Book Review

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 305 pages
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected Release Date: November 19th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

NEEDED TO BE LONGER. NEEDED MORE CARDAN.

How do you start a review for a book you’ve been waiting for all year? Especially when you feel a bit let down by it? I’m not sure myself so be forewarned, this review might be interesting.

What I missed most was my sweet baby Cardan being snarky as all get out. I LOVE that I got to see a side of him that has been forthcoming throughout the previous books. He’s been changed by love and it’s an amazing character arc. Cardan lost some of his personality though and I missed his sass. You can be sassy and still in love! WHERE WAS HIS PAGE TIME TOO? Ugh. Halfway through and I had only seen him twice. I needed way more of him.

I also have thoughts about his story line that I wish I could convey, but I am not ruining it for anybody. So if you’ve read it and want to discuss please find me on Instagram! I will discuss his transformation all day.

Speaking of way more, this book was 300 pages barely. It was the shortest book in the series and it was a finale. Odd doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts when I brought this out of the package. Everything wrapped up so fast. The action did keep moving and there was a good flow. There were no deep connections to anything happening. I wanted to dive to another level and expand upon the world and scenes.

I did love seeing how love changed Jude too. Her thoughts and actions remained more like herself at least, but she also was way into Cardan. And I was way into them. Jude made me frustrated when she kept making obvious mistakes that I knew were only leading to the next plot move.

Overall series thoughts pretty much maintain themselves for me. I’ve never been a fanatic for these books, but they’ve been a good read. A solid YA fantasy that has enemies to lovers (the ultimate trope) and fae (the ultimate character).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a love scene with minimal detail
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, arrows, animal attacks, physical

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Expected Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 

SO REFRESHING.

I mean seriously. A romantic contemporary centered around a married couple? It’s a sub genre I didn’t know I needed, but now want entirely more of.

Gavin and Thea were so mesmerizing to watch. I read this book in under 24 hours because I truly could not put it down. I love how sweet Gavin was and how he truly wanted to make his marriage work.

Both Thea and Gavin enraged me at times with how stubborn and frustrating they were acting. While you’d think this would ruin the book, it doesn’t. This really made the characters real and human. Marriage is hard. Great, but hard. There’s so many layers to a marriage and what it takes to hold on when the best option truly seems like giving up. Mistakes were made on both sides and it took Gavin really diving into his backstory to convince Thea they both had more to give to their relationship.

Thea was the initial instigator in wanting a divorce and I love that this book had her perspective too. It took a lot of looking through her history and introspection for her to let go of her past. It’s hard to not allow past relationships and family dynamics play apart in your own life.

The book club was FANTASTIC. Oh my goodness, I loved it so much. They were such a random group of guys that all had this one connection, romance books. I love how they took Gavin in to their fold and helped him work through his issues. The dialogue and scenes with them had me laughing out loud. Actually laughing so much my husband asked what was so funny. They were the lighthearted and sincere group of friends that the book thrived off of.

My only issue was that the steaminess and language was a bit past my personal preference level. Language I can mostly overlook but I found myself skip/skimming over the steamy scenes because of the level of detail. The flirting and banter though? That was great and I could not stop reading during those scenes. Thea was so flustered with Gavin that it was absolutely precious.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a lot throughout
  • Romance: sexual banter, flirting, kisses, make-outs, detailed sex scenes
  • Violence: physical

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My TBR That I Predict Will Be 5 Star Reads

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Oh this is a good topic this week y’all. Though now I’m all up in arms that I don’t have any of these books yet. I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THESE BOOKS.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

IS IT ANY SURPRISE I HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS BOOK? Probably not. But the few lucky souls I’ve seen with an ARC have been singing its praises and I am here for MARCH.


Aurora Burning (Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

My babe is on the cover, SO OF COURSE I WILL LOVE THIS.


The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

I have been anxiously waiting for this finale since I finished The Kingdom of Copper last year. This finale is sure to be epic.


Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker

The moment I heard there was a sequel I squealed. I LOVED The Simple Wild and I have high hopes this sequel lives up to it.


The Stormlight Archive #4 by Brandon Sanderson

*anxiously awaiting a title and to know who Kaladin’s love interest will be*

AND IT COMES OUT ON MY BIRTHDAY.


The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

I have given everything Levenseller writes a 5*. I love her books. I am so excited this comes out SOOOOOOOON.


The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

I’ve already read The Bridge Kingdom twice and will read it a third time before reading this book. It is my top read of 2019. Clearly I’m anxious about book two.


Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

Since Amy Harmon can do no wrong, this historical fiction romance is sure to bring the tears and the stars.


Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

My friend got this for me for my birthday and I actually just picked it up a few nights ago. I have high hopes since this a favorite book of hers. I’m really curious how this story will play out!


Reign (Stormheart #3) by Cora Carmack

Admittedly, I didn’t love book two, buuuuuut I think the finale will have all of my attention. I have some really high hopes for a ship that I’m hoping will sail off into the sunset. And I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER.

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Maiden Ship (The Maiden Ship #1) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 348 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Self-published/Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: February 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

I WANT TO BE ON THE MAIDEN SHIP.

I really enjoyed this fantasy tale. It has whimsy, mystery, romance, and so much more. For a first book in a series it definitely kept me intrigued and interested in where this story goes next.

These characters were all amazing and so well thought out. I felt that by the end I had a good grasp of everyone and love them all. I liked the unique personalities and quirks that each one came with. One of my favorites was definitely Dain, the main POV. He was adorable, yet strong and had to go through some growing pains that really added to his arc. I think the next book will only add to his demeanor as he truly steps into the Captain position.

