Review | Aurora Rising Is The Breakfast Club In Space

Check out Read By Dev’s review of Aurora Rising, the first book of the Aurora Cycle, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

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By: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

“They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.”

It’s the year 2380, Tyler Jones finds a derelict space craft and manages to rescue one Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley from the wreckage. Auri is 200+ years old, has some freaky mind powers, and apparently, her only hope of survival is to hitch a ride with Ty and his crew. Ty’s crew isn’t the optimal squad. So, naturally, there’s in-fighting, tons of drama, sabotage, teen feels, and all the sarcasm one can possibly want in 400 pages.

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TL;DR:

When it comes to modern sci-fi stories, I didn’t think I would find anything that I loved as much as The Illuminae Files, but guess what? Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman knocked my socks off with Aurora Rising, and it’s my favorite read of the year so far. It’s sassy, humorous, fast-paced, full of amazing characters, and just 100% SPACE-TASTIC. If you love any of the following, you’re sure to love Aurora: The Breakfast Club, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Dramas/Soap Operas (BUT IN SPACE). Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as humanly possible. And then recommend it to everyone you know!

The Good

Squad 312 – The Delinquents You Didn’t Know You Needed

THIS BAND OF MISFITS IS LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN LIFE. Okay, enough of the caps, but I needed to get my point across. Squad 312 is a mix of the Breakfast Club gang, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and every Star Trek crew out there. Which means one thing: they are the most sarcastic, lovable weirdos to fly across the galaxy. There is a character for everyone to root for (and mine are Tyler and Finian just so we’re clear.)

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Was I Actually Watching A Space Soap Opera?

This book starts off with a bang – literally – and does not slow down. It’s so action packed, I felt like I was watching a space drama. There are space battles, human vs. alien fist fights, squad drama, heists, and some glitzy intergalactic paaartaaayys. It had me on the edge of my seat from page one and I fell off said metaphorical chair multiple times.  Then I died at the end and was revived by thinking of book 2. If you’re looking for something to keep you reading into the early hours of the morning – you’ve got it!

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The Intergalactic World

The Milky Way is a big place and Kaufman & Kristoff make it their own. There’s a new first contact, new alien species (hallelujah for hot space Legolas), crazy space languages, and a fresh take on Warp Speed and space travel! To my fellow space nerds, be sure to keep an eye open for other Easter eggs I’m sure I missed.

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The Ending

Jay is notorious for not believing in happy endings and some of that shines through at the end of book 1 (Amie must be the ray of sunshine in this duo). The bittersweet cliffhanger gave me a heart attack and who knew it was possible to have ALL THE FEELS  in less than two pages.

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The Bad

Angsty Teen Romance

*Le sigh*. Am I getting too old for the angst?! I found myself not digging the romance elements of this story. I’m going to blame this one on me, though because everything else is just SO. GOOD. But, still. This would have been a 5-star read even without the bizarre love stuff.

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The Ugly Truth

I have one thing to say: READ AURORA RISING. It’s an amazing beginning to a sci-fi series and I need book 2 like yesterday!

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? If not, will you be adding it to your TBR?

Review | There Are So Many Game of Thrones Vibes In A Torch Against The Night

Check out Read By Dev’s book review of Torch Against The Night, Sabaa Tahir’s best-selling sequel to An Ember In The Ashes.

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By: Sabaa Tahir

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The book is narrated by Elias, Laia and now Helene. They are dealing with the aftermath of the Trials – where Elias gave up being Emperor, Laia saved Elias’s life, and Helene swore fealty to evil Emperor Marcus. Elias’s mom, the Commandant, is still evil and crazy AF. Laia’s brother is still in prison (who knows if he’s dead or alive), and the world is still going to hell. There are dead spirits roaming around, an evil god-like creature roaming around trying to get revenge, and of course the scheming for power. So, naturally, everyone splits up to do their own thing.

