BOOK REVIEW – And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) by Kiersten White

BOOK REVIEW – And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1)  by Kiersten WhiteAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

 Excuse me while I shake my head, burst into crazy laugher and tear up a little. Bear with me, would you? I need to vent – Apparently being stuck in the head of a psychopath will do that to you.

✔ Unfortunately your right or wrong radar works like shit now, and you find yourself nodding along the way when murdering someone is advised. What? Your safety, you fool! (not all deaths, though – you know what I mean)
✔ Your sense of humor is – oh my GOSH, what have you done to your sense of humor? No more cute giggles because of puppies videos, no! Now you revel in hidden threats and your laugh gets a scary quality.

Well… No. Most of it is – Vicious and unforgiving and ruthless and oh so enthralling. Also, the FEELS. Trust me, I could spend the next hours rambling about how that fucked up book made me feel, about the flawed characters and all these times I CRINGED in their wake. But I COULDN’T STOP READING. Not for any second.

Why, they made me furious, the three of them (YES, the THREE of them, but mostly Lada and Mehmed). Lada… being Lada, and Mehmed with his double standards towards women (I know, I KNOW, his way of thinking is certainly realistic, but I hate – loathe – when men categorize women into little boxes). I shouldn’t care for them but FUCK ME, I DO, WHAT DO I DO NOW TELL ME?

I could leave it at that, but the truth is, I also need to talk about the genuine sympathy I felt for them, about the messed-up but wonderful portray of a sister/brother relationship, about the ANGER I felt on behalf of Radu (aw, poor thing) and Lada.

The anguish.

What about it indeed. Oh my. The characters dynamics are lost into the threads of power, jealousy, love, tainted by them and so much more complicated because of them. This is all kinds of fucked up but oh so complex : first you have Radu, waiting for the smallest pieces of love his sister – anyone, really – could give him, while Lada… Sigh. Her need to control and own everything and everyone is relentless. Her father is a psychopath, alright? So what does she want? To make him suffer? Oh no. She wants to be better. Stronger. Everything he thought she couldn’t be because she’s a girl.

Radu and Lada both suffered from negligence. Such an horrible and hidden weapon, negligence is.

Honestly? Wandering in her mind is straight-on chilling sometimes, and her rage is soon wrapped around us, suffocating and formidable. Yet where a simplistic characterization would make it easy to root for sweet, kind Radu, and Radu only, this is not what happens. The complexity of Lada’s personality – her layers – make it impossible for us to hate her, even though we perhaps ought to do.

I’m sorry, but I just love Lada, okay? How cruel and cunning she can be, I can’t help but care for her all the same.

As for the romance, it was slow, never overwhelming, and above all, it felt real. Real because it never made Lada or Mehmed act out of character. Of course, then, it’s messy and will make you suffer if you expect some kind of puppy perfect love. Nothing of the sort. They know and respect each others, and their lives don’t revolve around their needs. They entered a fucked-up dance and none of them can possibly know where it will go. I can’t wait.

Do not seek magic here, because there’s none. Indeed there’s no fantasy element but it reads more like alternative history, filled with politics and machinations. What are you ready to sacrifice to get what you want? Your love? Your family? Your country? Your dreams?

Honestly, I didn’t know what to hope because FUCK ME, THERE ARE NO GOOD ANSWERS. Where have all the simplistic plots twists gone? They flee somewhere else for sure. Everything is so complicated that I couldn’t even choose a path but the whole time I was about to yell WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? FUCKING TELL ME.

I should also tell you that the ending was fantastic, and that I will count the days before I can dive into their lives again. That Kiersten White‘s writing may not be magnificent, but that its compelling quality is pretty impressive. If the pacing was a little slow, in my opinion it was perfect to convey the story.

This said, I cannot be the only one who struggled to keep tab on their ages. SERIOUSLY! There are so many jumps in time that even if they didn’t annoy me per se, I found myself confused several times when it comes to the current age of the characters, because if 2 pages could relate 2 years, sometimes 90 pages only covered a few weeks.

Anyway, although the story seemed to run a little out of steam between 60 and 80%, my interest never wavered and trust me, this is rare lately.

Oh, and before I forget, a fair warning : I know little to nothing about the history of this area during this period of time so I cannot judge the book’s accuracy. But what I can say is that it made me want to learn more. So there’s that. I mean, there’s even religion! And I could stand it! How awesome is that?! Given that my tolerance for religious talk is close to none, I’d say it’s pretty amazing.

Truly a fascinating story. Recommended.

Now available to order wherever books are sold!

darken praise

*arc kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW – World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

BOOK REVIEW – World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan EeWorld After (Penryn & the End of Days #2)
by Susan Ee
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world. When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans, where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

*Spoilers for Angelfall*

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.  World After definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone, yet this book was beyond addicting.  Here were my favorite aspects, along with one thing I struggled with, while this story unfolded –

She glances over at me, her eyes shining in the dark. “You’re a hero, Penryn, whether you like it or not.”

✮PenrynPenryn has become one of my favorite Heroines.  On top of being fierce, brave and kickass, she has such a huge heart.  She wants nothing more than to keep her family safe, and a few others she has come to care about along the way.  But at the base of it all, she has been realistic with her expectations.  Even when it comes to Raffe.  He has found a way into her heart, and yet in her heart she knows it can’t be.  Well, we’ll see.  You know I’m still holding out hope!

✮Pooky Bear – Penryn was left with Raffe’s sword, since it rejected him with his new wings.  And she named her Pooky Bear.  An archangel sword was given that name lol.  While I was at first devastated that Penryn and Raffe were apart, I loved that the sword showed Penryn moments from the past.  Those flashbacks were gripping and we learned so much about Raffe that he himself didn’t share with Penryn.  

October winds seep through my blouse and I can’t help looking up at the overcast sky for a particular angel with bat-shaped wings and a corny sense of humor. I swipe my foot at the overgrown grass and make myself look away.

✮RaffeRaffe has enchanted my heart and soul.  Moments that included his ridiculous humor, his strong presence, his anger and his fierce protectiveness of Penryn brought me to my knees.  I loved every single tiny detail of him.  

So this is how it all ends.
The world destroyed, humans imprisoned, my family scattered.
The thought makes me angry. I hope the anger burns up all other feelings because it’s probably the only thing keeping me on my feet and moving right now.

✮Horror – If you know me, then you know I’m a total baby.  When I was in my teens, I adored everything Horror, now I don’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole.  Yet with Penryn and Raffe, I do.  The middle of this book pushed me way, way past what I can handle.  It made me uncomfortable and I was sickened with what unfolded.  This book even gave me nightmares.  If it was any other book, I would have walked away.  Yet, I loved this story and the characters.  I highly doubt that you’ll ever hear me reading another series that has moments of horror.  Only for Penryn and Raffe, that’s it.

Sometimes, I just have to let go and let my inner Mom out.
I slash repeatedly like a madwoman.

✮Family – With Penryn reunited with her mother and sister, I loved that we got to see their flaws and all.  Even during one of the hardest times of their lives, when they should be pulling together, we got to witness how easy it was for them to fall apart.  It felt real and honest.  And it left me rooting for them to find a way to make it work and stick together.  I’m starting to have some theories about Penryn’s mom, and I hope they pan out!

I feel sick.
Sick from fear. Sick from anger. Sick from the stupidity of what I’ve done.

✮Epic Peril I love when books have me on the edge of my seat, with my heart racing and palms sweaty because I am equally terrified and excited for what is going to unfold.  World After has some of the most epic peril scenes.  They were emotional, memorable and I couldn’t always guess what was going to happen next.

I am just a girl. I am no match for these monsters. They may have looked weak compared to Raffe, and I may have felt like an equal in some ways during my journey with him, but after seeing what I just saw, reality sinks in.

I can’t wait to see how this trilogy ends!  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the final book to be just as amazing as the first two books were!

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: How to Disappear by Ann Redisch StamplerHow to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

Title: HOW TO DISAPPEAR
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Release date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 416
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.
Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything…until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.
Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.
As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.

 

Click the link to purchase this book below!

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

 

 

Giveaway:

7181b90e-127b-4cbd-bdcd-078af8132fcac01b5913-6a0d-4784-92e3-56349e0cc563

ONE (1) winner will receive a $50.00 gift certificate for The Book Depository,  Signed HOW TO DISAPPEAR bookmarks + a Nicolette’s disguise inspired Smashbox makeup kit.

***Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

About Ann Redisch Stampler

434c2eda-df39-42c5-a758-3a737d894c96

Ann Redisch Stampler is the author of the young adult novels Afterparty and Where It Began as well as half a dozen picture books. Her work has garnered an Aesop accolade, the National Jewish Book Award, Sydney Taylor honors, the Middle East Book Award, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year mentions. How to Disappear (Simon Pulse, 2016), her first young adult thriller, will be released in June. Ann lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband Rick.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

 

 

 

And check out the rest of the tour below! 

Tuesday, June 14th:

Wednesday, June 15th:

Thursday, June 16th:

Friday, June 17th:

Saturday, June 18th:

Sunday, June 19th:

Monday, June 20th:

Tuesday, June 21st:

Wednesday, June 22nd:

Thursday, June 23rd:

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Monday, June 27th:

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FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 06/24/16

Friday Stars.13

On Fridays, we take a look at what has happened around here in the last week, what’s coming up that we are excited about and anything else that we may have to share!
♥ Enjoy!

Giveaway:

cd36aa81-81f5-4f81-977c-391d4eb49009Enter to win a A $50 Gift Certificate to Book Depository, Signed HOW TO DISAPPEAR Bookmarks + Smashbox Makeup Kit for the release of How To Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler.  Enter → HERE.

 
Just Finished and Loved:

Frozen TidesFrozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan RhodesChelsea’s Review

5 Stars! This is by far my favorite book in the series and I have high hopes that the extreme feels I felt in this one will only continue.

