Book Review

Book Review: Defy the Night (Defy the Night #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

Y’ALL, I LIKED THIS ONE.

I feel it should be said first, I didn’t finish this author’s previous series (A Curse So Dark and Lonely). After book two, I shrugged my shoulders and didn’t want to read the last one and I left it at that.

THEN. Many of my bookstagram friends raved about this book. RAVED. So I found myself downloading my library’s copy and here we are. I am much more thoroughly invested in this initial read and wow I can’t wait for more!!

What helped sell me on this was the romance. It moved beautifully. I loved the connection Tessa had with him and how things were unraveled and explained. The conflict worked itself out just the way it should and I want mooooore of them desperately.

A lot of this is predictable, but the plot is solid enough to still feel like it’s giving me new things to love. I liked the set-up for the next book and that this didn’t end on some massive cliffhanger. This is a fantasy I found myself not wanting to put down. One of those, shirk your duties, reads and I’m so glad it turned out that way. Can’t wait for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: battles, physical altercations, weaponry
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents (and other loved ones), executions, rape and sexual assault discussed, epidemic, torture

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 410 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

FEEL LIKE I’VE BEEN GUT PUNCHED.

This was one of those books where you ask yourself, why did I let it sing for so long on my shelves? I adored it. Even when it hurt my soul.

I loooove Rev and Emma together. They were adorable and so very sweet. Everything was slow and a high school romance that made sense for the story line (which always makes a book ten times better). I like how even when conflict arose there was still a chance for apologies and forgiveness. This all just felt real.

Emma struggled in this book. I went from liking her, to being annoyed, and back and forth. While everything was dramatized, I also could feel how this was a high school girl going through an awful situation (that I’ve dealt with too). So I really couldn’t fault her for her actions, because I also got to see Emma grow and evolve as the book progressed. She wasn’t a perfect character, which made her a great character.

Rev had my heart and soul. I wanted to follow him around and hug him. He needs all the hugs. I loved watching him grow over this book too. He and Emma had great arcs as they grappled with what was before them. Heavy on the drama, yet very easy to be involved and loving the drama.

This book read quickly. I finished this a lot faster than I thought [which was totally fine with me]. The story flowed up and down with a bit of action and quiet moments. I thought the ending wrapped up nicely and I really enjoyed getting to see Declan again.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little strong and vulgar
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: cyber bullying, extreme child abuse, PTSD, sexual abuse, attempted kidnapping

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 450 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

LEFT WANTING.

Well, I made it through this one. And about the only time I really started to feel invested was at about 85% of the way through. Barely anything of note happened up until that point. There was a lot of traveling, a lot of ho-humming, and A LOT of running away from guards.

This book felt like such a middle book that I could easily put it down. It’s way too long for what happened. I think if things were a bit more condensed then everything wouldn’t feel so drawn out. I didn’t need Grey and Lia Mara running around the countryside to get to the heart of the book.

What this book did confirm for me is how much I still don’t like Rhen. I wasn’t into him the first book, and this one didn’t help either. I can’t find anything to connect to him. He’s afraid, rude, rash in decision making and all around awful. I’m even more upset that Harper is being walked all over in this situation. I wish they had been in the book more so that I could further see how that story was progressing behind the scenes.

I’m pretty into Grey and Lia Mara. If I’m being honest, I am a shipper of Grey and Harper. SORRY NOT SORRY. But, Lia Mara is a good heroine too. And at least there was a smooth progression in their relationship and that it never jumped to anything that made me roll my eyes.

I still love Grey. He just has me smitten. I am here for him being King and ruling Emberfall. I am hoping that book three gives me the conclusion I’m craving because the ending of this left me shrugging. The orb of resurrection was alive and well for this book so now I’m wondering what that’s going to do to further the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy (+romance)
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: whipping, swords, animal attacks, physical, knives; not very bloody/gory

Instagram || Goodreads

Publishing Day

Happy Publishing Day: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (ACSDAL #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Happy publishing day to an inventive and dark Beauty and the Beast retelling! I was immersed in the story and am excited for the second book. Plenty of monsters, romance, strong heroines, and overcoming barriers that will keep you on your toes.

Thank you again to Bloosmbury and Netgalley for the e-ARC.

Book Summary:

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Find my original review here and make sure to add this to your TBR!