Effect strikes again!

“What is the Mockingjay Effect?” you ask. Well, it’s a theory I came up with after the release of Mockingjay, in which the first two books in a trilogy are awesome, amazing, wonderful… and then the third book blows. Usually this only applies to YA dystopia, but I think that this book applies.

Where do I begin? Well, after Nikki rescues her love Jack from the Tunnels of the Everneath, she finds she is transitioning into an Everling. Why is this bad? I honestly didn’t care why. And then in order for Nikki to not die, she conveniently needs to feed off of Cole to survive.

Me at this point:
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Nikki decides that instead of just getting out of becoming an Everling, she must destroy the Everneath. All that flashed through my mind at this point was #DestroyTheEverneath . All Nikki needed at this point was her own webcast about it.

This book was over the top and made things way too complicated. I really wish the author had just killed off Cole in the second book, Nikki never starts the transition, and her and Jack live happily ever after. I want to erase this last installment from my mind.

I felt like we needed a prequel book or short story written as well. I didn’t understand Nikki and Jack’s connection/relationship went back so far and I felt like as the reader we were missing something. Same with Cole’s feelings for Nikki. The author would just throw in a past memory like “oh this will explain it” and think the reader would be happy. I wasn’t.

The first two books I was enthralled and entertained. This last book I ended up skimming. To Ms. Ashton, sorry for the rant, I really loved your other books, just not this one. And thanks to everyone else for suffering through my rant. Read the first two books, they are amazing! Just skip this one and know that everything ends with an HEA. Well for everyone but Cole who ended up like this:
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Everbound

Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton

5 Ever Yours stars!

Everbound begins a couple of weeks after the events of Everneath. After her boyfriend Jack sacrifices himself and is sent into the tunnels of the everneath, Nikki makes it her mission to rescue Jack from what should have been her fate. To do this, Nikki must go to the everneath, and she needs the help of Cole, the everling who instigated this whole mess. Surprisingly, Cole is willing to help Nikki, and both of them set off on a dangerous journey to reunite Nikki with her lost love. Along the way Nikki recounts stories of her and Jack, which helps form a tether in the everneath which will lead her to Jack.

I admired Nikki’s determination in this book. Where she had been sort of a weakling in the first book, she developed into a fighter in Everbound. She fought many difficult obstacles to get to Jack, and suceeded where many other people would have given up.

“I was not losing Jack. I would not lose him.”

I loved how the author began to “humanize” Cole in this book. In the last book he seemed to be strictly The Bad Guy, but in Everbound I found myself wanting to know more about him. As a reader, his love for Nikki becomes more prevalent and believable in this addition.

“It’s not love. It’s a need. He needs me because he thinks I can become the next queen. He doesn’t love me.”
“You really can’t see it, can you?”
“See what?”
“He has a tether too. And it points right at you.”

I thought the love triangle was very well done. I am usually a fan of the underdog, which in this case would mean Cole. Despite the character development of him and the lack of Jack’s presence on page, I found myself rooting for Jack instead of Cole. Like, I am a t-shirt wearing fan of #TeamJack. I think this is because Jack suffered through so much in book one of Nikki being gone (and it being Cole’s fault), and then his self sacrifice. His actions just makes him a character you have to root for. Don’t get me wrong, Cole is all kinds of interesting. I just don’t want him to get the girl.

And that ending? Boy am I glad I waited to read this series until all of them were published. Mini-cliffhanger!!!

Everneath

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

A modern day mythology retelling of Persephone, Everneath is about a teenage girl named Nikki who has Returned to the surface from the Everneath after spending hundreds of years there. In surface time, this was only six months, and now Nikki only has another six months to say her goodbyes to those she loves before she returns to the Tunnels, forever this time. On top of all of this, the man who first convinced Nikki to follow him into this horror, Cole, is set on having Nikki be his queen in the Elysian Fields. Seeing as this would cost lives Nikki fights against him. As her six months returned wind down, Nikki flashes back to the events that led her to make the choice she did and she tries to make amends for those she wronged when she left.

