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!


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Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3) by Kresley Cole

Two armed sentries passed us. Each wore a hooded camo poncho and carried a rifle. They nodded politely. Under my breath, I said, “Arcana don’t freak them out? Gabriel’s wings alone should throw them.” “At first, yeah. But they look to J.D. to see how to act. They hero-worship ‘the hunter.’ ” Charismatic Jack could be so compelling when he wanted to. “He uses our help to maintain order,” Selena said. “The Azey might have the twins, but J.D.’ s got three Arcana himself—a psychic, an exquisite bow-goddess, and an illusionist.”

Evie has return to Jack and the others from Death’s castle and she’s changed, they don’t know if for the better.

“Don’t let any humans know what we’re planning.” “Understood.” I furtively kicked Selena’s boot; she straightened and said, “Oh. Thanks, Gabe. I won’t forget this.” “It will be my pleasure, Selena. I look forward to it.” His eyes widened. “I mean, not that I am pleased about the occasion.” Selena let him off the hook. “I look forward to kicking serial killer ass.” He grinned. “Precisely.”

The action doesn’t stop just because Evie was gone… Jack and the rest of her alliance has tracked down the Lovers and hope to end the sadistic twins reign of terror.

When things get out of control and someone ends up in enemy clutches the two main men in Evie’s life must set aside their differences in order to save them.

I gave this book a 4.6 out of 5 stars. Ms. Cole doesn’t fail to provide the action in this latest addition to the Poison Princess series. As always she sucks you into the world after the Flash and you are forced (you have no choice, you have been sucked in after all) to follow Evie’s adventures in this post-apocalyptic tale. So, I still like Evie but Aric is my favorite. I have to say that I pretty much liked Aric from the beginning (not always sure why) but after learning more about him and his past, I love him all the more. I love his struggles and his attitude for the most part, though he is a bit too bossy for my taste (but he’s also from another time period and place so I forgive him, mostly). I have to warn you there is a MAJOR CLIFFHANGER at the end of this book, and the next book has yet to be released… so READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles #2) by Kresley Cole

 

“He had four girls chained in there, experimenting on them. One hadn’t survived it. I freed the others.” I turned to Matthew. “Will they be safe tonight?” “The girls are fleeing Requiem. Two will live. Third wouldn’t in any scenario.” My heart sank. Selena said, “So you made the Alchemist pay.” Seriously? “I didn’t want to hurt him, never wanted to kill anyone. Part of me refused to believe that only one of us was getting out of here alive. Not until he told me to dig my new collar out of those remains and put it around my neck!” “Duuude,” Finn murmured, the word imbued with sympathy. “Looks like the Alchemist dicked with the wrong chick.” I didn’t deny that, because, well, he had.

Evie has now come to terms with her new powers and she’s determined to not only use them, but to use them for good

The others aren’t so sure that’s possible, especially as all the alliances in the past have failed.

“Should’ve said good-bye. Arcana and non-Arcana mix poorly.” Matthew sighed. “Dee-vee-oh stares at you when you don’t see. Hunter. Watching. You’re the angel atop the Christmas tree that he can never reach. Gift beneath that he can’t unwrap.”

Evie and Jackson never seem to be able to be truly together, something’s always working to separate them.

And things get even crazier when Death comes into the picture.

I gave this book a 3.8 out of 5 stars. I have to say that I am liking Evie more and more as she discovers who she is and makes decisions on who she wants to be. She is no longer the helpless girl she was in The Poison Princess, she’s now more of an empress (heh heh). She does still have her inner struggles with who she used to be and not letting that overtake who she is now, but she’s working to handle that. She does get kidnapped by Death in this book, which I think is exciting because I really like him (Yes, he’s threatened her and whatnot, but I still like him). After you read this book you might as well 😉 , he’s still a controlling guy so he does make some mistakes which don’t endear him to Evie but what controlling guy doesn’t do stupid things? I did feel that this book was more of a connector in the series in that it furthers Evie and Jack’s relationship but it also introduces another major character who brings all new conflicts into Evie’s life. You do learn a lot more about Death and why he is the way he is, and of course the evil past empress had a hand in what he became (and how he treats Evie). Remember that this is the second installation of a series in which only the first three books are out and Ms. Cole does love to end on a cliffhanger :/ . This could end up being a long series (her website says minimum five books) and her other series Immortals After Dark has over 11 books in the series (but that series has different couples in each story, so it doesn’t suck as much to have to wait…).

