Quick Review: Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

dark breaks the dawn *** This review may contain Spoilers ***

I confess, I’m not all that familiar with the store of Swan Lake so I can’t say if this is a good retelling or not.  What I can say it was just meh.  I wanted really into it but I also wasn’t bored with it either.  Evelayn is the crown Princess of the light side of the Kingdom.  Long time ago, a curse fell on the  Kingdom years ago and took away their immortality and separated them into two Kingdoms of Light and Dark.  For centuries the two sides lived in peace and keeping balance of the magic until 10 years before when the King of the Dark magic started a war to grasp both sides.  Evelayn is thrust into the conflict when her Mother is killed by the King making her Queen.  Now Evelayn is a fine character.  She’s smart and brave and willing to do anything for country.  She does what she needs to be done.  She’s a fast learner.  She is just coming into her powers and is able to master all of them except for the power to transform into her Swan. Only those with royal blood can transfigure.  Her love interest is Tanvir is kind of bland.  Several times there are hints of him not being worthy, that he has a secret, or that there is something is past that could come back to haunt him.  I was starting to think that he was a spy for the Dark Kingdom and he was forced to be a spy to save his sister who isn’t dead just being held captive by the King.  That would have made him more interesting at least but no.  The Dark Prince, Lorcan is far more interesting to me then either Evelayn and Tanvir and I sort of started rooting for him.  I know he’s technically the real big bad of the story but I was left for interested in what he was going to do then the others.  I also felt how Evelayn reacted at the end was a little out of character.  She never sought out violence before.  She had to do what she had to do for the safety of her Kingdom and keeping balance so for her to threaten the Dark Queen like she did seemed a strange move.  True she is young and obviously scared and desperate but this wasn’t the first time she felt that way and handled things better.  So yeah, it was meh but I’m going to read the second book because I do want to see what Lorcan does next.

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May Flowers Bring New Books

The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh.  Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May.  Let’s see how I’ll do.

May 2:

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

May 16:

Seeker by Veronica Rossi

May 23:

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

May 30:

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

 

In Memoriam of all the Series that Ended in 2016

In the tradition of award shows every way, we at Stacks would like to recognized those series that are no longer with us.  They have ended.  They and solved all their mysteries and tied up any loose ends.  We were said to see them go but they will always be remembered for the joy that brought to our lives.

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Our Top 5 Posts of 2016

2016 was a mix bag of a year but let’s focus on the positives,shall we?   This year was a banner year for us at Stacks.  In the last weeks of the year we are going to take a look back of some of our highlights.  So here are our most viewed posts of the past year.

  1. Review: Half Lost by Sally Green Who knew this was going to be such big crowd pleaser?  This book really broke my heart.  The ending was so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.  I originally reviewed this back in January but we are still getting views.
  2. Preview of the Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan So this post is originally from 2015 but the excitement over Riordan’s new book carried over into 2016.  It’s views more then doubled my review of the book.  I’ll try not to read too much into that.  😉
  3. Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 1 My excitement over the The Raven King was subtle.  Okay, not so subtle.  This was the first of a week long celebration of Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series.  I examined different aspects of the series and tried to predict what was going to happen in the final book.
  4. Review: Endure by Sara B. Larson Another surprising addition to the list.  This review from January about the final book in Sara B. Larson’s book was a pretty good series.
  5. Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 2  and rounding out our top five is Part 2 of my The Raven Cycle love fest.

2016

Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading Challenge Update Part 2

bookchallenge2016image

Since Kate posted her update, I figured I should do mine.  I’m doing much better on the Meduim/Genre/Industry Sub-Challenge then the other 2.  So far I have read Captain Marvel for my Graphic Novel with a superhero, Nimona for Graphic Novel without a superhero.  The Hidden Oracle for a book meant for Children and Cravings a cookbook by Chrissy Teigen for a book from a genre I’ve never read.  Half Lost, a book with a Queer Character. To All The Boys I’ve Loved, a book with an Asian American Character. And finally Endure by Sara b Larson for a book by a  Woman author. To be honest, I could have picked almost any book I’ve read this year for that last one because so far I have only read 3 books written by a man.

So that brings my total up to 7 out of 30. Yikes, that’s not great but it’s 1 better then Kate. ;-).

Review: Endure by Sara B. Larson

endure  *Spoilers Ahead*

This is the final book in the Defy trilogy.  For those who are not familiar it follows Alexa who is a guard to Prince Damian but she has to be pretend she is a boy named Alex or be subjected to the cruel breeding houses.  Over the series Alex is exposed as Alexa, saves the Kingdom from the evil King of Antion, fall in love with the Prince but also have feelings for her fellow guard, Rylan. Then after all of that has the save kingdom once again from the even more evil King of the neighboring country of Dansaii.  That’s a real simplified synopsis but you get the idea.  It’s sort of the typical YA novel where the girl must defeat evil while trying to figure out who she loves at the same time.  It’s really isn’t much of a love triangle as Alexa is pretty clearly in love with Damian and Damian makes it pretty clear that he is in love with her but you know he’s the Prince and later the King and she’s just a guard. It can’t be simple as them saying I love you and be done with it.

Alexa is a good character.  She’s a fighter both figuratively and literally.  In this world there are sorcerers that have powers to create fires or earthquakes.  Alexa isn’t but a revelation that her father might have been one and she may have inherited some of his powers in the form of quick reflexes, which makes her on the best fighters in the Prince’s guard.  She is steadfast and loyal and despite many tragic deaths she still pulls though and gets things done.  As for the other characters, they are not as fleshed out as Alexa is. Damian is giving more time.  We get that he’s vulnerable and his doubts of his own abilities and loves Alexa. The same with Rylan.  He’s a good guy who always stands by Alexa but not much else.  I would have liked to know more about them and the other characters.  Maybe one of the flaws of first person story telling.  I get this feeling that YA authors are getting over their fears of killing off characters, no matter how important they are.  I think this is great because it does give books a little more drama.  I used to feel a little cynical when characters were in trouble because you sort of knew that authors wouldn’t risk alienating readers by killing off popular characters.  Well not any more.  Now it anyone can go and boy the body count is high in this one and many I was sad to see go.

It was good series with a good ending.  I’m glad that I read it but it’s not going to go down as one of my favorites.

What I’m Reading Now: Endure by Sara B. Larson and The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

endureI don’t normally read two books at once but I got Endure an ARC downloaded to my iPad and well my iPad and case doesn’t fit in my new purse.  I need something to read on the train to work.  This is a must.  So it came down to this, move everything into a new bag so I can take my iPad with me to work or find another book to read on the train and read this at home.

royal weSo that’s what I decided to do.  The Royal We was on sale a couple of weeks ago and since I follow both the authors on twitter and love their blog, Go Fug Yourself, and I have been looking for more romances, I thought I would give it a go.

So these two books will end my reading experience for 2015 and bring me into 2016.  What are the last books you are reading this year?

There are just so many good books coming out!!!

I was looking at all the new books coming out in the next couple of months and THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS THAT I WANT TO READ!!  I’m already behind because The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare came out earlier this month. I have to get myself in gear.  Here are just a few titles that I can’t wait to read this fall.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, 9/29/15

Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan, 10/6/15

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, 10/6/15

The Rose Society (Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu, 10/13/15

Dark Tide (Waterfire Saga #3) by Jennifer Donnelly, 10/13/15

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One by Daniel Kraus, 10/27/15
The Iron Warrior (Iron Fey #7) by Julie Kagawa, 10/27/15
Manners and Mutiny(Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger, 11/3/15
Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer, 11/10/15
Frozen Tides (Fallen Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes,12/15/15
Endure (Defy #3) by Sara B. Larson, 12/29/15
I’m sure I’ve missed a few but one thing for sure, I’m going to be busy!  What books are your excited to read this fall?  Let me know in the comments if they are any I need to add.

Series You Should Check Out

So this is something that I’m thinking of making a regular column: Books and Series that I’ve read that I feel are underrated or under-appreciated.  There are some great books or Series that I haven’t seen much written or talked about on other blogs that I really liked!  So I’m going to attempt to give them some love. I’m going to start with the Defy series by Sara B. Larson.

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Defy came out last year and it’s sequel Ignite was just released. The story is about Alexa who has to pretend to be a boy and serve in the King’s army.  Let’s just say it would be very bad if she is ever discovered.  Alexa, now Alex, is a smart fighter and she eventually works her way into the the elite prince’s guards.  When a unbeatable sorcerer kidnaps Alex, the Prince and Alex’s friend Rylan, it becomes even harder to do her duty to protect the Prince and to protect her secret.

What I like about the books is that I found them to be really quick reads that were paced well.  You don’t have to wait too long for the action to start.  Alexa is a fighter and not just physically.  She is one of the best of the Prince’s guards, which comes into play when the Prince gets kidnapped.

The relationship between Alexa and the Prince is at first awkward.  He’s the Prince and she’s pretending to be a guy who protects him.  As they grow closer they realize they have more in common.  Both are trying to pretend to be something they are not to protect themselves.  I think you can guess where this is going to go.

It’s hard to review series because I can’t say too much about the second without spoiling the first. So I’ll say it’s worth checking out.  It’s nice to read a heroine who is strong and doesn’t take anyone’s crap.  Of course in Alexa’s case, she can beat up anyone who gives her trouble.  So go check them out.