Book Review

Book Review: Belladonna (Belladonna #1) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Upper YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

Yess. This was everything I wash hoping it would be!! I loved the way the story was written. I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK.

We’ve got to talk about the romance first. Because it was glorious. I looooved Signa and Death’s push and pull. They had chemistry from the get go and perfectly placed banter. Every time he said little bird I MELTED. Give me all of them. I of course would have loved even more romance but I imagine that’s coming and I will impatiently wait for more.

The murder mystery was well crafted too. I tried not to make to many theories because I love being in the dark when I’m loving a read. It made it all the more fun when the answers started coming out and the darkness of others was brought to light. The plot had great pacing and I really couldn’t have asked for more.

It totally lived up to my expectations.

Overall audience notes:

  • Upper YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one vague open door
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, poisoning, near death situations

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Book Review

Book Review: All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: February 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.

No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

CAN I JOIN THE KEEL HAUL?

I looooved this. Sometimes the second book in a duology fails me, TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. I had such a great time reading All the Tides of Fate.

I’m absolutely in love with this entire crew. Bastian, that roguish pirate has my whole heart. HE’S SUCH A CINNAMON ROLL. Ohemgee, let me love him. Good thing Amora got it together in that regard. Also, Vataea, that mermaid is the most bada** one I’ve come across in books lately. Wow do I want to be her. And we have Shanty and Ferrick who round out one of my favorite found family/close friend groups. Seriously couldn’t get enough of them, even when it ’bout brought me to tears in the end.

I loved the pacing of this story. It moved quickly, but I felt each location had enough happening and didn’t feel rushed. I liked the premise of trying to break the curse and recovering from a devastating loss. Amora worked so hard to find a way to be helpful to her kingdom and to ultimately see what needed to be done to accomplish that goal. I loved her as a main character. Her wit and strength and the way she learned to lean on others makers her a favorite of mine.

Frankly I would have loved even more books in this series, so I’m definitely excited to see what this author writes next. It was a wonderful duology. I loved the world-building with all of the different islands and how the magic system was explained. I didn’t find anything confusing and just loved how great of a young adult fantasy series this was.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; one slightly open door scene
  • Violence: magic system used blood/skin/bones, many character deaths, murder
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, depictions of PTSD and panic attacks, depictions of grief

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Book Review

Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

A SOLID DEBUT.

I sat on buying this book for awhile, but I finally convinced myself that this was going to be a good read and that I would want the sequel. Hallelujah, I WAS RIGHT.

This was a beautiful debut that had all the hallmark notes that I love about YA fantasy. Daring action and adventure, a sweet romance, a sassy crew and a villain who’s mind has been twisted by his own fantasies. YUP. All here guys.

I was nervous with the amount of info dumping that happened in the first few chapters. I didn’t want the entire book to be this way. Once an understanding of the magic system and islands was laid out there the story significantly increased in pace and ease of knowing which place was where. There’s a lot of info here (with a smattering of islands to keep track of). Yay for book maps that help keep everything separated.

The crew that Amora embarks with to help save her kingdom was the best. I loved having the pirate Bastian, ex-fiance Ferrick and mermaid Vataea. It was a great mix of banter, flirtations, honest moments, and a found family all its own. The romance between Amora and Bastian made me smile. It grew well over the time period, never rushed into anything, and I felt the heat brewing between them. The way things wrapped up leave a lot to interpretation for the second book. I’m hoping my HEA is in the midst.

I really liked this villain. Sometimes I feel YA villains are a bit laughable and not corrupted enough for me to feel invested in the story. This guy was trying to things right the wrong way and brought all the action this book needed. I was kept on my toes with the twisted magic running rampant through these islands. Definitely made me cringe at times with the descriptions (in a good way). This has an edge of darkness to it without being a dark novel.

I appreciated that the ending wasn’t a giant cliffhanger, but wrapped enough of the story line up to feel satisfied with the conclusion. I’m excited for book two and getting to see how all of these characters develop!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: magic, physical, swords, knives, poison, mythical creature attacks

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