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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Focus

A very long time ago, I read this first in a series. I remember being so in love with this book and its cover that I also bought the second book to it already. In my review about the first book, I remember ending with something along the line of "I also read the second book already and am going to write the review right now". Hmm... I wonder where that review is now? For my birthday I got the third and fourth book in this series and I wanted to fresh up my thoughts by reading both reviews of book one and two, now I found the review of book one. I never found the review of book two... So I decided to reread this second book and bring the review after all: Focus by Alyssa Rose Ivy.

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Focus because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Focus but to read the review about the first in the series: Flight. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

Being a future wife of a secret society you know nothing about is hard. Having to work for college next to that is near impossible.
Allie finally starts her college years, but things have never seemed so hard than anything before. Being a fiancee to some creature and not knowing taking his ring would mean she was going to marry was something she never saw coming. It's one thing to be engaged, but it's a whole other when being engaged to the prince of the Society brings danger into her life. Already being kidnapped once, the odds do not seem to be in Allie's favour. Above that Levi is trying to win her trust back after the ring incident. Realizing the danger she's in and her feelings for Levi, Allie knows it's too late to turn back. 

This book. YES! I didn't remember a lot of it anymore so it's a great thing that I decided to reread this book and hell did I enjoy it! Let's start with the characters.


First of all there is Allie, her determination in Focus is unbelievably fascinating. In book one she was already recovering from a broken heart, now being engaged to someone without knowing she was going to be engaged is a whole new thing. Yet this is also something where we'll see that her heart is broken over. Her feelings for Levi were pretty clear in the first book and being deceived like this is something she never imagined. Her determination however to keep him at a distance and making him work for it is something I really admired with this character. She still knows how she feels, however we also really see the indecision in her personality. She loves him but knowing what he did, him lying to her and keeping her out of loop of who he is and what his intentions were with the ring really crushed her. This character will therefore be a very strong female character that's willing to be independent and making the guy work for it. 


I really enjoyed seeing how Allie was growing as a character and how she was so determined. We'll also really see how her feelings evolve through the story, especially once this whole situation makes sure she needs to go to events all the time and will have to leave school constantly. Her will to study is very big and seeing that she's now obligated to go to events of the Society with the man that deceived her but who she still has feelings for will therefore bring many problems and mixed feelings. 


Lastly about this character, we'll really see how she acts under pressure. Pretending to be Levi's mate will is one thing where we'll really see this character grow into the person she is at the end of the book, as well as her indecision of her feelings. Yet being the prince's mate will also cause her to be in danger. I enjoyed seeing how this character was while being under pressure once again. 


As for Levi, if there's one thing I really noticed is how sex obsessed he is. That was something I wished I saw less in him because the Levi who is sweet and caring also gets a place in this story and I just adored it. Levi is known for his cockiness and arrogance and overall I don't mind it that much, add the sex obsessed side to it and it begins to be doubtful if I like him that much.


But as I mentioned before we do get to see a sweeter side of him. One where he isn't that arrogant and to be very honest this side of him... it's so swoon-worthy! And this also effects our other main character which makes sure there's a certain dynamic that's absolutely outstanding! One side that's also really enjoyable to see in Levi is his jealousy because he gets jealous over the littlest things. It gets funny after a while! 


Overall these two will have a rough ride during the book. Especially because Allie is feeling very mixed about Levi and Levi still sees her as his. He sometimes is a little over-possessive which will bring heated moments between these two which readers will find very understandable. The thing between these two is that they do know how to give and take, both will sacrifice things for each other which made this relationship very balanced and readers will really want them to be in a relationship. They're just yin and yang! If these two will end up together is still the question...


As for the plot, I remember speaking of a very high pace in Flight. Here I felt like the pace was already lowered but still very fast. Especially when the danger is there. This book will really focus on Allie being Levi's mate, and him being the prince of this mysterious creatures world also means that he has enemies. 


These enemies will be after Allie to harm Levi. Whenever there was this danger or threat I felt like it was dealt with rather soon, which is a little disappointing if you ask me. The author could have gone crazy with it and really opened up this story to more of it if you ask me. The danger really works well with the overall theme of a protector, here being Levi, and the person who doesn't want to be dependent on the person who brought this crazy world in the first place, Allie. 


Other than the danger and the faster pace with it, the rest of the plot was highly enjoyable. Readers are going to be tortured! And I mean that in two ways. One kind of torture because you want these two to be together. The plot really makes room and time for Allie to gets things in order and to find out what she feels after the whole engagement disaster. Meanwhile we also see how Levi is working to earn her trust back and to make her fall in love with him once more. It really brings all sorts of situations which leads to my second way of torture.


The whole Levi being overprotective and Allie being so independent and determined to get him at a distance, will cause situations where Levi was one step ahead and blocked all guys for her. Making them know that she's with him and they need to stay away. This causes that all the guys stay away from Allie, including them staying away from her friends! Which then again causes fights that are just hilarious to live through because we know the meaning behind them. The feels are just all over the place! I absolutely loved how these two characters are and how they work together making this read funny and light. Add in some more information about the Society and the new creatures, the danger and the hierarchy and you come to a story that's amazing to read and has everything to enjoy it!


