Only Words (Shane Ashby Trilogy #1) by Summer Kiska

419ky6iv5blIf magick defines me, who am I without it?

Has your boyfriend been turned into a bunny?  Does your creepy stalker need a time-out as a toad? Or maybe you want a little more oomph in your spells? Shane Ashby—Celtic witch with three times the power of your average magick-user—has you covered.

Or, well, at least I used to.

I’ve been cursed. That’s bad enough, but now I have to defend against a sister I never thought I’d see again. And with the worst timing ever, a desperate, if irritatingly attractive warlock shows up at my door in need of a tutor. Apparently, I’m his “last hope.”

Somehow, I have to figure out how to keep breathing, not have an emotional breakdown, and make sure no one around me gets caught in the crossfire. All while having one proverbial hand tied behind my back.

Sure, I’ve got this…

 

REVIEW: A fun read with a refreshing perspective | ★★★★☆

It’s such a refreshing perspective for a story to be told from a witch whose speech is limited due to a curse. I had a lot of fun reading this book, and from Shane Ashby’s interesting point of view. It was incredibly easy to like her, and the love interest Jeremy Reeves as well. Though to be honest, I am rooting for the other guy, only because he’s a P.I. and a teleporter! There are few other characters in the story but none of them are bland, including Freya, the cat! Overall, this is definitely a good read and a great start to a trilogy.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

Unknown Element by Brittani S. Avery

518i87uvc7lIn fifteen-year-old Rex Marshall’s mystical world, beings are classified by and can harness the powers of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, and Darkness. When Rex, the rebellious son of an abolitionist councilman, impulsively purchases the freedom of Meenal, a peculiar blue slave, they discover a deep connection over one commonality: both don’t know who—or what—they are.

Rex and Meenal’s journey of self-discovery and Rex’s need to defend his birthright and inheritance takes them to the Saldur Empire, the country from which Rex’s homeland, Maventa, won its independence—the same place his missing mother hails from. As Rex acts as ambassador between Maventa and the Saldur Empire, his connection to his mother becomes stronger than ever, and his origin becomes eerily clear.

The quest to unearth their elements may prove life-threatening— or worse.

REVIEW: Intriguing but with character issues | ★★★☆☆

There are some aspects to enjoy about this book, but it’s significantly hindered by the main character Rex who is difficult to like. Even though his hot-tempered personality is meant to be part of a mystery, it’s still difficult to follow such an unlikeable lead. His behavior (and some others as well) is also a bit much for a teenager although that may depend on the culture? For me, it’s cringey mainly because they’re underaged. However, the world itself is interesting and there are other intriguing characters such as Meenal. So, if there is a sequel to this book, I will still continue with the series, hoping that Rex would have developed into a better character.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

Unfortunately this is a late post since we’re heading towards the middle of April now. But I want to talk about the books I’ve read so far and the current count is 9, which means I’m behind on my goal of 50 books for the year – but I do plan to catch up!

My TBR has changed as I added books I’ve received from the Indiecember Giveaway pack and prioritized them. I managed to read one book from my initial TBR, though, which had consisted of 5 books. I also read books that were not on my TBR out of curiosity… I guess I needed to discipline myself.

My current TBR will be a different post, but here are the books that I’ve read as of the end of March, a little synopsis on them, and my overall thoughts.

23635434The World of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin / Elio M. Garcia Jr. / Linda Antonsson. It took me a while to finish this book, but I managed to finish it before deciding on my TBR. This is a fictional history book on the rich lore of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series told from the perspective of a maester. Like a real history book, some parts were boring, but I’d say 70% is quite interesting and in fact intriguing. This definitely makes me want to pick up Fire & Blood but I have a long list of books to read as of now, so it’s not really a priority. You don’t need to read this book to enjoy or understand the books in the main series but I feel that it will enhance the experience especially if the world-building of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series interests you.

