Book Review

Book Review: The Traitor’s Ruin (The Traitor’s Circle #2) by Erin Beaty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Erin Beaty
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: July 10th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After proving her worth in book one as a deft spy and strategic matchmaker, Sage Fowler is now comfortably positioned in high society as the royal tutor. When she’s called upon to teach his majesty’s soldiers how to read and write, she jumps at the chance to serve her kingdom of Demora—and to be reunited with her fiancé, Captain Alex Quinn. 

During a skirmish, Sage and Alex are separated. She watches him die before he can deliver important military intel—or so she thinks. She escapes from the enemy and makes an unlikely alliance with a mysterious soldier from a third nation. As Sage tries to rally their support against a common foe, the important political alliance is plagued by secrets and betrayal. 

Can Sage complete Alex’s mission and save her kingdom once more?

The Traitor’s Kiss Review – ☆☆☆☆☆

Y’ALL I AM SMITTEN BY THIS SERIES.

Some books hit you at the right time, causing you to love them on an even grander scale than you thought you originally thought you might. This has been that case and I can NOT stop gushing about it.

Alex & Sage ARE LIFE. THEY ARE SO PRECIOUS AND I LOVE THEM. And I can’t stop using capitals. Bear with me. They’re so many emotions to express.

Oh how miscommunication wears on me in books. I didn’t hate the way this was done though. Alex was struggling through some PTSD-like emotions that were causing him to have a hard time coping. This lead to some issues with Sage that sent her into dangerous situations. While I am all over cheering Sage on, I was also like GIRL. STOP RUNNING TOWARDS DANGER. But she can handle herself, this is a favorite fact of mine. But really, once they started working together, magic happened. WHOOP.

The bad guy was kinda silly in this because he didn’t have the most villain-y reasons for battle and attempted kidnappings. The other political aspects were much more flourished and I loved getting to travel all of the map. It was amazing world-building full of getting to know other kingdoms, lands, and people.

One of my favorite tiny tidbits is that Alex actually shows emotion. He CRIES, and I want to cry with him. I always hate when guys think they’re too good to shed a few tears at truly awful situations. He cares so much and I feel that on every level.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little (I believe shoot was used once or twice)
  • Romance: lots of kissing and wanting each other
  • Violence: knives, fire, physical, battles, quicksand, torture, arrows

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Book Review

Book Review: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 662 pages
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: March 27th, 2007
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a novel that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. 

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS BOOK.

Okay, first I’m going to start out by mentioning that I started this book on Audible. This was my mistake. I still gave it four stars (when I was truly contemplating three) because I really enjoyed The Name of the Wind much more reading it. My library happened to have a digital copy so I downloaded that because it took me almost two months to listen to it. There was something about the way it was done that never clicked. I didn’t love the voices and couldn’t appreciate the characters.

Now that I chugged along twice as fast with reading it I appreciated the story as a whole so much more.

Kvothe is an interesting child. I’m actually annoyed that he’s so good at everything, but maybe that’s the point? I did find it amusing how poor he was with women. I mean, the book ends and he’s barely 15/16. IT TOOK 600+ PAGES TO GO THROUGH THIS MUCH OF HIS LIFE? Talk about a slow burn build of a fantasy.

Everything was definitely explained well. The world-building was fantastic. I loved the differing characters and the romanticism of the story. He’s the amazing, warrior, kingkiller and everyone wants to know the tale. Since Kvothe takes his dang sweet time, nothing is left out. I haven’t read a book where I truly felt nothing was left out.

The book picked up once Kvothe made it to the University. More and more continued to happen and a lot more webs were being weaved. Kvothe is pushed by one thing, and one thing alone (spoiler if I say more!). His sheer determined mindset had me hoping he would get his answers.

The only thing I stand wondering now is, do I want to read book two?

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult epic fantasy
  • Language: A little
  • Romance: a kiss or two
  • Violence: knives, killing creatures, poison, physical, whipping

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blog tour

Blog Tour Spotlight: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

Guess what books releases TOMORROW?

That’s right, Bright Burning Stars.Y’all this dark and intense book was so good. It’s full of ballet dancers, hard decisions, and dangerous passions. I truly recommend this for your TBR!

Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC and the opportunity to be apart of the Blog Tour.

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

Read my original review here!

BOOK SUMMARY:

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:

A.K. Small was born in Paris. At five years old, she began studying classical dance with the legendary Max Bozzoni, then later with Daniel Franck and Monique Arabian at the famous Academie Chaptal. At thirteen, she moved to the United States where she danced with the Pacific Northwest Ballet for one summer in Seattle and with the Richmond Ballet Student Company for several years. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary and has as MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her husband, her puppy, and her three daughters, and practices yoga. Bright Burning Stars is her first novel.