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TL;DR:

If I’m being honest, Helene’s chapters were boring AF but for some reason I can’t resist her character arc – she’s amazing in her own way. 75% of this book also felt like I was watching season six of Game of Thrones. Everyone gets separated, they are all traveling/trying to make it the epic battle, and I had to wait most of the book for the crazy sh*t to go down. BUT, the wait was worth it. If you’re looking for a milder version of Game of Thrones, please read this series!

The Good

The Lore

There’s enough faerie, magic, and mythology to go around in this series. Tahir takes well-known folklore and spins a unique, refreshing world that I didn’t know I needed.

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The Villains

I love when there is evil lurking in every corner of a story. Every main character is dealing with their own personal hell brought on by a different bad guy. Evil king? You got it. Evil mother? Yup, it’s there. Evil mystical/god-like creature. For sure! If there’s a way to keep me interested, it’s when I can’t figure out who the biggest threat is.

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The Cliffhangers

That last page will have you like…that’s all I’m saying. The ending is the best part of book 2. You’ll want to start book 3 immediately!

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The Bad

Helene, You Bore Me

I could have done without Helene as a narrator. Her loyalty is so engrained into her – mind, body and soul – and I CAN. NOT. HANDLE. IT. At one point I thought about skimming through her chapters just to get back to Elias. She’s not a bad character, she’s just…different. I love her, but I also hate her. She’s the frenemy you hope gets better (spoiler: she does…finally).

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The Number One Rule IS DO NOT SPLIT UP

Why does everyone insist on splitting up to save the world? Everyone knows you STICK TOGETHER. Once Elias, Laia, and Helene are on their own, the story gets a lot slower. I wish there were more instances where the MCs were a group and there was more action, but I totally understand why it was necessary…I just wish it wasn’t.

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The Ugly Truth

I loved A Torch Against The Night, but it wasn’t as good as An Ember In The Ashes. With that being said, it still holds its own and the set up is necessary for that crazy ending. It’s a solid sequel, and I wanted to start book 3 as soon as I could!

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

ARC Review | The Thirteenth Guardian Has an Amazing Premise

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By: K.M. Lewis

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing the e-book with me for my honest opinion!*

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt”, Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation.

 Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.

Overall Rating: ★★★

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TL;DR:

This book has such an interesting plot! There are secret societies, an entirely different POV on religious texts and lore, and some – well seemingly not entirely scientifically accurate – cool speculations on Dooms Day. While the premise of this story is amazing, I wish the execution of and writing had been better.

The Good

The Plot

Let me just say I live for end of days stories. Especially ones that involve history, science, and mythology. If you love movies and books like The Day After Tomorrow, National Treasure, or The Di Vinci Code, you may enjoy Book 1 in this trilogy. HOWEVER, I could have done without the *time travel* – it opens up way too many plot holes, and it didn’t seem necessary to an already interesting take on Adam & Eve, the plagues of Egypt, and even Atlantis. There’s a lot going on, and in this case focusing on one thing would make it a lot better.

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Girl Power

I loved that one of the main secret societies is run solely by women, and that the big reveal at the end of the book has a lot to do with women and their strengths and abilities as humans. It’s a subtle nod to all the amazing work ladies do and the author got it right.

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The Bad

The Characters

PREFACE: The characters aren’t horrible, but they could have been better. The story focuses on six MCs, all which have diverse and unique backgrounds, so it’s a great start. BUT, there isn’t much to their personalities, growth or evolution. I didn’t connect with any of them, and I wish that I could have been rooting for at least one of them in some way, shape ,or form.

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The Writing

This book would have been so much better if the writing style was just a bit different. Most of the conversations are like this: “Oh no. The World is ending. Something is wrong. We must hurry.”, and I really felt like there could have been so much more emotion in every aspect of this book. The world is ending! People don’t speak properly in conversation when there’s panic and terror. Use more contractions, add a bit more personality to these characters, maybe throw in a curse word here and there. I wanted my heart to race each time a new plague was hitting, but that extra “umph” was missing.

The Ugly Truth

The premise of The Thirteenth Guardian has promise, but the writing and characters fall short. I was so interested in the plot, that I was willing to overlook the bland storytelling just so I could get to the big reveal, and I’m still intrigued enough to want to learn more in the sequel!

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Will you be adding this book to your TBR when it’s released?

Review | An Ember In The Ashes Is Fantasy Gold

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By: Sabaa Tahir

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother, Darrin. Darrin gets arrested for treason. After Laia runs away like a wimp, she decides to be strong like her mother and do whatever it takes to free her brother. ENTER: The rebels who promise to help her, but only if she helps them (*dun, dun, dun*).

She infiltrates an elite school for soldiers, posing as a slave, where she  meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier. They both endured some pretty horrific things, leading to the pair teaming up becoming unlikely allies. CUE: THIS IS WHEN THINGS GET CRAZY.

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TL;DR:

An Ember In The Ashes is Gladiator x Hunger Games with just enough mythical creatures to make this the fantasy series of my dreams. The characters are complex, sometimes annoying, but always interesting.  You won’t be able to put this book down. I highly recommend!

The Good

The Story

I’m so here for the no-happy-ending-for-you theme of this book. I was also really intrigued by the prophecies, the impending doom coming from all sides (literally I had no idea who was really the “bad guy” the entire time), and the history of the world. Throw in some soldier-on-soldier fight to the deaths, crazy magical priests (who remind me of Silent Brothers from Shadowhunters) and FAERIES and I’m 100% in. If you don’t like bloodshed or scenes that will hurt you in the heart, you might want to skip this.

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The Characters

Darrin had me from page one. Elias was love at first sight. Laia was annoying AF. Helene was…complicated. What do they all have in common? They are complex, intriguing, and all had me screaming in irritation, scoffing in anger, or rolling my eyes in disbelief. The journeys these characters go through are so good. They aren’t perfect, and I love them just the way they are…yes, even you Laia.

Elias Veturius Gets His Own Section

ELIAS, SOLDIER BOY OF MY HEART. Yes, he gets his own section. He’s now officially my one f*ckboy I allow on my book boyfriend list (Sorry Tiberius Calore, you’ve been dumped). He’s groomed to kill and follow directions, but can’t seem to get past his adorable, caring, sweet cinnamon roll heart. Yeah, he may get distracted by Laia’s curves or Helene’s hair, and literally every other pretty girl who walks his way…but he gets stuff done. And I love him.

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The Bad

I Have So Many Questions

Book one leaves you with A LOT of unresolved plot points. You learn a lot on this journey, but all the important bits don’t start filling in until the end. And even then, you’ll want to immediately start the sequel because you’ll be left wondering what’s happening to literally everyone. Couldn’t I get at least one major thing resolved? No…okay. I’ll just go binge the rest of the series now.

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The Ugly Truth

I can’t believe I didn’t start this series sooner! I loved almost everything about An Ember In The Ashes. It had morally grey characters, hot soldier boys, magic, battle scenes, and I can’t wait for more. (Literally I couldn’t wait. I binged the second and third book before even writing this.)

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Are you adding this to your TBR?

Review | The Wicked King Is Good…But Still Not Worth the Hype

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By: Holly Black

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Jude Duarte bound the now-crowned King, Cardan, to her in order to keep her younger brother safe. She thinks she’s super smart and can navigate the political ins and outs of Faerie, but little does she know that some crazy sh*t is about to go down. She’ll be betrayed, Cardan will be betrayed…everyone is going to be betrayed! 

So, Jude does what she does best, thinks of her best solution and then messes everything up.

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TL;DR:

Prefacing this with the disclaimer that I didn’t enjoy The Cruel Prince as much as everyone else seemed to, and my entire review is based on how this book is so much better than CP. With that said, this series is not one of my favorites, so if you’re looking for a hyped review…this isn’t it. The characters are still terrible, minus Cardan (ILYSM), but the double-crossing and ending are soo good that I was willing to overlook everything else.

The Good

The Pacing

The Cruel Prince was sooooooooooooooooooo slow. It took 75% of the book for the pace to pick up and for anything crazy to happen, but The Wicked King starts off with a bang and took me on a wild ride. There are so many betrayals, a lot of bloodshed, and tons of twists. I was so shocked by the differences in storytelling between CP and WK and I was pleasantly surprised.

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CARDAN, YOU DEVIL

Cardan is a huge douche, we all know that, but somehow he’s the only one in this entire series who makes it work. Like, dang, you did just insult me with your sarcastic comebacks…and did I kind of enjoy it?  YES, I ABSOLUTELY DID. If you’re looking to fall in love with a bad boy, look no further. King Cardan has got you covered.

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Karma’s a Huge Biatch

Excuse me, but my petty is showing. I freaking LOVED that everyone got what they deserved in this book, especially Jude. The betrayal is real and it made me so happy seeing everyone stumble and freak out over the scheming. Grab your popcorn and prepare for the drama.

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The Bad

Literally Every Other Character, Omg

Jude is literally the worst spy. Taryn is thee worst sister. Locke is the definition of f*ckboi.  And even Vivianne, who I loved in book one, got on my nerves. I knoooow that these characters are supposed to be morally grey and whatnot, but I can’t stand any of them. It makes this series a little less enjoyable for me. Can’t they be morally grey and have some good qualities? Or maybe be at least a little smarter? Or, you know, just be kind of likable?

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The Ugly Truth

I definitely enjoyed The Wicked King more than The Cruel Prince. It’s a good sequel and Cardan has found a place in my heart. I still don’t think this series is worth all the hype, but after that ending I’m definitely looking forward to Queen of Nothing!

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

Review | Sawkill Girls Is A Classic Monster Story With a Feminist Twist

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By: Claire Legrand

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Zoey: the pariah. Val: the queen bee.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

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TL;DR:

Sawkill Girls is a refreshing take on the classic monster story. If you’re into books with darker vibes and don’t mind things that go bump in the night, check this one out! It’s full of diverse characters and hits on some bigger societal issues.

The Good

A Classic Monster Tale

This has all the elements of a great monster story – eerie children’s nursery rhymes, isolated islands, dark forests, and disappearing teens. If you love being scared, especially by things that go bump in the night, you’ll enjoy this.

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep…

Down With The Patriarchy

Legrand isn’t subtle with the digs at things like mansplaining and the patriarchy. She uses her villains, her heroines, and her writing to bring down the patriarchy just a little bit more. I hope young girls (and boys) who read this look at sexism just a bit differently afterward.

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Girl Power To The Max

love that all the heroines in this story walk to their own tunes. They are strong, independent and learn to work through their differences against a common enemy. It’s refreshing to see girls banding together instead of ripping each other down because of insecurities.

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The Bad

The World Building

This is more due to my personal preferences as a reader. I need to know all about every person, place, thing, or idea that’s mentioned in story (which is why I tend to read longer series). Soooo, I would have loved a deeper looking into the cult, the monster, and the island. If you don’t mind a quick story with minimal details, then forget I even mentioned this!

The Ugly Truth

I loved Sawkill Girls! I gave it 4-stars because I prefer my fantasy stories to be longer and more in-depth, but I loved everything else about it. Pick this one up when you’re in the need for a feminist rage fest or quick monster tale.

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

TL; DR | March Speed Reviews

Check out my mini reviews of all my March 2019 reads!

How is it spring already? How are we already a quarter way through 2019? How have I managed to read 6 books this month and not review any of them yet? Well, I’ll tell you why, because I’ve been neglecting my blog for the greatness that is Elias Veturius (more on that below). I promise to have full reviews for these soon, but since it’s the end of March – here’s some TL; DR action!

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By: Claire Legrand

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

This is a creepy, dark, feminist Rage Fest for the masses. The main ladies are diverse, unique and so refreshingly weird. Read for a new take on female friendships. Down with the patriarchy! You will rage so hard against the antagonist(s) and love the ending. I love monster stories, so it gets bonus points just for that.

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By: Laura Sebastian

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

This is book two in the Ash Princess trilogy and I was not disappointed. It wasn’t as amazing as Ash Princess – I really wish there was more magic – but it definitely lives up to the hype. If you were ever into Avatar the Last Airbender, you’ll enjoy book one. And if you’re into strong, independent queens who don’t need a man by their side to kick ass and take names, you’ll fall in love with Theo in book 2.

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By: Holly Black

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

For all my Cruel Prince fans, please don’t hate me, but this series DOES NOT live up to the hype…like at all. The Wicked King wasn’t everything I expected it to be, but it was way better than The Cruel Prince, so I’m giving it a one-up in my star rating. I’m also going to be petty with my rating and say that Jude gets what she deserves and so much more, and I enjoyed seeing her fumble. I still hate Taryn. Locke is the absolute worst. And Cardan is an evil little d-bag (but he can stay because for some odd reason I’m kind of into it). Even though I didn’t enjoy this as much as the masses, the ending was honestly so great.

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By: Sarah J Maas

Overall Rating: ★★★

The Verdict

It’s been a full year since I’ve read ACOTAR so I decided to reread the series in between some of the newer titles I’m getting to. The first time around, I rated this one 3 stars because I couldn’t get behind Tamlin, and Feyre was a whiny brat. Knowing all the twists and turns now (and obviously that SJM is an evil-genius who deserves an award for playing with my emotions) I’m still giving this 3 stars. The set up is worth the outcome in books 2 and 3, so PLEASE READ, but don’t expect book 1 to take your breath away.

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By: Sabaa Tahir

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS SOONER?! An amazing fantasy world with complex characters and an intense plot. Elias Veturius is the most irresistible f*ckboi ever and I love him to death. Laia is a bit on the annoying side, but she grows on you. I felt like I was reading a Game of Thrones X Throne of Glass Saga and I was not disappointed with the oracular fortune telling, political scheming, and magic. I started book two immediately. Which leads me to…

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By: Sabaa Tahir

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

Per yoozsh, book two isn’t as amazing as book one, but it’s great in its own right. The book is narrated by Elias, Laia and now Helene. If I’m being honest, Helene’s chapters were boring AF but for some reason I can’t resist her character arc. 75% of this book also felt like I was watching season 6 of Game of Thrones. Everyone gets separated, they are all traveling/trying to make it the epic battle, and I had to wait most of the book for the crazy sh*t to go down. BUT, the wait was worth it. That ending…wow. Excuse me while I binge Reaper At The Gates.

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What did you think of my reads this month? Will you be adding any to your TBR? Have you read any of these already?

Review | The De Vincent Brothers Need to Be A Thing

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By: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Devlin, Gabriel, and Lucian De Vincent are the wealthiest of the wealthy in New Orleans. The amount of money they have is probably only one-uped by the family problems and drama they deal with. Their father has just passed away, their sister randomly shows up at home after she’s been missing for 10 years, reporters and law enforcement are trying to “bring them down” for who knows what. Each book follows a different brother and a different leading lady as we slowly start to unravel the haunting mysteries surrounding the family.

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TL;DR:

Am I total trash for romance novels with hot brothers now? Yup! Thanks Loretta and Fiction No Chaser – I blame you for my new found obsession. These books are intense, dramatic, funny,  full of smut and I could not put them down. If you’re into romance with mafia family undertones, some ghost vibes, murderous/slightly crazy fiancés, and a creepy dead dad then these books are for you.

The Good

The Ladies

When I think of romance I think of damsels in distress waiting to be saved, but Julia, Nicolette, and Rosie do not disappoint in the independent lady vibes.

  • Julia: The divorcee nurse with high-levels of wit and sass. She loves Old Navy and beignets…but who doesn’t love beignets.
  • Nic: The 22-year old, llama loving, Southern Belle. She wear Vans and ripped jeans to work, is kind of awkward, and she is a vibe. 
  • Rosie: The widower. Super into paranormal investigations. Even more into having an arsenal of spitfire comebacks for anyone who tries to mansplain to her.

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The Brothers

Let’s just say there’s enough strong personality to last a lifetime between these three.

