Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Godborn and the King (The Raven and the Dove #4) by Kaitlyn Davis

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 486 pages
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 23rd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A love written in the stars…

Thrown into a world of claws and flame, Lyana and Rafe must work together to survive. Dragons abound. Danger lurks. And the hybrids are out for blood. But perhaps more terrifying are the questions in their hearts. Are they ready to lead? Were they ever truly in love? Or with the prophecy realized, will everything they thought they had fall apart?

A clash five hundred years in the making…

With the isles now returned to the sea, two worlds have become one. The avians will do anything to protect their homes. The mages will do anything to take them. And without a king or queen of prophecy to guide them, peace is no longer an option. Xander must decide where his loyalties lie—with the ravens he’s sworn to serve or the woman he can’t help but love.

Find the chosen one or face the end of everything…

Deep in the skryr’s dreams, Cassi bears witness to the prophetess’s final vision. A rift mage lives and Cassi is the only one with the power to find her. She’ll sacrifice anything to save the world, including her future with Xander, but even the queen of secrets never anticipated the mysteries waiting for her in the mist. 

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

WHAT A CONCLUSION.

I’ve been enjoying this series since the start and I am so excited to be able to say I loved the conclusion. It had a lot of things I look for in a finale and gave me all the feels.

I adored these romances. Rafe & Lyana getting some alone time and finding an even deeper bond between them. Xander & Cassi both looking past their faults and seeing how strong they can be on their own and together. YES TO ALL THE ABOVE. I thought Brighty’s romance was sweet too, but it wasn’t well developed. It was like one chapter she saw the other woman and was interested, and the next, confession of love. I just wanted more build-up there, but I’m glad she found someone too.

The plot stayed moving. I know I’m not loving a book if I find myself skimming to dialogue, this was not the case for me here. I wanted to take in every word and enjoy the story’s pace and the unfolding drama. Plenty of action, moments to cheer, moments that had me gasping all barreling towards an ending that’s easy to be satisfied with. I would have loved a bit more from Rafe and Lyana in regards to the plot. They were stuck somewhere else for so long that I feel they missed out on a lot. I know part of the ending with them will be polarizing but I LOVED it. I thought it made a lot of sense and got me alllllll in the feels.

Great read, I seriously can’t wait to see what Davis writes next. I’m glad I hopped onto this fantasy romance because it’s a gem. If you haven’t added to your TBR already, now it’s complete so you SHOULD DO IT.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: vague and brief open door
  • Violence: mild to mid-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, loss of loved ones, kidnapping, torture, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 527 pages
Author: R.F. Kuang
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late. 

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

I LOVED this book. I have seen the error of my ways holding off for so long on reading it. I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what happened next. The pacing and writing was beautiful and kept things moving and engaging. I am officially here for this series.

I’m not generally a fan of books that involve a school/academy/etc. This played it perfectly. There wasn’t a copious amount of time spent going to class and other mundane tasks that ultimately wouldn’t affect the plot. Each scene and conversation led into Rin’s life and her story as well as connecting to the over arching plot of the coming war. I loved the side characters and the rolls they played in developing Rin’s character as she grew over the years. The time covered in more/less five years never felt too long or short.

The action was intense and at times hard to read. It doesn’t shy away from the trauma of war (and that’s putting it lightly). This is a dark read and brimming with context on many levels. Definitely read the authors notes at the end about incorporating modern Chinese history into this series.

Fantasy wise, the world building and magic system were stellar. No big info dumps that leave you more confused rather than clear-headed. Slowly built within the story itself it was easy to follow. I love the ideas being used in how it works and based on the ending, can’t wait to see how it further expands. I’m fascinated by many things and will be getting my hands on book two soon!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war themes, drug use, substance addictions, self-harm, racism, misogyny, genocide, bullying, abandonment, abuse, animal death and cruelty, torture, killing, rape, mutilation, graphic depictions of child death, medical experimentation, colonization

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Book Review

Book Review: Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this charming romantic comedy from the author of The Ex Talk.

LOVABLE STORY.

Another wonderful romance from Solomon. I’ve been itching to get my hands on it and it did not disappoint. This wasn’t an all out favorite, but a consistently good read that I would easily recommend to others.

I like that this was incredibly sweet and realistic. This isn’t some wild goose chase type of romance. The build-up and conversations felt connective and deep. Featuring Jewish representation, complex family dynamics and some Parent Trap antics, it’s a home run on many fields.

The depiction of Ari’s depression was not shied away from. I liked the nuanced aspects of how it affected her day to day life, alongside her relationships and who she felt she was as a person. I have felt many of those same feelings and the vulnerability she showed in learning how to discuss it with loved ones and also acknowledging her need for therapy and medication were portrayed well.

Creating that connection with Russell was so dang tender. I LOVED them together. Such a match and very swoony every time he called her weather girl. I loved that he didn’t have the typical male body type for a romance and how that was discussed as well. Each navigated new waters of openness as Russell and Ari grew together. I would have loved a bit more angst, but honestly, can’t really complain. This was a beautiful romance that I highly enjoyed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two long open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: many depictions of depression, parent with depression, toxic work environment

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Book Review

Book Review: The Mostly Real McCoy (Apple Valley Love Stories #1) by Julie Christianson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 283 pages
Author: Julie Christianson
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: April 30th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Single-dad Mac needs a temporary nanny for his daughter, Daisy. I need a second job until my promotion kicks in. Since our arrangement is only for one month, I am positive I won’t get attached. Medium positive. Okay, I’m negative.

This is a terrible idea.

Because I can’t give Mac and Daisy what they need, and I won’t risk breaking their hearts, but his green eyes and her crooked pigtails have me dreaming about forever. And who can resist a dad buying pink ballerina tights after a day spent in a hard hat?

The thing is Mac is a fixer, and I need to repair my own life. Better yet, I don’t want to feel broken. So it’s a good thing the worst has already happened to me. Nothing will hurt more now. Water can’t get wetter. That’s what I keep telling myself.

Too bad I’m all wrong.

CHARMED BY APPLE VALLEY.

What a great read! I’ve been seeing this making the rounds on bookstagram and it did not disappoint.

The chemistry and pacing worked really well for Brooke and Mac. With a month time frame I felt the draw between them and the nature of which the story was built on. It was easy to be swept away into Apple Valley. I found myself smiling and chuckling at a handful of scenes. I love a single-dad trope and Mac and Daisy were so precious and just trying to make it through what life had handed them.

Some [spoilers] related matters felt a bit out of nowhere. This wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker for me, but I hate when a twist feels like it’s added purely to push the plot rather than fitting into the story nicely.

It’s a very sweet romance, some swoony kisses and quiet moments. I would have loved even more moments where Brooke and Mac could have had more alone time together. I thought the conflict was handled mostly well. Half of it I was cool with, the other I was about to flip a table with. So you win some, you lose some on that matter. I look forward to the next book in the series with Emi!!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: infertility, parental abandonment, separation and divorce

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