26308563Echo Volume I, II, & III by Kent Wayne. Only the first volume was in my TBR but I continued with the series out of curiosity. This series actually contains four books, but I found myself stuck in what seemed like an endless loop of training montage in the middle of the fourth book, so I put it on-hold for a while. This is a sci-fi dystopian series with fabulous world-building centered around Kishchan Atriya as he struggles through action-packed missions full of tech and mech and discovers himself through magic and mind-bending philosophy. Not fond of all the “Old Earth” references because they distract me from the story, but the action, world-building, and the main character himself definitely makes this a wonderful read. So far, anyway.

35034255Reflections by Briana Morgan. This is the first book I received from the Indiecember Giveaway. This is about a young insecure girl, with past trauma, who encounters and joins a tribe of shapeshifters who helps her acquire the same ability, as she struggles to solve the mystery of girls being murdered in the woods, as well as learn to love and be confident with herself. I wish that the fantasy elements in this story was used more, but overall it is a decent read.

42946515Theonite: Planet Adyn by M. L. Wang. This is the first book of a series, the second of which I plan to read in the future. The main character finds herself with special abilities that no one else seem to have and she learns to harness and hide them, until she discovers that the new kid in class seem to have abilities too and may not even belong on the same planet. I enjoyed this book, especially the main character Joan who is so endearing, and will definitely want to continue the journey with her.

40220795Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Was not in my TBR but picked it up out of curiosity. This follows an imprisoned young assassin who is given a chance to gain her freedom by competing in a tournament against other mercenary-type warriors, while finding herself in a romance with the prince, and trying to solve murders occurring in the palace. This book was a struggle to me because the main character was poorly written as an assassin, romance was bland, and the resolution of the mystery wasn’t particularly compelling. However, I did enjoy the main character as a teenager, as well as two other characters, and the glimpse of the magical lore intrigued me. Overall, it wasn’t a waste of time and I do plan to read the next book in the series someday as I do want to follow the characters as well as learn more about the lore.

41139191Reciprocity by Sean M. Locke. A very unique story set in a dark sci-fi world about a lesbian mafia goon who finds herself in the middle of a gang war as she helps a noblewoman retrieve a dangerous family weapon prototype off the streets, and falls for her in the process. The writing is slick and clever, the world-building is captivating, and the characters are cool and complex. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and very happy to know that the author himself confirmed that there will be a sequel because the two main characters of this story definitely deserves it.

44172434Swinging Sanity by N. F. Mirza. A poetry book where pain and darkness are beautifully expressed. From the title to the art to the words themselves, the book is an excellent package. My favorites are: “Clash of Extremes”, “Insomniac”, and “A Million Dead Stars”. This was also not part of my TBR but, once again, I picked it up out of curiosity. Totally worth it.

 

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

40220795Read the book that started the phenomenon. Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series has taken the world by storm.

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

 

REVIEW: Enjoyable if you don’t take it seriously | ★★★☆☆

I feel like the main character Celaena Sardothian being given the label “the greatest assassin” is a huge insult to the term “assassin” and I really resent the book for that. She has the behavior, attitude, and mentality of a modern-day teenager because she is a teenager (although not supposedly in modern-day), and actually, there’s nothing wrong with that. But she’s as immature as teenagers tend to be, and to label her an assassin just to make her look cool is bringing down the coolness factor of the word “assassin”. The way she reacts to and views certain things are quite normal for a teenager but somewhat laughable for an assassin. There was a part where I actually laughed out loud because she was upset that she was not invited to the ball. This “greatest assassin” is upset that she was not invited to the ball. LOL! I wish there was this angle of “she was a trained assassin but is just now learning how to be a teenager” coming-of-age theme just to make her immaturity a bit more believable. We could also maybe get flashbacks of her past kills from time to time. But we get neither of these and instead we have an immature assassin at best.

The romance is a bit bland because instead of it being the “forbidden romance” between assassin and prince, it felt more like two teenagers being attracted to each other where I’m more inclined to let them enjoy their youth (so stop being overdramatic and just go for it!), than to feel any kind of weight or stakes for this kind of romance. I guess this is supposed to be a love triangle… and I’m actually rooting for the other guy — who, by the way, seems a bit young and inexperienced for a “captain” (yet another term whose coolness factor is brought down).

