Gathering Darkness

“You don’t cry when someone pushes you down. You get up. You get up and you fight back. And pretty soon nobody’s going to shove you anymore because they’ll see it’s not worth it.”

Title: Gathering Darkness

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Series: Falling Kingdoms # 3

Publication: December 9th 2014 by Razorbill

Pages: 416

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…

THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.


My Thoughts:

Finally! This series was off to a meh sort of start for me, but it has finally picked up the pace. While the ever present problems I have with some of the story telling and methods are still very much alive and kicking in this third installment, there is also a light shining through the other end for once. Gathering Darkness, much like the other books in the series, is full of unnecessary deaths and awkward confrontations. However, Gathering Darkness also brings a fire the other books have been lacking. It is adventurous, heart pounding, and it takes constant unexpected turns. One thing I do enjoy about these books is that I never know what’s actually going to happen. Gathering Darkness feeds of the success of the previous books while also highlighting a new region of unexplored territory. It is a much needed addition to this series.

Like I said, my main problems are still very prevalent. One of my biggest issues is the constant death. I am not opposed to killing characters (not in the literary standpoint, at least. As a fangirl, hell yes I’m opposed). I am, however, not akin to just killing them off. There is so much death, people are dying left and right and it is completely taking away the power of their deaths. Huge main characters have died and more will keep dying; the problem is that there is no meaning in their deaths. I honestly feel like the characters are being killed off just because she can’t think of anything better to do. It doesn’t further the plot and I feel absolutely nothing but annoyance when they die. My thoughts instantly turn to – oh lookie, there goes another one. Too much of a good thing can be bad, and these books are a prime example of it.

My second issue is the relationships between all of the characters. This is a problem that has been around since book one and has yet to dissipate or fix itself. The characters all fall in love like Romeo after he gets dumped by Rosaline: BOOM. One second they can be talking and the next they are kissing and there has been no romantic tension build up whatsoever. There is only one relationship that has actual grounds and it is the least likely one to happen. Everyone loves Cleo, but Cleo likes Nic, Jonas, and Magnus? Wait, what? I am honestly so confused with everything when it comes to the characters interacting. It’s all hot and cold. “I HATE YOU” and then they’re making out or something. None of the relationships have plausible grounds. I ship nothing with nothing – and that’s a problem for me.

Anywho, problems aside, Gathering Darkness did bring a lot of things to the table. It was exciting, entertaining, and thought provoking at points. I finally could feel and hope for some of the characters. I had a purpose to reading, I had a side I had chosen. Previously, I was reading just to read and see if something got better. Now? I wan’t to see success, I want to see vengeance. I actually want to see what happens to the characters – and that is a vast improvement over my prior feelings towards the books. Gathering Darkness is the perfect third installment, it was just enough to rejuvenate my interests.


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The Radius of Us

“And maybe one day soon, there will be more. But for now this is what we are.”

Title: The Radius of Us

Author: Marie Marquardt

Series: Standalone

Publication: January 17th 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages:304

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores-Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.

Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?

Told in alternating first person points of view, The Radius of Us is a story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor. It offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. Most importantly, Marie Marquardt’s The Radius of Us shows how people struggling to overcome trauma can find healing in love.


My Thoughts:

Sometimes you just need to sit down and read a contemporary that does something to you; whether it makes you laugh, cry, or daydream – but just something. The Radius of Us does just that with surprising feeling and consideration. It’s not often that a book handles the not so easy to discuss in society with grace, poise, and a beautiful mixture of language and story.

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Rebel Spring

“Sometimes, to regain sanity, one had to acknowledge and embrace the madness.”

Title: Rebel Spring

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Series: Falling Kingdoms # 2

Publication: November 27th 2013 by Razorbill

Pages: 401

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Cleo is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.

After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.


My Thoughts:

Despite the problems that abound with the first novel in the series, I found myself coming back for more. Those same issues are still prevalent, a long with a whole new lot of them. However, I enjoyed Rebel Spring much more than its predecessor. I won’t say I’m in love, exactly, it takes a whole lot more to impress me when I’m in the fantasy realm of the book world. I might not be head over heels with this series, but I’m still reading it – and that means something.

This was basically me the entire time I was reading the book:

The entire plot summed up in one gif:

Honestly, I do enjoy these books. There are things I don’t like, things I don’t approve of, but I still enjoy it. I don’t know why I keep coming back for more. I have yet to hit my wow factor. I don’t ship anyone with anyone, people are dying just to kill them off – which completely takes away from their death, and there seems to be no consequences for any actions on any side. I get the whole power thing and not being held accountable on that end, but my issue is that the rules of the world are constantly being broken and it diminishes the creative stage on which the play takes place. I’m excited to see what happens next and what improves within the story.


 

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Falling Kingdoms

What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else. Knowing this makes us powerful even without magic.

Title: Falling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Series: Falling Kingdoms # 1

Publication:  January 1st 2012 by Razorbill

Pages: 412

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….


