Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

Steph’s Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Format: eBook
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2013
Pages: 405

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...

Steph’s Review: *minor spoilers*

Goodness gracious, you would never be able to predict anything about Dark Triumph from what you read in Grave Mercy! This book has utterly blown my mediocre expectations away and I can’t think of a single person who could outright detest this novel (and truly, you would be quite heartless if you did). Whereas Grave Mercy focuses more on introducing the politics and lore of the His Fair Assassin world, Dark Triumph shifts the series into a much more narrow emphasis: the intensely personal journey of Sybella D’Albret, a haunted handmaiden of Death we only caught a few glimpses of in Ismae’s story.

With sudden new orders from the abbess of St. Mortain, Sybella is ripped from the scheming castle of her abominable father, Alain D’Albret. It is a blessing and a curse; she finally may leave the court that is slowly dragging her back into the abyss of insanity, yet she is also removed from the flexible position best poised to assassinate her father--the chance for sweet revenge that had driven her studies at the convent. Instead she is saddled with a near-impossible task: the rescue and safe escort of D’Albret’s prime prisoner and bartering token against Brittany’s  Duchess Anne, the Beast de Waroch.

I saw the sudden spike in ratings for Dark Triumph but I will say that it is the latter third of this book that truly garners the stars. Starting since Grave Mercy, I think Robin LaFevers has a great knack for writing empathetic romance. The craze in a lot of YA books is to slap your female protagonist together with some handsome, broody, antihero of a male character in one swift woosh of love-at-first-sight. Even in lots of adult series with one novel per person, pairings feel like they were made for the sake of creating some “web of love” amongst related characters. One stunning element (and I consider it pretty sad that it’s not the norm) of Dark Triumph is the slow buildup of a seemingly unlikely romance that isn’t particularly physical but strongly founded on emotion and mutual dependence and understanding. It is timed perfectly in contrast to Sybella’s gradual rediscovery of purpose and passion, the steady emergence from the dark, stifling cage of past horrors, abuse, and lack of platonic love she faced in her earlier years. Her growing ability to love once more overrides and almost replaces her subconscious fears and the romance in this novel serves a true purpose to Sybella’s character development rather than just as mere fanservice.

We do spend quite a bit of the book in the dark with regards to the often-alluded to secrets that Sybella keeps. It seems frustrating at first since it seems like a stall for page time but once the shocking “big reveal” is made, this story comes full circle into an impactful epiphany that gives insight into Sybella’s character and how it is tragically intertwined with Beast’s (who may just be the cutest toad around, on a side note ;) ). Also, don’t fret about the action--if you thought Grave Mercy was action-packed, the danger racks up to even higher levels in Dark Triumph giving it a wonderful balance between Sybella’s internal struggle and the exterior precarious situation of Brittany and its young Duchess.

Dark Triumph is an astonishing addition to the His Fair Assassin Trilogy and it definitely is a motivation for me to continue to the final installment and Annith’s story, Mortal Heart. Let’s also remember to give praise to Robin LaFevers for actually rooting this story in real history while giving it a fictional twist. I wholeheartedly recommend this read and this series!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cover Reveal: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout...Surprise!

We are so excited to bring you the Cover Reveal for EVERY LAST BREATH, the hotly anticipated conclusion to the Dark Elements trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout!! EVERY LAST BREATH is a Young Adult Paranormal being published by Harlequin Teen and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s The Dark Elements Series. It is being released on July 28th, 2015. Pre-order EVERY LAST BREATH and then be sure to read the first books in this amazing series before its release!


Every Last Breath


Every Last Breath - Cover

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound ** Kobo ** BAM



Some loves will last 'til your dying breath 

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction. Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!” --New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter “Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.” --#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss



And we have a surprise for you! The first books in the series have been given a new look too!!


Don't miss the previous titles in The Dark Elements Series-now with new covers! Readers interested in downloading the new cover jackets for their previously purchased Dark Elements Series titles, can download them HERE!

For best results when downloading the new cover jackets:

  • Print on 8.5x14" (Legal paper)
  • Use landscape or horizontal setting = 8.5" tall x 14" wide
  • Print at 100% scale or "actual size"
  • Print with the image centered on page
  • Fold and trim to fit

White Hot Kiss

White Hot Kiss - New Cover

  WHITE HOT KISS synopsis:  

One kiss could be the last.  

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world. 

Stone Cold Touch

Stone Cold Touch - New Cover


 Every touch has its price 

 Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could. But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

 "Constantly entertaining...the narrative sizzles with as much tension as romance." —Kirkus Reviews on White Hot Kiss

Bitter Sweet Love

Bitter Sweet Love - New Cover


 In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series The Dark Elements, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.

Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was her everything…right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally. And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again…  

"With her signature flare for combining humor, romance and action, Armentrout weaves a fast-paced read that will have readers' hearts racing in more ways than one. Like Armentrout's previous heroines, Jasmine is fun and full of attitude, while Dez is as snarky as he is sexy. This is a must read for new and old fans alike!" -RT Book Reviews    

Jennifer L. Armentrout/J.Lynn Bio:

Author Photo#1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday (28): The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish event hosted by Breaking the SpineThis is a meme that many book blogs participate in to goggle over highly anticipated upcoming releases and fabulous covers and authors!

Admittedly, I was quite shocked by the ending of The Young Elites and it does give me a little hesitation on the rest of the series. By no means did I believe the first installment was bad, but I do feel it lives in the shadows of the Legend Series. So far The Young Elites is presenting itself as a trilogy, and I'm looking at The Rose Society be a deciding factor in my rating of Marie Lu's second series. 

Goodreads Synopsis:
The Rose Society (The Young Elites, #2)
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

There were characters I came to know and love in The Young Elites, and by sound from the synopsis, I don't think we will be seeing as much of them as I would like. I hear a lot of room for a span of new characters, whom I feel reluctant yet excited to meet. The first book seemed dark enough; we have an almost anti-heroine protagonist who's qualities are fed even more by dark characteristics. The Rose Society? It sounds deeper than black. Can't wait to see what Marie Lu has in store for us next! The Rose Society is out October 6th, just in time for my birthday!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Return (Titan, #1)The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Steph's Rating: 4.5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: February 16th, 2015
Pages: 335

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

Steph's Review:

Back in the days of the Covenant Series, I had a serious love-hate relationship with Seth. Or rather, I was pretty much his fan-club president in Pure and then the anti-Seth club president in all the books after. Our complicated pretty boy has once again made me swing to the other side of extremes and I have now renewed my membership for the Seth (albeit transformed and changed Seth) fan-club.

More than anything, Seth detests being a lackey to the gods: a servant at their beck and call. The only thing that keeps him in line is memories of the reason why he made this pact in the first place--that this is all penitence for his previously misguided actions that led to a downward spiral of events. This, however, becomes the least of his problems when the Titans released in the fight against Ares forgo the promises they made before the war and threaten to raze the Earth with their deadly powers. After gaining knowledge of the brewing battle, Apollo mysteriously orders Seth to make contact with Josie Bethel, a seemingly mediocre, mortal college student. Little does Seth know, his biggest problem might not be the gods nor the Titans even, but instead the human he has been ordered to protect.

Overall, I think The Return is a basic plot skeleton of a book, with a huge focus on character development to prep them for whatever Jen has in store for the rest of the series. Obviously, the character who undergoes the biggest alteration is Seth, and the reason for his change is none other than Josie herself. Up until this moment, we've only gotten a glimpse at the exterior layers of Seth's character (and he is so complicated that his layers are probably infinite anyways). He starts off broody and sardonic about his situation as we would expect him to be, but Josie helps him uncover and come to terms with the true heart of the problem that nags at him so much. She is his salvation, his reason for catharsis, and his only one true empathizer as an outsider with fresh eyes into his world. Despite the sudden shift in Josie's world from predictable everyday college life into one in which her head is targeted from every direction, she manages to keep a level head in both her own situation and still be able uncover a personality in Seth that I didn't ever think he'd be fully capable of. This is the kind of Seth I can get on board with. In fact, if it keeps going this way...I might just like him more than Aiden (please don't kill me).

Jen has definitely added twists into this book that complexes the Covenant world once again, and not in a bad way. It's a new story completely and reading the parent Covenant Series isn't necessary to understand this one, since Jen does give a great background on what you need to know. For those who have read Alex's story, these are all wonderful refreshers of part one told in a different, interesting perspective. At the same time, The Return makes me feel like Covenant never even ended and we were never separated. Old and recognizable faces make significant appearances in the story, and I loved seeing them so much, especially Deacon and Luke. I am wondering though, if Aiden and Alex will ever have cameo's in the series. Jen did say they were strictly not in The Return, but I have no idea if that applies to the rest of the series as well. The Return is a fantastic start to the Titan series (with no evil cliffy at that) and I can't wait to read installment two!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead
Steph's Rating: 3.5 stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Format: E-book
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
Pages: 348

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

Steph's Review: *Minor Spoilers!*

The Ruby Circle is a solid ending to the Bloodlines spin-off series. It was a bit shorter than I expected (in comparison to Vampire Academy's Last Sacrifice at least) but for the most part I think Richelle Mead did a pretty good job of wrapping up Adrian and Sydney's story. That being said, this received a 3.5 from me because I felt some parts were truly phenomenal, while other parts were either rushed or just fluffy additions to the book that wouldn't really have changed the outcome to the series.

