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review 2018-02-18 04:20
The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
The Queen's Rising - Rebecca Ross

The Queen's Rising is a beautiful and imaginative story about Brienna, a young woman torn between identities, and the journey she takes to help reclaim her heritage.

The tale starts in a kind of quasi-French or other Western European Rennaissance-era kind of place where a very describable goal for children and young people is to 'passion' in a particular school: art, wit, dramatics, music, or knowledge. To do so, children must become 'ardens', attend Houses and train at an average of seven years with a Master or 'ariels'. Then they may graduate by receiving a cloak, find a patron, and continue to pursue their passion. I loved this worldbuilding, I just felt so at home with everything Brienna was learning. Brienna joins Magnolia House, but as she is unable to find a passion she can truly excel at she settles on knowledge, and when she is seventeen she finds it difficult to secure a patron until along comes someone who can help with the mysterious visions she has been experiencing. This patron leads her into a war for the throne of the neighbouring land, from which Brienna's absent father hails, and I think it's more based on the medieval Celts, with women warriors and woad and Irish-Gaelic inspired names.

I think the best thing about this book is the beautiful word choices Ross uses. Whenever there is a chance to use a bland description or a truly beautiful one, Ross manages to grab the beautiful description and wrangle it into her book. Brienna herself was a brave, resourceful character who worked hard to uncover the mysteries surrounding herself and help the plot move along. I loved the time spent in Magnolia House with her arden-sisters and the slow introduction made to the incredible worldbuilding in that respect. Magnolia House was almost like a boarding house crossed with a University and a distinct European feel to it. Think Girl with a Pearl Earring or The Merchant of Venice.  I really hope the next books in the series follow Brienna's arden-sisters and we get to see more of this kingdom.

The second half of the book takes place primarily in Maevana, a queen's realm currently being ruled by a cruel king, and Brienna is the answer the rebels have been looking for. Using a disguise, she infiltrates the king's court in an attempt to recover some lost property that will set the real queen back on the throne. This half of the book almost forgets about Brienna's time at Magnolia and turns into a very typical, predictable YA fantasy adventure. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I've simply read enough of these types of stories to know where it's going to go. I still enjoyed it, but I think since the Magnolia House half to me seemed more original and inventive, I liked the worldbuilding better in the first half. The second half, like I said, was more of an adventure that the first half was leading up to, even though they take place in two very different settings.

I do have two issues with the book. Brienna trains for a year with each ariel before she settles on knowledge as her passion, and she only has three years to master it. This means that she’s had some training in music, art, wit and dramatics, and I was really hoping that that training might come in handy during her subterfuge. Yet instead of any of her time at Magnolia being of use, the book is basically split into two parts: Magnolia and post-Magnolia, and it almost seems as if they have nothing in common. Brienna learns to swordfight post-Magnolia, and that comes in handy, but she doesn’t have to use her passion training at all. I think part of the reason why is because she kind of sucked at them, but she doesn’t even really use her expanded knowledge to help her succeed in her mission, so it feels a little disjointed.

The other issue I have with the book is that while there is conflict in that Brienna has a goal and she keeps getting hurdles put in the way, she clears these hurdles rather easily. She’s smart and can come up with solutions to her problems but I never really felt like Ross took the worst thing that could happen to her. It wasn’t exactly helicopter authoring in that Ross put Brienna in bad situations then lifted her out again, just that, for example, when Brienna was risking her life and doing things she shouldn’t be doing, she never got caught by the bad guys, even though I really hoped that was where it was leading.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed The Queen's Rising, with its gorgeous writing and creative and innovative worldbuilding. While I do think the entire story is self-contained and makes an excellent stand-alone, I would also like the next books in the series to focus on Brienna's arden-sisters and their adventures, rather than staying with Brienna and whatever she does next. I guess I'll have to wait and see!

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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review 2018-02-10 18:29
Sugar Rising (Mindflesh Saga) by Regina Duke
Sugar Rising: Mindflesh Saga 1 - Regina Duke

 

A broken heart. A forbidden love and secrets that know no bounds. Sounds intriguing doesn't it. Regina Duke has a way with words and a sixth sense when it comes to emotions. Not only does she step outside of her normal comfort zone with Sugar and Rig, but she introduces readers to world where paranormal can be a beautiful twist to an original love story. Sugar Rising is a mind bender, a heartrender and an upended to the world of romance.

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review 2018-02-08 07:07
The Queen's Rising - Rebecca Ross

My streak has continued... I have been extremely lucky lately with my book selections and The Queen's Rising did not disappoint! It was beautifully written (though sometimes transparent and predictable) and it was ultimately, wholeheartedly and undeniably satisfying. Yes it did suffer a bit from Things-Conveniently-Falling-Into-Place- Rather- Easily syndrome AND the romance was a tad mechanical, saccharine and tame BUT it was ALSO a fun, engrossing, uplifting gem gifted nicely (and rather neatly wrapped) with a big ole Happy Ending for (Almost) All glitter bow.

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text 2018-02-03 19:13
My January 2018
Elias & Laia - Eine Fackel im Dunkel der Nacht: Teil 2. - Sabaa Tahir,Barbara Imgrund,Felder Rushing,Gabrielle Pietermann
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo
The Demon in the Wood - Leigh Bardugo
Where I found You - Heidi R. Kling
The Punisher Vol. 1: Black and White - Mitchell Thomas Gerads,Nathan Edmondson
Die Fährte: Harry Holes vierter Fall - Jo Nesbø
Elias & Laia - Eine Fackel im Dunkel der Nacht - 5 stars
Ruin and Rising - 4 stars
The Demon in the Wood - 4 stars
Where I found You - 4.5 stars
The Punisher Vol. 1: Black and White - 4 stars
Die Fährte - 4 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: Where I Found You

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Mörderische Hingabe, Renegade Red

 

How is january already over? How does time work?
No but seriously, I had so many appointments this last month and if you know me, I'm not one for leaving the house, having appointments always throws me off and my mind makes everything a bigger deal than it has to be. But anyways, I'm actually surprised how many books I have read this month. I mean there is a short story in there and a comic, also an audio book but still...I'm happy with myself!!! I'm also very happy with the quality of the books I have read, I wanted to put them all as my favorite books but there is actually only one book, that I'm still thinking about a lot, so I just wrote that one down.

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review 2018-01-31 14:19
not for me
Winters Rising - Shannyn Leah Winters Rising - Shannyn Leah

Brea had grown up a second and she had been taught to do what you are told and to never fight her destiny.  Being a second is looked down upon unless you have a birthmark that matches a Gatekeeper which Brea does. Then you are considered elevated just not first class. The Gatekeepers are to keep the timeline flowing smoothly with no hiccups or disastrous changes.    Being controlled has left Brea with a lot of hurt and anger. Brea is resistant to her new husband and his family. The minute Jax saw Brea he knew she was his soulmate and loved her right away but he knew  that she didn’t feel the same. He doesn’t understand why Brea won’t complete the bonding ritual but he will not force her. Jax had a high place in society but isn’t a butt or snob.  Brea has to accept everything and know without a shadow of a doubt they are meant to be together before she will finish the bonding ritual. The more time Jax and Brea spend together the closer they get.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved how Brea was so determined to do what she thought was right for her  for example not finishing the mating bond. I thought this was well written. I liked the plot and the pace. I loved how Brea and Jax would fight for what they believed in.  Sometimes things came up that I felt should have been addressed but weren’t.  I advise you to read the books in this series in order. I really enjoyed watching Brea’s and Jax’s relationship grow. This was an was an  fun read. Although this take a bit to get into. I liked the intrigue. But I lost a lot for this book when it ended in a cliffhanger as anyone who has red any of my reviews I hate cliffhangers.  So I couldn’t give this more than a three. With the other things that bothered or annoyed me.

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