BOOK REVIEW: Kaitlyn Deann “The Brand of Anem”

41xtnkquoclTitle: The Brand of Anem

Author: Kaitlyn Deann

Genre: Dystopian/Romance

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

A brand is a divine marking that results out of intimacy and is considered beautiful… unless you’re unwedded.

Margaret James is the Duchess of Deneb and the daughter of the highest political figure in their city: Judge Mark James. She is expected to follow the rules without fail and to never, ever falter to her flesh. She has been pledged to the chief officer, William Lach. But there is one problem with this arrangement…

Margaret James shares a brand with Carson Owens.

Carson belongs to the infamous Owens family and to the Middle Class, which means it’s impossible for him to marry the woman he loves. Despite the rules, the two of them bound themselves together as young teenagers, and now they will do everything in their power to hide the brand given to them by Anem, the goddess of souls. If caught, they will suffer dire consequences.

Getting caught is inevitable.

The first in a series of novellas to follow, The Brand of Anem is a wild ride from start to finish.

Described by the author as an afternoon read, this book, while short, packs a punch. Deann manages to fit a lot of information in a limited number of words, and the story flows in an easy, simple way. We’re introduced to the characters and are immediately swept up in their lives and their forbidden love.

The Brand of Anem poses a lot of interesting questions about right and wrong, morality, sin and love. This will leave the reader with both a wonderful story and hopefully an engaged mind.

I found the world building fascinating and I’m excited to see the author develop on this in the next books. There was the obvious air of mystery regarding the Owens family and their history, and what lies in store for Carson and Margaret. The cliffhanger of this book was devestating and if I don’t get the next installment soon, I’m gonna lose my mind. (Trying to remain professional but on the inside, I’m screaming and using lots of exclamation points. Take that however you’d like.)

Definitely can’t wait to find out what happens next, and I highly recommend this special read!

Kaitlyn Deann: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

The Brand of Anem: Amazon | Goodreads

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BOOK REVIEW: C.J. Redwine “Defiance”

11410430Title: Defiance

Author: C.J. Redwine

Genre: Dystopian

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

In this post-apocalyptic world, monsters roam due to a company drilling too far into the Earth’s surface, unleashing madness. Military is decimated, government disbanded. Their hope lies with a small group of soldiers and scientists who attempt to take down the beasts on their home turf, but their plan fails. Instead, those left set up walled city-states to protect any surviving citizens.

The “Commander” is in charge of Baalboden, where Rachel (and at one time, her father) lives. Except Rachel’s father, a courier, has been missing for over 60 days; long enough to declare him officially dead. She doesn’t believe this for a second, but in the meantime she must be given a new Protector. Unfortunately, according to her father’s will, instead of being put under the care of her surrogate grandfather, Oliver, she’s meant to stay with Logan.

Logan, her father’s apprentice, the boy Rachel declared her love for two years previous, and the one who rejected her.

My thoughts:

Is there such a thing as a “fluffy” dystopian? Because that’s exactly how I would describe Defiance.

Don’t read this if you want to have your mind blown, because Defiance will not. Don’t read this if you’re looking for a solid plot, because Defiance is riddled with holes. Don’t read this if you want to read something with intelligent dialogue, because Defiance is all about angst-ridden teenagers in love.

But boy, did I have fun.

This book is honestly ridiculous; and the more reviews that I read, the more I realize how ridiculous it is. It checks off every single item on the YA trope list: female MC who doesn’t know she’s actually a supermodel (also she can fight). Teenage boy love interest who’s super protective. Character deaths that incite rebellion. Antagonist who’s evil just for funzies. Lots and lots and lots of angst. Yet for some odd reason, I found myself glued to the pages.

I guess sometimes, everyone needs a break. Everyone needs to read a mind-numbing dystopian to make you feel grounded.

This book isn’t all bad. After all, I gave this almost 4 stars, and not just because it killed my brain cells. I truly enjoyed aspects of the story, and I really did think that Logan was precious. He’s the post-apocalyptic geek; extremely smart and good with gadgets. Also, reading from his POV was actually quite entertaining, as opposed to reading from Rachel’s POV, which was either “OMG, I can’t do life anymore” or *stab, stab, kill, kill*.

I know I’m not making this book sound very appealing; I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to rag on it a bit. To be perfectly honest, the world-building leaves much to be desired, and Rachel and Logan do some really stupid things throughout the book. That being said, I still enjoyed their relationship and the way it plays out, and I loved the pacing. It was easy for me to stay engaged to the story and keep reading.

I’ll definitely be finishing this trilogy because I’m interested to see what happens. I see a love triangle forming in the future so we’ll be able to check that off our trope list and I can die happy. Defiance doesn’t break down any barriers or push the boundaries of YA fiction, but it can certainly be a good time if you let it.

 

C.J. Redwine: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Victoria Schwab “Our Dark Duet”

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-book-coverTitle: Our Dark Duet

Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

This book picks up a few months after the events of the first book, This Savage Song, and follows the same two main characters: August and Kate.

I’m having a very hard time reviewing this. On one hand, objectively, this book is amazing. Both books are. Schwab is an amazing author and the world-building in this duology was great. It’s a solid, good quality story.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s not my cup of tea.

For one, the books are slow. I feel like a story about monsters and mayhem should have more going on, but I feel like very little happens in either of these books. In fact, even at the end of Our Dark Duet, conflict has still not been resolved. Really, I feel like the characters accomplished nothing.

The characters are likable enough, but it was hard for me to stay engaged to the story. I know the ending was intended to hit me in the feels, but it didn’t affect me much.

I still stand by my 4 star rating for the first book, even if I did think it was slow. A lot more actually happened in This Savage Song and I felt that upon closing the book, the story was promising. I guess Our Dark Duet just didn’t deliver for me.

It’s hard for me to say much more for fear of revealing spoilers, but I know that many, many people have enjoyed this duology. Don’t take my opinion of it as any sort of indication as to how you might enjoy the book. You’ll probably love it based on the average reviews I’ve seen flying around on Goodreads!

I feel the need to again mention the beautiful writing and my deep admiration for Schwab and her abilities. A Darker Shade of Magic is on my immediate TBR list and I’m still quite excited to jump in. I haven’t given up on her yet!

 

Victoria Schwab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Victoria Schwab “This Savage Song”

{A62F21A6-0618-40CF-BDDA-23C38468FA5C}Img400Title: This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

In the city of Verity, the people live in fear of two things: the monsters, and the man who controls the monsters.

There are three types of monsters: the Corsai, the Malchai, and the Sunai. The first two are terrifying creatures that murder their prey brutally, the first feeding on flesh and bone, the second feasting on blood. That is, unless you’re under the protection of Callum Harker. Then you carry a medallion that will ward off the monsters and ensure your safety.

The Sunai are much more rare. In fact, there are only three known Sunai, and they’re the most mysterious and terrifying of all. They feast on the souls of sinners.

August Flynn is a Sunai, but he doesn’t want to be. He wishes he were human and he hates what he is. Still, his path crosses with that of the daughter of Callum Harker, Kate, and there is born an unlikely friendship between enemies.

My thoughts:

I love how unique this story is; there really isn’t anything quite like it. Each monster is born from some sinful act, whether it be theft or lies or murder. Unlike the Corsai and the Malchai, August, a Sunai, can only feed on the souls of sinners. AKA, people who have killed mass amounts of people in this case. These monsters appeared after the Phenomenon, or the Phenomenon occurred because the monsters were born, I’m not sure. Honestly, the Phenomenon is still a mystery to me, and I think that’s the idea. This aspect of the story is very intriguing and I’m excited to learn more in the second and final book, Our Dark Duet.

The characters were interesting and well-done, particularly the two main characters. I enjoyed Kate and August’s interactions and banter, and I loved the friendship that develops between them. When Kate finds out what August really is, I love that she gives him the benefit of the doubt, and she takes into account what she knows of his character. She doesn’t immediately write him off and grows to trust him despite his true identity.

Unfortunately, while I was still very interested in the story within the first half, it was also slow. I understand that Schwab was taking her time building the world and unfolding each character to us, but it took me forever to read it and seemed to drag. Still, it picked up later on and I loved where it went.

Other than that, I don’t have too much to say about the book. What else is there to mention? I look forward to reading Our Dark Duet soon so that I can finish this up and see how August and Kate’s story ends. I have high hopes!

Victoria Schwab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads