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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

CROWN OF MIDNIGHT


Throne of Glass Series #2


by Sarah J. Maas


Publisher: Bloomsberry USA Children (August 2013)
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover (420 pages)
Source: Purchased
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Summary
"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
At A Glance
The only thing that could make this book better is if I could bake it and eat it so it could always be a part of me. No, I am not weird, I just say the things everyone else is thinking...I hope.

The Good
I don't know why but I am having trouble writing this review. Sometimes, when a book is so good, and everyone pretty much agrees, it's hard to write a review because I doubt I will say anything different. I mean, come on, Maas is brilliant. Obvi! She has made a perfect YA book for me, one with a kickass assassin! I could not ask for more. Her writing flows well and her imagery is off the charts. Which brings me to another point. Maas has made the perfect fantasy book for me as well. I have never been a lover of straight up fantasy/ high fantasy. Maas has changed all that. I think I might have to make a shrine for Maas, light some candles, chant a bit, have a whole bunch of smelly-ass incense, you know, the usual. Because this is how much I love Maas right now. Mas Maas! Mas Maas! You know I am excited when I am throwing in some Spanish even though I suck at it.

OMG, I am totally rambling. I kind of like it. I feel so free!!! Anyway, Celaena was badass all the way this time. I did feel like she became too girly in the first book but Celaena was pretty hardcore with her killing and maiming this time around. I like that in an MC. Yeah, I know, weirdo alert!!!

Woah, I just got sidetracked by an episode of Chopped. God, I love that show.

So, yeah, back to Celaena. She does such a great job at convincing everyone she is loyal to the King but in all reality she is sneaky as f*ck! I just love her brain. She knows how to play people so easily. For a while it seems like life is pretty normal...for an assassin living in enemy territory. Then this effing horrible, disgusting, terrible, vomit-inducing, heart-breaking thing happens and I wanted to die, just like Celaena wanted to die. I can't believe Maas did this to us. I am totally banishing all the smelly incense on the shrine, Maas must feel my wrath. No incense for you!! Celaena gets all super scary after that. And to me, that was the best part of the book. I love watching the animal come out in someone. When someone loses all care and fear and just effing goes all out.

Dorian goes through some stuff that really surprised me. His character is growing and is definitely going to have a big part to play later. Just wow. I liked it though. I needed something to spice him up a little. But Chaol is the one to watch out for in this book. He and Calaena grew so close and I loved that they found that little piece of happiness together. Then that THING happened and everything fell apart. Damn you, Chaol! Don't keep secrets, that never ends well. I would have been pissed at Chaol too if I were Celaena.

Okay, that's all I got. No more. Just read this book/series, people. You won't regret it.

Oh wait!!! I can't believe I almost forgot. That. Ending. O. M. G. I...I...book three is going to be AWESOME!!! That is all.

The Bad
I gave this book 5 stars because it was better than Throne of Glass, which I gave 4.5 stars. So I didn't really have anywhere else to go. But, yes, this book is 5 star worthy, no doubt, but I will say that the first half was a little slow for me. I wasn't bored, I was just impatient to get to the meat of the story.

The Snuggly
The love triangle in this series is the love triangle to beat all love triangles. It's the love triangle that people who hate love triangles would love. It just works. You understand why Dorian and Chaol love Celaena. You understand why Celaena has feelings for both men. Throne of Glass focused on Celaena and Dorian, but Crown of Midnight is all about Chaol and Celaena, which I think is a better match. I love them together. And then that thing happened and I was devastated, but I can't reveal anymore than that.

There is sex in this book, and it gets pretty hot, but it's still appropriate for YA.

Final Thoughts
Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book.
Quotes
“The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realized she was home.”

 
“Who said anything about shame?" She gestured down to her naked body, even though it was covered by the blanket. "Honestly, I'm surprised you're not strutting about, boasting to everyone. I certainly would be if I'd tumbled me.
"Does your love for yourself know no bounds?"
"Absolutely none.”
 
“I don't think you realize who you're dealing with."
The man clicked his tongue, "If you were that good, you would be more than just Captain of the Guard."
Chaol let out a low, breathy laugh. "I wasn't talking about me."
"She's just one girl."
Though his guts were twisting at the thought of her in this place, with these people, though he was considering every possible way to get himself and Celaena out of here alive, he gave the man a grin. "Then you're really in for a big surprise.”
 
 
“Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!"
Celaena slowly turned to him, her face splattered with blood and eyes blazing bright. "No, there aren't," she said. "Because I'm here now.”
Throne of Glass Series:
Book #1: Throne of Glass
Book #2: Crown of Midnight
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Remnants of Magic by S.A. Archer & S. Ravynheart

REMNANTS OF MAGIC


The Sidhe Collection #2


by S.A. Archer & S. Ravynheart


Publisher: Ravynheart Publishing (2013)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Adult
Format: eBook (Novel length)
Source: Free book from author for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★½ (4.5 Stars)
Summary
Remnants of Magic explodes into action as London, an enchanted human, becomes a huntress of the Sidhe, determined to claim by force the addictive magic that she’ll die without. But making enemies of the dark Unseelie sets her on a path that entangles her in the fate and the future of the Sidhe.

