Review: Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood + Giveaway!

8th Aug 2016 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood + Giveaway!Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood
Series: Steps of Power #1, The Kings #1
Published by Silver Helm
Pub Date: October 1st 2015
Pages: 383
Format: eBook | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

The first book in JJ Sherwood's Steps of Power epic fantasy series. The Kings, Book I: Kings or Pawns is a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold.

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

This was such an incredible story and start to this high fantasy series. This story had multiple narrators, each telling their story from their own perspective and sometimes taking you into a different part of the map (which is included in the book btw). The tale was gripping, emotional and sucked you into every character’s trials and tribulations. Each character was introduced to you in a way that didn’t have your head spinning like other epic fantasy novels I have read. The pacing of the story was just right, and the world building was one of my favorite parts of this first book. There were some clear good/bad guys from the start that you loved/hated and some plot twists towards the end that I didn’t foresee.

J.J. Sherwood has a great way of describing surroundings and characters that is rich but not overbearing. The images easily manifested in my mind so vividly. All the while I kept thinking what a great movie this would make! J.J. also has an interactive world map on her Steps of Power website that is pretty awesome, and character content coming soon ( I can’t wait! :D).

General Jikum and King Hariem were likeable characters from the start and are our main storytellers in the beginning. The city of Elvorium, which King Hairem has inherited, is being corrupted by those that sit on the council, each an appointed representative of a different elven race. The king soon finds that he holds no real power and the council holds the real control (those jerks!). Meanwhile, their city is at war with Saebellus, a relentless and extremely powerful warlord (with a scary, huge dragon/beast thing). And though General Jikum is a worthy opponent and has been successful in recent battles, there seems to be no end to the fighting and death toll. King Hariem schemes to try and take power back from the council but there is also an assassin loose who has been targeting the Council of Elves, and his efforts seem to only backfire. This story is full of back-stabbing, treachery, heartbreak and mysteries that have yet to unravel themselves. What is that thing in the ice?! Who is this Sellemar character really?! I MUST KNOW!

I enjoyed this book immensely and plan on continuing to read this series. If you are a fan of high fantasy novels go pick this one up immediately!

Giveaway

(This giveaway is run by the author. We are not responsible for choosing or notifying winners, or for the prizes you’re to receive.)

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Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper + Giveaway!

4th May 2015 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2015, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper + Giveaway!Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper
Series: Dragon Kings #3
Published by Pocket Books
Pub Date: April 28th 2015
Pages: 384
Format: eARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a race on the brink of distinction: What will become of them? One proud leader wields his power to unlock dark mysteries in the third in this fierce, sensual new paranormal romance series.

When the head of the Five Clans of the Dragon Kings wants something, he gets it. Raised among the most privileged of his dying race, Malnefoley conceals a devastating tragedy from his youth. Now, many call him the Usurper because of his unconventional rise to power. His influence is waning while the Dragon Kings must solve the puzzle of their slow extinction. So when a particularly important captive escapes his compound in the Greek mountains, Malnefoley leaves nothing to chance. She is his prisoner to retrieve.

The woman is known as the Pet, a former associate of a sadistic doctor from the Asters, a human crime cartel. Her loyalties cannot be trusted, even when she claims to hold the secret to conception—an invaluable secret for a race unable to procreate. Neither can her unique gift from the Great Dragon be believed. She’s a soothsayer, able to see glimpses of the future. Her quest is to find and save a Cage warrior on the verge of her first match—a young woman whose destiny is bound to a timeless prophecy.

Malnefoley has no respect for the ancient superstitions that brought about his childhood trauma. His only goal is to return the Pet to his compound and use her knowledge for the betterment of their people. Yet her restless energy and raw sensuality are as intriguing as her predictions about the rise of the Great Dragon. He dares not trust the crafty fugitive’s loyalties, but as their treacherous chase turns passionate, can he even trust himself?

The Dragon Kings are an ancient race of powerful beings that look human, except for a slight glow of their skin. There are five different clans of Dragon Kings and each have special powers: Clan Garnis (aka the Lost) have enhanced senses, reflexes and speed. Clan Indranan are telepathic, Clan Pendray (aka the Reapers) are berserkers and have incredible strength, Clan Sath can steal or borrow other Dragon Kings’ powers, and are also known as the keepers of secrets and knowledge. Lastly, Clan Tigony (aka the Tricksters) are the most powerful of all the clans and can bend electricity to their will, they are also quite charming and known for being great negotiators. The clans are governed by the Council, and the leader of the Council is the Honorable Giva, the current Giva is Malnefoley of Tigony.

