Book Review

Book Review: Bonded Fate (Guardians of the Maiden #2) by Beck Michaels

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 531 pages
Author: Beck Michaels
Publisher: Pluma Press
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Joined by blood. Bound by destiny.

The stakes are higher, new questions will surface, and more blood will spill in the thrilling sequel of the Guardians of the Maiden fantasy series.

Reeling from Cassiel’s confession, Dyna struggles to understand what the Blood Bond means for them both, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a newfound enemy. When reuniting with a familiar sorceress, she realizes the only way to defeat Tarn is to find her Guardians—all of them.

Cassiel never meant to tie himself to a human, especially one that inexplicably draws him. But then the bond develops a startling change, and it puts into question everything he thought he knew.

Zev straddles the line between human and wolf, unsure if his dark thoughts truly belong to the Madness. It’s growing stronger, determined to take over—and he may just let it.

The journey to get the answers they each need will test them all. But what Dyna doesn’t know is that it comes with a price, and it may cost more than she bargained for.

DID ANYTHING HAPPEN?

I wanted to love this more, BUT I’m still planning on moving forward with book three so all hope is not lost. I mostly feel like not that much actually happened? The crew kept getting attacked, but made no actual progress on their journey.

What did progress were some romantic plotlines, YAY. I did love those and am in love with all things Cassiel. Dyna, eh. She’s just not the heroine I’m here for [yet]. I will give her credit for making some progress. Dyna is a bit whiny and naïve about way too much, buuuut she did take the time to grow some necessary skills in magic/weaponry and practices moves us forward y’all. They’re relationship is all things I love about fantasy romance and I am here for more of it allllllll.

I love all of these points of view. It feels very epic fantasy with many characters and moving parts. I think [hope] a lot of the smaller things that happened here are precursors to the wild amount of things that can happen in book three.

The depth of the villain is starting to show and his buddy Von. I love that we get to see there side of the story too and needless to say, I’m cautiously excited to see where this moves to next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: servitude, physical and magical weaponry, suicidal ideation, grief, PTSD, near death experiences

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2023

ALL THE BOOKS. I had a SUPER great reading month (mostly because I reread all of Mary E. Pearson’s books and they are top level). And I ALMOST made it through the month without a two star (but End of Story gets to hold that prize).

Favorite Books

  • Eloise and the Grump Next Door
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea
  • Divine Rivals
  • Dragonfire
  • Whispers of You
  • The Love Wager
  • Speechless
  • Dance of Thieves & Vow of Thieves
  • Wildheart
  • The Remnant Chronicles
  • Merritt and Her Childhood Crush
  • The Buy-In

Least Favorite

  • The Realm of Oblivion
  • End of Story
  • The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3) by Elise Kova
  • The Sisters of Sea View (On Devonshire Shores #1) by Julie Klassen
  • [ALC] Eloise and the Grump Next Door (Oakley Island Romcom #1) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Angels of the Resistance by Noelle Salazar
  • The Earl’s Hideaway, No Ladies Allowed (Romance of Rank #2) by Esther Hatch
  • The Mobster’s Daughter by Rachel Scott McDaniel
  • A Fire Endless (Elements of Cadence #2) by Rebecca Ross
  • Stellarlune (Keeper of the Lost Cities #9) by Shannon Messenger
  • [ARC] Divine Rivals (Iris at the Front #1) by Rebecca Ross
  • A Deal with the Devil (The Devils #1) by Elizabeth O’Roark
  • The Stolen Heir (The Stolen Heir Duology #1) by Holly Black
  • Dragonfire (The Starchaser Saga #6) by Renee Dugan
  • [ARC/ALC] Whispers of You (The Lost & Found #1) by Catherine Cowles
  • [ARC] The Love Wager (Mr. Wrong Number #2) by Lynn Painter
  • The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time #5) by Robert Jordan
  • [Novella] Move It or Lose It (Love Mishaps #3) by Gracie Ruth Mitchell
  • Speechless by Lindsey Lanza
  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
  • [Non-Fiction] Flight of Gold by Kevin A. McGregor
  • [Reread] Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary E. Pearson
  • Wildheart (The Starchaser Saga #7) by Renee Dugan
  • [Reread] The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
  • [ARC] Stars and Smoke (Stars and Smoke #1) by Marie Lu
  • [ARC] This Dark Alliance (The Curse of the Blessed #1) by Renee Dugan
  • Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman
  • [Reread] Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #2) by Mary E. Pearson
  • [Reread]The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Chemistry of Love by Sariah Wilson
  • [ARC] The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton
  • The Realm of Oblivion by Marae Good
  • [Reread] The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson
  • What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green #5) by Julie Anne Long
  • [ARC] Merritt and Her Childhood Crush (Oakley Island Romcom #2) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • [Gifted/ARC] A Match in the Making (The Matchmakers #1) by Jen Turano
  • [Reread/ALC] The Buy-In (Graham Brothers #1) by Emma St. Clair
  • [Gifted/ARC] End of Story by Kylie Scott
  • Maidens of Candlelight and Lotuses (The Zheninghai Chronicles #0) by Anastasis Blythe
  • To Catch a Suitor (Dalton Family #2) by Sarah Adams
  • [Gifted] Hearts of Steel (The Blackstone Legacy #3) by Elizabeth Camden
  • House of Pounding Hearts (The Kingdom of Crows #2) by Olivia Wildenstein
  • Regrets Only by Kieran Scott

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Book Review

Book Review: Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily J. Taylor
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: April 5th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For fans of Caraval and The Night Circus, this decadent and darkly enchanting YA fantasy, set against the backdrop of a Belle Époque-inspired hotel, follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.

All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.

The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel—appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.

With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.

PRETTY GOOD.

I think I enjoyed this a lot more than I might have because I listened to it on audio (and thus, listened to it at a faster speed than I would have reading).

The magical hotel trope has swung around again, and this was a good rendition. I liked the main character and her fierce loyalty and love for her sister. There’s a good dash of mystery as the hotel’s story unravels. I thought the magic system fit well into the overall plot, but I wish there was so more world building outside of the hotel.

There’s a little sub plot of romance throughout and that was sweet. It didn’t overshadow Jani’s main goals, but Bel was a good guide post to help her figure some things out. The villain was kind of weak, or I guess I’d say, typical.

Things wrapped up quickly at the end and I consider it a good read for those who want The Night Circus vibes, but make it young adult. Or those wanting Caraval vibes but shoved into a standalone.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, forced loss of memory, magical altercations, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 483 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Dragonsteel Entertainment
Release Date: January 1st, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

#1 New York Times Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings us deeper into the Cosmere universe with a rollicking, riveting tale that will appeal to fans of The Princess Bride.

The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?

FASCINATINGLY GOOD.

I mean, was I expecting anything less? NOPE.

I absolutely loved this. I felt like I was completely immersed in these characters, the story, plot, everything. Having Hoid as the narrator was the perfect dose of wit and spunk that carried everything else along. There was great social commentary that fit in well within the fantasy background and a lot of nods to self-worth and coming of age. I flat out laughed multiple times because the jokes just landed with all of the charm Hoid has.

The story was full of action and heart. I felt like it had a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean vibes with a Cosmere twist. I adored the diverse side characters and the found family that Tress and them became. It was whimsical yet intense and I was on the edge of my seat often.

I loooved the twists and the ending was fantastic. There’s so many little pieces in here that I could talk about (but won’t because spoilers) that really made this entire read. Sanderson crafts books like no others. You’ll love Tress’s character arc and the journey she goes on.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: near death experiences, physical and magical altercations, weapons violence

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