Book Review

Book Review: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 496 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

THIS WAS AS GOOD AS I WAS EXPECTING.

Oh did I love this. Even more than the first book. It just added to everything I experienced the first time, and now that I’m more solidified with characters/world/story, it made it all the better.

I am so in love with Hawke and Poppy. What a feisty relationship. I find myself smirking and enjoying their banter and conversations. I spent half the time shouting, JUST SAY I LOVE YOU ALREADY. Because seriously, the chemistry is off the charts. Not to mention the steam. H-o-t. A little bit past what I’m comfortable with (and I don’t mind skimming so it’s not a huge deal). I did like that it fit into the story and made the romance between them come alive. I like steamy scenes to really play their own part to the story.

What’s also amazing is the plot itself. Gods, wolves, vampires, OH MY. This is very intricate and layered. I learned even more about the world and how all the players were holding their cards. I’m excited to see how that keeps weaving into Poppy’s life as she unfolds the mysteries that have surrounded her.

Real obsessed with most of these side characters too. Namely, Kieran. His dry humor and witty remarks only make me love this series even more. I think he’ll play an even bigger role in the next installment, along with all of his werewolf friends. I can’t believe it myself, but I am loving this vampire/werewolf story. I think it’s all in how Armentrout has portrayed and written them. It’s not gimmicky, it’s fierce and powerful characters that have just made me love this series.

Amazing ending where I’m shouting, I KNEW IT. I actually don’t know if I know it, but all signs point towards a third book that’s sure to stop my heart a few times.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: some light to strong
  • Romance: a bit of everything (as I said very steamy); would probably say 3 to 4 flames out of five; multiple open door scenes
  • Violence: bloody/gory; physical, magical, swords, catapults, fire, swords, arrows
  • Trigger warnings: PTSD from being captured and tortured; losing loved ones

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Lion of the Sea (The Maiden Ship #2) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 243 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: February 9th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

“Perhaps the present, no matter how messy, is the perfect time to live.”

Family is not always blood, and home is where the heart is. It took Dain Alloway years to understand these foundational truths. Now the captain of The Maiden, surrounded by the found family he loves, Dain sets out to end a centuries-old genocide and prevent an oncoming war. But when the girl he loves is torn from his arms, Dain might be forced to choose between saving just her, or saving them all.

The Lion of the Sea is the second novel in Micheline Ryckman’s, The Maiden Ship, series. This YA fantasy adventure is chalk full of action filled scenes set upon the high seas. You’ll rejoin a loveable cast of characters from the first book and meet some nasty pirates and alluring mermaids along the way.

Thank you to the author for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

AN ADVENTURE.

Oh wow, I didn’t realize how much I missed these characters! This is one of my favorite groups of friends/found family. Everyone has such personality and make me so happy when I read it. I love the new members added in (except for Dain’s Mom, definitely curious if she gets a redemption arc) and what they brought to the story.

It was nice to see a little separation between Dain and Sable to allow for some personal growth. BUT, I did miss the romance a bit. I wanted more between them. Gratefully, the ending gave into that so I’m excited for book three and what it will hold. I’m curious about where the sub-plot with Dain is going with his siren friend. I’m not sure I’m into it, though I’m trying to keep an open mind.

There was action and mystery happening all over. I love that we finally got to meet some characters discussed in The Maiden Ship and that they got a little bit of the spotlight. The brother/sister duo was interesting too. I just enjoyed meeting so many new people!

The mythology and magic system are inventive and easy to follow. There’s not much information on how it all works, yet I don’t find that distracting from the story. I love how this is set-up on the high seas. I love a good book out on the ocean. Adding in the different locations they went to really made for a well rounded novel.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, hinted closed door scenes
  • Violence: physical, magical, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Urban Fantasy
Length: 498 pages
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

NEW FANTASY SERIES FOR ME.

I am a lover of all things fantasy, though they do tend to lean towards fantasy with romance. So this is more outside of my usual. Aaaaaaand, I loved it! Definitely can’t wait to continue with The Green Bone Saga.

These characters are something else. Ambiguous, complex, loyal [to a fault sometimes], and so much more. I have a soft spot for Hilo, but I was pretty smitten with everyone by the time this book ended. There’s many tough choices, and rough scenarios that bring out the best and worst in everyone. I love that I could never see quite what was coming, who was dying, and what choices each person was going to make. Being kept on my toes is my favorite aspect.

This magic system and world set up is fascinating. I appreciate that this magic system has clear limitations and rules. It made for a concrete structure that I could easily follow and understood in minimal time. I love the Asian inspired and clan setting amongst the world. Things were centered more around the Kaul siblings and their lives rather than any major romances. Did I miss the romance? In this books case, no. It worked beautifully just the way it was.

The ending was open enough to make me want the next book, and closed enough to not be left on a major cliffhanger. I can’t wait to follow these characters through the next book (which I’ve heard is even better!!)

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: 2 small/brief open-door scenes
  • Violence: very bloody/gory and detailed; physical, magic, swords, guns, skirmishes and battles
  • Trigger warnings: brief mention of a characters family member passing away from suicide

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Book Review

Book Review: The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 766 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: June 11th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The final chapter in the bestselling, critically acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

FINALE OF MY DREAMS.

Opening up the last book in a series is always a momentous, and nerve-wracking occasion. Will this meet all my expectations and give the ending I’m hoping for? I can easily say for The Empire of Gold, that was the case. This was an amazing finale and I’ll shout again, YOU SHOULD READ THIS SERIES.

I loved how everything moved and flowed. The action kept my heart in my throat, I truly didn’t know who was going to survive this series. Many, many scenes of politics, which usually I struggle with, changed my mind here. They were intense meetings and moments trying to decide the fate of a beloved city. The intensity of emotions really compelled my own feelings.

The villains in this are legit. Oh wow, so complex and convoluted, that you maybe don’t cheer for them, but you get it. The ability to weave such a dynamic character for an antagonist kept me intensely interested. I wanted to know how things were going to happen, because the utter ruthlessness had me gasping.

Now to my loves, Nahri, Ali, and Dara. AH I LOVE THEM ALL. I can’t put into words how amazing these characters are. I love the diversity and clearly unique personalities between them all. The weaving interactions and moments between them had me catching my breath. Even brought some tears to my eyes as the book started wrapping up. The words between them were powerful and this ended in all the ways it needed too. It’s one of those endings that you can’t say is glaringly happy, but fits so perfectly, you know you’ve just finished a book you’ll remember.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-out
  • Violence: often and bloody/gory; physical, torture, mutilation, war

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