Review: Dragonwatch

Dragonwatch

Fablehaven Adventure #1

by Brandon Mull

Source: Hardback sent from an anonymous person. If it was you–THANK YOU!!!

Stars: 5 out of 5

Warning: This series will make more sense if you first read the Fablehaven series

Description:

In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?

My Review:

So excited that someone sent this to our family! We’ve loved it so much. It came at a perfect time. We were just reading the last book in the Fablehaven series when this arrived at our doorstep–signed!!! So cool. I enjoyed reading it aloud to my children.

What I liked:

  • Kendra is still my favorite main character. She’s just so real. She wants to do what’s good and right, but she’s scared. Doesn’t matter though, she’ll step up and do what needs done. I just love her.
  • Dragons. Need I say more?
  • Knox is so annoying. I like it though. Fits right in, lol.
  • Tess is sweet. I love how she’s obsessed with fairies and is convinced about them even though she doesn’t know the “bugs” actually are them.
  • Like most of the other Fablehaven books, this one is full of adventure keeping us wanting to read more and more instead of just the one chapter a day we usually read aloud with my kids.

What I didn’t like:

  • Seth still needs to use his brain more, but he’s doing better than he used to. I have hope for him in the future that he’ll be able to use his extreme ideas for good instead of stupidity. He did have some good moments in this book. There’s a lot of hope for him.
  • Grandma and Grandpa Larsen never say how they explained to their nonFablehaven family how they came back from the dead. I would have liked to know how they managed that one.
  • I wish Bracken was in the story more. I understand why he wasn’t, but I missed him.
  • I also missed some of the other characters from the last series that didn’t show up in this book. That’s alright. We got to meet some cool new ones.

Although this is kind of a middle grade novel, it’s definitely bordering on YA. One of the main characters is 15 and has an almost boyfriend. I think YA topics are bound to start coming up.

Needless to say, both I and my children loved this book. We are sad we have to wait for other ones to come out, but know it will be worth the wait. This is a great book for anyone that’s read the Fablehaven series. And if you haven’t read it yet, you should pick it up if you like fantasy/adventure books.

Review: Cage of Darkness

Cage of Darkness

Reign of Secrets #2

by Jennifer Anne Davis

Source: Purchased eBook

Stars: 4 out of 5

Warning: May contain spoilers if you haven’t read the first book!

Description:

While traveling to Fren, Allyssa and Odar are hijacked by a ruthless assassin who divulges a stunning secret that changes everything.

Trying to come to terms with this newfound revelation, Allyssa is taken to Russek and delivered into the hands of a malicious and twisted royal family. She finds herself an unwilling pawn in a risky political game that will either end with her death or the annihilation of her beloved kingdom. Unsure of where the lies end and the truth begins, she must survive the brutal family and escape the fortified castle, all the while coming to grips with her feelings for Odar.

In a kingdom filled with darkness, Allyssa enters a game where one wrong move means death, secrets hide around each corner, and it will take every ounce of cunning she has to survive.

My Review:

It’s hard to think about how I feel about this book. It’s complicated. The last quarter had me feeling all sorts of emotions. It was very well done. The rest of it was good too, but not as good as the first book or ending.

“She’d always played the part of the dedicated princess. The Russek court was no different. Allyssa was just playing a different part in the game this time. And this was one game she couldn’t lose.”

What I liked:

  • Allyssa is tough as steel in this book. Sure, she was tough in the last book, but in this one she has to face some horrendous things that would leave most people weak and giving up, but she resolves to stick up to what she knows is right no matter how hard it is.
  • Kerdan was a fascinating character in both good and bad ways. I wasn’t surprised with what happened with him in end, but still really enjoyed his character throughout the novel.
  • There’s a lot of angst in this book, which I really enjoyed. I liked following all the action and plot along as it went.
  • Soma. Gak! He’s such a bad character in a great way. He made me feel like I needed to take a shower. Poor Allyssa having to deal with him.
  • Russek has some good world building. It’s different than what Allyssa is used to and made for a cold read.
  • Not gonna lie. I cried. Always a sign of a well written book.

What I didn’t like:

  • Prince Odar. Sad to say. I really liked him in the first book, but this time around, he’s not around much. And then how he acts at the end of the book, just gah! Couldn’t take it.
  • For the series being named Reign of Secrets, there wasn’t much secret to me. The twists were all expected. I suppose they were secret to Allyssa, but I found it an easy guess. Maybe I was just really in tune with the book? I know others said they thought it was surprising, so…?

