Review: Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy #1) by Wendy Higgins

Sweet EvilTitle: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: The Sweet Trilogy #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

My Review:
Anna Whitt has always known she is different. Raised by her protective adopted mom, Patti, Anna has led a pretty sheltered life. She is good, kind and sweet with huge compassion for others. Yet, she struggles with an inexplicable inner pull towards alcohol and drugs.

When she meets bad-boy ‘man-slut’ rocker, Kaidan Rowe, her life turns upside down in a flash. Kaidan helps her come to terms with who she really is and in the process she falls deeply in love with him. Kaidan blows hot and cold and she never knows how he feels about her.

Thrust into a world of angels, demons and Nephilim, Anna has to keep her wits about her if she is to survive this new reality. When she reconnects with her dad, she is strengthened by the force of his love and support. One of the things I loved most about this series was the importance of family and it was refreshing to see a strong mother and father figure.

This book sucked me in immediately and held my attention the entire time. I adored Wendy’s writing style and there are some really sweet romantic moments and some laugh out loud funny parts.

I loved Kaidan’s sharp British wit and his all round sexiness. It’s a little disturbing to learn what he has to do for ‘work’ but Wendy never glamorizes it.

All in all this was a fantastic read and I’m looking forward to continuing this series.

Footnote: In the Lux series, Kat and Daemon take on fake identities in the name of Anna Whitt and Kaidan Rowe. I was intrigued enough by this mention to check out this series. I’m so glad I did. I guess I now have something else to thank Jennifer L. Armentrout for!

Blog Tour: The Affiliate (Ascension #1) by K.A. Linde

The Affiliate BT banner
Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Affiliate (Ascension #1) by K.A. Linde. I’ll share my review of the book and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

TA AmazonTitle: The Affiliate
Author: K.A. Linde
Series: Ascension #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ Paranormal
Links:

Blurb:
On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm’s lifelong plans come to fruition when she’s chosen for one of the most prestigious positions in her homeland—an Affiliate to the Queen.

Or so she thinks.

When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene’s position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have…

King Edric himself.

Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.

My Review:
This was a great fantasy read and a promising start to a new series.

We meet Cyrene as she is preparing for her presentation in the Royal Castle. Chosen as the Queen’s affiliate, she immediately captures the eye of both King Edric and his sleazy brother Kael. As she tries to adjust to life in the Castle away from her family and without her childhood bestfriend, she becomes embroiled in mystery and intrigue and eventually sets out on a journey that will lead to a shocking revelation about her true identity.

There are some romantic interludes with the King and a couple of close encounters with Kael, but in the main the romance is light in this book.

I struggled to get into this story at the start – there was a lot of information provided initially and I was a little confused. Once I hit the thirty percent mark, this book really took off, and I became thoroughly engrossed in it.

The plot and worldbuilding are imaginative, the characters are complex, the writing is great. A solid read. I look forward to reading the rest of this series when it’s released.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and Inkslinger PR for providing a review copy in exchange for my honest opionion.

kalinde copyAbout the Author:
USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde is the author of The Affiliate, the first book in the Ascension Series. As a military brat, she traveled the world with her family, imaginary friends, and ever-increasing supply of books. She has spent much of her life dreaming up new worlds and characters and forcing them into uncomfortable, usually life-threatening scenarios. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a masters degree in political science, she began spending every waking hour putting those characters onto paper.
When not writing, she spends her time dancing, collecting paperbacks in the hopes of filling a Beauty and the Beast style library one day, traveling to visit her friends who live all over the country, and still reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two puppies, Lucy and Riker, where she is hard at work on her next novel.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: Awoken (The Lucidites #1) by Sarah Noffke

awokenTitle: Awoken
Author: Sarah Noffke
Series: The Lucidites #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ Paranormal
Links:

Blurb:
Around the world humans are hallucinating after sleepless nights.

In a sterile, underground institute the forecasters keep reporting the same events.

And in the backwoods of Texas, a sixteen-year-old girl is about to be caught up in a fierce, ethereal battle.

Meet Roya Stark. She drowns every night in her dreams, spends her hours reading classic literature to avoid her family’s ridicule, and is prone to premonitions—which are becoming more frequent. And now her dreams are filled with strangers offering to reveal what she has always wanted to know: Who is she? That’s the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. But will Roya live to regret learning the truth?

My Review:
I was gifted a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Awoken has a very interesting premise, and that – along with the beautiful cover – is what attracted me to this book. Overall I did enjoy reading it, but I had some issues with the plot and pacing which stopped me from rating it higher.

The whole notion of dream travelling is very intriguing and it was imaginatively thought out and described. It was very creative and I really enjoyed that aspect of this book. I also liked the author’s style of writing; her prose is decent and it is in keeping with other books in the YA genre.

