The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

*deep breath*

Guys, I have too many feels about this series.

22698569.jpgIn less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

When Queen of Tearling first came on the scene, I avoided it after reading reviews that pointed out it didn’t really have a romance, and I like stories with a romance somewhere in the narrative. Time passed, and when I heard that they’re making a movie, starring Emma Watson (who’s my homegirl), my interest piqued and I took the time to read it.

I LOVED Queen of Tearling. It was engaging and exciting, and had just enough Game of Thrones feel to raise my bloodlust. It was a heart-stopping and literal death-defying adventure for our young heroine.

Then book two happened. The Invasion of the Tearling was great, but it felt like the story suffered from split personality disorder. I loved reading about Kelsea and her world, with the historic feel as she fights for her Kingdom. I enjoyed Lily’s story as a woman living in a dystopian future. I did not like them together. Of course, the back and forth had a point and played a huge part in the story but I was in the mood for sword-fights and political maneuvering of kings and queens NOT survival in an oppressive society.

For book three, I had high hopes. The Fate of the Tearling was going to have all the answers, and it did. I was a little disappointed with who her father was, but I enjoyed the progression of some of the secondary characters like Father Tyler and Andalie’s daughter. However, there was ANOTHER type of split personality disorder, where Kelsea sees, yet again, into the past and it takes up half the novel. I was split between wanting to know what would befall the fate of Kelsea and her guards, and not caring AT ALL what happened in the past. Granted, the past and the future collided in the present with an epic ending, but I hated it so much that maybe there’s a sick part of me that actually loved it.

The ending left me bereft, adrift, and unsatisfied. I know the author was making a point and I understand it, but when it comes to entertainment value, I was left wanting. It made my heart hurt for the heroine. The ending was no ending at all but like being dropped open-ended into the abyss with no closure. And to top it all off, there really was zero romance in this series. There are pops of love interests but nothing ever comes to fruition in a satisfying way. Kelsea is as lonely in the beginning as she is in the end and it’s heartbreaking.

To be perfectly honest, there is a part of me that wishes I had never read this series because it makes me feel so bad. Granted, any book that can make me feel THIS MUCH certainly has an impact that most novels don’t have. I may grow to love it after much retrospection, but for now my opinion is solidly set in the disgruntled and dissatisfied reader territory. Read this series at your own risk.

 

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

When I finished the Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen, I couldn’t believe how long I waited to read it. It was so awesome and epic; it blew my mind. So I quickly picked up the sequel, The Invasion of the Tearling, expecting to devour a book equal in greatness. It was still awesome, but there was one particular element of the story that left a bad taste in my mouth.

22698568.jpgKelsea Glynn is the Queen of the Tearling. Despite her youth, she has quickly asserted herself as a fair, just and powerful ruler.

However, power is a double-edged sword, and small actions can have grave consequences. In trying to do what is right – stopping a vile trade in humankind – Kelsea has crossed the Red Queen, a ruthless monarch whose rule is bound with dark magic and the spilling of blood. The Red Queen’s armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and it seems nothing can stop them.

Yet there was a time before the Crossing, and there Kelsea finds a strange and possibly dangerous ally, someone who might hold the key to the fate of the Tearling, and indeed to Kelsea’s own soul. But time is running out…

Erika Johansen’s fierce and unforgettable young heroine returns in this dazzling new novel of magic and adventure, set in the beguiling world of the Tearling.

Unexpectedly, The Invasion of the Tearling is two books in one. Very early in the story, the main character Kelsea starts to have visions of the past (or what readers would consider a dystopian future). It was interesting to see how the world as we know it translated into the historical-feel of Kelsea’s time, but I hated switching back and forth. It was two completely different genres mashed into one story. I knew the past scenes had an impact and importance on Kelsea’s present, but I didn’t care to go back. It distracted me from Kelsea’s story, and to be perfectly honest, I was in the mood for a historical fantasy not a dystopian apocalypse and it made me frustrated as I read.

Another frustration I had was Kelsea’s character growth, or lack there of. To put it simply, Kelsea turned into a bit of a bitch with no remnant of the girl she used to be, the one I fell in love with, the one that saved her people from slavery because it was the right thing to do. Granted, the author may have done this on purpose to show later growth in Kelsea’s character, but I found it disheartening rather than endearing.

Now, this book wasn’t all bad. In fact, I can see where most readers would love the back and forth technique used in this novel. It was unique and different. I still love Kelsea and her guards. I want her to succeed and she kind of turned into a badass by the end of the book. At this point, I’m dying to know who her father is.

Overall with the series, the first book was awesome, the second book was so-so, but I’ll definitely be reading the third book to determine how I feel about this series.

STARS: 3.5 out of 5

By Your Side by Kasie West

Trapped in a library…all weekend…with a hot boy? Count me in. By Your Side by Kasie West is every book nerd’s dream come true.

30256248In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

It’s difficult to review Kasie West’s books because they are all so sweet and fun, and they take place over a short period of time so there is only so much you can say without giving anything away. Plus, I think going into Kasie’s books blind is the best way to read.

Bottom line, I enjoyed it very much. It hit all my YA contemporary romance buttons in true Kasie West style. I smiled, I laughed, I swooned. Her characters appear simple, but they have such complexity built underneath that makes them pop up from the page like real people.

I don’t want to give anything away, but a couple heavy topics are discussed in this book, and I loved the somewhat awkward conversations and interactions surrounding them. It is difficult and awkward to talk about serious things in real life and West played true to exactly how most teenagers would react. I wish I could have heard more of Dax’s story by getting his perspective. I felt his painful past was more intriguing than Autumn’s.

If I’m completely honest, this is my least favorite of all West’s books, and I wish she would have played with the library piece more, but it was still good enough to read in one sitting.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Royally Matched by Emma Chase

I very much anticipated the release of Royally Matched by Emma Chase. First, because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series Royally Screwed, and second, because it consisted of a reality dating show premise. As a proud member of Bachelor nation, I’m always looking for a book equivalent of a #bachelorfix.

29991718Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him “space”—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit… and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

I have mixed feelings about Royally Matched. I really enjoyed it. It was a sweet romance with witty banter and funny inner dialogue, which is what I’ve come to expect from Emma. I LOVED the name-dropping and literature talk throughout the novel. Anyone who loves Jane Austen will love the literary tie-ins throughout the book.

However, it was the reality dating show premise that fell incredibly flat for me. It was almost an afterthought, in the background, instead of adding tension to the plot. Granted, it may have been more important to me since I was excited about that particular element in the synopsis, but I couldn’t help but wish that Emma could have changed it up. Why not throw Sarah in the running? Why did she have to be in the background skulking about? It was almost unjust that the shy, introverted book nerd was forced to look on instead of participating.

The ending confused me as well. It was abrupt and a bit absurd. The main obstacle of the entire novel was washed away with one conversation and suddenly Henry wanted to do something that wasn’t mentioned at any other point in the book. In fact, what he did at the end was a little cruel and unusual if you ask me.

Regardless of my criticisms, I read the book in one sitting and I plan to read the next book in the series Royally Endowed, which will be released in June 2017 (sooner than I thought!). After reading book two, Royally Screwed is still my favorite by far.

STARS: 3 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: A Court of Wings and Ruin

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, which will be released on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

23766634Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

I am so effing exciting for this book that it requires a gif to fully explain the extent of my ecstatic, so-excited-I’m-crying state-of-mind.

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I love SJM. She’s the bee’s knees. ACOTAR was amazing, and ACOMAF is my favorite book of ALL TIME! I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for ACOWAR to release. My heart is in shreds after that cliff hanger and I need me some SJM to patch it back up with her badassery. If you haven’t started this series, please do. It’s the best thing you will every do.

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

I’ve been a fan of Stephanie Meyer from the beginning. As a proud member of #teamjacob, I read all the Twilight books, but I also enjoyed her adult sci-fi novel, The Host, which I consider the best of all her books. With The Chemist, Meyer is writing in all-new territory yet again with this thriller/spy adventure, and it was bloody brilliant.

31176886In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

In this tautly plotted novel, Stephenie Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.

My favorite thing about Meyer’s stories is her characters. She really spends time to reveal who they are, their fears, their dreams and what makes them tick. The Chemist is no different as we’re introduced to the main protagonist – a chemist on the run from the secret government organization that she used to work for. I’m typically one that gets bored easily with too many numbers and figures, but I really enjoyed the science in this book – the chemicals and drugs Alex uses to protect herself and interrogate others. The depth of knowledge in these characters required a whole lot of research and it gave this story the extra oomph that pushed it fully into the thriller genre.

I particularly enjoyed the strange relationship between Alex and Daniel. Saying they started off on the wrong foot is an understatement, yet Daniel’s optimism and Alex’s deep-seated need for companionship brought them together. The romance raised the stakes as Alex runs and then fights for their very lives. I was a bit disappointed with the fade-to-black love scenes, but that is so Meyer. (I’ll never get over the betrayal of limited information in Breaking Dawn.) However, I think it was fitting to the genre, and the romance took a backseat to the action.

The unraveling of the mystery of who is trying to kill Alex was exciting and I couldn’t help but sit on the edge of my seat as Alex fights for survival. The action scenes were spot on, and my favorites had to be the interrogation scenes at the beginning and the end. The progression of Alex’s relationships were endearing, and I turned the last page content in her journey.

I would be remiss to not mention the unexpected delight of animals in this story. I wish my dogs were so well-behaved, and they played such an important role in this story. If a dog can be kick-ass, then Meyer nailed it.

If you like badass heroines who fight with their brains, and action adventure with a splash of romantic tension, then The Chemist is for you.

STARS: 4.5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: The Bone Witch

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m cheating by talking about a book that’s just been released, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, which came out in March 2017.

30095464The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves

This book just sounds too awesome. I was hooked by “But the girl was fiercer.” I haven’t read a book with necromancy in a long while and it’s about time. Plus, look at the pretty cover. I’m one-clicking this to my house pronto!