A List of Thoughts While Reading (Cause that’s all I’ve got right now):

  • Duuun duun dundunduun… oh wait, this isn’t Game of Thrones? But it said! My bad…
  • WHAT IS HAPPENING. TOO MANY PEOPLE. Argh.
  • Oh wait, you, I like you. Yupp. No… come back.
  • Different person speaking now, huh. WHO’S IN CHARGE

  • I don’t know who to care about right now, but that was awful. Why must things always be horrible?
  • Great: REVENGE PLOT.

  • Wait a second, romance?
  • WHAT THE HELL.

  • I really want more of that one person, but I can’t remember his name because there are too many different characters.
  • So far, Jonas and Cleo are by far the most interesting. I like Magnus, but he totally creeps me out too. (P.S I only like Jonas cause what Aron did was not okay. Jonas = revenge driven brute. Oh, I don’t like you, let me kidnap you for being a bystander!)
  • Cleon – I ship it.
  • Theon… no Nic… no Theon. Help!

  • There are so many different threads being pulled on, but I wonder which one to follow. It’s like a fork on top of another fork, with another fork, and maybe a spork.
  • DAMMIT! You had to kill that one? Really. There goes my enthusiasm.
  • Okay, I can see where this is going. Maybe book two? Expand a bit? Delve some more? Yeah, that would be nice. And entertaining. I could use some umph.
  • That was fast. I didn’t think cities fell that easily? Umm… The other armies weren’t that good guys. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.
  • It’s over? Noo…….

Overall, Falling Kingdoms, while it has many faults, sets an interesting stage for the rest of the series. I’ve heard good things about the books to come, and for that reason I am willing to pursue the rest of the books. I liked some things, hated some others, and was left confused and wanting by even more – however, I’ll give book two a shot. Firsts in a series are rarely fireworks, anyways. Unless your Six of Crows or A Court of Thorns and Roses.. but shhh.


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The Word for Yes

Something real had happened last night. Something horrible had happened to Melanie.

Title: The Word for Yes

Author: Claire Needell

Series: Standalone

Publication: February 16th 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 256

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

After their parents’ divorce, Jan, Erika, and Melanie have to get used to the new world order: a father who’s moved to another continent and a mother who throws herself into moving on. Jan, off at her first semester of college, has plenty to worry about, including an outspoken roommate who’s kind of “out there” and an increasingly depressed and troubled long-distance boyfriend. Her younger sisters, left at home in New York City, and dealing with all the pressures of life in high school, aren’t exactly close. Erika is serious and feels awkward and uncomfortable in crowds, though her beauty tends to attract attention. Melanie is socially savvy and just wants to go out—to concerts, to parties, wherever—with her friends. The gap between all three girls widens as each day passes.

Then, at a party full of blurred lines and blurred memories, everything changes. Starting that night, where there should be words, there is only angry, scared silence.

And in the aftermath, Jan, Erika, and Melanie will have to work hard to reconnect and help one another heal.

At once touching and raw, Claire Needell’s first novel is an honest look at the love and conflicts among sisters and friends, and how these relationships can hold us together—and tear us apart.


My Thoughts:

This is one of those reviews that is immensely difficult to write. First of all, I want to begin by saying that my view of the book as a whole in no way reflects my opinions on the topic itself. When it comes down to the meat of the pie, as it were, the writing just couldn’t hold up to my expectations, leading this book into a downward spiral all of its own.

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Mad Miss Mimic

I knew nothing. And I found that, yes, I was curious—very curious indeed.

Title: Mad Miss Mimic

Author: Sarah Henstra

Series: Standalone

Publication: January 3rd 2017 by Razorbill Canada

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back… and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo…but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations – but to do so, she must first find her voice.


A List of Thoughts:

  • A fantastic Victorian era mystery that will keep you on your toes
  • Leo, or Leonora, is surprisingly easy to relate to. She is fun, quirky, and full of an entertaining spark reminiscent of Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. Oh, and she also has a speech impediment which enables her to perfectly mimic people but stutter in her own voice.
  • Full of twists and turns. I, personally, did not expect this book to be a Victorian-era drug bust esque sort of thing. Henstra totally rocks it.
  • The plot is very complex, in a good way. It’s just enough to keep you intrigued and make you think – not too much, not too little.
  • The characters with their failings and strengths are complex, believable, and a real treat to delve into. Leo, Francis Thornfax (DUDE, HIS NAME), Tom… all of them. They all have such a vibrant spirit – that’s the only way I can describe it.
  • The plot itself is amazing. It is a giant, tastefully crafted melting pot of terrorism in retaliation for banning drugs, romance, mystery, and the perfect bursts of humor. It’s dark, intense, and delightful.

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Follow Me Back

Title: Follow Me Back

Author: A.V Geiger

Series: Standalone

Publication: June 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…


My Thoughts:

Hmm… this is one of those books where I scratch my head a bit and I still can’t figure out what I think. It’s not in a bad way, I just have some very mixed opinions and feelings on things. I like the format – it’s told through texts, tweets, and whatnot (like Illuminae), but at the same time, the format felt clunky and like an afterthought. Follow Me Back illustrates the frightening power and grip of social media, and that online fantasy of the perfect dream person. Just imagine your favorite artist, pop star, author, actor/actress giving you the time of day. Think about those fans that take things just a bit too far some times. Follow Me Back delves into that world with a tense mystery, surprising care, and tantalizing clues that draw you in even further.

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