Concluding this I can say that I absolutely adore this book! The characters are just to die for, both having such strong personalities really brings some sparks into this story. Also the whole disaster that happened in Flight brings that these two have a lot to work out. With Allie being distant and very independent and Levi being very protective and wanting her back, these two bring encounters that are really enjoyable and funny to read. Add some danger into this all and you're in for a great story. My only remark is that the author could've extended the danger a lot more and if the pace wasn't as fast, we could've enjoyed it a lot more and feel the suspense. Overall, I absolutely think this book is swoon-worthy and over the top feelings that will leave the readers with a tortured heart that skips a beat. I can't wait for the next book!  

"Relationships aren't a democracy. Not everyone gets an equal vote."


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Eclipse | Audiobook

Ha! Here I am with a book of a series I swore I'd never ever read. Technically I didn't read it because I'm listening to the series through Audiobooks. I'm already three books in the series and the end is nearing. My love for the books is very double as I enjoyed the second book better than the first, but now I've listened to the third book and I'm left doubting once again if this series is really something for me. I am really looking forward to the fourth and last book though because I loved the movie and how the plot changed there! We'll see... First off, the review about the third book: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor eclipse stephenie meyer
 WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Eclipse because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Eclipse but to read the review about the first in the series: Twilight. If you're interested in the second book, New Moon, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

A new threat hovers over the Cullens when new vampires are being created. One vampire turning innocent humans and making them creatures everyone will fear. 
New borns are ripping through Seattle, taking more lives all for one cause: getting to Bella. Once again Bella finds herself in danger of someone who desperately wants revenge. And revenge she'll get. Above that, Bella also finds herself torn between two guys and she'll have to pick one eventually. While also knowing that her choice might ignite struggles between the creatures, she finds herself in a hard situation. And if that isn't enough, her choice about life or death still must be made...

As I have previously mentioned I am really doubting about how much I liked this book and all of that is really caused because of the characters...
Even though Bella still is one of my favorites and still showed me sides of her we saw in New Moon, I have to say that there was also a less pleasant side coming. This time around she really behaves weird when anything bad happens. Any time there is something bad going on, and nobody blames her, she wants people to blame her. At some point I understood why she felt that way and wanted people to blame her. I could relate to why she was thinking it and also saw in her perspective why she'd think it was her fault. In other situations I really wished she wouldn't be asking them to blame her. Often it came off like a little dramatic and even slightly annoying. 

Nevertheless did I still really love Bella a lot. She still shows strength and wants to be part of everything. She's not the girl that goes hiding when something bad is going on or when danger is seeking her. If there's something up, she wants to know and she wants to fight too. I really adore that in Bella because it makes her a strong character that doesn't come off as too girly to be touched. Another aspect that I really enjoyed while reading in Bella's head was the fact that she needs to make choices. 

Not only about her life, but also about the two guys that mean a lot in her life. Her indecision and many thoughts about them were very intriguing and also relatable. By now we've seen both Edward and Jacob and we know how they act, so every pro and contra she said about them made sense. The heartache that comes with it is also I could very easily understand and live through. It was a strong sentiment but not one that was dramatic or unnecessary. Overall I really enjoyed Bella, but at some times she just was a little annoying.

Now as for the guys, I got more opinions right there. Beginning with an overall comment: how immature are they?! Eclipse really showed me how both of them are in some ways so childish. They're making this some sort of game to get to Bella and win her over. Of course I get they both want her and both their feelings were really genuine, however the way they acted or were playing the game were very immature and really annoying.

Edward did seem to control it better, which might be done with premeditation by the author because he's been with Bella since book one. In any way, Edward has always been collected and known for his rules and behavior. He knows when enough if enough and how to keep neutral. Yet in some situation during Eclipse, I found him being dishonest and very immature for his overall personality. Of course he's only trying to keep Bella because he loves her and is with her, but his behavior often hurt her and I thought he never wanted to hurt her. If we compare him to Jacob though I did notice that Edward was just more mild and understanding toward Bella's situation and her feelings for either boys. He also really tried to be patient, understanding and to keep his comments for himself which I really appreciated in this character.

If we look at Jacob though we really notice how immature he is this time around. He really pressures Bella into things and uses manipulation, or at least that's how it felt for me. I did really love how Bella was able to stand up to him and put him in line, however at some points in the story Jacob just really did a great job in persuading her. I just wish we saw more of the outgoing and sweet guy we met in New Moon. Of course there are scenes where Jacob is like that, but overall I just did not enjoy him because of his immature behavior.


That said for the characters, the plot wasn't too bad. I did enjoy it but not enough to say that this book was absolutely spectacular. I did however really love the descriptions in this book. If I can compare this to the movie, we really see how it's enrolling through TV or we really see how some are fighting. This time it wasn't that easy because we are in one person's mind. We couldn't be in all different places, this is where the author will make use of the vampire's abilities which is a very amazing thing I have 'witnessed' in this book. We always knew about their abilities but now we really saw them in action, which caused very detailed descriptions so we could form the scene in our head. I really found that magnificent. 

Speaking of the vampire's their abilities, the author also took time to give us an image of how certain Cullens became vampires. I really love to go back in the past and get their experiences, to me that just really adds to the story. These past events also have  impact on Bella who is struggling with the decision of wanting to change or not. So these stories also came with a purpose and that adds to the story. Overall knowing how some of them changed was just a nice break from the immature behavior of both Edward and Jacob, but also was nice because it made us get to know certain characters better. 