A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole

 

He stands chained against a rock, pinned at two places on each limb and once around his neck. Before him—an opening into hell that spews fire. Here he waits and suffers, offered to a column of fire that may weaken but is never-ending—never-ending, just like his life. His existence is to burn to death repeatedly, only to have his dogged immortality revive him again. Detailed fantasies of retribution have gotten him this far; nursing the rage in his heart is all he has. Until her. Over the centuries, he has sometimes heard uncanny new things in the streets above, occasionally smelled Paris changing seasons. But now he has scented her, his mate, the one woman made for him alone. The one woman he’d searched for without cease for a thousand years—up until the day of his capture.

Lachlain is a lykae (think werewolf) and he has been imprisoned in his own personal hell for decades… By vampires.

The human males she passed turned their heads slowly to regard her, frowns in place, sensing something, but unsure. Probably some genetic memory from long ago that signaled her as their wildest fantasy or their darkest nightmare. Emma was neither. She was a co-ed—a recent Tulane grad—alone in Paris and hungry. Weary from another failed search for blood, she sank onto a rustic bench beneath a chestnut tree, eyes riveted to a waitress drawing espresso at a café. If only blood poured so easily, Emma thought. Yes, if it came warm and rich from a bottomless tap, then her stomach wouldn’t be clenched in hunger at the mere idea. Starving in Paris. And friendless. Was there ever such a predicament? Couples strolling hand in hand along the gravel walk seemed to mock her loneliness. Was it just her, or did lovers look more adoringly at each other in this city? Especially in the springtime. Die, bastards. She sighed. It wasn’t their fault that they were bastards who should die.

Emmaline (Emma) is a very rare bird, even in the world of the supernatural. She is half Valkyrie and half vampire.

When Lachlain finds that a vampire is the mate he’s yearned for, he must make a choice.

I gave this book a 3.8 out of 5 stars. While it is very fast paced and interesting I felt that there was something missing at the end. This is the first book in a series, but the series is set up where each book tells about a different couple while still being interconnected. I hope that as the series continues, not only will I meet new characters but I will also get a bit more about the old ones as well. At first I didn’t really have a favorite character but as the characters grew my favorite became clear. Emma became my favorite character, I didn’t like her in the beginning because she was kind of depressing. She saw herself as weak and didn’t see herself as attractive, and it really annoyed me (she was a bit pathetic, but she would have times of inner strength which gave me hope). Luckily as she was forced out of her comfort zone she learned to believe in herself and began to unlock her true badass potential. Lachlain was another story, he was always strong but in my opinion he doesn’t really think before he acts most of the time (and it gets him in trouble, mostly with Emma). I mean yes, he was tortured for decades and that probably (definitely) had something to do with it too, but some of the stuff he did should have gotten him his ass kicked. I’ll just say that kidnapping Emma in the beginning worked for him in some ways but it really did burn him too. I love the way the Kresley was able to create this new world with some crazy characters and keep the reader interested and in the know (lots of explanations were needed but she wove them into the story). Anyway like I said, this is the first of a series but you do get some closure on Emma and Lachlain, which is good because I think there are like 12 books in the series so far.

Under Different Stars (The Kricket Series #1) by Amy A Bartol

“I can understand your position. If I were you, I might not want to return home either, but the time for cowardice is over. You need to face your family and pay for your crimes.” My mouth drops open as I search his face. “My crimes?” I ask after my mouth snaps shut again. He’s insane. Trey nods as both his eyebrows come together. “Desertion, among others,” he replies, tightening his hand on my arm, like he severely disapproves of me. “You’re mental . . .” I trail off, seeing the serious expressions on all of their faces. “We’re quite sane,” he replies easily. Slipping my gloved hands into my pockets, I notice the train slowing. The automated voice begins announcing our arrival at the Fullerton station. Trey’s eyes focus in on my hands. Slowly, I pull one hand from my pocket. Opening it, I ask, “Mint?” and extend my hand, filled with cellophane-wrapped red-and-white-striped candies. He lets go of my arm. “No,” he frowns, looking at the mints in my hand like they’re poison. Pulling my other hand quickly from my pocket and pressing the button, I ask, “Pepper spray?” Jumping up on my seat, I continue to spray Trey, Jax, and the other thug with my can of pepper spray. Seeing them clutch their hands to their eyes as they moan in pain, I fit myself between the handrails on my right and run out the door of the train, dropping the can as I go.

Kricket has had a hard life, after her parents died she went into the foster system and subsequently ran away

Now she faces new danger, men are after her…

And the things they say don’t quite make sense

Opening the pouch, he extracts a spiky plant limb that looks like aloe. “Hold out your hands for me palms up,” he orders. Doing as I’m told, I flinch when Jax squeezes the plant leaf over my palms, extracting its salve and rubbing it onto my cuts. “Ahh, that burns!” I hiss, pulling my hands back from him. “Does it burn more or less than pepper spray?” he asks with an ironic twist of his lips. “You so deserved that pepper spray, and if I had any more of it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now, Jax,” I reply, entirely unrepentant.

When  Kricket is eventually kidnapped and taken to another planet everything she thought she knew is turned on it’s axis

Now she has to use her street smarts to survive, because leaving Earth?

That’s the least of her problems

I give this book 4.7 out of 5 stars. I have to say that my favorite thing about this book is the way that the author writes. I have read another series by Amy Bartol (Premonition Series) and it’s just how she writes. What I’m talking about is her way of seamlessly inserting the extraordinary and paranormal into our world. She writes these stories and it leaves you (or maybe just me) thinking that yeah, this is definitely possible. There could totally be another world with all these things, and I LOVE that. Kricket is my favorite character in this book, I like her because not only is she smart and strong she’s also hard and soft at the same time. She’s hard in that she has had to harden herself against the realities of a girl in the world trying to survive alone, but she’s soft in that she’s still retained a certain amount of her innocence. She’s intuitive and powerful but she still gives off a vibe of needing to be protected, if someone had to be taken to another world and face the challenges there, I’m glad it was Kricket. Trey is almost her opposite in that he has this almost hard shell that he uses to keep people at bay. I like that as you read you uncover more of him and you get to learn to love him (which I do). It’s like slowly unwrapping a present, you have no idea what it is until it’s completely open if it’s wrapped well. Anyway this is not a standalone and there are at least 3 books in the series so if you only like to read finished series beware. But I would definitely suggest you read it if you want some light but interesting reading.

Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

Evie meets my gaze. “I’ll tell you. All of my story. And I’ll try to remember as much as possible. But, Arthur . . .” “Yes?” Her eyes are glinting, her expression ashamed. So exquisitely wretched. “What I believe happened might not be what actually took place.”

Evie’s been having some strange visions… Visions of the world ending.

“Just a useless little doll—pretty to look at and not a damn thing more.” While Lionel snickered, I gritted my teeth, determined not to let them know I understood. Oh, I’m more than a useless little doll, Cajun. I’m a damaged one. And if you knew what went on inside my mind, you’d make the sign of the cross and run the other way.

When reality starts to become more of an apocalyptic nightmare, Evie notices some strange similarities to her visions.

Now she must learn to trust herself and Jackson, the one guy who may just save her life…

And steal her heart while he’s at it.

I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked this book because it did what any good dystopian book should, it took the world you know (the one you’re comfortable with) and it turned that world on its head. That’s probably one of the reasons I like dystopia so much in the first place, I like to visit other’s perceptions of a chaotic future… (that and a little chaos is always fun). Anyway, I love how from the first page of this book you’re pulled into this chaotic world and the first person you are exposed to, is hunting the main character. The author makes you the villain and you are hearing the first part of the story as the main character tells it to the villain.  In the beginning the main character, Evie, really got on my nerves in that she seemed really naive (villian thought so too) and as she started telling her story I liked her even less. Luckily, as the story progressed she began to get stronger and actually fight for herself instead of depending on others. The male lead, Jackson, is really a swing character for me in that he’s jaded, especially when it comes to the differences in his and Evie’s social status’. One minute he’s saving the day and I’m reading and swooning at the same time . Then (what seems like) the next page he takes something that Evie says, totally misunderstands it and lashes out. The boy was definitely giving me whiplash with his mood swings, but deep down I still like him (he’s also Cajun with an awesome accent, and yes you can hear it as you read). This book is mysterious and has you continuously guessing as to what’s going to happen next, think a Mara Dyer-ish series, and I can’t wait to start the next book in the series. It is part of a series but it’s a trilogy and it’s COMPLETE! 😀