Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Title: Map of Fates
Author(s): Maggie Hall
Narrator(s): Julia Whelan
Series: The Conspiracy of Us, book #2
Length: 9 hrs 37 mins
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Source: audiobook from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
Two weeks. 

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 

Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

This is one of those series where I feel like I shouldn't like it as much as I do, but I can't help it cause it's just so fun and fast-paced and swoony. And the thing is, I think I liked this sequel even better than the first, and that's with the dreaded love triangle of doom.

The jet-setting in these books, the dresses, the galas...just the finery in general...are definitely a perk. And then there's the matter of that prophecy and what the Circle intends to do with Avery and all of that intrigue. It also helps that Avery is a little less one-dimensional in this book. What's weird, though, is that Jack has easily become my least favorite character.

Until the very end of Conspiracy, I didn't really think a triangle was inevitable. Sure, Stellan is an incorrigible flirt, but I honestly didn't think he had eyes for Avery. And maybe he didn't, not until the full realization that they were the prophesied ones hit him. I've preferred Stellan from the beginning because he never gave Avery reason to believe he was trustworthy. Jack, on the other hand, has always been hiding something and yet he expects Avery to put all of her trust in him from the get-go.

What happened between Avery and Jack in the first book was straight-up insta-love and though it was swoonworthy and they were in danger and fleeing for their lives half the time, it just felt like an adrenaline thing and not a real connection. That's why I prefer what develops between Avery and Stellan in this book. They talk and become more to each other than just a simple means of escape, literally and figuratively.

And then there's that ending! I'll freely admit that I had my doubts about this series -- and that maybe I enjoy it a little more than I care to admit -- but it's definitely entertaining.

About the author: 

Maggie Hall is a traveling, decorating, champagne-drinking, USC-football-watching YA author. She is currently traveling the world for an indefinite amount of time with her husband, which means right at this moment, she might be on a beach in Thailand, drinking wine in Paris, or anywhere in between.

Her debut novel, a YA international thriller, released from Putnam/Penguin in 2015.

She is represented by Claudia Ballard at William Morris Endeavor.

Find Maggie:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Tumblr

Title: The Heir and the Spare
Author(s): Emily Albright
Series: untitled, book #1
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: January 18, 2016
Source: borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

Doesn't that premise sound adorable? It does, right? And so far as that aspect goes, it was. It was just the execution that I found almost unbearable.

For starters, I don't think the author did very much research, if any. I've never been to England, but I've read many books set there and watched many a travel show featuring England, and I think I could have done a better job with the slang and the attractions and the overall experience of an American in England for the first time. The lack of research also lends itself to an air of unbelievability, especially where the royals and culture are concerned.

The romance was sweet, but it's also what made this book so messy, since Evie just couldn't get a handle on the fact that Prince Edmund might feel about her the way she did about him. 'Course, if they'd ever deigned to have a real conversation about their feelings, a lot of those painfully awkward situations could have been avoided. Also, if Evie could control her temper and maybe see beyond herself for a second, she'd have realized that a lot of the misunderstandings were her fault.

And as if romancing a prince weren't enough to keep her busy, she's trying to discover what secrets her mother kept that could only be revealed by coming to London. It was pretty easy to guess her lineage, but Evie was in deep, deep denial. Which was pretty annoying considering that uncovering those secrets was obviously going to be the key to unlocking her future happiness.

I don't know...it was cute, in a cringe-worthy sort of way, but the writing was atrocious and the characters themselves left me annoyed more often than not. And now I find out there's supposed to be a sequel? Sorry, but I think I'll leave well enough alone.

About the author:

Emily Albright's debut novel, THE HEIR AND THE SPARE, is available now from Merit Press. The sequel, EVERYDAY MAGIC, releases this November.

She's a writer, a major bookworm, a lover of romantic movies, a wife, a mother, an owner of one adorable (yet slightly insane) cockapoo, and uses way too many :).

