Allegiance (Legacy #2) by Cayla Kluver

Book: Allegiance (Legacy #2)6056287

Author: Cayla Kluver

Published: February 28, 2012

Read: April 28, 2013

Paperback, 490 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: largelargelargelarge 1/2

*****

From Goodreads: Only I saw Narian for who he truly was: a young man with courage and an independent mind, and made to pay for what was outside his control. He couldn’t help his past any more than he could help the way those intense, deep-blue eyes pierced me and held me captive.

An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return…

Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn’t truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica-until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge.

Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn….

*****

WOW, what a HUGE improvement over Legacy!  If I hadn’t received an ARC for Sacrifice (Legacy #3), I might have considered giving up on this series, and I am so glad that I didn’t.  Allegiance picks up shortly after Legacy left off.  As you can see in the Goodreads summary, Alera becomes Queen and marries Steldor at the beginning of the book.  The first 160 pages were a bit predictable.  Several arguments between the new royal couple with Alera acting as immature and stubborn as she did in Legacy.  I swear, after page 160, there is a plot change that sent me in a reading frenzy until I was done!  Allegiance was a major shift in the Legacy trilogy.  There is an all out war between the Cokyri, and Queen Alera opposes the Overloard and her love, Narian.

Things I really liked:

  • London rocks.  He is still my favorite character.  London is larger than life, and I loved getting to hear about his past.  Fingers crossed for London’s HEA….27-ryan-lochte
  • King Steldor is that token snarky, hot dude in the Legacy trilogy.  (Can this be a Young Adult novel without one of those?)   Kluver wrote Steldor’s part very well, because although he certainly messes up , has a lousy temper, and does selfish things, I still really care about him!  He has a huge heart and takes care of the people he loves.   Steldor was Alera’s rock when she didn’t have anyone else to run to, and it was interesting to see how he made the  adjustment to being King of Hytanica. He showed us that he is incredibly worth of love. Oh, I wished that Alera would give him something more to go on.  I was completely enthralled in the book, but when Alera would put him down… I literally had to tear my eyes away to regain some composure…

ughhh

  • Alera made some big changes in her character during Allegiance.  Sometimes she deserved this getting a swift kick in the butt…. victoria chairbut I had high hopes for her.  When people scolded her, they were voicing several of the thoughts that I had as well, so I knew that she would eventually stop acting like a whiny, boring teenager.  The coolest part about Alera’a change from boring to a confident Queen, was that she did it without help from the two men in her life!  Yes, she talked a lot about Steldor and Narian, and they helped motivate her, she was strong enough to do things on her own.
  • The villains really creeped me out!  The Overlord and Narian’s cryptic, magical powers remind me of the movie ‘Looper’ with Bruce Willis (fantastic movie, by the way).  The villain in ‘Looper’ is called the Rainmaker, and he has supernatural powers much stronger than anyone has seen… and he will destroy the world.  This is how I viewed the Overlord and Narian, and truthfully, I was very creeped out by their awful powers and evil plans.  27938931

There were several times that I was thinking, WOW, this is a 5 star book for me.  It had me very tense until I knew how it would all turn out, but a few small things kept it from that 5 star review.  The book was a little too long… I love getting to picture myself in this world, but I thought that a few scenes could have been edited a bit.  Another thing, that I mentioned above, I just hated how the love triangle wasn’t a little more developed.  I wish that Alera showed Steldor a little more compassion.  For those two reasons, I couldn’t give it a 5 star review, but I REALLY did enjoy this book.  I hope that Sacrifice is as exciting as Allegiance.  Stay tuned! XO

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Mailbox Roundup Week 2: 4/28/13

Hi everyone!  This week, I’ve been reading up a storm, so I’m looking forward to posting a few new reviews.  Next week starts my 31 day May ARC challenge hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.   I hope to be reading 10-15 books, so stay tuned!

OK, let’s get down to the good stuff!  I received some goodies this week!

The following books are my first wins from the Little Bloggers, Big Ambitions (LBBA) giveaway put together by Cuddlebuggery! Woo hoo!  Thank you to Kat & Steph at the Cuddlebuggery! And thank you Lelia @cncooks for donating #’s 3&4!

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This Side of Jealousy (The Innocents #2) by Lili Peloquin

I read The Innocents a few weeks ago, and I’m so, so, SO excited to read on with this saga.  The book doesn’t come out until August 2013, so I’m going to try to wait a few months to read & review but I may read this week and publish my review in July instead.  Stay tuned for the review closer to the release date! Woo!

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Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

I’ll be starting this one later this week!

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Scrivener’s Moon (Fever Crumb #3) by Philip Reeve

I’m currently listening to book 1 on audiobook, so I’ll read this one in the upcoming months!

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The Invisible World by Suzanne Weyn

I will be reading this one next month during my May ARC Challenge.

The next books are a few that I received from NetGalley.

Found

Found (Penny Black #1) by Stacey Wallace Benefiel (PS Pink hair… so badass.)

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Sworn to Raise (Courtlight #1) by Terah Edun

Purchased

The-Elite

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The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera CassYes… as mentioned earlier, I did stay up until 3am reading this the moment that it was delivered to my Nook app. Please feel free to comment to hash out our frustrations of the April 2014 release of The One….9781250005298

The Hunt (The Hunt #1) by Andrew Fukuda

Kindle Daily Deal 4/23/13

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The Collector (A Dante Walker Novel) by Victoria Scott

No sale, but I’ve been hearing such great things about the book… so I went for it!

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Undertakers: The Rise of the Corpses by Ty Drago

Kindle Daily Deal 4/26/13.  Not a huge zombie fan, but this is a new concept.

Embrace

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Kindle Daily Deal 4/28/13

SF Overdrive Library

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Spark (Elemental #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Love, loved the first book, Storm!

What did everyone else come up with?  Happy reading, friends!

Storm (Elemental #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: Storm (Elemental #1) 9780758272812_p0_v1_s260x420

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: April 24, 2012

Read: April 25, 2013

Paperback, 353 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: largelargelargelarge

*****

From Goodreads: Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming.

*****

I very much enjoyed Storm!  It reminded me a lot of Obsidian (Lux #1), and since that was been one of my books that I’ve read this year, that is a big compliment to Storm!

Oooh the Merrick brothers…. thank you for being such fun stars of the Elemental series. they are the stars of the Elemental series, and I’m so happy to have stumbled upon them.  Although there are several of Elementals in their small town, the brothers are unique because they are extremely powerful.  Like can cause major storms, earth movements, explosions kind of powerful…. so they are on a lot of people’s shit list.  You can read the back round on that in Elemental, which I recommend.  Let’s do a quick rundown of the hot Merrick boys:

    • Michael/earth:  He can control earth and is the caregiver for the family.  He’s a bit grumpy at times, but we can understand why.  Not only did he have several traumatic things happen to him, he carries the burden of keeping the boys safe.  I hope that you lighten up a lil’ bit, but I like you!  You’re a good guy and big bro.  
    • Nick/wind: Nick is the most “normal” of the Merrick boys.  I like him, because he’s friendly and reserved… a good balance for the other 4 alpha males in the story.  I’d like to hear more from him, though.
    • Gabriel/fire:  Thank you, Gabriel, for filling the YA requirement of the hot, snarky, over confident, bad boy.snarky bad boyAlthough 3/4 of the Merrick’s have major attitudes, Gabriel takes the prize.  He’s got a major chip on his shoulder (understandable since his already complex life crumbled a few years back), but he acts out whenever he can get a chance.  His outbursts and snarky attitude were sometimes annoying, but I am so excited to get into his head in Spark.
  • Chris/water:  Chris’ story is told in Storm, and he is hot, moody, and sweet.  I really liked him as a character!  Even though he sometimes threw up an attitude, he really was a nice guy just trying to do right.  I enjoyed hearing from Chris’ point of view, because we were able to hear the fears and insecurities he had about his elemental “powers” and his family… and we got to hear about how he was falling for Becca.

