Everything Must Come to an End

As we take a look back at 2018 we started some really great series but we also sadly had to say goodbye to others.  It’s always a bittersweet reading the final book.  On the one hand you finally get to know how it ends but on the other hand sometimes you are not ready to let go quite yet.  So let’s raise a glass to the books that have entertained us over the last couple of years and who knows, maybe our favorite authors will one day return to your fave characters.

  1. Falling Kingdom Series by Morgan Rhodes  – This epic “Game of Thrones” YA series finally came to a close after it’s 6 books.  Alliances were built and destroyed, Gods sent packing and love conquers all.  It was quite a ride.
  2. Front Lines Series (Soldier Girls) by Michael Grant – Rio, Frangie, and Rainey fight until the end of the World War Two.  After three books of following our girls through battle, we finally see them through the end and what they did with their lives afterward.
  3. Carve the Mark Duology by Veronica Roth – Some of the story building was problematic but it was an original idea that was was engrossing.  I do feel that there is enough story left over that Veronica could return this world, she could.
  4. Charlotte Holmes Trilogy by Brittany Cavallaro – There have been many different takes on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.  This time around the Holmes and Watson families have a long history as does the Holmes family and the Moriarty family and a century worth of feuds come to end with Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson in the center. Truly an enjoyable series for any Holmes or mystery fans.
  5. Talon Series by Julie Kagawa – Ember, Riley,Garrett and the soldiers of St. George have no choice to team up if they are going to save the world from Talon  After 5 books it’s been a wild ride
  6. Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard – This may have been one of my favorite YA series since The Hunger Games ended.  It had a little bit of everything.  Super Powers, class warfare, racism and  political philosophy.  I’m sad that it’s over because it was pretty great but I do look forward to what Victoria does next.
  7. Warcross Series by Marie Lu – Virtual reality game is about to take dow the world unless Emika can stop it.  Really it’s not that farfetched and that’s part of it’s brilliance.  Emika is one of the coolest YA heroine.
  8. The Tiger’s Saga by Colleen Houck – This one was kind of disappointment.  This maybe an example of knowing when to stop.  Even though it was always planned on being a quintet, the fourth book was released almost 4 years ago and the story had pretty much been wrapped up.  Tiger’s Dream while a wrap up of Kishan’s arc but was a really long rehash of the last four books.   It didn’t add anything to the story and sort of made me upset with Kishan. 
  9. Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor – These two books were beautiful and heartbreaking.  Everyone is living with some sort of a trauma and doing what they can to survive.  We finally see the true depths of what the people of Weep had to live through and it’s horrifying.  You really can’t blame any of them for their anger but despite all the hurt there is a real hopefulness to it.
  10. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas – Seven books and several twists and turns later we finally see how Aelin’s story ends and it’s epic.  There have been so many stories and characters it was almost hard to believe that Sarah was able to tie it all together in a satisfying ending.  It was heartbreaking and hopeful and one wild ride. 

Review: Tiger’s Dream by Colleen Houck

tiger's dream I was excited to read this book as the last book in the series Tiger’s Destiny came out 6 years ago.  The Tiger’s Saga was about two Indian Princes and brothers who were cursed to live as tiger’s until one of the Princes meant a young girl from Oregon. Over the next four books Kelsey, Ren and Kishan go through many trials and tribulations to undue the curse and defeat the evil Lokesh with the help of Goddess Durga.  From the beginning author Colleen Houck said there would be five books in the series so it was surprising that the end of Tiger’s Destiny seemed to have wrapped up the story.  What did Tiger’s Dream have to offer? To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement.  This is what we all waited for?  There were several times that I thought about stopping reading because I got so frustrated.  I found some of it to be very problematic and uncompelling.  The rest of the review is going to be under the cut as it’s full of spoilers.
Continue reading

Series We Said Goodbye To in 2017

goodbye 2017

It was a great year for books and some of my favorite series ended this year.  I’m looking back at some of the series I loved that gave us their last chapters in 2017.

