Now Reading: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I’m still in the mood for a back story. Time to try this standalone novel from one of my favorite authors.

The Blurb:

Catherine may be one of the more desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Book Trailer:

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Book Review: Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

This book did exactly what I thought it would: it filled in a lot of blanks in the Descendants 2 movie. Obviously, those who did read this before watching the movie were already in the know. However, I was not one of those people so as I was reading, I was able to connect what happened in the book to what happened in the movie. It was pretty cool having all those “aha!” moments.

The story focuses on the rivalry between Mal and Uma. At the start of the book, I was given the history of the 2 girls. Apparently, they were wicked friends first causing all sorts of mischief across the Isle. But one day, their friendship came to a screeching halt when a mischievous plot didn’t go according to plan. As a result, the girls became nemeses and kept to their sides of the Isle. However, Uma could never seem to be as wicked or rotten as the daughter of Maleficent, the queen of the Isle and that feeling of being second never sat well with the daughter of Ursula.

Fast forward a few years and Mal is in Auradon enjoying everything that comes with living there and being King Ben’s girlfriend while Uma is still on the Isle working at her mother’s fish and chips shop. However, an opportunity arises for Uma when she hears rumors of King Triton’s trident finding its way to the Isle. She knows this is her chance to bargain her way off the Isle but one little hiccup. How will she get to it?

For Mal, news of the trident somehow crossing the dome towards the Isle of the Lost is not good. She knows that if Uma or anyone on the Isle gets their hands on it, it will cause trouble. So she rallies her troops aka Evie, Carlos and Jay to find a way to get to the trident first. Let the race begin!

Both girls had their challenges to get to the trident. Uma had to get a ride, find a crew, find a way to find the trident before actually finding the trident. Mal had to figure out how she going to handle the situation without getting caught. She’s lucky that her boyfriend is the king and that she has friends who will always come to her aid.

The climax of the book was definitely a power struggle, literally. Both Mal and Uma fought to get the trident using magic. It was pretty intense and it’s a good comparison the rivalry of the girls. Mal always tends to win but Uma is so determined that she won’t stop until she gets what she wants. I think I just gave you a hint as to who got the trident.

Towards the end of the book, scenes that lead toward the movie come about: Mal, Ben, the cotillion and her becoming a lady of the court; Evie, her blooming fashion business and how Mal asked her for help to fit in better; Carlos and his being tongue tied; and Jay joining a new sports team and winning the title of captain. This is where the book and the movie connect.

As I said at the start, this book explained a lot of what has happened before the events of the movie and gives a hint as to what was to come for the movie. You know me and my love for back stories and stories of the events in between. It always clarifies things for me.

I hope that there will be more books and movies for these kids. The adventure isn’t over yet.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Now Reading: Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

Even if I didn’t get to this before I watched the Descendants 2 movie, I’m still excited to read it. It’s definitely going to fill a few gaps from the movie.

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The Blurb:

Ride with the tide!

Deep beneath the waves, King Triton’s powerful trident has passed through the magical barrier that surrounds the Isle of the Lost – keeping villains in and magic out. And when Mal’s longtime rival Uma, daughter of Ursula, gets wind of this, she can’t believe her luck. The tide has dragged in something good for a change, and Uma is determined to get her wicked hands on it. But first, she needs a pirate crew.

A storm is brewing back in Auradon, and when Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay hear that the trident has been washed away, they realize they’ll have to find it before anyone from the Isle does. Luckily, they seem to have a talent for locating missing magical objects.

As Uma readies for the high seas alongside Harry, son of Captain Hook, Gil, son of Gaston, and the toughest rogues on the Isle of the Lost, the reformed villains of Auradon devise their own master plan. And with King Ben away on royal business, they won;t have to play by all the rules. Using bad for good can’t be totally evil, right?

The thrilling, perilous race to trident pits old friends – and current enemies – against each other with the future of Auradon on the line. Both teams might like to make waves, but only one will come out on top of this one.

Book Trailer:

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Book review: The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo) by Rick Riordan

Wow… This book started and ended with a lot of action. Literally, as soon as I started reading, Apollo and the gang were already on the cusp of their first encounter with the minions of the second emperor of the Triumvirate. Nice way to be welcomed to Indianapolis.

On meeting the second emperor, he is quite bloodthirsty and it kind of shows in the story through the mini quests and battles Apollo and the crew have to go through. From retrieving a pair of captured griffins to sneaking into the emperor’s lair to meeting the Dark Oracle. This visit to Indianapolis was no joke. Thank goodness he didn’t have to do it alone otherwise, he might’ve been dead in the first book. Having strong and good companions during his trials have definitely helped him out a lot.

It was quite an emotional time for Apollo because of several things. One, he was personally acquainted with the emperor. They had a history together and it didn’t end well. Two, his son was the spirit of the Dark Oracle. He lived with the feeling of guilt and betrayal before being swallowed up whole by the earth and being turned into the Oracle because he was Apollo’s son. He has a score to settle with this father. And three, one of the ladies of the Waystation, a safe haven for demigods and the like, also has a history with Apollo. Not in the romantic sense but he saved her life by turning her immortal. Then she went and joined the Hunters of his sister, Artemis which she eventually gave up. There is a little tension but nothing a good conversation couldn’t fix.

Apollo was a lot easier to bear in this book. He has humbled down quite a bit but he still has his self-absorbed moments. However, by the time he goes to the Dark Oracle, he has an epiphany which shows that he has a heart and a conscience after all. He also has quite a few flashbacks in this book so we get to learn a little more about him and his past godly life. But this is also a good sign because this means that his memory is slowly coming back. He has also had a few bursts of this former godly power which could come in handy in the next book.

Apollo’s trials aren’t over yet. He has one more emperor to meet and based on what is revealed in this book, he’s a doozy and then he’ll have to face all three. This makes me wonder if there will be a fourth book or if this will all end in the next book. Hmm… Only time will tell. Now, I have to wait for the next book.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

 

Now Reading: The Dark Prophecy (The Trails of Apollo book 2) by Rick Riordan

I think my Kindle needs a little break so I’m going back to my physical books for the meantime. I have a lot of catching up to do anyway. So let me start with this one.

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The Blurb: (spoilers alert!)

GO WEST. CAPTURE APOLLO BEFORE HE CAN FIND THE NEXT ORACLE. IF YOU CANNOT BRING HIM TO BE ALIVE, KILL HIM.

Those were the orders my old enemy Nero gave Meg McCaffrey. But why would an ancient Roman emperor zero in on me (a Lester) in Indianapolis? And where is Meg?

Meg, my demigod master, is a cantankerous street urchin. She betrayed me ti Nero back at Camp Half-Blood. And while I’m mortal she can order me to do anything… even kill myself. Despite all of this, if I have a chance of prying her away from her villainous stepfather, I have to try. But I’m new to this heroic quest business, and my father, Zeus, stripped me of my godly powers. Oh, the indignities and pain I have already suffered! With impossible time limits, life-threatening danger… Shouldn’t there be a reward at the end of each task? Not just more deadly quests?

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Two book reviews in one

Okay. Yes, it has taken me a while to finish my books but I did finish 2. I decided to combine the reviews for The Chess Queen Enigma and The Carnelian Crow because I kind of didn’t want to stop reading. However, I will admit that I did slow down in both because both endings were not exactly ideal.

Anyway, let me start with The Chess Queen Enigma. The girls were tasked to play babysitter for the princess of Betrovia who had in hand a special letter that would end the rift between her country and England. However, things didn’t go as planned. A lot kind of went wrong for the girls in this one or at least, they were one step behind their foe. Yes, the Ankh is back and she’s back with a vengeance. She has a new plan in motion and it’s a dangerous one that has resulted in the death of several people and the near death of one pretty important character. In the end, the girls stopped the Ankh, if only for a moment, but unfortunately, the latter would have the last laugh in this situation. There are a lot of plot twists and surprises, some I really didn’t see coming so when I said the ending wasn’t ideal, I meant it.

Now for The Carnelian Crow. At the beginning, we meet Mina who is still reeling from the events of The Chess Queen Enigma. It has obviously taken a toll on her until she receives a gift from an unexpected visitor then things start to get interesting. She gets the chance to prove to herself that she isn’t a failure of a Holmes. For Evaline, things aren’t so peachy either. She’s still keeping up appearances with both her social life and her secret life. However, her sister-in-law drops a bomb on her by telling her that she needs to get married to save her family from financial crisis. Good gad! What is a girl to do? So things moved rather quickly in the book. The main issue the girls needed to face was all about The Carnelian Crow. For one, they didn’t know what it was and then as things started to be revealed, Mina finds out that she has a personal connection to it. The girls also face off with the Ankh once again and she does reveal her nefarious plot which will probably be the main plot point for the next and final book. There are still a few surprises in this book but not as many twists. However, the book ended with an arrest that was kind of the biggest surprise of them all. Again, not ideal.

How will things go for Mina and Evaline in the final book? Only time will tell. I need to wait until next year to find out. But I have a feeling that the last one is going to be one hell of a ride. A lot of loose ends need to be tied up and I can’t wait to see how everything connects.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Now Reading (from my Kindle): The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

On to the next one! Let’s go!

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The Blurb:

And then she mouthed a word at me—an unmistakable word that told me everything I needed to know. “Checkmate.”

Evaline Stoker & Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does…including their foe, the Ankh. For the chess queen is not only a historic symbol of a woman’s political power, but it has literal power as well—the queen will unlock the chessboard, revealing both treasures and ancient secrets the Ankh would kill to possess. It will take Mina’s smarts and Evaline’s strength to beat the thief and untangle this mystery before it is too late.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Book Review: The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason

As I had mentioned in my Now Reading post of this book, I decided to read The Clockwork Scarab before proceeding to read this. I am glad I did because it got me reacquainted with all the characters and I was able to understand the story better the second time around.

Now for the second book in this series, it was quite a ride because finally the worlds of Mina and Evaline collided because of this case. In the first book, it was mostly Mina and her skills in deduction and observation. Evaline was more the brawn because there were no vampires in London until the events in this book. At the start, I thought that the case the girls were handling and the suddenly return of vampires in London were two separate things. Well, lo and behold, they’re linked! Of course, I won’t explain how here. Y’all have to read the book to find out.

I was quite happy to see Evaline in her element. In the first book, she hadn’t exactly killed a vampire yet and she was longing to prove herself worthy of her family legacy. She got that chance and proved that she was a true Venator. However, by the end of the book, she has to face some consequences that come with being a Venator and it’s consequences that she did not expect. I’m interested to see how she will handle it in the next book.

For Mina, she’s just as brilliant as ever if not, slightly annoyed about the events that she could not explain with logic and facts. She got a little more physical in this book which got her in some trying situations but at least I could see that Evaline is starting to rub off on her and vice versa.

Compared to the first book, this one had more fantastical elements alongside a mystery which makes things more complicated. There were seances, ghostly apparitions and the return of vampires to London. Evaline didn’t need convincing since she is a vampire hunter. However, Mina didn’t believe it at first until she came face to face with it.

This book definitely kept me guessing on who did it and what was really happening. I was not really fond of the vampires in the classic sense. It actually freaks me out and I just read through those parts as fast as I could. At the end, there is a new mystery that pops up. It’s not another case for the girls but it has something to do with their personal lives. I’m curious to see how that will develop in the upcoming books.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Book Pile Additions!

As of today, I have 2 new real books and 1 new Kindle read. Well, technically, I had 2 new Kindle reads but I just finished reading one of them aka the last book I finished. Anyway, check out my new books…

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

What is it about?

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

As always, I’ve been waiting for this book with bated breath! I am so excited to know what Emma, Julian and the others are going to have to face in the newest installment of the Dark Artifices series. Hope I can get to this one soon.

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Rise of the isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

What is it about?

Ride with the tide!

Deep beneath the waves, King Triton’s powerful trident has passed through the magical barrier that surrounds the Isle of the Lost—keeping villains in and magic out. And when Mal’s longtime rival Uma, daughter of Ursula, gets wind of this, she can’t believe her luck. The tide has dragged in something good for a change, and Uma is determined to get her wicked hands on it. But first, she needs a pirate crew.

A storm is brewing back in Auradon, and when Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay hear that the trident has been washed away, they realize they’ll have to find it before anyone from the Isle does. Luckily, they seem to have a talent for locating missing magical objects.

As Uma readies for the high seas alongside Harry, son of Captain Hook, Gil, son of Gaston, and the toughest rogues on the Isle of the Lost, the reformed villains of Auradon devise their own master plan. And with King Ben away on royal business, they won’t have to play by all the rules. Using bad for good can’t be totally evil, right?

The thrilling, perilous race to the trident puts old friends—and current enemies—against each other with the future of Auradon on the line. Both teams might like to make waves, but only one will come out on top of this one.

This is the latest installment of the Disney Descendants books and the events that happen in this book are set before the events of the Descendants 2 movie which is coming out in July 21st! I wonder if I can get to this before the movie comes out. Let’s see.

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Alex & Eliza (A Love Story) by Melissa de la Cruz

What is it about?

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

I am a big fan of Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. I have been listening to the cast album since 2015 and I am still dreaming of watching the show up to this day. Hopefully, one day that dream will come true. So I think you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that one of my favorite authors was writing a book about the love story of Alexander and Eliza Hamilton. Oh my Lord! I was excited. However, it did take me a while to get my hands on this book and I even had to decide whether to buy the physical book or the ebook, since I am trying to save space. In the end, this is my newest Kindle book. Needed to make some sacrifices and I also want to utilize Kinley (my Kindle) more anyway. This is the beginning.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!

Now Reading (Catch up from my Kindle): The Spiritglass Charade by Coleen Gleason

Since I’m still in the mood for a good mystery, I have decided to stick to my Kindle for the time being and really try to catch up on a series that is long overdue.

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The Blurb (from Goodreads.com):

After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa “appear lunatic,” using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, “there are no coincidences.” It will take all of Mina’s wit and Evaline’s muscle to keep London’s sinister underground at bay.

However, before I can actually dive into this book, I have decided to refresh my memory first. So I am reading The Clockwork Scarab again and then I’ll get to this one. It’s been a few years since I have read it. I really need to read it again. I hope y’all don’t mind.

That’s all for this post. HAPPY READING!