Book Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy: Book 2)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

Whoa people. Just whoa. How could a book end like that? I must have the next one like now! This had so many plot twists. It was so intense. I loved it.

Kestrel is planning to marry the emperor’s only son. Most people would be excited and joyful about the planned marriage because soon they’d be inheriting the empire. But Kestrel knows that as soon as she marries, she’ll be trapped in a cage. She wants to Arin why she really married the emperor’s son: to save him. But she knows the decisions he’ll make if she does. So she does her best to convince him of the lies. Arin knows that Herran, now a separate territory but under the rule of the emperor, is free, but it won’t last long and he must find a more permanent way to keep the Herrani free. What he doesn’t know is that Kestrel has begun to work as a spy for Herran and is about to discover a deadly secret. If she is found out, everything is undone.

Kestrel. Oh my goodness I loved her. I understood her struggles. She made some of the hardest decisions anyone ever has to make. She kept up the lies and deception for a purpose. She was such a strategist. She was smart. She thought through her decisions. She was strong, but not in a physical way. Arin, I feel bad for him. He’s so clueless. Kestrel tells her lies too well. And he believes her. But for some reason, he still loves her. He still trusts her in a way that defines all understanding. The emperor was sly and terribly evil. He was smarter than he looked. He was definitely more than meets the eye.

This was intense. Very intense. Kestrel doing traitorous things that could get herself killed literally right in front the of enemies’ faces, scary me. How can it not be intense, when one wrong move could mean the end of all your favorite characters’ lives? It was like the quiet before the storm. Your just waiting for it to break out. The secrets were horrifying. It was shocking how cruel the empire was, how far they were willing to go to expand the empire. Then the ending. It was heart wrenching!

There wasn’t a ton of violence, but where there was violence, it was very descriptive. It was a bit disgusting, if you really thought about it. So for those who can’t stand violence, I wouldn’t recommend this.

The writing was beautiful. I loved all the metaphors and similes. It was beautiful. It was emotional. It was made my heart beat fast. It thrilled me. I really loved it, if you can’t tell.

There was maybe a handful of bad words. Not a lot at all. There looked to be the start of a sexual scene, but it was skipped over. There was one intense kissing moment, but it didn’t go any farther.

Alright. So I just loved this book and I recommend this to older teens and up. It was really amazing. I love this fantasy world.

G. Paige

Book Review: The Wildcat of Braeton (The Rise of Aredor: Book 2)

wob-final-coverRating: 4/5 stars.

This was great!!! I loved seeing all these characters again and meeting new characters that were just as fantastic.

Aiden has finished his seven years of service to Lord Rishdah. He stays a little longer, but then knows he must head home…to Braeton. He is frightened. He does not know how his family will receive him after running away so long ago. Even more important, is the troubling news he hears of Clan Canich. Someone is slowly taking control of his clan, from the inside. He has to save them all before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Corin is struggling to rebuild his country from the Calorin War a year before and to take on the responsibilities as leader of the warbands. While all this is hard, he has a nagging fear that rumors begin to affirm: war is coming to Aredor.

So…we get to see a lot more of Aiden (known as Emeth in the first book) which was so sweet. I loved meeting his bothers! I love the Braetons’ accent. Ranulf was the oldest. He was wise, had a bit of a temper, and was such a leader. Will was adventurous and most like Aiden. Tam was the youngest and was a amazing bard. He was quiet, caring, and shy. Rona was a orphan. Kind and not made for war, though she knew how to fight. She was stubborn and brave. Now let’s talk about some Aredorians. Corin changed. He had to take responsibilities as a leader, and as much as he hated it, he still did it. It meant a lot of paperwork. He fell in love and it was perfect. Martin, didn’t play as big as a part as he had in the first book, but almost every part he was in was hilarious. His humor is the best. Mera, Martin’s sister, was the sweetest. She worried her poor little self to death. But so was brave and full of strength. There were so many great characters, but I won’t go through them all.

This was exciting and intense in many moments. There was action, but not as much as the first book. In this one, the focus felt more on developing and growing the characters. Many of them fell in love and I desperately wanted them to be together, while worrying which ones would die in some battle. The battles were always thrilling. Some people lived; some people died. Though it was very sad at times, in a way, it was realistic.

The writing was much better in this one. It was not choppy at all. Though I will say that there were still moments when it seemed like the stories switched point of views randomly. But it totally flowed smoother and was better written.

So, I’d recommend this to teens and up. Don’t hesitate. This was a really good book and I definitely should not have waited so long to read it.

I got this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

-G. Paige

Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive: Book 1)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

Uhhh… I am just so shocked, so amazed. Even after waiting almost a week to write this review, I still haven’t gotten over it. It was magnificent. And that doesn’t even begin to describe how great this book really was.

The true Desolation is coming. The world of Roshar is not ready to face it. The Heralds have abandoned their duties and the Knights Radiant have turned against them. Szeth, an assassin, is bound to do what his master says, even if it brings ruin to the world. Kaladin, once a respected darkeyes, now is the worst kind of slave and has no hope. Everyone he has tried to protect has died. Shallan is a girl on a mission to save her family, even if it means stealing something priceless from someone very important. Dalinar was once revered and honored, now people think he’s going insane. Is he? He can’t even trust himself.

OH. MY. WORD. Let’s start with these amazing and complex characters. Szeth, I loved him. He isn’t focused on much in this book, but the parts he is in are very important to the plot. He was so interesting. The assassin who didn’t want to kill. But he still did it, as he wept with sorrow. Kaladin was my favorite. He was so broken and it hurt my heart. It was terrible to see him brought so slow. But hope was brought back to him by the most unsuspecting thing. He was a leader, but willing to do what the lowest man did. He was caring, so much so that it hurt him at times. He wasn’t one to let go for any reason. Willing to use all her skills, she will save her family. Shallan was smart and clever. She always had a witty quip ready for any remark. But there is something about her that will shock you. Dalinar is a hardened warrior. Called the Blackthorne, he is one of the most dangerous people alive. But his views are changing. Now he hardly ever longs for battle, but only for peace. He fears that something terrifying is coming. Something that will destroy them all if they are not united. Adolin, Dalinar’s son, fears for his father. He doesn’t know what is happening to him and he definitely doesn’t understand it. He wants to get him help, but how? Adolin is his father’s son.

The world building is one of the best (if not the best) I have ever seen. The sheer complexity and uniqueness that went into it was overwhelming. You could really tell how much time the author spent on it. But thankfully it wasn’t to complicated to read. I was swept into it from the start. There were tons of interesting creatures. There were lots of diverse plants. Their money system was totally different. The different countries had separate and distinct cultures. It was amazing epic fantasy.

The plot was intricate. It could feel slow to some, but I thought it perfect. The book itself was probably the biggest book I’ve ever read. The pace gave me plenty of time to connect and get to know the characters well. And it definitely wasn’t boring. It was very exciting. When it got to the last part of the book I was literally freaking out. I never believed that it could get so intense. Whoa. I mean, whoa. THEN THOSE LAST FEW PAGES!!! I about died. What just happened?! I’m so glad that I have the next one. I can’t wait to see where all this is leading to.

For content it was pretty clean. The word b****** was in it a few times, but that was it for language. Adolin courts a different girl every few days, but it is only mentioned. One character saw a woman kicked out of a man’s house because he wouldn’t pay her for her “services”. It doesn’t go into detail. There was a lot of violence and it was very bloody, but not overly descriptive.

I just loved this book. I have always heard that Brandon Sanderson’s books are really good, but I never truly knew until I read one. It totally did not disappoint. I am so ready to read more by this author. I’d recommend this to older teens. If you even slightly love fantasy, read it. If you don’t, read it anyways. It is too fantastic to pass up.

-G. Paige

 

 

 

Book Review: The Rise of Aredor (The Rise of Aredor: Book 1)

book-coverRating: 4/5 stars.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I was thinking that I would at least like it. But no. It was way better than that. I loved it! It was so exciting and enjoyable to read!

Prince Corin of Aredor lived a normal life until around twelve years of age. Then he was stolen and sold as a slave. His defiance brings him trouble and he struggles to survive. But he will not be broken. Though his country is conquered by another and his family is probably dead or captured, he will not give up hope. He will survive. He will return. And he will take back his kingdom.

I loved these characters. They were characters that almost as soon as they were introduced you fell in love with them. The characters were endearing to me. Corin was, of course, my favorite. It was neat to see how he changed as he grew up. At first, he was a rambucksious boy who was always getting himself into trouble. He was funny and talkative. As he grew older and went through so much hardship, he became solemn and reserved. But there was always a quiet defiance about him. He had a temper that he barely kept under control. Emeth was awesome. He was humorous. He was a great friend to Corin. He brought him out of the darkness that Corin had sunk him. Azrahil was a great captain. He was stern, but he cared about his Phoenix Guard. Nicar was the learned in healing. He was calm and wise. Ahmed was quiet, but very loyal. I would like to learn more about him, I feel like I hardly know anything about him. Martin was fun and a bit reckless. He was so willing to do anything to save his friends.