Next is the fact that the plot really makes time for Bella to have time with both guys. This of course ends in their hideous game where Bella will suffer more than I can count. This was a part I wished to have seen very different, especially if it meant Edward and Jacob would be functioning normal. I don't say that them fighting for her isn't thrilling, because it does bring so much more feelings and makes the reader pick a side as well. It's just the way they were acting that really annoyed me. If this was different, it might have changed my opinion on the entire book.


Lastly there is of course the threat of the new borns and one revenge seeking vampire. Overall I really loved how this went because once again the abilities of the vampires were used so we could see the tension and the fighting, while still being in one person's head. I also really enjoyed how this brought groups of people together and how this also made sure that some characters we've seen before are coming back... I don't want to spill too much about this because this is a big chunk of the book and also is very important for the development of the story. I can say that this was a part i absolutely adored because there was a lot of mystery and playing with the abilities which are just turning this plot into something worth raving over!


To complete this review I can say that I'm feeling very indecisive to if I liked the book or not. Most of it really is caused because of the characters that often annoyed me with their behavior. Especially the guys, Edward and Jacob, knew how to annoy me and really not enjoy the book by their immature behavior. I do like the fact that they want to fight for the person they love, however the way they did it was often through manipulation which then hurt Bella. I absolutely hated the fact that they were so childish and so far apart from their normal personality which I absolutely adore. Even though this really annoyed me, I'm also very impressed by how the author made us be at two places a time while being in one person's head. This was through many abilities of the vampires and I really loved to see that in action! Their abilities really gave magnificent descriptions so we could enjoy this story a lot more. Lastly, the whole idea of new borns out to kill one person made it thrilling and worth listening further to the audiobook. Not only did they bring mystery, they also played with the abilities of the vampires in an amazing way and brought certain people together! If I like this book is still a big question, however I am looking forward to the next book in the series! 

“I am Switzerland. I refuse to be affected by territorial disputes between mythical creatures.” 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ceaseless

I can't believe I'm here with another review about a last in a series. It seems to me that I'm ending a lot of them on a short time. This time it's the end of a series that's been on my to be read-list forever. By now you all know how long it was on that shelf and how hard it was for me to get them into my possession. Even though the first book did disappoint me, the rest of the series really surprised me and made me swoon! Another last in a series: Ceaseless by Abbi Glines.

 WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Ceaseless because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Ceaseless but to read the review about the first in the series: Existence. If you're interested in the second book, Predestined, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

Meeting death and fighting Voodoo spirits was nothing compared to what Pagan will have to go through now. Pagan lost all the memories of her time with Dank Walker, not remembering who he is or why she fell in love with him. Dank is left miserable, watching Pagan act as if her life hasn't changed at all. He has never felt so alone as he does now. As if feeling this isn't enough, Pagan's real soulmate is back, trying to get her attention. They complete each other's destiny and are meant to be. Knowing this Dank only has one mission left: make Pagan choose him over her soulmate. If he can make her fall again for him and make her pick him, he'll get to keep her once again. The only question is, who will Pagan pick: Death or her soulmate?

Dear book gods this is one heck of a ride! I absolutely enjoyed this book so much. Especially because of the plot, but let's first talk about the character's a bit. Starting with Dank this time because holy alien babies everywhere I adore him! Especially in Ceaseless we'll see the fight and insecurities of Dankmar and how can we not love this? The last two books really show off how Death is Death and everyone fears him and how strong he is and protective. Now he has lost something he loves and it brings out all the insecurities he has. This time he's on his knees to whatever power made this happen and Death isn't as terrifying anymore. 

This is once again another side of Dank that we get to see and really deepens his character even in book 3! Even though he's having a lot of insecurities, we'll also see how far he's willing to go to fight for who he loves. It's absolutely a nice twist to his character to see how he is terrified of something and has to work harder to get to something. The last two books really concentrated on Dank being Death and how he's indestructible and this time there might be something to get him on his knees, defeated. How his character evolves and how he'll suffer and work with his insecurities is amazingly written. However I absolutely loved the fight he gave during this book and how much effort he did. It really shows us who we fell in love with in Existence and who we absolutely can't resist. A very swoon-worthy character that has deepened through the trilogy: from being Death to being a guy who isn't terrifying at all. 

As for our lovely Pagan, this is so strange. Her character still is the same, however we see so many changes. For one there's a change with her ability (I can't tell more because spoilers!) and two hello, she lost her memories! I can't believe this is actually happening. However her memory loss won't affect her personality at all and I really loved that. Pagan still is the person who shows strength and will step up when she needs to. This time her heart is the focus and her head really messes with her, which brings encounters where she's feeling a little lost and lonely like Dank is feeling. I absolutely adored to see how this character will choose a path to follow without realizing what's at stake, but at the same time she doesn't know what she'll be losing or missing so why should she realize it. This character has always showed the best of herself and even now, with her memory loss it doesn't change. Still, she'll be up for quiet the challenge without even knowing it. I want to tell so much more about this character but feel like I can't because the littlest thing might spoil things. So forgive me for my little paragraph about Pagan, but hey you'll have a better read because of it! 

Now the plot! I really enjoyed this book because of the plot, although I have a few remarks. First off, I have to say the book really starts abruptly. There's no indication that something has happened to Pagan and the readers will have to find out that she's suffering from memory loss. I think that was something that I enjoyed less. You just fell into the book and was left without any information to what, who, where and why. I think I would have enjoyed the beginning of the book better if there was more information on it or if the book started with Dank who explained things.

I do have to admit that not knowing why she's suffering from this memory loss is very mysterious and also adds to readers their curiosity. That is something that I see as a very positive element of the story. It's only as you read further that things are told and explain why this happened and I loved that Abbi Glines made us guess to what must have happened to Pagan. However I still wished that we knew why this happened in the first place. Therefore I can conclude that the memory loss is a bit double: I wished there was more of an prologue to it so we were lead into the new story better instead of having to find out ourselves. Then again the mystery that comes with it is absolutely fantastic and highly enjoyable.

Another aspect that I love in this book is the fact that Pagan is going to be in a conflict: her soulmate or death? Our main character doesn't know that the one person is her soulmate and that the other is Death. To her those are just two guys, both fighting for her attention. Then add the jealousy of Dank Walker, his effort and his miserable behavior and you're in for a ride full of emotions but also swoon-worthy moments. I really love how for the last book there is this conflict and we'll really see who's meant to be. It was very thrilling and yet emotional to see all of this turn out the way it did. If anything this part of the story also really gives us the feels we've all been waiting on.

Another and last remark I want to point out is that I wish Ceaseless incorporated more of the past two books. I feel like this is important because it really makes the characters who they are in the next book in a series. Although a little part of the Voodoo Spirit came back, I didn't think it was nearly enough to get full closure on Predestined in Ceaseless. This story more felt like a one-book-story and not as if it fit into a series. I think if more elements of Existence and Predestined were incorporated more and this story had more of a prologue that connected with elements from past books, this would have been even better. I'm not saying that it isn't a good plotline because of it, because the whole idea of Death losing what he finally got back is really intriguing and something I had never expected in a last book of a series.

One thing I did see incorporated and loved is the fact that there have been certain changes with Pagan and the Pagan we saw in the first book. This also provides us answers that connects all three books which also brings this series to a wonderful end. Speaking of the end... I was surprised with how things ended due to the surprising element I had never thought would be told. I know it's pretty vague, but once you read it you'll remember what I said here!

To complete this review all I want to say is: this was amazing! I have to say I'm so relieved I read this series after all, because damn I would have missed out. Even though I feel like this one might be a little bit more corny than the others, I absolutely adored it. The characters once again will have to suffer through things that this time around isn't as easy as a Voodoo Spirit. Talking about Voodoo Spirits I am a little disappointed that the book didn't reopen that part. I feel like Ceaseless is a total new story where the last two books aren't processed in too much... which I think is a little silly because they are supposed to be the past that made the characters who they are now. 
Another remark I have concerning this book is that the beginning was very abrupt. You really fell into the story and had to find out for yourself what the heck was going on, while it was already unrolling in front of us. However this also made sure that the intensity of mystery was very high in the book. So it's a double feeling! Once we do know what's going on though, we're in for a swoon story with so many feelings it was hard not to get addicted to it. A very special twist to the overall story, I had never expected for the last book to go as it went. The problem that's sketched is very unique in my opinion and played out very well! A successful last book in a series.

“What if she never remembers?"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ascend

The time has come to end yet another series! I still remember the first time I had the first book in my hands... I saw it and it was mine. And here we are, to the third and last book in this series that has surprised me and took me on a great adventure. It's always sad to close a series, however I am absolutely happy that I picked this one up. The only thing I can already say though is that this was totally different from what I had expected to happen and it did disappoint me in the beginning. But I have come to terms with it and I am absolutely in love with Ascend by Amanda Hocking.

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Ascend because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Ascend but to read the review about the first in the series: Switched. If you're interested in the second book, Torn, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

The weight of the world is on Wendy's shoulders. After realizing that only she can safe the kingdom by sacrificing herself, Wendy is up for a great task. Above that not everyone in the kingdom stands behind her, which results in many disputes where Wendy can't defend herself. Only learning to be a future queen, she's has save the kingdom and wants to save everyone she loves. The treat of the Vittra is suffocating them all, but how does she get people to trust her and to fight this battle with her when all they do is ignore her and not see her as their future queen? 
If that isn't enough yet, Wendy also struggles with her feelings for both Finn and Loki while being married to Tove. It's time for her to finally pick someone, but her fear of losing either one of them is too hard to bear. Next to losing one of her loved ones, her mother isn't doing well either. Wendy finds herself on an emotional roller coaster while training to be the future queen and saving her kingdom. Will she be able to stand or will she fall under the weight? The ultimate question remains: will she'll be able to save everyone? 

With this series coming to an end, I have to say I'm absolutely happy with our main character Wendy. Over the course of 3 books, we really saw her grow. From first being someone totally different from who she thought she was to now being on her way to become the queen of the kingdom, I have to say this character has never ever disappointed me.

If there's one thing I can say it's that it's amazing to see her make this progress over a longer course. It just adds to the realistic side of the character. Everything takes time, and her becoming the woman she was destined to be was something that takes time. Amanda Hocking therefore did a great thing from making this doubting character into a strong, independent one. It might have taken us 3 books to finally see her being ready or close to ready, but the end result in the last book is fantastic.