Find Emily:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Title: Glass Sword
Author(s): Victoria Aveyard
Narrator(s): Amanda Dolan
Series: Red Queen, book #2
Length: 14 hrs 39 mins
Publisher: HarperAudio
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Source: audiobook from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Gawd, why? Why did I read this? Or more accurately, listen to this? I didn't like the first book all that much, and yet when I saw the sequel on the library website, I couldn't resist grabbing it. And yet again, I was massively disappointed by a book that for all intents and purposes, was really well-hyped.

I think what bothers me most is that this book was so boring boring boring, spot of action, boring boring boring, and repeat ad nauseam till the very end when things finally get really good. Much like the first book. Almost feels like to have any chance of enjoying these books, I just need to read the very end of each one and just have someone fill me in on the rest. Because those endings are just enough to pull me back in. Which is, I guess, the reason I ended up picking this one up, though I had no intentions of continuing the series after Red Queen.

The one thing that could really make me like the next book, I think, is if Mare develops some serious Stockholm syndrome. (I know: I'm sick.) The potential is already there, what with her carrying around those notes and hiding them from Cal. But also, this scenario feels strangely reminiscent of Shadow and Bone, but where I loved that series and found the second to be my favorite, I'm having trouble finding anything to like about this one, and we're only on book two of four.

Basically, I'm disgusted with myself for caving, but I can't promise I won't be back for more torture with book three because explosive ending was explosive. #dammit

About the author:

After growing up in small town Massachusetts, Victoria attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She graduated with a BFA in Screenwriting, which is exactly the degree being sought after in a recession.

She tries her best to combine her love of history, explosions, and butt-kicking heroines in her writing. Her hobbies include the impossible task of predicting what happens next in A Song of Ice and Fire, road trips, and burning through Netflix.

Find Victoria:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. That's too bad about The Heir and the Spare, it did sound really cute! But ugh when you can tell it's not well researched or just cut and paste from a tv movie, it's so distracting. I liked Red Queen a lot but I've heard such mixed things about Glass Sword that I'm wary. We'll see if I continue reading!

    1. Ugh...I know...it really did feel like a knock-off of The Princess Diaries. But not nearly as cute. I really hoped Glass Sword would redeem this series for me, but I have little hope after it. Of course, I know my curiosity will get the best of me and I'll end up reading it anyway, lol.

  2. No. No. No. Lol. Love triangle of doom is the most frustrating read for me! You're so brave. The other two didn't sound like a load of fun to read, so i'll pass.

    1. I can actually tolerate most love triangles, lol. So, I wouldn't say I'm brave...I just have a high tolerance. :) Yeah, I'd pass on the other two, as well. :P

  3. I didn't read a lot of your first and third reviews, because those are ones I can't wait to read. Very excited to listen to the first one, I'm interested to see how the love triangle aspect plays out in it. The 2nd book, The Heir and the Spare, I really liked it, but I can see your points on the execution and research needing a bit of work. But it was a cute story. I did really like Red Queen, so hopefully I'll like Glass Sword better than you did. Great reviews!

    1. I know some probably WON'T like the turn the love triangle has taken in Map of Fates, but I am sooo on board. And I agree that The Heir and the Spare was cute to an extent, but it seriously read like a very young YA novel and not at all like a seasoned college students exploits in England. Glass Sword is a VERY different story from Red Queen, so I wish you luck with it!

  4. I'm so incredibly sad that you didn't like Glass Sword! I read it over my spring break and absolutely loved it. However, I do agree that there isn't much action in this book. That's one thing I thought it was lacking. Also, I kind of love your theory about Mare developing Stockholm Syndrome. I think that would add so much intrigue/confusion/excitement to the story.

    1. You know, I WANTED Glass Sword to save this series for me. And it was very different from the first book, which I thought might have made the difference for me, but I think it's because of this that I enjoyed it even less. Ha! I'm glad you like my postulating...I think it would definitely make the next book more interesting.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...