Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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!

Sarah J. Maas did it again. When I read Throne of Glass, I fell in love. With A Court of Thorns and Roses, I doubt I’ll ever recover.

The story feels like a fairytale – timeless, endless, magical. Feyre is a poor girl who has to resort to hunting to get enough food for her father and two sisters. They were wealthy once, but they’re now very poor and on the verge of starvation. So when Feyre finds a wolf in the woods she kills it, even though she suspect it’s a faerie. As payment for her debt by killing one of the fey, she now needs to live out the rest of her life in Prythian, the magical land of the Fae.

Feyre is cold and determined, made that way by the harsh life she’s led. She rarely acts childish (except once when I kind of wanted to slap her across the face), and she’s very courageous. I also loved how she put her family first, and how much she cared about them. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to care for her half as much.

Tamlin is the High Fae lord who Feyre now must answer to. He’s the lord of the Spring Court, and he’s really swoon worthy. He’s a good guy, willing to risk his life for others, and although he’s mysterious, he’s also protective, fiercely loyal. And while I totally get the fling between Feyre and Tamlin…

… I don’t think it’s real love. I mean, she loves him, sure, but not in love love. She loves him in the way she loves a friend. A very hot, sexy friend, but I don’t think it’s real love. Sorry for all the Tamlin/Feyre shippers, but I think her heart will eventually settle for someone else.

Bring in Rhysand. Dark. Mysterious. Haunted. Sarcastic. I think he’ll manage to steal Feyre’s heart in the next book.

There’s also Lucien, Tamlin’s best friend. I actually kind of liked him. It’s nice to see Feyre having a friend who has no ulterior motives… I hope. Feyre’s sisters were interesting too, especially Nesta; I think there’s more to her than meets the eye.

The best part of the book besides the writing (which was excellent) was no doubt the world-building. The descriptions of the settings were wonderful. Prythian has a rich and engaging history, and I loved learning more about it and about the Fae.

If you haven’t read this yet, shame on you. Go into the first book store you can find and buy it. NOW. What are you waiting for?

Book Review: The Changeling by Helen Falconer

23346539Title: The Changeling

Author: Helen Falconer

Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal, Faeries

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Some of us are born to be magic.
Aoife is an ordinary teenager, hanging out with her childhood friend Carla, putting up with school. The worst she has to contend with is that the boy of Carla’s dreams is trying to get off with her instead.
But then, after chasing a lost little girl no one seems to be able to see, Aoife starts to develop mysterious powers. Eventually her parents confess that she isn’t their real daughter. Their human child was stolen by the fairies, and Aoife is the changeling left behind in her place.
Shocked and disorientated, Aoife turns to Shay, the taciturn farmer’s son who is the only person who might believe her story. Together, they embark on a dangerous journey, which takes them deep into the underworld and changes everything they thought they knew about fairies.

The Changeling offers compelling writing, a complex story and an engaging main character. Aoife – the nickname of Eva – is an ordinary teenager who likes texting with her BFF Carla, chatting about boys and doing all the things ordinary teens do. But when one of her friends, Sinead, invites her to the movies, en route Aoife sees a little girl hopping between the trees. She goes out to look for her, along with Carla, but the girl doesn’t show up and the others suspect it’s just in Aoife’s imagination.

But afterward, Aoife starts to develop strange powers, and when she kisses Shay, the only boy who believes her story, she discovers she can flying. After jumping / flying off the cliff, she and Shay end up in a mysterious underworld where nothing is as it seems and some of the local folklore might turn out to be real after all.

Aoife was an engaging character. I liked her fun friendship with Carla. They’re obvious best friends and I feared Carla might dump Aoife after she saw a girl no one else saw, but Carla remained a good friend. Aoife was a bit stubborn at first though, and a little slow. I wondered how many more signs she wanted that she had special powers. The pacing picked up once they entered the underworld. Her personality became more developed, she grew stronger and overall more likeable.

I loved Shay from the start and I only started loving him more as the book developed. He’s a genuine good guy, and I liked how there was no love triangle for once, like you see so many times in YA books. The romance between Aoife and Shay seemed just as geuine as either one of them was on their own. Genuine good people who deserve a relationship filled with love and care.