  • Lucian: The artist. If you love high levels of sarcasm and the ability to turn any serious situation into a joke, you’re going to love him.
  • Gabe: The woodworker. He’s My least favorite of the three, but still fun in his own way. He’s the “thoughtful, caring” brother that’s good with his hands. *wink, wink*
  • Devlin: The eldest. He’s a snob who speaks his mind, but I would not mind if Dev talked bossy to me.

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Drama for Days

Someone needs to make this series into a show or a movie trilogy or something. The amount of drama this family has gives the Kardashians a run for their money. Grab your popcorn and get ready to snuggle up with some messed up, horny,  man-child De Vincents. They do not disappoint in the drama department. And just when you think you’ve figured it all out…nope, you actually haven’t.

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The Bad

The Cheese Factor

Okay, okay – I know romance novels are full of scenarios that wouldn’t happen in real life, but I still found myself laughing and eye-rolling at some of the crazier moments. CAN people hook up in a random parking structure, out in the open, where there are probably cameras galore (and also probably people looking for their cars)? Yes, they can. Is it likely? DEFINITELY NOT. There are plenty more examples where that came from, but I’ll leave it at that and let your imaginations run free.

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The Ugly Truth

I’m not a big reader of contemporary romance, but I might have to start reading more of Jennifer L. Armentrout. These books are fun and full of drama. Pick these up if you love romance, New Orleans, rich family drama, and/or cheeky love stories!

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Have you read these books? If so, what did you think of it?

Review | Why Is The Winner’s Trilogy So Hyped?

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By: Marie Rutoski

Overall Rating: ★★★

Kestrel is the daughter of the Valorian Military General. Arin is a Herrani slave turned rebel. Their paths cross, they struggle with their feelings for each other, and they obviously hate that they’re both Slytherins who want to live in a better world. Without going into spoiler territory you’ll run into: A d-bag Emperor who wants to rule the world, lots of moody, spoiled white aristocrats, and some weirdly specific bug-related metaphors.

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TL;DR:

I did not enjoy this series as much as I wanted to. Kestrel and Arin had sooooo much potential as characters and as love interests, but they fell short. The story was a jumbled mess full of miscommunication, lies and deception – which usually I find really appealing in stories. If you’re into insta-love or simplistic YA novels, you might want to give these a try, but overall I’d say stay away if you have other TBR options.

The Good

*It was really hard for me to not just put “NOTHING” in this section. But, being as unbiased as I can…here it goes. I may end up ranting at some point. Who knows.

(Some of) The Supporting Characters

You know you’re in for a bad time when you fall in love with the unimportant secondary cast, but here I am, telling you that the main characters suck and you will live for all the supporting characters (except for Jess. She can go die in a ditch). They have personality, swagger, and stick to their motives and goals, unlike some characters, which I will get to shortly. I loved  Prince Verex and I wish he was in more of the story. I also lived for Eastern Prince’s sass and wit. But that’s not saying much since not many of the other characters have an ounce of personality. Even the Emperor, regardless of how evil and cruel he is, was a more developed character than Arin or Kestrel.

The Battles

The war and battle scenes were the only thing keeping me going while reading these books. No joke, it was a struggle to get through 300 pages and if there weren’t a handful of good fighting scenes I would not have survived. If there’s one thing this series got right, it’s the war and the battle strategy.

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The Bad

The Main Characters

KESTREL WAS MY GIRL. I had SO much hope for her as a heroine. She started off as the Slytherpuff I never knew I needed. She was cunning and smart and tried to use her talents to help those around her…but then she had to go and ruin it. She doesn’t grow or develop through the entire series. Instead, she slowly regresses into someone you would have met on page one, book one – second-guessing herself, and not trusting her instincts. Not to mention that really unnecessary memory-loss moment she has, which only works if you’re Peeta Mellark and have a cute game you can play to remember what is real and what isn’t.

…And then there’s Arin. Talk about a tall, dark and handsome Slytherin who’s perfect on paper but sucks IRL. He’s set on freeing his land and his people from the Valorians and his inner monologue tells us he thinks he’s clever enough to see truth from lies. BUT, he proves again and again and again that he CLEARLY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT A LIE IS. He’s kind, he sings, he can fight, and he’s beautiful. But there is no depth to Arin or his motives and he is a bit of a wet noodle.

