August 31, 2015

Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles #1) and Warrior (The Dragon King Chronicles #2) by Ellen Oh Reviews!

In this post, I will be reviewing two books in an amazing trilogy that I recently discovered! I thought about separating them, but I thought that I might as well put them together. Enjoy!

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.
Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...
Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.
Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

    I bought this book as soon as I read the synopsis, and I was shocked that I hadn’t heard of it sooner because these types of book are what I live for.  This is a book that is filled with action and a great adventure that will have you sucked into the book immediately.
    Kira, the main character, was such a strong character. From the very beginning, I was attached to her emotionally. She was ridiculed and hated all of her life because she was different; I have a soft spot for those kinds of characters. It makes me want to protect them. However, although she was not held in good regards by most people, she still dedicated her life to being the only female warrior and demon slayer in the kingdom. She was not only an amazing fighter, but she was fiercely loyal. Add that to the fact that she has a sensitive side and shows her emotions here and there, she is the kind of character I love.
    Then we have the plot. The plot of this book is definitely a good one, if not great. The idea of these hidden artifacts being able to stop a demon lord from taking over Kira's world was so interesting. It was a take on demons and warriors that I had not read of before. Their journey to find the first artifact kept me hooked on the story and I read it in one sitting. I have to say, all of the action in the book pleased me too. I love books that feature an amazing female fighter and Kira has her chance to fight quite a few times in this book. This book has a lot of fighting and battles in it and I loved it. A fantasy novel filled with action is bound to please me. I can't wait to see what the next book has in store for me. I should mention that in terms of romance this book has almost none in it, which shocked me a little. However, there is a little spark between Kira and another young man that could develop as the books go on. I can't wait to see what happens between them.
    All in all, I liked this book. It had a great characters that are easy to love, at time it had a heartbreaking but hopeful plot, adventure, an awesome heroine, and the possibility of an even greater story in the sequel. I give it four out of five stars.

First an outcast, now a hero.
But her fight rages on.
Kira, the yellow-eyed demon slayer who fiercely protected her kingdom—and the crown prince—has been proclaimed the Dragon Musado of the prophecy. With the defeated the evil shaman.
But it wasn’t enough.
Hansong is in chaos. The Demon Lord’s minions have infiltrated the city, treason is brewing among the military ranks, and Kira is buried by the overwhelming loss of her parents. She’s also plagued by the annoying feelings that blossom whenever she’s around Jaewon. But she is determined that nothing will stop her from finding the second treasure needed to fulfill the Dragon King’s prophecy. Not even the army of half-breed demons hot on their trail. If only she could learn to trust others…
Her father always said one person can change the world. Will it be Kira?

    Warrior started off right where Prophecy left off, and from start to finish, this book will have you on the edge of your seat. Yet again, Kira is forced to find another Dragon King artifact, and this time the journey was not easy. There was never a moment that I was bored with this book. Every moment kept me interested or had my emotions all in a knot. I really loved this sequel.
    We get to see Kira grow as a leader and we also get to see a little romance going on, which I have to admit that I was waiting for. I won't spoil who is trying to win her heart, but he is so sweet and loving that you cannot help but love him. He is so loyal to her too, which I love. He also has to try to avoid Kira's protective brothers, and those situations where her brother showed his overprotective side where hilarious.
    I also love the fact that in this book, Kira allows herself to feel her emotions more freely, but she is still a strong heroine. Anyway, I liked this book better than the first simply because there was more action and adventure. I am definitely an ‘action and adventure with a little or a lot of romance’ kind of girl. Plus, there was a dragon in the book. Was it fate that brought me to another book with a dragon in it? Probably.
    This series is awesome so far, and I cannot wait to read the last book in the trilogy. Believe me, I'm going out to buy it ASAP. If you love strong heroines, magical fantasy worlds, diverse characters, a lot of action and adventure, with a little romance thrown in then this trilogy is for you. I give Warrior, five out of five stars.

August 21, 2015

Decree of Hope by Beth Fred Review!

The last thing eighteen-year-old Kailee Hill expects to get when she tags Abrahem Yohanna’s garage is a chemistry tutor and new friend. With her life falling to pieces, though, she’ll take it, and soon she finds herself falling for the sexy Iraq war refugee.
But a new relationship isn’t enough to turn Kailee’s life around. When she is thrown in jail for a crime she didn’t commit, it’s up to Abrahem to save her. Can the need to rescue the woman he loves lead Abraham to the real crook in time?

