Review: Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

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

Review: Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la CruzAlex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on April 11, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Though I haven’t seen Hamilton (yet), I’m a HUGE fan of Melissa de la Cruz and historical fiction. So this book has been on my radar for a LONG time – and it definitely didn’t disappoint! It was amazing, adorable and full of ships and feels!

I loved Eliza! She was defiant, feisty, sassy and snarky! I really loved how amused she was by her own efforts to rile Alex up. I completely cracked up during these scenes! One of my favorite quotes from her is this:

“She had to hand it to him. He was GOOD, this Alexander Hamilton. Under other circumstances, she might actually like him. But right now she had about seven more minutes of his time, and she was determined to make them as difficult as possible.”

Alex’s personality was so multi-faceted. On the one hand, he was this sweet-talker who charmed the ladies and “knows what he’s doing.” On the other, he was a gentleman who rattled SO easily, like when Eliza told him to watch where he put his hands and he stumbled over an apology. It made him really likable. Also, despite having not seen Hamilton on Broadway, I completely pictured Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hamilton the whole time I was reading!

I – obviously – 100% shipped Alex and Eliza right from the beginning. They were adorable together and they gave me SO MANY swoons and feels!

Another character I really loved was Aunt Gertrude!! She was pretty progressive, considering the time period she’s living in. I loved her fierce attitude and desire to protect and care for Eliza.

I really enjoyed the writing and atmosphere – though I fully expected to, since (as I mentioned) I adore Melissa de la Cruz. She always does an amazing job creating epic worlds and characters, and this book was no exception!

I definitely recommend this to fans of historical fiction, Melissa de la Cruz and Hamilton!


Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

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

Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Ring and the Crown #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 1, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only one rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.

The Ring and the Crown was one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. Before I picked it up, I was in a reading slump that began after I finished an incredible, heart-breaking book in early March. I only managed to read four books in March because of this reading slump and I feared it would never end. The Ring and the Crown completey blew me away and ended my reading slump.

This book was a perfect blend of historical fiction and fantasy. There was court intrigue, a season in London, beautiful ball gowns, romance and courting. But there was also magic. Though the historical fiction side of things was enough to pull me in (I love books set in this time period), the magic added something extra that really grabbed me and refused to let go.

There were a lot of characters introduced throughout the book, but they had such distinct voices, I never really felt confused as to who was who. My absolute favorite character was Ronan. Just two pages in to her story, and there was something about her that intrigued me. She was the outsider, the outcast American. She wasn’t always likable – she could be vain, shallow and a little bit snobby – but she was always relatable. She definitely experienced some growth and maturity from beginning to end, though I was really upset with how certain things turned out for her. I wanted her to have her happily ever after and, in some ways, she did still get it. She was smart and resilient and never backed down, no matter how many times she was pushed.

Another favorite of mine was Aelwyn. She was fascinating, willing to give up so many things so her friend could be free. The magic, the darkness within her, the conflict she felt, all added to her character and personality. And the twist at the end? Wow. I definitely would have liked to see her more in the story – Not that she wasn’t a prominent character, but I would have liked to learn more about her background and see more of her and her powers.

I wasn’t crazy about Isabelle at all. She did nothing for me, though I did feel bad for her and the way her story ended. And though the story centered on Marie, I found her to be boring and selfish in the beginning. I definitely feel that Marie had the most character growth of all the characters, though. As I said, she started off so selfish princess in the beginning and by the end, she was a selfless queen, accepting her destiny and her heritage.

I loved, loved, LOVED Wolf. So much! I could just sit here and fangirl over him because he was that awesome and swoon-worthy. I loved all the scenes with him and Ronan on the Saturnia. It reminded me of Jack and Rose in Titanic. It was just amazing and epic and.. Did I say amazing?

There are so many characters worthy of a mention, I could go on forever. But real quick, here are some characters worthy of an honorable mention: Gill was kind and his heart was in the right place, but his attitude at the end was selfish. I never trusted Leo, and with good reason! Louise… Oh, I can’t even… *Sniffles*. Archie and Perry were adorable and hilarious. Eleanor and Emrys creeped me out.

There were so many twists and turns in the end, I feel like I have whiplash! One twist after another, one shocking reveal after another. So many things I never saw coming! Not everyone got their Happily Ever After and I definitely had hoped for some different outcomes. But overall, though The Ring and the Crown didn’t end how I hoped it would, it was the perfect ending for this book and for the characters. Any other ending would have felt forced.

Melissa de la Cruz is amazing. I loved her Blue Bloods series and her Witches of East End series. With The Ring and the Crown, de la Cruz stepped up her game and wrote an incredible story that, I think, will touch many people. I HIGHLY recommend it!


Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz

Review: Frozen by Melissa de la CruzFrozen by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Heart of Dread #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on September 17, 2013
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

When I first picked this book up, I went into it knowing it had gotten a lot of bad reviews – Not all bad, but mostly bad. I’m a huge Melissa de la Cruz fan, though. I loved Blue Bloods and I REALLY love the Witches of East End books. Plus, the concept of Frozen was interesting. I wanted to like it! Unfortunately, I did not.

There was a lot of action in the beginning, which is normally good. Except it was all really confusing. It was like information overload, with no explanation at all. I was intrigued by the world and I wanted to know more, but I didn’t feel pulled in by the characters or story at all. And all this was only on page 33 of the book. So I pushed through, figuring it would get better.

And then I was 98 pages in and I STILL didn’t care about Wes or Nat (our two man characters. The story is told from each of their POV’s). I felt really detached from these characters and I really didn’t care about them, or what happened to them. I appreciated that they didn’t experience stereotypical “love at first sight.” They were both weary of each other and kept their distance. But I just didn’t care about them.

Also, at several points along their “journey” to find the Blue, Nat and Wes ran into “trouble.” Each situation was meant to be “really bad,” but the characters always seemed to get out of danger too easily. Nothing ever felt dire. I never felt afraid for them, because I knew they’d escape. There was just no sense of danger.

Nat’s “reveal” to the Wes’s crew felt anticlimatic, too. Of course, some of the characters freaked out and went crazy and Wes himself didn’t give a damn. It was just… I expected more drama, more… something. I kind of wanted Wes to be shocked and shun her for a day or two before coming to terms with it. Maybe that doesn’t fit his character’s personality.. I don’t know. But I wanted something more, and I didn’t get that something more.

There was a lot of filler and background in Frozen, and it’s very obvious the author(s) was setting it up for the second book. I know that’s necessary, but it felt like they put TOO much filler and background in.

The ending wasn’t terrible. A little cliche at some points, and totally not cliche at others. I still never saw that spark between Nat and Wes, and I still felt detached from them. The ending had some unexpected surprises that weren’t awful, and I’ll still be picking up the second book when it comes out, because now that the world has been “set” – for lack of a better word – I feel like it might pick up in book two and get interesting. I’m still a huge Melissa de la Cruz fan, and I’m willing to give Frozen #2 a shot!