Category Archives: Luna Lovebooks

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

As the final battle of the world of Primoria versus Angra and his Decay comes to a close, can Meira risk her heart and her life to save everything and everyone she cares for?

TitleFrost Like Night
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, Book 3
Publish Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: YA High fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

 


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: The world building is still amazing! The magical system is still intriguing as well. The characters are the strong suit in this novel. I love that Meria is more confident and has found a balance between being queen and being herself. I love that she has found peace with herself and her magic. The romance between Meria and Mather is perfect! I also loved that we got Ceridwen’s POV in this novel.

Dislikes: I had a hard time making it through this book. The excitement that was present in the first two slowly waned for me. It did pick up, but I slowly lost interest. This is one of those novels that makes you fall for characters and then the author rips them away! SO. MUCH. DEATH. The ending wasn’t particularly satisfying, it wasn’t horrible but it just wasn’t satisfying for me.

Because I lost interest, I have to give this book three swords. I was able to finish, and it did pick up towards the end but it just wasn’t a satisfying read for me.

Kat Mandu says…

Frost Like Night draws out all the main good guys versus the bad guys for one final epic showdown. In this book, Meira, Mather, and Cerridwen all narrate the story, bringing all new ideas to the book while giving you new perspectives into different worlds. Meira must come to grips with the sacrifice she must make to save her world and everyone she loves within it. Mather must lead his friends into a battle and learn to protect, love, and let go of the queen he adores. And Cerridwen, the feisty princess of Summer, must garner her military forces together while fighting a battle within her heart.

Sadly, with the exception of the very beginning and close to the end, this last book is lacking a lot of action. It’s a fact I rather miss to be honest. I’m not saying that the character embracing her destiny isn’t necessary. I’m just used to the final book in a trilogy to be packed full of action and battle. Maybe it’s weird to say, but every other high fantasy I’ve read has, so I wasn’t expecting the slow down. In fact, it took me so much by surprise that it dragged it down for me and I had a hard time staying interested during certain parts.

Don’t get me wrong. The things that happened were critical to the plot line: Meira semi-learning how to control her magic, learning to let herself love Mather; even the wedding between Cerridwen and Jesse was great. But the sudden slowing of pace really threw me for a loop because I was craving that action that the first book carried so much of, that I found myself unable to really get into what was happening. 

But boy, when the action does come back around, it’s wonderful. However, because it’s the ending of a trilogy, no more spoilers here. Either way, this was a good end to a great series and I give its final installment a three.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

If you like young adult high fantasy series featuring fierce heroines…you might try Susan Dennard, Sara B Larson, Rosamund Hodge, or Jodi Meadows.

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

In the follow-up to Snow Like Ashes, Meira is now Queen of Winter and back in her own kingdom, ready to rebuild. But with danger lurking in the mind games of politics and magic, will she survive long enough to see her country and its people thrive?

TitleIce Like Fire
AuthorSara Raasch
SeriesSnow Like Ashes, Book 02
Publish Date: October 15, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIt’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans on using the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Jannuari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken Kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception is woven tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: While most people were upset about the break with Theron, I actually enjoyed it. Mather was who Meria clearly loved all along, and the triangle wasn’t needed. But, like life, sometimes you have to be with someone else to truly know that the one is the one. I loved that we got introduced to more of this amazing world! Summer and the introduction of Ceridwen and the kingdom of Yakim and Ventralli added more depth. My favorite chapters were Mather’s. His struggle to deal with the fact that he isn’t who he thought he was and how he found how to be himself, albeit in a different capacity than before, is inspiring. The last few chapters were the most action packed and gave me the wow moments I was looking for.

Dislikes: To be honest, I missed strong Meria. For most of this book, she fights her natural instincts and whines about being Queen. I applaud her loyalty to Winter, but I kept hoping she would find a way to be both Queen and the Meria I loved from the first book, but that comes too late! This book is missing much of the action that made the first so great.

If you can make it through the dull parts of the book to the Bang! Pow! Boom! ending you won’t be disappointed. I give this book 4 chakram.

Kat Mandu says…

*Spoiler alert for the first book ahead; if you haven’t read Snow Like Ashes, you might want to.*

Dual narrated, Ice Like Fire is again action-packed as it follows the minds and stories of both Meira, who has discovered she is Hannah’s true daughter, and Mather, who is trying to find his place in the world now that he’s no longer a king.

Again, this story has many layers, especially once it separates and both characters are not only leading very different lives but are in completely different settings altogether.

Meira is dealing with her role as her country’s leader, her touch-and-go magic which seems to control her, instead of the other way around; not to mention she also has to figure out a chessboard of political and diplomatic strategies. She’s got to get out of debt with Cordell – but her every move seems to dig her in a deeper hole.

Now she’s on a cross-country trip, trying to find allies and learn everything she can about her magic and where it came from. Theron, her once betrothed, is sadly against her beliefs that magic should be returned to the chasm from which it came; instead, he thinks that it should be available for the world to use. Things aren’t going as well as planned and things take a turn for the worst, especially when she finds herself running from bad guys from places she didn’t expect.

Mather, still reeling from the events of the prior book, is back in Winter, discovering that he’s not quite sure who he is without the role of king hovering over him. He feels guilty for thrusting the position upon Meira, and useless without any way to help her. So he wrangles up a few kids his age who don’t exactly know what their roles are in the world either (as they are too young to remember a Winter in its former glory, but too old in spirit due to their time as prisoners), dubs them “the children of the Thaw” and sets out to help Meira in his own way, by protecting his people against the growing threat of Cordell.

Nothing goes according to plan and both characters have to discover who they really are. Which is why I disagree with my review partner, Luna, on this particular argument. I think Meira’s fight against her true natures was absolutely necessary to the plot. At the end of Snow Like Ashes, she had become a different person. In this second book, she learns that she’s never going to stop learning and has to decide who she’ll be – the person she was before, or the person she needs to be. When Meira realizes she can be both, it’s a beautiful thing.

Again, this is a great story with real, multi-faceted characters I enjoy. I give it a four!

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

You might like Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins, Ruined by Amy Tintera, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

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Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitlePerfect
AuthorCecelia Ahern
SeriesFlawed, Book 02
Publish Date: April 4, 2017 Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA Distopia
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionCelestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

I really enjoyed this duology. It is an interesting mix of dystopian novels and, in a way, a look at today’s society. It examines the idea that to err is human and runs wild. There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming and some that were obvious (at least to me). The ending was the uplifting “wow” that I was hoping for, and I may or may not have teared up. While the ending did wow me, I also felt it was a little too neat. There are a few unanswered questions, like what will become of the Guild, but for the most part, events just happened to fall into place.

Celestine’s character really grew. She went from believing that she was perfect to realizing that to be human is to be flawed, often in more ways than one. I also respect her for realizing that even if her verdict was overturned then she could never be the person she was before. You know standing up for a whole group of people may have contributed to my respect just a little. 😉

Carrick was my absolute favorite and I am glad Celestine ended up with him. The whole thing where Art came back into her life and had her brain all in a fuzz wasn’t necessary to me. I do understand the feelings were still there, but it just wasn’t necessary.

This was an enjoyable read and it has earned its place – among many of my review books – on my shelf. I give it 4 strawberries.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent, the Everlife series by Gena Showalter, and The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Prisoner of Ice And Snow by Ruth Lauren

Valor is set on breaking her sister out of prison. But the only way to do that is to be arrested herself and tossed in with the worst of the criminals. Can she prove her sister’s innocence and save the reputation of her family before it’s too late?

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Prisoner of Ice And Snow
Author: Ruth Lauren
Series: Stand-Alone (as of now)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Middle-Grade fantasy
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s Description: When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.


Luna Lovebooks says… 

Likes: Sisterly/familial love is a refreshing change from the many love triangles I normally read. It reminded me a lot of Frozen and Brave. I liked the plot quite a bit. There was a nice twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. I love Valor’s undying loyalty to her sister and the bond she forms with the children she meets in prison.

Dislikes: Everything I have seen or read about this novel says that it is a stand-alone, however the ending is super open. It makes me believe the adventure isn’t over yet. I feel that the world could have done with more information as the world building is sparse. There were some things that made me shake my head such as the ability of a 13-year-old to escape from an inescapable prison, and the fact that the prisoners weren’t watched more closely – especially one who tried to assassinate the prince.

This story is a cute read about sisterly love and the bonds of family. But because of the lack of world building, the open ending, and unrealistic feats, I give this novel 3 icicles.

Other recommendations…

For other Middle Grade reads check out the following:  The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan, The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins, The BFF Bucket List by Dee Romito.

Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

In this stunning companion to The Star-Touched Queen, we reunite with Guari as she finds herself faced with a choice: stay prisoner to the city of Ujain and let her older brother Skanda rule over her country with cruelty, or join a stranger in a competition through a magical world full of dangerous creatures and even darker desires.

Title: Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: Star-Touched Queen
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by Good Reads courtesy of a giveaway

Publisher’s Description: Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Dual review from Kat Mandu and Luna Lovebooks!


Kat Mandu says…

Kat_Mandu_100I absolutely loved this. For me it was all about that gorgeous imagery, hilarious dialogue, and the dual-narration of both Guari and Vikram. Though I didn’t dislike A Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes just really tickled my fancy more than its prequel. I almost couldn’t put it down and even then when I was forced to, I had serious withdrawals. It’s just so fascinating from beginning to end.

The continual banter between Guari and Vikram is the best. They’re bickering from start to finish, even as they grow fonder of one another. They really made this book for me because they each learn that they both have secrets and pasts, and learn to understand each other. I had a feeling they might fall in love but I was glad it wasn’t the focus of the story. It was more about them discovering who they really had to be in life, getting past their fears and showing their true identities.

There were a few scenes that kind of threw me for a loop, ones I either just don’t get or have been corrected in the final version. I didn’t really understand all that was happening in the courtesan tent – with the mirrors – and I wish I would have understood all that was happeningbadge5v5 when Vikram and Guari both “died.” Like I said, not sure at this point if those have been cleared up with editing or if I am just confused in general.

However, that writing is still there, succulent and mesmerizing with every page. It makes you really want to read more Indian fairy tales. It’s really gorgeous and I adore Roshani’s writing style.

All of this made it a five for me!

 Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: As much as I loved the beautiful writing of The Star-Touched Queen, I think I love Luna_Lovebooks_100Crown of Wishes even more! The writing is still beautiful and lyrical. The characters Guari and Vikram are beautifully written and I enjoyed their playful banter. This novel is a bit more fantastical features even more of the beings from Indian mythology.

badge5v5Dislikes: Once again there isn’t much I didn’t like about this novel. There were a few instances where I was confused during a scene or by what a character did but it didn’t distract from the story.
Other recommendations…

…you might try Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer, Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

 

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