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Book Review

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Historical Fantasy
Length: 388 pages
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

WENT IN NERVOUS, WALKED OUT HAPPY.

I feel like the hype for this book was ALL OVER THE PLACE. I couldn’t scroll down my Instagram feed without seeing a photo and hearing about the hype. And because of that I instead let myself sit on it for a few months. Then, my library got a digital copy, nobody had it checked out so I gave it a chance. This turned out sooo much better than I thought and I found myself really loving it overall.

I was enraptured from the beginning with the historical aspects of everything. I LOVE HISTORICAL FANTASIES. It combines my two favorite genres into spell-binding stories. The setting was (Paris – 1889) unique from most books I’ve read. A lot of research went into this. So much research that at times I felt it was a bit dense. I couldn’t wrap my head around all of the mathematics problems throughout. The historical pieces were easy to follow, but hard to grasp all together. There was an intense amount of information thrown at you about how the world worked. It was substantially more than I bargained for which is why I settled on four stars. I didn’t think it needed everything it presented to still be stellar. Even more so, I still have no idea how the magic system fully works.

With all of those complications the way it was woven it was really cool. I was amazed at how the characters, organizations, and the world itself were put together. So while a bit of an enigma, also super fascinating and impressive. This was my first Chokshi book and I’m glad this was the one I picked up!

The characters though, what an amazing, diverse, witty group. I was nervous going in having heard that it’s similar to Leigh Bardugo’s, Six of Crows. Yes, the similarities are there, but each member of this family is vastly different. The representation in this book was incredible! It made the book stand out [in the best way]. I intensely loved watching all of their interactions with each other. This book was focused more on the heist and these friendships rather than relationships (but don’t you worry, some of that is in there too!). Fantastic banter that would make me smile and moments where I wanted to hug everyone brought this home for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, some tension, & remembering some dalliances
  • Violence: poison, physical, mental (through magic)
  • Trigger warnings: bullying, racism, child abuse

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Book Review

Book Review: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Contemporary New Adult Romance
Length: 388 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 7th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

THIS. WAS. STELLAR.

Tear-shedding (yes, one scene totally had me shedding a few tears), heart-stopping, and utterly devastating, this book took me to some high highs and some low lows. I’m still speechless thinking about it.

I started off really not loving Calla. She was materialistic, vain, selfish and more. I dearly hoped she would have a turn around in this book, and I’m so happy she did. Calla became more lovable as a character to me and all I wanted to do was give her a hug. She went through a lot in 400 pages.

The story itself, focusing a lot on her Dad left me crying y’all. I know I already mentioned it, BUT IT HAD TO BE SAID AGAIN. I don’t generally cry reading. Granted, it was 2 AM so being really tired probably contributed, but still. There was one scene in there that I *can’t* handle. I loved watched Wren and Calla figure out each other and actually open up. There wasn’t heavy drama between them. It really focused on remembering how important family is and soaking up any time you get to have them. The awkward first encounters turned into deep conversations where they had a chance to know about each other’s lives.

Now, we know I have to talk about the romance. OHEMGEE. Jonah. My rugged space cowboy Jonah. I was totally impressed with how this was done. There was so much angst I could barely stand it. It was amazing. Fantastic banter that left me chuckling (and a few good pranks that made me squeal). Sweet, loving moments where all the emotions came out. All of it. Tucker turned the span of a few weeks into this magical romance that makes me so happy I picked this book up.

While I still don’t want to fly on tiny planes. This book also gave me major wanderlust. I wanted to be in Alaska. Seeing these gorgeous sites in my mind wasn’t doing it justice. The beautiful writing made it feel like I was really in this small towns and rugged landscapes.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a mildly detailed love scene and others more glossed over
  • Violence: plane crash
  • Trigger warnings: divorce, terminal illness (cancer), loss of a loved one

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Adult fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Maxym M. Martineau
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Expected Release Date: June 25th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without. 

Thank you to the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the e-ARC and opportunity to review Kingdom of Exiles. All opinions are my own.

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME.

I dearly wanted to love this, the synopsis was interesting. I had read some good reviews, I was SET to love this…and then I didn’t. But I also didn’t hate it. So please take this review in that light.

First off, HIGH STAKES POKEMON. That is what thought popped in my head and I could not get it out. Leena (and other Charmers) charm these creatures into being their friend and staying with them. They use them for a handful of reasons and care for each other, so yes, if you are even a tiny bit of a Pokemon fan, you can’t miss the similarities. I actually really loved this. It was fun getting to see all of the creatures and I wish we could have learned more about them!

My biggest turn-off was the instant attraction. Noc is supposed to be an assassin after her, and literally after their first run in he’s forgotten that was his job. Immediately they both (dual POV) talk about how attractive, brave, etc. each other is and I didn’t have long enough to get behind their relationship so I felt like I was continually playing catch-up.

I liked the world-building. Maybe could have been more intricate though it was an enjoyable time as Leena, Noc + crew moved throughout the country to achieve plot goals. I really got a sense for the towns and the way most things worked. It’s an easy read overall and easy to keep going. I really loved the side characters that were with Noc (his other assassin friends). They were fun, had different personalities and forged great friendships with Leena.

As far as the plot goes, things were way too easy. For instance, this beast that Leena needed to catch to prove her innocence happened in a few paragraphs, and nothing even went wrong. There was so much build-up to how dangerous and deadly this could be…but it wasn’t. The same thing happened with Noc. His own personal issue was taken away from him so simply!? I actually doubted that it had happened because I thought there was no way it was that effortless.

I know it’s only book one, so I understand some things get left out for later installments. I was missing more backstory (and story in general), from everyone. Based off of how the story played out I believe this information is coming in book two. So while I was bummed, I get it. I also missed general explanations of some things that jumped out of nowhere.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy romance
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kisses make-outs, and [personally the only other thing I had trouble with and skipped over] a few way too explicitly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: physical, animals, poison, magic, knives, torture

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Book Review

Book Review: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction fantasy
Length: 533 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

THIS IS HOW TO START A SERIES.

Whoa, hot dang, THIS IS MY JAM. Magical fantasy historical fiction-ness? Y’all I CAN’T EVEN. I am an emotional wreck after consuming this and am so glad Fiction No Chaser’s review convinced me to read it.

YOU’VE READ THIS RIGHT? If not, I recommend with my entire bookish soul. I feel that should be the end of this review, but also, let me throw out some more pieces to love.

This world-building was *in sing-song voice* faaaaabulous. I was there. I also love books with djinn in them, so I should have expected this to be a winner from the synopsis. This book kept a beautiful pace of slow, to action, and round again that kept me wanting to flip pages even during the “slower” sections.

Nahri is the heroine I didn’t know I had been missing in my fantasy reads lately. Girl is stubborn, feisty, full of self-preservation (that will leave her enemies, IN RUINS, mark my words) and crazy intuitive. She is brilliant and kept me on my toes because she actually made good choices in bad situations. I also love that Nahri wasn’t a damsel in distress. Even better, she actually sucked at what she was supposed to be great doing. Why is this better? Because I personally can’t stand it when a character is all of a sudden great at every little thing. That’s not realistic. You gotta work for it.

I don’t even know where I stand on the romance aspect. I will say, I LOVE Dara. What a great character. A 1400+ year-old Daeva (djinn) who has fears (like water), and is so hardened by his past that he’s become a biiiit jaded. He’s also on occasion, not the nicest, and has some things to work through (let me help you Dara…). I could not get enough of him. He is so dynamic. Dara is swiping weapons and destroying people in one breath, and following around Nahri like a love-lorn creature AND I AM HERE FOR IT. I have no idea where this lands me for book two. Stay tuned.

Ali. I don’t know where I stand on this guy. He’s conniving, yet caring. And for the life of me WHAT SIDE ARE YOU ON? I need to know. Prince Ali will ruin me, I can almost guarantee it. At least, if Dara doesn’t first. All of his sly moves are driving me batty and I love it. I love it.

Shout-out appreciation moment for some side characters. These were well built in their own right. Especially King Ghassan. I flippin’ thought he was fantastic. He has so many plans and I want to know them all. The King wasn’t one-sided and gave a lot more to the story as a whole. And really helped build the political back-drop for The City of Brass. Also, Jamshid. He needs a bigger spotlight, because I will do anything to make sure he’s happy. I want to tell you more, but because I’m a spoiler-free review type, I digress. But trust me, you’ll love him too.

The twists and turns and the intense history lesson I got from this book has me waiting at my door for The Kingdom of Copper to arrive. If you even *like* fantasy I would highly consider picking this up. It was amazing.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fantasy
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, magic, poison, animal mauling, very descriptive in the amount of blood/gore

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