It took me a while to warm to Roya and I blew hot and cold on her a few times. She is thrown into an impossible situation and I can completely understand how challenging it would be to wrap your head around that. However,she was very whiny for far longer than necessary in my view. As the story progressed I liked her more but some of her actions with the love interests irritated me.

I enjoy a strong romance thread and the romance was a little light in this book for me. I’m sure that will appeal to others, though. Aiden was cute from the get-go.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the first and last 15-20%. I was quite confused the first few chapters and it felt like we were just dropped in the middle of a story; there was no build up or gradual weaving into the plot. I honestly hadn’t a clue what was going on at first. I enjoyed the middle section the most and it flowed well. The plot was building up to this epic confrontation with Zhuang (the villain of the piece) and when it arrived it was rather anti-climactic, and also quite confusing.

In summary, this is an interesting concept and the story will appeal to fans of YA fantasy who aren’t keen on strong romance sub-plots. While parts are confusing, it is still an enjoyable read.

I’d like to thank Sarah Noffke for providing me with a complimentary copy, and I wish her every success with her writing.

Review: The Legacy Human (Singularity #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

the legacy humanTitle: The Legacy Human
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Series: Singularity #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Science Fiction
Links:

Blurb:
Spiritual successor to the bestselling Mindjack trilogy…

When transcending humanity is the prize, winning the Game is all that matters.

Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

The Legacy Human is the first in a new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.

Check out Susan Kaye Quinn’s website for information about The Legacy Human everything Singularity.

My Review:
This is my first Susan Kaye Quinn book but it most definitely won’t be the last.

Imaginative. Creative. Exceptionally well executed. Beautifully written. WOW. I’m blown away.

The Legacy Human challenges the reader to explore what it actually means to be human. I found it very thought-provoking and deeply spiritual in parts. What happens to our soul if in the future we manage to transcend humanity? Do we still have one? Is there a way to maintain that essential component of what it is to be human? And if the opportunity was there would you aspire to ascend? These are some of the questions I asked myself, and some of the issues that Eli has to face on his self-developmental journey. Throw in some untrustworthy characters and a hefty dose of suspense and you end up with a roller-coaster ride of a read.

Eli is very easy to warm to. His willingness to place his mother’s safety above his own was very endearing. Cy, his best-friend-slash-brother, is fiercely loyal and a brilliant side-kick. I felt a strong emotional connection with both characters and they were very well written and developed as the book progressed. I have a feeling I know who Eli’s father is and if I’m correct it is going to shatter his world. Can’t wait for the next books in the series to find out!

The world-building is superb and I could easily picture the Ascender and Legacy cities. I would love to see this made into a movie; I think it would be visually stunning.

Susan’s writing is breath-taking and so inspiring. She is truly amazingly talented.

I felt the pacing was a little slow in the first part of the book, but it’s only a minor complaint. It didn’t deter from my overall enjoyment of this book.

A friend who is a big fan of Susan’s recommended that I read this book and I’m so glad I did. I have the Mindjack Trilogy on my Kindle already and I look forward to reading some more of Susan’s work.

In summary, this is an exceptionally well written book with stunning world-building, imaginative plot, like-able characters and a promise of great things to come with the rest of the series. Highly Recommended.

Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

insurgentTitle: Insurgent
Author: by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian DIVERGENT series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

My Review:
I’ve just re-read this in advance of the movie (I have tickets booked for Friday, cannot wait!).

I love Veronica’s writing style and the story flows nicely. Tris is suffering from PTSD in this book and it’s painful to watch her unraveling. Four is emotionally damaged due to his background, so he isn’t able to support her in the right way. He tries to intervene, but all he achieves is to push her further away. It was frustrating and heart-breaking to read at times. On several occasions I wished I could reach into the book and shake both of them!

I love how Veronica subtly builds up to Caleb’s brutal betrayal. I never liked him as a character and in Insurgent I finally realize why.

This book was action packed but also an emotional roller-coaster ride. I loved every bit of it, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it now.

If you haven’t checked out this series yet then you must!

Review: Fire Country (Country Saga #1) by David Estes

fire countryTitle: Fire Country
Author: by David Estes
Series: Country Saga #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer’s even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life’s hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

My Review:
This is an accomplished book; beautifully written. I’m a fan of this vernacular-style of writing and David is clearly a talented author. It reminded me (a little) of the Dustlands series by Moira Young, though it’s still a unique story in it’s own right.

I struggled to engage in the story at the start. However, that’s happening me a lot at the moment, so it probably says more about me than about any of the books I’ve been reading recently. I became invested about a third of the way in, and I felt the pace and plot picked up then.

It took me a little while to warm to Sienna. While I could empathize with her predicament, some of her actions infuriated me. By her own admission she is weak (physically at least) yet that doesn’t stop her from throwing herself into situations that she can’t handle. Her actions continually put those she loves at risk, and she never seems to learn that lesson. That grated on me a little. Circ was instantly like-able and I thought my heart would break when that twist occurred mid way through. I spent the rest of the book praying it wasn’t as it appeared to be.

