Review: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) – Erika Johansen


The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) – Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

Title: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)

Author: Erika Johansen

Release Date: April 14, 2015

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 464

Source: TBR Pile

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

This book will be a beautifully designed package with illustrated endpapers, a map of the Tearling, and a ribbon marker.

3 out of 5 stars


I’m kind of torn between giving this 3 stars and giving this 4 stars, but I don’t do half stars…. I really liked the last half of this, but the beginning was so so so slow. I listened to this on audio and read it in physical format because I wanted to read while driving. I kind of wish that I could have listened to the second half on the car ride because it was much more exciting, but such is life.

This book followed Kelsea who is now the Queen of the Tearling, as the title suggests. She has been living in solitude with her guardians for 19 years, and she’s taken away on her 19th birthday to become the Queen. She’s always known this was how it had to be, but she still wasn’t as prepared as she thought she should have been. Her mother was known for poor decisions, but Kelsea wasn’t told about her failures. She lived a sheltered life with lots of academic classes and always thrived in the stories she got to read from the fiction books in her house.

I really love the premise for this book, but I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been. If I were to rate the first quarter of this book I probably would have given it a 2 stars, but by the end I was feeling 4 stars. I don’t know. There were quite a few issues about this book that I wasn’t fond of.

There was an instalove situation that pissed me off. So first off. Kelsea has never seen a large group of people in her life, so why the hell would she be able to be in love with someone. Also, how would she know how to flirt well? Umm. She wouldn’t. The only man she had ever been exposed to was Barty, her father figure. Hmm. I hate instalove, and I couldn’t appreciate the love because it felt so rushed.

I also didn’t like that there was so much unknown to the reader. I’m all for figuring out as you go, but I like when you know a little more than the characters know. I like being one step ahead, but it always felt as if you were dragging behind. Not a fan of that at all.

It was cool because by the end you got to see a little of the power with the sapphire necklaces, but you only got a taste, so you want more. Clever. I’m impressed with your miniature cliff hangers, Ms. Johansen.

Overall I think this was a good book. I’m interested to see what happens in the next ones. I definitely recommend audiobooks in general because I think I’ve fallen in love.

July Wrapup + August TBR


Read:

  1. The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) – Samantha Shannon *review*
  2. The Pale Dreamer (The Bone Season #0.5) – Samantha Shannon *review*
  3. Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Series #5) – Iain Reading *review*
  4. Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu *review*
  5. Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2) – Victoria Aveyard *review*
  6. Tricks (Tricks #1) – Ellen Hopkins *review*

TBR:

  1. Mistress by Mistake – Kim Lawrence
  2. The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) – Samantha Shannon
  3. The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) – Erika Johansen
  4. Love, Lies and Spies – Cindy Anstey
  5. Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) – Robin Hobb

Review: Mistress by Mistake – Kim Lawrence


Mistress by Mistake – Kim Lawrence

Mistress By Mistake

Title: Mistress by Mistake

Author: Kim Lawrence

Release Date: February 2000

Publisher: Harlequin

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 185

Source: Campground Free Library

Did he want a mistress — or a wife?

Drew Cummings more than lived up to his reputation for being incredibly sexy. He’d misjudged Eve, though, believing her to be a calculating gold digger chasing after his wealthy nephew….

So when Drew began seducing Eve himself, was he simply protecting his family fortune? Why else would he be interested in shy little Eve? There was no denying he wanted her…but was he looking for an affair — or something more permanent?

1 out of 5 stars


I know what you’re thinking. Aubrey, this doesn’t seem like the type of book you like to read, and you’re right! I kind of hated it… a lot. Anyway, story time. I picked up this book because I went camping with two of my friends, and FORGOT MY BOOK AT HOME. The tragedy of it all. Neither of them brought a book either, so we went to the little free library thing at the campground lodge and we thought it would be funny to read romance novels. We went camping so that we could relax, go cliff jumping, swimming, and hammocking. So, we all chose Harlequin romance novels, as there was an abundance of them at this small library. I just finished it, and hated it as much as I thought I would.

This story follows Eve and Drew, who mistakenly fall in love. Lots of sexual tension, lots of unnecessary angst.

I knew going into this there wouldn’t be much story, but there was pretty much no plot, and there was no character development at all. They meet in a very strange way that had nothing to do with anything. So she meets this magical Drew, and of course hates him at first. Hates him so much. As in, tells him that he’s pretty much an entitled prick. Umm. Yeah, if you’re attracted to someone just go ahead and tell him that he’s a horrible person before you meet him. She of course first sees him with no shirt and just a towel that “defied gravity” by staying on his slender, sexy hips… vomit.

I knew what I was going into, but damn I can’t explain how horrible the writing was. It switched perspectives literally every two sentences. There were no quotation marks, and the conversations were just in the paragraphs as opposed to how they normally are. There were so many characters introduced with NO backstory whatsoever. So many. It was horribly difficult to follow at the beginning, not going to lie. I feel like I have a decent concept of following characters through stories. I read a lot, but this was just so hard to understand. I think it was partly because the writing was SO BAD.

There were also random plot points that were just thrown in to make the book longer. First off, if you add that many random words and plot suggestions and the book is only 185 pages you’re for sure doing something very wrong. There was a party. An ex-fiance. Gardening. House fire. Saving a cat from a tree. Climbing up the side of a building to get to the girl you love *eww*. Lying. There were just so many random things that shouldn’t have been in this book, but whatever. I do not recommend reading this book at all. I personally do not understand reading a purely romance novel. There is typically no plot. There is a cringey romance that is in no way realistic at all. Trust me here. I’ve been dating the same lovely boy for almost 4 years now, and this is not what it’s like. There’s actual emotion and real feelings, not just being “hopelessly in love at first sight.” Just putting that out there. If romance novels are your thing, go for it. You do you, but I do not plan on reading any more romance novels. Books with some romance. I’m all for it. Anything for me to fangirl over, but there was no… anything to this story.

Review: Tricks (Tricks #1) – Ellen Hopkins


Tricks (Tricks #1) – Ellen Hopkins

Tricks (Tricks, #1)

Title: Tricks (Tricks #1)

Author: Ellen Hopkins

Release Date: August 25, 2009

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 627

Source: TBR Pile

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching…for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don’t expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words “I love you” are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story — a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, “Can I ever feel okay about myself?”

2 out of 5 stars


If you would have asked me what I would have rated this book about halfway through I might have said 5 stars, but the ending just fricked me up and I really didn’t enjoy it.

This story is about five teenagers; they all get caught up with people and say “I love you” and bad things happen.

There were LOTS of triggers in this book, so if you’re sensitive to rape, sex, drugs, alcohol, dysfunctional family units, parents dying, gambling, or prostitution, DO NOT READ THIS.

I don’t typically read books like this. Ellen Hopkins is the only author that I read about drugs, but I did not like this book very much! It was kind of confusing having 5 different perspectives. All the girls seemed so similar to me, and there were three of them. It was hard for me to separate them.

I honestly don’t even know how to review this because there was so much that happened, but none of it plot driven at all. I’ll give it a shot, I guess.

All these teenagers are desperate to find love. The gay boy lives on a farm with his father and basically gets banished from his home. One is a typical preacher’s daughter who ends up being kind of promiscuous. One girl has a broken family unit where her mother gets paid to let men rape her. One girl lives in the shadow of her older sister. And one boy has a problem with gambling and drugs.

The characters don’t even all meet up in the end. What the heck. I was waiting for some dramatic meet up situation and for everyone to figure out their lives together, but no. There was a brief meet up situation with two of the girls, but it was in very sad circumstances.

Ugh. I really did not enjoy this because of the last half. Ellen Hopkins has such a beautiful and intoxicating way to write that just pulls you in, but damn I didn’t like the content.

There was so much sex. So much unnecessary sex. After reading the little informational thing at the back, it talked about how her goal for this was to highlight the issue of child prostitution in the United States, so I get it, I guess. But there were pretty explicit sex scenes to claim this is a YA novel.

I’m 18 and I was still disturbed by it, I don’t even know what I would have done if I read this when I was 13 or 14. I read Perks of Being a Wallflower in early middle school and was traumatized…

I don’t know, honestly. Only read this if you’re not super triggered by what I listed above.

Review: Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2) – Victoria Aveyard


Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2) – Victoria Aveyard

Steel Scars (Red Queen, #0.2)

Title: Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2)

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: January 5, 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 77

Source: TBR Pile

Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

3 out of 5 stars


It’s been awhile since I have read anything from this series, so it took me a little while to remember some details about this world, but after I got into it I felt more comfortable with it. This follows Farley, which made me very sad after remembering Glass Sword…

Anyway. I read this quite quickly as it is a short novella. I’m not really sure if this added anything to the story arc, but I do really enjoy this world. I love the Scarlet Guard, and love that they’re so rebellious. I think Farley is a cool character, and I liked seeing her with Shade. Made my heart happy.

Even though this novella takes place before Red Queen, DEFINITELY read Red Queen before reading this because it would make absolutely no sense if you didn’t understand Farley just a little bit.

