Tag: Witch (page 1 of 2)

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Crowned (Beholder #4) by Christina Bauer

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Crowned (Beholder #4) by Christina Bauer

I’m so excited to be on the Crowned Blog Tour! This series was a ton of fun! Check out my 4 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Crowned (Beholder #4) by Christina BauerCrowned (Beholder #4)
by Christina Bauer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

At last, Elea has found the love of her life. Unfortunately, the evil Tsar Viktor is about to unleash an army of twisted mages bent on killing everyone Elea cares about… including the man who’s stolen her heart.

So what’s a powerful witch to do? Why, fight back, of course!

Elea goes on a mission to find the Sword of Theodora, the only weapon that can destroy Viktor. That’s challenge enough, but on the eve of battle, Elea realizes that her true enemies may be far more powerful than even Viktor: The deities Oni and Yuri could be out to destroy her as well. With major battles brewing on two fronts, Elea’s not sure that she’ll win, but with true love to inspire her, she’s certainly ready to fight.

Review:

Crowned was a fabulous conclusion to the Beholder Series!  Here are some of my favorite reasons why I absolutely adored this series –

A story filled with action and intrigue –

Perhaps this would be the time my law-breaking tendencies caught up with me.

I loved how much action was found in the pages.  And even during the slower moments, there was still so much going on.  It made the books fly by quickly and I always felt as though I had to know what was going to happen next for Elea and Rowan. But behind everything was a story that was rich, full and came to life.  It was definitely a ton of fun!

A strong love story –

In the process, I might lose my heart, but too many people were relying on me across numerous worlds. I couldn’t fail them now.

At the heart of this, was a beautiful love story between Elea and Rowan.  Their strength, love and devotion to one another was breathtaking.  And I loved how they started out as just two people trying to work towards the same goal.  To take down an evil tyrant.  And through their trials and tribulations a beautiful friendship was formed.  And that friendship turned into something more.  Aw, I loved watching how their relationship progressed throughout this series.

Side characters that meant the world to me –

I closed in on the glowing orange gateway with one thought on my mind: this simply had to work. For all of us.

Nan, Ada, Amelia, Jicho and so many others played such important roles in these book.  Every single character, no matter how big or small their part, stood strong by themselves and were so multi-faceted.  I found myself caring for so many of them.  But in this final book, I loved what a huge role Jicho played.  He was so adorable and I always loved his antics!

I didn’t have any plan yet, but I knew I wasn’t going to simply bow down to this death. “I refuse.”

The Beholder Series was filled with a strong heroine, a book boyfriend that I desperately loved, and a story that had me flying through the pages.  I’m so glad I binge read this series!  The only thing I could have wished for would have been an epilogue.  Maybe there will be a follow-up Novella?  *begs…please, please, pleeeeaaaaseeeee* lol  Oh I can wish!  I just can’t ever get enough of Elea and Rowan and I’d love a look into their future,  especially because of how this book played out and their time together.  But regardless of my wishes, I’m definitely looking forward to all of Christina Bauer’s future books!

**ARC kindly provided by Monster House Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Cursed #1
Review:

Jen

Concealed #2
Reviews:

Jen

Cherished #3
Review:
Jen


Crowned #4
Review:
Jen

 

About Christina Bauer:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn

 

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

BOOK REVIEW – Cherished (Beholder #3) by Christina Bauer

BOOK REVIEW – Cherished (Beholder #3) by Christina BauerCherished (Beholder #3)
by Christina Bauer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

For Elea, there’s never been a better time to turn away from witch life. The Tsar is in exile. The Vicomte is dead. And Rowan? Falling for him only broke her heart. Instead of casting spells, Elea spends her days running Braddock Farm and enjoying the flirtations of the very handsome and non-magical Philippe. Everything is going perfectly, except for one problem.

Someone’s trying to kill her.

Shujaa is a Changed One, a Creation Caster mage whose mutated form makes him invincible in battle. Now that the Tsar and Vicomte are gone, Shujaa wants to rise and rule. To do so, he must eliminate all those powerful enough to oppose him, and Elea is top on his list. Anyone who offers her aid quickly ends up dead.

In the end, there’s only one person who can keep Elea safe while helping her defeat Shujaa: Rowan. Like it or not, Elea must team up with her old love. With Philippe along for the ride, Elea plans to team with Rowan without losing her heart this time. But that’s when all her plans fall apart…

Review:

Cherished was action packed and a ton of fun.  I know I’ve said it before, but this series is so easy to devour.  It’s filled with magic, fabulous characters and a plot that keeps me entertained.  I absolutely adore the Beholder Series!  This time around I was ecstatic to see that the puzzle pieces were falling into place and so many of my questions were finally getting answered.  So here are some of my favorite things about the third book in this series –

Redemption

“Would it change anything to say I can explain?”
“Some lines can’t be uncrossed.”
“But my culture isn’t yours. When we exchanged mating bands, you saw my soul. Am I capable of such terrible deceit as to become betrothed to another?”
“Souls are tricky things. I once thought my friend Tristan was incapable of deceit.”
“I’m not him.”

This book toyed with my emotions in the best of ways.  I’m more than impressed!  You see, I started getting frustrated that so many of the characters spoke in riddles, didn’t tell Elea what was going on and seemed to know what was best for her.  I was about ready to throttle quite a few of them.  And Rowan was sadly even in that group.  But looking back, oh how Rowan deserved more of my faith in him!  Because we finally started to learn truths.  And it wasn’t just an oh okay that makes sense kinda thing.  It was an oh my gosh, I definitely get it and all is forgiven kinda thing.   So have faith, because that was the one of the best explanations I have ever read!

Heartfelt characters –

My mind became a blank as I strode toward Rowan. Curse the gods, the man was smirking.
How I hated him.
Definitely.
Possibly.

Whether it was Elea, who was a heroine that was fierce and deserved my respect.  Or Rowan who melted my heart and made me want to steal him out of this book.  To even new characters we meet, like Jicho, who were absolutely adorable.  There was something heartfelt about each and every one of them.  But my favorite moments, with all of these characters, was when Elea and Rowan were together.  Their chemistry was captivating and I loved being caught in their seductive spell.

That ending

He paused by the edge of the bed. “I’m not going anywhere, Elea. You’re my heart and my future. I won’t ever give you up. I love you.”

That ending was everything I was desperately hoping for in the last two books.  It was beyond wonderful, beautiful, and heart warming.  It left me ecstatic to see how the final book will play out.  And the best part was that I was finally given the hope that I desperately needed.

Now I’m off to read the final book, I can’t wait!

PS Again there were typos in this book but I’m emailing them to the author so they can get fixed.

*Book was kindly provided by Christina Bauer in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Cursed #1
Review:

Jen

Concealed #2
Reviews:

Jen

Cherished #3
Review:
Jen


Crowned #4
Review:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – Concealed (Beholder #2) by Christina Bauer

BOOK REVIEW – Concealed (Beholder #2) by Christina BauerConcealed (Beholder #2)
by Christina Bauer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

As a Grand Mistress Necromancer, Elea’s a witch who commands the ultimate power over spirit and bone. It’s magic that she’ll need in order to stop the Vicomte Gaspard from killing her Sisters by draining their magic along with their life force.

To find and free her fellow witches, Elea must venture into some of the most dangerous places in the realm. What starts off as a rescue quest could easily turn into a suicide mission. And with the handsome warlock Rowan along to help, Elea may be risking more than her life. Her growing feelings for Rowan might put her heart on the line, too.

Review:

*Spoilers for Cursed #1, reading order at bottom of review*

Concealed was a solid second installment to the Beholder Series and was filled to the brim with magic, friendship, romance and betrayal.  And I loved that it was such an easy book to devour and read.  But you know what wasn’t easy?  The betrayal.  It was a bitter pill to swallow and don’t say I didn’t warn you. But besides that heart damaging fallout, I swear I’m not being overly dramatic lol, Concealed was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see how this series will continue to go.

“Band of Eight? I only ran across five of them.”
Rowan’s smile broadened. “I might have helped a bit. Someone has to keep an eye on you.”
A warm feeling spread through my chest.
Rowan watches over me. “You didn’t need to do that.”
“I know.”

Three months have passed since the end of Cursed, and Elea still hasn’t found her Sisters.  They were taken by the Victome, and while he didn’t seem much of a threat, with the Tsar gone he has become a man obsessed with power.  Elea is in a race to find her Sisters, before they are next in line to die at the hands of the Victome.  On her mission to find her Sisters, she comes into the path of Lady Amelia Masson, who is one of Victome’s adopted children.  With Amelia quick to join Elea’s aid, they have adventure, heartache and much more than either of them ever could have imagined in their future.

Amelia gripped my hands again. “Do you think we can really do this?”
“Absolutely.” I was pleased that my voice didn’t waver.
Amelia nodded slowly. “I believe you.”

