REVIEW: A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

985873Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Rating: ★★★★★

“Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snow falls and the white wind blows, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”

I went into A Game of Thrones with a lot of hesitation. For years and years, I refused to read the books because I was convinced I would hate them. In addition to multiple POVs, for some reason I was also under the impression that GRRM’s writing was dense and difficult to get through. I had prepared myself to either hate it or struggle to finish it. I’m so happy that not only was I able to read the entire thing, but found myself really enjoying it!

“The cold winds are rising. Summer is at an end, and a winter is coming such as this world has never seen.”

I honestly think the fact that I’m such a huge fan of the TV show really helped me with the book. It was easier to follow along, especially with all the different characters and names that are dropped, and I was already aware of the overall plotline. Reading from the viewpoints of familiar characters was a unique experience. It heightened my love and understanding for some characters (Jon Snow, you angsty bastard) but it also changed my opinion for others. I surprisingly found myself really disliking Catelyn whereas before I was more sympathetic towards her. Having already seen the show also helped me pick up on all the foreshadowing that is present, and there is a lot! Some of which really cemented my own theories that I have for things I believe will be happening/revealed in later books. 

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or die.”

I’m glad I gave this series a chance, especially considering the obnoxiously long wait until Season 8. I’ve already bought (and started) A Clash of Kings and I look forward to reading the rest of the series! Hopefully by the time I’m all caught up, GRRM will be releasing The Winds of Winter soon 😉

REVIEW – A Treacherous Curse – Deanna Raybourn

26244626Title: A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Rating: ★★★★

ARC received through NetGalley.

Let me start by saying that I am so in love with this series. I won’t lie: I squealed a little when I found out that I was actually approved for an advanced copy of the book (my hopes were not high). #blessed

A Treacherous Curse is the third installment of the Veronica Speedwell series and it was just as amazing as the previous books. Veronica is such a lovely, intelligent protagonist and I love her character, but I was very pleased that this book we finally get to find out more about Stoker and his dark, mysterious past and learn what happened with the infamous Caroline and the dissolution of their marriage. Like before, we follow Veronica and Stoker on quite an adventure as they attempt to solve the latest murder mystery. 

One of the things I like the most about these books is that I can never solve the puzzle before the characters. It’s completely frustrating on my half, but entirely satisfying that I remain just as much in the dark as Veronica. It makes my enjoyment of reading that much more exciting and thrilling, especially since the plot is never straightforward or predictable.

As always, the interactions between Veronica and Stoker are seriously one of the best parts of these books. The snark, the banter, the understanding, the loyalty, the chemistry; it all shows just how perfectly they compliment one another. They have such a unique bond – the underlying sexual/romantic tension is clear as day – and I’m WAITING FOR THEM TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, DAMMIT. I’m all for a good slow burn but enough is enough already!

If you like murder mysteries, Victorian-era England, a slow burn romance, and a smart, witty protagonist, you should definitely check out this series. A Treacherous Curse is the third book and it did not let me down! I’m so excited for the rest of this series. The only unfortunate thing is that since I read this early, now I have to wait even longer for the next one. Boo.

REVIEW: Heart on Fire – Amanda Bouchet

33607186Title: Heart on Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #3)
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through NetGalley.

When I first came across the Kingmaker Chronicles, I was ecstatic to find a series that seemed to have everything I look for in the fantasy romance genre. I quickly devoured the first two books. A Promise of Fire and Breath of Fire were completely addicting – full of thrilling adventures, steamy romance, great characters, and an intriguing plot. And as sad as I that Cat and Griffin’s journey was coming to end, I was so excited to read the conclusion to this series. Nothing pains me more than the fact that Heart on Fire was a major disappointment.

There were three major issues I had with the book that didn’t allow for me to enjoy this as much as the first two in the series:

The Characters. Heart on Fire was very much focused on Cat and Griffin, which is fine because they’re the main characters and the heart of the story, but the side characters that I had grown to love and care for throughout the series were practically non-existent, and had very little (if any) page time. One of the great things about the previous books was Cat’s connections and relationships with these characters, so the fact that they were missing throughout most of the book was disheartening. 

The Plot. My main issue was the plot was that many of the scenes seemed to drag. When I start skimming paragraphs and pages, that is never a good thing. Another problem I had with the story was the final confrontation with Cat’s mother. I was expecting way more action and turmoil, especially given all the previous encounters, and yet it was over so quickly and anti-climatically that I wondered if I had missed something.

The Ending. This is where the majority of my disappointed comes from. When I read the conclusion to a much beloved series, I expect to be left with a feeling of contentment and satisfaction. Instead, I feel cheated. The ending felt completely rushed. The story ended so abruptly that I was actually stunned when I turned the last page and was met with nothing. There was no epilogue or final chapter to wrap up loose ends and give closure to the reader. It honestly felt like I was missing a part of the book. It left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Heart on Fire should have been an epic conclusion to a wonderful series but there were too many things missing for me to really enjoy it. I’m going to miss these characters and their stories, especially Cat and Griffin. In the future, I hope there are more fantasy romance novels written as wonderful as these books in the future. Kudos to Amanda Bouchet for writing such an amazing debut series! 

 

REVIEW: Warcross – Marie Lu

29385546Title: Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: ★★★★★

It’s no secret that Marie Lu is an immensely talented writer, and her books prove that. And yet, I was still blown away by Warcross. There are so many things about this book that I loved and that worked together to create an amazing story that it’s hard for me to even begin to describe.

The world-building was fantastic and Marie Lu’s creativity really comes through to create a futuristic setting that was both unique and yet believable. It was so easy to mentally picture everything that was described. The descriptions of the virtual reality and Warcross games were so vivid and really enhanced my enjoyment of the story. The plot of the story was engaging, thrilling, and exciting. Emika was a great protagonist and I really liked her character. She was talented, smart, tough, but still possessed flaws that made her relatable and real. And speaking of characters, there was such a widely diverse cast of characters present in the novel, who were all well-written, compelling, and brought a lot to the story. The romance between Emika and Hideo was executed perfectly and I am completely on board with that ship. Both Emika’s and Hideo’s choices at the end of the story have me totally invested in whatever happens next!

Near the end of the book, two plot twists were revealed: one of which I had expected, but the other I did not see coming. The second twist actually made me love the book even more as it added moral ambiguity to a main character and I am so excited for the sequel and I can’t wait to see where the author takes the story!

REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe – Melissa de la Cruz

33602143Title: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
Author: Melissa de la Cruz 
Rating: ★★½

ARC received through NetGalley.

Pride and Prejudice is such a classic novel, and one of my favorites, so I was really excited to read a gender-swapped modern day version of the story. However, there were a few things about this book that kept me from really enjoying it. 

My biggest issue was the main character, Darcy Fitzwilliam. I appreciate the author’s attempt to create a character who was a self-reliant, successful, confident woman but she came across as insensitive and unlikable and my opinion never changed even after her “growth” as a character. I also though the story felt a bit rushed which made it lack the emotional depth I was hoping for in a Pride and Prejudice retelling. 

There were a few minor continuity issues but I think those were due to the fact that I was reading an ARC and hopefully they were fixed for publication. Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe was a quick and easy read, but I found it a bit lacking in comparison to what I had been expecting.