Blog Tour- Review of A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

33629245A Poison Dark and Drowning
By: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House

There are spoilers for A Shadow Bright and Burning in this review.

Summary:
The magicians want her to lead. The sorcerers want her to lie. The demons want her blood. Henrietta wants to save the one she loves. But will his dark magic be her undoing?

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the bloodthirsty Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own.

So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series but this one was even better! It had more action, a thickening plot and I really loved most of the character interactions. I feel that Henrietta is really coming into her own more and more and her interactions with Blackwood are some of my very favorite scenes.

The ability Cluess has to write her actions scenes is really remarkable. I was completely enthralled and they are all so easy to visualize as you read. These books really need to be a movie or TV series. The descriptions I see saying this is a mix between Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter actually fit to me- how often does that actually happen?

There is only one tiny complaint I had with this book and that’s Henrietta’s relationship with her childhood friend, Rook. For some reason I just can’t feel the chemistry between these two and I just don’t see any spark. I think it’s because I’m so heavily shipping her with another character. Rook just seems like a hollow character and I feel that as the series progresses his personality declines- perhaps that is the point? I really did love him at the start of the first book but more and more I don’t care about his outcome.

I really felt that the writing was even stronger in this sequel than the first and there are some really dark moments that I just loved. Things felt really tense and I didn’t know what to expect exactly. I am looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in the third book.

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Review of The Hummingbird Heart by AG Howard

30331979The Hummingbird Heart
By: AG Howard
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Golden Orb Press
Format: E-ARC
Source: Author

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Set 19 years after The Architect of Song.

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions holiday resort in England born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she’s determined to escape finishing school along with everyone’s efforts to make her a proper lady. The only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life. He can’t allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family’s resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of them their lives.

My Thoughts:
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of AG Howard so when I was offered a copy to read I jumped on it. I adore Howard’s characters and they always have such great chemistry. This book takes place 19 years after The Architect of Song and once again it deals with a ghost story. I love the bits of mystery woven into the story and I have a feeling that as we read more and more in this series we’ll see how each book is interwoven more than we even think.

The characters in THH were so beautifully done. The two main characters, Willow and Julian, were well rounded and whew-they had chemistry! This book had lots of kissing (yay!!) along with a great mystery. The pacing was quick and it was a fast read. And, look at that cover. Swoon.

The side characters were wonderful too; especially little Newton. I grew very attached to him and I’m excited to think we’ll see him in the next book (I hope!). Julian’s twin brother, Nick, wasn’t in this book all that much but I’m intrigued to learn more about his storyline. I didn’t love his actions but with Julian as his brother and his parents being who they are I know there’s got to be a great side to him. I’m eager to read about it. Emilia was also intriguing and I loved the little bits of her book we get to read. Really, I could read a book about each of these characters happily.

The storyline was really creative and I didn’t predict all the outcomes which is always fun. Howard has such a skill at creating an atmosphere in her books. You can feel the magic in the air as you read and I just love her descriptions, especially her character’s clothing. Howard adds little details that paint things so clearly in your mind’s eye. Her character’s clothing choices and style really help to help you understand her character’s personalities.

Final Thoughts:
The Hummingbird Heart was yet another gorgeous book by Howard. Once again she delivers addicting writing, character chemistry and an atmosphere that keeps you enthralled. I highly recommend this romantic ghost story!

I know some of you will ask- do I have to read The Architect of Song first? I really think you could read these out of order but you will be spoiled on a bit and I think reading them in publishing order allows for the stories to build on each other.