What I enjoyed the most were the little details: the Irish folklore, the setting, the dialect. This made the book sounds all the more real and made it all the easier to connect to Aoife and the other characters.

Mini-Review: Starters, Lies Beneath, Queen’s Choice


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.


Title: Starters

Author: Lissa Price

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Review: This story completely blew my mind. It’s amazing, from the concept, to the characterization, to how the plot developed, to the twists and turns that showed up every now and then. I loved this, and read it in one sitting, from start to finish.

Lies Beneath

Title: Lies Beneath

Author: Anne Greenwood Brown

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mermaids

Rating: 2,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Fans of Amanda Hocking’s novel, Wake, will dive into this paranormal romance featuring mermaids–the killer kind–and won’t come up for air!

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother’s death.

It’s going to take a concerted effort to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder’s job is to gain Hancock’s trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love–just as Lily starts to suspect there’s more to the monster-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between them and the girl he loves.

One thing’s for sure: whatever Calder decides, the outcome won’t be pretty.

Review: The book had an interesting premise, but fell flat. Calder turns out to be the same stalker-type we encounter in dozens of other YA books. There’s insta-love, Calder is stuck-up, too sure of himself, and overall, not a likeable character to read about.

The Queen’s Choice

Title: The Queen’s Choice

Author: Cayla Kluver

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Faeries

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Magic was seeping out of me, black and agonizing. I could see it drifting away. The magic that would let me pass the Road to reach home again.

When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt, Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior, will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule, and Anya is determined not to take up the queen’s mantle herself.

Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel, who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum, and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined.

Review: The book is interesting, and once you get past the first few chapters (it starts out okay, but turns boring rather quickly), make it through half of the book, and all the heaps of world building, then the story picks up. Unfortunately it waits too long for that moment, so while it’s an okay read, it’s nothing special. The world building intrigued me though, so I may have to pick up the sequel.


Mini-Review: Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale, Blue Magic, Aunt Dimity & The Village Witch


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale

Title: Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale

Author: Tamra Torero

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Faeries

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Shayla Witherwood has never been like other girls. Being a half-faerie will do that to you. But with magical powers like invisibility, shape-shifting, and healing kisses, high school is bound to be anything but boring. Throw in an ancient prophecy that is sure to get someone killed and a few unpredictable enchantments, and you have one of the most anticipated fairy tales of the season.

Review: An okay read, but didn’t really stand out from the crowd. Shayla is a half-faerie with magical powers, but she also has spunk and personality. Unfortunately, the plot doesn’t offer much originality, and the writing is just okay.

Blue Magic

Title: Blue Magic (Astrid Lethewood #2)

Author: A.M. Dellamonica

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

The sequel to Indigo Springs, “A psychologically astute, highly original debut—complex, eerie, and utterly believable.”  —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

This powerful sequel to the A.M. Dellamonica’s Sunburst Award–winning contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs starts in the small town in Oregon where Astrid Lethewood discovered an underground river of blue liquid—Vitagua—that is pure magic. Everything it touches is changed. The secret is out—and the world will never be the same. Astrid’s best friend, Sahara, has been corrupted by the blue magic, and now leads a cult that seeks to rule the world. Astrid, on the other hand, tries to heal the world.

Conflicting ambitions, star-crossed lovers, and those who fear and hate magic combine in a terrible conflagration, pitting friend against friend, magic against magic, and the power of nations against a small band of zealots, with the fate of the world at stake.

Blue Magic is a powerful story of private lives changed by earthshaking events that will ensnare readers in its poignant tale of a world touched by magic and plagued by its consequences.

Review: I didn’t read the first book in the series – I thought this was the first one, so I was at a loss at the start. I quickly figured out what was going on though. The plot was interesting, but I couldn’t connect to the characters. They all felt flat and dull. Could be because I missed out on the first book though.

Aunt Dimity & The Village Witch

Title: Aunt Dimity & The Village Witch

Author: Nancy Atherton

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Nancy Atherton’s seventeenth cozy mystery featuring the beloved Aunt Dimity-the original paranormal detective

When Amelia Thistle moves to Finch, her new neighbors welcome her with open arms-and inquiring minds. Among them is Lori Shepherd, who isn’t fooled by Amelia’s unassuming persona. Amelia is, in fact, a world-famous artist with a rabid and eager-to-stalk fan base.