“The crown used to feel heavy—like a cage tying her to her destiny. Now, without it, she felt naked and yearned for the one thing she’d fought so hard to break free from.”

This book goes by its title and is really dark. Torture and violence. Just an FYI.

While I didn’t like this book as much as the first, I still loved this book so hard. It’s an awesome, gritty book that left me feeling gutted–in a good way. I can’t wait for November for the third book in the series. I would highly recommend this series for anyone that likes YA fantasy that turns a little gritty.

Review: Cage of Deceit

Cage of Deceit

Reign of Secrets #1

by Jennifer Anne Davis

Source: Bought ebook

Stars: 4.5 our of 5

Description:

Sixteen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion–she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona–that of a vigilante–to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their kingdom and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.

Review:

First, I fell in love with the cover, then I read the synopsis and knew I wanted to read this book. I’m sure glad that I did. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Warning: It ends in a cliffhanger. No HEA for this book, but there are more to come.

“I’m afraid you’re locked in this cage of deceit with me. When you break free, you’re going to hate me.”

Things I liked:

  • Allyssa is a great character. She’s strong and has room to grow. I really liked following her story along the way. There were a few times when I felt like she kept complaining about being in her “cage” too much, but it got the point across. She’s a tough chick that’s willing to do what’s right even when it’s hard to do.
  • Grevik is awesome. I wish there was more of him in the book. He is a great friend. And I so want to say more, but–my lips are sealed!
  • Jarvik. Oh Jarvik. He’s surly and ornery in all the right ways.
  • Allyssa’s parents were interesting characters. I want to go back and read their stories now after reading this book. They took really good care of their daughter, keeping her feelings in mind and loving her.
  • The romance is a slow building burn that I totally feel for and was rooting on the entire time.
  • After the initial beginning, it’s fast paced and kept me glued the entire time. I finished it in one sitting and am anxious for more!

Things I didn’t like:

  • It took a little bit to get in to. It ended up being fine because what you learn in the beginning makes a difference down the road, but it was still a little slow moving at first.
  • The big twist at the end of the book, I had it guessed right off the bat. Usually, this bugs me, but with this book, it was interesting to see what was going on knowing what I did.
  • There were a couple conversations that got started but never finished. I couldn’t figure out a good reason for it other than as a plot device. If something is that important, you don’t let things get in the way of telling your daughter/girl you love. Nuh-uh. You say what you gotta.

“She was a princess, elegant, refined, and all that the position implied. At least, that was she kept telling herself. Because, truth be told, she hated being stuck in this cage, playing this game.”

Despite the difficulty, I think I managed to stay spoiler free, lol. Seriously, there’s so much I want to talk about but can’t without ruining it for someone. So go read the book so I can! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy.

Review: Prince of the Moon

Prince of the Moon

Stella and Sol #2

by Kimberly Loth

Source: Purchased eBook

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

Description:

Zwaantie enters Stella with only one goal—find Phoenix and run away. Only she discovers that Phoenix has disappeared—without her.

Stella is unlike anything Zwaantie has ever experienced. From the bright lights to the moving pictures, it’s all overwhelming. The moment she steps foot in the country she wants only one thing—to go home.

Her plans go awry when Leo reveals to her the real reason he needs to marry her—to thwart an awful prophecy and save his sister’s baby from the flesh eating monsters. Not only that, but the Voice has somehow followed her into Stella and wants her dead. She can’t go home.

Trapped in a world where her every move is on display, engaged to a man she doesn’t love, and with death around every corner, Zwaantie seeks solace in newfound friends and magic she never believed possible.

Will Zwaantie rise as the powerful princess she should be and do the right thing or will she forsake all for her own happiness?

My Review:

I liked this book, just not as much as I hoped I would. There were some good things, but there were some things that I had a problem with. Maybe it was just me though.

A little warning for those of you who are concerned about sexual content. This book doesn’t have anything graphic in it, but there are repeated talks of premarital sex and multiple partners.

Things I liked:

  • The world-building is awesome! I loved it so much. Especially compared to Sol, Stella was a fascinating mix of always night and magic. It was well done.
  • This will contradict a point I have below, but at one point Zwaantie was really strong. She took charge and made things happen that possibly saved two lives. I just wish she could have been more like this through the rest of the book.
  • Sage is a really cool character. I wish we actually got to see her kick some butt like I know she can. She’s a little quirky which is always fun to see, but she cares too which I like about her.
  • The vipers were a nice touch. I liked the development of them in the book. They would totally freak me out in real life, lol!

