Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

29559052Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass (#5)

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published:  September 6th 2016

Summary: “The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

 

Review

I know it’s been a “long” time since Empire of Storms was released but I have a confession. I put off reading this book until right now. Why? I was never in the right mood to read it. But finally, the time has come and I decided on the spur of the moment to re-read the whole series (because let’s be honest… It’s been too long and I wouldn’t remember things that would reveal themselves to be important to the plot further on). And what better than now as the last book – Kindgom of Ash – comes out in October?!

I highly recomend reading The Assassin’s Blade before Empire of Storms. This prequel will answer many questions you might have in this book and you’ll love to see the comeback of many characters.

Without further ado, let’s begin the review. Please be advised, this is a kind of spoilery review. If you haven’t read Empire of Storms yet run as far away from this post as possible.

Didn’t really love the beginning of Empire of Storms. I know we have shifted from the YA groove to a more NA mindset, which is amazing because the book characters are gowing same as we. However, I could deal without SJM’s famous sex scenes, which are mostly, to put it blunty, bad. But I’ll conceed and hope she might improve in the future. Anyway, we start right where we left of in Queen of Shadows with Aelin returning to Terrassen.

Loved the exchange between Aelin, her court and Darrow. I think we were all expecting to have a bit of a rocky comeback to Terrassen and we had an cunning and intriguing exchange with one of the lords of Terrassen straight from the beginning.

Also, can I say that I absolutely love LOVE LOVE Lyssandra. She might be my favourite character right now. Aelin is amazing (more on that later) and I idolize Manon, but Lyssandra is the surprise here. She went from being a forced prostitute to becoming one of the most powerful creatures in the Throne of Glass series and is incredibly courageous. Her scenes with Aedion are also so sweet, shipping them obviously.

Elide and Lorcan’s scenes were surprisingly ones of my favourites. I couldn’t stop reading if I were in the middle of their POVs, even if Lorcan made the best to be the jerk he can be most of the times. That ending between them… Damn. Can’t wait to see how Lorcan is going to deal and grow with this.

By now, we should be used to Aelin’s scheming, but it blew my mind that what Aelin has been doing since the beginning of the series has been carefully planned by her. I applaud Maas here as it must have taken huge planning on her part here.

However, there were several plot holes, I believe. I don’t know what happened but for Maas to drop the huge bomb of the matter of Settling (when a demi-fae can transition from mortal do immortal depending on their bloodline and fate) as if every reader knew about it. Not cool.

I enjoyed the return of many characters from The Assassin’s Blade. You can see here that this prequel wasn’t written just for laughs. Heck, the prequel is better than many books out there and by the end I was sobbing like a baby. Can’t wait to read more about Elias and Ansel!

Aelin and Rowan are perfect together. I predicted that they were mates way before the revealing but it was pretty predicable, if you ask me. I didn’t figure out, however, how Maeve had carefully planned this.

Speaking of Maeve. HOLY SHIT THAT ENDING. Seriously, the ending of Empire of Storms has to be one of the most painful, hearbreaking and intense I’ve ever read (Clockwork Princess excluded because that one still breaks my heart to this moment). That Aelin had everything prepared for the others to win the war, to thrive and have a future.

YOU DON’T GET TO DO THAT TO ME, AELING/MAAS. My heart can’t take it. And now I have to wait 5 more months for Kingdom of Ash to come out. Guess I’ll have to do with Tower of Dawn. BUT WITH THAT CLIFFHANGER HOW CAN I READ ANOTHER BOOK MEANWHILE??

While this is a book that will probably be in my all-time favourites, I can’t give it 5 stars because of some lazy writing and the bomb-dropping info we sometime got.

And no, not even gonna address Manon and Dorian because I’d combust from the chemistry just talking about it.

4.25 Chibis

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Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Series: The Mortal Instruments (#6)

Publisher: Walker Books

Published:  May 28th 2014

Summary: “Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last instalment of the internationally bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.
Erchomai, Sebastian had said. I am coming.
Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance?”

