Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: The Offering (The Pledge #3) by Kimberly Derting!

Warning!  Spoiler Alert!

True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.
Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks.

When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

Description taken from Goodreads 

My Review

Holy friggens!  Derting certainly held nothing back while starting this book.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading!  And it didn’t slow down at all.  There was never a dull moment at all during The Offering.  There were definitely frustrating moments and moments where if certain people just thought things through just a little bit, then a lot of bad things could have been avoided.  But, I mean, those things had to happen to make the book interesting, I guess.

We go into The Offering on the verge of war with Queen Elena of Astonia.  I honestly felt that this book was great.  We found out who was loyal and who wasn’t.  We met some new people and said goodbye to some we’ve known since The Pledge.

I still thought Charlie was naïve.  Pretty much the whole book was a testimony of her naïveté but she finally realized her mistake and in the end she tried her hardest to make things right.  She was finally trying to be the queen she knew she needed to be for her people of Ludania and I actually admired her for that.  She finally came into her own, it just took her a really long time.  And all those fighting sessions with Zafir finally paid off.  Queen Charlaina, The Badass!

 I don’t want to get into the new characters we meet because I feel like it’s better to read about them as they’re introduced.  It’s just more fun that way. 

If you’ve read my reviews on The Pledge and The Essence then you know how much I hated the romance between Max and Charlie.  I still do.  I honestly wish there had been no romance at all and just had Charlie focusing on being a new queen. 

If I’m honest, then I have to say that I think this trilogy would have worked better as a standalone novel.  The books are so short already and I’m sure Derting could have eliminated some unnecessary things throughout the books.  Anyone else feel this way?

Even though I had some problems with each book, I really did enjoy this series and would recommend it.   All I would have to say is that each book keeps getting better and better.  I felt like The Offering was far superior to The Pledge.

If you enjoy dystopians with a hint of magic thrown into the mix and a world where queens rule, then this trilogy might be something that you should check out.

Characters 4/5
Plot 4/5
Feels 3.5/5
Writing 4/5
Overall 3.9/5



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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: The Essence (The Pledge #2) by Kimberly Derting!

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

“Danger, dread, mystery, and romance” (Booklist) continue in the second book of The Pledge trilogy, as Charlie’s reign is under siege from the most unusual of enemies.

At the luminous conclusion of
The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

Description taken from Goodreads 

My Review

It’s really hard to put my feelings into words right now.  I’m enjoying this series a lot but it’s still falling flat for me.  Not much connection but I did feel better about this book than I did with The Pledge.

At the end of The Pledge we realize that Queen Sabara is still very much alive but her Essence is now inside Charlie, the new Queen of Ludania.  So right off the bat you know things aren’t going to be easy in The Essence.

Charlie is still annoying to me.  She’s just so naïve and way too trusting.  She’s a new queen that has implemented a new law and people aren’t happy.  Let me just say that there’s a difference between bravery and sheer stupidity.  Seriously.  She’s just very frustrating and it takes almost the whole book, for me, to somewhat enjoy her character.  I can now tolerate her.

I loved meeting the different queens of different realms.  Hearing their unique personalities.  That was very interesting and it was honestly my favorite part.  I love the political aspect of this book.

I even loved Queen Sabara.  Yes, she’s an evil bitch but you do get a lot of backstory and find out that she is, in fact, human and not the devil.

Just like in The Pledge, I couldn’t stand the romance.  Max and Charlie have no chemistry whatsoever.  I don’t get it.  They know absolutely nothing about each other.  I have to say that I’m actually rooting for Charlie and Zafir.  They definitely have a lot more going on.  I can see it.

There was really barely any action but I actually liked that.  It was more of a mystery and political intrigue than anything else.  I loved that so much.  But, I know that shits about to hit the fan in the last installment of this trilogy, The Offering.  I can’t wait to see how things are handled and how it all ends.  

Characters 3.5/5
Plot 4/5
Feels 2.5/5
Writing 4/5
Overall 3.5/5



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Review: The Pledge (The Pledge #1) by Kimberly Derting!

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Description taken from Goodreads 

My Review 

I’ve had this book for a long time.  I started it awhile ago, but put it down because I probably found a book that I wanted to read a bit more at that time.  Well, I finally read the whole thing and it kind of fell flat.  I really enjoyed Kimberly Derting’s other series, The Body Finder, but this one is just so ‘meh’.  It was very cliché.  I love dystopian books but this felt like every other dystopian to me.  There’s some kind of separation of the people and a twisted person in charge that can only be stopped by this one girl who just so happens to be very special.  We’ve all read these.  I wanted a little variety.

I also had trouble believing this world and taking it seriously.  A caste system with different languages?  It sounds interesting in theory and it really is but there’s just so many plot holes.  It started looking like the roads in Connecticut with all the potholes.  Just plain frustrating.  There are three languages in the land of Ludania.  Englaise, Parshon and Termani.  Englaise being the universal language, Parshon is next and Termani is at the top.  You’re only supposed to know your own language and you shouldn’t know the language above your own.  It just doesn’t make sense.  After some time you’ll be able to pick up on some things.  I mean I’m absolutely nowhere near being fluent in Spanish but I know certain words just because I’ve heard them so many times.  With something like this that has been effect for centuries, you’d think people would end up being fluent in all three languages.

