Review: Vow of Thieves – Mary E. Pearson

Review: Vow of Thieves – Mary E. PearsonVow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Series: Dance of Thieves #2
Published by Henry Holt
Published: August 6, 2019
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five-stars

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor's Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor's Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.

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

Reading a book that culminates 5 years of reading is always terrifying. A lot is riding on it. Expectations are high and so are emotions. That is why I was scared to read Vow of Thieves, but I was wrong to be. It was exactly what this story needed and my favorite book by Mary Pearson.

Vow of Thieves picks up where Dance of Thieves left off. Jase and Kazi are making their way back to Jase’s home, Tor’s Watch, but things have changed. The two of them are violently attacked and everything they thought they knew is different. Instead of settling in and making the plans the made happen, they find themselves in a situation where trust means everything and deciding who to trust could mean life or death. They have vowed to do whatever it takes to protect Tor’s Watch and the people they love and they will do just that, even if it means losing everything.

Jase and Kazi are the backbone of Vow of Thieves. They make the tough choices and do the hard things and I love that about them. Everyone loves that about them. But what I want to really talk about is how Pearson creates the heart and soul of the story with her secondary characters. The Ballengers, Wren, Synové, and the characters from the Remnant Chronicles that make appearances, those are the people that add life and love and even more color to the strength of Jase and Kazi and who bring them to life and show what they are made of. It is them they fight for or with and that is what makes Mary’s books so special to me. Everyone is going to remember the main characters but is a talent that makes readers remember the secondary ones and want to know more about their stories. I mean I’m still begging for a book about 2 people in The Remnant Chronicles and I will be begging for books about people in The Dance of Thieves duology.

So, how would I describe Vow of Thieves? Amazing, fantastic, epic, Mary Pearson’s best book to date; that’s how I would describe it.  Since 2014 I have been wrapped up in this world that Pearson created, starting with The Kiss of Deception, and she finished it off perfectly with the final part of Jase and Kazi’s story. Add this to your TBR. You won’t regret it.

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New to Me – Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

In 2018 I had the idea to have readers and friends read my favorite books from years past. I had 20+ amazing people sign up and read some of my all time favorite books. They took the time out of their busy lives and reading schedules and read books I love and shared what they thought on my blog. It was a lot of fun and I got to see some new takes on old favorites. It actually was a fun experience. If you are interested in the reviews HERE.

This year I decided to give back in away and asked everyone that signed up to tell me their favorite book (that I have not read) because in 2019 it is time to do NEW TO ME.

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New to Me – Foolish Hearts by Emma MillsFoolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: December 5, 2017
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five-stars

A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

I read my first Emma Mills’ book way back in 2015. I enjoyed it a lot and I meant to read another one by Emma but I got distracted and never did. When I decided to do my new blog feature, New to Me, and I saw an Emma Mills book in the mix I was excited. It was about time I read one of the books I hers I owned and by chance it ended up being the first one selected. I am happy to say to all those that voted and the person that suggested it…BRAVO! I loved it so so much!!!

Foolish Hearts is about Claudia, a girl that is not really cool with being seen or cool with change. When she accidentally witnesses a break-up, not being seen is suddenly not an option for her anymore. Suddenly she is part of the theater crew that is putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the boys’ school next door. Soon people know who Claudia is and she is making friends and doing things she had never done before, including catching the eye of an adorable boy. But when things change Claudia gets scared and she has to decide what she is really afraid of, being seen or not being seen.

It really is hard to say what I loved most about this (Gideon aside). I don’t know if it was the way the story was told, I don’t know if it was the characters, particularly Claudia, or the fact that I completely related to Claudia. I 100% everything she did and felt and how it was so hard to understand that this new group of people where actually interested in her and wanted to be her friend. Maybe it was a combination of all of it that just made me fall so head over heels in love with this book. Everything just worked so well together. And it was so great to see Claudia change and grow and learn that different isn’t always bad.

Like I said in the beginning of my review, I enjoyed the first Mills’ book I read, but the second…I LOVED! A must read for everyone. I swear you won’t be sorry, and you will most likely fall in love with the adorable Gideon like I did.

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And there you have it, January’s book selection for New to Me. Sorry the review is a little late, but I lost track of time being sick and going to ALA in Seattle.

February’s book selection is:

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little worried about this one. I don’t really read vampire books. But the people has spoken and the popular vote won. Stay tuned for my post on it in February and a new chance to vote for my March read later this month.