If there's one thing I admired in this character it's her courage. Wendy has this hard task on her shoulders: rescuing the kingdom from the Vittra treat. By now we all know what's going on and what the history is between both Trylle and Vittra (Bonus: we'll get a few more answers during Ascend!) and know what role Wendy plays in this part. The fact that she's also in the process of becoming the future leader of the kingdom makes sure that she'll have a great challenge. The courage and strength this character shows therefore is very admirable. 

And strength she'll need. The people in the kingdom are having a hard time with standing beside her and agreeing to whatever she proposes. This creates an even more difficult situation for Wendy. It might be the last book, but if all it really gives our main character one last chance to prove herself. And prove the readers that she really is in fact this amazing, strong, independent woman that grew over the course of this series.

Above that Wendy is struggling with a few problems of her own. Being the last book of the series, we'll have to get answers on that. Once again this character shows how strong she is by leading and trying to figure out where her heart is really at. This will of course make sure that a lot of feelings will be directed to the readers and makes it easier to connect with the character. 

If I can say anything about all the characters in general it's that I absolutely think the author did a fantastic job with writing them. Each and every character has its individual characteristics, strengths and weaknesses that made sure we got a very varied range of characters. Each of them really added to the story and influenced it so that we came to this one coherent story that really takes us on an adventure. Above that I'm amazed by how well each of the grew and changed, some taking a different path than readers might have expected. Amanda Hocking really writes beautiful characters that still surprise!

For the plot I have to admit that I was stunned by it. We all know that Wendy is having some personal trouble and I had expected that that would really take up the plot as a whole. However that really wasn't the case at all. Of course we'll get a close-up on these problems as they'll still be of major importance for our character's personality and for the readers (because we want answers!). Yet I did notice that the story really concentrates on Wendy becoming the woman that she needs to become to save everyone.

We know that she's still learning to be this future queen and Amanda Hocking really took us onto the trip where we saw her grow in this individual, strong person. She's totally transforming in front of us by making us live through moments of her reigning. With her mother being really ill, it's therefore logical that Wendy takes her spot for now. This learning process will be added with making us sit through meetings and moments where fights have happened and the kingdom needs to make a statement or visit the surviving. 

I feel like the author really took time to set apart all the responsibilities Wendy will have to carry to amplify the weight on her shoulders, as well as really show us, through the plot, how she becomes the woman she's always destined to be. I really enjoyed being in those meetings as a reader and get to know their plans and train of thoughts. It just didn't shut out the whole task that Wendy would have to take when she's a future queen. I'm absolutely thrilled that the author didn't only talk about the personal affairs, but also put a lot of attention on what this is all about: the threat. 

Speaking of the threat we're in for a lot of action in this book. Even though we are seeing a lot of meetings and battlefields, the book takes time to present scenes where Trylle and Vittra will meet. These scenes in particular always gave me chills because of the nature of the Vittra. That's something I have always admired with this series, the author made such a great representation of the Vittra and when they meet each other on the battlefield or in either ones kingdoms, we're in for action and thrill. Once again these emotions will make us get ready for what will come. The tension between the two was also something that got bigger, which I had expected because it is the last book, nonetheless it was something I really enjoyed!

Next up are the emotional and personal problems, or challenges, Wendy will have to conquer in the last book! We've come a long way and we also know that Wendy's heart is torn up between different men. Now the series is coming to an end, we'll see how this will turn out. Therefore the author gave us all the options and so many things to feel through different scenes. It is time to find out if your ship survives people! I absolutely enjoyed this challenge, especially because Wendy had to find an answer. Above that the pressure she's now feeling will influence her relationships and make it an even bigger mystery to who she might pick. 

This book is just a great story with the emotional factor and the political one! There's action, there's thrill, there's romance, and so much more! Also the family aspect will come forward even more in Ascend and I really fell for that more than I had expected. Even though it isn't discussed too much we'll still be able to live through it and feel connected to it when it is discussed and get a few answers we were dying to get.

One thing I'd love to point out however is the fact that Amanda Hocking twisted this story so much. It came as a huge surprise to not see the story go as I had first anticipated. I think we can all agree that when you read a book, you know how the author will try to maneuver it. There's always that thread that connects the characters to each other and to the events. I really had not thought that this story could end up so much more different. I have to say that this caused me to be so disappointed, because I had really high expectations of the story to go and end this way. The author really showed great courage with twisting it and making the characters go another way. After coming to terms with it and accepting it, I did actually love how it went. And I absolutely want to applaud the author for making this change of course.

Lastly I want to point out that there's a prologue to the story and it was included in my copy of the book because it's bonus content. If it's not included in your copy of Ascend, I think you can find it online as an e-book type but I'm not sure. What I can say about Ever After is that I absolutely loved the bonus content. It was absolutely amazing to see how this series had ended and how all the characters have moved on from it too. It gives us one last look to each and every one of them and to feel like this is really the end. It just really gives the readers more closure by giving us a glance in their happily (?) ever after! 

