4.12.2016

Unleash The Storm by Annette Marie | Book Review

Unleash The Storm by Annette Marie (Steel & Stone #5)
Publisher:Annette Marie
Format: ebook
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA
Publication Date: 4 March, 2016
Piper thought she could handle the Sahar, the most powerful magical weapon in existence. She thought she could protect her loved ones and stop a war. She thought she could make a difference.

She was wrong, and her mistakes were paid for in blood.

Leaving her world—and her failures—behind, she retreats to the Underworld with Ash and the other draconians. They forge deep into long abandoned mountains, the first draconians to fly the valleys and passes in centuries—or so they thought. Until now, Ash’s mysterious heritage has been nothing but a name, but his presence does not go unnoticed. A new danger stalks him, one that may be even greater than what they escaped.

Cut off from the power she’d come to rely on and lost in a world where she doesn’t belong, Piper has never felt so hopeless. But she must find her strength, and find it quickly, before she loses Ash to an ancient power he can’t fight, before her home is devastated by the daemon war, and before her mind, body, and soul are consumed by the Sahar’s insidious magic.

"Loss can be like chains holding you in place or a fire pushing you onward. We each choose every day what it will be to us.”
-Unleash The Storm by Annette Marie

Ugh, this book. It ripped my heart out, put it back together, then did it again. This is what I get when I ask for some maturity in my YA reads--mature, heart-wrenching, realistic finales. (Cue tears.)

For a little while in the beginning the book felt like it was all over the place. A lot happens, and many discoveries take place, along with the obligatory changes in mission due to those discoveries. However, the many threads spun in the beginning and in previous books come together nicely in the end, creating a powerful ending that is just as satisfactory as we've all hoped for, five books later. That is, except for in one aspect, but as I said above: I asked for maturity and this is the price.

I really like Piper in this book. She has truly grown into the best possible consulate/daemon/friend/girlfriend/daughter/human being. Her relationships with those around her are extremely important, and she nurtures all of them in surprising and insightful ways. No longer is she the damsel in distress; she's the one doing most of the rescuing, and her confidence to do so shows in her improved fighting skills and decision-making ability.

Ash has also grown right along with her, finally letting her fight her own battles, and empowering instead of hindering her. He also finally steps up and begins to take on the role of a leader. Instead of determined defiance, he is now the determined and confident leader the draconians have always needed.

Overall, this is a very satisfying conclusion. While there are some heart-wrenching moments, there are also touching moments to balance them out. The maturity and depth we've seen glimpses of in previous books is now present in force in each of the characters. Surprising allegiances are made, and even more surprising separations take place.

If you've been reading this series and aren't sure if you want to pick this one up: go for it. You'll enjoy it. Just be prepared for the shocking, but mature decisions made at the end.

Read this if:
...you enjoy urban fantasy, level-headed characters, and dire circumstances.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Typical war violence, though not graphic; some kissing.}
Temp. Guide


Previous Books in the Series:

Purchase Unleash The Storm:
Annette Marie:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

1.07.2016

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #4)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: ebook
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, YA
Publication Date: 1 September 2015
The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

“What if we go on,” he said, “only to more pain and despair? What if we go on, only to find a horrible end waiting for us?” 
Aelin looked northward, as if she could see all the way to Terrasen. “Then it is not the end.” 
-Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

*Caution: slight spoilers for the previous books in the series.*

When I began this series I had no idea what amazing characterizations I was in for. While I enjoyed the first book, I must admit that I didn't give the author as much credit as she deserved for the characters she introduces us to--especially Celaena. From that first book to now it has been such a pleasure to watch each and every character grow and develop.  In this story each character is tested and stretched, ultimately growing right along with the MC. Even Chaol's arc, though annoying at times, is completely true to his character as he is forced to take a side for the first time in his life. His internal struggle becomes vitrolic, and he has to figure out what he stands for before being able to move forward.

Celaena herself has one of the strongest character arcs I have come across in all my reading. And you know what? I love her. I utterly admire the woman. In this story we find the post-breakdown Celaena; the woman who emerged from her own personal struggle in Heir of Fire. She remains the sassy and cunningly lethal Celaena that we all know and love, yet she no longer feels like she has to defend her past or her current choices. She has come to terms with who she is, and is now working to join that with the many facets of her past. She has always been the one who is able to make the hard decisions, but now she understands the ramifications of those decisions. In this book we see her begin to grow into her role as a queen, until she becomes one who is terrifyingly strong and wise, yet merciful and kind. She's come a long way from the traumatized and vicious girl she once was.

Just as in the last book, Maas continues her story with 3-dimensional, well-written villains; their nefarious arcs joining with many others to create a story that I literally could not put down until I had finished. Give me a good villain and I'll show you a good book. Maas has that here in Queen of Shadows.

I cried at parts; I cheered or gasped out loud at others. This world and these characters were alive for me as I read each and every agonizing detail of their lives. I debated whether or not I should read this one so close to having read Heir of Fire, as I had really enjoyed that one. I'm glad I picked it up, though, because I adored every moment.

When I began reading the first book in the series I didn't expect to become so enmeshed in the lives of these characters. Yet here I am four books in, and I find the story absolutely satisfying in every regard, even when it's tearing my heart open.


Read this if:
...you enjoy fantasy, strong characters, and having the odds stacked against you.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Typical battle scene and fighting gore (not a lot of detail), mentions of cruel punishments such as dead men hanging from a gate, kissing, non-descriptive talk of sex, and a few swear words.}



Other Books in the Series:

Purchase Queen of Shadows:
Sarah J. Maas:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Blog

9.17.2015

Movie Night Invite: Mockingjay Part 2!

Utah peeps: 
It's time to take down the Capitol and I want YOU to join the fight!


Join us as we watch the revolution in action. Bring your family and friends and watch Mockingjay part 2 with us! This is fourth and final movie, meaning this is the fourth and final year for this tradition. It has been so fun! I would love to see all of my fellow HG fans once again. But really, no matter who you are, I would love to have you join us. Book bloggers, book lovers, HG lovers, anyone reading this--you're invited!

Here's the plan:
Dinner at Iggy's
  • This is optional, and will be right before the movie. The restaurant is right by the theater.
  • There will be games, prizes, and drawings!
  • Even if you aren't eating, come talk and have fun with us! We would love to meet you.

Movie
  • Mockingjay part 2 premiers Thursday, November 19, 2015 (These are special early showings of the movie). The movie will be anywhere from 7pm - 10pm, depending on which times are available and how fast I am at getting the tickets (it's always a fight as soon as they go on sale).
  • The theater we are going to is the Cinemark theater at the University Mall, in Orem.
  • We'll be going to the earliest showing possible, but I won't pick a showing earlier than 7 pm or later than 10 pm. 
    • The movie actually opens on the 20th, but these advance screenings are something that the theater has offered every year prior. However, because things sometimes change, they may not offer these showings, and I may not be able to find out until the day they go on sale. Because of this, I will plan to purchase tickets for the night of the 20th around 7 or 8 pm IF advance screenings are not available. If you cannot make it that night please let me know when you pay and I will refund your money instead of purchasing tickets for you in the event that there are no screenings before 10 pm on the 19th.
  • I'll purchase a block of the best seats possible, so we can all sit together. It's reserved seating, so no lines! :)
  • Tickets are $9.50/person. (I make no money off of these. It all goes towards the tickets.)

Tickets go on sale October 1st!

If you'd like to join us, purchase your movie ticket(s) by sending $9.50 per ticket via Paypal to:

penelopelolohea(AT)gmail(DOT)com

The last day to purchase tickets is September 28th at 11:59 PM MST.
(I had a fancy button for this, but couldn't get it to work. Go figure.)

Super Important information: 
  • Please enter the following information in the comments section of the checkout screen:
    • Your email address - so I can email you updates, or contact you if there is a problem. 
    • Whether you would like me to mail you your ticket(s) or give them to you the day of. If you want me to mail them, please include your mailing address.
    • If you are NOT able to make it on Friday please let me know and I will refund your money in the event that tickets are not available on Thursday.
  • The $9.50 charge is for your ticket for the movie alone. I am purchasing all of the tickets at once, so that we can all sit together. It's a race to get tickets each year, and I wait up extra late (or extra early--the time they go on sale seems to change each year) just to get the best seats possible. There is no tax or anything for the tickets.
  • By purchasing a ticket, you agree that any showtime from 7 pm - to 10 pm Nov. 19th is acceptable (see above for an explanation). I will let you know the time as soon as the tickets have been purchased.

I want to be as transparent as possible in this, so if you have ANY questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at readingfever@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

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