The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

61u5goxwg2l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Title: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: The Song of the Lioness Quartet
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Alanna: The First Adventure
2. In the Hand of the Goddess
Date Read: March 26
Format: Paperback from local library

Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death — either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe’s first female shaman — despite the desert dwellers’ grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes — for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.

So like I said in my review for book 2 of this series, when I was younger I had a thing for Prince Jonathan and I was very happy when Alanna and him got together and disappointed when she went riding off into the sunset to go on her adventures as a newly knighted knight of the kingdom. As you can imagine, book 3 of this series left me absolutely heartbroken as a kid, because not only does Jonathan come and find her, but he also proposes and she says no. I remember being completely devastated by her refusal and their ultimate fight that left her hurting in the desert and him looking for someone to replace her with.

Now, as an adult, I get Alanna’s side of it more. She didn’t want to be tied down to a prince, which would have come with expectations. No more being a knight. Dressing like a woman. Giving the kingdom heirs. And Jonathan’s preconceived notions that Alanna would say yes to his proposal actually ticked me off. After seven years together, you would think he’d know her a little bit better. Also ticking me off, was his huge insult that he threw at her when they were fighting about this. The whole he could get someone from court to replace her because at least she would act and dress like a lady of the realm should. That was just…GAH.

However, I was also kind of mad at Alanna too. Because after the fight she journeys out to Port Cayan where George has been trying to hold down his ‘court’ and weeks after being there she jumps into bed with him. Look, I’m all for a good rebound, but so soon after the fight and with the guy you consider your best friend? Alanna really needed to think that one through a little bit better.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I am seriously reliving my childhood. Back when readers weren’t critiquing every little aspect of the plot and characters and when reading was FUN. Remember those days? I miss them.

Bookshelf worthy? Still want them all.

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Authors, Regency, Romance, Tamora Pierce, The Song of the Lioness Quartet, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

51k8s2s6-ul-_sx325_bo1204203200_Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Previous Book in the Series: 
1. The Kiss of Deception
Date Started: March 23
Date Finished: March 25
Format: Hardcover from local library

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen. Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

I’m really undecided about this book. On one hand I really liked it because the plot was nicely paced and everything flowed together quite nicely. I also liked how Pearson fleshed out her characters more while also introducing new characters. On the other hand, I didn’t like this book because there were a few things that were driving me absolutely crazy. For one, the pesky love triangle that was paramount in book 1, was still present here in book 2, and was even more of a plot point than I would have liked. Granted I had a feeling that it would be considering Rafe and Kaden were both really heavily in this novel, but still at least at some point in book 2 I should have had a sense of which way Lia was leaning. But I didn’t, at all. The second thing that I really didn’t care for was the character of the Komizar. Since he is the ‘villain’ this shouldn’t come as much surprise, but it was the way that he was written that really bugged me. He didn’t really do anything unexpected. The fact that he paraded Lia around to his people to give them hope was completely expected. When the people started to really care for her, him proposing marriage was also completely expected. When it looked like she was going to disagree, he threatened not only Kaden but Rafe as well – totally predictable.

The final thing that I didn’t care for was how little we saw of the kingdom of Morrighan, especially after the huge bombs were dropped that Lia was marrying the Komizar and became a traitor to her country and that the Chancellor seems to be involved in some kind of plot that aligned him with Venden. Hopefully that will be explored more in the final book of the series?

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Yes, I know, I didn’t like a good chunk of this book why am I giving it four stars? Because even though I didn’t like it, I was still entertained and kept on the edge of my seat. Besides despite my best intentions I’m still curious to see how this love triangle plays out.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

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Starfall by Melissa Landers

25026403Title: Starfall
Author: Melissa Landers
Sequel to: Starflight
Date Started: March 20
Date Finished: March 22
Format: Hardcover from local library

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics—she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen? When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

Here is another book where I originally loved book one and couldn’t wait for the next one, but I was supremely disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, this book was relatively good. Landers fleshes out the characters she created in Starflight a little bit more, with a focus on the characters of Cassia and Kane. But there in lies the problem. I don’t know if it was just me, but this book seemed to be a little bit jumpy, time wise. Just as I was starting to get into the groove of Kane or Cassia’s chapter, the chapter would end and it almost seemed like when the next POV picked up time had passed. Then there was also the back and forth that Cassia kept going through with Kane. Best friend that she feels something more for, but can’t act on those feelings because she is the next queen and she might not be able to end up with him. Five minutes later, she’s about to die she has to act on those feelings consequences be damned. And so on and so forth. When she finally decided on what to do I wanted to hold a dance party.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. This book was just okay. I missed Solara and Doran’s relationship and wished we got to see them more. I also didn’t like the pacing, Cassia’s indecision and some of the choices characters made.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

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Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

30037865Title: Rise of Fire
Author: Sophie Jordan
Sequel to: Reign of Shadows
Date Started: March 18
Date Finished: March 20
Format: Hardcover from local library

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever. Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler’s and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.