The Dragon Kings are facing extinction since they are unable to conceive children. Three human cartels have surfaced and the human cartel known as the Asters have found a way to extort them by enslaving Dragon Kings and pitting them against each other to fight to the death. These fighters are known as Cage Warriors and the winner gets an opportunity to conceive a child. The Asters enslaved a female Dragon King simply called the “Pet” with a unique gift that allowed her to glimpse the future, the success of conception was due to this soothsayer gift. Her stay with the Asters was not a pleasant one as she was their captive and had her share of torture at the hands of the Asters’ sadist doctor. The Pet was captured by the Giva and kept her imprisoned until she glimpsed an important vision, and escaped. She knows she must retrieve an ancient weapon to assist and save a Cage Warrior she has yet to meet. She sets off on a path that her visions have opened for her until she is interrupted by the Giva himself. Malnefoley is furious that she has escaped and taken with her knowledge that could save his people so he vows to bring her back. Only problem is, the Pet is not having it. She also knows that Malnefoley is destined to be her lover, she has seen them together in her visions. Malnefoley of Tigony is the most powerful of Dragon Kings and also one of the most gorgeous. The Pet must continue her mission and she will not let the Giva get in her way. The Pet’s background is a mystery to the Giva, he does not know what clan she is from or what her abilities are. There aren’t many people that believe in her gift and she is reluctant to tell him since she is certain he will be skeptical. She needs to convince Malnefoley to believe in her and help her continue this mission, and she is very aware it’s going to be a long shot.

I jumped into this book without having read the previous two in this series and what I found was an exciting and action-packed story. There are series where it is nearly impossible to jump in half-way and be able to follow the storylines, I was stoked that this wasn’t one of those. I’m sure I am missing some background but I felt that the story gave you enough detail to follow the Pet’s story arc without any huge question marks. The Pet is such a brave and strong-willed character, which was surprising knowing she had been someone’s puppet for years. She is beautiful and an amazing warrior with a unique gift. How must it have been for her to glimpse her and Malnefoley in the throes of passion and having no clue how they would get there? She knows he despises her for her involvement with assisting the Asters. Barely knowing someone and glimpsing such passion would definitely shock me to the core. Malnefoley’s powers are something like Storm from the X-Men he can call electricity to him from nearby friction or from just rubbing pieces of clothing together. The scenes where he shows us his power were incredible.

I have not read anything by Lindsey Piper (also known as Carrie Lofty) before, but let me tell you her writing is fantastic. This world she has built is intense and detailed and these characters are profound and captivating. I was in love with the Pet from the start, and once I got to know Malnefoley and his inner thoughts I couldn’t help but be drawn to him. If you are looking for an intense, action-heavy, paranormal story, you need to pick this one up. I can’t speak to the whole series so far but this one alone was so entertaining. What I also loved about this story is that yes, there is a romance but there is so many other things going on that it only intensifies the rest of the story. It doesn’t feel like just a romance, it is so much more than that but I will say the “sexy times” are definitely electric (both figuratively and literally)!!! If you like paranormal stories with intense romance and action, I definitely recommend this one! Have you read this one yet? Thinking about reading it? Let me know in the comments below!

gwtw-separate-line

Giveaway

Paperback copy of Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper

About the Author: Lindsey Piper is the alter ego of award-winning historical romance author Carrie Lofty. Readers and critics are wild for the “red-hot” (RT Book Reviews) Dragon Kings series, her unique first foray into paranormal fiction. She lives and writes in Chicago. Visit her online at LindseyPiper.com and CarrieLofty.com.

 

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

19th Mar 2015 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Dead Heat by Patricia BriggsDead Heat by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #4
Published by Ace Books
Pub Date: March 3rd 2015
Pages: 336
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way...

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

In this fourth novel in the Alpha & Omega series, the start of this story has quite a bit of talk of having children from Anna’s end. Anna and Charles have been together for three years at the start of this book and she is apparently having baby fever. I was intrigued when this topic came up since Anna is a werewolf and cannot carry a baby to term. (A full moon forces the change to a werewolf, and a fetus can’t survive the change.) That topic seems to be off-the-table for Charles, but definitely not for Anna. I can’t wait to find out where that story arc is headed!

Charles decides to fly Anna to Scottsdale, Arizona to see an old friend of his and look for a new horse for Anna for her birthday. This old friend of Charles’ is news to Anna, which means that even three years into their marriage, there are still facets of Charles that Anna is still learning about. His old friend happens to be Joseph Sani, a human, who is the son of Hosteen Sani, a full-blooded Navajo, and Alpha of the Salt River pack. The Sanis’ breed Arabian horses, so Charles and Anna will be staying with the Sani’s while Anna gets to view horses all day. Fun! Except for… oh no… apparently there is an evil fae in the area that is taking human children… and it just so happens, it tried to kill Hosteen’s grandchildren. Well of course Anna and Charles aren’t going to stand-by while children are in trouble. This attracts both the FBI, the Cantrip agency (the federal agency that deals with the supernatural), and the police. I was really happy to see that Leslie Fisher is back! She is a human FBI agent that was first introduced in Fair Game (Alpha & Omega #3). Brother Wolf (Charles’ wolf), Charles, and Anna both really like Leslie and her tough demeanor and her no-bullshit attitude. Anna and Charles are then brought into the investigation as consultants.

We learn a lot about the terrible fae that is kidnapping children and also learn a lot about horses. I knew that Patricia Briggs was a horse aficionado and owns horses, but I was really excited about all the “horse knowledge” that was brought into this story. It was great hearing about all the different types of horses, the different terminology (though I was as lost as Anna was), the proper way to ride horses, and about what goes into a horse show. I think that may have been my favorite part of this story, besides of course, Anna and Charles learning more about themselves and learning about the Sanis’. I really enjoyed this book and meeting the Sanis’ and learning more about Charles through his old friend Joseph. It had a bitter-sweet ending, I definitely shed some tears, but I definitely can’t wait until the next book!

 

About Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children and six horses and writes full-time, much to the delight of her fans.

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Alpha & Omega Series Review: Books 1 – 4

18th Mar 2015 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Alpha & Omega Series Review: Books 1 – 4On the Prowl, Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground, Fair Game, Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega,
Published by Ace Books
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Series synopsis from Patricia Briggs’ website:

This series is set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson Series, but on a slightly earlier time line. It begins with a novella titled Alpha and Omega published in the On the Prowl anthology. The decision to continue the story was made after the anthology had already been published, which has caused some confusion, since "book 1" is actually a continuation of the short story. The series has plenty of action, but there's more emphasis on the romantic attraction between the hero and heroine. On a romance-readers scale, this series is sweet rather than steamy.

This series centers on Charles Cornick, son to Bran Cornick (The Marrok/leader of the American werewolves), and Anna Latham. This story is introduced as a short story titled ‘Alpha & Omega’ in the On the Prowl anthology. The short story, or novella, was a great read and was only about 60 pages but really felt like a full-fledged book! Anna’s story has a bit of a rough start, she is turned against her will, and abused and tortured by her Chicago pack. After she recognizes a missing boy in a newspaper article, which is tied to her pack, she decides that she must report this to The Marrok. After learning that the Chicago pack may be involved in some serious wrong-doing, Bran sends Charles, his son and his enforcer/assassin to clean up the mess. This is when Charles first encounters Anna Latham.

As soon as they meet, Charles has a serious urge to protect her, his wolf is right at the forefront of this and insists this Anna is special and must be protected at ANY cost. He senses that Anna has been mistreated, and makes Charles and Brother Wolf (his wolf side) see RED. Anna is completely taken aback by Charles, he is obviously of Native American decent, is tall, muscular and has a fierce demeanor. There seems to always be a permanent scowl on his face. She knows that Charles is dangerous, but for some reason, she feels safe with him. This is all new to Anna, since she was turned, she has felt anything but safe around werewolves. Charles starts to realize how special this Anna is, she is an Omega wolf. Extremely rare, and is beyond sacred among werewolves… and she has been mistreated by her pack, by her Alpha, who should have protected her and her amazing gift. Omegas are not submissive wolves, but they also aren’t really dominant either. They have a special effect on dominant werewolves, and bring peace and serenity to a pack. Learning about Anna and her Omega “superpowers” was one of my favorite things about this series. In this world, there are only two Omegas that are known to exist, and Anna is one of them.

Brother Wolf has claimed Anna as his mate, to Charles’ surprise, but so has Charles (though his realization and acceptance is a lot slower than Brother Wolf’s). What evolves is a very sweet and powerful romance. Anna has been obligated to play submissive, but Anna is a force in her own right. She also has a strong reaction to Charles, and in so-many-words he saves her from her horrible situation. I wouldn’t call it a meet-cute, but their romance is slow-building and sweet and it didn’t feel rushed.