I liked Becca as the main character… she’s a loner.  Her mother is never around, her father left the family, and she’s almost completely friendless.  Her ex-boyfriend has ruined her reputation, so the boys don’t respect her and the girls all hate her.  Things change for Becca when she jumps into rescue a boy being senselessly beaten up.  Little did she know that she stumbled into a family feud that would put her life in danger.  She saved Chris, and she’s now tangled into the Merrick’s crazy world.  She was kind of scrappy, and she acted like she had nothing to lose.  She probably felt like that since she figured her reputation couldn’t get any worse than what it already was.

New boy, Hunter, walked into Becca’s classroom and was immediately drawn to Becca.  I thought that he made up a good third person for the love triangle in Storm.  He was unique, sexy, and genuine…. but unfortunately, not exactly honest (although who could blame him?)  The whole time I wondered/predicted what his deal was, but he fit well into the Elemental storyline.  I’m excited to see more of him in the upcoming books.  I don’t always like love triangles… in fact I usually dislike them, but I appreciated the Chris-Becca-Hunter love triangle.  Both boys wanted to save her from her asshole ex-bf/cruel high school kids & the dangerous world that Chris and his family live in.  BUT I also like that Becca was scrappy and could be a badass.  She wanted to fight back, and she wasn’t completely helpless.

All in all, it was a really fun read!  It was one of the better YA paranormal books that I’ve read, and I can’t wait to read on!

Just for fun… some similarities to Lux:

  • The odd “powers” that are known by organizations (aka The Guides)… they try to either control them or end them.  In Storm’s case, it leads itself to a very interesting element to the plot.  The Merrick boys are incredibly powerful, so they must hide their true natures, or else the “deal” is off and they will be hunted and killed (Ditto in Obsidian).  
  • The high schoolers with little parenting going on:  Becca’s mother is a nurse who works around the clock (same as Kat), and her dad left them years before.  The Merrick boys live with their 21 year old brother, Michael, as their guardian.  Their parents died, so Michael was left in charge (similar with Daemon’s Luxen family).  He tries not to draw attention to the boys, but they can’t seem to remain out of trouble…. (I mean, it would be a boring book if they did, right?)
  • Hot identical twins…. nothin’ wrong with that!  carlson-twins-(kyle-and-lane)

Elemental (Elemental #0.5) by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: Elemental (Elemental #0.5)06b31d70bf_92484761_o2

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: March 27, 2012

ebook: 50 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: largelargelarge

*****

From Goodreads: Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they are more than you dream.

As an air Elemental, 17-year-old Emily Morgan doesn’t have much power. That’s okay—she knows what happens to kids who do.

Like Michael Merrick. He’s an earth Elemental, one with enough power to level cities. Which makes him sexy. Dangerous. And completely off limits. At least according to Emily’s family.

But her summer job puts her in close contact with Michael, and neither of them can help the attraction they feel. When forces of nature like theirs collide, one misstep could get someone killed. Because Emily’s family doesn’t just want her to stay away from him.

They want him dead.

*****

I first heard about the Elemental Series through Netgalley.  I received books #2.5 and #3 in exchange for a review, and I was intrigued by the description of the series.  A week or two later, I read that the Cuddlebuggery was doing an Elemental Read-Along, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to read and review!

Normally, I like reading prequels after I read the first book in the series.  Prequels give us more information on characters that we meet in book 1, and sometimes they give away parts of the book.  In Elemental’s case, I was glad that I read this before reading Storm (Elemental #1). It was a good preview as to what was to come & it was nice to have some background.  We got a taste of what Michael and his brothers can do, that there are people who want them dead, and people who their parents paid off to keep “quiet” (and they pretty much want them dead, too).  Those were all clues that were nice to know before jumping into the rest of the series.  Anyway, I recommend checking out this series!  Full review on Storm will come soon 🙂

Tear (Seaside #1) & Pull (Seaside #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

Books:  Tear (Seaside #1) & Pull (Seaside #2)

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Published: November 23, 2012 & February 27, 2013

ebooks: 214 & 363 pages

B.O.S.SF Review:  largelargelarge

I received both Tear and Pull in exchange for an honest review from Goodreads Read 4 Review.  Thank you to the Read4Review group and Rachel for giving me an opportunity to read and review!  I have been to Seaside, Oregon several times, so it was fun to see a series take place there.  I also appreciate the salt water taffy there 🙂

TearTear

This was a very quick read.  Alec and Demetri Daniels, two famous “rockstars” (or maybe glorified boy banders… no judgement… I love boy bands) move to Seaside, Oregon to get out of the lime light. These two, hot brothers both fall for the same girl. Meet Nat, our Main Character in book 1. Nat is a lonely girl who can’t wait to escape life in Seaside. She’s an only child and her parents spend more time at work than with her.

