Review: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

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Goodreads Summary:

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

***I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest Review****

My Review

I really struggled with this book, and I tried to enjoy it but I just could not get into it whatsoever! And to be honest, I didn’t finish Gilded Cage. I usually don’t write reviews for books I don’t finish, but I did get 62% through so I feel I should at least plead my case.

Gilded Cage starts off by following the lives of the Hadley family as they decide to embark on their “slave days” in which they must commit to a mandatory 1o years of servitude in a specific location. Everyone in this book is subject to performing these 10 years at some point in their lives. In the world of Gilded Cage, regular people have very little rights and are at the mercy of Equals who have something called Skill which basically means they have some kind of significant power that makes them more important than others.

The concept of the story caught my attention immediately, which is why I couldn’t’ wait to start it. I wish I could have enjoyed it more but I just didn’t. The beginning was pretty solid, however as the plot continued they kept throwing in more points of view and it just got messy and hard to follow. I found myself not caring about these other POVs and getting frustrated that there was this much content dedicated to these characters. The story quickly lost it’s appeal. The overall concept was certainly there but I think the foundation of the story got a little too jumbled for  me.

Has anyone else read Gilded Cage yet? Did you dislike it as well? Is it just me?

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes (Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

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Goodreads Summary:

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Review

I have heard all the hype on An Ember in the Ashes and have seen it all over bookstagram, but I never really knew what it was about until I picked it up! I actually have had this book checked out for over a month and had to keep renewing it until I was able to finally read it! And wow was it worth the wait!!! I absolutely loved this book!

The story follows the two perspectives of Laia and Elias, it alternates chapters between the two, which got pretty frustrating let me tell you. Almost every chapter ended on a cliff hanger and you had to wait to see the others POV to get back to that, it was great when the two characters began to finally interact with one another because you were able to learn more as you went. Anyway, Laia is a slave and Elias is a soldier, who happens to be the son of the leader of the army. However, things are a lot more complicated then a division of class between these two characters. Laia is forced into becoming a spy for the resistance in order to save her imprisoned brother, and Elias must make the most difficult decision of his life when he is thrown into a series of Trials made to test the very fabric of his soul. Their lives become remarkably intertwined as the stakes rise higher and higher.

The plot twists and developments in this book were non-stop!! I was so completely hooked from the start! The characters were beautifully structured and the story was very fast paced. The relationship between Elias and Laia was so endearing and very differently formed compared to past books. Though this book is not heavily romantic, it added greatly to the meaning of the content. The world that Tahir created is unlike any I’ve encountered. I cannot wait to see what comes next!! I am so eager to get my hands on book three!

If you are looking for the next great adventure, filled with twists, and epic characters, then I would most definitely recommend you read An Ember in the Ashes! Pick it up on Amazon here!

Review: The Affiliate (Ascension #1) by K.A. Line

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Goodreads Summary:

On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm’s lifelong plans come to fruition when she’s chosen for one of the most prestigious positions in her homeland—an Affiliate to the Queen.

Or so she thinks.

When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene’s position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have…

King Edric himself.

Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.

My Review

The Affiliate was a unique fantasy story that puts a twist on the “coming of age” story! When Cyrene turns 17 she is placed into a presenting ceremony in which her future will be decided. She lucks out and is placed into the 1st class position of Affiliate and to the queen no less. However, court life is not all that it seems, and Cyrene soon becomes ensnared in an unexpected relationship, and a string of murders seem to lead back to her as the main target.

Cyrene was an admirable lead, she worked with what she had and took everything in stride. So much gets thrown at her at once but she never falters for a minute. It was hard to remember that she was so young based on how she reacted. I also really liked the diversity of the characters. Each one has their own individual part to play and they all added depth to the story. I’m super conflicted over the romance in this book, because at this point I don’t see how things are going to work out for them

Though I felt that the story itself was unique, I couldn’t help but feel that most of it was just build up. It took until around 85% of the way through before the main point of the plot was revealed! I’m expecting lots of plot movement in this next book titled The Bound of which I am currently reading the ARC. The Affiliate ended with not necessarily a cliffhanger but certainly in the middle of the action. I’m super intrigued to see where this world takes me.

If you’re looking for your next fantasy read, I would recommend checking out The Affiliate.  Buy it on Amazon here!

Review & Excerpt Tour: The Fallen Prince (The Riven Chronicles #2) by Amalie Howard

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I hope you’re ready to be transported by Amalie Howard’s THE FALLEN PRINCE, a Young Adult Science Fiction novel and the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL! Publishers Weekly calls the first in the series “a high-octane thriller.” Grab your copy of this amazing novel today!

 

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About THE FALLEN PRINCE:

Riven has fought for a hard-won peace in her world, and has come to shaky terms with who and what she is—a human with cyborg DNA. Now that the rightful ruler of Neospes has been reinstated, Riven is on the hunt for her father in the Otherworld to bring him to justice for his crimes against her people.

But when she receives an unwelcome visit from two former allies, she knows that trouble is brewing once again in Neospes. The army has been decimated and there are precious few left to fight this mysterious new threat.

To muster a first line of defense, her people need help from the one person Riven loathes most—her father. But what he wants in return is her complete surrender.

And now Riven must choose: save Neospes or save herself.

 

My Review:

I was thrilled to discover that the second book of The Riven Chronicles came out so soon after the first! After thoroughly enjoying The Almost Girl, I was more than ready to see what happened to Riven and Caden in book two! Amalie Howard certainly did not disappoint. The Fallen Prince was filled with all the action, emotion, and romance I was hoping for!

Now that Riven has brought back her Earth’s King she is more than determined to stop her father once and for all. However, as she delves deeper into her search for him, she discovers that there are even worse threats out there and embarks on her new mission to save her King and her world as she knows it.

The Fallen Prince was full of non-stop action and suspense, just when things started to slow down, a new curve ball would get thrown in. New characters are introduced and old characters are expanded upon more. Through every conflict Riven remained the epic badass that she is. And though her romance with Caden was definitely frustrating, the final outcome between them was everything I wanted it to be. The ending was unexpected to say the least, but all loose ends were tied up smoothly. I’m not aware of there being a third novel, but I’m sure hoping there will be! Fortunately, book two will not destroy you with another cliffhanger, so no need to worry.

If you enjoyed The Almost Girl as much as I did, then I would most definitely recommend you read the next book in the series! And if you haven’t yet embarked on the journey and are a fan of dystopian-scifi novels, then what are you waiting for? Get going!

 

 

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Excerpt:

I watch in horror as the stairs below us crumble like dominos, the metal lip dipping as the entire structure crumples inward. I scrabble forward to grab the Vector’s fingers. My suit responds immediately, anchoring me to the floor with tiny inverted hooks. It’s not much leverage, but it’s enough for me to get a better hold.

The Vector wraps his fingers around my wrist just before the metal ledge rips out and I’m dangling over the edge, held in place by nothing but a few well-constructed hooks. Someone flings his weight on top my feet, but the Vector’s grip starts to slip from mine in cruel slow motion. Several feet below, Caden’s eyes meet mine and a smile forms across his lips—lips mouthing three words I don’t want to see or hear.

Tears burn my eyes. A voice inside me screams at me to say it back. Say the words. But I can’t. I can’t lose him. I refuse to lose him right now.

“Protect your king!” I scream at the tumbling Vector just as our fingers part. Acknowledgment shimmers in his milky eyes and I see the muscles in his shoulders tense, corded veins bulging in his neck. With a roar, he heaves the arm holding on to Caden upward—a feat of pure programmed, inhuman strength.

Caden lands on top of me, and strong arms haul us back to safety. For a moment, I meet the eyes of the Vector as he falls into the abyss. I don’t know if thank you means anything to them, but I send the message anyway.

Briefly, I imagine something like satisfaction flaring in those milky irises, and then his eyes close as he disappears from view.

 

Praise for THE FALLEN PRINCE:

 

“[P]acked with action . . . Imagery is the highlight of this book.”—VOYA

“A parallel-dimension–jumping cyborg soldier must make questionable alliances to save her country from an existential threat in this sequel to The Almost Girl. [O]ffers a solid conclusion.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This sequel to The Almost Girl was everything I wanted: non-stop action, smart science, new and intriguing characters, and a satisfying romance. I couldn’t put it down!” —Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful and the Cursed

“[T]he next step in a dark, clever and thrilling scorched-earth, world-hopping adventure.” —Jet Black Ink

 

And don’t miss the first book in The Riven Chronicles Series!