Suffering from the Fade, Lugh fights to reclaim the lost relics that will restore the magic of the fey, a near to impossible task. Then an act of treachery poisons him with a darkness he can not purge and threatens to destroy him and all hopes for the fey.

With a magical war brewing on more than one front, Donovan strives to train the teen-aged ‘earthborn’ Sidhe into a fighting force capable of defending the fey. But one of the earthborns is a dangerous wild card, compelled by instincts he doesn’t understand and can’t control.


One Dangerous World… Three Intense Storylines…Remnants of Magic - The Sidhe Collection #2 contains the second half of Season One of The Sidhe. It features books from the Rise of the Unseelie, Champion of the Sidhe, and Touched mini-series in the recommended reading order. Over 70,000 words of intense Urban Fantasy action and adventure!

This volume includes the following episodes: Enchanted, Bloodhound, Protector of the Light, Compelled, Captivated, Keeper of Secrets, Uprising.
At A Glance
Season One is complete. Wow. It has been a crazy ride!

The Good
Remnants of Magic, which includes three intertwining series: Touched, Champion of the Sidhe, and Rise of the Unseelie, is the conclusion of Season One of the Sidhe Saga. And all I can say is Mind Blown! I am already craving Season Two. So much action, so much heartbreak, so many magical creatures! Sometimes it's all too much, but in a good way.

I think London got dealt the worst hand in these series. The Touch was forced on her and now she has to tie herself to a fey to stay alive. She has burned too many bridges with the Unseelie but there is one last ray of hope: Lugh, the champion of the fey. He doesn't care about her past as long as she serves him in everyway. London has done what she's needed to to survive, but her actions were not always honorable. Her past often comes back to bite her on the butt, but she always manages to survive. That's because she is effing badass! This girl has some fighting skills. I love the direction she is going as a character. She is done being selfish. She is embracing her destiny and is ready to fight for what's right no matter the outcome.

I feel so bad for Lugh. He really is trying to do his best. He is trying to save his race but he is also so easily mislead. And now a darkness is growing inside him that may ruin everything. It will come down to how strong he is. I really hope Lugh can finish his mission despite this new obstacle. I love how much he is beginning to rely of London and how much she is there for them. They made a fast connection that warms the heart, and is a little scary too. It was no secret that Lugh's story was my least favorite, but now he is totally interesting in every way. Paired with London, these two seem unstoppable.

I LOVED Donovan in the beginning. He has saved so many fey from the clutches of horrible wizards, vampires, and trolls. His intentions are always good, but I think he may be losing his way a bit. He is teaching the young fey to hate rather than to think. He is creating vicious soldiers that are potentially dangerous. Especially Malcolm. I love Malcolm because he survived and mostly overcame all that abuse. But he is dangerous, he is reckless, and his hate consumes him. I am nervous for Donovan and his crew, they are not quite on the right path right now. But I loved every minute of it. No one can be perfect, there has to be mistakes made to make things interesting.

The action was amazing as always. The characters keep developing this depth and demension that really bring them to life. The writing was spot on and the pacing was perfect. I am excited to see where everyone's journey takes them.

The Bad
Since this was the second half of all three series, there was a lot of overlap as the series came together in their stories and characters. I loved that, but I didn't like the repeated scenes from different POVs. There wasn't enough change in the scenes for them to be repeated just because of a differing POV.

Also, I expected the ending to be more wrapped up. It wasn't at all. It just stopped in the middle of the story. Thank goodness there are more books coming.

The Snuggly
We finally get some bow chicka wow wow. Lugh is all sexed up in this book. He gets it on with some important characters, and it's not gentle, but boy is it hot! The sex scenes are skimmed over so this book is still appropriate for most audiences. But I would recommend it for NA and up.

Final Thoughts
As always, I think fantasy/urban fantasy lovers will really like these series. They remind me of watching a TV series on HBO or something. We get little episodes that taunt and titillate us, leaving us wanting more each time. Very recommended.
Quotes
"What fey survive the cataclysm are yet doomed to perish. But one chance remains. One slim breath of a hope. If I fail in my quest, all the fey will Fade forever from existence." 


His magic brought her back to life. The shackles of torment vanished like they never existed. All she wanted, all she needed, was in this Sidhe's touch. As they made out like lovers, he filled her, completed her, and made her free. It wasn't enslavement in the magic of the Sidhe, but life and freedom. That's what her mind told her, even though she knew that it lied.


"Druidess, I have need of a promise from you." A bit calmer, but just a bit.