The tournament itself is also problematic. We have elimination tests that are set so far apart, and they’re not even that elaborate. And we are informed of some of them in hindsight and kind of dismissively. And in between these tests the participants are required to train — but why would established assassins, murderers, thieves, etc. need to be given time to train? It would have been much more believable if this whole thing was like a young assassins academy or something and they are on their way to graduating by performing these series of elimination tests. Also, the action is really lacking, which is weird because introducing a main character as an assassin usually implies a lot of action.

There is also a mystery plot where people in the castle are being killed horribly. To avoid spoilers, let me just say it ended up to be underwhelming for me.

Now that I’ve given my negative points, I’m gonna start with the positives.

The cover art looks good. That’s all!

Haha, kidding. From the get go I realized that this book is on the less mature side of Young Adult, so I decided not to take it so seriously and try to enjoy what I can.

Removing the assassin aspect to it, Celaena is not exactly unlikeable. Although I never felt that she was cool, I feel that she is a relatable character (for teenagers, not assassins) who can stand on her own. I love that she enjoys reading and is resourceful. More often than not, her connection to Chaol, Dorian, and Nehemia are enjoyable to read and I find these friendships believable. Dorian is not particularly interesting, but Chaol and Nehemia are. I never really believed him as a Captain, but Chaol feels like that honorable dependable buddy for both Celaena and Dorian. Nehemia is probably the most intriguing character in this story and that’s all I’m gonna say about her (to avoid spoilers).

The pacing of the story was also good. There were only few moments that felt dragging or too fast. The writing was very accessible and although not perfect, it was quite decent. And it played a huge part on why I enjoyed the book in spite of my frustrations with it. Another thing that kept me glued to the story is the intrigue behind the magical lore.

In the end, despite having major problems with it, I still managed to enjoy this book, with the hope that the next ones are better.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

Theonite: Planet Adyn (Book 1 in the Theonite Series) by M. L. Wang

42946515Joan is at her happiest when she uses her powers – stirring air currents, creating fire, and levitating metal objects – but she learned at a young age that no one in her small-minded suburban town was prepared to accept her abilities. Since that painful revelation, she has hidden her powers, isolating herself from others, even keeping her own parents at a distance.
However, all that changes when a boy named Daniel Thundyil transfers to her school and she begins to suspect that he is concealing powers of his own. Burning with curiosity and desperate to end her loneliness, Joan makes it her mission to get to the bottom of this boy’s secrets. What she doesn’t realize is that Daniel isn’t just another Earthling with uncanny abilities; he is an inter-dimensional traveler from a world of super-powered beings. And the moment she started prying into his life, she put herself in the sights of the godlike evil that follows him from his dimension.
Now, the most powerful girl on Earth faces a choice: will she retreat back to the safety of her life in hiding or brave the storm for a chance at truth and friendship?
For Daniel Thundyil and his crime-fighter father, Robin, adventures in exotic places are nothing new. The two of them have chased criminals all over their own planet of super-powered beings. But this is the first time a mission has brought them to a parallel dimension, and something about it doesn’t sit right with Daniel. Questions gather like storm clouds: Who is this villain they are hunting? Why won’t Robin reveal his name? As the sky darkens, Daniel and Joan start to wonder who is really being hunted.

 

REVIEW: An endearing coming-of-age superpower story | ★★★★☆

The portrayal of Joan as a child with superpowers is quite endearing because we get to see how she grows as a child with superpowers, how she harnesses them, and how she realizes that she must hide them. Ultimately, she meets a boy Daniel who seemingly has abilities too and we get to see how she deals with that. I enjoyed the book because I really like the main character a lot. We do get a glimpse of action, but I’m left wanting for more. I do wish for a lot more showing than telling in terms of Daniel and his father Robin’s background but it seems well thought out and intriguing. This is definitely a promising series.

Review originally posted on Amazon.