As the series progresses, we start to learn more about Anna’s abilities as an Omega and also her and Charles’ relationship. Charles is special in his own sense, since he is the only werewolf-born on record and has magical abilities. Charles has been alone for a very long time and didn’t deem himself worthy of love, he was an assassin and a monster, but Anna changed it all. Anna comes back with Charles to Montana and starts to learn more about herself and how to control her wolf, and her Omega abilities. They get married, and she starts to travel with Charles as he does his duty of enforcing the Marrok’s rules. They have very interesting action-packed adventures together, as they encounter some really foul baddies, and you start to see just how strong, independent and influential Anna really is. In some ways, Anna is a lot like Mercy Thompson, she is different and independent and doesn’t take shit from anyone, but is loyal, loving and protective. Charles and Anna’s relationship is always evolving, they learn new things about each other and this keeps you enthralled and captivated by their on-going story.

This series takes place in the Mercyworld, and along the same timeline. Patricia Briggs is a wonderful world-builder and has seamlessly tied both of these series together but also made them different. The storytelling is fantastic and magical. I love werewolf stories, but this has quickly and most definitely become one of my favorites. The way the werewolf hierarchy is designed and described by Patricia really is amazing. I have yet to find a plot-hole in any of her books, she captures every detail flawlessly. I cannot stop doting on how great Patricia Briggs’ writing is. If you are a fan of the Mercy Thompson series, or maybe just an urban fantasy junkie, you will most definitely enjoy this series! I urge you to start reading this series immediately! Do it!

Note: Full review of DEAD HEAT up on the blog tomorrow!

 

About Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children and six horses and writes full-time, much to the delight of her fans.

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger | Book & Movie Thoughts!

23rd Feb 2015 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger | Book & Movie Thoughts!The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy
Pub Date: September 7th 2010
Pages: 280
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

This books’ main character, Bianca Piper, it totally relatable. She was incredibly snarky and cynical to no end. She is just your average girl, nothing incredibly noteworthy about her that anyone could tell at first glance. When I first heard the term “D.U.F.F.” and what it stood for, I was appalled. It is such a cruel label to give someone. Bianca felt the same way when Wesley so kindly pointed out to her that she was the DUFF amongst her friends. It totally messed with her self-confidence and led her to question her friends and anyone around her. I hated Wesley for making her feel so insecure. Meanwhile, Bianca’s home life is becoming rockier by the second and she needs an escape from it all. Enter ever-so-charming-and-annoying Wesley, it just so happens that Bianca gets paired up with Wesley on a school project (to her dismay) and they are forced to hang out together. Wesley quickly becomes the release that Bianca needed, the best part is that she admits she is using Wesley because she thinks he’s an annoying man-whore. Bianca holds all the cards in this frenemy-with-benefits arrangement and she totally owns it. I especially loved Bianca and Wesley’s constant back-and-forth banter, it was hilarious and amusing to no end. Wesley ends up surprising us all, he also has his own skeletons in the closet and is able to get Bianca to open up about the turmoil in her home life. He even comes to her defense when you least expect it! Of course horror strikes when Bianca starts to realize that she maybe-kinda-okay-totally has feelings for Wesley. But does Wesley feel the same way?

I think the main thing I took away from this story is that we all feel like the DUFF at some point in our lives, and that is okay. It is perfectly normal to feel insecure at times, but in the end, you should be totally proud to be you. There is only one “you” in the world and you should own it!

I recently saw the movie this book is based on and it almost felt like a completely different story. The root of the Bianca/Wesley relationship was there but it failed to display a lot of the intimate connections that they had made throughout the original storyline that I loved. If I would have to put the book into a movie genre I would consider it a “dramedy.” It has a lot of very deep emotional content happening, but at the same time Bianca’s colorful personality and her sarcasm kept the story light and added comedy to it. The movie it a total “rom-com” and does have the feel of those 90s movies (i.e. She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, etc.), with all of the emotional drama removed. I enjoyed the movie very much (it was hilarious!!), but it is definitely not the story I read. I did think Mae Whitman did a great job of portraying Bianca Piper and Robbie Amell was exactly how I pictured Wesley Rush. Their chemistry was great and believable. If you have read the book and not seen the movie, or seen the movie and not read the book, and you plan to… then just keep in mind that they are two different stories.

What did you guys think? Did any of you read the book and see the movie? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

 

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

7th May 2014 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: The Here and Now by Ann BrasharesThe Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Published by Delacorte Press
Pub Date: April 8th 2014
Pages: 288
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

 

As you begin this story it seems have a bit of a light but somber mood to it. It felt dreary, like a foggy morning that our main character, Prenna was walking through. She is not from the present, but from the distant future, and her life in the present is highly regulated and she has very little freedom. She is forbidden to form close bonds with “time natives” (those from the present). But regardless, she forms a friendship with a boy from her class, Ethan. As you see Prenna interacting with Ethan, the fog starts to dissipate and though the story is still pretty somber, it is a little brighter when Ethan is around. Ethan is charming and vastly intelligent, and always seem to have a logical reasoning or answer to everything. Though it sounds annoying, this only adds to his charm. Prenna is from a disease-ridden future that her, and a few others escaped from via time travel. Problem is, she can’t share that with anyone, especially Ethan, though he seems to be a lot more intuitive than most of the other “time natives”. She can’t even talk about her previous life with her fellow time travelers, it is forbidden, as are many other things. The place where she came from is not a place anyone would ever want to visit. It is full of pandemic disease, death and devastation. But this world, the present, this refreshed world is wonderful and Prenna relishes in the simplest of things. Things that maybe we take for granted: flowers, stars, abundance of food, animals, the ocean… things that no longer existed in the future she is from. Then she is presented with information that may save them all from that dreadful future. The decision to interfere with the present and possibly fix the future now lies solely in her hands. But if she acts, then she will go against every rule that has been ingrained into her since their arrival. And better yet, will it even work?

This story as a lot of really interesting elements to it, time travel, space-time continuum, chaos theory (the butterfly effect), mystery, danger, rebellion and of course, love. It is a dystopia of sorts, though the dystopia doesn’t exist in the present, but in the future. (Though you could argue that Prenna is living a type of dystopia in the present within her community.) It also answers questions that other time-traveling stories may not: could you bring disease with you when you travel to the present? Could you infect others? How? I thought the writing was superb and I found myself getting lost in Ann Brashares’ colorful words and in getting to know Prenna and the grim future that she hails from. What is a bit unnerving about this story and the ghastly future we see, is that it is not beyond the world of possibilities. Disease and lack of energy resources are issues that strike close to home. Ann Brashares takes those conceivably impending crises and turns them into our worst nightmare.

Some of the characters seemed to take actions that left me a bit confused and I couldn’t understand their rational. There were also characters that were introduced that weren’t ever fully developed. Those were the only reasons I didn’t give this book a 4. Regardless, this book kept me intrigued and I liked the development of Prenna’s persona. I also enjoyed Prenna and Ethan’s interactions and watching the romance bloom. However, I can see how some readers may have mixed feelings about the ending also because this is a stand-alone novel. I still believed it was a happy ending nonetheless, an ending full of possibilities.

 

 

About Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her husband and their four children.

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

6th Jan 2014 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Published by Scholastic
Pub Date: January 7th 2014
Pages: 336
Format: ARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

 

Defy is a high fantasy YA novel that takes place in a medieval realm where guards practice with wooden swords, sorcery exists, and kings still live in castles and reign over kingdoms. This story is centered around Alexa, a girl who due to circumstances out of her control, is forced to pretend to be a boy less she become a part of the king’s cruel brothel service. What is special about Alex (formerly known as Alexa) is that not only can she use a sword but she is pretty much an all-around badass. She (posing as a ‘he’) and her twin brother Marcel join the king’s army and are sworn to protect Prince Damian.

Alex has trained herself to act, talk, look and breathe like a boy and hides behind this facade day in and day out. Besides her twin brother Marcel, the only other person she can really call a friend is Rydel: Tall, muscular, honey-eyed Rydel. No one on the King’s army knows her secret, only her brother and no one can know her secret or she may be forced into the brothel.

The kingdom where she serves is currently at war with an enemy kingdom and an attempt is made on the Prince’s life within the castle. Alex, being the best fighter and swordsman the army has, is appointed by the King to guard the Prince at all times. Which typically would be a somewhat normal task, but Alex is a girl and seems to get all hot and bothered in Prince Damian’s presence. Prince Damian happens to look like a model on the cover of GQ but is very cold and heartless to everyone. Problem is, the Prince seems to be a different person around Alex which only seems to increase the fluttery action going on in her stomach. It’s around this time that Alex starts to see a different side of the Prince that goes against everything she’s ever believed about him.

We often tend to see female characters succumb easily to their emotions, sometimes feeble-minded and naïve but Alexa is not that, though she has some internal emotional turmoil that goes on throughout the story, she always seems to compose herself and keep treading forward. She is a very strong female character. Of course, she does find herself attracted to two boys *cue the love triangle*. I know what you’re thinking, “another love triangle?!” Yes, but bear with me here, I too am a bit over the love triangle scenario but I couldn’t help but get suckered in. This love triangle does prove to be a little heart breaking (as is normally expected), and at times I wasn’t sure who I preferred better but it did make for an interesting story.

I was highly impressed with how well-written and well thought-out the storyline was. At times Prince Damian’s character frustrated me with all his secrets that seemed to be never-ending. But I appreciated the way the romances progressed and all the mystery surrounding the Prince. Alexa proved to be an easy heroine to like and I grew very fond of her. She is strong, collected, and fierce and can fight better than most men, but she is also gentle and loving. I finished this book in one day, couldn’t seem to put it down. The intensity of the story and the characters seemed to keep me pinned to this book and kept me turning the pages. I am very excited about this series and this new author and can’t wait for the sequel.

 

 

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

16th Oct 2013 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Scorched by Mari MancusiScorched by Mari Mancusi
Series: Scorched #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: September 3rd 2013
Pages: 352
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Trinity
Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.

 

Can we all just take a minute to take in that cover art? I mean… wow. I have a bit of an obsession with dragons. With their gorgeous scales, majestic size and wingspan and not to mention they can breathe fire … what’s not to love?! What Mari Mancusi has given us with Scorched is a story set in a world where the possibility of dragons exists. Not only that, but also special “fire kissed” humans that bond with these magnificent creatures. Oh and did I mention time travel? Yes, there is some of that as well. But we are talking about dragons that are seemingly dangerous creatures and could easily overpower humans and have the potential to destroy the world.

In this story we have a young girl named Trinity that has a special gift… she can talk to eggs. Well, dragon eggs… okay, the only living baby dragon inside a baby egg. Cool right? Enter cute twin guys, who happen to be from the future and are drop dead gorgeous. One wants to stop the impending fiery doom-hell that we are headed for, if dragons are allowed to exist, by destroying the egg. The other twin as it turns out, is working with PETA for dragons (except with a cooler name). It sounds like a simple good sibling vs. evil sibling but what this author is able to do is take your very distinct good/evil chalk lines you drew firmly next to each character and throw a pail of water on them. I found myself questioning whether my choice for the guy on the good side really was on the good side and vice versa. So of course Trinity starts to feel this way too and she doesn’t know which twin to trust. She also has no idea what to do with the weird voices she keeps hearing in her head. But a dragon-apocalypse is coming and it may very well be all her fault… if she could only ignore the gravitational pull she feels from the egg…

After I picked up this book and got about 10 chapters in, I was praying for it to be a series and didn’t realize until I finished it that it is! I am seriously excited to read the next one. After the first couple chapters, the momentum really picked up and the story took flight! (Pun intended.)

The dragons in this first book are more or less in the background, since well there aren’t very many… yet. But I can’t wait to find out if the author is going to introduce us to more. The relationship that develops between the “fire kissed” and their dragons is fascinating and I hope to see more of that. I thought the world that Mari Mancusi introduced in this series was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I have read a lot of science fiction books in where dragons exist but not very many where dragons are at the forefront of the story, and not very many in the YA genre. I enjoyed reading Scorched and can’t wait to see what else Mari Mancusi has in store for us with this new series!

 

 

About Mari Mancusi

Mari Mancusi always wanted a dragon as a pet. Unfortunately the fire insurance premiums proved a bit too large and her house a bit too small–so she chose to write about them instead. Today she works as an award-winning young adult author and freelance television producer, for which she has won two Emmys.

When not writing about fanciful creatures of myth and legend, Mari enjoys goth clubbing, cosplay, snowboarding, watching cheesy (and scary) horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure—playing videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon, and their dog Mesquite.

Mari is pronounced like the name Mary.
Mancusi is pronounced man-COO-see.

Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

16th Sep 2013 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Antigoddess by Kendare BlakeAntigoddess by Kendare Blake
Series: Goddess War #1
Published by Tor Teen
Pub Date: September 10th 2013
Pages: 333
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

 

Holy Greek mythology batman! I must confess that I have not read Anna Dressed in Blood, though it is in my TBR pile. After reading this first book in this new series, I most definitely need to soon. Antigoddess is a thrill ride complete with glorious battles, destruction, love, hate and betrayal. Greek mythology is a quite fascinating subject all on its own and the way Kendare Blake has modernized the stories is just plain genius. I am not extremely familiar with every Greek mythology story but the way each character/god/goddess is introduced doesn’t require much previous knowledge. The stories are woven together quite fluidly.

