Book Review

Book Review: An Heir Comes to Rise (An Heir Comes to Rise #1) by C.C. Penaranda

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: C.C. Penaranda
Publisher: Lumarias Press
Release Date: February 25th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A SWORD…
In the impoverished outer town of a kingdom where fae outrank humans, Faythe, an orphan with a talent for swordplay, knows the importance of keeping her head down around the fae patrol. She and best friend Jakon long for a better life, and her desire to swing her sword in combat may bring the purpose and coin she’s yearned for.

A DREAM…
When she draws the attention of royal guard Nik, she soon learns that her mortal nature isn’t the only reason to remain out of sight. Nik is a Nightwalker, a silent assassin of the mind with the power to enter others’ dreams, and whether she trusts him or not, he’s about to awaken abilities in Faythe that shouldn’t exist in a human. Nightmarish abilities. Deadly abilities. Abilities that will teach Faythe blood really does run thicker than water…and if she doesn’t trust in higher powers soon, blood will run indeed.

AN HEIR…
For this is no battle Faythe can fight with steel. Within the city walls, suspicions are arising, and here in the outer town she has deeper bonds to protect. It seems everyone will die with a dark secret to tell, but what if one unlikely human girl was born harboring the darkest secret of all…?

In a clash of steel, a mortal body may fall. But in a clash of dreams, a powerful heir may rise.

Fans of THRONE OF GLASS and RED QUEEN will enjoy this first instalment in a gripping new fantasy series that portrays the unbreakable strength of friendship, the struggle for honor, and the ache of sacrifice.

INTRIGUED.

I have found myself in an odd thought zone after this one. I was simultaneously disgruntled that there were a loooot of Throne of Glass similarities and delighted that it had many essences of my favorite series ever. A juxtaposition that ultimately worked out because I’ve already started reading book two.

I did enjoy the friendships and many of those dynamics. I love strong bonds like that because found family is always my jam. I’m curious how those will further change throughout the series.

The romance grew on me. I thought it could have used a bit more something but I liked Nik and all that he was able to teach and help Faythe with (I’m continually trying to remain vague to not spoil anything).

Plot was good too. A decent balance of slow and action fueled moments. Even some good twists that kept the pages turning. I am very much interested in continuing because I have some ideas for book two that I can’t wait to see how they play out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, imprisonment

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.

Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.

But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts?

GREAT ROMANCE.

Wonderful that this book was a romance because that was definitely the best part of the entire book. I was completely wrapped up in these two star crossed lovers. They were very sweet on each other and all of these tense, yet soft, moments between them had me absolutely swooning.

It also approached a lot of different topics from racism and colonialism to conversing with spirits and falling in love. I did think the spirts sub-plot was a bit out there and didn’t necessarily fit with the book. The author’s note cleared some of that up, but it still didn’t mesh for me with the rest of the story.

I loved that Evelyn was an excellent horse woman and found her way in society. I liked her growth as a character and that she found a supportive friend group. I LOVE good friend groups and now I want to read the next books in this series so I can get everyone’s story.

The audio book was great, DUAL POV and dual narrators too!! Always my favorite aspect of romance books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: light
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, micro-aggressions, colonialism

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Holiday Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Sarah Hogle
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: October 4th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?

From the author of Twice Shy comes a sprightly Christmas novel, a rollicking romp through the absurdity of family holidays and the hope of new love.

EMBRACE IT.

Oh my goodness, this book was wholly different than any other holiday read I have come across before. And I adored it???

We have a completely unlikable main character who has some major growth and things to work through. Enter in the book personification of Buddy the Elf and you have the love interest, Hall. I liked these two together! The reverse grump / sunshine trope worked perfectly here and I thought the ending was sweet.

Plot wise, I can’t say much was going on that I could gather. It’s a bit scattered for awhile and yet I burst out laughing more than once. The quips and one liners and all of the name drops somehow fit right in. The quirkyness of the story allowed a lot of free flow.

The spirit of the holiday season was brought to life. I loved many of the second half sentiments and now I feel like I am ready for all things Christmas after this book. Perfect for the season if you’re looking for something lighter and fun.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kissing
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: brief mentions of psychological abuse from a previous relationship

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence #1) by Rebecca Ross

Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Fantasy + Romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Rebecca Ross
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: February 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

NEED BOOK TWO.

This was one of those BIG HYPED books that I took a chance on because I trusted my reading friends. NOT disappointed in the slightest. This is worth the hype and you should get your hands on it ASAP. Highly recommend the audio too because it is FANTASTIC.

I looooved the slow weaving of this tale. It is not fast paced. There’s an incremental build that leads to some devastating blows. And also, incredible reveals. I did not see many of them coming and love a good *gasp* moment as the pages wind down.

Multi-POV books are my jam and this is no different. Starting out with just two, and then increasing as more players came into the story I was enraptured. Each took on a role I wanted to know more about and added history to the lay of the land. I liked the addition of the elemental spirits and the easy understanding of the world and magic system.

ROMANCE. I adored both of the main romances happening amongst the cast. Jack and Adaira were my favorite and even though it’s a sub plot, I was very much attached to them. I am shocked by the ending and can’t wait for the next book. What a fantastic fantasy adult debut!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild blood
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping of young girls, physical altercations, weapons use, loss of loved ones, assault

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph