Mundie Moms

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: The Essence by Kimberly Derting

By: Kimberly Derting
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: December 1st, 2013
Series: A Pledge Novel #2
Source: purchased
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

“Danger, dread, mystery, and romance” (Booklist) continue in the second book of The Pledge trilogy, as Charlie’s reign is under siege from the most unusual of enemies.

At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within. -quoted from Goodreads

I fell in love with this enticing dystopian/fantasy world with The Pledge. I loved that book, and I've been eager ever since I finished it to read The Essence. This book did not disappoint. The Essence picks up literally were The Pledge leaves off. There is plenty of danger, action, betrayal, crazy twists, and a romance that I just love. Despite my not re-reading The Pledge prior to picking this book up, it only took me a couple pages to remember everything that had previously happened. Once I remembered it didn't take me long to become full engaged with this storyline. 

Now that Charlie is Queen, she is trying to make right the things that have been wrong with her kingdom. Which is proving to be no easy task. There's a lot of unrest and one shocking betrayal that comes out of the new changes. Though Charlie's life is threatened and there's an assign stalking her every move, she's determined as ever to rule as Queen, and win the inner battle she fights every day with Queen Sabara's Essence, which is proving to be no easy task. After all it's hard to fight a battle you're keeping hidden from everyone around you. It's during this time and her preparation to attend the Queen's Summit that I got to see a surprising side of Charlie. Despite her strong determination, and her toughness, I liked seeing this much more vulnerable side to her. It wasn't something I was excepting, but it was something that fit given all she deals with in this storyline. Having said that, Charlie proves she's tougher than ever with all that happens. 

I like that it's not just Charlie who feels more mature and grown up in this story line, but the other characters as well. I liked that Charlie isn't the only point of view in this story line. We also get Brooklyn and the Assigns's point of view. Each of these view points only added to Kimberly's vivid story telling. I love how she has this ability to just pull me into what ever story she's telling. Like The Pledge and the Body Finder series, I find myself hooked and unable to stop reading until I finish the book. There's this richness that doesn't just have to do with the world building, but with the way the story is told that I find addicting. Kimberly's writing is engaging and hooks me. I feel like I'm in the story experiencing the excitement of a new adventure, the danger that lurks around every corner in the Castle or bend in the road, and feeling the emotions that come from some of the heart pounding scenes in the book. 

Talk about heart pounding, there are some crazy twists in this story I wasn't excepting. There are new characters, and one who poses a serious threat to Charlie and her battle with Sabara's Essence. That's just say I was not excepting this to happen! Speaking of Sabara's Essence, I am amazed at how strong Charlie's will power is in this story. There are some things she/Sabara do that I gasped at, and did not except, but with the way the story is told I felt like I understood Charlie more, and it made me sympathize with the slip in her resolve. I felt like each of the events in The Essence had a purpose in the over all storyline, and each action made sense when it was happening, even though some were a bit shocking. Let's just say magic, love, and the battle for power play a role in a shocking turn of events. 

The mythology gets richer, the world proves to be more dangerous and actions that happen in this story change a few closely guarded relationships. The one sure, constant in this story is the relationship between Max and Charlie. I love their swoon worthy relationship! There was a moment I felt like their relationship was going to take a turn for the worse, but Max proves why he's one of my favorite "knight in shining" armor. *sigh* Though I didn't love this book as much as I loved The Pledge, but I still enjoyed the time I spent reading it. There was just something missing from it, and I can't even tell you what that was, but I will say I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I'd definitely recommend picking it up! Now I can't wait for the next installment. 

2012 Reading Challenge Wrap Up / 2013 Reading Challenges

I love taking part in reading challenges, and I've done so since 2010. Each year I've tried to beat the previous year's goals, though this year that didn't happen. However, I did accomplish my reading goals. In 2012 I read at total of 267 books, accomplishing my over all reading goal of 222. 220 were YA/MG books (I set a goal of 150) and 75 were debut author books. Those numbers are much smaller than they were the previous year, but with all that was going on this year I'm excited to have read that many books. I'm hoping to read a few more than that this year, so we'll see what happens. 

There are a lot of great challenges going on this year that I'd love to take part in, but one of my goals this year is to simplify. If I took part in every reading challenge I wanted to, I wouldn't be simplifying, so I'm keeping with two challenges I've been doing which are Twilight Moms 100 Books Challenge and the Debut Author Challenge. 

I set my goal of 222 books last year and was surprised to accomplish my goal by reading 267 books over all. I feel lamo for such a small number considering in 2011 I read a total of 405 books and had a goal of 250. This year I'm going with the same as last year's goal and shooting for 222. This year another goal of mine is to incorporate more ebooks and audiobooks into my reading time. 

I love this challenge! Twilight Moms originally started, and now Eve's Fan Garden has taken it over. The goal is to read 100 different books, and 50 of those books have to be by different authors. Last year's goal was 150, and I read 220. This year's goal is 175. Even though I beat last year's goal I've got a lot going on outside of blogging and I'm hoping I can get to 175. If I were being honest my TBR list exceeds this number, and I lived in a reading fantasy world I'd be able to read complete TBR list this year. #notgoingtohappen

This is another challenge I love and have taken part in for the past few years. The Story Siren had been running it, but this year Hobbitsies is! You can sign up here. Each year the debut author list gets better and better. I had hoped to read 50 last year and ended up reading 75, which was fewer than the previous year. This year I'm aiming to hit 25. Again, a lower number, but there's a ton going on this year and I want to set a reasonable goal. Here's to an awesome debut challenge year!

What are some reading challenges you're looking forward to taking part in this year? 

2013 Debut Author Challenge

It's a whole new year and time for a whole new debut challenge. I'm excited for the releases this year, and I've complied a list of some of the debs I'm hoping to read this year. I'm challenging myself to read at least 25 debuts this year. That's much smaller than the past three years I've done this, but in reality I'm not sure I'll be able to get to more than that, though I hope I can. Here are some of the debuts I'm looking forward to reading: *I'll be adding more to the list soon*


  1. Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard
  3. The Cadet of Tildor by Alex LIdell
  4. Prophecy by Ellen Oh
  5. Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
  6. The Madman's Daughter
  7. Touch of Death by Kelley Hashway
  8. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans



  1. Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
  2. Mile 2.0
  3. The Collector by Victoria Scott
  4. Poison by Bridget Zinn
  5. The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
  6. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson










* Need to add to the calendar*

  • City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
  • Altered by Jennifer Rush
  • My Sister's Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer
  • Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey
  • Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
  • Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed
  • The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
  • Prophecy of Oz by Megan Shan
  • A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso
  • Praefatio by Georgia McBride
  • Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Lisel Shurtliff

2013 Reading Challenge: 100 Book Reading Challenge

This is one of my favorite reading challenges! I've been doing this challenge since 2009, which was started by a few friends of mine, and each year gets more and more fun and challenging. Though Twilight Moms isn't really hosting it anymore, my friends over at Eve's Fan Garden are. Same great friends, new website name. The rules are simple- you commit to read 100 books over the year. You have to read books from at least 50 different authors. That's it! Want to join in? Go here & sign up. 

Here's my 2013 reading list: (which will be added to as I read/review each book)

  1. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
  2. The Essence by Kimberly Derting
  3. Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder