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Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Limeros is victorious – but Auranos and Paelsia now have to deal with the consequences of their actions in book one. Now Jonas and Cleo must take a stand against some very powerful enemies. And Magnus will have to decide what is more important to him – love or duty – as he’s forced to marry a woman whose life he destroyed.

Title: Rebel Spring
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms, Book 2
Publish Date: November 27th, 2013 by Razorbill
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Jonas becomes the leader of the rebels and a very, very wanted man. Cleo has just lost her family and throne and is now a prisoner in her own home, forced to marry Magnus. Lucia slumbers deeply for mysterious reasons. And Magnus is trying to figure out where his loyalties really lie.

The plot is still thickening in this one as people really start to see new sides to new characters. Lo and behold, the Limerian king actually had a magical guide, telling him to slaughter everyone that stood in his way, a guide that has ties to Alexius, who visits Lucia in her dreams, and Lucia has the ability to do practically anything with her powers. Hmm… the mysteries surrounding this one deepen.

Plus, here’s a kicker. Jonas and Cleo are trying to set aside their differences (Jonas kidnapped Cleo in the first one and he does it again in this one) and team up. But of course, things don’t always go according to plan. Jonas isn’t the best strategist, and so he often leads his comrades into very dangerous, unlucky situations. Cleo may be getting better at lying and faking her way through most of the things she’s facing, but even she can’t silver-tongue the King of Blood.

And there’s a lot of blood. That’s for sure. Lots of action in this, plus I’m finally starting to lean towards certain characters more, which is what the author was probably trying to do. Get readers to root for certain characters, root for a certain side. I find that I’m actually the least fond of Lucia. Because she hasn’t witnessed a lot of hard times in her life (she was the favored child, spoiled by her father but hated by her mother), she seems like a naive brat who throws tantrums whenever she doesn’t get her way. And now she’s giving whatever darkness she has within her time to play.

Four stars for this one – I’m really starting to get hooked at this point.

Series list and reviews…

Some links will become active as future reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard; Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch; and Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas.

The Book of Dust Volume 1: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Before Lyra started her adventures, her coming was foretold. See how it really started in La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman, a new book in the same world as His Dark Materials.

Title: The Book of Dust Volume 1: La Belle Sauvage
Author: Phillip Pullman
Series: The Book of Dust 01
Publish Date: October 19, 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Digital library book

Publisher’s DescriptionMalcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy…

Malcolm’s parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.

He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust—and the spy it was intended for finds him.

When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.

Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

5 stars isn’t enough praise for this book. Having loved the original trilogy, His Dark Materials, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lyra’s early life. So much so, that I went from this book right back to the original trilogy. Pullman did a fantastic job of creating a much larger role for very minor characters in the original. This also felt much more like a straight adventure tale rather than a moral tale with an adventure.

The flight from the nunnery that Malcolm and “the kitchen girl” make is absolutely heart pounding. I literally was up until the wee hours reading to make sure they were OK. However, the tension lasts until practically the last page, so it was hard to know when to put it down and take a breath. The evil character and his daemon, the disabled hyena, that pursues the young people and baby Lyra are villains straight from your worst nightmares. The one thing that kept me from despair was knowing that Lyra makes it to Oxford and is taken in.

Other recommendations…

I highly recommend the whole body of work from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

When a young man is murdered in Paelsia by an Auranian rich boy, revenge becomes the name of the name and ignites a war that’s been a long time coming. Three kingdoms battle it out for ultimate power over the land in this high-stakes fantasy book.

Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms Book 1
Publish Date: December 11th 2012 by Razorbill
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war… Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Now that I’ve read the first three books in the series, I can appreciate more how much all of the characters have grown. Mostly, I’m glad that Cleo has gotten over herself because I basically can’t stand her in this one. She’s petty and kind of dumb, plus she has the tendency to put herself in a lot of positions where she’s vulnerable enough to do something bad or have something bad done to her.

Magnus and Jonas also seem young in their desires. Magnus is constantly trying to please anyone in his life, including his sister, whom he’s in love with, and Jonas is emotional over his brother’s death and therefore willing to stab anyone or anything that gets in his way, so he goes to war for the sake of revenge and glory and ends up seeing the worst of what he’ll have to face.

A lot of people say this series is a young adult version of Game of Thrones. I haven’t actually read the books or watched the television adaptation; however, I know that it bounces around between character perspectives, which enables readers/viewers to gain glimpses of different sides of the story. Falling Kingdoms does the same thing – mostly following Magnus/Lucia (who represent Limeros), Cleo (Auranos), and Jonas (Paelsia) as they eventually collide with each other in fierce and sometimes devastating ways. I really love this type of writing because I like to keep up with all the sides of the story, not just one.

That being said, this wasn’t a book that really held my attention just yet. Looking back now, I can definitely see it was targeted to be the real deal introduction to everyone and the plot and that we get the juicier details and bigger plot twists as the story progresses. So sometimes it wasn’t enough to make me want to keep reading through the night. Regardless, I rated it a four, so it was great enough for that!

Series list and reviews…

Some links will become active as future reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

Danielle Jensen’s Malediction trilogy, Sherry Thomas’s Elemental trilogy, and Death Sworn duology by Leah Cypress.

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

The Gilded King promo slide(1)

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

Gilded kingTitle: The Gilded King
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Series: Book 01 of the Sovereign Series
Publish Date: Expected Publication June25, 2018
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Provided by Author

Publisher’s DescriptionIn the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.


Luna Lovebooks says… Luna_Lovebooks_100

‘Of course. You want to hear the fairytale, don’t you?’

Ms. Jaffrey quickly became one of my favorite authors when I read her Solis Invicti Series. I, of course, jumped at the chance when she asked me if I would be interested in reading the first book in a new series set in the same world, where the events of the Solis Invicti are mere legends and fairy tales. Hey, all fairy tales have a seed of truth right?

Two stories are brilliantly melded into one without shortchanging the other. We read of Julia in the Blue. A world of humans ruled by Nobility in the last city on Earth. Julia is well written in her struggle to keep with the status quo but also her wonder at what really lies beyond the walls of the Blue. This internal battle continues even after she is assigned to be an Attendant for a young Silver named Lucas, who also questions their world.

But we also get to catch up with an old acquaintance, Cam, in the Red – a wasteland filled with death (or so the humans of the Blue believe). Cam searches for Emmy and it is through this search that we learn about the events that happened in between the two series. We also learn that the Red really is a dangerous place as the monsters of the previous series have grown in numbers – but for a horrifying reason.

This tale is told through Julia and Cam’s alternating point of views and when the Red starts to bleed into the Blue and world collide, it is explosive. We get both Cam and Julia’s emotions and insecurities and hopes and maybe even budding romances.

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Characters and world are both well written. The only issue I had is that while these are two separate stories, I feel like you really should read the Solis Invicti series before this one. It is not necessary, but I feel like you will get more out of the secondary characters if you have their background and the history behind the fairy tale. Overall I enjoyed this promising new start but I didn’t devour it the way I did the prequel series. I give it 4 silver studs.

Other recommendations…

Solis Invicti Series by Josie Jaffrey, The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Secret Keepers Series by Jaymin Eve

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

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson

In a tech enhanced, post apocalyptic world, there are so many games coming into play.  In order to keep control of your little part of the world, there will be political take overs, territorial disputes and if that’s not enough, is the person you trust a mech clone or whole organic?  Does it matter?

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

Title:  Wanted and Wired
Author: Vivien Jackson
Series: Wanted and Wired #1
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Fantasy
Publisher’s Description:  Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places…

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive

Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark

Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In some cases…spoilers. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I still think you’re crazier than a sack of weasels.” Mari folded her fingers to a fist. “You got somethin’ against weasels?””

This book is a combination of I, Robot, Mad Max, and Firefly with a little Pretty Woman thrown in.  It does have sex in it and some dirty talk heavy with innuendo.  It’s got death too.  ‘Cuz, the protagonist is a paid for hire killer.  It takes place in a world full of robots that are basically clones of the original person. There is a lot of technical speak that even if you don’t speak geek, it’s ok because Mari doesn’t either.  There is not a cliffhanger but I’m very glad there is a book #2 in the series called Perfect Gravity.  I’m going to my local ebook seller and get that next book as soon as I’m finished here.

I was engaged from beginning to end.  I always know it’s a good book when I can’t wait to get back to it if I have to put it down.  There was an emotionally-damaged woman falling in love with a man who was less human and more mechanics.  There was a murder, conspiracy, tech espionage, political games and a look at what the Earth could be reduced to if things all went kablooie.

This was not a cheesy book.  It wasn’t a Star Wars wannabe, it was a Wanted and Wired best seller.  I felt like I had truly delved into another world.  I felt very comfortable there.  There were descriptions of this world’s objects and processes that could be overwhelming but the author wrote it all in such a way that it all fell together and I could imagine exactly what she was describing.  And the best part?  The inner Mari dialogue was incredibly authentic.  Mari is a rough-and-tumble woman, she swears like a sailor and she’s a Texan so you can really hear her accented voice when reading.  It just clicked. Another best part?  When Mari finds out that she is very smart even though she didn’t think so.  She is the only one that can save her partner from losing himself in the internet which is, in the future, named the “Cloud”.  Appropriate, right?

Dr. Farad doesn’t go by Dr. Farad when he works with Mari.  To Mari, Dr. Farad is only Heron, her operations planner that talks her through every job with details of who, what, where and how to get out in a hurry.  What Mari doesn’t know is that Dr. Farad is enamored with her and wants to be more than partners in work.  He’s not a military super god but he is very well equipped in the brain department.  He can decipher odds, monitor the law enforcement channel and run multiple scenarios all at once.  Useful, that.

This tale was a page-turning ride.  I enjoyed the “wild west” feel in a post-apocalyptic world that is laced with robots who are clones, humans that are tech-enhanced and also those humans that are whole-organic, meaning like you and me.

Other recommendations…

…you might try Dark Sky series by Amy Braun, Cursed series by Amy Braun and Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark.

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

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