[REVIEW] And I Darken by Kiersten White

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[GIVEAWAY] Ceruleans Series by Megan Tayte

Megan Tayte, author of the Ceruleans series, is celebrating her books becoming print copies with an awesome giveaway!
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REVIEW: Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens

* I received a digital copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Wash Me Away
Author: Wendy Owens
Publication date: April 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Monsters have a way of following you.

Immersed in a new world at boarding school, Addy Buckley learns she’s not the only one with secrets. While trying to navigate the minefield of painful lies that seem to be rattling around her family’s past, she meets soft on the eyes and heavy on the heart, Napoleon Blake.

When faced with the darkness, Addy must decide to cling to her new life and friends or let the monster carry her away. The choice is hers, sink or swim.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5

Wash Me Away is an emotional tale about a young girl trying to keep her secrets and pain her own. She finally has friends. She finally knows what being cared about feels like. But she still doesn’t quite know what normal is. And so she keeps her secrets while trying to figure out her friends and help them when they need it. Amidst her discovery of normalcy and love, secrets pile up and spill out until Addy’s breaking. This is a tale about how she copes with what she’s been through, how she grows and becomes stronger. It’s a tale of dark days and brighter futures. It’s about having hope and feeling happy and having all you need with your family and friends. It’s how it all came to be better.

I didn’t think I would love this so much. I figured I’d enjoy reading it, but it’s more than that. Addy is broken, hiding secrets and what she truly feels. I love how strong she is as a character. She’s been through so much and she’s still standing! She’s got a new life with her Aunt and Uncle, with her friends. Things are finally looking good. She has sleepovers now, home cooked meals, friends who she likes talking to and hanging out with, who care for her as she comes to care for them. But then Willow dies and Addy wants to learn more of who her mother was as a person and Julia is spewing secrets other’s hadn’t known, and then everything’s crumbling. The secrets Addy discovers turn her world upside down. But she gets it back upright.

Leo is also a great character. He quotes movies from the 80s and has a knack for diffusing awkward or tense situations. He makes people laugh and smile and makes Addy’s world a little better. That’s probably why I like him most. He treat Addy well and you just know he’ll never mistreat her. They both deserve happiness. Also, every moment they were together, I fell a little more in love with the story and their blooming romance. I was definitely rooting for them.

Which brings me to the writing. The writing is fantastic. It made emotions ooze through the words. The writing flows well and you really lose yourself in the story. Sure, not everyone can connect with what happened to Addy, but either way, many of us deal with depression and so that we can connect with. That helps us understand what the characters feel and what really makes this story so emotional.The author also really makes you think about it (suicide, death, life) more. She helps open our eyes just a little wider. And that’s always a good thing.

The best part? It’s not all death and depression. There’s hope, happiness, light, love, humour, friendship and family. We see characters break, but we also see them stand up again stronger than ever. We see friendships form and feelings bloom. We learn of weird quirks or habits characters have. We learn that while hope may seem meaningless, things always get better eventually. This book inspires hope. That’s all I really need to make this a more fantastic read.

Overall, I definitely recommend this to you lovers of romance books with great characters. Or read it anyway because I think you should. Be warned, it isn’t for everyone.

~Sage<3

ARC REVIEW: Hell And Back by N.P. Martin

*I received a digital ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Title:
 Hell And Back
Author: N.P. Martin
Series: (The Watchers #2.5)
Publication date:
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
  Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon):

After being captured in Hell by her own mother—who works for the King of Hell himself—Leia Swanson is finally released from her nightmarish prison in the dreaded Depths, the deepest, darkest part of Hell.

Soon after, Leia finds herself working for the King, the very demon she came to Hell to kill, and soon discovers that Hell is not only more twisted than she first realized, but also more complicated, especially when she has to work alongside her mother as an enforcer and intelligence gatherer, fighting against the many enemies who want to take down the King.

It isn’t long before Leia finds herself walking a dangerous line between being a loyal servant to the King and continuing to plot her escape from Hell, along the way trying to convince her reluctant and damaged mother to help her. On top of all this, Leia’s inner demon wants to take control of her, and she must also find a way to rescue little Alice, who has been sold into sex slavery.

Leia is on her most dangerous and complicated mission yet. If she fails, eternal suffering awaits her in the depths of Hell.