In order to keep peace in Finch, Lori must help Amelia conceal her identity. Amelia, meanwhile, sets about working on the riddle that brought her to town in the first place. A fragment of a family diary hints that one of Amelia’s ancestors might have been Mistress Meg, the Mad Witch of Finch. Following the clue, Lori hunts through Finch’s darkest and most secret corners, all the while dodging nosy neighbors and Amelia’s frantic fans. With Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly help, Lori inches closer to the true story of Mistress Meg-and Amelia.

Returning to the charming world of Finch, Nancy Atherton’s latest novel is sure to delight faithful Aunt Dimity readers, Anglophiles, and cozy mystery fans.

Review: This was my first book i nthe “Aunt Dimity” series, and I loved it. Quirky and interesting, Amelia almost seems like a real person. The mystery ties in with seventeenth-century witchcraft (yay!) and is light, charming, and engaging.

Book Review: Celtic Magic by Amber LaShell

13032273Title: Celtic Magic
Author: Amber LaShell
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: October 29th 2011
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

Abby Kane is a seemingly normal girl until she starts to fall in love, and as she does she finds out that her mother, who she thought was dead, is actually a Celtic Goddess who lives in a magical world where an evil faerie queen will stop at nothing to kill Abby and take over.

Celtic Magic seems very rushed. It actually reads a bit like a first draft, which is a shame, because the story could’ve been so much more. Abby Kane, the main character, is a regular girl until she starts to fall in love with Tom. Her mother, presumed dead, turn up again, and turns out she’s a Celtic Goddess, and a magical fairy queen is after Abby, because if she kills her, she becomes the next queen of all of the faerie land.

So far, so good. The premise was intriguing enough, and author Amber LaShell paints the fantastical world Abby and the other characters live in, very well. The plot itself was fine, but then the trouble starts. The characters weren’t fleshed out, in particular the main character. Abby could jump from one range of thoughts and emotions to another, jumping from happy to sad in a matter of seconds, or the other way around. She lacked consistency, and after a while, I didn’t quite care for her anymore. I thought she’d grow as a character, but by the end she was still the same inconclusive girl she was at the beginning. Her relationship with Tom borders on childish, and I actuallly thought it was a bit ridiculous. I wasn’t a big fan of Tom either – again, he felt like the idea of a character, but not an actual character. He lacked emotions, drives, conflict.

Then there’s the issue of dear Abby being a bit of a Mary Sue. Magic comes easy to her – too easy to be convincing. I rolled my eyes several times throughout the book when Abby does things nobody should be able to do after just beginning to learn magic. It was unbelievable, and made me feel very frustrated. On top of that, the entire story felt rushed from start to end. “They did this”, “they did that”, it’s more like a rundown of random events than an actual story, which takes out almost all of the suspense.

This book could’ve done with a good editor, a few critique partners, and a beta reader or two. If this was a first draft, it would be great, but it lacks the polishing, both structural and grammatical, that a published books needs to go through before it’s ready to be published.

Celtic Magic definitely has potential, but it fell short. It feels unfinished. I’m confident of the author’s writing skills however, and she has great imagination as well to come up with the world featured in this book. However, this book could’ve done with more polishing and editing.

Book Review: Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3) by Amanda Hocking

11947829Title: Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: April 26th 2012
Amanda’s Blog | Goodreads

Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself. If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe. But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?
The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life–and now all their lives might be coming to an end.
Everything has been leading to this moment. The future of her entire world rests in her hands–if she’s ready to fight for it.

Ascend is the third and final installement in the successful, previously self-published Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking. This series sold a million copies before being picked up by a large trade publisher, and in my opinion, it’s obvious why. I previously read and reviewed Switched and Torn, the previous two books in the series, and enjoyed both of them.

Ascend follows the same successful storylines the previous books did, but now reaches a breath-taking climax in the finale. We have Wendy Everly, main character extraordinaire and Princess of Trylle, who now has to take up an entirely new role she never dreamed she’d need to, not this soon. As the number one person standing in the way of the Vittra king taking control of Trylle, she has to wage a war – both a real one, and an internal one. Her friendships are tested, old relationships are put in a different light, and new loves are found.