  1. Prisoner’s of Peace Duology by Erin Bow -This was an unexpected ending as I didn’t know it was even in the works before I bought it.  The Swan Riders, the follow up to the Scorpio Rules was quite a ride. Greta forged her own path to save her people but not everyone was ready to let her go.
  2. Firebug Duology by Lish McBrideLish McBride has left it open for a return to this series but for now Pyromantic is the last book of the Duology.  I do hope we get more adventures with Ava, Lock and Ezra because these books have been nothing but delightful
  3.  To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han – I thought this series was over before and while I enjoyed it I’m not sure if Forever and Always, Lara Jean was truly necessary because I felt Lara Jean ended up in the same place she was before.  I will make allowance that her decided to go to school out of state was a big growth for her.
  4. Reawakened Trilogy by Colleen Houck – This one I’m glad ended because I’m not sure I would kept up with it for another book.  I just never really connected with the characters I did with her last series, The Tiger’s Saga.  I am very happy that she will be going to back to her Tiger’s in 2018.
  5. Chronicles of Nick Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Technically, Nick Gautier’s story will continue in a new series but the narrative that is Chronicles of Nick is at an end.  I can’t tell you how much I love Nick and I’m not ready to let him go.
  6. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Trilogy by Rick Riordan – This was a groundbreaking series in a lot of ways.  Positive representation of Muslims, Queer, Trans and those with disabilities is so important and to have all of them represented in the main cast of characters is amazing.  Thank you Rick!

Quick Review: Reunited by Colleen Houck

reunited So I’m just going to come and say it, this wasn’t Colleen’s best work.  To be honest, I was kinda bored through most of it.  The first 2/3 of the book was kinda like the never ending camping trip in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Lily and Ahmose had to must trek through the cosmic universe, through the land of the dead to battle mythical creatures to help the Egyptian Gods and wake the other other Sons of Egypt, Amon and Asten.  All while having internal arguments with the two other people inhabiting Lily’s body, Tia and Ashleigh so they can altogether form a fourth person to defeat Seth.  Yeah, there was a lot going on there.  Maybe it would have been better if I cared more for Lily, Tia or Ashleigh.  Maybe it was just the pacing of the book.  It felt repetitive and throwing all these unnecessary tasks and battles in her way.  All these life or death situations that you knew she was never really in danger since she is the heroine and we have another 300 pages to go. To be fair some of those run-ins turned out to be important to the finale but most of it could have been completed left out and it wouldn’t have effected the narrative.  I’m glad that this series is now over and she can refocus on her better series, Tiger Saga, which the fifth book has been in the works for at least four years now.  Bring me back Kelsey, Ren and Kishan ASAP.

Review: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Featured imageReawakened is a fun adventure but for anyone who has read Colleen Houck’s other series, Tiger Saga there may be far too many similarities.  It’s pretty much the same story but instead of taking place in India, it’s in Egypt.  They both have a teenage girl heroine, an ancient cursed Prince and interactions with Gods.  We switch Kelsey for Lily, Ren for Amon and Durga for Horus and Anubis.  Like in the Tiger’s Curse, Lily is just minding her business when she is thrust into a world myth and magic to help an ancient Prince with his task.  The difference being that Amon’s curse is to save the world. Every 10 years, he and his brothers fight the evil Set to keep him from gaining power in this world. Lily meets Amon when she’s hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  He awakes from his sarcophagus and attaches himself to her until he is able to gain his strength back.  They are soon on their way to Egypt to wake his brothers and complete the ceremony to push evil back.  Lily starts to have feelings for Amon but he does everything to push her away.  Despite the drama, they continue to work together to finish the ceremony, fight those who are working against them and explore a little bit of Egypt.