This is my third full book for Booktubeathon! It’s going really well, and I’m about to start another book :)

After reading this I’m very excited to see what happens in King’s Cage. I want to be back in this world, and I can’t wait to read about some super cool characters. I remember Glass Sword ended in an irritating cliff-hanger, but I don’t remember exactly what it was. I will have to revisit that ending before picking up King’s Cage, but I am super pumped to finish the series!!

Series:

Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

Review: Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu


Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)

Title: Legend (Legend #1)

Author: Marie Lu

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Publisher: Speak

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 305

Source: TBR Pile

From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths…

Until June’s brother is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect.

In a shocking turn of events, the two uncover what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep its secrets.

5 out of 5 stars


I should have listened to everyone giving me recommendations for reading this book WAYYY earlier. It was so good, and I can’t wait to pick up the next one.

June and Day meet under strange circumstances. June thinks Day killed her older brother. She wants revenge. She wants him to suffer as she is suffering, but she never expects to see a boy who is just trying to live.

I love going into books very blindly, and tend to do it often, because I like actually reading the story and learning the plot that way rather than hearing everyone talking about it, so as usual, I recommend you go into this book blindly. It’s about a dystopian society with a corrupted government, but the citizens don’t believe anything is wrong. It’s honestly such a well-crafted book. I loved that the different POVs were in different a different font and color. It added something unique to the reading experience.

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time… You try to walk in the light.

This is my favorite quote from the whole book. I actually stopped and re-read it a few times because I thought it was so beautiful. I like that philosophy. You make whatever you want from each and every single day.

Guys. If you haven’t read this book, please go read it! I think anyone who likes YA dystopian would LOVE this :)

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5) – Iain Reading


Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5) – Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5)

Title: Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5)

Author: Iain Reading

Release Date: February 14, 2015

Publisher: Createspace

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 222

Source: Author

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the eagerly anticipated fifth instalment of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency book series. This series features the intrepid teenage seaplane pilot and amateur detective Kitty Hawk as she continues in the footsteps of Nancy Drew and Amelia Earhart on her epic flight around the world.

After meeting up with an old friend in the eternal city of Rome, Kitty Hawk unexpectedly stumbles (almost literally) into a bizarre mystery involving creepy disembodied voices, secret hidden rooms, unbreakable mathematical codes, ominous chain-smoking strangers and an array of plundered artworks by such famous masters as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh – all of it wrapped up and entwined in an enigmatic riddle hanging in plain sight right in front of everyone’s noses.

With the help of friends both old and new, Kitty Hawk follows a trail of cryptic clues that leads her on a breathless tour across a quintessentially European landscape – from ancient Roman Italy to the darkest corners of Germany, Austria and beyond.

As with the previous books in the series, this new installment is perfect for firing the imaginations of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history, this exhilarating adventure will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they attempt to help Kitty Hawk try and solve the extraordinarily bizarre Mystery of the Masterpieces.

4 out of 5 stars


Huge thank you to Iain for sending me a copy of this book! I’ve loved getting to read this series; thank you!

Kitty Hawk takes on Rome, and mystery solving happens because of it.

I really enjoyed this book. These last two books of this series were so much fun and so full of energy and so adventurous. I really enjoyed this one because it took place in Rome, and I’ve been there, so it was just so much more special to read this. The atmosphere of Rome is just as it’s described in the book. Crazy, crazy busy, but there are always little alleys or back streets with only a few people on them. I loved when Kitty went to the different tourist sites because I’VE BEEN THERE, TOO. It’s seriously so crazy that I’ve been to Rome, and I loved every second of it. Highly recommend.

This book follows Kitty and Charlie, and a family they meet while in Rome. They meet under unlikely circumstances, but quickly become friends. Kitty, of course, instigates a mission. She sees that there are some paintings hanging on her new friend’s walls that look eerily similar to those of famous artists. So similar in fact, that it is soon found out that they are actually originals. Crazy stuff. There’s a secret room, some decoding, and fast driving. Kitty Hawk just doesn’t know how to stay out of the mysteries.

Again, I really enjoyed this book. One complaint, though. Why can’t Kitty and Charlie be a thing? There were hints, but I want them to kiss. I was hoping and praying that they would kiss in front of the Trevi Fountain at the end, but I was sorely disappointed ;) Come on, Iain! I just want some romance!

Thank you again for letting me be part of this story! I can’t wait to read more from you. Also, another Kitty Hawk book? :)

Series:

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #1)

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #2)

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #3)

Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #4)