In the first book, Falling Kingdoms , Princess Cleo of Mytica confronts violence for the first time in her life when a shocking murder sets her kingdom on a path to collapse. Once a privileged royal, Cleo must now summon the strength to survive in this new world and fight for her rightful place as Queen.   The King of Limeros’s son, Magnus, must plan each footstep with shrewd, sharp guile if he is to earn his powerful father’s trust, while his sister, Lucia, discovers a terrifying secret about her heritage that will change everything.   Rebellious Jonas lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.   Witches, if found, are put to death, and Watchers, immortal beings who take the shape of hawks to visit the human world, have been almost entirely forgotten. A vicious power struggle quickly escalates to war, and these four young people collide against each other and the rise of elementia, the magic that can topple kingdoms and crown a ruler in the same day.

✩✮✩✮✩

 

angelfall susan eeAngelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan EeJen’s Review

5 Stars! The story-line was vivid and always left me with that desperate feeling of having to know what was going to happen next!  The characters were full of life, even the secondary ones, and I became deeply immersed in what happened to them.  And the peril and slight moments of horror that were intricately laced throughout the story made my emotions flail into overdrive.

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with Raffe, an injured enemy angel. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco, where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

 

✩✮✩✮✩

 

4.5 Stars:
Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes → Chelsea’s Review

✩✮✩✮✩

We also had a Top Ten Tuesday Post about Our Favorite 2016 Releases So Far. If you missed it, then you can check it out here.

 

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

Reading Next:

world after susan eeWorld After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee
The trilogy continues! In the first book, Angelfall, It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with Raffe, an injured enemy angel. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco, where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

 

✩✮✩✮✩

a discovery of witches deborah harkness A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.   Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

 

 

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

Upcoming Releases:

and i darken kiersten white And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) by Kiersten White (Releases 6-28)
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.  Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.  But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

 

Check out our list of upcoming releases that we can’t wait for → HERE

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

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BOOK REVIEW – Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

BOOK REVIEW – Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan EeAngelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1)
by Susan Ee
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with Raffe, an injured enemy angel. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco, where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Review:

I was addicted to Angelfall by the first page.  The story-line was vivid and always left me with that desperate feeling of having to know what was going to happen next!  The characters were full of life, even the secondary ones, and I became deeply immersed in what happened to them.  And the peril and slight moments of horror that were intricately laced throughout the story made my emotions flail into overdrive.  How could I not fall for this book?  Add in the fact that every single tiny detail in this story called for my absolute attention, especially that ending *clutches heart*, and I was a goner!

“Where are we?” Raffe asks from the shadows behind me.
“In Hell,” I say.

I loved Penryn from the moment that I met her!  She is a teenage girl who lived with her mom and sister.  In hopes of finding somewhere safer to live, they left their home at twilight since the angels wreaked havoc at night, and the gangs ruled the days.  In those first few chapters, when they’re trying to get to safety, my heart was in my throat.  And what unfolded was utter horror.  While Penryn was fierce and brave, she ended up being left with an Angel who was injured.  And he was her best bet for finding her little sister, who was taken by the other Angels.

When you’re small enough to have to look up at everyone around you, there’s no such thing as a dirty fight. That’s a new motto for me. I think I’ll keep it.

Penryn’s decision making twisted my gut at times, yet her decisions were sound and made me cheer for her.  You’ll get what I mean within those first few chapters lol.  I loved that I quickly connected to Penryn and felt every single thing she did.  Especially her fear, her bravery, and her struggle over choices she made.  She definitely soared right to the top of my list for favorite kick-butt heroines!  Which made her interactions with Raffe, the injured Angel, that much better.  He is a creature who could decimate her in a second, yet Penryn stood up to him.  What she did, to try to convince him to take her to find her sister, wow, her loyalty and bravery were amazingly impressive.

“Sometimes, as we’re stumbling along in the dark, we hit something good.”

Raffe, awwwwww *flails around*.  He would leave the craziest smiles on my face.  With his ridiculous sense of humor, his bantering and no-nonsense ways, I adored him.  But one of my favorite things about Raffe was the ability to find clues in his actions or words.  Because while he tried to come off as indifferent, I just didn’t want to buy it.  Because some of the things he did and said, while I may be reading way into them, had me jumping for joy.  I have HUGE hopes for Raffe, and what is going to unfold!

I nearly stumble over a fallen branch. “You have got to be kidding me.”
“I never kid about my warrior demigod status.”
“Oh. My. God.” I lower my voice, having forgotten to whisper. “You are nothing but a bird with an attitude.Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.”
He chuckles. “Evolution.” He leans over as if telling me a secret. “I’ll have you know that I’ve been this perfect since the beginning of time.” He is so close that his breath caresses my ear.
“Oh, please. Your giant head is getting too big for this forest. Pretty soon, you’re going to get stuck trying to walk between two trees. And then, I’ll have to rescue you.” I give him a weary look. “
Again.”

If you haven’t read this series yet, it’s a must!  The story was ALL consuming!  The pace had me flipping through the pages trying to see what was going to happen next.  And I quickly connected to Penryn, fell madly in love for Raffe and loved the moments where her mom and other characters graced the pages.  I honestly loved every single thing in this book and I hope you will too!

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