Things I didn’t like:

  • Zwaantie was a little whiny in this book. She was always talking about what she didn’t like and what she couldn’t have. Now, I know she was coming from a hard situation, but I just wanted her to be like, this sucks–now what am I going to do about it? I wanted her to face the hardness and take it on instead of mostly complaining about it.
  • Like the last book, it’s a little short. I was expecting it this time so it didn’t bother me as much, but I still wanted more descriptions to make the story longer.
  • Twists weren’t very twisty. I saw them coming so, yeah. Never a happy thing.
  • The romance was lacking. I wanted more and from a different source than it came from. I guess I’m all right with where it’s going, but it’s kind of hard when it’s thrown in book two with no warning in book one as to what direction it’s going to take.
  • All the deaths/missing persons happens from afar. I would have liked to have seen it up close so we could be more invested in it.
  • The end was very abrupt. I should have guessed it from the last book, but it’s really annoying having it cut off out of no where.

Despite my problems with the book, I’m eager for the next book which comes out in May. I think it will be better than this one if several of my guesses about where it’s headed are correct. There’s enough invested in the story that I want to know more. I just hope Zwaantie is ready to be a strong character. I would recommend this book to anyone who read the first books and wants to continue the series, or for YA Fantasy lovers that want some quick reads to pick up the first book and then this one.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you have plans to start the series?

Top Ten Tuesday: May 2, 2017

First of all, for those who haven’t seen, I’m currently running a giveaway. Yay! Enter for your chance to win three amazing YA books about a fairytale retelling from the fairy godmother’s perspective during modern day. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Now for another Top Ten Tuesday! It’s hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find questions on their blog if you want to follow along.

This week is: Cover Theme Freebie

The freebie pick was really hard for me. There’s so many directions you could go with one. Finally, I decided to highlight: Covers of Royalty Fantasy Books

I’ve been in a big fantasy mood lately if you can’t tell. Royalty is one of my favorite type of characters to read about. Combine the two and I’m one happy girl. Now, these aren’t necessarily book covers that I love, but books I’ve read and enjoyed. In no particular order, here we go!

First Light by Michelle Paige Holmes

This one has such a pretty cover! It’s soft but eye catching. It’s been a while since I read it, but I just remember adoring the story.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I love this series! It has everything I want in a book. A girl who starts out soft, but because strong, not just physically stronger, but mentally and emotionally stronger. The story kept me engaged through all three books.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I know, a middle grade book, I and don’t usually read those, but this one is an exception. I first read it a long, long time ago. Maybe high school? In any case, it’s been a while. But I feel in love with it. It’s such a good twist on Cinderella, a girl that has to obey every order she’s given. It’s SO good!

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Do I even need to explain myself with this one? I will anyway 😉

It’s got “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True Love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest Ladies. Snakes. Spiders… Pain. Death. Brave men. Cowardly men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”

It’s one of the most quotable books ever. I just love it! Sure, it’s not a perfect book, but it’s still one of my favorites.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Another book that’s been a while since I read. Technically, two books combine into one. In any case, they’re rock! They are ones I should go back and reread sometime soon.

The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley

This list is making me realize how many books I love that I haven’t read in a while. Maybe I need a reread-a-thon, lol.  This book had so much that I love in a book. It was a great read! A fiery princess with a good love interest.

Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis

This is one of my recent reads (review on Thursday!). Details will come then, but I loved it! So much fierce girl in action. Definitely worth a read if you like YA fantasy.

Third Daughter by Susan Kay Quinn

This series was an interesting one. A fantasy based on India, this princess starts off naive and grows so much. Her love interest is swoony and full of adventure. Check out this part of the blurb: “This Bollywood-style royal romance takes you to an alternate East Indian world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue.

Sounds awesome, right!?!

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

A book with a witty protagonist, the entire series is one that’s worth reading. A good combination of things that I enjoy reading.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

If you can’t tell, I love Gail Carson Levine’s books. Even though she writes middle grade, which I usually avoid, I thoroughly enjoy her stories. This was the first one of hers I ever read, and I happened to read it out loud with my college roommate. It was a blast. So many things I love about this book. It makes me cry every time I read it.


And that’s my list. I’m so excited to see what everyone else did with their covers!

Link up & I’ll stop on by!