Manga Review: Dawn of the Arcana vol.1 by Rei Toma

11029842Dawn of the Arcana Vol.1 by Rei Toma

Series: Dawn of the Arcana (#1)

Published: January 1st 2009

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Goodreads: “A medieval fantasy where a princess’s mysterious power alters her fate! Reads R to L (Japanese Style).

Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage…and a mysterious power!”

 

Review:

Let’s talk about the art of Reimei no Arcana/Dawn of the Arcana, shall we? Can we just take a good look at it and be honest? It’s beautiful! And trust me, Rei Toma’s stories are worth reading as well. I just have a huge urge to own all of the volumes of Reimei no Arcana… I must collect them all!
My budget is kind of tight though, so I only own the two first volumes, I’ll collect them whenever I can anyway 😉

Reimei no Arcana is set in a kind of medieval world with fantasy elements, it is set in two different countries; although this first volume is mostly set in Belquat, the Southern kingdom.
Princess Nakaba of Senan (the Northern kingdom) marries Prince Caesar of Belquat in order to somehow appease the war between the two countries, even though political marriages have had place for years, between Senan and Belquat, the two countries always end up fighting each other.

Belquat is richer and more prosperous, while Senan always has bad harvests, due to it’s colder weather and harsher climatic conditions. “Belquatians” also consider themselves to be superior intellectually – we’ll see if that proves to be right or not.
All the royals have black hair, and anybody else with blond, brown or red hair are from a lower cast, and finally, there’s the Ajin. Ajin are demi-humans with animal features and senses that surpass those of humans.

Nakaba has red hair, even though she’s a royal, as such, she’s been rejected and restrained throughout all her life. I’m not sure about whether this is true or not, because it’s not been explained very much -yet- in this first volume, but it would seem she’s been locked up in a tower for a long time, much like Rapunzel.
Nakaba and Caesar can’t stand each other at first, as a matter in fact, Caesar is kind of violent towards her in the beginning. I’m sure they’ll fall in love with each other soon enough.

All in all, I really liked reading this, I’m reading the 2nd volume as soon as I can.

4 Chibis

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

Novella Review: The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas

18333581.jpgThe Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas

Novella of the book: The Assassin’s Blade 

Series: Throne of Glass (#0.2)

Published: 22nd March 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Goodreads: “Meet the Assassin: beautiful, defiant, destined for greatness. Celaena Sardothien has challenged her master. Now she must pay the price. Her journey to the Red Desert will be an arduous one, but it may change the fate of her cursed world forever…”

Review:

I so want to see Yrene Towes again, she seems like such an interesting character – not to mention that I totally sismance her with Celeana.

Celeana has been staying at the White Pig Inn, Innish, a small port town, for a few days, her goal is to reach the Red Desert, where she is to meet the Mute Master of Assassins, who’ll train her for a month. This is Celeana’s punishment for destroying the slave-trade agreement between Arobynn and the Pirate Lord of Skull’s Bay.

Yrene, a girl whose mother was killed for being a healer, works a the Inn, as she wants to win enough coin to be able to go to Torre Cesme, where she can learning the art of healing. However, her boss is constantly cutting her salary and tips, and raising the rent of her small room.

Their paths cross and Celeana changes Yrene’s life.

“For wherever you need to go – and then some. The world needs more healers.”

4.5 Chibis

Novella Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

13415554.jpgThe Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

Novella of the book: Assassin’s Blade

Series: Throne of Glass (#0.1)

Published: January 13th 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Goodreads: “A Throne of Glass novella.

On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.”

Review:

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord tells a story of 16-year-old Celaena Sardothien, she dresses like an aristocratic lady, with silks and expensive gowns, likes to read books all night long, and happens to be part of an Assassins’ Guild, called the Assassins’ Keep. This Guild is mastered by the infamous Arobynn Hamel, a man whom I definitely wouldn’t  like to encounter.

This novella starts off at this exact same guild, located somewhere in Rifthold, capital of Adarlan, where five assassins are gathered at the long table. They hear bad news, as two of the seven of the most trusted assassins are missing, one of them, Gregori has been taken by royal guards, and the other, Ben, Celeana’s mentor is dead. – Arobynn wishes to seek retribution, as such, Celeana’s and Sam’s mission is to travel to the Dead Islands, Skull’s Bay, and deliver two letters to Captain Rolfe, Lord of the Pirates.

However, when Celeana and Sam deliver the letters they realize that Captain Rolfe’s punishment is to pay a substantial sum of money to Arobynn and deliver to him a hundred slaves. – As soon as Celeana realizes the inhuman conditions in which the slaves are being kept, not to mention that the destiny of many children will be to be sold to a brothel, she decides that she must do something to prevent the trade.

I guess that this novella is a good starting point to those who wish to begin reading this series. Although I have already read the first three books of the series, I don’t remember much of it, just the essential I guess, so this is also, kind of a good re-starting point for me.

In addition, if you’re craving for the usual arrogance and badassery from Celeana, I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

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4.5 Chibis

Book review: Axel by Harper Sloan

25168121.jpgAxel by Harper Sloan

Series: Corps Security (#1)

Published: 7th July 2013

Publisher: Self-Published (?)

Goodreads: “Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.
Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.
For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.
When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.
Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.
How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?

Note from the author–This book is intended for a mature reading audience and isn’t suitable for younger readers.”

Review:

My first book by Harper Sloan, I am was not disappointed!

Axel tells the story of Izzy and Axel/Reid, they used to be lovers when they were teenagers, only to separate when Axel joins the Marines and Isabelle’s life takes a total turn.
Some years pass, and Isabelle is married to Brandon, she’s basically chained up to a marriage filled with fear and violence, she becomes broken and completely loses herself. Until one day, she meets up with her long-time friend Dee in secret, only to get beaten to a pulp when she gets back home.

This book brought me to tears, made me laugh my ass off and made me tear up some more. It is just so emotionally charged!

Also, I loved the characters, especially Dee, Sway, Greg and Maddox. Sway is the bomb though, he’s so hilarious, the way the author described him made me feel as if he was standing right before my eyes – I wish my hairdresser was Sway, I would not leave the salon just so I could catch up with the gossip.

“Oh my honey Jesus. You did NOT tell Sway that you knew this fine mountain of a man, no you did NOT. Holy goodness Lord above, I need a cold shower after that, girlfriend. You get your pretty little self into my chair and you tell Sway all about it. Every single delectable thing about it, if you know what I mean. Sweet heavens, I need a drink.” – Like I said, Sway is the bomb.

But then, there’s also Dee, Dee is a fucking badass.

“We watch for a few more seconds. To my fascination, Dee throws all her strength into a move that would make any badass proud. She pulls her hand out farther and literally throws this woman across the room. I think everyone at the table is shocked (…)”

What I couldn’t get into so much, was the romance between Axel and Izzy, I thought I would get the real FEELS when they would finally reunite, but ehhh, not really. I can’t really explain why, I just felt like the two characters didn’t fit each other so well? – I wish I knew what was my problem with romance.

I kinda wanted to avoid talking about this cover, but look at it!!! Ughhh, I can’t even, it’s so wrong in so many levels!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book!

3.75 Chibis

Book Review: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

 

25380932.jpgA Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Series: Immortals After Dark (#2)

Published: 28th March 2006

Publisher: Pocket Star

Goodreads: “Acclaimed author Kresley Cole introduces a sizzling new series with this tale of a fierce werewolf and a bewitching vampire—unlikely soul mates whose passion will test the boundaries of life and death.

A mythic warrior who’ll stop at nothing to possess her…

After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy…

Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents—until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae—and their notorious dark desires—ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.

An all-consuming desire…

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?”

Review:

Was I ready for A Hunger Like No Other? Not really! I hadn’t read something so sexually charged for a while.

Lachlain MacRieve is an ancient Lykaen warrior, the king of his clan, who had been locked up and tortured with fire for 150 years, and the only thing keeping him sane is his hate for the vampire king. Until one day he scents the perfume surrounding his mate, Emmaline Troy.

Emmaline is a 70-something-year-old half-vampire, half-valkyrie, who’s in Paris looking for her father, an unknown vampire.

When Lachlain feels the scent of his on true mate he is able to free himself of his prison, but once he finds out Emmaline is a vampire he’s not very pleased with the prospect of presenting a vampire queen to his people.

I feel like I could’ve liked this book way better if Emmaline wasn’t such a spoiled little bitch. I liked her in the beginning, she seemed like a nice young gal. But she is so selfish, she only thinks about herself… and to be honest, I couldn’t really feel her “love” for Lachlain.

The world-building on this book is solid, but the way the book wrapped up was not entirely pleasing. It felt fake the way Emmaline finally professed her love for Lachlain.
Oh poor Lachlain, he deserved someone way better than Emmaline. *strangles Emmaline’s little neck*

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3 Chibis

Book review: Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

84136.jpgFantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Series: The Entire Dark-Hunterverse (#1)

Published: 18th February 2012

Publisher: St.Martin’s Press

Goodreads:Dear Reader,

Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn’t. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior’s day.

As a love-slave, I know everything about women. How to touch them, how to savor them, and most of all, how to pleasure them. But when I was summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander’s sexual fantasies, I found the first woman in history who saw me as a man with a tormented past. She alone bothered to take me out of the bedroom and onto the world. She taught me to love again.

But I was not born to love. I was cursed to walk eternity alone. As a general, I had long ago accepted my sentence. Yet now I have found Grace–the one thing my wounded heart cannot survive without. Sure, love can heal all wounds, but can it break a two-thousand-year-old curse?

Julian of Macedon ”

Review:

Julian of Macedon, the man who made me fall in love with the Dark-Hunter series. (I fell for him as well, obviously).

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Grace Alexander a sex therapist has a non-existing romantic life, until her hilarious best friend Selena makes her summon a love-slave named Julian of Macedon.

“Oh take me, great gorgeous love-slave and have your wicked way with me. I command you to rise”

“Come and ease my aching loins, O great Julian of Macedon, Julian of Macedon, Julian of Macedon.”

Julian has been trapped in a book for a very long time, he used to be a fearless general of an ancient army, until the day he was betrayed by his brothers, Eros /aka Cupid and Priapus.

But Grace didn’t actually expect Julian to come out of the book, so when he appears on her porch completely naked she doesn’t know wether to scream or swoon (probably both).

“Just where do you think you’re taking me?” (…) “I’m taking you to your bedroom where we can finish what we’ve started,” he said simply, as if he were discussing the weather.”

Despite Julian looking like a sex God, Grace can see the pain in his eyes, the ghosts of his past and the fear of returning to the book in one month. And the only way Julian’s curse can be broken is if he waits until the next full moon to have sex with a daughter of Alexander. However, as the days go by, it keeps getting harder and harder for him to resist his urges.

“You can’t fear dying when you have no reason to live.”

My two favorite scenes are without a doubt:

– when Grace tries to teach Julian how to drive. The man might be talented in a wide range of things, but definitely not driving…

“Well then, just imagine the stories you can tell your men when you get back to Macedonia about the great steel beats you drove… around a parking lot.”

…and “the sexy reading session”… I have to admit that before reading this book I have never though reading to someone could be this sexy.

“What is this? A strip reading session? I read a paragraph, you open a button?”

Overall this book is hilarious, romantic, amazing, and has everything I need in a great book, it was simply amazing to get back to the Dark-Hunterverse!!!

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4 Chibis