Although I had expected a total different ending, I did enjoy this book as the end of the Trylle series. The characters have grown so much over the course of 3 books and I really adore how Wendy became the strong independent woman she was destined to be. I really admire that the author dared to change the story up and turn another way with some characters so that the readers are left with a total different outcome. I do admit that I was a little disappointed it didn't go the way I wanted it, however I did come to terms with it since it's a beautiful ending. Also the big concern that's been hovering over this series is finally resolved and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! The author took time for a plan and then action and let me tell you... action it is! Even though I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did the first one, I'm still really happy that I picked up the series and finished it! Bonus points for Amanda Hocking to change it up and leave us with a book and ending that's so different from what we might have expected since book one.

“I will make this world a better place, whether they like it or not. That’s the fun of being Queen.” 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Predestined

A little while back I remember saying that I was a little disappointed in the first book of a series. It had been a book series that was on my shelf for what feels like eternity. Above that it was hard to find those books, and eventually I got my hands on the first one! Even though I was disappointed I was really willing to read the rest of the series and hope things would be getting better! Well, update! I read the second book, Predestined by Abbi Glines, and I have to tell you: it got better! 

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Predestined because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Predestined but to read the review about the first in the series: ExistenceJust clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book. 

With Leif being gone, everything seems to get back to normal. Nobody knew what Leif really was, not even Death himself. Him being a soulless creature could have been a lot of trouble for their little town. Even though Leif has gone missing, Pagan still sees him frequently. Her memories are catching up with her in the form of dreams. Ever since she was a little girl Leif has been around her, trying to help her and to protect her. Now she sees him in every dream and every memory, making sure that she never forgets who was with her first.
Meanwhile Dank starts to understand there's no way that he can't ignore Leif's influence on Pagan's dreams. Finally finding out that Pagan's soul has been marked by something even Death doesn't want an encounter with, Dank realizes that saving her will be a hard task. But not as hard as having to live without her for the rest of his life. 


This book really made me believe that I did the right thing. I'm so happy that I didn't put this series aside and not read on! Predestined has surprised me in such a good way and I'm also really happy with how the characters evolved!

Speaking of the characters, let's talk about Pagan. I feel like this character still really amazes me. Just the confidence this girl carries is absolutely outstanding for a main character, however I did feel as if we saw a more tender side of her during Predestined. During this story we'll see how old memories will resurface for Pagan and this will be having dramatic changes. She'll feel less strong and stressed. This will also immediately be reflected in her behavior.

Did I hate seeing this in her character? Absolutely not. Even though I know she's a very confident person and stands up for herself, it was nice to see that sometimes she also has moments where she feels less confident and needs others to help her out. This isn't something where one of her friends will be able to help, so she'll automatically go to Dank for that but I mean... I'm not complaining! Also, the dreams will bring some action into the story which will also show us how Pagan reacts on danger and risking her life. I absolutely loved to see the fight in her and how she protects the people she loves! The ability we first saw with our main character in book one will not be addressed as much anymore but I absolutely didn't mind that because the story brings other elements to keep us connected and into the story. Overall a great character that shows a lot of courage. 

As for our sweet, beloved Dank! Gah, I absolutely adore him. His protectiveness that we saw in Existence hasn't changed at all and I just love how he is around Pagan. This time around he even gets his own chapters which I am so happy about! Overall I also feel like Dank really has become more mature and I loved to see that in this character. What I always noticed though was his sweet side and once again the readers will see this. He just brings very strong emotions to the story and that also makes sure that the readers will not be left without feelings. 

Did I see a dramatic change in Dank? No, he's still very protective and pro Pagan. That only made sure that he'll go to the ends of the world to help her and that's the spirit we'll need during this read. One thing I did notice about Dank is that we'll get to see more of his position in the universe and his influence. Readers will be pushed into his world of what his obligations are and I really did enjoy to see that happen, especially because it's told in his perspective. It brings us a bigger understanding of who he is and just deepens his character more. 

With seeing more of Dank's obligations, we'll also see that Dank's away from Pagan a lot more. That while she's struggling with the dreams and her memories. A certain danger is forming under their noses but neither really sees it. Their relationship will therefore be put to the test. Both really need each other and their love is sweet so it was very interesting to see how these factors influenced their relationship.

As for the plot, I have to say I was absolutely amazed by it. Especially because the author made enough time to write out Pagan's dreams that are actually memories from her childhood. This really brought a new sense of mystery that I absolutely enjoyed. Above that in the beginning of the dreams there are flashbacks of Pagan's friends as well and I really loved to see how that relationship started to grow and how it influenced their future. 

The thing with these dreams was that they started to form the story. The dreams really lead to this one big revelation that we need to know to understand what kind of danger our characters are now in. I think it was a very great thing of the author to reveal this through dreams, because it took some time to piece everything together for the characters as well as for the readers. Above that it really brought a great deal of mystery and tension which I could absolutely enjoy. This element of the story was very well written as it absolutely builds up the tension and leads to a big revelation that's mind blowing


As this is the second book and we already know Pagan's ability, Predestined doesn't make a lot of time to get into it anymore. She still sees souls, but the plotline won't be focusing on that anymore. There will be a new darker element that comes to the story. It's something totally new and also a new kind of character that'll bring this story some action. I have to say that I am more satisfied with this than with Pagan's ability in book one, because the author made more time to specify and describe this new element in the story with it's own unique powers and behavior. Abbi Glines really took her time to build this out better than she did with the ability in my opinion and I really appreciate that.

However this new aspect will bring answers that have to do with Pagan's ability which then again was something I was looking forward to. I never had expected to get these answers and they also come as a big surprise. The author really thought this through and made sure that the readers will be thrilled as well as in shock. Never had I ever anticipated to get answers to Pagan's ability or to ever know why she is the way she is, so it's safe to say that's a big asset!

A thing I hadn't expected in Predestined was the emotional rollercoaster that we'll be on. There are a few aspects that really surprised me and will mark the readers to feel sad. Of course there are also cute scenes between characters and other scenes where we'll have to brace ourselves. In comparison to Existence, I feel like Predestined just really deepened its story by creating all these scenario's where other emotions besides love could be felt and I absolutely appreciated that. Just know what you'll be in for, and be ready! Mark my words.

Lastly we will see some action as well, the only remark to the plot is that I sometimes wished the action would stick around longer. Even though I feel like the plot is a lot better, I did wish that the pace of these scenes weren't as high paced as they were. A bit more danger, risking and fighting for the things you want would have been better in my opinion. Now it felt rather done fast and quick so we could move on. Other than that I really don't have any remarks to this book so that also means I can conclude this review!


I absolutely adored the second book. Comparing the first book to the second book, Predestined, was a lot better and didn't disappoint me at all. The only remark I have is that some scenes were written on a fast pace not leaving enough room to feel the action and tension because it ended so soon. Other than that I really loved how what we learned at the end of book one was now a major influence. Above that the two main characters finally felt like a lot closer so us readers could enjoy it more. And boy, did I enjoy it... The plot was really well written and always up for a twist and a surprise I bet half of us didn't see coming. And the characters really showed a big change and evolved in a better way in my opinion. I absolutely enjoyed the second book, and let me tell you the ending is so sweet! Interpret that in any way you want... I can't wait for the 3rd and last book in this series!

“He's already proven he'll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.” 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Winner's Kiss

Dearly beloved, the time has come to say goodbye. Goodbye to amazing characters, an amazing trilogy. Goodbye to an amazing story that now has come to an end. It pains me to say that we will close a book-series, one that I have grown to adore from the first few pages. One that I totally absorbed and got absorbed by. With the last book in the series, The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, we will be left but not without a phenomenal ending. A review about the last book in a series that has become my favorite this year!

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of The Winner's Crime because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of The Winner's Crime but to read the review about the first in the series: The Winner's Curse. If you're interested in the second book, The Winner's Crime, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book. 

War has arrived and it will not be easy to defeat. 
Arin is making strategies to defeat the enemy together with his new allies. Even though he tries to convince himself that he no longer thinks about Kestrel, his mind and heart often go back to those sweet times. Trying to forget about her for good, he throws himself into a battle that might become his death.
Meanwhile the woman in his heart is somewhere in the Tundra. As a prisoner for her betrayal to the empire and her own father, Kestrel has time to feel the pain. The pain of her father letting her go. The pain of losing Arin. Kestrel starts fighting to keep her conscious and tries hard to escape what might become her death. 

This book! This book! This book! I can't believe how the author keeps writing these amazing books. If you haven't picked up the first one... what are you doing here? This is going to spoil all of this fantastic series! Also instead of reading this, go pick up the first book! Hurry!


The thing I noticed about the characters and actually the whole book in general, is that our focus changes. In The Winner's Crime we really saw how Kestrel was protecting Arin but this time she can't protect him. Kestrel is in a prison and is now suffering. In The Winner's Crime we saw how Arin suffered through her actions and now she's suffering from her actions. I really love how the characters focus changes but still has this element that attaches the change to what we already saw before.


The thing with Kestrel is that I feel it's one of the first times we really see her suffer. Yes, we saw her feel bad and suffer but this is different. She's imprisoned. Her father let het get taken away because of his beliefs. We really see how the prison feels like and how everything works in the world Marie Rutkoski created. But most of all we see how Kestrel's feelings finally catch up with the past two books. Her heartbreak is ginormous and that makes her level of suffering far worse than what we have seen before. The once strong Kestrel now seemed like a totally different character, a person without the fight inside of her, a person without her strategies. I really loved to see this side of Kestrel because it brings more dept into her character and shows the readers that she's more than a strong strategist. 


Also what I really admired with this character is that she eventually will fight. The prison tries to make the prisoners calm and without any emotion so they work harder. The battle between wanting to forget everything because of her obvious heartbreak and the will to break free is therefore a big element that'll be important for this character. We'll really see how Kestrel is fighting to be strong again but also wants to give up the fight because she lost Arin and her father. A very strong character that gives us new insight in her personality. Even though we only see it in the last book, I didn't mind that too much because it was an amazing turn.


As for Arin, also he's changing more and more. I felt like in the first book, The Winner's Curse, he was just a boy. Now, in the third and last book, we really see how everything has changed him. He's become this new man who has been through so much. Also his past will be something that's discussed in The Winner's Kiss which I think is a big asset to his character because it makes us understand more of his past actions. 


His character seems older and more mature because of everything that has been going on during this trilogy. Above that there's also the obvious heartbreak on Arin's part, however I feel like the heartbreak with this character was already obvious in The Winner's Crime. How Arin feels and what he'll do with his broken heart will take interesting turns though which I think is a good thing, but I can't tell more about that!


What I can say about Arin's character is that I'm really impressed with him. When you look at the past three books, you really see that he has evolved the most and that his thinking has become deeper and more mature. His personality is also very likable and swoon-worthy which we all know by now! I absolutely adored him, his bad sides included!


