Monday, July 30, 2018

The Darkness Series Review

The Darkness Series
(Darkness of Light, Fire in the Darkness, Dwellers of Darkness, Blood Beyond Darkness)
By: Stacey Marie Brown

Darkness of Light Synopsis
Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.




I decided to write a review for the overall Darkess series as opposed to each individual book. Every time I read these books I become so addicted that I can't put them down and jump from one book to the next, so by the time I'm done reading them I have a hard time remembering where one book ends and the next begins. This is a new adult fantasy series so it's a bit edgier and certainly more sexually explicit than a young adult series. Sex is a pretty common theme throughout the entire series, so if you like your books a bit more reserved this may not be the series for you. I, on the other hand, loved it! You know how much I love me some good smut, and these books had it in spades. 

The series begins with Ember realizing that there's something different about her as she seems to be blowing things up and setting things on fire accidentally when she experiences extreme emotions such as fear or anger. While no one can really pin the bizarre incidents on her she is still punished for them by being made to leave her school and attend a school for kids with behavioral issues. Where she meets Eli. Eli is mysterious, sexy and hard to read as one minute he seems attracted to Ember and the next he seems to despise her. 

As the series evolves Ember becomes aware of the "Otherworld" and all the magical beings associated with it. We see her coming into her own as she discovers her powers and her heritage. Ember goes through many ordeals with her becoming the main target of the Otherworld. Both the Seelie Queen and Unseelie King are after her and Ember becomes the captive of the dark dwellers, of which Eli is apart of. 

Eli seems determined to stick with his clan's plot to turn Ember over to the Unseelie King in the hopes that Ember will sway the Kings odds of winning the war against the Queen. The Seelie Queen is determined to take over all of Earth and the Otherworld and rules with fear and torture  to keep her subjects in line. She has (to her knowledge) killed the entire Druid and Dark Dweller races out of fear of an uprising from them as they are some of the most powerful classes in the Otherworld. 

There were so many lovable and endearing characters brought into this series that it would take forever to talk about each one, so I'll just tell you about my favorites. Cal and Simmonds are at the top of my list, they're the comedic relief that I didn't know I was missing until they were introduced. They are pranksters who are unused to the real world and watching them try to acclimate themselves and learn about their surroundings is hilarious. I also liked Eli's dark dweller clan members; Cole, Cooper, Gabby, and Owen. They were the overprotective close knit family unit that kept Ember hostage but still treated her well. The clan shows how dedicated they are to their family and support and encourage each other to follow their hearts.

I was surprised and impressed with how much character growth, plot expansion and plot twists there were in this four book series. Within the span of only four books the entire world had changed for the characters and so much development happened with each character and their relationships with each other, I felt that I was always on the edge of my seat as there was always something happening. There were never any boring bits that I found hard to get through, even the parts of the book that didn't directly involve Ember were interesting and important in the events happening in the books.

I was excited to learn that there are actually three series that tie into each other; the Darkness Series being the first, the Collector Series is next and the last series is the Lightness Saga. The Collector series is about a different cast of characters, in the same city as the Darkness series, and the Lightness saga see's the characters from the first two series' coming together to form the last adventure. There is another book in the Darkness series called West. It's about a dark dweller names West who is a member of Eli's clan. As much as I liked West, the character, I wasn't a fan of West, the novel. I didn't find it as captivating as the rest of the series, and there were many dry parts that I couldn't get into.  

The author of this series, Stacey Marie Brown, is an indie author that I learned about from a FB group. The more books of hers I read the more I want from her. This year she has the last book in the Lightness series coming out and I'm also hoping for the sequel to Shattered Love, a contemporary romance that I reviewed a while back. I highly recommend checking out Stacey's books and taking a chance on her. You won't be disappointed.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✬
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Book Recommendations Blog

Book Recommendations Blog

I think we all know how much I love a book recommendation. I've had quite a few in the last couple of years and I've reviewed some and not others. It's always interesting to me to see what types of books my friends and family are into. I have a friend and an Aunt who prefer cookbooks (which is so weird to me, who the heck reads cookbooks for fun??), I have a few other friends and my sister who all prefer young adult/new adult fantasy, I have a friend who prefers sinfully picturesque romance novels, I have a friend who prefers biographies, I have a friend who prefers suspenseful mysteries. So many different genres catering to so many different preferences. I love it! Which is why I love when people recommend books to me. It's an insight to who they are and what speaks to their personalities.

I have discovered some of my favorite books through referrals from friends and acquaintances such as A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, A Child Called It by David Pelzer and Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. I'm pretty open to trying most genres and while I tend to favour the YA/NA fantasy genre myself, I enjoy venturing outside of my comfort zone and discovering authors and books I didn't know about before.

I gravitate towards indie authors more than mainstream authors because reviews and referrals are their lifeline. Indie authors are like hidden gems, you don't see them as much because they're not as promoted as widely known authors and their writing isn't as watered down in an attempt to appease and appeal to a wider audience. Indie author's stay true to their genres, characters and plots and put out a more authentic story. They also tend to be more grateful and more accessible to their readers. I know of a lot of indie authors who interact with their readers on a regular basis and who often host their own giveaways as a thank you to the readers who were willing to take a chance on buying their books. 

As I tend to post a lot more YA fantasy reviews I am often asked for referrals from people who aren't familiar with the genre. A lot of the time I give out unsolicited recommendations because I feel a friend may really like a book I have read. For anyone who wants to venture into the YA fantasy world I highly recommend starting with any Sarah J. Maas series. While I prefer A Court of Thorns and Roses most people I know who have read her series' actually prefer the Throne of Glass series. Maas is very good at creating a fantasy world with characters and descriptive settings that can appeal to most audiences. There are a lot of indie authors who write this genre that I also highly recommend such as Karen Lynch, Stacey Marie Brown, Emory Gayle, Melissa Haag and Jackie May.

If you have any book recommendations for me I would love to hear them! I'm always looking for new books to read and Kobo's free downloads only get me so far. Please, share your favorites with me no matter what genre they are, I'll give it a read.

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Don't Cheat Me (Nora Jacobs #2) Review

Don't Cheat Me (Nora Jacobs #2)
By: Jackie May

One month after Nora’s violent induction to the dangerous supernatural side of Detroit, she’s finally settling into her new life as the underworld’s token human. All she wants to do is mind her own business, enjoy her new friends, and stay safe. But that’s easier said than done when she’s such an enigma to everyone around her.

Thanks to her unique psychic abilities, she’s garnered a reputation for being mysterious and powerful. When the alpha of a local werewolf pack asks her to help him figure out who is stealing from him, she can’t say no, even though getting involved in pack business could have deadly repercussions.

While tangled up in a heap of werewolf troubles, Nora can’t quite shake her old vampire problem, either. Henry is practically stalking her, Parker is breaking down the walls around her heart, and Nora’s blatant fear of the blood-sucking monsters is a delicious temptation for the natural predators.

Nora’s succubus friend, Cecile, believes throwing her a “coming out” party into underworld society is the best way to solve all of her problems, but Nora disagrees. If the vampires and werewolves don’t kill her, Cecile’s party planning definitely will.

This is book 2 in the Nora Jacobs series and should be read after book 1. It is a slow burn reverse harem series.



If you've read my reviews before you know that the hardest book to read in any series for me is the second one. Sequels always seem to be a little lackluster in any good series because the first book has built up such high standards in the mind of the reader that any author would have trouble achieving the same level of excellence the second time around. Unfortunately this book falls into the same pattern of not quite reaching the level of the first book for me.

I felt that the story line very much echoed the first book in the sense that Nora used her powers in a detective sort of way to solve a mystery and became the victim of the book's villain. Sure, we got to meet some new characters along the way but using the same plot for the second book that the author used in the first made the book dull and predictable in a number of places. 

Some of what I did enjoy was how immersed we get to be in the werewolf lore in this story. Never before have I found werewolves quite as sexy as I did in this novel. That being said, my new favorite character in this series is Rook and I'm totally pulling for a relationship between him and Nora, if and when we find out that normal relationships are even possible for her.

Nora's powers definitely grow quite a bit during the events in this book and she becomes more aware of what she is capable of as her boundaries are stretched beyond what she is accustomed to. I have to say when we finally find out what she is at the end of the book, I was surprised. I did not see that one coming. Unfortunately, as the reveal comes at the end we will have to wait to find out what it all means for her in the next installment in the series (I'm not sure when exactly it's being released). 

I was frustrated with Nora's developing relationships with Parker, Olliver and Rook in Don't Cheat Me. The first book was very much about how hesitant and untrusting Nora was around men and all of a sudden she's kissing men, holding their hands, contemplating relationships with them and generally leading them all on. And she knew it. It didn't fit very well with the character that the author had created in the first novel. Also, I probably hated it so much because I really want her to be with Rook. 

While there were many more things in this novel that I did not particularly care for I am still psyched to read the next installment in the series because no matter what the conflict or who the villain, I am genuinely interested and invested in the characters. I am excited to see what happens with them all next.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1) Review

Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)
By: Jackie May

Most humans have no idea that a dark and deadly underworld, filled with magic and monsters, exists. They wander through life blissfully ignorant of the supernatural world around them. Nora Jacobs is different. Nora knows exactly what kinds of hellish creatures haunt the streets of Detroit. 

Thanks to a unique set of psychic abilities, Nora has managed to steer clear of the underworld most of her life. But all that changes the night the most powerful vampire in the city discovers her gifts and decides to use her as a tool to find one of his missing clan members. 

As if that’s not bad enough, Nora believes she’s cursed. All her life, people, especially men, have been drawn to her—some to the point of obsession and violence. Underworlders, it seems, are not immune to this curse, and now she’s caught the attention of some of the most dangerous monsters in the city.

Neck deep in an investigation only she can solve, Nora quickly makes as many new allies as she does enemies. Her biggest problem is staying alive long enough to decide which is which.




I had seen this book recommended to someone in a Facebook group I'm in and decided to check it out. Of course, at that time I was exclusively Kobo so I was unable to read this book as it seems to be exclusively Kindle. Once I got the Kindle app this immediately went on my list of books I must read. 

This was probably one of, if not the darkest fantasy book I've ever read. The atmosphere of the book has a dark tone to it and there is a constant undercurrent of sexual abuse. The MC, Nora, has had a pretty awful past laced with many instances of sexual and physical abuse, because of the type of power she holds. Somehow people are drawn to her, men to the point of obsession, which has been extremely dangerous for her. As such Nora avoids contact with everyone and prefers to be alone as she considers it safer. Of course, growing up in foster care has left it's share of battle scars on her and although she's generally a loner she longs for family and friendly human contact. Nora has no interest in dating anyone because of her powers and is understandably suspicious of men, because of previous experiences. She goes as far as saying that while she's not a virgin she has never experienced the act of making love, sex is always something that has been taken from her by force. 

At first glance Nora seems to be a human with psychic abilities, but the deeper into the book you go the more you begin to realize that she may not be human at all. Her knowledge of her power is limited and seems to be confined to her ability to read one's mind when she touches them, pick up psychic imprints from objects and what she refers to as her "curse". Which is her allure to both men and women alike. It becomes more powerful the more anyone spends time with her and Nora is unable to control it or turn it off. 

Nora's gifts only bring her trouble however when they come to light with underworlder's and she tries to help them locate their missing vampire and troll. She becomes embroiled in the underworld and gets into quite a few situations that make her believe she will be killed. This book was full of action, mystery and fantasy elements. I was surprised with how much I liked it since there was no real romance in it. I actually found myself hoping that men would keep their distance from Nora as the two encounters we see right in the beginning are terrible for her and she is almost taken against her will twice in the span of the first few chapters. 

We see Nora make her first real friends in this book and it makes her more endearing to the reader because while she is cautious and suspicious of the intentions of everyone she is so grateful to have these underworlder's who genuinely care about her and want to look out for her. In particular, a troll named Terrance becomes Nora's fiercest and most protective friend and she feels safe with him, particularly when he claims her as part of his clan and not his mate. 

I really loved this book and am hoping to find the hard copy to buy to add it to my collection. If you get an opportunity to read it I would definitely recommend it, but I do warn you, the sexual abuse theme can get intense at times. 

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✬
Probability of Rereading
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Phoenix (The Legends of Peradon #1) Review

Phoenix (The Legends of Peradon #1)
By: Daccari Buchelli

No power is greater than the one you’re willing to sacrifice. 

Princess Violetta Flame lives her life according to rule, but those rules require her to pay a heavy price. Haunted by a devastating loss, she longs for freedom. When a handsome ruler takes a special interest in her, she senses greater things lie ahead, but behind the handsome fa├žade lies a dark secret – one that can usurp her efforts and cast her back into the life she detested.

The throne was never promised to Emperor Ryore Frost, but now that he has ultimate power, his world is filled with possibilities. Citizens bow at his feet, but their fleeting adoration is no match for his obsession with the young Flame Princess. As his feelings for the staunchly independent princess grow, a new threat emerges, bent on undermining his efforts and betraying his sensibilities.