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The Love Story

Okay, so let’s start of with the disclaimer that this starts off as insta-love but then takes a turn into weird, angry “I don’t know if I want you” love. It’s frustrating and annoying and not at all something I enjoyed. Book One, Kestrel and Arin hate each other. They spend like 5 afternoons together and then all of a sudden they’re in love. Don’t forget that at this point, Arin is still a slave, owned by Kestrel, and he’s planning to overthrow her father and taking over the city…so like WTF ARE YOU THINKING ARIN? This just ping pongs out of control in books two and three, with Kestrel and Arin both denying then not denying their feelings. It’s eye-roll worthy. Then there are some weird romance vibes going on between the Eastern Prince and Arin. Then some weird romance vibes between Arin and the Eastern Queen. Apparently, everyone has the hots for Arin, but Kestrel is the only one who lies to herself about it. It was like a really bad car crash that you can’t look away from.

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The Ugly Truth

I wouldn’t recommend this series unless you are really patient with your main characters and have some free time you’re willing to throw around. There isn’t much depth to the story or the characters, but you may like the warring bits like I did.

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Have you read this series? If so, what did you think of it? Will you be adding this to your TBR?

Review | I Need More Kingmaker Chronicles ASAP

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By: Amanda Bouchet

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Cat and Griffin meet at a traveling circus when he kidnaps her for her “special” powers. She’s the Kingmaker, he’s an ambitious warlord and together along with is Beta Team they travel the world looking for a way to unseat all the corrupt rulers (including Cat’s mom). The gods get involved, people fall in love, others die, battles ensure, and you will be taken on a rollercoaster ride of prophecies, epic quests, and to-die-for love stories.

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TL;DR:

I don’t normally do romance books, but The Kingmaker Chronicles are full of wit, sass, and overall fun. If you enjoy Greek mythology, feisty main ladies, and magic – you’ll love this series!

The Good

The Characters

Cat is a SASS QUEEN, who also happens to be a baddass fighter full of awesome magic. Griffin is a main man you will love. He’s strong, witty, loyal and also pretty good looking. Beta Team – Kato, Flynn, and Carver – are the warrior buddies you didn’t know you needed in your life. And if the main crew isn’t enough, Griffin’s entire family will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. They’re loving, intelligent and always try to do the right thing. The entire cast of this series will make you swoon.

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The Magic and Mythology

GUYS I LOVE MYTHOLOGY SO MUCH. This entire series is centered around the gods and Ares, Persephone, Hades, Zeus (and probably some I’m forgetting) make an appearance. We even get to see a version of the underworld and purgatory and I was LIVING FOR IT. The personalities Bouchet gave to the mythical characters and creates in her series are to die for. Not to mention we get special Demi-god powers and oracular prophecies and visions. I was getting adult Percy Jackson vibes and I’m not complaining.

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The Bad

The Macho Man Vibes

Guys, I love Griffin, but he can sometimes take his overbearing, jealous macho man vibes to an extreme. I’m all for strong leading ladies BUT they should be backed by level-headed partners who aren’t going to “growl” or think about hurting their friends just for joking with their love interest. I could have done with more feminist vibes and less “you belong to me”.

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The Ending of Book 3

Heart of Fire’s ending was disappointing, it was just very underwhelming. I was hoping for more battles, more epic character arcs/reveals, and just a lot more of something in general. There was so much epicness, and I hoped the ending would have been just as amazing. HOWEVER, I’ve got confirmation that there will be more stories set in the same world, so I’m hoping the story arcs that weren’t wrapped up and the end of book 3 come into play in Book 4. Knowing there will be more of Beta team is keeping me going. I need more Carver, Flynn and Kato in my life!!

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The Ugly Truth

While the ending of book 3 was a bit disappointing, I still really enjoyed the series as a whole. I’ve had confirmation from Amanda herself that there are going to be more books, and I CANNOT wait to get my hands on more stories with Beta Team!

Talk To Me

Have you read this series? If so, what did you think of it? Will you be adding this to your TBR?