Brodi Ashton is a terrific author with a fantastic writing style. I know people say this all the time, but I really was sucked in from the first page. I pretty much spent all day Memorial Day devouring this book to see what would happen to Nikki and her ex-friend/ex-boyfriend, Jack. Riveting plot and a very cool twist on Greek mythology, Ashton sets herself apart from other teen authors with her debut novel.

I prefer the first half of the book to the second half, but that’s just because I adore angst and the first half was full of it! Plus, I loved trying to figure out the puzzle that was Nikki and Jack’s relationship and where things had gone wrong for them. Jack became the hero that Nikki didn’t believe existed, and he makes it hard for readers to go back to real like with non-fictional men.

Anyways loved it! And all of y’all should read it. Like now.

The Deep End of the Sea

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

This book BLEW. ME. AWAY. I know this book only came out a few months ago, but I am bewildered that this book isn’t a phenomenon online, because it really is that wonderful!

A modern day retelling of the Greek myth of Medusa, we discover that after suffering at the hands of someone she had trusted, Medusa is betrayed by the god she worshiped and cursed into being a monster. For over 2,000 years Dusa has remained isolated on an island, tortured by the guilt of accidentally killing men who came to slay her when she accidentally met their eyes.

“I am a monster. The worst kind of monster. The kind that people have told stories about for thousands of years. The kind that daredevils will seek out, even though many believe I’m nothing more than a myth.”

Dusa’s only solace is the visits from her friend Hermes, who desperately wants to right the wrongs done to Dusa by his family.

“My best friend is beautiful. I am so, so incredibly fortunate he never allowed me to push him away. I do not know what I would do without him.”

Medusa is one of my favorite female characters I’ve read in a long time. She is so strong to have lived 2,000 years suffering at the hands of Athena and Poseidon, and while she may be physically weak at times, she always gets back up and fights in the only ways she knows how to. While she often looks back at her life with some regret and sadness, she never, ever came across as whiny to me. Bravo Ms. Lyons for managing to create a lady we can all look up to, and one who doesn’t whine her way through her hardships but deals with them the best way she can.

The love story between Hermes and Medusa is one of the sweetest love stories I have ever read. Hermes is one of the best book boyfriends I have read. A Hermes fan club was mentioned, and I want to know… where I can sign up?!

“‘I adore you’ he whispers hoarsely. ‘There’s only ever been you for me.'”

“I love you. Do you understand that? I love you. That is not going to change, not ever. When we finally fall in love, it’s forever love. Even if you decide one day that you do not love me anymore, I will still always feel this way for you.”

Athena’s unjust actions toward Medusa is a perfect example of rape culture and how people often turn the victims of rape into monsters; in this case, literally so. I was especially sickened by Poseidon’s actions and further more creeped out when he truly believed that he and Medusa were lovers. To me he represented the ways of the past when people thought actions like his were okay, taking away the choices of women because they thought they knew what was best for them.

Overall I was enraptured by this book and couldn’t put it down. This is one of those special books in this genre that doesn’t come around very often, so I implore you, read this. You won’t regret it.

Lastly, one of my all time favorite quotes from this book:

“Change happens to us whether we like it not. Sometimes it’s for the good, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes, you have no control over it, despite just how desperate you may be to do so. Yet, it is in all our natures to try to bring about the change we wish for.”

Tiger’s Curse

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Tiger’s Curse is the story of Kelsey, a girl in Oregon who gets a part time job at the circus and discovers a white tiger named Ren. A strange connection forms between the two of them and so Kelsey is hired to help bring Ren back to India. Once arriving there, Kelsey discovers that Ren is actually a man trapped in a tiger’s body for the last 300 years, and Ren needs Kelsey to help break the curse that was inflicted on him and his brother Kishan.

The descriptions and imagery in this book were wonderful. I loved reading about the myth and the tale of the curse. The dialogue was… meh. I kept thinking “wow, most of this would be better as an inner monologue and not dialogue.” And Kelsey? One of the most annoying female characters I have ever read. Ren as a tiger had a lot of personality. Ren as a man made me wish that he was back in tiger form because he was so boring.

So basically this book had a lot of potential, but got a low rating from me due to bad dialogue writing and an unbearable main character. I still somehow enjoyed it, but I guess I expected more. My casting below:

Tiger's curse