When past tragedies, malevolent behaviour, and strong wills collide, which will reign supreme?



I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am going to begin this review with an apology to the author. I take the commitment between the author who gives me a free copy of their book, and myself who assures to read the book and give honest feedback very seriously, and am grateful for the opportunity. I acknowledge the angst and trust that the author may feel in giving me such a task as they don't know me or what kinds of books I like. The author runs the risk of me hating their work and telling anyone and everyone I know how terrible it is. Of course, there's also the flip side where I love the book and sing it's praises everywhere I can. Obviously we know which type of reaction the author would love for us all to have. Unfortunately in this particular case, I do not fall into the latter category.

In fact this was one of the very few times where I actually had to give this book up because I cannot stand the way it is written and because of the writing style I was unable to submerse myself in it or even become interested in the characters at all. I made it halfway through the book. Long enough to discover the characters, the setting and the conflict. However, after I recognized everything I knew about the book thus far, I came to the realization that I didn't care to read on to find out what happens next.

The writing style is choppy, jumping forward in time for many chapters, some consecutive and some not, the author establishes conflict quickly enough but doesn't build on his characters personalities enough for the reader to empathize with them. There were times in the first few chapters where I actually had to go back to the previous chapter because I felt I had missed something. The author had, in my opinion, established a villain, but then in the next couple of chapters mentioned that the character had died. It left me completely puzzled but I resolved to keep going thinking there would be an interesting twist to look forward to. At chapter 15 I still had not discovered any sort of twist. 

The main character Violetta was dull and flighty. We see her meet Ryore fleetingly and while she finds him physically attractive there is really nothing to their interaction, in fact they barely speak. But then we see her looking back on the communication between the two of them with some sort of reverence that I failed to understand. How can she find herself infatuated with someone she barely spoke to enough to over shadow the interest she felt in another male whom she actually knew? I understand that this was a fantasy novel therefore clearly not realistic, but the interactions between the characters could be made to feel authentic at least. 

I am not going to give this book a rating, as I did not finish it and to rate it based on the half I did read would be unfair to the author. I normally would have persevered in finishing this but my TBR pile has become so large that spending time forcing myself to read a book I'm not enjoying doesn't make sense and isn't fair to all the other author's awaiting my feedback.

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Do what you love Blog

I'm often asked how I find the time to read. Or how I read so many books in so little time. Do I ignore my children? Is my house a mess? Are we all running around in dirty clothes because I didn't do the laundry? There is always somewhat of a negative connotation in the tones people use when they ask where I find the time. Well, here's my secret guys.......ready for it?.....Well, I'm sorry, but there really isn't one. I read quickly. Very quickly. Would you like an example? Yesterday I downloaded two of Kobo's free romance novels (about 250-300 pgs each) and finished them both yesterday. If I read continuously I could have knocked one of those books out in an hour and a half to two hours. But I didn't. Even between reading I lived my life, I spent time with my kids, I did laundry, I made breakfast and lunch and did some housework, we took the kids to soccer and dropped our oldest off at a friends for a sleepover. I was a parent. Until bedtime. My other half left to go to "game night" (yes, he's a big adorable nerd) and I read a book in two hours before going to bed. 

Reading has always been my most beloved hobby. I remember being a child of about 9/10 at the book fair in my public school, I took my chosen book (Lurlene McDaniel's Don't Die My Love) to the librarian at the check out and she refused to sell it to me because she said that children my age "cannot read novels". As if I were incapable of finishing it. She told me to put the book back and come back with my parents if I wanted to purchase it so they could vouch for me. I was upset to say the least, but some older kid who happened to be friends with one of my cousins had seen me reading other novels before and told the librarian that those were the size of books he had always seen me reading. Only then would she allow me to buy it, with a strict warning that she would not allow the return of the book if I decided it was too much for me to read. I still have that book and I still love it, but don't reread it as much because it breaks my heart every time.

I feel that any adults with hobbies that other people can't relate to get immediately judged. Case in point, my nerdy other half. He is 36 (I know you're all probably pretty surprised that a spring chicken like myself is with such an old man. Haha. Love you babe!) and he has always loved video games. When we met he was big into World of Warcraft (something he has taught me to enjoy over the years). He's gone through stages of games with his Xbox, Playstation and PC and has recently graduated his group of gaming friends from board games to Dungeons & Dragons. Yep, he is that nerdy. But anytime I mention his hobby to people we don't know well or at all, I can see them instantly brand him as a "man-child" and let me tell you, I am the only one allowed to make fun of him. I get instantly offended when people automatically assume that because he plays video games he's an absent father, or he must have some sort of dead end job (seriously, how are those things even related?!?) and our relationship must suffer from him ignoring me all the time to play games. None of the preconceived notions that people have about him, an adult who loves video games, is true. He is a very hands-on dad who almost single handedly financially supports our family. And while we experience the same ups and downs I assume every couple in a relationship goes through, very rarely do our issues have anything to do with his gaming or my reading. 

Another thing I'm sometimes asked about is how I can afford all the books I read, just as I'm sure my other half is asked how he can afford the games he plays. He and I are both so involved in the culture of our hobbies that we subscribe to newsletters, blogs, Facebook groups, enter giveaways, and know where to find free books and games. These things are not a secret and are readily available for anyone who wants to indulge. We are a family of five, and we are aware of our financial limitations. We do not buy every book or game that we want because we can't afford to. We both keep an eye on release dates for the things we want most and we save/budget for them. We give each other books and games as gifts. We have come to understand that we have hobbies that have the ability to become very expensive, but we don't allow them to. We have other financial priorities that must be put first and we accept that.

I think a major theme in this blog post is when the hell did it become okay for society to blatantly question people about the way they choose to spend their time and money? Why is it anyone else's concern if I spend many hours per week reading or if my man-child other half plays video games? Who are we hurting? When did it become unacceptable for adults to have interests and hobbies outside of their family life? Did having children automatically mean that we were supposed to have given up part of who we are? And when did reading as an adult become a bad thing? Are we not encouraged to read to our children and in front of them as sort of a 'monkey see, monkey do' experience? Well, regardless of what the judgmental people of the world think I hope that none of you ever stop doing what you love. Hobbies are a great outlet for your creativity and they help keep us all sane.


Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment!

Fury Focused (Of Fates and Furies #2) Review

Fury Focused (Of Fates and Furies #2)
By: Melissa Haag

Life in Uttira isn't easy for Megan. Knowing what she is hasn't helped her control her temper, an unfortunate personality trait that might just keep her from graduating. Her mood swings don't bother her as much as the weird side effects that come with them. When things start to go up in flames around her, she knows she needs help controlling her abilities. But, the only person with the answers abandoned Megan in Uttira months ago. 

Megan knows she must find her mother in the real world. However, the only way out of the magical barrier surrounding Uttira is with the mark of Mantirum. A mark she will only receive if she can manage to graduate from Girderon Academy. In order to start her search, Megan needs to learn to control her temper… or die trying.



Ok, so if you've read my review of Fury Frayed you know that I loved it. I think when you love a book as much as I loved the first of the Fates and Furies series it's impossible to dislike the second book, even if it doesn't add up to the first (and as I've said in a previous blog, the sequels are never as good as the original). I will admit that I cannot brand this book with my usual 'sequel let-down' title, because although it may not have captivated me quite as much as the first one did, it was still a damn good book.


Megan's character has finally decided to date Oanen (swoon!!) and I am totally here for it! Megan is pretty reluctant to date because her anger issues have destroyed past relationships and she's never understood why. Now that she knows what she is Oanen thinks that she will have a better handle on her emotions and while Megan doesn't think it will be that easy she likes Oanen enough to try. We all know how much I love love, so watching their relationship grow and finding out about Griffin mating patterns was the apex of the book for me.

Of course there is conflict thrown in, otherwise people who aren't me would be dead bored. Megan assumes more responsibility within the community's board and tries to help the human population within the city so that they are more a part of the city's society. They are typically treated as second rate citizens by all the creatures that live in Uttira and Megan desperately wants to change that. 

Megan also still struggles with who she is. It turns out that for her, knowing what she is, really didn't help her at all as she still has no idea how to control her powers or even what they fully are. They continue to develop at an alarming rate causing her to hurt other people (Oanen included) and she feels so lost and alone, not having any control over her powers or herself. She desperately wants to get out of the city and find her mom and demand answers about their family and their abilities in the hopes that she could better control her emotions thus controlling her power.

The book ended in a new adventure for Megan and Oanen, one that has them leaving Uttira and I am really excited to see what Melissa Haag has in store next for these characters.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tempest (The Water Series #4) Review

Tempest (The Water Series #4)
By: Emory Gayle

Will they survive the rising… 
The Sight. The Shield. The Sword. The Brothers…will they be enough to bring down a Titan rule? 
Cora and Darrien are on a mission to get their siblings back. Devastated by the thought of what Bree and Tyde are facing, they take on the job of finding a way to end Oceanus and his plans to release the Titans. Their journey will lead them into the depths of Tartarus for the answers. But, Oceanus has his own plans and soon they find themselves face to face with a choice that will tear their hearts apart. Will they survive Oceanus's plot to release the Titans? Or will they become unwilling pawns in his grand scheme? 
Bree and Tyde have been kidnapped by Oceanus. Both with their own stories to tell of their time in Oceanus's lair, the two of them struggle to survive. Friendships will be forged in the most unlikely characters and powers, locked away from them, will break free. But, will that be enough to get out alive? 
Ana and Avery are left at Camp Crystal to watch over those with new powers and help them hone their skills. When Oceanus sets his sights on camp, they, along with Lena and Tinley, must defend their new home. Will their ragtag group be enough to stop Oceanus’s forces from killing them all, or have they fallen into a trap they can’t get out of? 
While their survival is uncertain, there is one thing that is for sure…there is a war coming. Only the very strongest will survive the rising. 
In this conclusion of the Water Series, readers will be taken on a rollercoaster like nothing before. Love, friendship, sacrifice, action, humor, mystery…it’s got it all.




Oh my goodness, this book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. It's so full of action, everyone has their own story line and all three sisters as well as Darrien and Tyde get their stories told from their own points of view, so there is a lot of jumping around but it's never convoluted and always easy to understand what's going on and with whom. 

I loved the fact that all three sisters had their own journeys and that none of the journeys were any more or less significant than the others. Each sister had a purpose that they had to fulfill and grow from and I felt they were all very well written. Bree, in particular, had taken a backseat for the most part up until this book and suddenly she's come into her own and I loved that the focus wasn't solely on Ana and Cora anymore. 

I think the only thing I wasn't a huge fan of in this book was the end prophecy that dictated the power of the sisters and the brothers. It felt a little too cheesy for me. I think it would have added more to the book to have only been about the sisters and have Darrien and his brother Tyde become an extra unanticipated power  in the final battle against the Titans. 

All in all this was a great book to end the series with and I was impressed with how many story lines and added characters the author threw in and then kept up with throughout the book. Nothing went unsolved or got dropped, every plot line that the author started she completed and it all added so much value to the final battle and the aftermath of it. I especially loved the Epilogue. It was the emotional reunion that I had been waiting for since we found out Ana was actually still alive. 

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Siren (The Water Series #3) Review

Siren (The Water Series #3)
By: Emory Gayle

She's not what she seems... 

Ana has awoken in Cora's body. Bound and determined to destroy all that Cora as built at camp, she sets her eyes on Cora's relationships and slowly starts dismantling them. First to go...Darrien. But, something throws a wrench into her plans, something more dangerous than any foe she has ever faced off against. 

Will it be Ana's undoing...or her savior? 

Cora wakes in Ana's body deep in the ocean and in the company of the two Sirens that rescued her from Midira: Lena and Tinley. In their fight to get to Titus Prime, they encounter a deadly foe who is bound to clear the path for Oceanus; and that means taking out the girl he's become obsessed with...Cora. Cora's powers are strengthening, but will she be strong enough to save herself and her friends from one of the most powerful beings on earth?




Mer ended in a cliff hanger so I ended up staying up way past my bedtime last night to read this book because I needed to know what happened to Cora. 

I was initially surprised by Ana's instant reaction to being stuck in Cora's body, which was to ruin Cora's life with whatever means she could. I had thought she was trying to redeem herself with the help she gave Darrien at the end of Mer. Clearly I was wrong. Honestly, I was disappointed that Ana's thought process to ruining Cora's life was to ruin her relationship with Darrien and begin one with Avery. I understand that these books are geared to Young Adults, but even then the idea seemed pretty juvenile. It seemed like such tactics would be beneath a siren of Ana's background and knowledge. 

I was all about Cora's journey in Ana's body. I would speed through Ana's chapters to get to Cora's because her journey with her siren friends to get to her father's kingdom was compelling. As Cora is stuck in Ana's siren body she knows she she is public enemy number one to the mer people and as such she and her friends are doing everything they can to stay hidden and fight off the enemies that are looking to bring them back to Oceanus and Midira. We get to see her forge new and strong friendships with her companions, as well as the nixies that find them. Cora deals with a pretty formidable opponent in Amphitrite, Poseidon's wronged and vengeful wife and comes out of it stronger than ever. 

I was excited to see the God's and Titan's take on a bigger role in this book with more of their lore coming to light and actually seeing the main characters coming into contact with a God and Titan themselves. I admit I'm always confused as to why most lore paints the picture of the God's with a very diminished power and this story was no different but the depth of the new powers that some of the characters are exposed to was enough that it over-shadowed my confusion and left a bigger impression on me. 

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mer (The Water series #2) Review

Mer (The Water Series #2)
By: Emory Gayle

A sleeping Titan has woken and with him a battle as old as the ages begins. As he gathers powers to him, Cora and Darrien are plunged into new worlds that threaten to destroy the people they love… 

Cora Reed just found out that she is part Mer, part Siren, and is supposed to be the next in line for the throne of an underwater kingdom. If that wasn’t enough to grapple with, she is forced to come to grips with a betrothal to a man she doesn’t love, Mer and Siren powers awakening in her that she can’t control, and a connection with her sister Ana that opens a window to the world of the Sirens and a danger beyond Cora’s wildest nightmares. Will Cora find the strength to stand against those that seek to destroy her and her loved ones? Will her love for Darrien survive it? 

Darrien Locke is ready to sacrifice everything for the woman that he loves and help her on her journey to the throne. But, his plans take a hit, when he is sent back to Titus Prime to get to the bottom of another assassination attack against Zale, Cora’s father. With his brother Tyde, he seeks to find whoever is behind the attacks. When their search unearths a family secret, that shakes the foundation of who they are and where they come from, Darrien’s plans must change. With more at risk than ever, what will Darrien do to keep those he loves safe?



After reading Water, I was dying to read this book. I downloaded the Kindle app immediately on my Kobo, because none of the rest of the books in The Water Series were available on Kobo, and devoured this book within a couple hours. That's right, I cheated on Kobo for Emory Gayle's Water series. And I don't even feel bad. Really Kobo, get your shit together! Who the hell has the first of a four book series available, and none of the rest? It was bizarre. I had been looking at getting Kindle for awhile anyway, but thought I would have to get a whole new ereader, I had no idea I could download the Kindle app on my Kobo. In the end it all worked out, because I really love my Kobo and my extensive Kobo library and didn't want to lose either of them. Ok, rant over now.

Mer picked up right where Water left off, no jump ahead's where I'm grappling to figure out what I had missed, it was almost seamless to pick up the second book and continue on with the story. After all the truth bombs in the first book and all the knowledge the reader is armed with from reading both Cora's point of view and Darrien's I was anxious for Cora to be reunited with her dad and learn more about her powers. I was a little disappointed with the slow pace of the first few chapters of the book and wasn't as into it as I was with Water, until Darrien went to Titus Prime and saw the state of King Zale and how the kingdom is being run. Then I was all in. 

So much happens both in water and on land that I was grateful for the short chapters and quick changes of POV. It felt like I was trying to watch two TV shows at once and didn't know which one to focus on because they were both so good. Cora's character is finally starting to grow and come into her powers and her personality takes on a subtle change as she becomes more assertive and outspoken. She is displaying more leadership tendencies and making more well thought out decisions on behalf of herself and her friends. Cora learns that her sister Ana may still be alive, but as a siren, the enemy of the mer people and she struggles with what that means and how Ana's personality may have changed from being raised as a siren for so long.

While I didn't get as much from this book as I did from the first I still enjoyed it overall and found it essential to the overall series. The reader gets introduced to some new characters, such as Darrien's brother Tyde, and more insight into powers such as that of a Clare, which I admit I had not heard of in those terms. I probably didn't take to Mer as much as I did Water because there was less of Cora and Darrien together, while they did establish their relationship with their friends, and found out that Cora is actually betrothed to someone else there was still a disconnect between the characters when they are separated and I did not like the betrothal contractual draw between Cora and Avery. It didn't feel authentic.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Water (The Water Series #1) Review

Water (The Water Series #1)
By: Emory Gayle

Cora Reed is haunted by the night her twin sister drowned. Seven years later, she’s still afraid of the water, and can barely keep herself from falling apart completely. The last thing that Cora wanted was to fall in love. But she couldn’t have prepared herself for Darrien Locke, the handsome swim instructor at Camp Crystal. 

