Sunday, June 26, 2016

{Book Review} And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Published: June 28, 2016 by Corgi Childrens
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Source: Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Ya, Historical Fiction
Pages: 498

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she'll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

This book was one of my hardest to review.  It is very well written, thoroughly researched and had great characters.  It would appeal to a lot of readers, but it almost seemed like it would be better as an adult book instead of YA.  It was full of politics, lush descriptions and deep, complicated character relationships and development. 

I was most defiantly impressed my Kiersten White’s writing…it blew me away!  The descriptions were detailed and beautiful.  The character development was absolutely amazing.  I could tell that a lot of research was done to make this story accurate for the time period.  I also think a lot of readers will enjoy the extreme politics and the underlining themes. 

The character development was top notch in this book.  I would categorize it as one of the best I have ever read.  Readers begin the journey with these characters as small children, going through the trials and tribulations until they are teens.  This book is written in chapters alternating between Lada and Radu, siblings who are complete opposites.  Lada is strong, stubborn and emotionally driven.  Radu is compassionate, kind and calculating.  I LOVED that the alternating chapters allowed readers to better understand the complicated relationships and accomplishments the characters strived to achieve.  It made me feel very connected to the characters.  I felt their sorrow, happiness, fear and worry.  I cared about what happened to them.  My only problem is I wish I would have connected with Mehmed more.  He was the connecting puzzle piece between Lada and Radu and at times, I wish there would have been chapters from Mehmed as well. 

The romance in this book was also great.  It did not overpower the plot, but was still a driving force for character’s motivations.  This was defiantly one of the most complicated romances that I have ever read about.  I do not want to go into too much detail, but there are a lot of twists and turns along the way.  It will make your heart swell with happiness, but also hurt from extreme heartbreak.

So from the review above, I bet you are wondering why I only rated this book three stars instead of five.  The answer is, it just wasn’t for me.  I could not write a bad review for this book because it is anything but.  However, like a lot of historical fiction, it is slow and time consuming to get through.  To build such great character development, it needed to spend time letting the readers know the characters, but this also led to my mind wandering.  I loved the first part and the ending, but the middle part I had a hard time getting though.  I put this book down at 47% and took a break (a 6 book break).  But I am glad I picked it up again because the ending was amazing. 

Overall, I would recommend this book for readers who like historical fiction.  Just be warned that this is a slower read that does have some action, political intrigue and great characters.  I am planning on picking up some of White’s other books since I loved her writing so much.  I also would consider picking up the next book to this series in hopes that it might be a little more action packed now that a lot of character development has been taken care of.


“As the baby latched on with surprising fierceness, the nurse offered her own prayer.  Let her be strong.  Let her be sly.  She looked over at the princess, fifteen, lovely and delicate as the first spring blossoms.  Wilted and broken on the bed.
            And let her be ugly.” -2%

Also check out White’s other books below.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

{Series Review} Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien


Titles: Birthmarked, Prized and Promised
Author: Caragh M. O’Brien
Published by Roaring Brook Press

This series is a hard one for me to rate.  While I really enjoyed reading these books, there were just too many problems that kept pulling down the plot and the characters.  I think the place where this series excels would be the writing and the plot idea.  I liked O’Brien’s descriptive writing and the flow of the words.  The entire time I was reading these books, I could see it all in my mind as if it was playing like a movie.  I felt like her writing in the second and third book was slightly different than in the first.  The first book seemed more detailed than the last two books.

I did really like the charcters in this book.  I really liked Gaia in the first book because I could really see her character development.  I thought it was interesting that Gaia really never questioned her life until her parents when her parents were taken.  I liked that triggered her to ask more questions and seek out answers.  I did become really annoyed with Gaia in the third book.  She was constantly making bad decisions that made it hard for me to feel sorry for her when bad things happened.  I also really liked the character development of Leon.  He was not my favorite in the first book, but her grew on me in the second and then became one of my favorite characters in the third.  There were a lot of great secondary characters in this series, but sometimes it felt a bit overwhelming.

I LOVED the idea for this book.  Involving genetics and evolution was really interesting and I could see that O’Brien researched a lot while writing this series.  Where this series falls flat is the inconsistency of the plot.  The first book was really good, but then the plot stemming from the first plot is almost not existence in the second book.  The second book almost feels like the beginning of a new series.  The plot in the second book resolves in the second book and then the plot from the first book is then continued into the third book.  It is almost hard to explain if you have not read the series, but it makes it feel very incoherent. 
The romance in this series was really lacking.  I liked the slow progression of the romance between Leon and Gaia in the first book and that there was no insta-love.  I thought the love square in the second book was really weird.  I did find myself a little torn between two of the love interests, but I think it was obvious who she was going to choose.  I think the third book was the best when it came to the romance and did find myself rooting for Gaia and Leon.

I think that the ending to this series was one of the strongest points of it.  It has some major twists and turns.  I also liked that all the loose ends were wrapped up, but the characters did not get their happily ever-afters.  The series left off with the characters struggling to put the pieces back together and to cope with the traumatic events that happened.  

Overall, I really don’t know if I would recommend this series or not.  The first book is really good, but the second book was just so different from it.  I would suggest that if the concept sounds interesting, to give it a try. 

Overall Rating

Favorite in the Series:

Least Favorite in the series:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

{Waiting on Wednesday} It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Atria Books
Pages: 320

About The Book
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up. She graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant and has a total soft spot for Lily; and the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his no dating rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Why I Want To Read This Book
YES!  Colleen Hoover is one of my insta-buy authors.  She is one of my favorite NA authors and she writes such beautiful, heart-wrenching stories.  This one sounds great and the cover is AMAZING!
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