Wendy grows a lot emotionally in this novel, and it’s great. She grows from a teenager into a young adult, ready to handle difficult situations heads on. She’s always been fiercely loyal, protective and brave, but now those characteristics are enlarged. We see glimpses of the woman she’ll become one day, and I don’t think Trylle could’ve found a better Queen. She doesn’t judge, she sees all humans and trylle as equal, and although she doesn’t think she’s very social herself, she does have a lot of good friends who’d support her through everything and who she’d support as well.

The story itself is great. The plot twists are intriguing, and never predictable. I read this book in one sitting until the wee hours of the morning, which isn’t all too surprising considering how awesome it is. Not only does Wendy truly shine in this novel, so do the secondary characters. I especially liked Tove. He deserves his own series of books. I’d love to read those (hint, hint, Ms Hocking! :P).

My favorite character, besides Wendy, is Loki. He really rocks each scene he appears in. Handsome, devilishly charming and intelligent, he has everything you’d want in a love interest in a YA novel.

The only thing I felt slightly lacking was the ending. I had expected more. But I’ll shut up about it now, so I don’t accidently give out any spoilers.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll keep this review brief. Ascend is an astonishing, grand, final volume in the Trylle series. It lives up and surpasses its predecessors. The Trylle trilogy is an awesome YA series with a kick-ass heroine, intriguing side characters and a storyline that’ll keep you reading from page one till the end. Don’t miss out on this one!

Book Review: Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2) by Amanda Hocking

11966216Title: Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance, Faeries, Trolls
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Amanda’s Blog | Goodreads

The second book in this page-turning trilogy from the phenomenal Amanda Hocking
Acknowledging that she was different from everyone else wasn’t difficult for Wendy Everly – she’d always felt like an outsider. But a new world and new family is a hard for any girl to accept easily.
Leaving behind the mysterious country of her birth, she is determined to fit back into normal life. But the world she’s left behind won’t let her go that easily. Kidnapped and imprisoned by her true family’s enemies, Wendy soon learns that the lines between good and evil aren’t as defined as she thought. And those things she’d taken for granted may have been lies all along. With the help of the dangerously attractive Loki, she escapes back to the safety of Förening – only to be confronted by a new threat.
It’s time to make a choice – can she put aside her personal feelings for the sake of her country? Torn between duty and love she must make a choice that could destroy her one chance at true happiness.

In Torn, the sequel to bestselling novel Switched by Amanda Hocking, which I previously reviewed on the blog, Wendy is slowly growing into her role as Princess of Trylle, the heir to the throne. She is fiercely loyal, brave, and more than anything, she sees all people, human or trylle, as equal. While she still pines over Finn, her bodyguard and fierce protector, she also feels more and more attracted to Loki, who works for the king of Vittra, who is Trylle’s worst enemy.

Who I really liked in this book was Tove. He’s great. He’s fun and intriguing, and has so many layers that he’s never once boring. I also liked Emily a lot more, and also Elora, although I still dislike her at times. The characters were just so much more fleshed-out and developed, they really came to life on these pages.

I’m a bit disappointed by Finn though. I understand where he’s coming from, but there’s only so many times you can keep on making the same excuses and yet making the same mistakes all over again. I wanted him to give up his daft attitude before Wendy changed him for Loki, but it seems Finn has trouble getting the message.

As far as Loki is concerned, I loved him. Right from the start. There’s a lot of chemistry between him and Wendy, and it really shows on the pages.

The story, while obviously an inbetween-story for the real climax in book three, doesn’t disappoint. It drew me in from the start. I actually liked it even more than Switched, and I already liked that one a lot. It’s a more mature story, newer and more original than the first in the series. I have no trouble understanding why over a million people bought this series, and where Ms. Hocking’s success comes from.

If you love young adult novels, or paranormal romance, or better yet, both, don’t miss out on this series. There’s a reason why it’s so successful – these books are great. I highly recommend them to all fans of this genre.