When Fred asked me to review her book, I immediately looked at the synopsis, and I was happy to accept after reading it. What caught my interests was the fact that one of the main characters was a war refugee from Iraq and the other main character gets thrown in jail. I was ready for an interesting and exciting read that is for sure.
Before I get started with my review, I'm just going to put this out there. If you are easily offended by or sensitive to racial slurs then this book might upset you simply because some of the characters in Decree of Hope like to harass Abe, the hero of the story. I wasn't offended because I realized that it was a book and it is all part of the story, but some people might take it personally. Decree of Hope does feature an Iraqi war refugee, Abe, who has to deal with a lot of hatred because he lives close to an army base, and they see him as a reminder of those they fought against in Afghanistan and Iraq. Therefore, they call him names and insult him. I don't like what they did in the story, but we get to see how people of Middle Eastern decent get treated sometimes because of the war, and that adds to the emotional impact this story had on me. Anyway, I thought I would make people aware that racial insults are thrown around in the book, but I still think those who might get offended should read this book because it is amazing and eye-opening.
Now, back to my review. I love how sweet Abe is to Kailee even after she vandalized his garage. He even put up with her misguided view of people from Iraq and her need to assume he was Muslim and that it was a bad thing. He was easy to love. Anyway, I loved their friendship in the beginning. Abe saw that she was a girl who just needed a true friend, and Kailee saw that Abe wasn't a terrible person because of where he came from. I also love the transition from friendship to relationship they made. They just clicked, and it seemed like they were made for each other. Abe called her out and made her face truths about herself, and she helped him experience life like he had never done before. Plus, the chemistry was tangible between them. When they kissed it was obvious that they cared a lot for each other. I also love how protective Abe was of her. She needed someone to care about her and Abe was the perfect guy to do it. He always saw the good in her even when she didn't and I loved him for that.
One thing that was really interesting about this book was that it explored the inner workings of families in the Middle East, specifically Abe's mother, who still believed in tradition and arranged marriages. It was so irritating to have to sit through and read about Abe's mom demanding Abe's sister get married at seventeen to tame her, essentially. However, it was a part of the story that made things interesting, and it showed the differences between Kailee and Abe's families, which was important for the story. This book also had a surprising amount of funny moments in it, and I had to set my Nook down and compose myself a few times. Kailee had a way of lightening the mood even when she was in jail, and Abe such dry humor that you couldn’t help but laugh with him.
Speaking of Kailee, my heart hurt for her when she was arrested. Here she was heartbroken over how Abe acted towards her, and then she was arrested for something she didn't do. I just wanted to hug her throughout most of the book to be honest. When she called Abe to help get her out I thought my heart was going to burst, and when Abe immediately dropped everything to help her, I was practically melting. The things he did for her in this book were just so sweet and showed how much he cared for her. Not to mention the fact that her being arrested added a new element of action to the story, not that it didn't lack any excitement before. However, Kailee getting arrested was a whole new level of excitement.
This book really caught me off guard because the beginning of the book was like a romance, which I loved, and then it became a mix of romance, action, and mystery. I’ve never read a book that is so full of different elements. I wasn't expecting the lessons, the journey, and love I got out of this story. I honest to God finished this book and said "aww" out loud. This book made my heart SO happy. I am so happy Fred asked me to review it because it's now one of my favorite books. This book is not only about people overcoming their racial views of Middle Eastern people because of the war, but it is also about finding love and growing up. I loved every second of this book because it had my heart from the very first chapter until the very end and even after that. This book and the lessons it taught me will stay with me. A book this amazing and touching deserves nothing less than 5 stars.

August 19, 2015

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington Review!

It starts with a whisper: "It's time for you to know who you are..."
On her 17th birthday, everything will change for Violet Eden. The boy she loves will betray her. Her enemy will save her. She will have to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, EMBRACE is a compelling novel of good and evil, seductive desires and impossible choices. A centuries old war between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity chooses a new fighter. It's a battle Violet doesn't want, but she lives her life by two rules: don't run and don't quit. If angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.
LINCOLN: He's been Violet's one anchor, her running partner and kickboxing trainer. Only he never told her he's Grigori--part human, part angel--and that he was training her for an ancient battle between Angels and Exiles.
PHOENIX: No one knows where his loyalties lie, yet he's the only one there to pick up the pieces and protect her after Lincoln's lies. In a world of dark and light, he is all shades of gray.
Two sides: Angel or Exile.
Two guys: Lincoln or Phoenix.
The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...

