The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

91mpjtaddjl-_ac_ul320_sr180320_Rating: 5 stars

Series: Graveyard Queen #6

A great end to the series! It wasn’t perfect. The mystery revolving around the ghost and the people she was connected to was way too easy to figure out. That’s okay because the ghost story was not my main concern. I was much more interested in what was going on with Devlin and the conge.

Devlin and Amelia spent a fair amount of time together. It was different with them this time. They still had the same chemistry as always but it was underlying. Amelia was trying to move on, and Devlin was with Claire. Regardless of what was going on the magnetic pull was there, but nothing felt as romantic as in the prior books. I was happy that Amelia didn’t have any interest in other men. In the other books when she was alone, she went out with someone else even if she wasn’t truly interested.

Devlin’s grandfather finally got some page time. He had a strong presence throughout the series without getting the chance to know him other than by reputation. The guy was a manipulative bastard, but there was more to him than that. Claire finally made herself known to Amelia. There wasn’t a damn thing I liked about her, and it wasn’t all about her being the other woman.

This wasn’t my favorite in the series, but it was definitely one of the better ones. I didn’t want to put it down despite the mystery being predictable and not being as spooky as some of the others. The danger was from the living not the dead. The general tone of it was different, but I really liked it. The end was slightly rushed. Having a brief epilogue would have been good. Not everything was completely wrapped up making me wish and hope there could be another book, but based on how things ended with Amelia it seems unlikely Amanda Stevens would ever change her mind and write another.

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The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

23383896Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Toby Daye #11

Finally Amandine made an appearance!!! I had been waiting so long for this. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. Amandine is formidable woman. She makes the Luidaeg look sweet and sane, and she’s known as the sea witch. I have the feeling this book only showed one side of her personality. As someone who loves psychology, I’m curious to see what makes her tick and why exactly she feels the way she does about Toby. I think there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Since these books are becoming increasingly character driven, I can’t talk about much in regards to the characters because there would be major spoilers. One thing that made this book very different from the others was the lack of Toby’s usual sidekicks. Quentin was around but not highly impactful on the plot. The other main character was someone from Toby’s past who she detests. I would love to say more, but I was absolutely shocked at how that played out. It was this forced relationship that made the book great.

Amandine forced Toby’s hand and made her look for her long lost sister. In the century or so that she had been missing no one could find her and some incredibly powerful people looked. I like how the whole plot unraveled. The thing I didn’t like was that it was too convenient that Toby was the only person alive with the right abilities to possibly make it happen. The end game of the series has finally been laid out. Based on the few hints that were dropped, it’s looking grim. After all the title of the final book is When Sorrows Come.

Thank you so much to DAW and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!

Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta

32337095Rating: 5 stars

Series: Soul Eater #4

Isis conned Ace into going to Egypt for an unknown purpose. She promised to reveal who he really is if he helped her. Another motivating factor was she wouldn’t tell Osiris anything. Of course Shu had to come with, but it put their relationship to the test. Nothing went smoothly. That’s just the way his life works.

Isis is devious as hell. It was obvious she was using Ace, but I actually felt slightly bad for her when she told Ace her story. Sometimes I wished he had listened to Shu’s advice and avoided the situation. OTOH he needed to know who he is. I’d probably do something crazy if my past was a mystery too.

Ace and Shu have a fascinating love/hate relationship. It’s understandable why Ace has trust issues with Shu. I’m not sure she is really there, but it doesn’t appear that she genuinely hates him.

I loved the end! Ace finally learned who he is!!! I’m so excited! I’m dying to know what happens next! This really changes things.

See No Evil by Pippa DaCosta

31207131Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Soul Eater #3

These keep getting better and better. Ace the godkiller has made a few enemies. They won’t let what he has done or what they believe he has done go without punishment. Various enemies keep popping out of the woodwork to get him.

The journey into Duat was awesome. It was fascinating to learn more about Ace’s homeland. He discovered some surprising things about himself there, but nothing that gave him the answers he really wanted. Obviously there is something special about him. I am curious about why Osiris has punished Ace in the way he has. Why didn’t he simply kill him like the other gods would have done?

Ace seems to have accepted that he has actually changed. The problem is almost no one else believes it. The one person who does is the last person he would have expected to. Shu showed her true colors, but all it did was confirm my suspicions about her. Cat is great! She can seriously kick ass. She and Ace would make a good couple. The whole situation with Bastet is likely to put a damper on things. I wonder if she’ll believe him when the time comes.

Beast by A. Zavarelli

33787861Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Twisted Ever After #1

***FYI: Over at my other blog, my friend did a Q&A with A. Zavarelli. Check it out.***
Darkest Beauty and the Beast retelling ever!

This book is not for everyone. It is very dark and incredibly fucked up.

Tortured as a child, Javi grew into a deranged adult. Hatred blossomed deep in his heart for the man that made him the way he was, and that man happened to be Bella’s father. Javi decided that the best way to exact revenge on him was through his daughter. Bella knew her father’s line of work was dangerous, but she had no idea what kind of man he really was. One thing is for certain about this book: it is no fairy tale.

Bella was sweet, innocent, and sensitive. Javi turned her world upside down. The things he did were cruel and demented. He used her in every way possible, using every trick in the book to play mind games with her. There was one scene in particular where she gave up hope. It was gut wrenching. I’m not sure if the outcome made it better or worse because of the cruelty of it, making her feel fear and desperation on a level she never had before.

It was impossible to hate Javi. His erratic behavior made him hard to read and predict. There were moments where the untainted side of him showed through. Unlike other beasts it was much harder to find his good side, to see the man beneath the scars.

I almost cried two times near the end of the book. Those two events were devastating. It was one of those things where I was reading and wanted to change the words on the page because I did not want to face the reality of what was happening. It was like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it was worth it in the end.

I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Strange the Dreamer #1

Absolutely beautiful! The writing is captivating. The story slowly builds. I admit it took me awhile to get into it, but I was hooked once I got a third of the way in. The world and more specifically the city of Weep is truly unique. It’s a living legend, a place so far off the beaten path that most people no longer believe it was ever real. Lazlo did. He always believed.

I fell in love with the characters! Lazlo and Sarai are the same yet not. They both possess an astonishing level of compassion for others. Neither of them see the world in black and white but in various shades of gray. Lazlo amazed me with his selflessness. He expected nothing from the world. He was happy with what he was given no matter how small. Nonetheless he was a dreamer with high hopes for fantastical things. He didn’t aspire to be great or do things to make a name for himself. Everything was done simply because it was the right thing to do.

Sarai broke my heart. For many reasons, she believed she was a monster, but at the same time, she knew monsters didn’t have to do monstrous things. Sarai knew from experience what it felt like to be an outcast, to be viewed as evil just for existing. Nothing she did mattered because of what she was.

“She saw only what humans would see. Not a girl or a woman or someone in between. They wouldn’t see her loneliness or fear or courage, let alone her humanity. They would see only obscenity. Calamity.”

Her power allowed her to get into the minds of anyone in the city giving her a diverse perspective no one else could possibly have. The more she learned about the people who hated her the more she empathized with them because they suffered just like she did. And that is the core of this story: hatred and how it changes people, even good people.

“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

The story has many layers but not a lot of action. It’s about the characters and what caused them to be the people they are and how all of them developed their extreme positions. Many of the gods secrets remained hidden at the end, all of which I’m sure will be revealed in the next one. The end was devastating. It ripped out my heart and stomped on it. However it didn’t leave me without hope, but I was not expecting things to do down like that.