Book Review: Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4) by Richelle Mead

11506205Title: Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Faeries, Adult, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: February 2nd 2012
Goodreads | Author Website

#1 New York Times bestselling author Richelle Mead returns to the Otherworld, a mystic land inextricably linked to our own–and balanced precariously on one woman’s desperate courage…
Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land’s prophecy-haunted queen, there’s no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld…
The spell-driven source of the blight isn’t the only challenge to Eugenie’s instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can’t trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can’t–or won’t–reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon–and risk the ultimate sacrifice…

I saw Dark Swan in our local bookstore and knew I had to get the book. I’m a big fan of Richelle Mead, and The Vampire Academy series in particular, and I didn’t want to miss out on what I wrongfully assumed was a new series. Turns out Dark Swan is the fourth installment in the Shadow Heir series. But no harm done, I got on the train from university and started reading. At first, I was, of course, very confused about what was going on, but as the story unfolded and we got quick recaps of events that happened previously, I began to understand more and more of the story. Since I had nothing else do to on the train ride home, it was a great way to spend the time, although I’m sure my opinions about this book would probably have been a tad bit different if I’d read the previous ones.

Dark Swan talks about Eugenie, a shaman-for-hire who’s also Queen of two kingdoms in the Faerie Realm, known as the Otherworld. She’s pregnant, and when a mysterious blight starts corrupting the soil of the Faerie Lands, and her unborn children’s lives are threatened, Eugenie has no choice but go to back to the mortal realm and protect her offspring from the watchful eyes of supernatural creatures. But once that’s done, she has to accept her responsibility as a Queen and go to the source of the corruption, the mysterious Thorn Land, where she faces her greatest challenge yet.

My favorite character of this book? Hands down, Volusian. He’s an entirely new level of awesome the other characters can only dream to accomplish. Who the heck is Volusian, you say? He’s Eugenie’s minion, forced to comply with her every wish, much to his own chagrin. The relationship between Eugenie and her minion is…strange, to say the least. Volusian dislikes her completely, but he’s forced to answer her questions and helps her out because of a magic tie between them. But as the novel continues, Volusian begins to play an important part, and the more he appeared, the more I liked him.

Dorian was another star-character. He supports Eugenie in everything she does, even if he doesn’t like her decisions at all. He’s kind and brave, and a perfect match for our main character. Unfortunately, it took her longer to find that out than it took for me to discover.

Then why only three stars? One word, or rather, name. Eugenie. For an adult, whose supposedly also pregnant and a soon-to-be Mom, Eugenie still acts like a teenager. She makes all the wrong decisions, is awful at making tactical moves, and decides to make a truce with the man who not only tried to kill her, but also her unborn children. Well, that screams stupid in my book. I’m all for making main characters flawed (and all characters, actually) but this is book four in the series. The character should’ve evolved enough to get out of teenage phase. Being flawed doesn’t necessarily mean being stupid. All people are flawed, but not everyone is stupid. And hardly anyone I know is as stupid as Eugenie is behaving throughout this novel.

But what really brought it all crashing down for me, was the ending. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but that ending left me so frustrated I felt like hitting Eugenie on the head with a frying pan. WHY the hell does she makes that decision? WHY can’t she stop to think like a normal, intelligent human being for just five minutes and see she’s just made the WORST mistake of her life? I didn’t even read the first three novels, and even I know that decision is a) terrible b) cruel c) EVIL.

Also, after some investigation, I found out this is the end of the series. Well, it ends on a cliffhanger, which is another major let down for me.

On the plus side though, the world Richelle Mead has created in the Shadow Heir series, is rich, vibrant and unique. A true adventure for every fan of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I’d recommend this series to fans of the genre, but the ending of Dark Swan is a bit of a let-down. Read at your own risk.

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

11457525Title: Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2012
Goodreads | Amanda’s Website

What if your entire world was built on a lie?
Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she’s not the monster her mother claims she is – she does feel that she doesn’t quite fit in…
She’s bored and frustrated by her small town life – and then there’s the secret that she can’t tell anyone. Her mysterious ability – she can influence people’s decisions, without knowing how, or why…
When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night – her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist. Förening, the home of the Trylle.
Finally everything makes sense. Among the Trylle, Wendy is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But dark forces are conspiring – not only to separate them, but to see the downfall everything that Wendy cares about.
The fate of Förening rests in Wendy’s hands, and the decisions she and Finn make could change all their lives forever…

Wendy Everly is not your average girl. She barely touches food, and half of the food she does end up touching, she despises. When she was five years old, her Mom tried to kill her, because she was convinced Wendy wasn’t her own child, but a changeling, switched at birth. How strange as it sounds, even now her Mom, safely locked up in an asylum where she can no longer try to harm Wendy, is still confident her youngest daughter is not her own.