Format: ARC || Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5
      Hell And Back is the next book in the series after Hell Is Here, which is after Hell Is Coming. It is fantastic. It definitely didn’t disappoint, and it was one heck of a ride! In this book, we follow Leia after she was thrown in the depths. We see the torture she goes through before she is finally released, and from there on, her life only gets harder. She has to contend with the fact of who the King is and who he isn’t any longer. She has to work for him and in the process, gain a bloodlust and possibly false sense of loyalty for the King. She has more than one battle: she has yet to fully understand her demon, she has to find out a way to succeed in her mission, and she has to survive with herself in tact. Because everyone knows that Hell is no place of faith, hope, and anything other than pain and misery.
      Just like in the first two books, I love the characters. I love how Leia is portrayed and how close we get to her in this book. I feel like I can predict her reactions now because of how well I feel I know her. I also love how strong she is. She may not be the same after all she’s gone through, but if anything, she’s stronger and has a better overall understanding which I’m sure will help her in the long run. Honestly, I admire her so much for not breaking, for not losing herself in the midst of Hell’s deceit, torture, and addicting bloodlust. Hell has hardened her, but not so much that she isn’t still Leia, because she is: she’s still kind, caring, strong, and loving (which was shown mostly through her caring of Alice, but also her mother). She just doesn’t cry or despair over the horrors of Hell anymore because she’s gotten used to it. You’re bound to accept the darker parts of Hell after living in them for however long Leia’s been there so far.
      Which brings me to her mother. How Leia’s mom has any humanity left in her after all those centuries she’s spent in Hell being tortured and subjected to such cruelness, I have no idea. But it’s easy to see where Leia gets her strength from. Leia’s mom is an assassin, which means she can definitely hold her own, but she still has heart. I expected her to be so different from how Leia remembered her, since she’s been in Hell for so long, but to be honest, she’s still the same. In a way. She forgets emotions, caring, love, but with Leia there, she has a light again. And the part of her she buried in order to survive in Hell starts to appear again. She’s also pretty badass, just saying.
      King Eblis is…. well, he’s as cruel as one would expect Hell’s King to be. He lies, deceives, tortures, and he’s so far into the darkness he has no humanity left. And while at times he can play the part of a caring person, it’s only ever to help him succeed in his games. I definitely loved him in the end though, where Leia and him had a moment, before Alice makes herself known (I can’t really explain the situation because of spoilers, sorry!).
      Speaking of the end, it played out so much better than what I had been conjuring up! It was… brilliant! The adrenaline, the rage, the hope, it was all so addicting and I easily lost myself in the book. I mean, I was easily hooked and lost in the story, but at that point, I was so far in I forgot I was reading a book in the first place…. I know. I’m weird. And I’ll admit, I predicted what would happen with the whole Leia-must-kill-Eblis situation, like what she would end up doing. But the rest I didn’t see coming until moments before that. It’s great!
      And now I’m being random but, to be honest, I want more of Lucas. It’s obvious at times how much Leia misses him, and that makes me want them together again because she deserves some happiness, you know? And so I hope we get more of him in the next book.
      Overall, Hell And Back is a brilliantly written book. I love the characters, the writing, the world, the situations, and how easy it is to fall into the story. So yeah, I recommend this to everyone.
~Sage<3

REVIEW: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon

*I received an ebook copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Cutlass
Author: Ashley Nixon
Series: (Cutlass #1)
Publication date: Novenber 13th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Synopsis:
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
      Cutlass wasn’t only about pirates and revenge. Oh no, it was about Elves and Lyrics, death and deceit. It was about learning the truth and letting go of and anger and revenge because it only makes you bitter and lonely. It’s about falling in love and being loyal! It’s about freedom.
      Everything in this book from the action on the sea, to the romance on board, to the shocks of betrayal and the fantasy aspects were simply brilliant. Yes, Barren oftentimes was controlled by his anger and need for revenge, but he’s young and still learning! He’s a force to be reckoned with and has a sharp mind, he’s a man holding such a weight as murder, revenge and pain! He lost his father because his brother killed him, his mother for something he couldn’t remember! Barren could never understand why; he didn’t want to understand. And so he stalked the shores of Maris and attacked ships in hopes of luring William out to sea so he could act on his revenge. But William wouldn’t dare and so months later of no change, Barren learns of William’s engagement and kidnaps his wife. But Lady Larkin is not docile and quiet and fearful. No, she’s strong and Barren’s equal with a sword. In fact, she almost killed him the night he kidnapped her. If it hadn’t been for Leaf, his best friend, who knows if Barren would have found a way to live?
      The writing was great, though I did sometimes find myself uninterested. It flowed nicely and yes, at times it was cheesy and parts were slightly cliche, but it still intrigued me. Especially since it’s all one big adventure that no one can deny enjoying. Especially the action. I love the action!
      Overall, Cutlass is a read I recommend to fantasy lovers. Especially those who love pirates.
~Sage<3
(It’s short I know. Sorry!)

REVIEW: The Season of Lightning by Kate Avery Ellison

*I received a free ebook copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: The Season of Lightning
Author: Kate Avery Ellison
Publication date: February 20th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Goodreads || Amazon || B&N


Synopsis:
Emma meets Robin Hood in this antebellum-esque historical fantasy set in the same fantasy world as A Gift of Poison.

Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a famous retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady’s companion, and being tormented by the family’s handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing silvras, the oppressed lower class, Verity’s world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5

      The Season of Lightning is a fantasy book akin to that of a historical romance type of novel, with the romance at the end (though there isn’t much romance, to be honest). The fantasy part doesn’t mean the book is infused with magic and spells and witches, rather, it’s the world itself with the different places and types of people (Tyyros, Silvra ext.). It feels so much like a historical book though due to the vibe the world gives off, reminding us of the 1800s with the way people speak and dress and how the world works. It made for a more interesting story, seeing as how Verity is a rich girl whom is supposed to be a proper young lady. But it isn’t just about a rich girl’s life, or how one with such money lived in those times. It’s about a rich girl with an improper attitude slowly realizing the world around her and the horrors within it. It’s about a young lady seeing the wrongs and wanting to right them, but not knowing how. It’s about freeing the lower class who are beaten and starved so the rich don’t have to do their work. It’s about growing and maturing and trying to do the right thing.

      Which is why I’ll start off with Verity’s character. Verity is a noblewoman, rich and young,and stuck in a time where women are seen as nothing but pretty objects to brighten a room, where they’re seen as weak beings only concerned with parties and dresses and gossip. Verity is anything but dress obsessed and empty headed. In fact, she has a quick brain and a sharp tongue which drove her father mad, and tended to get her in trouble. She admits to liking parties, yes, but that’s definitely not all she thinks about. Instead, she likes to ride her horse, run around bare-foot, she wants to play cards with her father and the other men. Basically, she’s a lady doing things men do, and because of that she is improper. Also, she has a fire in her, a fierceness which is most definitely to be improper since it allows her to talk back and defend herself. It gives her strength and that makes her a character more lovable and likable. I also really enjoyed how Verity matured in this novel. Whenever she was faced with something unpleasant (like a man hating on her Silvra friend, Trilly, soldiers with guns threatening them, the Hawk), she doesn’t turn away. Instead, she learns from it and the more she learns from situations she gets herself in, the more she grows and matures. I think she grew the most in the camp and in Tasglorn though, which I loved reading about.

      The reason for her growth however, all started when a mysterious person they called The Hawk, began to attack various rich plantations and free the Silvras and Tyyros (who are slaves, no matter how one might look at it). That is when Verity realizes the lives of the lower class, realizes the wrongs being done to them and begins to want to help and do all she can to make things right. And while I liked the Hawk for freeing the slaves and giving them a better life and his commitment to his cause, I wasn’t so fond of the way he went about achieving his goals. He was fueled by revenge and liked to burn down crops and home even though he didn’t need to. He wasn’t robbing the rich to feed the poor as Robin Hood did; he was taking down the rich and freeing the oppressed.

      I liked Lord Roth from the beginning. He came across as sweet, intelligent, and charming, though he adored making fun of Verity for obvious reasons. He had his own way about things and while at times I wasn’t so fond of him for treating Verity like a child and being fairly rude, he was an overall great character. He grew as well, like Verity did, though not as much. He stopped treating her like a child and she saw and remembered the good things about him, the things he did so she didn’t have such a hard time. It was rather obvious how it would end between them, though I wish the romance was more developed because there really wasn’t much of it.

      Which brings me to the world building! The world was very well-developed, feeling as real as our own as we got to see inner workings of politics as well as the outcome of chaos. We got to see how Verity’s world suffered and worked through the loss of money and crops and workers. We got to see the different worlds, the different workings of the different people and places (though not so much their politics, but their groups near Verity). It was a fantastic world and the author did a great job of describing it and making it feel real.

      The writing was also very good. We got to see the world through Verity, so there were no big info-dumps, and we got to see the world change through her eyes. I was so invested and immersed in this book that I didn’t want to put it down. It was just so easy to fall into and so hard to get out! And while it wasn’t exactly fast-paced (which I have no problems with), it was so riveting that I can hardly complain!

     Overall, everything about this book is great. And while I would’ve loved to see the romance be more developed, there’s not much to complain about. I would definitely recommend this for any of you who find in interestign or love fantasy and historical books.

~Sage<3