I loved the world-building, and I could easily visualize the derelict, primitive environment they lived in. David is very skilled at invoking emotions in his characters, and I particularly felt Sienna’s heartache in the second half of the book. This was extremely well written in my opinion.

Overall, I think this is a good addition to the YA Dystopian genre, and I would recommend it. I’d like to thank David for running a free promotion which enabled me to pick up a complimentary copy of this book. I’ll definitely be checking out some of his other work.

Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

the book of ivyTitle: The Book of Ivy
Author: Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: post-apocalyptic/ dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. While the story is quite simple, the beauty is in the exceptional execution. This is a slow-burning character-driven plot which centers around Ivy Westfall and her new husband Bishop Lattimar.

Bishop is instantly endearing, even more so as the plot develops. Ivy was immature at times, but like-able all the same. Her sister and father are despicable human-beings who manipulate Ivy and try to turn her into a pawn in their political game. I hated both of them with a passion.

I was conflicted by events at the end – how Ivy could believe her actions were the only way to save Bishop was beyond me. However, she is only 16 and I understand that she felt trapped.

I enjoyed Amy’s writing style and the book flowed smoothly.

I can’t wait to see how this progresses in the next book. Well worth a read.

Review: Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

golden sonTitle: Golden Son
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation.

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

My Review:
It is difficult to identify the appropriate words to describe this book. Simply stating it is amazing just doesn’t do it justice. I was totally blown away by Golden Son, and I am in awe of Pierce’s ability to weave such a compelling, complex story.

This book hooked me instantly, and though it’s quite long, it held my attention all the way through. I did feel some parts were overly described, and there were some pages that I skimmed without missing anything, however it’s a really minor complaint.

This book is much more than YA sci-fi, in fact I’m not sure I’d even describe it as YA anymore, because I feel the themes are much more mature in this book. There is so much suspense and so many twists and turns in this dark tale: political subterfuge, betrayal, and secrets and lies were all par for the course.

I never knew what was coming next, and the plot developments were totally unexpected. Ordinarily I only like these type of action-adventures if there is a good dollop of romance thrown into the mix. The romance theme is very much a minor plot in Golden Son but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment.

I think Pierce is an exceptional writer, and he truly has a way with words.

That ending left me in pieces. Aahh!! I need to know what happens next, and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment.

A fantastic read.

Review: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

Red risingTitle: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

My Review:
A scintillating debut from a very talented author.

Red Rising tells the story of Darrow and his wife Eo, as they struggle with life as lower class citizens on Mars. The action ramps up pretty early on in the book, and there were plenty of twists and turns; some predictable, some unexpected.

Darrow’s world is turned upside down in a heartbeat, and everything he thought he knew about their society is shattered almost overnight. The depth of the government’s deception was horrific.

Darrow readily signs up to fight back and this involves significant personal change for him – both physical and mental. Then we enter a part of the story that has plot-lines reminiscent of The Hunger Games. I particularly enjoyed this section of the book.

Initially I struggled to get into the story. I felt there was a lot of information dumping pretty early on, and it was heavy on the descriptions. However, after a while that became a non-existent issue and I got really sucked into the world that the author has created. The world-building in this book is outstanding, and I could easily visualize Mars and all the various places.

I liked the writing style and it flowed really well.

I’ve already started Golden Son, and I can’t wait to see how the story develops from this point.

An excellent read and a very promising series.

Review: Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

ChampionTitle: Champion
Author: by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #3
Rating: 4.5
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

My Review:
Actual Rating 4.5 Stars

Wow. This book was a fast-paced roller-coaster-ride of a read from start to finish. I found it extremely difficult to put this book down, and it was a real page turner.

My heart bled for June and Day as circumstances conspire, yet again, to keep them apart. I could really feel the emotional turmoil that both characters felt. Day is also dealing with the impact of his health problems and grows increasingly frustrated with the limitations it imposes on him.

Day is caught in the crossfire between the Republic and the Colonies and no matter what decision he makes someone he cares about will suffer. Definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place, if you can forgive my blatant cliché.

I loved the power struggle, and the story-line was epic; full of twists and turns, moves and counter-moves, as June, Day, and Anden, battle to stay ahead of their enemies.

The battle scenes at the end were incredibly well written; nail-biting and genuinely explosive. My heart was in my mouth the whole way through.

Then we come to the last couple of chapters, and the book lost some of it’s appeal for me. (view spoiler)

Overall though I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend this series. I note in the acknowledgements that she talks about film rights, so I’m wondering if the movie has come out yet, or is it still in the planning phase? I’ll have to check it out as I’d definitely be interesting in seeing this series on the big screen.