The whole center of this story revolves around finding Jill and the whole mouse chase that Adrian and Sydney are led on in order to solve the mystery of her kidnapping. The first few chapters were a bit of a slow start in my opinion, and I had a harder time getting into this book that the previous books in the series. This is largely the fluff of the story and to me it felt like it was a long drawl of things we already heard before: old, recurring problems (relationship problems and Adrian problems!) cast once more in the light again that could have been compressed to leave a bit more room for the engaging final climax and action that definitely can be dropped into the phenomenal bucket. Adrian's POV during this period was a bit on the infuriating side to read. Once you get past the slow start and our characters seem to get their acts together, The Ruby Circle flies off the page is pretty much everything we love about Richelle Mead. There was still a little fluff sprinkled around, but the twists and turns and suspense and shocks that are part of nearly every one of her books make their appearance here as well. 

For those who have missed Rose and Dimitri from VA, the dashing couple take on a more significant role in this book than the previous five. And yes, we do finally get to know the shocker of Dimitri's parentage (fluff, but oh so interesting fluff). I missed their faces and I thought giving them a more prominent role in The Ruby Circle was a good idea on Mead's part because it gave a more satisfying conclusion to the entire VA world rather than only just Adrian and Sydney's chapter. Had it been solely the latter, I'm sure I would have felt like I was still dangling on a precipice, because I would be wondering what the other beloved characters were up to. And speaking of a satisfying ending...the most squeal-worthy portion of The Ruby Circle would definitely have to be that epilogue. Oh. My. Gosh. *winks*. 

With the sixth book of Bloodlines and the twelfth in the Vampire Academy World, it is time for me to sigh and close the cover on this series...for now. I felt like there were still several unanswered questions left hanging in the air about the intricacies Richelle created in The Ruby Circle that she could possibly turn into openings for another series. Whether she will act on those or not, I do not know, but I contently await her upcoming books!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Release Day: The Return (Titan Series #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Yes, Happy Release Day! The Return quite literally marks the revamp of the Covenant Series, except this time our shining star of the show is none other than our Apollyon Seth (still a mysterious no last name... :)) I have a love-hate relationship with this boy thanks to all the antics he went through in the previous five books that put my emotions on a rollercoaster, but I will take what I can get if it means being able to say hello to the new and old of the Covenant World. And I mean, The Return is New Adult. New Adult and Seth. New Adult plus Seth equates to...*giggles*

Goodreads Synopsis: 

The Return (Titan, #1)
The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

Book 1 in the new adult paranormal TITAN series, spin-off to the best selling COVENANT series.

Goodreads Link:
Barnes & Noble:

A pre-order means you get a special Alex and Aiden bonus scene! All you have to do to receive that tidbit is fill out an online form proving your purchase HERE. The deadline to do so is February 18th, so if you haven't already jumped on the opportunity you have a few days to do so.

There is also a sampler of the first three chapters of The Return that can be viewed on Wattpad HERE.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (27): A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish event hosted by Breaking the SpineThis is a meme that many book blogs participate in to goggle over highly anticipated upcoming releases and fabulous covers and authors!

So I am a HUGE fan of the ever well-written Throne of Glass Series, also by Sarah J. Maas. When I learned about her next upcoming release, A Court of Thorns and Roses, I thought very little of it at the time because I was on the downward spiral from reading Heir of Fire, the third installment of our first lovely fantasy series. I did do a cover reveal for A Court of Thorns and Roses but thought nearly nothing about it afterwards. I don't think I should be blamed for that (as ToG fans will definitely understand), but I later felt idiotic when I learned more about this book and could not believe I didn't pay more attention to it earlier.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

I will read anything Sarah J. Maas writes at this point, but after reading the synopsis initially, I thought it was going to be a lovey-dovey tale about a damsel-like girl with a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.

Until I read the sampler.

A mere four chapters. A gift from the gods. 

I approached that sampler with an "Eh" feeling, and didn't think those chapters could be so pivotal in my pre-opinion of the book.

They were. 
Holy everything. If those were only the first four chapters (and if your read them you would understand they are almost like a "prologue" to what we are expecting next), then just on what scale of  incredible, fantastical, and magnificent must the rest of the book be like? What is the rest of the series going to be like? Maybe it was because I wasn't expecting very much in the first place, but wow, did Maas deliver. Regardless, this book is going to be my hot topic for the next few months until release day in May, and probably a long while after. 

The eSampler of A Court of Thorns and Roses is available as a free Kindle ebook on Amazon that you can find here:

I would tell you to read it if you think you can handle the raise of suspense for May 5th, 2015.
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