Nat is resistant to the boy band charmers, but she eventually allows herself to befriend them. The hot duo both fall HARD for Nat, and she’s confused on who to pick. She sort of goes for the one who showed interest first, even though we can see that isn’t where her heart lies. Upon first glance, these two boys look like they have it all. Money, good looks, talent, and fame. Underneath their shiny exterior, both of them have several skeletons in their closets. I was more interested in finding out about Alec and Demetri than Nat, probably because she didn’t have too many complexities to her. But that’s OK – I am actually glad that Nat didn’t also share a damaged past. Sometimes, I think that New Adult books overdo it with the damaged past. Because people that don’t experience extreme loss and trauma can still appreciate true love 🙂 (Sidenote: I didn’t care too much for the storyline with Nat’s parents. I can understand throwing themselves into work, but when they go away for a whole weekend… I mean, let’s hope that doesn’t happen, especially since they seem to be nice people).

The whole two brothers fighting over this seemingly amazing girl reminds me of The Vampire Diaries. The two Salvatore brothers love the same girl, and it goes on throughout the whole show. I’m glad that Tear takes care of the love triangle, and then the Seaside series moves on from there.

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I liked Pull even better than I liked Tear! I liked it better for a few reasons… one being that we already had a good feel of the main character, Demetri, so it was easier to jump right into the story. I was also concerned for Demetri by the end of Tear. He’d had a difficult life, and he didn’t know how to deal with it in a healthy way. In comes Alyssa – the short, spunky, beautiful girl that works across the way from where Demetri is working. Alyssa isn’t big into celebrity gossip, but she knows that he has a bad reputation around town. On top of that, Alyssa is dealing with a traumatic past of her own.

I thought that the love story between Demetri and Alyssa was sweet. I liked how there weren’t any love triangles, but that we were able to see how the two damaged characters learned to love themselves (& in turn allowed themselves to be loved by others). The two had a lot to overcome, but I also liked how RVD didn’t give us any surprises with Demetri. Where he was a mess in Tear, we could see how hard he was trying to overcome his addictions and problems. And it was good to see 🙂 The dual POV was a nice change from Tear, as well. We got a good sense of both Alyssa and Demetri, and I was excited to get into his head after how it ended in book 1.

Anyway, I’m very excited for Book 3!!  I liked Rachel Van Dyken and I would like to read more of her books.  I’ve been reading that The Bet is worth reading, too!  Sadly, I missed that Read4Review 😦

The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

Book: The Elite (The Selection #2)The-Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

Published: April 23rd, 2013

Read: April 24th, 2013

Hardcover, 323 pages

B.O.S.SF Review:

largelargelargelarge 1/2

*****

From Goodreads: Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

*****

Kiera Cass… why, oh why, oh WHY do we have to wait until 2014 for the conclusion of The Selection Trilogy?!?!

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While there isn’t a major cliffhanger, there are still a lot of questions that we MUST answer!  Ahh, I am dying to know how this concludes…OK, enough of that… we’re here to discuss The Elite!  One of my most highly anticipated books to be released in 2013.  Yes, I did in fact stay up until 3am reading on April 23rd…. I was just so excited!

