Book Review

Book Review: Talon the Black (The Dragonwall Saga #1) by Melissa Mitchell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 715 pages
Author: Melissa Mitchell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 28th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What would you do if a dragon fell from the sky? Claire Evans is a small-towner from Indiana faced with this exact situation. When a dragon crash-lands in her corn field, she goes gallivanting off to find it.

This incident triggers a chain of events that sweep our heroine into a complicated plot to destroy a kingdom. At the heart of it is a powerful sorcerer whose only desire is to bring about a past long forgotten, a past that favors those of magical blood and condemns those who are not worthy, a past that would result in the annihilation of peace and the deaths of many.

Claire finds herself thrust into an old fashioned world liken to those she’s grown up reading about, one of fantasy and intrigue. There, she soon realizes that a lifetime of books hardly prepared her. She must face difficulties never before confronted, and in so doing, discover secrets about herself. All the while, there is one obstacle that ultimately stands in her way: The King of Dragonwall. And she needs him on her side if she is to succeed. Will such a thing be possible?

The King of Dragonwall is not like those before him. Troubled and temperamental, he is scarred by more than the events that shaped him. Worst of all, he is mateless. With no queen and no heir, his subjects are demanding he abandon tradition and marry into nobility. But with the rising threats upon his borders, goblin unrest to the east, and talk of an even darker terror to the north, he will soon have far greater problems than that of finding a wife.

Modern meets medieval in this first installment of The Dragonwall Saga, which is full of magical creatures and adventure. In addition, there are a variety of interesting characters, and even a dose of romance.

THE BONES WERE GOOD.

I read this because my sister had recommend it to me, and I love her dearly, but this wasn’t my favorite. Let me give you a quote that accurately describes my experience.

“Where was her plot? What was her purpose? Which path was she supposed to follow?”

I MEAN SAME GIRL. The MAIN CHARACTER, Claire said this. And that is the epitome of this story. Take out about 300 pages (no really, this massive thing is 700ish) and THEN we would’ve had a pretty decent book. The plot jumped allllll over the place. Random character POV chapters, with their own lines that I couldn’t bother to pay attention too. Claire herself was on some kind of adventure. Did I know exactly what that was? Not really. Save the land, be the “chosen one,” the typical stuff was all I gathered.

I was hoping for more romance as well. Nothing crazy, but our two love interests meeting after 350 pages? Not quite what I had in mind. There were some relationships between other characters on the side, but since I knew next to nothing about them I was confused as to why they even liked each other.

Y’all are clearly seeing my issues here. What I gathered from the book is that the bones of the story were good. I could see vaguely how this could honestly be a good book. I mean, there’s DRAGONS everywhere. That was a big reason I picked it up in the first place. I’m holding off on the second book right now, but you never know. I might pick it back up.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + some romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: some small battles, physical, poison

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Megan Walker
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.

Thank you to the publisher, and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

WELL THIS WAS PRECIOUS.

Thanks to a lucky moment seeing a friends post saying she read and loved this, a Netgalley request that went through, and a feeling for a clean and sweet regency romance and here we are! I adored this book and love this feel good romance.

What I noticed at times was the tiny tidbits I recognized from Pride and Prejudice (I am a BIG fan of that book/movie). This wasn’t a bad thing at all to me because the story was wholly it’s own. I enjoyed seeing these moments and the vibe of this plot was perfectly set up for England 1820.

I didn’t know how smitten I was going to be with the romance at first. I thought it felt at bit insta-ish and it took me a little to grasp onto it. Once I did though, oh. I was smitten with Peter. SO PRECIOUS. I loved the banter between them and the enemies to lovers moments were on point. Amelia and Peter were just the cutest pair you guys.

It was crafty to have this book set-up over a two week time span. I liked that each day was something different and unique for the characters to interact with. It didn’t feel stagnant keeping the location at essentially one home. There was even some drama that never felt over the top (okay, maybe a little, ONLY because this is a regency time period so things that are no big deal now were a big deal then). I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more books from this author!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses

Instagram || Goodreads

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: March 2020

Does March feel like it’s been going on forever? Even more than January? While practicing social distancing for the last 2+ weeks, I honestly haven’t seen the inside of anything but my house. Hence, a lot of reading happened.

A lot.

I broke my monthly record and it 26 books in never-ending March. Unfortunately, I also dolled out more 2 stars than I ever have too. But you win some, you lose some! Still plenty of good reads.