I’m sure for fans of the Tiger Saga will enjoy it. It has the same romance and adventure and the nice mix of mythology to give it a more epic feel.  Egyptian mythology isn’t as well known as many of the mythologies out there.  If I hadn’t read Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles, I wouldn’t know most of the Gods and Goddess mentioned and who was supposed to be good and who was bad.  But like I said, it did feel a little bit of a retread of what Miss Houck has already done.  She has even set up a possible love triangle between Lily, Amon and one of his “brothers” for the sequels.  All that being said, I enjoyed reading it.  I do want to see what happens next and see if she can do something else with her characters.

Series You should Check Out: The Tiger’s Saga by Colleen Houck

Featured imageFeatured imageI have finished reading Reawakened but since it doesn’t come out until August I’m going to hold my review of it.  So instead, I’m going to talk about Colleen Houck’s other series The Tiger’s Saga.  The as-of-now four piece series follows Kelsey, your normal American teenage girl who travels to India to try to break a 300 year old Indian Curse.  In the first book, Tiger’s Curse, Kelsey gets a summer job working for a circus, whose main attraction is a white tiger.  She is immediately drawn to the tiger, not realizing that the Tiger is actually a 300+ year old Indian Prince named Ren.  Ren was cursed by the evil Lokesh, who was trying to take over his kingdom and take the mysterious Amulet.  He has been trapped inside a Tiger’s body ever since and is only himself for 24 minutes a day.  Kelsey and Ren set out to solve the prophecy and break the curse under the watchful eye of the Goddess Durga to free Ren from his bondage.  Of course it’s not that simple.  Lokesh is still out there, searching for the amulet to gain the ultimate power.  Ren’s brother, Kishan was also cursed, though he has been living as a tiger in the Indian jungle.  And the tasks to breaking the curse are fraught with danger, magic and myths.  They take them to places all around India and even Nepal and even mythical places like Shangri-La.  With each successful completion of a task the brothers gain more time as themselves until they break the curse and no longer can become a tiger.

Featured imageFeatured imageI fell in love with the series.  It’s kind of a mix of Twilight and Indian Jones.  I know an odd mix.  It has the romance element but also the action and adventure element that keeps it exciting.  Kelsey falls for Ren but is reluctant to express her feelings.  Her parents died a couple of years ago and has since had trouble opening up to new people in fear that they will also leave her.  Ren is an honest, sweet man who wants to do the right thing for his kingdom and others but after centuries as a tiger, you can’t blame him for fighting for what he wants.  Their chemistry is apparent from almost their first meeting, which I’m counting as a Tiger.  Complications of course happen when they meet Kishan.  Ren and Kishan were not on the best of terms when they were cursed.  There are obviously going to be some bad feelings when one brother tries to steal the other brother’s fiance.  Even 300 years as tigers is not enough time to heal those wounds.  Of course it doesn’t help that they both fall in love with Kelsey.  It’s your classic love triangle.  The good girl, who falls in love with the good brother and the bad brother.  Their tiger’s fur even signifies who’s who.  Ren is a white tiger and Ren is a black.  As the series progresses, they become more than just good and bad.  Kishan has lived in the jungle for all those years because he can’t face what he did.  Houck makes a good case for why each brother would be a good match for Kelsey but there is never any doubt who she truly loves and will eventually end up with.  As for the villian, Lokesh, he’s  your typical bent on world domination villian and the lengths he will go to get what he wants are kinda frightening.  Ren and Kishan have been supported by Mr. Kadam.  His parents personal guard, who continued to live thanks to part of the Amulet he was given from the family and Nilima, Mr. Kadam several greats granddaughter. They provide a stability to the story.  Nothing would get done without them.

So I recommend this to anyone who likes both romance and action/adventure.  I don’t know much about Indian mythology so I can’t say to it’s accuracy but it does bring a richness to the story.  Kelsey is likable.  Yes, she at times falls in the annoying habits that all teenage girls do but when she is called upon she is fierce.  Ren is a true prince and Kishan is definitely charming.  There is supposed to be a fifth book but it as yet does not have an release date.  I assume it will focus on the brother that doesn’t end up with Kelsey since, the series was wrapped up pretty nicely for Kelsey in the fourth book but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see on that one.