I’m going to break down The Elite:

    • ❤ the Story: The Elite started out with sunshine and rainbows… or more specifically, star gazing and snuggles. pleasure town
I was smiling along with America as she and Maxon were falling in love.  Obviously, happy days were not there to stay (because that would have been a boring book) and things went South very quickly.  America and Maxon both have a lot of things that they need to figure out before they can get their happily ever after, and they had their share of growing pains in their relationship.
  • Team Maxon till I die! :  Once again, Maxon has proven to be my favorite character.  Always thoughtful & kind, Maxon juggles all of the duties and obligations that are put on his plate.   Now that The Selection is down to The Elite, the pressure intensifies on finding the perfect Queen/winning over America.  But what happens if America backs out? Will he be left alone with a broken heart?  He doesn’t want it to come to that, but Plans B & C are in his mind.    On top of that, Prince Maxon has to learn how to run the kingdom.  His dickhead King father isn’t much help.  The rebels are determined to stop The Selection, and the constant worry that they will attack the palace wears on him.  Maxon, I know you will find your HEA and save the day in The One.
  • America, America, America…. we know you had to fall down in order to rise up to the woman that you’re destined to be.  And all that… but gosh, you were frustrating at times in The Elite.  frustrating gifAfter enjoying several days of bliss with Maxon, America had a few wake up calls.  She thought about the responsibilities behind being a Princess and wondered if she could handle that.  Then of course whole there was third part of the love triangle to consider.  The constant back and forth between Maxon and Aspen was annoying.  While in other love triangles, the indecisiveness between the two men is because they touch heroine’s heart in a particular way,  but America was swayed when she was upset with one of them.  Over and over.  It seemed impulsive and immature…. but I am very confident that America has learned from her mistakes in The Elite, and she will fight for Maxon and the people of Ilea in The One!
  • Aspen who?  Ugh, Aspen, you need to just go home now!  I would be very surprised if America ended up with Aspen.  He isn’t in love with the woman that she’s becoming, and for that reason ALONE, he needs to hit the road.  I am already afraid of when Aspen’s relationship to America gets out.  Shit will hit the fan, and it’ll be awkward!  If my little fanfiction world, I would have Aspen end up with America’s lonely maid, Lucy.  They both need some lovin’.
  • The Elite (aka Kriss and Celeste):  Those b*tches have got to GO!  What’s the deal with Kriss?  She reminds me of the oh-so-hatable, Jo, from Iced.  Kriss is a placeholder. Although there’s nothing wrong with her, she is just wrong for Maxon.  I predict that her claws will be coming out in The One.  I kind of love Celeste, simply because she is that hot bitch that we love to hate.  As of now, there is no complexity to her character, but I’m OK with that.  I’m looking forward to Celeste’s humiliating fall from grace.  It’s going to happen.. I can feel it.  (Insert evil laugh here).evil laugh sookie
  • The King:  Whoa, holy evil asswipe.  How much does he suck??  We got a sneak peak of what a jerk he was in The Prince, but UGH, WOW, I hate him.  He reminds me a bit of President Snow in The Hunger Games.  He likes the way things are, and he will take appropriate measures to keep things that way.  Looking forward to the King vs. America face-off.
  • The Rebels:  They confuse me.  I know that there are the Southern and Northern Rebels (both with different agendas), but the ones that storm the castle in a murderous frenzy seem different from the ones we met in the woods.  Hmmmm…….

Loved the book… the countdown for The One will be long and painful, but we have the CW TV show to look forward to in the Fall.

We can lean on each other while we harbor our post Elite depressions.  post-10224-That-moment-when-you-finish-a-OzHe

The Prince (The Selection #0.5)

9780062248169

Book: The Prince (The Selection # 0.5)

Author: Kiera Cass

Published: March 5th, 2013

eBook; 63 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: largelargelargelargelarge

*****

From Goodreads: Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection…

Before Aspen broke America’s heart…

There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life…

Don’t miss this thrilling 128-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

*****

 

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This will be a quick review since The Prince was short.   I can go either way with novellas – for me to like them, I want to find out something new in the novella that brings more clarity to a particular character, relationship, or story that we wouldn’t normally know.  Since The Selection trilogy is told from only America Singer’s point of view, getting to see inside Prince Maxon’s head was such a treat!  We got to learn some details about Prince Maxon’s past pre-Selection.  We found out that another girl pursued Maxon, which he found flattering and confusing.  We also found out that the King is a dickhole. And lastly, we saw when Maxon met America!  Aww… love them together.  Maxon’s point of view was a nice change of pace.  I love his honesty, and he is just the sweetest!  The Elite review is coming up next….

PS I will probably reuse this particular graphic in this blog again…. because it’s perfect.