Home       About Me       Review Index

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Thoughts: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

First, let me say- the end of this book. Whaaaaaat?!?! If you know me, or have been following this blog for a bit, than you know I am not one to read fantasy novels. My tastes run more contemporary. That doesn't mean I don't stray every now and again. Like last year for instance- I moved away from my contemporary bubble and picked up The Kiss of Deception. the first novel in Mary E. Pearson's Remnant Chronicles. And I was blown away. I loved that book. The story grabbed hold and took off with me trailing behind- you can read all about what I thought here. I loved the characters, I loved the writing and I loved the overall plot. It was a really great read for me, and I was super excited about what was to come.

The Heart of Betrayal's release date came and went without me really knowing that it was coming. I have been in a non-bookish bubble for sometime, and I am just now breaking free. So, while I was eagerly awaiting this release, I have only just finished it (two months after it hit the shelves).

Initially I was worried that The Heart of Betrayal was going to be a victim of the second book syndrome. You know that one- where the second book in a trilogy really feels like a filler novel, it doesn't really move the story along. This is NOT the case with The Heart of Betrayal. Pearson really kept the story kept moving with this one, and she introduced new elements and idea that really added to the overall story. There is a more political aspect to this novel- as Lia and Rafe now find themselves prisoners of Venda and their feared ruler the Komizar (who is a real bastard if I can say so myself). Venda is an interesting place, it's an isolated kingdom with little to offer. The Komizar is a fierce leader who has these big ambitions- I am trying really hard not to spoil anything here, so I am being very vague- and he's not letting anyone or anything get in the way of those ambitions.

The characters also grew and matured in The Heart of Betrayal. I continue to be a big fan of Lia. She's a bit more vulnerable in this second installment, but she's also grown a ton. She's experienced a lot of terrible things- again being vague- she's also been able to experience a culture that is new to her. She's formed a bond with some of the Vendan children- something she wasn't expecting, and she's able to see the people as more than uncivilized barbarians.

Let me briefly mention- there is no love triangle in this novel- none. The Kiss of Deception alludes to one briefly, but not really. So if you are staying away from there books for that reason- I say don't worry about it, it's non existent.

Overall, I loved this book, I thought it was a brilliant addition to this trilogy. There was so much happening and I found that I couldn't read fast enough. I cannot wait for The Beauty of Darkness- which is out next year- this hurts my heart.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Thoughts: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling for a person you haven't met yet.

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either

**Review copy received from publisher

Tonight the Streets Are Ours, is a book I have been anticipating for some time now. Leila Sales blew my mind with This Song Will Save Your Life, that I gifted the novel six different times, to six very different people, all of whom loved it. It was THAT good! That story resonated with me in such a special way and I was very eager to see what Sales was going to bring to the table with her newest tale.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is about a girl- Arden- trying to figure herself out, and she's not really sure how to do that. Arden, once described as recklessly loyal, doesn't know that the means for her anymore, and she's trying to work that out. Arden loves deeply and is fiercely protective, and this has defined her for most of her life. However, she's now wondering if that's enough for her. Her ever present mother has taken off for the big city, her workaholic dad has done little to pick up the slack, she is finding it hard to connect with her best friend and she's wondering if her boyfriend is really what she needs. With all these on her mind, Arden stumbles across Peter's blog and instantly she is drawn to him and the content she finds on his blog.

As I mentioned, I adored This Song Will Save Your Life, and I wanted more of that. I wanted to experience the same wonder and awe. I didn't get that that with Tonight the Streets Are Ours. That's not saying it wasn't a good story, it was.  I just didn't connect with it as much as it's predecessor. It was still a powerful story, with with important and valuable things said. I appreciated how Arden was able to find her niche in the end.

One thing that sort of irked me though, was how long it look Arden and Peter to actually meet. The synopsis suggests that this is a large part of the story. It's not. It's more than half way through the novel before Arden and Peter actually speak to one another face to face. This was a bit disappointing. There was a lot of buildup to this meeting and than- nothing really (I am trying to avoid spoilers here). Another thing that I wasn't super convinced with the Arden's relationship with her best friend Lindsay. I didn't understand why they were friends. They didn't seem to have a thing in common. I wasn't sure they even really liked each other. In the beginning, I felt like Lindsay was using Arden, and didn't really value their friendship. This does seem to mimic how Arden's feeling throughout the novel. She's feeling really unappreciated.

For me, one of the best parts of the novel was Peter. Peter is completely not what he seems, and I loved that. I really don't want to spoil anything here, so I am not going to say much, other than, Peter is far from perfect and has a very narrow view of his surroundings. I enjoyed this part of the book.

Overall, I went into Tonight the Streets Are Ours, with very high expectations. I was looking for a similar reading experience to the one that I had with This Song Will Save Your Life, which I think does this novel a huge disservice. I was in a different place a year and a half ago. I really did enjoy Tonight the Streets Are Ours, I loved the characters and how imperfect they were (this seems to be a theme for me). Sales has a made a fan of me and I am looking forward to more from her.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Best of 2015- So Far

Well, boys and girls- it has been a while. I have been rather absent from the blogging world this year, and I think that's okay. However, in recent weeks I have felt the desire to return to this little delight of mine and try my hand at sharing about the things that bring me such great joy- reading and books.

I wanted to share with your today a little bit about what I have been reading and what some of the true gems have been. Cause, there have been a couple.

I haven't read much this year- if you're wanting an update on my life check out this post- cause not a lot has changed since then. as of right now I have read a grand total of 36 books this year, if I make it to 50 I will call that a success! But of those 36, there are four that really stuck with me.

When I initially read I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, I wasn't really feeling it. It took me a LONG time to read (which I think was mostly due to my CRAZY busy schedule), which really influenced how I felt about it. It also took me a bit to get into. However, after a few months, I continue to think about this story and how crazy beautiful it was. This was one of the few books I actually reviewed this year, you can read more of my thoughts here.

Me Before You has been making it's way around readers since it's release back in 2012. And I hadn't heard a bad thing about this story (I did hear it was an ugly cry kind of story though). I wasn't sure about reading this one though, as I had tried one other novel by Jojo Moyes and wasn't terribly thrilled (I am going to give it another go). This year I decided to take the plunge and jump in with both feet. And what an incredible story. It is SO much more than what it presents itself at being. And I loved it so much. It really makes you think about what life is and what living really means. It's not an easy read, but it's so worth it.

I don't generally do mystery novels. They're not my thing. JK Rowling is. So, again, I took the plunge and read The Cuckoo's Calling and it was brilliant! I loved it! I loved Strike, and how flawed he was. I thought all his hangups made him so charming. I loved how he was with Robin, and how she snuck her way into Strike's life. It was great. The mystery? Take it or leave it, it wasn't that incredible, but the characters were fun and I have plans to continue with the series. 

Mindy Kaling! She is my love! If you didn't know, last fall I discovered The Mindy Project! What an amazing little show that is. Like seriously. A friend and myself devoured that show in such a short amount of time, I was caught up before season three even made it to cable (come on, they are only 22 minutes long). In saying that, I knew I needed to experience Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), first hand. I actually listened to the audiobook- narrated by Mindy herself, and absolutely loved it. If you are a fan of The Mindy Project and/or love Mindy Kaling, you need this in your life. Who else is excited for Why Not Me? on September 15?

There you have it, a sample of what I've been reading and enjoying the last little while. I hope that catches you up a little bit.

~Happy Reading everyone!
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl