BOOK REVIEW: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Series: Trilogy (Ongoing)

Three Dark Crowns: ★★★/5

SUMMARY: When kingdom come, there will be one. In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

There are a lot of mixed reviews for this book. First off, it took me FOREVER to finish it. I ended up taking a LONGGGG break halfway through before buckling down and forcing myself to finish. I only gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars because of three reasons:

  1. The premise was interesting and fresh
  2. The writing was easy to follow and visually descriptive
  3. It was unpredictable and surprising

Overall, I only enjoyed around 20% of the book, which were the last 100 pages or so. The beginning dragged on and I’m guessing the author was taking her time to really get readers to buy into each of the queens’ characters/personalities, but at times I found it really long and uninteresting. There were parts in each queen’s story that I thought were repetitive and unnecessary. Also, for most of the book, I didn’t really enjoy any one character and couldn’t find myself attached to any. However, that could have been the author’s intentions to keep readers from cheering on any one of the queens throughout the book.

Character Development: There really wasn’t any present throughout the book, but from the few reviews I read about the second installment, it seems most of the growth will happen in the next book. I’ll talk about a few of my favorite to least favorite characters.

Arsinoe: The Naturalist queen. Her personality was the most dynamic and interesting. I found her refreshing and honest. She accepted the fact that she was “giftless” yet she was doing everything she could to make some sort of gift arise from inside her. Her efforts were admirable despite the fact her methods may not have been. I enjoyed reading her chapters as I found myself curious as to what she would do next. Her relationship with Jules and Camden were heartwarming. I love them both.

Jules & Camden: Jules is one of my most favorite characters. She’s true to herself and Arsinoe. Her loyalty and honest to goodness towards her friends is to die for her. She never waivers and her strong personality always shines in whatever she does. I’m sure the next book has a lot in store for her.

Mirabella: The Elemental queen. Known to be the strongest with the backing of the High Priestess, she’s destined to be the reigning queen. However, her powerful exterior conflicts with her delicate heart. Though she was the strongest of her sisters, she was the most empathetic and hesitant. She was misunderstood because of the image the priestesses painted of her. She was frustrating to read about at times, because if she took a little bit more of an initiative a lot of the problems would have been solved. I hate when miscommunication is a factor of a problem remaining unsolved.

Katherine: The Poison queen. She’s my least favorite. Her character is just unlikable in my opinion. If I were to guess, I would say she is only going to get worse in the next book. I didn’t like her in the first and I’m pretty sure I’ll dislike her even more in the next book if she stays on the same path.

Joseph: I hate this guy. I’m not going to spoil the book, but in the beginning I really enjoyed reading about him with Jules. But by the end of the book I wanted to strangle him. He’s so worthless and his words never support his actions. Weak-minded guys are the worst.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’ve got nothing on your list to read. It’s not an immediate go out and buy type of book, but maybe more of a library check out kind. The cover is beautiful though. It was well written and though some people might find the shifting perspectives jarring, I thought it was organized enough to follow without getting confused. Just be prepared to have to trudge through at least 75-80% of the book before you can really get into it. The ending was very interesting and I didn’t see the twist at the end–the cliffhanger at the end itself makes me want to read the second just to see what happens. Though I have no strong attachments to any of the characters to see how things turn out for them.

Buy it on AMAZON.

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PRE-ORDER KALCYON

The Kalcyon e-book is officially live on amazon for pre-order. January 31, 2016 is the release date!

UPDATE: It’s Official!

My Kalcyon ARCs have officially been delivered and I have never been so excited to open a package. It looks even better than I had hoped for it to. I love the new cover concept that I incorporated into it. For those who purchased my VERY first edition, I did make many changes to the cover and format, but I appreciate each and every one of you for your support ❤ On the plus side, it is technically a specialty product! (Get the hardcover! It’s 100x better.)

Kalcyon is slated to be officially released on January 31, 2015, however this will only be the paperback and e-book version. I am going to try my very best to get the hardcover version finished by this time as well, but the company I use has a somewhat slow turnaround rate for proofs. I am keeping my fingers crossed though.

This is such a surreal moment for me. And the best present I could have given myself for Christmas! I hope you all have a great holiday, and if you do have the chance, read my first book, Karnage, to get ready for the release of Kalcyon!