The plot was extremely exciting. It was so fast paced. I was sucked in from the beginning. There were many dangerous battles. It got a bit violent, but I loved how medieval it felt. It felt like I was back in time on real campaigns. That was cool. People were captured. Towards the halfway point it had a Robin Hood feel as Corin took risks to take back Aredor. It was really fun. It had me stressed too many time to count. Especially at the end, I was worried.

The only problem I had was that the book was very rushed. It moved fast, which moving fast isn’t bad, but it was a bit too fast. I felt that it could have been more drawn out. That there could have been some more dialogue. The beginning was also a bit choppy with the way it moved fast through the first few years, but then it smoothed out and kept a pretty even pace.

Overall, it was a great book. One that I would recommend to all teens. I am very excited to start the next book and read more about these wonderful characters!

I got this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. 

-G. Paige

Book Review: Rogue (The Paladin Prophecy: Book 3)

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Okay, so, um, what happened? The series ended like that? There was so many things left unsolved!

Brooke has betrayed them. All along she had been working with the Knights of Charlemagne. Now Will is working for Franklin Greenwood, his grandfather. If he doesn’t do what he says, his friends are dead. But aren’t they dead anyways? Will and his friends hatch a plan to escape from Franklin and the Knights. In escaping they’ll set out to save the world from the monsters from the Never-Was, by entering the Never-Was. This crazy plan may just claim some of their lives.

So um, the characters were pretty great in this one. All their neat abilities seem to be expanding or getting better in one form or another. Will has a sort of telekinesis (which, by the way, I’ve always loved that sort of ability). His stamina and healing is off the charts. He can run fast. He also has a bit of a telepathic ability. It’s all cool, and it’s getting cooler. Elise is now one of my favorites. The way she manipulates sound with her voice. It’s amazing. And I love her telepathic connection with Will. Now that’s Brooke it out of the picture, I’ve started to like her relationship with Will. Ajay is as smart as ever. His sight just keeps getting better and better. His memory is…wow. He’s learning to be more brave than he ever was. Nick’s agility skills are awesome. He may not be the smartest, but I love his loyalty. And he’s the most relaxed dude in the group. He’s just so chill about it all (for the most part, anyways) and it is absolutely hilarious.

So the writing confused me. It wasn’t the pace, the pace was pretty great in this one. But at times, in random paragraphs it seemed to switch points of view. It was really weird and disconcerting because there was no pause in the flow, but at one moment it was Will’s point of view and then at another is was Elise’s or anyone else’s point of view. I don’t know what happened.

The plot was very exciting. The Never-Was was so interesting. There were so many weird things about it. It was a scary and dangerous place. It was intense, life threatening, and just plain fun. The only major complaint I had about it was that the Alliance never seemed to have a definite plan to defeat the monsters or the Knights of Charlemagne. Their plans always seemed random and impulsive. Even the plan they had in this one seemed so unrealistic. I mean, where did it come from and how did they come up with it? The ending felt so unfinished. I don’t mind a few things left to your imagination, but this was too much. It frustrated me.

There was some language and a little bit of kissing. But nothing much. The book got a bit spiritual as started to explain how everything was connected. It began to sound like karma or something close to it.

So, this wasn’t the best book. It was a bit better than book two, but the first book was still the best of the whole trilogy. But if you’re interested in something fun, with superpowers, and action packed, I recommend this. It was still pretty good.

-G. Paige

Book Review: Alliance (The Paladin Prophecy: Book 2)

Rating: 3/5 stars.

This one fell short of the first book. But that ending?! What? No! I need the next one now!!!

Will West has lost much. So so much. He tries to bury his feelings, but he pushes people away, is silent, and alone. He struggles to understand his mental and physical abilities. But now he must get things together and Awaken. Spending their summer at the Center, an exclusive prep school, Will, Ajay, Nick, Elise, and Brooke explore the area to learn more about the Knights of Charlemagne. The plans and secrets they uncover may lead to the end of the world as we know it.

