Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber

Rating: ★★★★☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: September 13th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for my early audio copy!

DEVASTATION.

The way I gasped at a particular scene near the end. Holy wow. Gotta give it up to Stephanie Garber. I wasn’t super on board with this series after the first book (but still enjoyed). I took a bit more convincing here and then realized just how attached I had become to these characters.

Jacks and Evangeline have great snarky banter. I love the give and take and that they got a lot more softer moments here. There’s an intense and undeniable pull between them that I can’t wait to learn more about. I think Jacks is too much of a hidden character, even after two books. I want a few more layers peeled back on him so we can get the raw intensity of his past that I know is coming. Evangeline bothered me a whole lot less too and I think it’s kind of fun to be apart of her mindset as she handles all of the fates and prophecies.

Things occasionally felt bogged down by the tangents of story telling. Gratefully they did actually connect back into the main plot so I didn’t feel lost for long. The audio was fantastic! I loved the narrator and it made for a great listen.

I’m of course, very much curious where this series is going to continue onwards to. There’s plenty left open and I adore Garber’s writing and her passion for love conquers all mentality. I’m going to be sitting in a puddle of anxiety until I get my hands on the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: med/high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, near death experiences, kidnapping, magical weaponry
Book Review

Book Review: Once More Upon A Time by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance Novella
Length: Audio: 3 hours, 26 mins
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Audible
Release Date: June 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A dazzling fairy tale about falling in love again by the New York Times best-selling author of The Star-Touched Queen and The Gilded Wolves.

Once upon a time, there was a king and queen in a land called Love’s Keep who once loved one another, but alas, no more. Without love, they were doomed to be ousted from their kingdom at the end of a year and a day.

A year and a day passed.

This is where their story starts.

Imelda and Ambrose can’t remember why they got married. A year and a day ago, Ambrose consulted a witch, trading their love to save Imelda’s life – and they’ve been stuck with one another ever since. When that same witch pays them a visit on the day they lose their kingdom, she promises to make their deepest wishes come true in exchange for a simple favor and a short journey. With nothing left to lose, Imelda and Ambrose agree. But, over the course of their enchanted road trip peppered with a delirious cloak, cannibals, and at least one honey badger, something magical happens…little by little, step by step, they regain what they had forgotten.

They remember why they fell in love.

When the end of their journey nears and they confront parting ways forever, a new decision faces them. Will Imelda and Ambrose choose their deepest wishes, or will they choose each other – again?

FAIRYTALE.

No really, this was legit one of those books where everything screamed a fairy tale. A King and Queen, an evil witch, a daring adventure, a noble steed, you think it should be there, it is.

Which was its goodness and its downfall.

I listened to this on a whim because it was available through my Audible account for free (who can pass up free?). I wasn’t expecting much of a little novella. This was cute and sweet and made me laugh a few times while listening to it.

There’s a lot shoved in for a 3.5 hour audio book which was nice. I felt like I still got enough background and information on characters to care what happened and it was a nice story to listen to in-between bigger books. I enjoyed how Ambrose and Imelda remembered how the had fallen in love and got a chance to start anew. Plenty of good tid-bits in here. Some pieces were definitely silly, but I feel if you go into this knowing that and knowing how much of a fairy tale it is, you’ll find the enjoyable pieces too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fairy tale romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, one closed door scene
  • Violence: physical, poison

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