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THE ALMOST GIRL

 

 

 

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Amalie Howard - headshotAbout Amalie Howard:

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.

She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national silver IPPY medalist. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

 

 

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Amalie Howard’s THE FALLEN PRINCE – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

May 30th

Movies, Shows & Books – Excerpt

My YA NA Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

The LitBuzz – Review

Deluged with Books Cafe – Excerpt

WTF Are You Reading? – Review & Excerpt

Rambling Reads – Excerpt

AC Book Blog – Excerpt

Cynthia Bloggs – Excerpt

May 31st

Dazzled by Books – Excerpt

Comic Book Love – Review

Pandora’s Books – Excerpt

Have Words Will Scribble – Review & Excerpt

Vagabonda Reads – Excerpt

Hannah’s Words – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Excerpt

Maari Loves Her Indies – Excerpt

June 1st

Socially Awkward Book Nerd – Excerpt

Escape Inside the Pages – Review & Excerpt

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

Penny For My Thoughts – Review

Blissfully bookerized – Excerpt

Amy’s Review Obsession – Review

Bookish Things & More – Excerpt

Readers Live A Thousand Lives – Excerpt

June 2nd

Book it – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Books Need TLC – Review & Excerpt

BookCrushin – Excerpt

Roxy’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Romance Book Nerd – Excerpt

Mes Livres – Review & Excerpt

TMBA Corbett Tries to Write – Excerpt

The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Review & Excerpt

June 3rd

The book slayer – Review & Excerpt

Fishing for Books – Excerpt

The Recipe Fairy – Review & Excerpt

YA Book Divas – Excerpt

2 girls who love books – Excerpt

Book Lovers Life – Excerpt

Only One More Page – Excerpt

Teen Readers’ Diary – Excerpt

June 4th

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps – Review & Excerpt

Hart’s Romance Pulse – Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Review & Excerpt

Evermore Books – Excerpt

The A P Book Club – Review & Excerpt

The Travelogue of a book addict – The Book Drealms – Excerpt

City of Books – Review & Excerpt

RhiReading – Excerpt

Danielle’s Domain – Excerpt

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Review: The Secret Hour (Midnighters #1) by Scott Westerfeld

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Goodreads Summary:

Nobody is safe in the secret hour.

Strange things happen at midnight in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma.

Time freezes.

Nobody moves.

For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. Only a small group of people know about the secret hour — only they are free to move about the midnight time.

These people call themselves Midnighters. Each one has a different power that is strongest at midnight: Seer, Mindcaster, Acrobat, Polymath. For years the Midnighters and the dark creatures have shared the secret hour, uneasily avoiding one another. All that changes when the new girl with an unmistakable midnight aura appears at Bixby High School.

Jessica Day is not an outsider like the other Midnighters. She acts perfectly normal in every way. But it soon becomes clear that the dark creatures sense a hidden power in Jessica . . . and they’re determined to stop her before she can use it.

A story of courage, shadowy perils, and unexpected destiny, the secret hour is the first volume of the mesmerizing Midnighters trilogy by acclaimed author Scott Westerfeld.

My Review

I checked out The Secret Hour from my local library after accidentally buying the third book at a state book fair thingy. The third book sounded super interesting right off the bat, so I was a little bummed that it wasn’t the first book because The Secret Hour didn’t sound nearly as good from the back description as the third one did.

Well folks, The Secret Hour really wasn’t that satisfactory. The concept of course was totally different and intriguing. Only those born at midnight can actually live in the “secret hour” and have special powers. Sounds awesome right? Well the story started and it was already just kinda dry. Each character was introduced right away, but the concept itself wasn’t explained till about page 100 and the book is less than 300 pages. Then as the story continued, a romance blossomed practically out of no where, so I just didn’t feel much of a connection to it.

By the time the ending rolled around, the answer to the big question that had begun toward the beginning of the book was finally revealed, and the resolution was pretty anticlimactic. The enemy (which isn’t really much of a tangible enemy) was defeated right away and the story ended shortly after. Yes there were some bigger questions given to make you want to read book two, but nope, not feelin it. The Secret Hour was just a little too boring for my taste with characters I couldn’t connect with. Sorry guys for a negative review but there ya have it. This book wasn’t completely terrible, but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed reading it. And I guess I’m going to have to get rid of book three now too. 😦