My favorites this month: House of Earth and Blood (NO SURPRISE), Undercover Bromance, Dragonfly in Amber, Until it Fades, The Giver of Stars, A Voice in the Wind, and Aurora Rising.

My least favorites this month: Five Dark Fates, Lucky Caller, Of Curses and Kisses and The Stars We Steal

Reviews will be out in the coming months!

  • [ARC] A Temporary Boyfriend (The Fake Love Series #2) by Summer Dowell – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers #2) by Nicki Pau Preto – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Harvest (Call of the Sirens #1) by K.B. Benson – (☆☆☆)
  • House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • On the Fence by Kasie West – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Lucky Caller by Emma Mills – (☆☆)
  • Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon – (☆☆)
  • More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Don’t Go Stealing My Heart by Kelly Siskind – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [Re-read] Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Neighbors Like That (A Love Like This #1) by Carina Taylor – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur – (☆☆☆)
  • The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Dreamland by Sarah Dessen – (☆☆☆☆)

How did your month of reading go? Did we read any of the same books? Lets talk in the comments!

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 544 pages
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own.

TRUE TO ITS NATURE.

I should first acknowledge, will I read this third book? YES. While Ruthless Gods let me down a bit (and was way too long), there is still enough in here for me to need a conclusion to this wicked tale.

The desperation and darkness that leaked from these pages was astounding. This isn’t some cute fairytale y’all. This will hurt your soul most of the time and leave you questioning if a happy ending is ever possible. And honestly, I’M NOT SURE THAT IT IS. The scope of what someone is willing to do for love of country, and person pushed boundaries that left me reeling by the end. I was pulled in from the beginning, the middle definitely dragged on way too long, and then the ending gave me a interesting enough conclusion that I know I want more. This was a big case of book two syndrome.

This was reallllll creepy and realllll bloody. Every time Malachiasz showed his truly monstrous self I cringed because the mental picture is WEIRD Y’ALL. My boy Malachiasz was *almost* everything I needed him to be. I felt we were missing a chunk of his personality that didn’t come out until the very end. I wanted more heavily wicked banter and more intriguing moments with Nadya. I love this wicked cinnamon roll though and wonder what he’s planning next, because I know it’ll destroy my soul.

Serefin and Kacper. Saw it coming. LOVE IT. And that is about the only tiny moment of happiness Serefin saw this entire book (I told y’all, nothing good happens in Ruthless Gods). His continual battle with a god was intriguing, but here is my real gripe from the whole book; There were way too many visions and flashbacks. They often confused me because the segue into them was abrupt to the story.

My complaint from Wicked Saints was that Nadya wasn’t nefarious enough. She did up her ante in this installment!! YAY. I loved seeing her wield some dark magic and fight her demons. What I didn’t love was how wishy-washy she was about her relationship with Malachiasz. I get that it’s supposed to be this push and pull because he’s wicked, cool. BUT FOR REAL. I had a hard time getting on board with how often Nadya was flip-flopping and using pages to be a bit melodramatic about it all. I think some COMMUNICATION would solve most of these issues, it’s not even a matter of who’s wicked enough, it’s a matter of flat out talking to someone.

While I did enjoy the writing, some scene changes and chapter turnover was not in any sort of flow. It felt like small scenes were being jumped over and I was being tossed into the *next big thing* when I would have liked a bit more movement between scenes. I really loved the last 100 pages and am very curious about the last book. How the gods will play a role, what will happen between the countries, who is going to betray who last, SO MANY QUESTIONS. It’ll be a showstopper I’m sure.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little, in the second half of the book
  • Romance: a few kisses/make-outs, one almost scene that has a little heat
  • Violence: everything is bloody and gory y’all; murder, knives, magic, monsters, it’s all here
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, self-mutilation through cutting (for use of blood magic), self-mutilation through removing an eye

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Veins of Magic (The Otherworld #2) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy retelling + romance
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The conclusion of Heart of the Fae, where Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology.

Once upon a time…

Heartache dogs the steps of Sorcha of Ui Neill. Although she is home with her family, she is unable to shake the memories of her time in Hy-brasil. She heals with a heavy heart, tells stories with melancholy words, and cannot forget the magic of the Otherworld. When an opportunity arises to return to her beloved Fae Prince, she makes a questionable deal. Dark magic, druidic curses, and a witch open a portal and send her tumbling into the middle of a war she must end for the sake of all who dwell in the Otherworld.