The main premise of the story is that our beloved immortal gods and goddesses are all dying slow and painful deaths *gasp*. This story has multiple narrators but one of the main ones is Athena, the goddess of war, who is being consumed by feathers little-by-little from the inside out. She takes it upon herself to figure out a way to fix everyone. As the goddess of war, she feels she needs to be the one to lead the fight against the villains of this story who also happen to be a trio of uber powerful gods and goddesses. Being a strategian of battle, Athena is a stone-cold b@$%# … at least that’s what everyone’s perception of her is.  But she is a multilayered character, and as the story moves forward you start to see what she hides behind the stoic persona.

The other main narrator is Cassandra, who is a human mortal but has visions of events that will come to pass. So find the prophetess, save the world right? Well, turns out this whole immortal-not-mortal dilemma is turning the gods against each other and it just won’t be that easy. This story is so well written, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was auctioned off as a movie (yes, it’s that good). My favorite part of this book was meeting every new god/goddess and finding out how they may be somehow related to another character and what powers they possess.

Antigoddess is an adrenaline rush, especially towards the last half of the book. Kendare did a great job in building up the story, giving us just enough background to be able to follow the Greek mythology story a character was based on without drowning out the plot. The author painted vivid depictions of our heroes and grotesque pictures of the villains. There are romance storylines sprinkled within the book but I liked that they were not in the forefront of the main story, they were more like afterthoughts. Sort-of like ‘yes, love and romance is great but we’re all gonna die so let’s just focus on the task at hand.’ Brilliant. Oh and that ending! It left me physically aching for more and I can’t wait to dive into the next book in this series. I want more! I can’t wait to meet the other gods and goddesses that weren’t introduced in this first book. This series is off to a great start!

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Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Frigid by J. Lynn

14th Aug 2013 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Frigid by J. LynnFrigid by J. Lynn
Series: Frigid #1
Published by Spencer Hill
Pub Date: July 15th 2013
Pages: 240
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

 

This summer heat is just too much to deal with lately, so why not cool down with a winter romance? Grab a hot chocolate and pretend it’s winter with me! Frigid is the story of best friends Kyler and Sydney, who have been BFFs since the beginning of time. As it is often seen in cases of opposite sex BFFs, an unrequited love develops. Sydney has had feelings for Kyler for quite some time and it only seems to grow stronger as the years pass. Except well, Kyler  has a track record of being a ladies man and has a constant revolving door of women in his bedroom. Sydney is subjected to Kyler’s babe parade and it only seems to make her retreat into a state of self-loathing. The interesting thing is Kyler protects Syd like some juiced up lion protecting the females in his pride. It’s no wonder our poor Sydney can’t seem to get any dates. But you rarely see one without the other and once you are audience to Kyler and Sydney’s conversations and repartee’s, you begin to understand why their friendship has lasted so long. It’s a classic case of opposites attract with Sydney’s shy and modest ways and Kyler’s bigger-than-life ego. But at the end of the day, you understand why the works and why Sydney is completely captivated by Kyler. I mean the description of his body alone y’all! *fans self*

As winter break approaches, Kyler plans his yearly ski trip to a resort and invites Syd and some other friends to join. But then, a huge snowstorm decides to also visit the resort and the unforeseen happens…. Kyler and Sydney get stranded together… alone… in his family’s very cozy two-story lodge. Oh yes. Stranded in a private lodge, in the cold, while it’s snowing…. with a totes hot boy. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!! Truths start to slowly unravel and things start to slowly heat up in the cabin. But not before things take a chilly turn (pun intended) and mysterious events start to transpire that threaten their safety…

This book is only about 220 pages, but the way the story unfolded felt like it was much, much longer. The story evolved slowly, but at a good pace and the plot twists were weaved delicately between the Kyler/Sydney story development. I will warn you (or allure you) there are lots of sensual scenes that make you forget that this book takes place in the middle of the snowstorm (is it hot in here?). This is definitely a short and sexy read and though the unrequited love story is one that you often see and the story is a bit predictable, the way it is revealed will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!!

I haven’t seen an official confirmation that this is going to be a series, but the author has alluded to it. I’m excited to see if my guess at which two characters it might cover are correct!

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Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder

11th Jul 2013 Lety @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Lety

Review: Falling Into You by Jasinda WilderFalling Into You by Jasinda Wilder
Series: Falling #1
Published by Author
Pub Date: March 14th 2013
Pages: 369
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

I wasn't always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way.

Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him.

Colton didn't teach me how to live. He didn't heal the pain. He didn't make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.

 

I read a post of someone deeply gushing over Falling Into You and there was no doubt I had to see for myself! In reading the synopsis I knew I was in for a train ride headed straight into Emotional-Mess Mountain, but I had no idea I’d have so many feels! At its very core, Falling Into You is about first love, loss, grief, cope, compassion, desire and finding love again. When you find your true love/soul mate, does this mean that they’re the one person meant for you, or is there room for a second? This book takes that question and in the series of really high “highs” and extremely low “lows,” gives you an answer. Maybe not one that you’d initially hoped for, but one that by the end of the book has you thinking… YES! YES!

Jasinda Wilder is an exceptional writer and painted some intense and richly passionate scenes. I enjoyed the gradual progression of friendship between Nell and Kyle into something deeper and rooted. It all unfolded so naturally and gracefully. Unfortunately, tragedy is a part of life and for Nell it completely tore her life apart and shredded her future into sheer nothingness. It’s difficult to come back from any tragedy but death is by far the worst, and Nell had an extremely difficult time coming to terms with it. Until a chance meeting with a seemingly familiar stranger, it was an encounter that gave you a glimmer of hope for Nell. But she had to figure out how to cope and deal with her grief alone, and she dealt with it in not-so-healthy of ways. Then, another accidental encounter with the very rough-around-the-edges, familiar stranger…. and the glimmer of light gets a little brighter. Can a broken someone become unbroken? Maybe two broken someones cancel each other out? Both questions I asked myself while reading this book.

As the story unfolds music starts to become a very strong presence, like its own character almost. Conversations were taking place with song, in a sort of musical language. Songs were intermingled throughout, some from artists I knew and other I didn’t and I often found myself looking up videos as I read… just so I could get further in touch with the story, connect with the lyrics, or get more inside the character’s mind. (There is also a super awesome playlist at the end. This seems to be a trend now and I lovez!)

Falling Into You is an intense read, strong in its emotions and fervently steamy. If you don’t mind emotionally-packed stories that require a tissue box within arm’s reach while reading, then you definitely need to sink your teeth into this one! Also, the sexy times are quite nice *wink wink* ;)

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Lety @ Gone with the Words

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Say Hello To…

10th Jul 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Newsletter, Reviews by Lety

Hi Guys!! Jess here!

You may have noticed that I have not been posting regularly this summer. I guess this is the year I’m going to take things slow on the blog. I didn’t plan it, it just happened, and I didn’t want to force myself to blog when I didn’t feel like it because that’s when it becomes work.

But because of that, I was lucky to have one of my besties agree to write up some reviews for the blog! YAYYYY! So without further ado, please…

sayhitolety

Oh hai there!

IMG_0117I’m Lety, and like most of you I am a book lover and fellow book hoarder (still in denial about it though). During the day I work the typical office job and I often catch myself daydreaming about the latest book I’m reading and at night, I moonlight as a super heroine (only in my head of course).

My love of books probably dates back as far as when I learned to read, when I was in elementary my reward for good grades was picking a book out at the store (usually Disney related). In middle school, I made my mother subscribe to the Babysitter’s Book Club and I would get a new BSC book every month (I still own them btw). I then got into the whole R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike, etc. mystery books, and eventually made my way over to Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and Stephen King.IMG_0111

My friends knew my obsession with Anne Rice and vampires and when the whole Twilight phenomenon started occurring they pretty much forced me to read it and that’s when I was introduced to YA. My literary preferences tend to toggle between YA, chick-lit, sci-fi/fantasy and adult or paranormal romance. Reading has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and it is my ultimate release from the real world (and the stress of my pretend crime fighting).

IMG_0110I’m also a certified geek and pretty dang proud of it. I also like gaming (xbox 360 is my weapon of choice) and love all things pop culture. I collect comic books (though it’s mainly for the artwork) and I watch a lot of movies. My favorite things in the world are my books, my pink xbox controller, my combat boots and my collection of chucks.

So how do I know Jess? Well we met a very long time ago but it was our mutual love of books that sealed our friendship (and twitter lol). She very quickly became my one of my closest friends and has been as such for about 6 years or so. She has introduced me to many bookish things and I am very proud to call her my best friend.

IMG_0114

So here I am, hope my review is up to par (I have very big shoes to fill). Until we meet again…

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You’ll be able to find Lety’s reviews by clicking “Reviews by Lety” in the Categories section.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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