Book Review

Book Review: Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A princess in exile, the boy she left at the altar, six enchanted cranes, and a dragon from the deepest sea.

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne–a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain–no matter what it costs her.

From the author of Spin the Dawn comes a breathtakingly original fantasy inspired by East Asian folklore and perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Tomi Adeyemi.

STUNNING.

I looooved this y’all!!!! I think it could easily be my new favorite of Lim’s.

It was extremely well written. I flew through this. And for a fantasy that’s not an easy feat. The writing style is engaging and smooth. I was caught up from the first few chapters because who doesn’t love someone running away from their arranged marriage?

There definitely was a subtle romance that I adored. It was so dang sweet!! Perfectly fit the story and didn’t feel forced. The progression matched the expectations and I can’t wait to see it blossom in the next book.

While there is a little romance, the bigger focus is on the sibling relationship of Shiori and all of her brothers. I liked the approach to their dynamics and how the fought and loved well. There was incorporation of many fairytales that I can recognize the tiny additions. It was neat to look up the many different ones and see how they were used.

I love the complicated morally gray step-mother. What started off as an obvious evil step-mother plot became much more nuanced and layered. She played a much bigger roll than I initially thought. It’s always great having a villain who gives is as complex as the rest of the cast.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: almost kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, magical weaponry, poison, curses, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Gleam (The Plated Prisoner #3) by Raven Kennedy

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 681 pages
Author: Raven Kennedy
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 31st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.

The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out… Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.

I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.

But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.

He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.

Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.

Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, It’ll be me setting the trap… I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed.

I GUESS I’LL READ BOOK FOUR?

I held off on picking this one up as long as I could. Unpopular opinions flying out ya, you’ve been warned.

Nothing happens in this entire series for 90% of these books. The last 10% gets a bit wild, you feel called to pick up the next, but it’s the same dang cycle. Auren spent most of this particular installment wandering around a castle looking for an old guard who I didn’t know she cared so much about?? I must be feeling cold-hearted, but I needed way more than that. Castle wandering is BORING. BO-RING.

I did like some stuff; namely Rip. The romantic development was good. Plenty of swoony conversations when Rip shows his feelings and his alpha nature is *chef’s kiss*. The steam was wayyy past my limits, but there wasn’t much of it (considering 700 pages) and is easy to skip by. If there had been even more just general interaction between Rip and Auren that would have raised this book.

At last, Auren finally used her power. So the ending was interesting and expected. I wasn’t flipping out (as I was told would happen) but I am genuinely curious how there’s supposed to be a book four? I’m sure there’s more wandering to be had. One can hope that Auren really does something next round.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: two open door; high explicit
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: domestic abuse, rape (off page but alluded to), sexual assault, drug use, torture, weapons violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Carving for Miss Coventry (Sons of Somerset #1) by Deborah M. Hathaway

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Deborah M. Hathaway
Publisher: Draft Horse Publishing
Release Date: July 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He’s determined to finish the job, even if she distracts him…

With his deceased father’s woodworking business now failing, Edward Steele will do anything to see its return to prosperity, even if that means accepting work from the Coventry family far outside of Bath. His two goals? Finishing this new task swiftly and making as few acquaintances as possible. But such things are easier said than done, especially when the Coventry’s daughter finds it necessary to spy on him at every turn.

Marianne Coventry doesn’t mean to stare, but such a task is difficult when a man as handsome as Mr. Steele works right before her eyes. Besides, at twenty years old and not yet out in Society—due to an unmarried elder sister and strict, rule-abiding parents—she will take any distraction she can get. Perhaps turning to a dashing woodworker for entertainment isn’t a wise decision, but does she really have any other choice?

As Edward becomes aware of Marianne’s sheltered life, an unexpected friendship sprouts between them—a friendship her family cannot abide, especially when Marianne begins to realize she’s been living half a life. Still, Edward’s heart remains cautious, for becoming distracted and losing his family’s business would mean forfeiting his livelihood and everything his father worked so hard to achieve. Despite the forces working against them, only the two of them can decide what they want most in life—and if they’re willing to risk everything for love.

NEW SERIES ALERT.

Wow! I loved the first book in this new series (all from different authors!). I think it’s such a unique spin to have the male love interests be from “lower class” regency society. Edward being a carpenter was interesting and I wish I could have seen his work first hand because it would have been beautiful.

Edward is a stoic man trying to change his fortune. After dealing with some terrible rumors he finally gets a chance of balancing out his accounts. I loved his resilient nature and peace of mind that he knew the truth of the matter. The way he looked after Marianne was endearing and throwing in some fake-dating, circa regency time period was such a fun touch!! It was cute and I liked the different path this story took.

Marianne was full of fire and heart. Being stuck in a situation not of her doing and trying to remain optimistic, but also [rightfully so] starting to be worn down from it all. Marianne was a sweetheart who looked past supposed faults to see the depth of those around her. I loved the connection between her and Edward and that kiss in the rain? Instant swoon. HERE FOR IT.

A great story, with a comfortable predictable nature that I needed. It was easy to pick this up and continue reading and I’m excited for this series to continue.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercation
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, gossip, bullying

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Book Review

Book Review: The North Wind (The Four Winds #1) by Alexandria Warwick

Rating: ★★★
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 551 pages
Author: Alexandria Warwick
Publisher: Andromeda Press
Release Date: January 13th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lush. Dark. Romantic. Introducing a newly reimagined tale written in the vein of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone.

Long before civilization, there were the gods. And before the gods, there was the earth, the celestial bodies, and air given flesh. They are the Anemoi—the Four Winds—and they have been banished to the four corners of the world.

Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. Her parents are gone. Survival is all she knows. For three hundred years, the land known as the Gray has been encased in ice, surrounded by a great barrier called the Shade, which protects the townsfolk from the Deadlands beyond.

But day by day, the Shade weakens.

Only one thing can stop the Shade’s fall: a mortal woman taken captive across the barrier, bound in wedlock to the dark god who reigns over the Deadlands. He is the North Wind, the Frost King, an immortal whose heart is said to be as frigid as the land he rules.

And the time has come for the Frost King to choose his bride.

The North Wind is a standalone, enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance, the first in a series sprinkled with Greek lore. Perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laura Thalassa, and Scarlett St. Clair.

DISAPPOINTED.

This was not all I hope it to be folks. Just wasn’t.

I LOVED the initial premise. The Frost King comes to get a bride? Gimme that. I would say I was into the first 40% or so. The plot moved well and I did like the writing throughout. There’s definitely a slow burn, enemies to lovers romance that I know others will love.

BUT.

Where it fell flat for me was some of the world building that became glaringly confusing. Even by the end I still had unanswered questions that would alter the entire story. There wasn’t a deep enough explanation into the main conflict (and reasoning why the King needed a bride). Holes here left holes in the entire plot that I couldn’t look past. If you’re reading this purely for the romance, you’ll probably like it, but if you’re looking for more fantasy built around it you might be disappointed like me.

The main character did have some growth. Naive and immature to start yet found her footing by the end. I liked most of the development for her and the relationship with the Frost King. Too much spice for me personally that didn’t further the plot and felt added to increase the steam but not the substance.

I’m thinking about trying the next book in this series. Hopefully it’s at least 100 pages shorter than this one. Not all I hoped for, but not all bad either.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, alcoholism, creature attacks, near death experiences, blood and gore, battle scenes

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