Unbeknownst to Cora, they are already connected in unimaginable ways. Mysterious things begin to happen to her, plunging her into a whirlwind of danger and chaos. Only one thing remains steady…Darrien. But he’s not at all what he seems. 

Darrien must help Cora discover who she really is, before a terrible power in the deep reaches her. To do that, Darrien must commit the ultimate betrayal. 

In a stunning reimagining of mermaid lore, Water is the perfect combination of suspense, mystery, humor, and romance. Its gripping tale of love and danger, combined with a terrifically detailed world below the waves, will have readers breathless and begging for more.



I downloaded this book free from Kobo yesterday, and within a few hours I had not only read it but purchased and read the next two books in the series as well. It's pretty safe to say I'm loving them. As most of you know, YA Fantasy is my genre of choice, but I've been pretty limited as to my reading of different races and lore. This was my first real introduction to mermaids, mermen and sirens. I can't lie, I went into this book thinking I wasn't going to like it, I mean how interesting could mermaid's be when they're limited to an existence under water? I was surprised when the first few chapters in I realized that the setting of this book would take place almost exclusively on land. For those of you shaking their heads at my naivete, I told you, limited exposure.

The main draw for me right off the bat in this series was the depth of the tragedies and set backs that the main character, Cora, has experienced in her young life and the reverberations that still exist in her life because of it. She is responsible for the well-being of her younger sister, Bree, as their mother has become a depressed recluse after losing Cora's twin sister, Ana, in a boating accident and Cora's father walking out on his broken family who were still reeling after Ana's death. You get the sense that because of Cora's mothers depression and anxiety, Cora and Bree are sheltered and limited as to what they're allowed to do and experience in their young lives. You find yourself rooting for both girls to get out of the overprotective and suffocating wing of their mom.

Cora's character begins by being a quiet, sheltered teenage girl who is terrified of open water since the death of her sister. She and Bree get the opportunity to get summer jobs at a camp for kids and while Bree is excited about it, Cora is more reserved, more nervous. While she wants nothing more than to be away from her mom for the summer, she also doesn't seem to have much of a sense of  the leadership required to be a camp team leader. She has a deep mistrust of male's because of her dad leaving and therefore has a hard time being civil to Darrien, the (unbeknownst to her) merman who acts as the camp's swim instructor. 

While all this is going on Cora is completely unaware that she herself is actually a mermaid. Her father left her family after Ana's death to take his place on the throne of Mer and he has sent his guard Darrien to gain Cora's trust and bring her home to their kingdom under the sea. Obviously, with Cora's deep-rooted fear of open water that will prove to be difficult for Darrien to accomplish. Especially since Cora has no idea that mer people even exist. 

As with all books I read, my weakness was the romance that grows between Cora and Darrien. Because she is a princess and he is only a guard a relationship between them is forbidden. In the beginning they try to stay away from each other, Darrien because he knows the truth of their forbidden situation and Cora because she is afraid to become a heart-broken shell of a person like her mom has since her dad left. 

I clearly loved the story, the only real issue I had with the book was the lack of editing. By the third page there was already a spelling mistake and it was the first of many I would encounter with this series. I was more forgiving of it than I would normally be because I understand that Emory Gayle is an independent author who self publishes, and we all have to start somewhere and mistakes happen. It just surprised me because these books aren't exactly new, I mean this one was published in 2016. Is there no way for author's to go back and fix their ebooks when they notice errors in grammar? If not, that's too bad. I have read a few reviews from readers who are much less forgiving than I am who will give up on a book because of these types of errors, no matter how good a story is.

All in all I am still enjoying this series, I'm on the last book (Book 4) right now, and have added it to the list of books that I want physical copies of. This author is one of the few that I've found who sell her books directly from her own website and will sign them for her readers. She's also a Canadian living in Canada and the books were set in Canada......well the on-land parts anyway. As I said earlier this book is available on Kobo for free right now, so check it out! Even if it's not your typical genre, you may be surprised at how much you like it!

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Triton's Daughter (The Triton Series #1) Review

Triton's Daughter (The Triton Series #1) By: Emory Gayle What if the person you had been dreaming of, since you were a child, was  re...