When we first met Amelia, I wasn’t too sure about her.  To put it mildly, the girl was rather quirky.  You’ll see what I mean!  But after spending time with her, I definitely warmed up and came to adore Amelia.  And the same thing happened with her brother, Philippe.  He was a total player, but his love for his sister and his aid to Elea quickly won me over too.  The three of them together made the most interesting team!  I loved that they built their friendship on a mutual goal, and over time their trust and friendship with one another grew.

I can’t afford to feel more for you than I already do.”
Rowan’s eyes took on that intense look I knew so well. A muscle worked in his jaw for a long moment. “I understand. We both have work to do.”
I exhaled. “I’m glad you can accept the truth.”
“I didn’t say that.” He scooped up the ropes and offered them to me. “This isn’t over.”

But what I loved watching grow the most was Elea and Rowan.  Rowan was there for Elea, time and again.  Not only was he there to physically help her out, but emotionally too.  And if that wasn’t enough for me to fall that much harder him, I loved that he let Elea know how much she meant to him.  His actions, words and loyalty to Elea made my heart oh so happy.  Rowan was still fierce and protective to Elea but his charming and seductive side shined through hard.  Especially when they were kissing.  Sigh, their kisses were electrifying.  It was impossible not to absolutely love everything there was about Rowan.

I wound my arms around his neck and pressed my cheek against his firm chest. “Thank you.”
“I’ll always come for you, Elea.” He gently kissed my cheek.

And I was so happy that Elea had Rowan in her life, because the girl never seemed to get a break from all that she was up against.  And that was definitely evident when she was slapped in the face with betrayal.  Again.  Now here’s the thing.  I saw this betrayal coming back in the first book.  The clues were definitely there and they were scattered throughout this book too.  I hoped that I had guessed wrong, but sadly I didn’t. *cries*  Lies, betrayal and deceit stung my heart, just as hard as it did to Elea.  And I’m just standing here hoping that we get all of our whys answered in the next book because that ending was brutal.  I’m not okay with what unfolded and I’m definitely going to need a very solid explanation as to why some things were done.  So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there’s a lot more hope to be found in the next book.  Elea most definitely deserves it!  Now I’m off to start the next!

PS Again there were typos in this book but I’m emailing them to the author so they can get fixed.

*Book was kindly provided by Christina Bauer in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Cursed #1
Review:

Jen

Concealed #2
Reviews:

Jen

Cherished #3
Review:
Jen


Crowned #4
Review:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – Cursed (Beholder #1) by Christina Bauer

BOOK REVIEW – Cursed (Beholder #1) by Christina BauerCursed (Beholder #1)
by Christina Bauer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Most days, Elea couldn’t care less about being a witch, even if she does have special powers over spirit and bone. Why bother with incantations when you’re a farm girl? Elea only uses her Necromancer magic to speed up chores and scare off suitors.

Everything changes when the evil Necromancer Tsar curses Elea. Now, she only has five years left before she burns as a ghost, tortured for all eternity. They say there’s nothing she can do, but Elea disagrees. Embracing her Necromancer ability, Elea trains as a magical assassin. Her goal? Kill the Tsar before his curse kills her. After years of preparation, Elea’s finally ready to strike.

That’s when everything goes horribly wrong.

A handsome warlock named Rowan steps up to help. Elea wants him as an ally, but she can’t ignore the mixed-up feelings that come with every one of Rowan’s crooked smiles. An assassination mission is no time to fall in love, but Elea’s heart may have other ideas…

Review:

After I had so much fun devouring Christina Bauer’s Wolves and Roses, I knew I had to try her other series.  I thought Cursed would have a similar vibe and be filled with tons of fun and snark.  But once I read the first few chapters, I realized that these two series were worlds apart.  While Cursed was an adventure that was filled with magic and heartfelt characters, it was impossible not to notice the darkness that permeated throughout certain parts of the story.  This was an entirely different type of fun, and I’m so glad I gave Cursed a try.

After so many years of hard work, the time had finally come. I would either defeat the Tsar… Or suffer forever in fire.

Elea watched her one true friend die a horrific death.  He was cursed by the Tsar, and not only would he continually burn to death for all of eternity, but she would die from the same curse in five years.  To destroy the curse, and set her and her friend Tristan free, she must kill the Tsar.  By the second chapter we jumped ahead five years where Elea had completed her training to become a Grand Mistress Necromancer. With only one week left to live, she was ready to find and take down her target, the Tsar.

Right now, my mission hinged on Rowan’s trust in me.
And mine in him.

I absolutely loved Elea!  She definitely didn’t have an easy path in front of her, but she was tough and resilient.  She always tried her hardest, no matter how dire her circumstances were.  And I loved that she thought things out and tried to make the best decisions.  She was someone I would want next to me in a battle!  Thankfully luck seemed to be on her side when a man named Rowan came into the picture.  He was a Caster who wanted to get rid of the Tsar too.

“I suppose I was worried.”
“You’re over six feet tall and large as a barn. Plus, you can cast spells that affect me, so you’re strong in magick as well. I can’t imagine what you’d have to worry about.”
“I wasn’t worried for myself, Elea.”
The impact of his words seeped in. He was worried about me. – Alea and Rowan

I still have a lot to learn about Rowan, but the little that I do know, I love!  He was brave, loyal, fierce and I saw so much good in him.  I couldn’t help but notice that Rowan and Elea had a lot of similar traits and would make a fabulous couple *smiles hugely*.  While there was definitely chemistry between them, Elea was set on her goal and tried her hardest not to succumb to his charm.  But I have tons of hope that that will change in the future.  They were too magnetic around each other for it not to go anywhere!

The sun dipped so low behind the church, it almost touched the horizon.
Panic chilled me to the core. The curse was happening.
The fires awaited me, and there was nothing I could do.

As Alea and Rowan worked together, a lot of action came their way.  But there were also slower moments, friendships developed, and clues were discovered about what was truly happening.  There was also a twist that made me feel awful for Alea, she was definitely put through the ringer!  So by the end of the book I felt like there was a little bit of everything to be found in Cursed.  And that ending left me excited to see where the rest of the series will take me!  So if you enjoy books about magick, with strong heroines, then definitely check this book out!

PS There were some typos in this book.  But I emailed the errors to the author and they are to be fixed. 🙂

*Book was kindly provided by Christina Bauer in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Cursed #1
Review:

Jen

Concealed #2
Reviews:

Jen

Cherished #3
Review:
Jen


Crowned #4
Review:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – The Secret Fire (The Secret Fire #1) by C.J. Daugherty, Carina Rozenfeld

BOOK REVIEW – The Secret Fire (The Secret Fire #1) by  C.J. Daugherty, Carina RozenfeldThe Secret Fire (The Secret Fire #1)
by C.J. Daugherty, Carina Rozenfeld
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

French teen Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?

Would I have enjoyed The Secret Fire more if I hadn’t read plenty of paranormal young adult books before? Definitely. Sadly, as much as I would want to, I can’t unread all these books and that’s why I can’t ignore all the annoying tropes that spoiled my read.

PART ONE : DO NOT LIKE

Indeed Taylor, the MC, is so perfect and annoying I want to puke. Like, really. Let me draw a little list, okay?

✅ She’s a straight-As student and only think about studying, because of course, that’s how the majority of teenagers are.

✅ She’s top-volunteer of the year (really, she won an award or something) but you know what? She didn’t show me an ounce of her so-called kindness when it comes to the way she handles her relationship with her best friend. No. She’s condescending towards everyone, and she wants us to think that she’s a paragon of virtue and made me roll my eyes almost as often as Snowhite in Once Upon a Time (aka. every time she opens her mouth).

She thinks she’s not attractive (SPOILER ALERT : She is). She complains about her hair which is curly blond and here’s her explanation :

“Blonde hair should be straight and silky.”

Are you for real?

✅ She dates some perfect golden boy and she has no idea why he’s interested in her.

✅ She blushes all the freaking time. Of course she does. Sigh.

Frankly, I hated her chapters and I don’t know if the author’s writing is to blame but I didn’t like at all the way the characterization was handled : too many useless details about Taylor (like, the countless tea descriptions : I DON’T CARE), and not a drop of interest toward the other characters (mostly Tom, the one-dimensional boyfriend, and Georgie, the hot best friend, who isn’t slut-shamed but who is still mostly defined by her looks and her lack of interest in studying).

“He looked dangerous. And that danger had a magnetic force.”

Oh, please. Not that again.

Give me a wounded boy, okay. But please don’t think I’m stupid enough to find normal that the female lead realizes things about him in 2 seconds when SHE OBVIOUSLY CAN’T. I’m sorry, that’s not how relationships work. Anyway, I did enjoy his chapters more than Taylor’s ones. Indeed 1)the storyline is way more interesting there (it includes gun shots, gambling, and general deception) and 2)he’s completely fucked-up. Of course I ship that, duh.

However as much as I liked his character at first, from the moment that he *really* met Taylor his behavior screamed FRAUD to me : I mean, come on.