Saving the faeries will not be easy when she has become a woman they fear.

The once banished king battles his way through the Otherworld, freeing the Lesser Fae with each swing of his sword. Each attack turns Eamonn into something far more beastly than before. Geodes multiply and hinder his movements, harden his heart, and crystalize his resolve.

Together, they face the King of the Seelie Fae and his golden army to end the war that will change the fate of the Otherworld forever.

SUCH A GOOD RETELLING.

Oh what a magical and great ending to this duology. A great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I love seeing the parallels between the two of them. This of course added a lot more to it and made the story adult (in a good way).

I absolutely loved Sorcha. LOVED HER. She was so brave and courageous. Bold and brash. Didn’t take anything from Eamonn and I absolutely was all for how she handled each situation that came her way. Sorcha always knew what she wanted and who she loved. She really held this book. Though, for real, I LOVE Eamonn too. I loved the way that he acknowledged his mistakes. How much he truly loved Sorcha and actually listened to her. What a power couple they were! Long may they reign.

This book dove much deeper into the backgrounds of the fae life and the stories behind why Eamonn and his brother were in the tides of war against one another. It really made the conflict stand out and made this book more a larger impact.

There were definitely a couple of heart stopping moments where I actually didn’t know how it was going to end. It kept me on my toes and the action moments balanced well with the romance and tenderness between Eamonn and Sorcha. I can’t wait to read the other books in this universe!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a few mildly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: battles, swords, physical

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: East (East #1) by Edith Pattou

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + retelling + romance
Length: 507 pages
Author: Edith Pattou
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 1st, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Rose has always been different.

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home… but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it–in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family–she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart– and finds her purpose–and realizes her journey has only just begun.

REALLY WHIMSICAL.

This book screamed a very whimsy fantasy. A simple and sweet retelling of a Nordic fairytale. I’ve seen that a lot of people mention that they read this as a child (where have I been??) and I’m grateful that I’ve had a chance to read this now! I definitely can’t wait to pick up the next book.

I love how fast this was to read. It was written in multi-POV chapters that were usually on the shorter side. It made for fast flipping where you couldn’t even tell that it’s an almost 500 page read. I never felt like things were left about with the constant switching of characters. It really rounded out the three areas of this tale and made it all the more magical.

The romance between the bear [obviously he doesn’t stay that way], and Rose was incredibly sweet. The bonds they grew by having to communicate in unique ways had just the right flair of romanticism. I like that it never came off like it was overtaking the story and rather wove into Rose’s sense of adventure.

Rose was full of wanderlust and a desire to right her accidental wrongs. I loved her spirit and vibrancy. The way she helped her family and the polar bear had me cheering her on. She was an easy character to love.

All of the characters were well developed and multi-layered. I even found myself sympathetic to the villain. I love the way the conclusion wrapped up and gave the ending a happily every after AND a bittersweet moment as well. This book was magical and fantastical. And appropriate for the younger YA audience as well.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + retelling + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: nothing intensely graphic or gory

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

COHO FOREVER.

I can’t think of a book by Colleen Hoover that doesn’t leave me emotionally distraught but also handing out 5 stars like it’s a meteor shower. I LOVE HER BOOKS. This a back list title of hers I happened to see at a used bookstore and I snatched it so fast and read it even quicker.

The way this romance is written in short time period, and yet feels like the best slow burn makes this book. I love being taken on a journey with these characters and feeling the intensity of their choices and situations.

I can never imagine how more tragic these stories can get until it happens. And yet, it never feels dramatic. There’s such a sense of real life and knowing these characters that make me love this story. Everything feels authentic and honest and I mesmerizingly read this in one sitting because I needed Auburn to have a happy ending at last.

Owen is another enigmatic and swoon worthy romantic interest. He’s filled with such longing for his own happy ending and struggling to cope with his own past. Auburn was intensely brave and an incredibly strong woman. Their connection and drive on their own was amazing, put them together and it’s dynamite.

I feel like I’m struggling to put this review into something fully legible. I JUST LOVE COHO BOOKS. The power and rawness of each story captures me and forces me to think. The ability to create these situations and not make it feel cheesy is the reason I love to read her books. This was another winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: throughout
  • Romance: a mildly detailed scene, a FTB scene
  • Violence: discussion of car wreck
  • Trigger warnings: arrest for possession, pain pill addiction, an abusive relationship (physical, emotional, manipulative and sexual), attempted sexual assault

Instagram || Goodreads