You can find Karnage on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Leave me a review and tell me what you thought!

Tata for now~

Flash Reveal! – Kalcyon Prologue

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about Kalcyon, the second book of The Phoenix Ashes trilogy. Today, I decided I’m going to release the prologue! I can’t wait to release this book, because I’m loving it even more than Karnage (I didn’t even know that it would be possible)

 

Prologue

“WOULD YOU PLEASE come down from there?” I fidgeted, absentminded I kicked a small rock on the ground. Alythea always had a mind of her own and there was nobody who could stop her from doing the crazy things she did. It was a God-given gift that she hadn’t died yet, and sometimes I really believed that she never would.

            Her Phersu was a beautiful creature. Its wings were smooth opaque chimes that released the most musically hypnotic sound making you feel lost in a never-ending dream. It was an impossibly majestic bird, frighteningly enchanting with a daunting prowess—they always said Phersus took after their owners.

            Alythea was one of the first and only students to have a hatched Phersu. There were rumors of one other student who had one before her, but we had never seen him attend a class in the time we had been there.

            “Care to join me?” she teased with a wide grin. I rolled my eyes and placed my hands on my hips as I glared up at her. She knew exactly why I refused to join her in the obscenely tall tree in the first place.

            I was deathly afraid of heights. I preferred to remain grounded; I didn’t trust anything that I couldn’t feel or see. Alythea on the other hand, loved everything about the sky; she reached for it as if she would one day be able to grab hold of it, and the impossibility only kept her from giving up. It was the ephemeral reveries that tickled her mind that had her asking for more, demanding for something beyond ordinary. And, she was anything but ordinary. It was fitting that her Phersu had hatched to be a bird.

            Sometimes, I wondered how we were such good friends when we were so different. Maybe it was because I secretly wanted to be like her: hopelessly free, uninhibited, and boldly daring. They were qualities that indisputably sparked my curiosity but crept like a haunting trance that threatened to overpower me.

            I heard the jingle of her Phersu’s feathers. It never got old. The tickle in my ears left a light and pleasurable feeling inside and smoothed my wrinkled frustrations with Alythea away. A soft thud on the bouncy grass blowing in the breeze told me she had finally decided to come down and join me.

            “One day, I’ll get you to come up the tree with me,” she vowed. Despite their lack of color, her steely eyes had more depth than anyone I had ever known. It played with the lights and reflected any vibrancy it took in.

            “I insist you stop trying,” I negated. “I really love it here on the ground. Always have and always will.”

            “The world is a whole new place up there.” She admired the endless blue sky. We took a moment to soak in the warm inviting rays of sunlight that escaped through the whimsical thicket of the leaves as it kissed the goosebumps on our skin away. It was amazing that only a decade had past. Celestria was beautiful and at peace once again.

            It was a time of healing and rejuvenation for Valkryns was on the rise. In Celestria, Valkryns had always been reveled and honored. Greatness was Valkryns. Only when the Night of the Phoenix had devastated Celestria had fear ever been connected with the Valkryn name. Nonetheless, somehow the Founders managed to restore Celestria’s trust in Valkryns and the wish to possess a Ceres was once more, the most desired gift. I guess it was a blessing in disguise, because we were now given the opportunity to receive proper training at Vanderwald.

            A crack of a twig and the crunching of the earthy ground caught our attention. As usual, against my better judgment, I had followed Alythea here even though I knew we were deeper in the forest than students were instructed to go.

            Then I saw him. His black hair was brushed to the side as he walked with an assertive and strong gaze locked on us. My heart skipped a beat for the first time and something inside me ignited. The sensation pulsed and a strong pull struggled to break free. His eyes flickered to mine as if he sensed the power struggling inside of me; I was immediately drawn in by his dangerously ash gray eyes soaked with calamity.

            This was the moment that changed everything. There was no way I could’ve known what was in store for me. Little did I know, I had been born for this single minute; the wheels of fate had begun to turn in the cruelest possible way. The three of us stood in the forest staring at each other for what felt like an eternity; this moment would be forever etched in my memory; and, it was the last thing I saw when I died.

            It all began the day I met Logan Bray.

-Kalcyon

GIVEAWAY – Enter through Instagram!

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I’m hosting my FIRST #giveaway . There will be 3 winners and the places will be determined by the random order winners are chosen 🙈

1st – Signed feather bookmark & Signed paperback copy of Karnage & a notebook & personalized watercolor art piece (style as pictured here)
2nd – Signed feather bookmark & Signed paperback copy of Karnage & notebook
3rd – Signed feather bookmark & signed paperback copy of Karnage

Rules:
1. 📖 You must be following my account @ajleighbooks
2. Like this post & Comment below with 2 friends who might be interested!
3. Share post using #AJLEIGH100giveaway and mention me in the caption!
4. International! DEADLINE 11:59pm (PST) Aug. 23, 2015
5. 3 entries per person (no giveaway accounts, I will be checking!!)

6. Winners will be contacted and will need to DM me their info to receive their prize!!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance
Series: Throne of Glass Series (Incomplete)

Throne of Glass: ★★★★

I’m going to start with the cover. Typically, I hate when covers have human representations of the characters because it robs me of the right to picture the main character the way I read her to look. But, damn, Celaena looks so badass on the cover that I couldn’t imagine it any other way. So, this time I will accept the cover and it is a check from me.

The main problem I had with the book was the length. I loved how I was swept into the world of Erilea, however there were times where I dragged my feet and had to force myself to read because things were becoming very repetitive. I was too often too thankful when the author would pass over some of the Tests. Whew. Besides that, I thought the writing was actually quite wonderful. To me, the dialogue is what was the shining star. Each character had a unique way with words and Maas was able to maintain that through every comment they made throughout the book, which made them more believable allowing them to come to life. I found that her visual descriptions were at times a bit confusing and superfluous, and shamefully I may have skimmed those parts one too many times.

CELAENA – What.A.Badass. I love this chick. She was a strong and just–despite her career choice–heroine. I found myself following and anticipating her endless sassy remarks and got caught up in her playful, witty banter with the other characters of the book. She’s not perfect, but that’s what makes her perfect. Her flaws were obvious and she owned up to it every step of the way. She was a character filled with contradictions whether it was the fact that she was a cold killing machine, yet still loved dressing in frilly dresses and stuffing her face with candy, or just the fact that there were many occasions where she always felt two directly opposing feelings. (ie. “her arms felt heavy, and light at the same time” “there was a warmth in her, but a chill ran down her back” etc etc)

CHAOL – Holy. I am in a love & hate relationship with this guy, mostly love, but I do have a bone to pick with him. I think he is absolutely adorable and Maas did an amazing job of presenting his character through his tough exterior and undeniable compassion. I enjoyed his POVs as he was trying to figure out what exactly he was feeling and where he stood. I THINK he somewhat figured it out in the end, but I’m not entirely sure. AND that **** better be a symbol foreshadowing the future, or I might flip my table. I wish there was a little bit more

DORIAN – I have no idea why, but I kept imagining him to be much younger than he was stated to be. The way he spoke and was written into the story, I couldn’t really believe he was 19. His character was probably the least believable for me. I didn’t particularly dislike him as a character, but I couldn’t find myself rallying for him.

Overall, I had no idea what to expect when I first started reading the book. And frankly, I found myself surprised when there were mentions of Fae, gnomes, etc. It didn’t bother me, but it did take me for a loop. I gave this book a 4/5 stars because I did enjoy it and found myself engaged while reading it, however a 5/5 book for me is one that I just can’t put down and need to see what happens and then find myself in awe that the author just blew my mind. There were times while I was reading that I assumed what was about to happen next and was basically just waiting for Celaena to hurry up and figure it out.

I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series, Crown of Midnight, to see what happens next though. (But with Celaena’s four-year-long contract, I hope it doesn’t feel that long…) I might take a break from this series since I don’t have the second book yet and throw myself into a new world.

BUY IT ON AMAZON

SURPRISE – KALCYON SUMMARY RELEASE

Thank you for everyone who has been looking forward to the release of the second book of The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy. A lot of people have been asking me when it’s going to be released and I don’t really have an exact date, but I am hoping to release it before this year ends! (Maybe a Christmas release?)

Anyways, I wanted to release the book summary that will be written on the back of the book cover as a thank you for your anticipation and support!

Read it here!