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.”

A Promise of Fire

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

4.5 stars!

“People talk about fight or flight? That’s nonsense. It’s fight and flight.”

I love fantasy romance, it always delivers such fun!

A Promise of Fire is a mythological fantasy romance about a woman who can detect lies, among other abilities. This makes Cat very valuable to the rulers of the world who want to use her for their own gain. When the brother of a Queen recognizes Cat as a Kingmaker, he and his warriors capture her to bring her to their Queen.

Griffin wants to use Cat for peace, but a lifetime of hardship has Cat convinced that is not possible. It’s up to Griffin to sway her.

“Now that that’s settled, you’re coming with me.”

“Never in a billion suns. Not even if Zeus showed up as a swan and tried to peck me in your direction. I wouldn’t go with you even if my other option was Hades dragging me to the Underworld for an eternal threesome with Persephone.”

After seeing this book on lots of Best of 2016 lists, I wanted to give it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was a fun and wild read. Lots of reviews have noted Cat as annoying, and I can see where people would think that, but to me she was feisty and fierce. Could she have made better decisions? Yes. But her life circumstances never really taught her the “right” way to live, she had to learn on her own.

Griffin….. oh my Griffin

I love a romance where the man has to convince the girl to love him. His courtship of Cat was fun, and it was frustrating at times, but he never wavered.

I loved the mix of mythology and fantasy, the mystery behind who Cat really was, the relationship of Cat with the warriors and the royals. Basically I really enjoyed this book. So much so, I ran to my local Barnes and Noble to pick up the next book before I was even done reading!!!

“I conquered a kingdom and found a treasure.” His voice turns gravelly, low. “I won’t let you go. Not now. Not ever.”

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

4.5 stars!

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

The Song of Achilles is a retelling of the life of Achilles through the point of view of his childhood friend Patroclus. Patroclus was a prince who made a mistake as a young boy and was exiled. He became friends with Achilles and the two were inseparable; they even both began training under Chiron the Centaur together even when Patroclus was not meant to be trained.

There had always been a strong connection between Achilles and Patroclus, but over time friendship grew to love, and love into passion. Though their relationship may anger some, the two do not care, they only wished to be together. But then war against Troy comes calling, for both of them. And they must face fate, together.

“He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.”

I picked up this book because I went to a book signing for author Taylor Jenkins Reid and she recommended this book to the crowd. After hearing her rave about it I was curious. I work in a library and requested it, and when another coworker saw I was going to read it she freaked out and became so excited because she loved this book. So basically at that point I had to read it.

This book completely blew me away. I normally don’t read contemporary fiction, at least not anymore. But this book is something special. I love retellings, even if the story isn’t exact because I love other people’s interpretations. Plus I am a sucker for the male/male romance. Beautifully written, poetic, I fell in love with both characters despite their faults.

And if you’ve read The Iliad, or seen any movies based on it, you know the outcome. Yet knowing what would happen, Miller still put her own unique spin on it and it was like reading a new ending. So so many feels, and I may have let a tiny tear escape (A TINY ONE). I will hold these men in my heart very dearly, their story is one I could never forget.

“Name one hero who was happy.”
I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason’s children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus’ back.
“You can’t.” He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
“I can’t.”
“I know. They never let you be famous AND happy.” He lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll tell you a secret.”
“Tell me.” I loved it when he was like this.
“I’m going to be the first.” He took my palm and held it to his. “Swear it.”
“Why me?”
“Because you’re the reason. Swear it.”
“I swear it,” I said, lost in the high color of his cheeks, the flame in his eyes.
“I swear it,” he echoed.
We sat like that a moment, hands touching. He grinned.
“I feel like I could eat the world raw.”

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.

Mortal Heart

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

3.5 stars

“If Death could grant you a wish, you would use it for someone else? Trade your happiness for someone else’s?”

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As I always do with my 3 star reviews, I maintain that just because I rated a book 3 stars does not mean I didn’t like it/it isn’t good. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the two book before it. Therefore, 3 stars.

I truly believe that Robin LaFevers has brought something special to the young adult genre with her His Fair Assassin trilogy. I can’t recall a historical fiction book(s) within this genre that has been so beautifully executed with strong female characters. That being said, Mortal Heart is probably my least favorite book in this series, the second book Dark Triumph the best.

Mortal Heart is Annith’s story. We know her from the previous books, as she is friend and sister to Ismae and Sybella. Unlike the other girls, Annith has spent her life in the convent since birth. Annith has been waiting and longing for years to be sent out on an assignment, like her sisters before her. One day while spying on the Reverend Mother, Annith discovers that she is not meant to leave the convent, but to stay forever and be the next Seeress. Finding this a horrible fate, Annith strikes out on her own after the Reverend Mother to demand answers as to her fate.

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Being that this book is almost 450 pages, it was really a sad things for me that it took almost 100 pages in for the book to finally grasp my undivided attention. In my opinion this book was also pretty scattered, with Annith doing one thing but then getting roped into other journeys by chance. Like when she leaves the convent with a set course but then ends up with the Helliquin, and then the women warriors. It just felt a little jumbled in my opinion. The plot at times was very straightforward, when it pertained to the political plot with the Duchess. It was not consistent when it came to Annith’s plot, I felt.

I liked the addition of the helliquin and Balthazaar; he was a very interesting and mysterious character and remained so throughout the entire book. The connection (romantically and otherwise) was a bit difficult to believe at the beginning, but near the end of the book it made a lot of sense.

“I am beginning to think that love itself is never wrong. It is what love can drive people to do that is the problem.”

I enjoyed the fact that we got to see a bit more of Ismae and Sybella, and a part of my wishes that the author would write some epilogue novellas for them. It felt to me like the stories of the 3 main girls remains largely unfinished.

I also liked the resolution of the Duchess’s struggles. After 3 books of trying to find a solution I believe the author found a very inventive and creative end to her story. I’m also kind of hoping for the Duchess to get her own book.

Strong end to a strong series, but not my favorite book of the 3.

“We are all of us, gods and mortals, made up of many pieces, some of them broken, some of them scarred, but none of them the total sum of who we are.”

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.