I didn't not expect to love this series as much as I did. I picked it up at the bookstore because I was intrigued by the cover and the synopsis sparked an interest as well. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't stop. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I love books that have anything to do with angels in some way and this book was right up my alley.
First of all, the plot of this story and the characters were AMAZING. Violet was a character that you immediately connect with. She is in love with Lincoln and she doesn't think he feels the same, but all of the sudden she finds out that he has been hiding HUGE secrets from her. She can't help but be angry and hurt, and those feelings really made me connect with her on a deeper level. Anyway, as the story goes on she learns more about herself and what she is meant to do, and she reacts like any normal person would, with a sense of being overwhelmed. In the story, Violet has to deal with a broken heart, more than once, which has me hungry for revenge, but also with the fact that her life has been turned upside down. The plot of this book really captures your heart first and then shortly after, the action just seals in the deal. First, your heart is captivated by Violet and her situation and then your attention is captivated by the sheer complexity of the world that Shirvington created. I have read a lot of books about Angels, their decedents, and things like that, but I've never seen a take on that world quite like the one in Embrace. Its uniqueness is one aspect that made me love it. Most angel and demon books read the same way and feature similar story lines, but this one is different from anything I've read before.
I really love the fact that when Violet is wronged, she responds to it. I've read way too many books about heroines who have been wronged and within one chapter they have completely forgotten that a guy or whoever screwed them over. That is not the case with Violet. She makes sure that the offending party knows they screwed up, and most of you know I love books that feature aspects of revenge. I also loved how different Lincoln and Phoenix were. Lincoln was like the hot best friends who secretly loves Violet, and Phoenix was the sexy bad boy who is up to something mysterious. It was so interesting watching them both interact with Violet and watch how she reacted to them. Either way, I was head over heals in love with both of them.....until the end that is, but I can't talk about that because of spoilers. Just know that I CANNOT wait to see what happened in the second book!
I wish I could say more and talk about the book more in depth, but the synopsis is so vague that I don't want to ruin the surprise Embrace has in store for its future readers. Just know that this book is full of action and romance, and I loved it. If you loved the Fallen series, the Hush Hush series, or the Sweet Evil trilogy then I think this book would be perfect for you. Embrace is definitely a favorite book of the year for me. I give it five out of five stars.

August 16, 2015

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi Review!

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.
The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

This review won't be like any other review I've ever done before because I can't give a structured review of this book. I just have to bare my soul and thoughts about this book because that's the only way I can do the book and its impact on me justice. Hopefully that makes sense. 
I knew this book was going to make my heart hurt just based on the synopsis, but I didn't know how much it would affect me. What You Left Behind had my heart hurting from beginning to end but in a good way. The beginning starts out with Ryden struggling with his baby, and I felt my heart melt. There is just something about a man holding and taking care of his baby that makes me and most women just melt. I don't usually like reading from a guy’s POV because I can’t really relate to him, but Ryden had my heart from the first chapter, and I just fell in love with him. It's so sweet how much he worries and cares for his daughter. It's obvious that he has a big heart and has a lot on his shoulders. The way he worries about everything makes me love him more and everything he went through just made my heart bleed for him.
What You Left Behind is the kind of book that teaches you lessons you never knew you needed to know, and it keeps your heart feeling ripped open the whole time. Ryden and Meg's story is one that will always stay in my heart because of the sheer pain they both went through, and the impact it had on me. This book is all from Ryden's POV. Its set after Meg has passed; however, it features some of her thoughts through journals she left behind. I loved those parts of the book where we got to see Ryden read through her journals because we go to know a little about Meg. I got to see what she was going through a little when she was pregnant, and it just made me hurt for her and Ryden even more.
Every page turned in What You Left Behind was like another painful step into Ryden's story. Ryden goes through a lot in this book from stressing about school, relationships, his home life, everything, and the sheer strength he had to get through it all really touched me. At first, I was mad at Rylan for being interested in Joni, but I soon realized that he needed her to keep him sane. Joni made him see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can't say I was happy about their relationship, but I understood it. Another thing that I loved about this book was how emotional it made me.
At one point, I had tears rolling down my face because the intense emotions this book made me feel just overwhelmed me. It is rare that I cry because of a book, but this book touched me to the core. Ryden's dedication to his daughter, Meg's unwavering love for her unborn child, the pain Ryden went though, the struggles he had to endure, and the anger some of his situations caused me were too much, and I just had to cry for a minute. I'm telling you, this is the type of book that will leave you feeling like your heart is an open wound but you will love it because you can't help but love this story. Books like these make me believe that books are magical, truly.
I hope this all made sense, and I hope you got a good review out of this because I could not have reviewed this book any other way. This is the type of book that pushed me to bare my soul without any structure at all.  There was never a moment in this book that I didn't love. Sure, I hated some of the situations Ryden was experiencing, but I could never hate this story because I feel like it changed me for the better. It taught me that life may get hard, but it will be okay. It also taught me that loving someone can change you in a way you never expected and even though that person may be gone, that love will never fade.
Hopefully you can tell that I loved this book with all my heart. Even though I read the eARC, I plan to go out and buy the paperback of it so I can display it on my shelf. This book will be great for people who are looking for a different kind of book from a guy’s POV about teen parenthood, tough decisions, and a story that will have you falling in love with it. I know I fell in love with this book. Also, fans of The Fault in Our Stars might love this book as well. It gave me feelings similar to TFIOS that is for sure. Needless to say, this book has earned its spot on my favorites list and it's by far one of my favorite reads this year. I give What You Left Behind five out of five stars.