"I am here for you." And she meant that. She was here for him. To help him save the fey and restore their realm. To be his companion through the good times and the bad. To put him and his mission ahead of her own self-serving concerns. To get him through this corruption and see him restored to The Shining One and the Sidhe Champion he was meant to be.

London saw the muscles of Lugh's jaw working as his teeth clenched. "Some day, remind me who I once was."
I read the below (Scattered Magic: The Sidhe Collection #1) as individual novellas.
 
Champion of the Sidhe Series:
 
Rise of the Unseelie Series:
Book #1: Aftershock
Book #2: Scars of Silver
Book #3: Eyes of Magic
 
Touched Series:
Book #1: Cursed
Book #2: Addicted
 
I read Remnants of Magic: The Sidhe Collection #1 as a whole completing all three series. Which complete Season One.
 
Stay tuned for Season Two!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Escorted by Claire Kent (Book Blitz)


Welcome to the Escorted Book Blitz. I don't know about you, but I love a good erotica from time to time. And I thought Escorted sounded pretty damn good. I saw that it's only $0.99 right now for the kindle so I think I will have to grab it. But you lucky wenches get a chance to win this ebook below. So enjoy the giggle-worthy excerpt and enter the giveaway at the end.

Escorted by Claire Kent
(Escorted #1)
Publication date: December 15th 2012
Genres: Erotica, Romance

Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Summary
She hired him to take her virginity...but now she wants even more.

Lori might be a popular romance writer, but she's never been anything but a flop with sex and love in her personal life. Still a virgin at twenty-six and increasingly frustrated by her inexperience, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She hires a talented, sexy male escort to take care of her inconvenient virginity.

She assumes one time with Ander will be enough, but she never dreams how much pleasure he can make her feel. Once isn't nearly enough. Twice isn't enough either. Soon, she becomes one of his regular clients.

Lori knows that nothing would be as foolish as falling in love with her paid escort, but she's never been wise with her heart. And, despite his professionalism, he doesn't seem entirely immune either.

“Did you have any questions about the prices your friend explained to you?” Ander asked. “You’ll pay for an entire evening. That’s the base price. I offer nothing lower than that.”

She looked up at him, frowning. He didn’t have a website like some escorts, instead relying on personal referrals, but details Sabrina had gotten from the women she’d talked to were quite clear. She was a professional woman. Not an idiot. “Yes, I was able to understand the services you offer and what you charge for them,” she said, her tone a little snippy.

His mouth twitched, so slightly she almost didn’t catch it. “Good. I just wanted to make it clear that you pay for the entire evening, whether or not you use it. I don’t hire myself out by the hour.”

For some reason, his dry tone made her want to snicker again. She stifled it, in case he would mistake it for mockery. “Understood.”

“We can do whatever you like for the evening. I can act as escort, play a part if you want or provide general companionship. If you’re interested in anything sexual, that will cost extra.”

Lori couldn’t believe she was sitting here, in the middle of a park in downtown Seattle, having this conversation. Her cheeks burned involuntarily, but she wasn’t as mortified as she’d expected. Ander was so business-like and matter-of-fact about the situation that it helped Lori feel that way too.

“I thought I made my interests clear when we talked on the phone,” she said.

Ander nodded. “Of course. The prices differ for oral on you, oral on me, and full intercourse.”

A nagging question that had been bugging her for a few days prompted her to ask, “Who would pay you that much money for you to get the blow job?”

Again, that slight twitch of his mouth. She wasn’t even sure it meant anything—his expression was generally so calm as to be stoic. But she found that occasional little quiver of his mouth the most appealing thing about him. “Women have different desires when they make use of my services. Some find giving more thrilling than receiving. Some simply want the practice.”

Lori thought about that for a moment. It was something she’d never even considered before.

Ander cleared his throat, bringing her attention back to him. “Perhaps you can give me a little information about your goals for this engagement.”

She nodded. “Right. Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t pay this much money for a date.” She took a breath. Summoned all her fortitude and courage. “I want to have sex.”

“Yes, but what are your goals for the sex? Are you looking for a particular mood or brand of excitement? Do you just want to relieve tension? Get something you can’t get from other partners? I’m not trying to pry into your personal motivations, but I need a little direction if we’re to make this a successful engagement.”

“Right.” She shifted on the bench. Told herself she would be paying this man a lot of money a few days from now so she had nothing to be embarrassed about. And surely he’d encountered a lot of stranger things in his line of work. “I want to have sex because I haven’t had it before. Yet.”


Author Bio
Claire has been writing romance novels since she was twelve years old. She has a PhD in British literature and, when she's not writing, she teaches English at the university level.

She also writes contemporary romance under the penname Noelle Adams.

Website |
Facebook (as Noelle Adams) | Twitter (as Noelle Adams) | Goodreads
 Enter for a chance to win an ecopy of Escorted. This is a flash giveaway, so you must act fast for it only lasts a few days. Open Internationally. The email used on the rafflecopter is the one used to contact you.
 
 
 
Blitz Wide Giveaway