The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven KingTitle: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: April 26th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5) Continue reading

New Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Title: Exquisite Captive
Author: Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan series
Rating: ★★★★★

Exquisite Captive

I loved this book. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. If I’m being honest, my only real experiences with jinn are those of “I Dream of Jeannie” and Genie from “Aladdin.” Those are not even close to the jinn in Exquisite Captive; Demetrios created an amazing story surrounding her characters.

Nalia is the last jinni of her race. She survived a coup that left everyone she cared about either dead or tortured. She is stuffed into a bottle and sold into slavery. Enter Malek. He is her master. He is abusive. And controlling. And confusing. But he is not a love interest.

I am sure some people will disagree with me on that point. Nalia does have conflicted feelings about Malek, but I don’t believe she ever feels love towards him. Caring? Sure. Sympathy? At times. But not love. Her relationship with Malek is like that of a Stockholm Syndrome victim with his or her captor. Malek has had power and control over her for so long, and has scarred her enough with her bottle, that when his behavior changes, she finds kindness.

The relationship between Malek and Nalia is an abusive one. Nalia recognizes that what she feels for Malek can’t be called love, just as what Malek believes he feels for her is not love. Not once did I get the feelings that I was supposed to want a romantic relationship between them.

On the other hand, Nalia’s relationship with Raif is not abusive. It starts out rough because they each want to use the other for a purpose. Raif wants the ability to save the Jinn races, and Nalia wants to be free from her bond to Malek. However, there is not the same abusive tone with their relationship. They certainly don’t like each other right away, but neither individual abuses the other. They develop their relationship slowly, and I enjoyed every second of it.

I am absolutely enthralled by this story and hate that I have to wait so long for the next book. I want to know what is going to happen next, both on Earth and in the jinn world. There are so many pieces to this story that just as I start to think the book couldn’t get any better, it does.

This is definitely a must read book. Demetrios will draw you right in and, if you’re like me, you won’t be able to put the book down.

If you’d like to read Exquisite Captive, you can purchase it here:
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Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston

Title: The Midnight Witch
Author: Paula Brackston
Rating: ★★★★

Brackston is no stranger to writing witch novels. She’s set one in the 17th and 19th century, and now she tackles the time around World War I. I think Brackston’s writing style is one that you definitely have to like, but she can write an amazing novel. The Midnight Witch took a little while to get going, but once it did, I couldn’t put it down.

Lilith is the daughter of the 6th Duke of Radnor. Her father is also the Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. When he dies, Lilith’s brother becomes the 7th Duke of Radnor, and she becomes the Head Witch. From the beginning, her reign in challenged. People aren’t sure if a young female can truly lead the coven. But she has support and eventually gains the respect of the other witches. At the same time she’s learning how to lead, a group of sorcerers are trying to get the Elixir, the secret the Lazarus coven protects. She’s also learning what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. With the threat of war looming, Lilith must learn how to balance all areas of her life before everything she works to protect is gone.

I like Lilith. She knew what she wanted, and even though she had moments of self-doubt, she never backed down when she knew her choice was right. She’s up against great odds, in all areas of her life, but she tries to keep that from overwhelming her. She learns to balance her duties and her desires well. She’s not the typical woman of the time and she knows what it’s time to adjust her ways of thinking to fit the times.

Bram, the love interest, wasn’t my favorite, but he wasn’t horrible. He was devoted and hopelessly in love, even if it felt like it happened a little fast. This might be because we don’t get to see all of their interactions before they declare love, so it didn’t bother me too much. Louis, the man Lilith is engaged to, isn’t too bad either. It’s easy to see how much he loves and cares for her. They’ve grown up together and that’s given him the time to develop feelings for her. It’s clear to see both men will help Lilith in whatever way they can, whenever she needs them.

The storyline was interesting. It started a little slow, with a lot of set-up taking place. I can appreciate it, but it still felt a little slow. Once things began happening, however, I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen next and there was never an easy time to stop. There was always a reason for me to keep reading.

Brackston has another great book on her hands with The Midnight Witch. It might take a little while to get into it, but once you get drawn in, it’s hard to break away. The Midnight Witch takes on a different tone than her other novels, but it’s still just as wonderful.

If The Midnight Witch sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Split Second by Kasie West

Title: Split Second
Author: Kasie West
Series: The Pivot Point Series
Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the amazing thing about Kasie West. She writes books that, on the surface, are books I wouldn’t go for. But she has such fantastic characters and plots that I can’t help but fall in love. They have the perfect mix of tension, romance, and intrigue. There’s always something pulling me into the story.

Pivot Point was about Addie trying to decide which future to take. Split Second is what comes next. Her memory of her Search has been wiped away by Laila. She doesn’t know what happened in the future she didn’t chose, but after her boyfriend, Duke, admits to only dating her for her Searching abilities and her best friend betrays her, she’s not sure why she didn’t go with the other future. When she leaves the Compound to spend the holidays with her father, things begin happening. Her ability grows and she feels an unexplainable connection with a boy from the normal world, Trevor.

Laila also gets to tell her story in this novel. While Addie is busy trying to figure out the developments in her life, Laila is working on figuring out how to restore memories, something Addie revealed she can do and wants done. Laila will do anything for her best friend, taking risks to try and discover the truth. She ropes Conner into her plans, never expecting him to be immune to her charms.

Both stories are wonderfully written. Addie is looking for an escape. Her life is not what she thought it was and 6 weeks away from Duke and the mess that surrounds him sound like just what she needs. Laila is feeling the guilt over her betrayal. She knows it wasn’t completely her fault, but she still feels horrible for causing Addie any pain. Her desire to fix that bridge, through whatever means necessary, is the driving force that makes her act. Each girl has different motivations, but they come together to bend a past and future for them both.

I cannot believe how well West has written two completely different, yet equally swoon-worthy male characters. Trevor and Connor are different people, motivated by different things, and with completely different personalities, yet I fell for both of them. I already adored Trevor, but this book made me love him even more. Connor didn’t have a book history with me, but that didn’t stop me from loving him.

There was one little piece I wish was addressed in Split Second and that’s the only thing that kept it from being 5 stars. There was a piece of information that was mentioned, but never really explored. Other than that, it was amazing. Kasie West is an author I’ll be watching. Split Second pulled me completely under her spell.

If Split Second sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

Title: The Taker
Author: Alma Katsu
Series: The Taker Trilogy
Rating: ★★

The Taker is not the novel I thought it would be. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, in this case it meant I was let down and just wanting to finish the book. I have this problem where I have to finish a book, even if I don’t enjoy it. I can’t give it an honest review if I don’t read the entire story and I always hold out a small bit of hope that things improve. Those are the only two reasons I stuck with the book until the end.

Luke is an ER doctor in a small town, working a normal night shift, when the police bring in a girl accused of killing a man. When Luke agrees to help the girl, she tells him her story, one that spans 200 years. She lived in the town when it was founded and fell in love with the son of the town’s founder, Jonathan. He’s not one to settle down and when Lanny finds herself in some trouble, she is sent to Boston. Feeling alone, confused, and betrayed, she finds Adair and falls into his lifestyle. She lives a life of excess, but when Adair finds out about Jonathan, he demands Lanny bring Jonathan to him. She’s trapped and can’t disobey him as much as she wants to. The story is told from the present day and from Lanny’s past.

Sometimes, if a story just isn’t for me I can still find enjoyment in the characters. I couldn’t in this book. Lanny was nearly a doormat, pinning for someone she knew she’d never have. She doesn’t stand up for herself and while some of that is due to the time, she just felt flat to me. Jonathan is nothing that a love interest should be. He’s manipulative and uses Lanny for his personal reasons without even considering giving her up so she can try and find a way to be happy. Adair has no redeeming qualities, as far as I’m concerned, and I really don’t think there’s any way Katsu could make me like him at all. Some of the secondary characters were interesting, but they weren’t enough to make up for everyone else.

The story itself has two personalities. Some of the beginning and some of the end were good to read, but the middle was just not for me. A lot happened that just didn’t seem to make sense in the grand scheme of the novel. It felt like it was there for shock value and not for actual plot or development. Lanny’s story could have been told without all of it.

I was really hoping The Taker would be something great. The book description was not what was in the novel. The characters are unlikeable, the plot was full of unnecessary details, and I just didn’t enjoy reading this book. I am sure this is a book that some people will like, but I am definitely not one of them. I won’t be continuing the series, either.

If you’d like to purchase The Taker, you can do so here:
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Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Title: Wildefire
Author: Karsten Knight
Series: The Wildefire Trilogy
Rating: ★★

I wanted to like Wildefire, I really did. A book that includes all gods and goddesses from the world’s cultures sounds like it could be amazing. Instead, the book felt disjointed and the action didn’t really start until near the end. I’m all for a thorough set-up, but the ratio of set-up to plot was off for me. The reason I kept reading, however, were the characters Knight created. They weren’t enough to save the novel though.

The book starts in the middle of a fight between Ashline and Lizzy, a girl at her school. Ashline’s sister arrives and escalates the fighting to a crazy level. From there, the story takes a while to unfold. Ashline leaves her school in favor of a private school, far away from the events of the first chapter.

Knight was able to write fantastic characters. They encompass the teen years perfectly. With each character, not only could I picture them as real, but I could see how they would have fit into my high school circle of friends. Ashline’s sarcasm won me over. She had a quick wit and a dry humor that I loved. Colt is sweet and persistent without being too much. Even Eve, the evil sister was written well. She was evil, but Knight wrote cracks into her toughness.

My main problem with the novel is how long it took to get to the things in the book description. Maybe it’s because I was expecting something else based on that description, but I found myself anxious and not in a good way. I was interested in the action of the book description. It’s quite possible that if someone had handed me the book, told me it was about a teen goddess, and sent me on my merry way, I would have enjoyed it more. I just didn’t find myself enjoying the build-up. It seemed like there was a lot going on, but it didn’t seem to move the novel forward much.

The other thing that turned me off right away was the fight in the beginning. Not that it was over a boy, things like that happen when you’re a teen girl. I was a little bothered by how violent it was even before Eve arrived and made things worse. I’m not usually bothered by violence, but something about these few opening scenes bothered me. It might be because I didn’t know the characters before being dropped into the middle of a violent fight.

Ultimately, this wasn’t the book for me. The characters were well written, but that couldn’t make up for the rest of the novel. Things took a little too long to develop and by the time the action really started, I was already taken out of the novel. I know this will be a book for some, but just not for me.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Wildefire, you can do so here:
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