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New to You (16): Morgan Reviews The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Morgan from The Bookish Beagle. She will be reviewing a long time favorite of mine, The Kiss of Deception! I know Morgan loves a good fantasy so  this was a perfect option for her. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (16): Morgan Reviews The Kiss of Deception by Mary PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: June 2, 2015
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four-stars

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia escapes to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

The Kiss of Deception is one of those books that had Morgan written so clearly on it that I preordered it back in 2014…. and promptly read it this year, at Andi’s urging. Darn those pesky TBR piles! Luckily it was worth the wait and I’m eager to continue the series. Mary Pearson’s writing style is detailed and engaging- I was afraid of getting bogged down in worldbuilding but she does it so well that it was easy to keep reading. The opening scene with Lia’s wedding kavah (such a beautiful sounding tradition akin to henna) sets everything up perfectly. And I always love getting glimpses of fictional history and hidden stories.
Lia is a character I loved rooting for; a lot of her actions could definitely be seen as selfish but she knows what she wants and she doesn’t go out of her way to be cruel. I was surprised that there were POV chapters from the assassin as well as the prince, but it really added to the mystery of their identities while also allowing a glimpse into their psyche. Reading a scene from all three POVs was so neat! It’s so fascinating to see what the different characters pick up on. Of course I had a ship in this triangle and if you thought it was the one where they constantly argued you’d be right haha. I didn’t love the references to barbarians and savages- it feels racially charged even if it wasn’t meant that way- but there is plenty of action, magic, intrigue, and romance to go around in The Kiss of Deception. The reveals and twists pile up quickly in the last act and it absolutely leaves you wanting more!
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Thanks Morgan for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you enjoyed you introduction to The Remnant Chronicles.

Have you read anything by Mary Pearson?

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New to You (15): Margaret Reviews I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Margaret and she’ll be reviewing I’ll Meet You There. Margaret mentioned to me that Bad Romance was a top read for her last year so I had no choice but to give her a book I have read twice just this year. There is something about I’ll Meet You There that makes me constantly come back for more and I’m excited to have someone new read it. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (15): Margaret Reviews I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: February 3, 2015
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five-stars

If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

 

“And maybe some people are like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
― Heather Demetrios, I’ll Meet You There

 

I’m a longtime fan of Heather Demetrios. I normally read fantasy, so I started with her YA fantasy trilogy (loved), eventually gave her contemporary Bad Romance a try (loved), and then delayed far too long in reading I’ll Meet You There (loved).

Do you notice a trend here?

I love everything Heather writes, even the things that I wouldn’t normally pick up.

I’ll Meet You There falls solidly into that camp. Being set in a small town, far from anything interesting, surrounded by clones of the same people, doing the same things they’ve always done…reminds me far too much of where I come from, and not in a good way. But I trusted Heather and I trusted Andi, knowing neither of them would steer me wrong.

So I wasn’t surprised I couldn’t put this book down. There’s something about Heather’s books that sucks you in, the incredible prose she uses to bring their worlds to life, it holds on to you. I spent days with the phrase “party decay” echoing in my mind, amazed at how it perfectly describes the downhill turn of partygoers that have stayed too long and drunk too much.

But most of all, Heather makes you FEEL things. She makes you squirm with embarrassment or brings tears to your eyes. She shows you the broken pieces of the boy come home from war and the desperation of the girl who wants to escape a hard home life, she puts them on the page in a way that feels real and true.

I related to the characters in this story more than I wanted to, but in the end, I loved every second of it. I fell in love with Josh and Skylar.

To be honest, I’m already reading I’ll Meet You There for the second time.

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Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 23, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Margaret for signing up for New to You! I honestly can’t tell you what this book means to me so I’m truly happy you loved it too.

If you would like to follow Margaret on Twitter you can do so HERE.

My review of I’ll Meet You There. Also my styling of Skylar from the book.

Have you read I’ll Meet You There or is this your first time hearing about it?

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Review: The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. PearsonThe Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #3
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: August 2nd 2016
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four-stars

Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.

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

Truth…when I finished The Beauty of Darkness I kept tapping (I was reading on my iPad) for more pages. I was looking for more words; I was looking for the story to continue and sadly it was over. That’s the problem with the final book in a series, when it’s done it’s done and you’re left wanting more. Especially if it a series finale as good as Mary Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness.

This is probably the hardest book to review. It was so good and Mary did an amazing job connecting all three and that is where the problem is. All three books are so connected with tiny details and stories that it is hard to point out just what I loved most in BoD. I mean the first book, The Kiss of Deception, is built entirely on the audience not knowing which boy is which in Lia’s life. It’s hard because I can’t say which boy is my favorite and I can’t say what impact each have on Lia without giving it all away.

I guess what I can talk about was how Mary made me an emotional mess reading. Some of the story just gutted me and made me cry. It was so hard to read which is a testament to Pearson’s story telling. She really used everything she gave you in the first two books and interwove them into a final story in the life of these beloved characters. I was on the end of my seat, I was scared, I was sad, I was happy, I was swooning. I felt a plethora of emotions (Mary can attest to this because I was DMing her these feelings) and in the end I still want more. I want more of the side characters and I want more of the main characters and I just want more of all of their lives after everything that went down did.

This is probably the vaguest review I have ever written but it is truly for your benefit. Nothing in these books should be given away as it all unfolds beautifully and it is something you should enjoy while reading. If you haven’t started the series I insist you do and if you have then definitely finish it. You won’t be disappointed.

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