Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Days of Blood & Starlight is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor. I really hate to say this, but after loving the first book so much, I was pretty disappointed with this book. It kind of fell into that second book syndrome for me. There were a lot of moments that seemed to drag on and on. This time around we are given multiple points of view, some of which I didn't find to be necessary to the book as a whole. Other characters would make an appearance or two and then we wouldn't see them again. Why? To create a bigger picture? Maybe, but we are already given a pretty good view of the situation through the characters whose point of views are necessary. We really didn't need the extras. The writing towards the end wasn't consistent and became a little choppy and flipped back and forth between moments. So, it temporarily confused me as this wasn't the normal flow for the book up until now. Aside from appearances, the angels and chimera in general seem almost human. You have good ones. You have bad ones. Some can do magic and/or fly, but there's not much that sets them apart from a human. I didn't think anyway. Days of Blood & Starlight was all about the war aspect of the story. So, we get a good look at the mentality of both sides fighting. The angels exhibit the same behavior as the chimera if not worse with the rapes and killing of children(I think both sides are now killing children). If chimera are supposed to represent the demons in this story, why is it the angels act just as bad if not worse? I get this is a time of war. Horrible things happen during war. Things I don't want to think about. But to have angels raping their own women? Why?

What are they all really fighting for or against? It's unclear.

Many things happen and we're given lots of information that I feel is crucial to the plot as it builds towards the next book. There were some twists thrown in towards the end. Actually, the book started to pick up again around the ending. By that time, it was too late to reel me in completely. After reading Daughter of Stone & Bone, I jumped into this book with such high expectations. I still have high hopes for the next book.

“He dropped to his knees, and the air between them rippled with Karou’s crippling magic and with memory. The day of her death, this is what she had seen, this: Akiva on his knees, sick with the weight of this same magic coursing off Thiago’s soldiers, and he had struggled to hold his head up and look at her—just like this—with horror and despair and love—and she had wanted more than she had ever wanted anything to go to him and hold him, whisper to him that she loved him and was going to save him, but she couldn’t, not then, and she couldn’t now, not because of shackles or pinions or the executioner’s ax but because he was the enemy. He had proven it beyond any horror she would ever have believed, beyond any betrayal she could ever have dreamed, and he could never be forgiven, not ever.

But… then… her hands fell to her sides.”  
Check out my review of other the books in this trilogy!

Hi there! I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."

To learn more about Laini Taylor and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow

Diamonds in the Rough (The Secret Diamond Sisters #2) by Michelle Madow
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Expected Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

Diamonds in the Rough is the second book in the Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow. If you thought there was drama in the first book, get ready! A lot of the drama revolves around the family, which I liked, because we get some more information on their history and why Adrien's been out of the girl's lives. I don't completely excuse him, but I see how he thought he was doing the right thing. The girls reactions were pretty believable too. I think I'd feel all the things they felt upon hearing the new information.

We're getting to know some of the other characters more too. For example, Madison is growing on me. Can you believe that?

Diamonds in the rough had a Gossip Girl feel to it with maybe a touch of Cruel Intentions, but not enough to make it feel creepy. I enjoyed this book much better than the first one. I wasn't expecting a cliffhanger. Certainly not one like that. Dirty pool Miss Madow. You can't leave us hanging like that. ;-)

The ARC of The Secret Diamond Sisters was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Haven't read The Secret Diamond Sisters yet?? Check out my review!
Have you read The Transcend Time Saga by Michelle Madow?? Check out my reviews below!

Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college. Remembrance is the first book in the Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story" music video. Michelle's upcoming YA trilogy, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner will be published by Harlequin TEEN in Spring 2014.

Michelle graduated from Rollins College in 2010, cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. She received the Charles Hyde Pratt Award for Excellence in Creative Writing in 2010.

She lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and spends way too much time on Facebook and Twitter (@MichelleMadow).

To learn more about Michelle Madow and her books, visit her website. You can also find the author on Instagram, Goodreads, PinterestFacebook and Twitter.