August 13, 2015

Table 9 by C.K. Conners Review!

Lying on his metal bed next to the tin can toilet, a man reminisces about days past, a time long before he was introduced to the tiny box in which he lives, a time when he was just a young man sitting at table 9 in the small diner along Route 56-the diner where he met Jessie.

I really enjoyed this short story. Conners says his two short stories, Table 9 and Adventures in Retail, are stepping stones to working towards his full length novel, and based on Table 9, I'm interested to see what his first full length novel will be like.
Throughout the short story there was a mystery of who this nameless man was, why he was in jail, and what this woman, Jessie, had to do with it all. The story was told in the man’s flashbacks and present POV, and I usually do not like books like that because I like getting straight to the point. However, Table 9 was the kind of short story that fit that kind of storytelling.
As the story went on I got to see the man's problems progress and in the end, he does something that winds him up in jail. I have to say that this short story really surprised me. There was a really slow build of anticipation because at the beginning we already know that the man is in jail, but we don't know why. As the story goes on, we get to uncover what happened, but we also get to see his relationship with Jessie grow. What surprised me is how attached I felt to Jessie in the short amount of time it took me to get to know her and to read this story. The ending made my heart sink for sure. That just goes to show you that no matter how short a story is, strong characters with a lot of emotional influence can quickly grab ahold of your heart.
One thing I would have changed in this story was the heavy description. I'm more of an interactive person and sometimes pages full of just description or reflection from the character can cause me to lose interest. I was close to losing interest and skipping a paragraph or two, but I wanted to stick with it because I wanted to see where the story ended up. Nevertheless, Conners' descriptions and reflections were good and the anticipation for getting my questions answered kept me reading. All in all, I would give it four out of five stars.

August 10, 2015

Reawakened by Colleen Houck Review!

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.
And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.
But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.
From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

Egyptian mythology, gorgeous princes, and a quest to save the world. All of these things are among some of my favorite topics a book has to offer. It was just my luck that Houck’s newest book has all of those things so I knew that I had to get my hands on Reawakened ASAP. Plus, I've read Houck's Tiger's Curse series and loved it. Therefore, I was excited to see what she had in store for me with this Egyptian mythology book. Reawakened started off really strong with the prologue and it captivated my attention. I could tell it had something to do with the Egyptian prince, Amon, but I could not tell how it related until the story progressed. That made me want to read the story even more than I already did.
I love Houck’s writing and specifically, I love her female main characters because they are always so well rounded. Liliana or Lily wasn’t any different. She was really sweet and a little introverted in the beginning. I could really relate to her in that aspect. She liked to hang out on the side lines and so do I most of the time. Also, she could be really sarcastic too, which had me laughing more than a little. She is soon forced out of her comfort zone though and lets her adventurous side run free once she and Amon began their journey to Egypt.
Now, Amon (pronounced Ah-moan) fulfills every fantasy you could possibly have about an Egyptian Prince. He was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome, but he was more ruggedly sexy then handsome. Anyway, I loved his character. He was oblivious to the world around him because he had been asleep for thousands of years and the way he reacted to modern day New York was hilarious and refreshing. Also, the way he talked was captivating. It's like I was transported back into ancient Egypt. And some of the things he said to Lily just melted my heart. Plus, the stories Amon told throughout the book were so beautiful. He definitely had a way with words. (P.S. was that a reference to the Thor movie I saw in there, Houck?)
That all being said, the way Lily and Amon interact was interesting and entertaining. There was a tension between them all the time and it made every look, touch, and interaction all the more exciting. It was also infuriating to watch Lily try to understand where Amon came from and who he was. However, when she finally realized he wasn't some psycho ax murderer and that he was an Egyptian prince from long ago, it was like angels sang from the heavens. I was ready for the fun to begin at that point! There was never a dull moment from then on. The beginning was a little slower paced, but soon things quickly picked up and you better hold on because you will be in for a thrilling ride. I really loved the action in this book, and it was always exciting to see what would happen next.
I felt like I was walking beside Lily and Amon when they walked through tombs and uncovered more magical beings and items. The way Houck writes is really interactive so you feel as if you are right there in the story. There is a perfect blend of action and calm. It's kind of like a rollercoaster and for this story that type of pacing is perfect. Houck found a way to balance her action and calm in the Tiger's Curse series and she carried it over to Reawakened. I feel like great pacing and a knack for extremely creative adventures is her specialty. Yet again I am floored by how magical and captivating Houck's writing is. She takes your heart and soul on a journey through her books, and she makes you feel as if you have lived the adventures like the characters. I can't express how magnificent Reawakened was. It started out with a slow build of anticipation and all of the sudden things started happening left and right without much pause. This story is filled with grand adventures, great characters, and a romance that will have your heart bleeding and leave your eyes watery. This is the type of book that you will continue to think about once you put it down because the characters and their story wiggled their way into your heart. I can't tell you how excited I am for the next book in the series. I want to know what happens to Lily and Amon.
I loved everything about this book, and I'm not surprised because I loved the rest of Houck's work. I highly recommend this to mythology lovers. Also, those who love puzzling adventures, a tension filled romance, a story filled with humor and drama, and even those who like it when a famous god makes an appearance will love this book. Reawakened had my heart from the very start and it deserves nothing less than 5 stars.