The characters is probably one of the only things that was pretty good in this book. Will’s abilities expand and grow as he learns to control and understand it. But his love life confused and frustrated me. He had started to have a relationship with Brooke in the last one. But all of the sudden he is also in love with Elise too. What is going on? Also right it the beginning it was mentioned the Brooke had ignored Will for like six months. Then she kisses him and all is better. I don’t get that. Ajay was still great as always, but at sometimes it seemed he was a bit too scared and over dramatic about it. Nick was his funny, kind of dumb, self. Without him, the Alliance would get very gloomy. His loyalty to his friends is something you wouldn’t expect from the way he acts. Elise is probably my second favorite character after will. Her abilities are so out of this world! She is strong and fearless and…somehow deeply in love with Will now. Brooke felt a bit flat at the beginning, but towards the end she felt more herself.

The pacing off balanced me. The first chapter starts four months later after the last book. Then the next chapter skips three months. There it started to smooth out. It went on well from there, but I didn’t care for the plot. For about two-thirds of it, it felt like some sort of quest. It was interesting, but I didn’t see the need for how long it went on. It also didn’t feel like it fit right with this kind of story. But the whole book was still very exciting. And that last third was much more interesting. So many mysteries were revealed. Something shocking happened that I had never even thought of. Then the ending! Woah. That was a great cliffhanger.

There was some language. A few words here and there. Some characters were spying on something and this woman shows up naked. One of the characters makes a comment that he wasn’t looking at her face.

It wasn’t the best of books storywise. But I will continue on with the last book and hope that it improves a bit. If you like an action filled book with superpowers and humor, go read it. It is still turning out to be a pretty good series.

-G. Paige

Book Review: The Paladin Prophecy (The Paladin Prophecy: Book 1)

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Rating: 4/5 stars.

I read this for the first time over a year ago. Recently I decided to do a random reread. It was just as good as the first time, if not better. This time though I will continue with the series.

Will West has lived his whole life pretending to be normal, getting average grades, and moving about every fifteen months. His parents have never given him any real explanation, but he trusts them. Then he makes a mistake and scores extraordinary high on a nationwide exam. Now people want him to go to an exclusive prep school and he’s followed by black sedans. Then when something strange happens to his mom, he runs. His skills are put to the test and he realizes the rules that his parents taught him to live by may just save his life.

The characters were really good. Will had unknowingly been prepared for this (Whatever “this” is.). He is really smart and quiet, but not shy. He never let’s down his guard. Sine he’s been taught to not trust anyone, he hides his true self from everyone. Ajay is funny (usually when he isn’t meaning to be). He’s Southern with the accent that goes along with it (which I love). Of all of them, he probably gets scared the easiest. He has some great skills and is like a genius with technology. Nick is a gymnast. He’s hilarious and is rarely ever serious, but fiercely loyal to his friends. He’s not so very smart, but he knows his sports. Elise is like an Eygptian queen, literally. When she looks at you, it feels like she is reading your thoughts. She is a beautiful piano player and singer. Brooke is the parent over them all. She’s cautious, but brave. She’s kind and caring.

This book was exciting from the start. Even when reading it a second time I flew through it.  It was very fast paced. The running, the car chases, and then the new school was all intense. There was so many questions and intrigue. Especially concerning Will himself, his abilities were really neat. The monsters and who knows what else that were after Will were weird and ugly, but interesting. I need more answers. Everything must be figured out soon! The ending was intense and I was on the edge of my seat. That kidnapping! Those fighting scenes! They were great.

There was a kiss or two, but nothing major. There was language, not a lot, but not a little either. Words like d***, d***, b****** were common. F*** was in the book once or twice, but only the letter “f” was shown. God’s name was used in vain quite a few times.

Overall, this was a good book. I’m excited to see how this turns out. I recommend this to a little older teens (or just more mature teens) for some of the language, but was very neat.

-G. Paige 

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy: Book 1)

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Ahhhhh! What did I just read?! Something with a lot of tension, love, betrayal, and strategy!

Kestrel is a general’s daughter, wealthy, well known, and respected. She has had the most luxurious life. Arin, now a Herrani slave, has lost everything. When Kestrel makes the impulsive decision to buy him, it sets off a chain of events that will change her and her country forever. They begin to fall in love, something neither of them expected or wanted. But to be together, it would mean betraying everything they have grown up believing and defying all law and order. More important, Arin holds a secret that, if he is to be loyal to his country, will lead him to betray her and everyone she cares about.

Kestrel, I loved her. She wasn’t this tough warrior girl as you would expect. Though she did know a lot of  different types of fighting techniques, she was only adequate with them. She wasn’t a master sword fighter or knife thrower. But she was excellent at strategy. Also, she plays the piano! As a pliant player myself, I loved it! She was smart, but she didn’t even begin to be suspicious towards Arin. It was like he was too close for her to see through to his plans. I guess loving someone can blind you to their ways. Arin, oh I so felt for him. His presence was formidable. He was a defiant person, but he went about it in a quiet way. Silently, he rebelled against where life had put him. Every once in awhile, he would speak his mind. He too, was a great strategist. And full of many other surprises.

Plot wise, it was fabulous. It was fast and intriguing. I loved how Kestrel and Arin interacted with each other. They were each inquisitive, but very sly about it. Their dialogue was very tense at some moments and funny at other moments. It was so interesting and sweet! The smaller conflicts flowed within the story perfectly. I was tense the whole book. The betrayals! Oh, I was already freaking out for when it was to come, but once it happened. No. No. No. They weren’t the same from that point. And it tore my heart piece by piece. Then the end! No, everything must work out all right. It must!

The writing was beautiful. I mean really beautiful and so moving. It made the characters have more depth, more weight. I felt so connected to them. There were so many quotable moments. I enjoyed it a lot.

There was mentions of guys having affairs with certain married women. One guy started to make a move on Kestrel, but it was stopped. There was some kissing, but nothing more.

To conclude, I’m going to say that you just need to read this. It’ll probably be best for older teens. It was intriguing, exciting, heart wrenching, and beautiful. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book! I must have it!

-G. Paige

BLOG TOUR-Book Review + Author Interview: Defy (The Blades of Acktar: Book 3)

defy-blog-tour-header.jpgHey guys!!! I’m posting today on the newest addition to The Blades of Acktar series.

defy_coverBook Description:

The war for Acktar has begun.

With his betrayal revealed, former Blade Leith Torren flees into the Sheered Rock Hills, pursued by King Respen’s vengeful Blades.

Left behind at Nalgar Castle, Renna Faythe tries to find her purpose, yet that purpose isn’t what she expected.

Brandi Faythe has been torn from her sister, and that isn’t all right. If Leith can’t rescue Renna, Brandi will take matters into her own hands.

War demands sacrifice. Courage falters. Who will find the strength to defy King Respen?

Acktar rests on one hope:

The Leader is ready.

Author Bio:

imageTricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, her blog.

To see more posts on the blog tour, click here.

 

facebook-party-announcementJoin Ms. Tricia at the Facebook Party on June 2nd. It’s sure to be very fun! Jaye L. Knight (Another one of my very favorite authors!) will be there too! There will be  giveaways of books by Jaye L. Knight, Nadine Brandes, and Angie Brashear. Other giveaways include audiobooks of Dare and Deny, and paperbacks of the whole series! I’ll be there!

My Review:

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I loved this book. It was more intense than any of the ones before it. Woah… I’m still trying to get over what just happened. This book had me feeling like my heart was being ripped from my chest.

Leith Torren has left behind Renna Faythe in Nalgar Castle. Brandi is upset. She will take any risk to get her back. Who knows what will be done to her by King Respen? They flee towards the Resistance and away from the Blades. Leith only has one hope: that the Leader will help them somehow rescue Renna. But he knows that no matter what, he will return to Renna whatever the consequences.

The bond between Leith and Renna grew and strengthened in this book. The way they interact with each other was so sweet. Leith went through so much, I mean, so much just to protect Renna. It was very torturous to read, but I think it was vital to the story. He is no longer afraid to defy Respen. Renna is braver and stronger than ever before. She has even become a bit bold. She’s kind, but willing to stand up for herself. Martyn, oh Martyn. He will forever be a favorite. I loved how this story went with him, it felt more realistic and true. His loyalties are divided between his duty as a Blade and his friendship with Leith. Brandi goes through some tough stuff for a girl her age and I enjoyed seeing how it matured her. But she is still that adventurous and spunky girl. The Leader…let me just say, he is interesting, and not at all what I expected. He gives me a creepy feeling, but I kind of like him for that.

The pace was fast, really really fast. I love how the book started almost exactly where it left off. I was sucked in and on the edge of my seat the whole time. Boom boom boom! It never slowed down. There was maybe two or three “semi-peaceful” moments, but they never lasted for long. The decisions made by certain characters had me wanting to scream, “No! Don’t do that!”. The near to death experiences were thrilling. The battles were invigorating and moving. The book didn’t end with a bang, but with something more powerful and in a way more similar to real wars. Not everything is fixed and happy at the end, but I liked it that way and I’m betting the next book will set some things right.

Everyone who loves a good Christian fantasy book must read this. It’s not preachy and it doesn’t feel forced on the story. This is one of my favorite series and I hope that you enjoy it too.

Interview:

Was Defy an easier book than the previous books to write? Or was it harder? 

Defy was by FAR the easier book of the series to write. By the time I got up to it, I pretty much had it all planned out, and the writing just came. It was so easy, it actually made it hard to move on to writing something new afterwards since it was just SO easy.

What is a fact that most people wouldn’t know about you?

Summer is actually my least favorite season. I don’t like heat, and I don’t like humidity. In the winter, you can at least bundle up and get warm, but in the summer, all you can do is wear shorts and a t-shirt, and you’ll still roast.

Weird question: have you ever cried over your own characters? 

No. I got really tense during the infamous Chapter 42 in Deny and choked up once in writing an early scene in Book 4. Other than that, no. Then again, I rarely cry when I read other books or watch movies. Yes, I’m that emotionless person who managed to sit through Pixar’s Inside Out without tears while two of my friends were bawling their eyes out.

If you had one day to spend in Acktar, what would you do?

First, I’d like to pick a rather boring day so I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to dodge Respen’s soldiers or avoid Blades. I’d like to ride Blizzard and hang out with Renna, Brandi, Leith, and everybody. As long as they weren’t too mad at me for everything I put them through.

If Leith, Renna, and Shad were in today’s modern world, what kind of job do you think each of them would have (if they had one at all)? 

Wow, this one made me think for a bit!

Renna – she’s easy. She’d be a nurse, probably working her way up to being a surgical nurse.

Shad – He’d be a second or third generation FBI agent. His father would be high up in the agency, but Shad would still want to start at the bottom and earn his way up without his father’s help. Yet, he’d also feel burdened to live up to his father’s legacy.

Leith – Has anyone seen the show White Collar? My family binge-watched it on Netflix. It has some iffy parts that we skipped, but the overall storyline is about a criminal named Neil Caffrey who ends up working for the FBI catching criminals to earn out his sentence that way. I could see Leith ending up something like that, a kid who grew up in a bad situation, then becomes a criminal informant for the FBI. Possibly with Shad as a partner? 😉

Giveaways:

There is two Goodreads giveaways! One is for Dare. One is for Deny. You have to enter by May 31st!

Goodreads Giveaway: Dare

Goodreads Giveaway: Deny

-G. Paige

Book Review: Veiled Rose (Tales of Goldstone Wood: Book 2)

51rvKT3snrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Rating: 4/5 stars.

I’m sorry to be the odd one out, but I didn’t get into this as much as Heartless. I dragged through most of it. Maybe it was because I had forgotten stuff from the first book, so that I didn’t make the connection until I was reading something random about Heartless. But once I got closer to the end…it was great!

Rose Red has a secret. A secret that has her living in isolation in the mountains with nothing but an old man she calls father and her nanny goat. But then she meets headstrong Leo, who quickly becomes her friend, when no one else would. Together they play and search for a monster rumored to be in the mountains. But their trust in each other is tested when something more real and terrifying than anything they could imagine, comes to their land.

Leo, oh Leo. I must say, he was one of my favorite characters. His humor and his temper were fun to watch. There was times when I disliked him and the decisions or actions he took, but that made him more real. People have faults; they make mistakes. Don’t you at some points dislike real people? So when I disliked him, I still considered him one of my favorites. I’m glad to watch him learn from his choices. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of that in the coming books. Rose Red was…interesting. I didn’t connect with her very well, but she was still really great to read about. I loved how far she was willing to go to keep her promises. I enjoyed watching the way she and Leo conversed together. It was so cute and sweet.

I thought about the first half was slow. I just couldn’t get into it, maybe because the characters were so young at the beginning and it kind of put me off. I’m not sure, because there was plenty of mystery to keep a person interested. But it did pick up speed towards the end and there was so much action and danger. I started to worry for a bit! What a conclusion! It was kind of sad. Thank goodness there is more to this series.

The tale switched between Leo and Rose Red’s point of view. Randomly, there were a few other points of view that added intrigue. This book went through a whole decade and more of time, but at no point did it get confusing. I still felt connected to the characters even after skipping over years of their lives. I have to say, that is quite an achievement.

This is a perfect blend of fantasy, fairytale, and allegory. I’m just beginning to realize how allegorical this series is. I don’t think I realized that in the first book. This is for all the people who like this kind of story. You don’t want to miss it.

-G. Paige