Cruel Beauty by Rosamind Hodge

I was raised to marry a monster. The day before the wedding, I could barely breathe. Fear and fury curdled in my stomach. All afternoon I skulked in the library, running my hands over the leather spines of books I would never touch again. I leaned against the shelves and wished I could run, wished I could scream at the people who had made this fate for me.

Nyx has never really felt love for her family especially since they chose to sacrifice her for the good of their world.

A hundred times I wished I could ask him, Why did you kiss my lips? Why don’t you kiss me again? But the words always stuck in my throat: they were too needy, too selfish, too foolish—and how could I ask for more, when he had already given me so much? I still wasn’t sure that I loved him. Love—the kind that was holy to Aphrodite—was not something I had ever allowed myself to think about much. If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?

With Ignifex her feelings only become more complicated, can she really fall for the one person she has been raised to hate? Raised to kill?

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I have to say that I really liked the premise of this book, but some of the execution was sub-par. For example Nyx was a strong, but confused heroine who struggled with fulfilling her duties. While she did have growth I felt that her character definitely was not fully developed and she could have been so much more. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that some things that happened were never really explained (I don’t want to spoil). For one character to know what they know and not really act on it really bugged me. The last thing that really bugged me was the ending, while it was great and gave closure; it also left me confused as to what really happened and how it happened. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, the author was for the most part able to paint a picture in my head a lot of the scenes were pretty cool. Also I loved that at any given point any character had the potential to change, all the main characters in the book were the villain at some point (which was cool because it kinda kept you guessing). Anyway, this book can be read as a standalone and go check it out 😉 .

The Jewel (Jewel Series #1) by Amy Ewing

I never quite understood those girls, the ones who bought into all the caretakers’ lines about how important we are, how we are fulfilling a long and noble tradition. I once asked Patience why we couldn’t come home after we’ve given birth, and she said, “You are too precious to the royalty. They wish to take care of you for the rest of your life. Isn’t that wonderful? They have such generous hearts.” I said I’d rather have my family than the royalty’s generosity. Patience didn’t like that very much.

Violet isn’t swayed by the promises of prestige that come with being bought at auction and birthing royal babies. All she can see is the last nail in the coffin that contains her freedom.

Once to see it as it is. Twice to see it in your mind. Thrice to bend it to your will. I picture what I want in my mind—a heat builds in the center of my palm at the same time the ache begins at the base of my skull. I can feel the life of the tree, a moving, shimmering thing, and I pull at it, tugging on it like strings on a marionette, drawing it out. A tiny lump forms under my palm, a green leaf peeking out between my fingers. The tree resists a little and I gasp as fire rips down my spine, and it feels like needles are being shoved into my brain—my back arches and my head spins, but I’ve experienced worse pain in my four years at Southgate, and I’m determined to succeed in this. I force myself to focus, biting my lip hard to keep from crying out, coaxing the threads of life one by one, like strands of gossamer, pulling them out, shaping them, and the lump grows bigger, until it fits comfortably inside my hand. A lemon.

I give this book a 3.7 out of 5 stars. I really liked the way that the author described the world in which they lived, as well as the different people’s role within said world. My favorite character was Violet, I like that she wasn’t fooled by the things they taught in the ‘school’ where she was pretty much raised. She took care of her friends and people in general, but she also stood up for herself and even pushed the boundaries of her captivity. I also really appreciate the Duchess as a villain. I really like that she isn’t one dimensional, while what she does has something in it for her she also thinks that by doing what she is doing it will ultimately help others as well. I’m actually looking forward to what she does and what happens to her in the future. This book is the first of a series, luckily it’s looking like it’s just going to be a trilogy (ending in sight!) and the second book The White Rose is already out!

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

“You’re being paranoid and it makes you look suspicious.” “Well, you didn’t see Black Knife drag that old man from his house because he’d used magic to hide his family while the Nightmare gang tore through the neighborhood.” Magic was forbidden in the Indigo Kingdom, and Black Knife didn’t care how it was used. Self-defense, healing, greed, murder: it was all the same to him when magic was involved. “You’re awfully sensitive about him.” Melanie didn’t have magic. To her, he was no more a threat than the police. But to others . . .

Wil wasn’t always an orphan fighting in the streets. At one time she was a princess with two loving parents, but one night changed all that and took everything she held dear.

“Help!” A shout came from down the street. I drew my daggers, sprinting toward the shout and terrified screams, and then the thud of a body slamming into a wooden fence. Ezra, one of our youngest boys, dropped to the ground. His sister, Quinn, shrieked and ran for him. Connor and Theresa stood in the street, blades drawn as they backed away from looming shadows. I skidded to a halt. Five huge men bore down on the Ospreys. Connor’s round-eyed gaze darted from the attackers to me. “Wil! Mel!” “Oh, saints.”

Now Wil fights for survival and she is determined to return to the castle and fix all that has gone wrong with her country. But things aren’t always black and white, not in life, not in fighting and especially not in love.

I give this book 4.2 out of 5 stars.  My favorite character in this book is definitely Wil, she is strong and determined and I love that she isn’t willing to sacrifice her morals to get what she wants faster. I also like that she is smart (except when she misses the obvious) and willing to fight for what she believes in. I liked the character development in this story, they learned from their mistakes… or didn’t but what they did made sense. They didn’t do anything that had me like this character would never do that, I could see them changing and growing (always nice). While some things that happened were expected, I loved how well everything flowed together and how smoothly the storyline went. BE WARNED there is a CLIFFHANGER at the end of this book! I can’t wait till the next installment to see what happens…