Review

I’ve waited 2 years to read this book. Why, you ask? Because I was devastated by Clockwork Princess, which came out in 2013, and have been since plagued by its ending (you can see why in my review). So, I knew from the epilogue that some stuff would go down on City of Heavenly Fire (CoHF) and was scared shitless of what I was going to find out. That, and I couldn’t make myself read anything in the shadowhunter world without thinking of Will, so there’s that. Anyway, CoHF was a great book to read (not during midterms like I did), and I laughed, sighed and teared up a bit. However, there were some things that left me thinking and wondering whether this book could have been better.

Now, I’m going to be spoilerly as can be so I’d refrain from reading more if you are planning on reading City of Heavenly Fire (although most people have read it a long time ago, I’m just late for the party woohoo!)

CoHF begins with the shadowhunter’s world at the footstep of a war even they can’t imagine what’s going to be like. Sebastian is on the move, Jace and Clary can’t do the deed without burning up (literally burning up), there’s trouble in paradise for Alec and Magnus, and who the hell knows what’s going on between Izzy and Simon. In all my honesty, when Cassandra Clare announced that some important characters were going to die, I thought immediately that it was going to be either Alec or Magnus. Let’s just say, CC has a flair for the dramatic and after Clockwork Princess I was expecting the worse (yes, one of them dying after their breakup would be the worst thing for me). But fear not, none of these precious characters have died! Now, I was incredibly surprised with the death of dear Jordan, who I honestly couldn’t remember that well but still felt an affinity for. I was shocked when Sebastian killed him in front of Maia, along with the massacre that had happened in the Praetor Lupus (hope I’m writing that right). I was expecting war and devastation, but Sebastion went full bloodthirsty psychopath and reached extremes even I didn’t think were possible.

The Endarkened, shadowhunters turned bad by the Infernal Cup, were a surprise as well. I thought there was going to be a way to cure them, some sort of turnaround for them. It was heartbreaking to see warriors mourn their lost and even worse having to kill their relatives, their friends, just because there was no way of bringing them back. Worst of all, Amatis. I was hoping for a salvation for Luke’s sister, but the way it all ended, I was left heartbroken with the last look of recognition.

I loved Simon’s jokes, and absolutely adored Alec when he was in a good mood. Who doesn’t, he’s hilarious too! One thinh I pitty was not remembering Maureen, at all! Well, didn’t matter that much, though.

Now now, there was some stuff that just didn’t bode that well with me. First of all, when the gang is in Edom, they are in the caves. Some stuff happened before and Jace is now free of the heavenly fire (I told you there were big spoilers). So, obviously, he can finally have sex with Clary. Sexy times in a cavern in the middle of a demon realm, who wouldn’t? The question here is, why did Jace go prepared and have a condom with him. Now, let’s think. The gang had to prepare real fast to leave for Edom. They were gathering water, food and essential stuff. Did Jace really think “well, I have heavenly fire inside be that lights up whenever I feel things but maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to do the deed with Clary there, who knows, it might happen, so I should just take this condom with me.”. I know that Cassandra Clare was probably promoting safe sex, which I completely approve of! However, it was so ridiculous! These scene was completely out of context, and I bet Jace had other worries other than finding condoms when he was preparing for a suicidal mission.

The other thing that I did not like, even though it was the one that brought most tears to my eyes and made me feel things, was making CoHF an extension of The Infernal Devices. I loved that series with all my heart. But please, it ended there. I wanted more Tessa and more Jem, sure. I wanted them to have a happy ending and the epilogue in Clockwork Princess happens in The Mortal Instruments’ world, I know. But it all felt like a cheap shot. Like the author was trying to make the readers feel by making them think about the book that wrenched their heart before. And now, we have to think about Jem being mortal, while Tessa remains immortal, AGAIN. Also, all those William Herondale references. Are you trying to kill me? Again, cheap shot. There are other ways of making the readers feel. Like Simon. I was spoiled on that because I opened on the very last page of the book when I bought it, knowing it wasn’t part of the story, but what I got was an ad for Shadowhunter Academy thingie that told me Simon was a Shadowhunter and we could follow his story there. Come on, that’s just stupid! Who puts that at the end of the book, when that’s the major ending of the story?? For fucks sake. Well, at least we got to meet the real Jonathan Morgenstern, without the demonic eyes and psychopathic soul. I feel for Jocelyn having lost her son again, and I’m sad that we didn’t get to see more of Jonathan.