As for the relationship between our two characters, we've seen a lot of that happening already. The first book really focused on them meeting and how their relationship and bond starts to form, the second book then really concentrates on Kestrel trying to protect him and Arin trying to get her back. So as I already mentioned each book changes it's view and starts to focus on a change. It's therefore really interesting to see what the third and last book, The Winner's Kiss, is going to do with our two characters and how everything will evolve. If we'll get a happy ending or if these two will see each other again is a question you'll have to find the answer to yourself! All I can tell is that I'm really happy that the author made this evolve and have certain turns I hadn't seen coming! 

Now the plot! The story finally starts with the war. In the first book there wasn't really any case of war. Everyone lived peacefully but then of course, there was the rebellion which had set things in motion. In The Winner's Crime we then saw how the empire and strategists were trying to overpower each other and get the best out of their situation. And then we finally arrive at the last book and it's really time for war! 

I actually have to say that I really looked forward to this. Especially now we have a new game piece: the east. Arin had been trying to make them his allies and also succeeded in doing so. The thing I really love about the east is that they bring other habits and also new views on war. I just really adored their influence on the story. It really comes together as one coherent concept that's very realistic: every land has it's own habits, own strategies and own views. That's no different in this book! And I really loved that because the habits and the things they wore are so much different from each other. 


However with every war there are allies and when everyone works together they start to take over their habits. This is something Marie Rutkoski also took into account and also wrote out for the readers. If there's anything I'm really happy that the author really made detailed sceneries that we could then read and really view with our fantasy. The fact that she also paid attention to those habits and spend time making these differences was therefore very appreciated. 

Another element in the plot is that we'll also get some more action in this book. Although I think we already had some action in the past books, The Winner's Kiss' focus really is on the war between the Empire and the rest of the lands. With war I think we all expect more than one fight and more action than we've had before. The author came to our aid and also really brought us scenes of battle. Not only the good kind but also the loss and the new strategies! I've always been a fan of the strategies, and once again the author doesn't leave us without them.


The only thing we'll be seeing a lot less in this book is the betrayal and the games. This is probably because the war has already begun and everyone has taken sides. There's no need to betray people or to play games. Did I miss that aspect? Not really. I find that the book didn't really need it just because the war really takes up the plot and makes sure we've got enough elements there to keep us busy and entertained. 


Next to war we'll also see the two main characters be on their own path. Arin is already in the war, but Kestrel is imprisoned. I think it's an asset to the readers to also live through the sort imprisonment that the Empire sees fit. It really brings a lot of other and new details and characteristics that we can pin to the empire. As for Arin, as I already mentioned he's already in war but he'll make sure that the readers will get a good view on how the east will react and claim their space in war. Which is also a very nice thing to read about! Both characters will just make sure that more details and characteristics of other lands will become known. Even though it's the last book, I really enjoyed getting to know the other lands even better!


Another thing I absolutely adored in this book was the past of Arin that got a little bit more revealed. Arin will tell tales of his past and also his gods will be around. These little elements are things that really define Arin and make him who he is. Therefore reading into his past and getting to understand (at last) why he did the things that he did, is something readers will find amazing. Also the part of his gods will be more important in this book and really makes Arin's character even better.


As for Kestrel, we know her heartbreak and as I already said she's imprisoned. The Winner's Kiss is finally going to add more to the bond between her father and her. Some questions will be answered and readers will not be disappointed at all! Their relationship as well as both characters will be talked about and seen more so that we'll finally be able to understand what went wrong and why. I think that's a nice element to close this series off with because I think this was something that defined Kestrel's personality.


Does this mean that we won't be seeing some Kestrel and Arin action? Who knows. I can't really say much about that, especially because that's just the fun of the book. However I can really say that I'm absolutely amazed and happy with how the book ends and how the trilogy is closed off. After a long ride of 3 books with so much loss and games and betrayal, I think it's safe to say that readers will not be left disappointed. At least I really wasn't! 


And with this review, this series ends! I can't believe that it's over and it also really pains me to think of that! Marie Rutkoski has given me a new series to treasure and also and ending I never came close to. The Winner's Kiss has surprised me in many ways and the author has once again showed us that she can keep exciting us. This time I felt that the focus has changed once again and claims the war as theme. I have to say I respect the author a lot to refocus her theme in every book but still make it one coherent trilogy. As in all other books, we'll be able to enjoy strategies and see them being executed with it's effects as we get a closer look onto the war. 


As this is the last book in the trilogy, a lot of remaining questions get answers and new questions still arise which I think is an asset to the book. The author keeps making us guess and question certain characters but also certain situations. And speaking of characters, they surprised me even more! It's amazing to see them grow even further and play with their demons during the times of war. 



Lastly, there's still the part where the trilogy is written with an all-knowing-persona but once again the author won't give everything to us. There's still so much room to speculate or even to be surprised because things turned out totally opposite than what we might have expected. I absolutely loved that effect in this story. 

To conclude I think it's fair to say that this is an outstanding ending that's both thrilling but also very satisfying. Even after two books the author has given us a worthy last book that still gives us all the things we loved during the story. I am in tears! This book (and this entire series) is absolutely magnificent. A huge recommendation!

"Some kisses come at a price."