The characters were all two dimensional to me.  Charlie, our MC, had no personality at all.  She’s like the ultimate Mary Sue character.  I don’t even know what to say about her or any of the other characters really.  The only person I liked was her little sister, Angelina.

And the romance, ugh, is just horrible.  Instalove.  I absolutely hate instalove.  There is no basis for the main relationship.  I don’t get it at all.

The only thing that really interested me was the monarchy.  And the history of the rulers.  The way Queen Sabara stays Queen Sabara.  That was fascinating stuff right there.

The Pledge was still an okay book.  I enjoyed it but just didn’t feel a connection with the world or the characters.  Hopefully, I’ll enjoy the second book more.

Characters 3/5
Plot 3.5/5
Feels 2/5
Writing 4/5
Overall 3.1/5


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay!

Thirty years ago, civilization collapsed. Few survived.
Ten years ago, the aliens arrived…and stayed.
One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.
Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do anything to get him back.

In seventeen-year-old Jax Mitchell's world, humans are nearly extinct and alien settlers have arrived.

Until recently, the E’rikon have remained segregated in their city and ignored the few humans who have tried to engage them… but now they have taken Jax’s brother. To rescue him, she forms an uneasy alliance with a teenage E’rikon left stranded in the woods. She agrees to guide him to the city if he sneaks her past the human-proof barrier. Too bad it’s not that simple.

Jax, who cannot stand to be touched, finds that she’s drawn to the alien boy with bright green hair and jewel-like scales on his back. And he’s equally affected by her, the courageous redhead with haunted eyes. But she doesn’t know the alien’s true motives and he has no idea that she is much more than she seems.

With the aliens and the humans at odds, the connection forming between the two teens has consequences. What started off as a rescue mission sets a chain of events in motion which threatens not only the remaining humans and the growing alien society, but Earth itself.

Description taken from Goodreads

My Review

I’ve read the Lux series by JLA and The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  I think those are the only alien type books I’ve read.  Broken Skies, I feel, falls somewhere between those two.  The Lux series is heavy on the romance and The 5th Wave is more focused on the world and what’s become of it.  Broken Skies has a nice balance of both. 

It was really the plot that hooked me.  I just wanted to find out all that I could about this new world.  What exactly happened during this Collapse.  It was all just very interesting.  But confusing at the same time.  The way the world was described made it seem like it was a whole other world but it turns out it’s just our world in the future.  It was just very strange how everything declined.  The women are seen as property and less than men.  And there are community’s that almost seem cultish.  Very very strange, but interesting.  I just wished it was a bit more fleshed out, explained a bit more.

The characters were iffy for me.  I liked our protagonist, Jax, she was sarcastic and spoke her mind and at times just so hilarious.  But one second she was this fierce, kickass heroine and the next she was a trembling weak little girl.  The reader is aware that something happened in her past but we’re never told outright what happened, and I have some idea what must have happened but it would have been nice to get some clarity, just to confirm.  And I know people obviously have different personalities but this was a little strange.  Very contradictory.

Lir is an alien and I love how he and the other aliens are described.  Vibrant hair colors and eyes to match.  And just by looking at their hair color you can figure what family they belong to.  I think it’s just really fascinating.  Back to Lir.  I liked him.  I didn’t have a need to profess my undying love for him but he’s definitely someone that I find interesting.  He was just a little too stiff for my liking.

Jax’s brother, Jace, is a douche.  I didn’t like him one bit.  He’s way too controlling.  Same goes for Flint.  Don’t like either of them.

The story itself is just so mysterious.  You don’t know where these aliens came from and what they are capable of.  You don’t know what happened during this Collapse.  I just wanted to keep reading so I could figure it all out.  Though, honestly, I didn’t care one way or another if Jax ever found Jace.  I just wanted to learn more about the aliens and their world.  I’m hoping we can get some more of that in the second book.

Broken Skies was definitely an awesome read.  I read it one sitting and was never bored.  I would say that if you enjoyed the Lux series by JLA then you should give this book a shot.  I don’t want to say they have the same feel to them because they don’t but it is more like the Lux then The 5th Wave.  Go check it out!

Characters 3.5/5
Plot 4/5
Feels 3.5/5
Writing 3.5/5
Overall 3.6/5


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (10): Books from my Childhood that I Would like to Revisit!


This week I'm talking about those books that I loved as a child, that I would really like to read again.  It's all about the nostalgia.  Now, I wasn't much of a reader when I was young.  I was that kid that felt embarrassed because I liked to read so I just didn't.  Unless I really wanted to. 

I remember having to do a book report in like third or fourth grade and I chose this book.  I fell in love but I never continued on with the series.  I'm trying to slowly collect the whole series.

I "read" Lyddie when I was in eighth grade.  I mostly skimmed this book and only did enough to get me through the tests and everything but now that I'm older, my love for historical fiction definitely has me wanting to give this book an actual shot.

This was around fourth grade, I think.  I needed something for "quiet reading time" and picked the simplest book from the school library.  But now, almost fifteen years later, I see these little books everywhere and would love to take them seriously now.

I honestly thought I was such a badass while reading these books.  Oh jeez.  This was middle school era.  

Let me paint you a picture.  Seven or eight year old little Courtney needs to find a book for a book report, she goes to the school library and finds this book.  She read it and loved it and wrote up a book report for it, so proud of it.  She gets the report back and receives a "failing" grade.  Her teacher told her it was too personal and emotional.  Her feelings had no right to be on that paper, it needed to be more professional.  Stupid teacher.  I'm almost twenty four and still remember that so vividly.  Anyway, I just want to reread it cause I don't really remember the actual story.  Whoops.

This was the first actual series that I read and finished.  I loved it sooooo much.  If you loved The Darkest Minds trilogy then you definitely need to pick up this series.  There's seven books but they're really quite short. You could probably finish at least two in a day.  And I think I was probably a freshman in high school when I read this?  Maybe?  It was somewhere around there.

I had to read this when I was a junior in high school and really loved it.  I actually see it in the YA section in B&N with a cover change and a couple of sequels, I think.  Definitely have to pick them up soon.

My introduction into dystopia.  This isn't really from my childhood but I feel like it's vital to this list.  It was my first dystopian book.  Come on.  This was read in my last year of high school.

Well, I think that's it.  I actually knew that I wouldn't be able to get to ten but I'm actually surprised that I was able to remember eight.  Good job, Court!  

And I'm not going to mention Harry Potter because that's just way too obvious and I'm already rereading the series.  So, there ya go.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review: In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken!

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

Description taken from Goodreads

My Review 

Have any of you heard of the Youtuber PolandbananasBOOKS?  She's very well known in the BookTube community and I’ve been a fan of hers for quite some time now.  Well, she made a video a couple years ago called Mourning Period.  She gets it so right about finishing a series that you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to yet.  You should definitely watch it.  It’s pretty hilarious but oh so accurate.

Anyway, I thought In the Afterlight was a pretty epic conclusion.  It had loads of action, it hit you right in the feels.  There was battle planning and everything.  It was great.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with it but I think since this is the last in the trilogy, it lost some of the heart I guess.  I don’t know.  I loved The Darkest Minds and I think that that’s my favorite of the trilogy because there is a lot action but there was also a lightness even though the subject matter was still dark.  It was a fun book.  But in this last installment you could really feel the impending doom.  Dramatic much, Courtney?  Yes, but it’s true.

What’s funny is that in my review of Never Fade I mentioned how I would probably get pissed off by what Ruby did because by then I was all “Oh, Ruby could do no wrong!”  And I still love her and she’s still an all time favorite protagonist but she definitely pissed me off in this book.  It was like just because she was with The League for a few months, she knew what was best for everyone and that she knew everything.  I didn’t like that about her, she kept vital information from everyone because she wanted to protect them but it was almost like she didn’t trust them to use their common sense.  She didn’t really give anyone a chance.  And I got it, she went through hell and doesn’t want anyone else to go through that but she needed to trust people.  Especially Liam. 

And Liam.  Ugh, Liam.  I felt so bad for him.  It was like he had to prove he was worthy to everyone every two freaking seconds.  And Cole!  Cole was just a douche!  He treated Liam like shit.  Like an incompetent child.  It was horrible to read.  Everything between these two had me wanting to punch something, mostly because of Cole.  He was just downright mean.

Now, everything between Liam and Ruby.  I loved their scenes together but there was just so much miscommunication and unnecessary fighting.  If they just talked out their problems, it would have ended unneeded hostility.  It was a bit frustrating.

Everyone else was fine though, Vida was making me angry for a bit but we’re cool now. 

I did feel like certain characters got off way too easy and some didn’t deserve what they got.  That’s all I’ll say.

Throughout the novel, though, I was waiting for mentions of the novellas.  We did get closure to one but I wish we got more of a conclusion to the other.  Or maybe we could just get a whole extra novella.  That would be nice.

The story itself was a whirlwind.  You knew shit was going to go down, and you knew there was going to be a lot of it because this book is pretty massive.  It’s over 500 pages so you know things are going to happen.  It was definitely epic and the last few chapters, man.  Holy friggens!  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  I wanted to finish the book as fast as I could so I could find out what happens but at the same time I didn’t want it to be over.

All in all, a great conclusion to an epic trilogy.  Definitely one of my favorites!

Characters 4/5
Plot 4/5
Feels 5/5
Writing 5/5
Overall 4.5/5



  If you would like to purchase any of these books, please think about using my Book Depository affiliate link.  I'm currently unemployed and truly appreciate anything I can get.