So after the way Reign of Shadows ended, I was really excited to read the sequel. I wanted to know what happened to Fowler and Luna because the last we left them things weren’t looking great. Fowler had sacrificed himself to the dwellers so that way Luna could escape and she went after him anyway even though he had just revealed that he was the son of the man who killed her parents and took the throne from her. She does in fact rescue him and they get out of the dweller’s lair, but there lies the problem. Fowler does not leave unscathed. Somehow he got dweller venom in his system and he’s going to die and there’s nothing Luna can do.

Until a hunting party from Lagonia happens across them and realizes who Fowler is. They offer to take them to Lagonia and heal Fowler if Luna admits that he is in fact the crown prince of Relhok. She does and this is where I start having problems with this book. On the way back to Lagonia they run into the crown prince Chasan, who immediately takes to Luna and uncovers to all that she is in fact a girl and not a boy like she pretends to be. Chasan’s father though is a complete trip. He had a thing for Luna’s mom and when Luna ‘cleans up’ he can see who she truly is. So this huge secret that Luna has been keeping is revealed in the court of her country’s sometimes ally sometimes enemy. Which instantly ends up with her betrothed to Chasan, and apparently Fowler was also betrothed since birth to Chasan’s sister.

Um…why? This duology was good without the added ‘drama’ of a love square. Definitely not needed. Also not needed, another power hungry king. You already had Cullan over in Relhok you din’t need another one in the neighboring country. And that ending? Are you serious? World building was such an intricate part of these two books, but to have the finale rushed like that, not to mention I don’t think it was all that thought out, and I was leaving wanting. There was enough probably in this book to make it a true trilogy. Or at least to add another fifty  or so pages, not to end it so abruptly.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. I’m being generous considering this book was a bit let down. I still liked Fowler and Luna’s relationship and scarily enough I even liked Luna and Chasan’s relationship too. I just didn’t think the love square was necessary and another villain added to the mix was just overdoing it for such a short book. Not to mention the ending felt rushed in more than one way.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

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The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine

28684363Title: The Cursed Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Sequel to: The Impostor Queen
Date Read: March 17
Format: Hardcover from local library

Ansa has always been a fighter. As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts. With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

So as much as book 1 impressed me, book 2 fell mostly flat. I should have guessed that when we were introduced to new characters that these characters would involve who the true heir to the throne was going to be. But while Elli’s story was intriguing and wonderful, Ansa’s was blah. So she was kidnapped at an early age and raised to be a Krigere and fell in love with Thyra – the chieftain’s daughter. When the first wave of Krigere are almost obliterated by the ‘Cursed Queen’ and Ansa believes she is cursed with both powers of ice and fire things get a bit interesting as she tries to hide that power from the tribe. But when her powers are revealed to the rest of the clan plus the rival clan and political alliances are tested and seriously twisted, my mind pretty much fell asleep. Other than Kauko making an appearance tying the two stories together, I wasn’t all that impressed.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Although I wasn’t as captivated by The Cursed Queen as I was with The Impostor Queen, I still enjoyed myself believe it or not. I liked that Ansa’s love interest was a girl. I liked that she questioned her loyalties and herself. I just wish that there wasn’t so much power grabbing. However, I am curious to see how both of these storylines converge. Who will be revealed to be the true queen? Who will survive the oncoming war?

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

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Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

breaking_dawn_coverTitle: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: The Twilight Saga
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Twilight
1.5. Life and Death
2. New Moon
3. Eclipse
Date Started: March 14
Date Finished: March 16
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs. Continue reading

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Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

6479259Title: Spirit Bound
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
Date Started: March 9
Date Finished: March 14
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s and to her best friend, Lissa. It is at long last graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere. She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him . . . forever. Continue reading

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