First Taylor decides to go to Paris (aka in a foreign country) for 2 days a)after talking with him online only TWICE, b)without telling anyone where she is. Does it not break some elementary safety rules to you? Because to me that’s beyond stupid and dangerous. I don’t care if your teacher asked you to tutor him. He could be a psychopath for all you know.

Their attraction is cliché, unconvincing and sometimes beyond ridiculous : we’re offered a lot of blushing, staring, OMG what it is happening to me!! kind of stuff, and frankly, I was laughing and screaming HORMONES! Sigh. Does nobody talk about hormones to teenagers these days? I’m starting to wonder.

Frankly, I kept rolling my eyes every time they talk to each other/think about each other. Everything sounds so CLICHÉ. Really, we are spared none of it.

✅ The descriptions they make of each other are roll-eyed worthy. For real, I was choking on the cheese.

Taylor about Sasha : “He had the longest lashes she could ever remember seeing. Like black feathers against his cheeks.” Of course he does. Because he’s a cat or something.
Sasha about Taylor : “She had even, white teeth and full pink lips, and when she smiled she lit up as if illuminated by some inner light. She was one of those people.” I’m not even gonna comment on that.

✅ She blushes for no reason every time he looks at her/talks to her/whatever. No reason I said.

“She liked the way her name sounded when he said it.” Enough said.

Their interactions are silly, juvenile, and again, cliché. Example?

“He chuckled. “And you’re just some English girl with a leaf in your hair.”
“There’s a leaf in my hair?” Reaching up, she felt for objects.
“Here, let me.” Leaning towards her, Sacha pulled the leaf from a curl carefully. Her hair felt incredibly soft beneath his fingertips.”
Nah, I didn’t see that move coming. *roll-eyes*

Oh! And she smells like sunlight! What is it, I don’t know, but apparently, it’s a great smell.

Conclusion :

“How do you spend one day with someone and decide they belong in your life?”

I don’t know, you DON’T?

I mean, why fucking bother? We have :

The best friend who is only here to show how much fucking better Taylor is supposed to be. As I already said, I didn’t like at all the patronizing way Georgie is treated by Taylor, and for me her role is strictly restricted as how her actions can manipulate the reader into thinking that Taylor is worth it. It didn’t work on me.

The boyfriend who turns into a jerk the minute she meets Sacha. *rise eyebrow* How convenient.

The teachers whose behavior screams trouble from the start.
In my opinion the whole premise is wobbly : the whole “I want you to interact” plot stank of put-up job from the start. Just sayin’.

The families who make a special appearance sometimes but just disappear when – well again, when it’s convenient.

The premise sounded really interesting to me, especially on Sacha’s side : a boy who can’t die whatever happens because his death is planned for his eighteen’s birthday? Paris and London settings? Count me in. Unfortunately it lacked some depth to really enthrall me and I found myself reading their story only as a distant witness : I didn’t care about their fate that much, especially in Taylor’s case (goddammit, this girl made my head ache)

PART TWO : NOT BAD

I thought that the paranormal aspects were pretty good and original, and therefore were by far the better part of the book. Indeed the only moments I felt invested in the story where when Sacha tried to deal with the frightening creatures and the impact of his family’s curse on his life. Taylor’s intake would have probably been captivating too – too bad the girl made my head bleed. I really liked how it was linked to medieval witches hunt and frankly, I can see how this book could please a lot of readers if you manage to get over the overused tropes submentioned and the cliché phrasing, that is.

Indeed the action in the last 30% kept me on the edge of my seat :
– Sacha’s struggles and discoveries captivated me and made me want to learn more and more about the creatures he faces and the characteristics of his curse.
– The events started to be less predictable and their shocked factor increased.
– Even Taylor’s chapters improved grandly : indeed her Mary Sue status is FINALLY put aside and she starts to become a heroine I can like, making me hope for her role in the sequel. From her relationships with other characters (most of all Louisa, who I enjoyed a lot) to her inner thoughts and decisions, I can’t deny that she grew on me a little bit.

I still have a problem though : If I always liked Sasha and if Taylor’s behavior improved in the end, I still hate them together. I’m sorry, but I can’t help, they make me gag and they feel fake to me when they’re together.

Finally, I’m not sure that I will give the sequel a try, but if I do I hope that it will be more free of these annoying tropes that spoiled most of my read. Look, I know that tropes are useful, but really, the Mary Sue one? The insta-something one? They don’t add anything to a story in my opinion, and even worst, they waste it.

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

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