Ruined by Amy Tintera | Revenge is sweet, forgiveness is not sweeter

Goodreads | Author 

Publication Date: 3rd May 2016
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake

I knew I would love this book after 5 pages in when we get our first death. Any book that starts with the protagonist killing someone can’t be anything less than excellent.

The book came in the mail right before my exams so like any sane person, I was happy to be distracted. I just didn’t realise how addictive this book would be and devoured it in 2 days. I’ve seen a lot of reviews saying “Ruined is just basically -insert another fantasy story here-” but to me it had a perfect balance of all the fantasy stories I’ve read. It’s not the most original plot but it’s so, so enjoyable.

The revenge plot plus the impostering was so much better than I thought it would be. It was suspenseful and the conflicts that it created within Em was just excellent. I liked how by going through with pretending to be the princess, we get to experience the other side of the story in a way. I’m sure we’ll all hate Lera in the next books but it was fascinating to see the kingdom’s systems and views.

The book touches on the topic of convicting criminals before they even commit crime and that was a really interesting topic, it’s not one that you commonly see in YA. A lot of plots focus a lot on oppression or dictatorship but not this book. The Ruined are exiled for the crimes of Em’s mother but as individuals, they’re not all bad. The author does shape them to be very scary though, their abilities are so strong and honestly I understand the King’s mentality. It’s a book that will make you rethink your own opinions. 

Ok onto the fangirling. I love Em. Her determination is inspiring and her fighting skills… well she kills the princess in the first 5 pages so XD She’s such a strong character that I’m really excited to read about in the next books. Ruined actually has a lot of powerful female characters both good and bad but its not overdone. Then we have to talk about Cas who really gave me strong Dorian vibes, more to do with just being a prince in a fantasy YA novel than anything else. I really enjoyed reading about him too, he had these really good sarcastic lines that added that touch of humour that Ruined needed.

The only complaint I do have about this book is that I need to know more about the Ruined, about what they are fully capable of, their kingdom, their history – actually the history is hinted but not explored that much. Maybe in the next book?

Verdict: A very typical fantasy novel but it works it to its strengths.

4

So have you read Ruined or are you planning to?

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Bright Blaze of Magic + Playlist | Best. Finale. Ever.

Publication Date: 26th April 2016
Goodreads | Author 
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

Image and video hosting by TinyPicWhen I see a Jennifer Estep book, I’ve come to just immediately associate them with awesomeness because she does not disappoint. I loved her Mythos Academy books and re-read them hundreds of times. The Black Blade series though… it’s even better. They’re very, very similar but Black Blade wins because its only 3 books and so it packs a bigger punch.

Estep somehow manages to strike a really nice balance between light, fluffy moments and pure death and doom. It does fall more on the lack of substance side at times but she revives it regularly with these really action packed scenes. I enjoyed it so much that I flew through the book in a couple of days. And the ending… what can I even say. The author knows how to write finales, no holds barred with all the gruesome details included. I was shocked by how far Victor took his plan. Black Blade gives off a really happy feel so I did not expect the darkness that crept into the plot.

This review will mostly be a love letter to the characters because they are such a good bunch of people. My awesome crew is back! + Deah. Can I just say I really liked Deah in this book? I felt her pain of realising her father is evil and how she’s caught between the Draconis and Sinclairs. And then we have Oscar and Tiny who are the best thing to happen to this book. They are hilarious but its their loyalty to Lila that really gets me. I’ve fangirled about Devon before so I won’t this time (even though he was so swoony). This book was all about Lila.

She kicks serious ass. She’s done so in Cold Burn and Dark Heart but she’s obviously been saving up her best for Bright Blaze because damn, I don’t think I’ve liked her as much as I did after I read it. From where she was in the first book, living in the library basement with only Mo as her friend, it’s just so heartwarming to see her now surrounded by so many people who love her. Plus it doesn’t hurt that she’s a great protagonist to read about.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you need to. It gets a big thumbs up from me!

5

Keeping low, I left the woods behind and hopscotched my way across the lawn, hiding behind various trees and bushes and only moving when the guards’ backs were turned. Devon and Felix followed along behind me, both of them being as quiet as possible and clutching the duffel bags to their chests to muffle any telltale clank-clanks.

Less than three minutes later, we were at one of the side patio doors. I reached up and gently turned the knob. Unlocked. How disappointing. It was no fun breaking into a mansion when your inside woman left a door unlocked for you.

But I opened the door and ushered Devon and Felix inside. I slipped in after them and locked the door behind me, just in case one of the guards decided to check it. Then I took the lead again, creeping from one hallway and staircase to the next.

The outside of the Draconi mansion might resemble a castle, but the furnishings inside were the real riches. Just about everything gleamed with some sort of gold, from the chandeliers overhead to the gilt-edged mirrors on the walls to the trim on the tables and chairs. And Victor’s snarling dragon crest was painted, carved, chiseled, embroidered, and stamped into practically everything, from the crown molding that ringed the ceilings to the stained glass windows set into the walls to the white flagstones underfoot.

All those dragons were creepy enough, but it seemed like every single one of the monsters turned its head, narrowed its eyes, and glared at Devon, Felix, and me as we crept past. I shivered. Sometimes, I would have been happy not to see so well with my sight magic.

We quickly made our way up some stairs to the Draconi greenlab. Once again, the glass doors were unlocked, and the three of us slipped inside and moved through the area, which was part chemistry lab, part greenhouse, where a variety of magical and other plants were grown and harvested. The long, sharp needles on the stitch-sting bushes quivered as we hurried past them, but we didn’t get close enough for the evergreen plants to lash out and try to scratch us for disturbing them.

We made it to the opposite side of the greenlab, and I sidled up to the glass doors there and peered out into the hallway beyond. The lights were turned down low in this part of the mansion, creating more shadows than not. Just the way I liked it.

Since the coast was clear, I stepped out of the glass doors and into the hallway—

I spotted a glint of metal out of the corner of my eye. Even as I turned toward it, a sword zoomed out of the shadows, heading straight for me.

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Follow the Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.
The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.
Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.

Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.

Short and Sweet Reviews | Because I am a procrastinator

Remember the last time I posted a review? Well, that makes two of us! I am really behind on reviewing, I blame my Shadowhunters addiction. And my kdrama addiction. Or you know, we could blame my procrastination XD

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Goodreads | Author 
Publication Date: 2nd June 2015
The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

So I started reading this thinking it was alright and then somewhere around the middle of the plot I was so into the story I couldn’t stop.

It’s amazing how loud Elyse’s voice could be even though she couldn’t even speak. The book doesn’t show us her past but rather her present and how she deals with her muteness and how her family and friends deal with her muteness, it just makes for such a compelling story. Elyse has all my respect because she just powers on like a badass. While she might not be the assasin queen or the top of her class, she’s great in her own way.

While Elyse is obviously the star, the other characters are just as memorable. All the characters are really, really well developed from the resident playboy Christian to his mermaid obsessed brother Sebastian to Elyse’s cousin Kirby.

The mermaid mythology was woven through the plot line and it made the whole story magical. I guess it’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid but I never liked the story much until now. Just go read it, it’s great trust me.

4.5

Demon Princess

Goodreads | Author 
Publication Date: 21st December 2015
Goodreads blurb:
With her father gone and her brother missing, Demon Princess Adriana has to assume the throne, temporarily becoming the Demon King. The procession is underway, and the princess is nervous yet determined … until the unthinkable happens and she is summoned! Somehow, Aldric, a mage-in-training, has summoned the princess into the human kingdom. Now trapped, Adriana must hide her identity and escape before she loses her life in the hands of her mortal enemies.

I was so not expecting to like this as much as I did. The blurb makes it sounds so cliched but when I got around to reading it, I was hooked. Demon Princess had a really strong cast of characters. Adriana was a really great character who goes from having all the power to essentially none and I admire how she handles this loss. The world was interesting with mages and demons against each other and I wish we got more development of the setting. I mean, we got the rough picture and it looks great but when you get closer it’s pixelated. Maybe in the next book?

The beginning didn’t hook me in straight away. Actually I’m not quite sure when I really got into the book. The combination of the characters and the plot just clicked at one point and then it was over so quickly. That’s probably the only complaint I have about Demon Princess, it’s just too short. I felt like the characters and plot could have just been developed so much better if there was just more of it.

So if you’re looking for a quick fantasy/ paranormal that’s not so normal, give Demon Princess a try!

Thanks to the author for providing me a review copy via Netgalley. 

3

 

 

Ghetto by M.L. Sparrow | Real Dystopia Talk!

Ghetto

Goodreads | Author 
Publication Date: 15th September 2015
Rating: 4/5 bamboo sticks

My name’s Sunny Grace Beaumont. Branded SGB/2/6895/03.12.93. Only child, self-taught computer geek and cancer survivor. Oh, and did I mention my dad’s the President? As you can imagine that’s sometimes a little problematic, especially when I want to sneak out. But it never got me into quite as much trouble as the night I ventured into the Ghetto – don’t ask me why I was there in the first place… it was stupid. Everyone knows that the Ghetto is where hardened criminals are sent to live out the remainder of their lives. At first the men that kidnap me are just as I’d imagine, mean and thoughtless, but slowly I begin to have doubts.

I meet a guy. His name’s Sin, he has no Brand – a crime punishable by death – and he’s the rebel leader. I should hate him… but I don’t. Instead he opens my eyes to a whole other side of the Ghetto, where people are innocent of the crimes they’re accused of and helpless children suffer dreadful poverty. Is it possible that I’ve been lied to my entire life… that the governments been deceiving everyone? And how can I challenge the law my own dad is adamant to uphold?

A big shoutout to the author for sending me a review copy! 

Be prepared to be surprised because Ghetto was surprisingly great. Yes, it did have its cliches and in the beginning I was so annoyed by the information dumps but the characters really shine over all that.

Let’s start with the introduction which I didn’t really like. I kept getting this vibe that I read the plot before… mum dies of cancer because she doesn’t want to give up the baby… it’s really familiar. Anyone know of the book? Anyways, there was a lot of information being slapped into your face in the first chapters and while it got me into the world, I feel like it could have been better integrated. At this point, I knew there was a lot of potential but it just wasn’t quite there yet.

It got there, guys. The rest of the book was awesome. The world was so interesting and detailed. I loved how the whole book wasn’t really about a Hunger Games like revolution even though we have rebels. It was more about distributing what the minority need: food and supplies. It’s not about the big wars and rebellions but about the small things which makes it really stand out in the dystopia genre. I mean, who thinks about the food and everyday items like light bulbs, soap etc when the rebels are all out fighting?

Sunny was a great lead who had brains and kindness. When she realises the truth about the Ghetto, she doesn’t hesitate to help. We also get Sin who is one of the best leaders I’ve read about in dystopian worlds. The combination of tough and kind is a cliche but the author writes it into Sin so well that you can’t help but love him!

Final verdict: It’s a diamond in the rough, but it’s still a diamond and it’s worth it!

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Did I Mention I Need You || Reasons why you don’t cheat

Did I Mention I Need You?

Goodreads | Author 
Publication Date: 1st March 2016
Rating: 1.5/5 bamboo sticks
It’s been a year since Eden Munro last saw Tyler Bruce: her stepbrother…and secret love. Although they swore to ignore their feelings and put their family first, Eden can’t help but feel excited when Tyler invites her to join him in New York City for the summer.

But it’s not like anything is going to happen. Eden is happy with her boyfriend Dean, and she knows gorgeous, green-eyed Tyler must have moved on as well. But as they spend the long, hot summer in the city that never sleeps, it becomes obvious that those old feelings are still there…simmering beneath the surface. Will Tyler and Eden be able to resist temptation?

There are few things that I just hate in books. Jealous protagonists, cheating and illogical decisions are just some of them. Guess which ones were in DIMINY…

I liked the first book way  better than this one because even though Eden was kind of annoying in that one at least she wasn’t annoying because she was green with envy. The number of times we get these Tyler and another girl scenes and Eden just being “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT GIRL YOU MUST BE DATING NO DON’T EVEN EXPLAIN TO ME”, I just couldn’t deal with this attitude. At least let him explain if you’re so in love with him.

There’s a lot of those jealousy scenes but there’s way more “I hate cheating on Dean but I just can’t help it”. Sweetie, if you hate it you can stop it. It was so obnoxious because it’s so simple. Don’t cheat if you don’t feel right doing it. Dean is so kind towards Eden as well so no wonder she feels so guilty. On a sidenote, Tyler was also really nice in this book. Is it just me or was he not like this in DIMILY??

Taling about characters, I found the perfect gif for Tiffani: 

The plot was really weirdly paced. It was quite slow in the beginning and that’s probably why it was so annoying. It focused too much on the jealousy and the cheating. I hated Eden and Tiffani. But then the end where finally something happens, I was ready for the angst to rain down. But the conflict literally gets resolved in one day, done and dusted and me sitting there feeling betrayed. Of course, everything ends the way I expected it to and it just feels like a cut and paste of the first book.

So why is it getting 1.5 stars though? It’s all to do with the side characters. While the whole book is filled with bitchy, shallow female characters, we have a shining light in Emily. Even when Eden was a bitch to her (because of the jealousy) she didn’t retaliate and that’s what I found so interesting about her. I would love to read more about her backstory and her future life. We also get Snake in this book who was just so funny, so great.

Final Verdict: Too predictable, annoying female characters but we get 2 great characters from it at least. 

So are you planning to read it? Have you read it? What are your thoughts on DIMINY? LEt me know 😀

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