I’m also entirely obsessed with Mo. And Toff. And Sable. And Lydia. And Tars. And Casper. And Ileana. SEE. I JUST CAN’T CHOOSE. But really, Ileana’s background and story line have me totally enthralled. I love that her story is truly just beginning and that with the the help of The Maiden Ship, I’ll hopefully get to see a happily ever after.

The romance between Dain and Sable was sweet. I looooved the banter between them and how Dain blushed a thousand times over every time he saw Sable. They radiated passion and a true connection. They better be endgame because I am here for it.

There’s a great world set-up that combines memories of the past with the present to leave an unknown future that I NEED answers for. I felt the premise was unique and I looooove books that involve the sea. I find it only enhances everything as the ship travels from one location to the next. The expansion of this world and its politics and magic system (through the series) are only going to make it even better.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: flirting, kisses
  • Violence: creature attacks, magic, physical, swords

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 471 pages
Author: Kristen Britain
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: November 1st, 1998
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G’ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount’s neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a “life and death” message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission “for love of country.” As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”

Karigan’s promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

FOUND A NEW FANTASY SERIES TO READ.

Thanks to a library book sale I picked up the first three books in this series on a total whim of, I’ve heard of this before. And that’s it. All I knew was that it was a fantasy book with pretty good reviews.

I surprised myself by really enjoying it by the end. The first half was a bit slow. I know this is a long series so I understand needing to build-up and create a world. It just took longer than expected. Karigan was spending most of her time on the run and I was missing the bigger plot.

Once Karigan made it to her destination things escalated quickly. I love the devious nature of it all and that I didn’t even catch who the bad guy actually was! The magic system and politics of this world created some intense dynamics. The clashing of the brothers for wanting to be King, a fae trying to create a ghost army and Karigan just wanting to go home.

I love Karigan. I think she has some growing up to do (which is fine) but she was a spunky character I adored. I found her brave and bold and loyal to her family and who she was. I imagine a lot of great character growth for her in the coming books.

The only thing I felt it was missing was a bit of romance. There’s a tiny bit of maybe if I squint my eyes at the page something happening between her and a character, BUT I DON’T KNOW. I’m always looking for even a little romance so this should be no surprise that I wanted a bit more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, animal/creature attacks, murder
  • Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault, page 265: mention of an off screen rape (that a side character committed)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
Length: 372 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

HERE FOR FEMALE GLADIATORS.

I read this based off of a recommendation an old friend gave me. She reads a lot of the books I recommend and I wanted to do the same for her (since we have very similar tastes). Y’all, this was a great book! I’m so happy I picked this up and definitely want to read the next one.

The setting was off the charts. I am fascinated by the Roman Empire and its history. I haven’t come across many (if all, because I can only thing of Blood and Sand right now), that use Rome has a historical fiction setting. LOVE IT LOVE IT. I found the interweaving of real life people like Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to be thrilling. I personally didn’t know that there were even female gladiators to begin with! I enjoyed reading the little note at the end about some of the history Livingston found to add some background to these fierce ladies.

Romance was fine. That was probably the only downside to The Valiant. I thought it was starting off slow (which I’m totally cool with) because Cai wasn’t in the story that much. Then I realized…he’s really not in the story that much. Until the later second half of this book do we see him more consistently. Any interactions between Cai and Fallon are full speed ahead while I’m trying to catch up with if I even ship them or not. It left a bit to be desired, but I’m hopeful in the next book I’ll get a larger flourish of them together.

There was a twist or two I did see coming that didn’t ruin the plot for me. I actually liked where it went and how all of the information played into Fallon’s life. Fallon was an amazing heroine. Brave, a bit stubborn, loyal and real. I cheered for her in her battles and on and off the fields of battle.

I’m curious how everything will further unfold in the next book. Caesar and Cleopatra are definitely playing a part in it and I think that is so cool. I didn’t even know that they actually had a relationship until this book (and a bunch of Googling afterwards).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: gladiator battles, sword fighting, arrows; fairly bloody and gory
  • Trigger warnings: witnessing the loss of a loved one, slavery (Fallon is taken by a Roman slave trader and sold to a house for female gladiators)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

THIS WAS BETTER.

After the mostly disaster of Three Dark Crowns, I somehow convinced myself I wanted to see if book two actually got better (like a lot of my friends had mentioned). They were right, this was at least, better.

I thought the drama and stakes gained a couple of levels that kept me interested throughout the book. The writing is quick and fast paced with a continual flow of things happening.

Having a wicked character really helped too. Katharine hit a monstrous streak that I was here for. Sometimes it’s nice actually seeing some darkness from a book with dark in the title. I found it pretty creepy what had ended up happening to her to cause such a darkness and am curious how that will continual to fuel her decisions.

Arsinoe and Mirabella are fine. I like them and like that all of the queens have stand-out personalities. It would be a bummer if they all sounded and acted the same. There story line was infinitely different and now I have been dragged into wanting to see how book three and four play out. I kind of wish that one of the queens actually did die (maybe that’s coming?) because I feel like the character deaths that did happen weren’t earth-shattering. Honestly, I wasn’t even upset with the deaths.

The romances played a big part of the plot line still. While I felt I got more out of them because this was book two, it was still missing a lot of background information. I know very little about the suitors and I have been having a hard time connecting with any of these characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, a few fade to black with no detail
  • Violence: physical, animal attacks, poison, someone is choked to death

Instagram || Goodreads