August 5, 2015

Divine Fall by Kathryn Knight Review!

After tragedy tears Jamie Brandt’s life apart, her only goal is to finish high school so she can leave her small hometown behind. In the meantime, riding her horse is her main source of solace, until a mysterious stable hand shows up at the barn. There’s something not quite right about the handsome new employee, and the more Jamie sees of him, the more determined she becomes to figure out what he’s hiding.
Dothan Reed came to historic Huntsville, Maryland, for one reason—revenge. But his plan can’t move forward until he finds the missing piece he needs to enhance his powers. As the only surviving Nephilim, Dothan is not only weaker than full-blooded angels; his forbidden lineage makes him an outcast in both worlds. When he discovers Jamie is the key to locating an ancient weapon, he’s forced to interact with a vulnerable human girl—a task that becomes more appealing with each encounter.
Jamie soon learns Dothan isn’t the only one with a dark secret. Each new revelation further threatens her safety, and Dothan’s betrayal shatters her heart. Forgiving him seems impossible, but the thought of turning her back on him is equally painful.
As their connection deepens, Dothan will have to make his own difficult choice: continue on his path of vengeance, or protect the girl he loves. And when Dothan’s actions thrust Jamie into an unforeseen danger, he must seek the help of his enemy…or risk losing her forever.

The beginning of Divine Fall really got my attention. There was so much mystery into what happened to Jamie and why Dothan was acting so weird. It really pushed me to read more and see if I could uncover their mystery. I really like it when books start out rather mysterious and slowly begin to uncover a characters past and their motives.
Jamie was a really cool character. She seemed shy and an introvert like me so it was easy to place myself in her shoes. Plus, I sympathized with her because of the things that happened to her towards the beginning of the book. Although she was shy at times, she was quick to speak her mind, and I really liked that about her. Then we have Dothan, who was a complete mystery at first. All I knew was that he ran very hot and cold, which was very annoying. I wanted to throttle him most of the time. However, Dothan started to show a sort of protectiveness towards Jamie after her encounter with some bullies and that was really endearing. I began to warm up to him as time went on.
I liked the whole pace of this book although it was a little slow at times, but once the truth about Dothan was revealed I couldn’t help but hurt for Jamie because she felt used and she had actually cared for Dothan. I hate when fictional characters get hurt like that because it's like I can literally feel their heart hurting as if it were my own. At that point in the book, I wanted to strange Dothan with my bare hands. I was SO pissed at him. Actually I was pissed at everyone from keeping secrets from Jamie, but that's when I knew that I was hooked on this story. Soon, I started to like Dothan and he revealed his true kind self.
One thing that seemed off about the book was the fact that it felt a little anti-climactic. It seemed to be in a lull most of the time. I was thinking there would be more action or fighting at least. The romance in Divine Fall really saved it, in my opinion. There was a flurry of action and danger towards the end, but I would have liked there to be more throughout the story. It would have balanced the story better. Either way, I liked the story. Although some may find it a little drawn out, those looking for a good teen romance book will really enjoy this book I think. It had relatable characters, romance, and a little action, all of the things you look for in a book. Although it lacked in the action area, it made up for it in romance. I give Divine Fall three (3.5) stars out of five.
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