I will read Lady Midnight to know more about Emma Carstairs. I didn’t know she was going to appear so much on CoHF but I’m intrigued. Also, I’m predicting more Tessa and Jem there (and Church!). If I think Shadowhunter series should end, yes I do. The author should stop writing about the world. But I like it, and will probably read more. It’s my guilty pleasure.

3.5 Chibis

TV Series are an addiction

Instead of reviewing books like I should be doing, I have been immersed in the world of TV series! Yeah, I’m reading several books right now: Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda (which I’m loving), Clean Sweep and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. However, I have been feeling like watching shows more. Hence, not finishing one single book in 1 week. Anyways, that’s why I decided I should share all the series I’m currently addicted to!

The 100

Set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.

So yeah, this must be one of the most underated or underwatched tv series out there right now. This might seem like one more teenage drama, it’s CW ffs. However, don’t be fooled. The 100 is one amazing series that makes you question your physical and moral limits as a human being. It’s addictive, it’s fascinating. GO WATCH IT. Also, season 3 has started 2 weeks ago and DEAR GOD HAS IT BEEN AMAZING! The showrunners are killing me and let me tell you, they are some shipsinkers and sure love to troll with us fans!

The Good Wife

Alicia has been a good wife to her husband, a former state’s attorney. After a very humiliating sex and corruption scandal, he is behind bars. She must now provide for her family and returns to work as a litigator in a law firm.

This is a show that has been running for 7 years now and I’m devouring this new season. Alica Florrick is a lawyer that has been through a lot but now has gone back on her feet and is showing the Chicago Scene that she is a force to be reckoned with. I’m a little appreensive about how everything will play out in the end as there are some rumors that this might be the final season. If you like politics, conspiracies, unfullfilled romance and fast-paced tv series, give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.

2 Broke Girls

Two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business – if only they can raise the cash.

I might be a little late on this ride but I’ve recently started watching 1 Broke Girls and DAMN is it catchy and funny. I love the dynamics between Max and Caroline and, honestly, all the characters have their spotlight and the show wouldn’t be the same without them. Earl, Sophie, Oleg and Han make the show what it is and even though I am only on Season 2, I’m sure it won’t be long until I catch up with the 5th season that is currently airing.

Honorable Mentions: How to Get Away with Murder and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

HTGAWM: A group of ambitious law students and their brilliant criminal defense professor become involved in a twisted murder plot that promises to change the course of their lives.

L&O: SVU: This show introduces the Special Victims Unit, a new elite squad of NYPD detectives who investigate sexually related crimes.

This are two special series for me. I stopped watching How to Get Away with Murder after watching Season 2 episode 3 because I felt like I needed the whole season completed so I would binge watch it. Why? Because so damn much is going on! Also, I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks so binge-watching it will make it easier for me to watch this amazing series. Afterall, the flashbacks are what make the show! Law and Order: SVU is one of those series that I watch whenever a episode is airing on TV. I love the show but never get around to watching it from episode 1. Let’s be real, the show has, what, 15 seasons? Anyway, it’s a wonderful series, that is actually realistic, as opposed to many criminal tv series that are airing right now. Sometimes justice is served, other times the criminal is never caught. Also, it’s much better than Law and Order (the original).

MUST WATCH: Jessica Jones

A former superhero decides to reboot her life by becoming a private investigator.

I watched this in 3 days more or less and I guess that says it all!

Joint book review: The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel by Vi Keeland

The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel

The Baller: A Down and Dirty  Football Novel by Vi Keeland

Standalone

Published: January 18th 2016

Publisher: Self-published

Summary: “The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room. It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster. The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets. No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question. On camera. The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don’t date players.  And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football.  I’d date an athlete.  It’s the other kind of player I don’t date. You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.”

Brody Easton was the ultimate player. Every woman wanted to be the one to change him. But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for. Turned out, I was that girl. Simple right? Let’s face it. It never is. There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…  And this one is ours.”

Review

Sofia and I decided to do something a little different this time. We read a book with an extremely curious and suspicious title and ended up loving it and as such we are doing a dual book review! So, when you see a book named “The Baller” with an enormous dirty subtitle, fear not! Give that book a chance and enjoy the ride!

Sofia’s Review:

5 F****** STARS

I can’t even talk right now, this book was SOOOOO GOOD!

The first half of the book is just plain funny and sexy, I loved Brody and Delilah so much! It was so entertaining to read their story, I really needed a book like this, I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, but most of them are the same, they just basically have the same story, similar lines, your typical broken hero, blah, stupid drama, blah
I was so not expecting to love The Baller this much! Vi Keeland is officially one of my fav authors right now, I LOVED the way she wrote this book.

When I got to the second half of the book, my enthusiasm got deflated, a third POV is added to the book, Willow’s POV, Willow is Brody’s ex-girlfriend. My heart literally beat faster and my feels got hit again and again; at that point I thought to myself: “holly shit, I’m going to cry so much, I can see it already”. True, I cried, but only a bit, due to other reasons.
I liked how this “love triangle” was dealt with. 50 points to Vi Keeland for how original this was!!!

Also, I feel the need to mention Delilah’s BFF, Indie. Indie is hilarious, I absolutely loved her.

Wait, have I told you how much I LOVED THIS BOOK???

Ana’s Review:

4 Chibis

When Soffy told me I should read The Baller I thought she had gone cray cray once and for all. Yeah, I was wrong. The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel (well, that takes some time to say) is a hilarious book that has its down to earth moments of course but that most of the times will make you have a stupid smile on your face.

One of the things I liked about this book was that I finally read about a guy that although shows his interest in a direct way does not act like an abusing alpha male or jealous freak. We are introduced to a Brody that does not want a relationship, only a good time, but that quickly knows that he really likes Delilah and wants to give a stable relationship a shot. He doesn’t pull her everywhere, doesn’t kiss her when she doesn’t want to. He is always trying to show his good side, doing things that makes her feel special and only makes his move when she makes it extremely clear that she wants to give it a shot as well and in her own terms. I loved the sticks bouquet and the little fish gifts and was positively surprised when he was the first to talk about his past.

Contrary to Soffy’s opinion, I actually liked Willow’s POV. No, I didn’t want Brody’s ex-girlfriend back in the mix and didn’t want to see a love triangle, but that didn’t happen and while I didn’t want her anywhere near Brody, I understood her and felt for her and was happy that she was able to move on as well and will probably have a good future ahead of her.

Oh, and yeah, when are we getting a book dedicated to Indie’s story? Amazing character and wish I could have seen more of her!

Ana’s Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass (#4)

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Published: September 1st 2015

Summary: “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.”

Review

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. OBVIOUSLY.

I’ll only say this once: if you haven’t started reading the Throne of Glass series what are you doing with your life? This series is one of the best out there, it’s life itself and come on, everyone has been raging about it since the first book came out in 2012. Sarah J. Maas has done something beautiful with the series and I am now going through a book comatose: the phenomena in which you finish a book and every single book you pick after that feel like crap and you get the feeling that no one else can write a book as good as the one you’ve just read. This is a shitty phase to go through because you want, you NEED to read something else because of all the feelings you have but nothing satisfies you. Continue reading

Book Review: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Every Last Breath

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: The Dark Elements (#3)

Publisher: July 28th 2015

Published: Harlequin Teen

Summary:Some loves will last ’til your dying breath
Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.
Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.
Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…”

Review

What to say… What to say… This book… Well, it wasn’t that good. We started with an awesome book, got a middle book that was simply bad and now ended this should-have-been-great series with… this. Every Last Breath was way better than Stone Cold Touch but none of the sequels did justice to Hot White Kiss. Also, who decided on the horrible book cover changes? The head of the marketing department should be fired. As such, I am using the Kindle cover edition, which is not great but so much better than the new lame ones.

Every Last Breath picks up right where Stone Cold Touch ended, with the gang fining out that the Lillin was already born and had incorporated Sam’s form for a while now. I’m not here to say the premise isn’t good. It is, oh if it isn’t. I just feel like the author didn’t give a damn about this series… The Wardens, Alphas and even the witches want to catch the Lillin so as to not let Lillith get out of Hell. The story was going to a good place and it ended well. However, we never did find out Layla’s exact abilities and some things don’t get all that well resolved. I felt like I needed more, I just didn’t get what I was expecting from Every Last Breath.

We all knew that Roth would end up with Layla (thank god!) and she fortunately decided to stop leading Zayne on pretty fast in terms of chapters. However, I couldn’t help but be so frustrated at how Zayne handled things. He always seemed like the personification of all things good and now he was just kept reminding me of a proud caveman jock. It was bad guys. And when it all turns out good he doesn’t get the ending he deserved, full closure and all. We just get a speck of what might happen in the future and what I saw didn’t really convince me, Jennifer L. Armentrout didn’t manage sell me that possible story line.

But the worst of it all is what happens to a certain favourite character of everyone, and it’s obvious I’m talking about Bambi. This is the part that most baffled me because I just didn’t understand the point of this at all. It was a senseless and illogical decision of the author to make this happen. Why did Roth had to give up Bambi to the witches all of a sudden? I see that this demonstrates Roth’s love for Layla and the measure of what he would do for her but it freaking doesn’t make sense. It was stupid and in my most honest opinion a bad decision from the author. It was unnecessary and doesn’t bring anything new to the plot.

I’m not really going to say anything more because in all that is truth I don’t have many things to say about this book except shake my head at it. I was expecting so much more and the best part was the beginning with Thumper’s appearance (the character that should have appeared more but only made its great entrance once in the first chapters *sigh*).

2.5 Chibis

Ana’s book review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Series: Red Queen (#1)

Published: February 10th 2015

Publisher: Orion

Summary: “The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?”

Review

This book had so much buzz going on about it that I didn’t resist reading it. As I’ve said several times before I’m not a huge fan of dystopian novels but it seems that I have a trend going: I keep on picking up books set in a dystopian world. Fortunately, I actually quite enjoyed Red Queen. It wasn’t perfection but it was highly enjoyable and I am certainly looking forward to reading the much awaited sequel, Glass Sword.

First of all I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t get certain vibes from another books in Red Queen. Many people have said that the premise is the same of Red Rising by Pierce Brown but since I have never read that book and I can’t make a comparison and say if that is true or not. I can say, however, that I thought obvious the influence of The Selection by Kiera Cass in the making of this book. Now, I didn’t love The Selection and only read it because I wanted to see where it was going (and didn’t end up finishing the series and most probably won’t pick up the 3rd, 4th and so on, if they happen, ever). Despite this, I felt like the competition between the Silver girls to marry the princes was better conceived and the fact that the competition wasn’t the whole plot and only made up 10% of the book and it was right in the beginning made me more favourable towards the future premise which would undoubtedly have much to offer. I wasn’t wrong on that part and while I thought that some parts could have been more carefully planned or structured, I believe Red Queen is a great beginning to what will be an action packed, albeit with hopefully a good romance, series.

Unlike many books that have been coming out for some time now, Red Queen does an excellent job with its world building. I’ve read some books in which authors introduce the readers to a new world with no explanation of how it was formed or how it works at all and when things happen they do so without justification: oh a person has powers now, awesome, it comes out of nowhere but who cares. Red Queen has left many questions unanswered but I know that all my curiosity will be satisfied in the next installments.

Also, Victoria Aveyard will mess with your head. I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t suspect that something wasn’t right with all of Mare’s plans going right and I had a suspition of what was going to happen but I wasn’t expecting that ending. I want to know more about what is going to happen to Mare and Cal and the revolution and you can’t bet that I will be getting my hands on Glass Sword as soon as it is released.

4 Chibis