 

 

Mini Review for Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

34733250Night of Cake and Puppets
By: Laini Taylor Illustrated by: Jim Di Bartolo
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date- as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely looooved this novella! It had been far too long since I’d been in this world. I always loved Zuzana and Mik so reading how they got to know one another and their first date was so much fun.Now, in all honesty, I still haven’t read the last of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I know, its awful. You see, I love these books so much I couldn’t say goodbye. I pre-ordered the book and it’s been sitting on my shelf just waiting for me. I just can’t do it yet. I don’t want to say goodbye. Reading this novella really got me back into it though so I think I might just pick it up soon

NoCaP was written just as beautifully as the books were and the advanced reader copies did have some of the artwork. A lot wasn’t finished but I know in the hardcover it’ll be beyond amazing. I loved having little illustrations as I read. I fell so in love with Taylor’s writing all over again. I read Strange the Dreamer recently and it was incredibly written but it does have a much more serious aura than these books. I had forgotten how funny Laini Taylor was! I laughed out-loud and I want to know these characters. They are all so unique and clever.

NightofCakeandPuppets
For all of those new to this series- you can totally read this first if you want! It doesn’t give away any major spoilers and it’s a great introduction to the world and writing style. This review can’t be long since this is a novella but just know that this is a must read! Go forth and pre-order.

Review of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

onceandforallOnce and for All
By: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating
star

Summary:
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

My Thoughts:
I haven’t read many contemporary novels and this was my first Sarah Dessen book! It was such a fun read and a really wonderful break from my usual fantasty/science fiction. This novel was fast paced, heart felt and really adorable.

I’m not a huge wedding type person- I’m a rare soul that doesn’t like attending them, didn’t really want my own and I’m just not all crazy for the entire thing. But, regardless of my none obsession with weddings this book had me early on. I loved the humor and Louna was so easy to read about. I was impressed with the depth of the characters early on and how much back story we learned.

The weddings we see in this book were actually so much fun and the entire atmosphere of the book was overall uplifting although there was some aspects that were heavy. The novel jumps back and forth from Louna’s past to present day. She has a very emotional past and first love. These bits were very well done and had me so immersed.

The characters had great chemistry and I loved the relationships we get glimpses of. I of course loved watching Louna grow to appreciate the cocky, flirtatious Ambrose. I thought they really brought out some great things about one another and their dialog was often very funny.

Where the book sort of lost me was in the ending. Things felt rushed to me and the last few chapters felt a bit disjointed and not nearly as developed as the rest of the book.

Final Thoughts:
I think fans of contemporary fiction will really enjoy this read especially if they want to see a bit more about what goes into wedding planning. I will try another Dessen novel in the future and I’m happy that I read this one.

Review of Want by Cindy Pon

wantcoverWant
By: Cindy Pon
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Print ARC
Source: Convention

My Rating:
star

Summary:
From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

My Thoughts
Want was my first book to read by Cindy Pon and it was a really wonderful and unique read. I loved that the setting was futuristic Taipei and that the world has been ravaged by pollution. This doesn’t seem all that off base to a possible future for our world so it was easy to relate. The story was fast paced and played on some sort of typical futuristic tropes such as an evil business but it felt fresh and I easily became attached to the cast of characters.

Zhou was the main character and I enjoyed learning about his history and watching him navigate his world and that of the wealthy. The idea that social classes would be divided by the ability to wear suits that protect them from disease seemed all too plausible. The reader can’t help but compare aspects of Jason Zhou’s world with our own which really gave heart to this book and increased the level of intensity.

Though there are a lot of action and it does have the feel of a heist book/movie there was ample character development and relationships. I thought the characters had great chemistry and I was worried for them all.

Pon did a brilliant job putting the reader in her setting- she vividly created the atmosphere with descriptions of the setting, foods and people. It was so easy to imagine everything- even the special suits. Nothing about this read felt unreachable- though this would be classified science fiction it really didn’t lose me in technical talk like some Sci-Fi’s do. I can so imagine this as a movie and it reads like you are watching one.

Final Thoughts:
In Want-Cindy Pon introduces her readers to a beautifully rendered futuristic Taipei which feels incredibly realistic. The characters are very well developed and easy to love. The action kept me flipping the pages and fretting about the outcome.