But as she grows older, Wendy gets more and more convinced her Mom might’ve been telling the truth. She has a strange ability to influence other people’s decisions, and although it happens mostly on accident, it’s still dangerous. When handsome Finn shows up behind her window one night, telling her that she’s in fact a troll, Wendy’s worst nightmare becomes reality. Her mother was right all along: she isn’t human. Worse than that: she’s a troll. On the giant list of supernatural creatures you’d lik to be, trolls don’t score particularly high.

After scarcely escaping an attack, Finn takes Wendy to Forening, the land of trolls, much to her dislike. There Wendy meets her real mother, who happens to be the Queen of Trolls. Not only does her mother show absolutely zero emotion toward Wendy, it seems as if no one in Forening is prone to many emotions. Wendy struggles to adapt to her new lifestyle as a princess, to being guarded day and night and to be stuck in the middle of a war happening between two rivaling Troll tribes. And in the midst of all that, she also manages to fall in love…

When I saw Switched in my local book store, I was immediately intrigued. Not so much by the back blurb (I have to admit I didn’t even read it) or the cover (although it’s beautiful) but because it’s written by Amanda Hocking, the queen of self-publishing, the author who managed to sell over one million copies of her books…on her own. Of course I had to read it and see what all the fuss was about.

Switched definitely didn’t dissapoint me. With trolls as the main supernatural species of interest, I was immediately intrigued. The YA book world definitely isn’t overflooded with books involving trolls. Wendy is a likeable main character, especially because she has a bunch of fun quirks that reveal her true heritage, but nobody figures them out, like barely liking anything she has to eat. The book is told from Wendy’s POV, but I really enjoyed her POV. I also liked Finn. As far as love interests though, he holds up his own. He’s mysterious, dangerous, dark and seductive. He also borders on being a stalker since he guards Wendy practically day and night, but at least it has a cause in this book.

I have to admit there wasn’t a lot of action in this book. It builds up the tension for what’s to come, and introduces us to the world of trolls, the characters and their dynamics, but that’s about it. What makes up for this lack of action though, is Amanda Hocking’s engaging writing style and her sense of humor. I’ve laughed out loud several times during this book, and that is a great sign. I loved some of Wendy’s remarks, and Finn manages sarcasm very well also. The humor really added an additional point to this novel.

The romance is awesome. The bond between Wendy and Finn is clear from the start, and although they pull back and give in several times, it’s obvious they share a real connection. When they kiss, the passion practically drops from the pages. I’m not only very impressed by how well the author pulled this off, but also longing to read more.

Switched is definitely a great start for the series. After I finished reading this one, I couldn’t wait to buy the sequel and read it as well. If you’re a fan of YA and you want to read about the untapped fantasy troll world, then this is an excellent choice.

Series Review: The Iron Fey Series

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The Iron Fey Series is a young adult fantasy series focusing on faeries, the realm of the Nevernever, and the adventures and trials of half-human, half-Summer Princess Meghan Chase. The series is written by Julie Kagawa and published by HarlequinTEEN.

Along with her best friend Puck, who is actually none other than the mythical Robin Goodfellow, whimsical and wicked faery mentioned in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the dark and icy Winter Prince Ash, Meghan must retreive her younger brother from the NeverNever in the first book in the series, The Iron King. What she doesn’t know, is that her brother’s kidnapper is none other than the Iron King, leader of the Iron Fey. Considering that all normal faeries are allergic to iron, and being submitted for a long time to said material weakens them a lot, and Meghan’s half-human side protects her from that disease, she is the only person who can travel to the Iron Fey Kingdom and save her brother.

In The Iron Daughter, Meghan is submitted to the whims and wishes of Mab, the Queen of Winter, at the Unseelie Court. Things get worse when Ash, the Winter Prince she fell in love with, is treating her indifferently or cruel. But the war with the Iron fey isn’t over yet. When Rowan, Crown Prince of Winter, gets murdered, the Scepter of Seasons is stolen and Ash betrays his own kingdom, it’s up to the Winter Prince and Meghan to retreive the Scepter, and hopefully prevent a war between Summer and Winter, as both kingdoms blame each other for its dissapearance. As they travel to the home of Leanansidhe, a very powerful faery, they get accompanied by old friends Puck and the cait sith Grimalkin. But now they still have to get the Scepter back from the Iron King’s former second in command, Virus.

Although they have convinced Summer and Winter to stop battling each other, that doesn’t stop the army of the Iron fey to come marching into the Nevernever in The Iron Queen. The fate of Tir Na Nog now rests on the shoulders of our heroes; and especially Meghan. She might be the only one capable of stopping the new Iron King, but at what cost? As love grows, friendships are shattered and renewed, and Grimalkin keeps on being his own sarcastic and humorous self, our heroes are crafting their own destiny.

Title: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)
Review: Read my review for The Iron King
Rating: 5 stars

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Review Excerpt: From the moment Puck and Meghan step into the Never Never, I was hooked. The first hundred pages may not have totally convinced me, but the story afterwards did. I loved the way Julie Kagawa described both kingdoms, how she potrayed Lord Oberon and Queen Titania, how she made the throne room come to life on those very pages of this book. I was amazed, enthralled, paralyzed and of course, forced to continue reading. Then, as Meghan’s adventures begin, and she’s being chased by all sorts of magical creatures as she tries to find her brother, I was thoroughly amused. It felt sort of like those classic quest storylines, but with new and original ideas woven into it. Read more?

Title: Winter’s Passage (Iron Fey #1.5)
Review: Read my review for Winter’s Passage
Rating: 3 stars

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat….

An eBook exclusive story from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.

Review Excerpt: I did enjoy reading Winter’s Passage, although I thought it was a bit short (probably got something to do with the fact it’s an ebook novella :P) and I probably finished reading it in fifteen or so minutes. It was fun to travel back to the briefly familiar territory covered in The Iron King, to catch up with Meghan and Ash, and to take another look on dear old Puck. The adventure with The Hunter chasing Ash and Meghan was entertaining as well, although I must admit I’ve grown a bit tired with the loop those two seem to be stuck in. Either it’s chasing something or someone – from a missing brother to a scepter to each other – or being chased by something rather dangerous. With The Iron Fey novels, I constantly have the feeling that I’m running along with the characters, and there’s never time to sit back and relax, or to talk about funny things like feelings, emotions and heartbreak. It’s a bit exhausting to read really. Read more?

Title: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2)
Review: Read my review for The Iron Daughter.
Rating: 4 stars

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Review excerpt: Thank god and all the saints in heaven, that Grimalkin is back. Always ready to make a sly remark, or to humor us with his witty sarcasm towards feeble humans and love-struck faerieis. Without Grimalkin, The Iron Fey series would definately be a lot less interesting. If Grimalkin was a human, Puck and Ash wouldn’t stand a chance, and I’d be Team Grimalkin all the way. Too bad cats cannot miraculously change into human shape, or aren’t disguises for ordinary, but very powerful faeries. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to find a very nice-looking, equally charming female cat to accompany our beloved Grimalkin. I can only hope that he makes an appearance in The Iron Queen as well. Read more?

Title: The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3)
Review: Read my review for The Iron Queen.
Rating: 5 stars

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Review Excerpt: As of now, I’m officially not Team Ash or Team Puck anymore. I’m Team Meghan ftw! The way that girl has grown from a regular, somewhat shy and insecure teenage girl into the single most courageous, determined, intelligent and honest creature walking the Nevernever, is simply amazing. Gone is the love-struck half-faery we see at the beginning of The Iron Daughter, long forgotten is the girl who had no money to buy decent clothes and was the laughing stock of high school. Meet Meghan Chase – daughter of King Oberon, Princess to the Nevernever, and the most dangerous opponent the Iron Fey could possibly face. She is willful, strong, independent, but without ever losing her charming personality, and all the reasons why she’s still human and only a teenage girl. She literally and figuratively kicks ass in this novel, and it was a pleasure to witness. Read more?