Book Review

Book Review: A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER…

“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

NOT SUBTLE.

That’s the biggest takeaway I got from this. And I am also realizing, I like things a lot more subtle.

Everything started off really well. I love the setting and environment. The mix of Greek gods and mythology is always fascinating to me and it’s no different here. I would have loved some more world-building because I occasionally got lost in the hierarchies of different realms.

I looooved this audio book narration though. Great changes between characters and I really fell into the sweeping way the narrator told the story.

The romance between Griffin and Cat was in your face from the beginning. I was hoping for a bit more will they/won’t they, but alas that was not the case. Within my personal tastes it was also verrrrry steamy and I found myself skipping sections to get back to the story. And I didn’t love Griffin by the end either. His intensity and what I felt was a lack of willingness to even hear Cat’s side of the story really rubbed me the wrong way. He was insistent about HIS wants and desires and I felt Cat getting neglected.

I don’t plan on picking up the next one. This was a difference in preferences for me so don’t let my review hold you back. It was great writing and the story is woven in there.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: everything from kisses to multiple very open door/descriptive scenes
  • Violence: murder, battles/skirmishes, physical altercations, magical attacks, creature attacks
  • Trigger warnings: abusive parents

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Book Review

Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames (ACOTAR #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 768 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: February 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

STUNNING.

It was a test of my willpower, but I have kept this spoiler free!

That’s the best word I could think of, but yet still doesn’t encompass everything I felt reading this book. I felt EVERYTHING. It was a beautiful and hard journey Nesta went through. This book just went on a whole other level. I won’t be able to convey everything I’m sure I’ll try to in this review, so in simplicity: I loved it. I love this series. And will add this to books I reread every year.

I know this book was about Nesta, but it has to be mentioned, CASSIAN. That patient, very patient soul. Oh my goodness, every time the sentiment, keep reaching your hand out, was used I couldn’t handle. I LOVE THEM TOGETHER. And watching both of them grow and accept and love and all the things. I’m already incoherent. Cassian and Nesta solidified themselves as one of my favorite couples everrrrr.

The story was definitely character driven (I don’t mind). I was impressed that a whole new plot was unfurled and actually connected really well to the previous 3 ACOTAR books. I’m excited to see where each book will take us. There’s a lot to explore and so many characters to follow too! I don’t know how SJM is going to give us all of the answers, but I don’t doubt that she’ll be able to.

Can we also discuss the new characters? Nesta’s new friend group. BECAUSE I LOVE THEM. And saw the inklings of where their stories will go and I AM HERE FOR IT. I WILL ACCEPT NOTHING LESS. They were the perfect pieces that Nesta needed to open up to others & start the mending of her own soul.

I found myself laughing many times and wondering where was my magic, smut reading house? I found myself crying many times because of the pure raw anguish of Nesta’s grief and coping (and that ending really had me). This was everything I hoped for in getting Nesta’s story.

It was interesting to see characters like Rhys for her point of view. There was such a contrast to Feyre’s (obviously). I really loved seeing all of the court in another way and continuing there stories too. I wish I would have seen more from some, but I understand the whole-hearted focus on Nesta.

I didn’t think she’d become such a beloved character. This story changed my mind.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: verrrrrrry open door scenes & lots of ’em
  • Violence: battles, physical altercations, kidnapping, magic use
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depictions of grief and depression; suicide ideation, loss of loved ones; discussion and scenes of past sexual assaults and rape

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Book Review

Book Review: The Princess Will Save You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #1) by Sarah Henning

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Sarah Henning
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Princess Will Save You is a YA fantasy adventure inspired by The Princess Bride, in which a princess must rescue her stable boy true love, from the acclaimed author of Sea Witch, Sarah Henning.

When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him.

When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warrior—not a sacrifice.

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

TRAVELLING TROPE.

Oh goodness. I don’t *mind* a travelling story. There can be a lot to them that takes away form the fact that the characters are going hundreds of miles somewhere. Take ship stories for instance! They’re on the water plenty and I rarely find it such an issue.

Here? Yes, issue. Even in audio book form I was going wild listening to the repetitive motion of the girl or guy getting captured, then finding a way out, to start all over again.

In instance of The Princes Bride similarities, I did see some. I haven’t watched the movie in a very long time so I won’t speak more to this. But even a casual watcher of it could see where some of the story interlapped.

I liked Ama just fine as a main character. She was interesting. Loved her trying to take down a society that clearly has some flaws by forcing a woman to marry and not letting her rule in her own right. Totally here for that part. I didn’t even mind the love story that much because it was given from the start. It took me some time to get on board with the ship, from having to learn the characters, but I liked the idea.

I kind of think this should have been left as a standalone. With a different, more closed off ending, but I’m not sure how a full second novel will not drag about to continue this story. It’s a predictable plot, with slow pacing that really left me underwhelmed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: snake bites, swords, physical altercations, poisoning, murder

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Jillian Boehme
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review.
All opinions are my own!

NEEDED MORE.

This book caused me to learn something about my bookish self.

I am picky when it comes to standalone fantasies.

Why? Because I think it’s hard to give everything a fantasy book needs laid out to make it feel whole by the time it ends. A fantasy needs strong world-building, an explanation of magic systems and more. I thought this was missing a lot of that plus a lack of character depth (with main and side characters).

The Stolen Kingdom started off pretty strong. The premise wasn’t wholly unique, but it seemed to have a flair I could get behind. I liked Maralyth as a main character. She was strong-willed and may have had to go with things she didn’t approve of, yet made the right decisions when it came down to it. I saw her in her role by the end.

Alac was a love interest I enjoyed. He wanted to change his kingdom for the better and was open to listening and working with his perceived enemies to do so. I wish there would have been more to Alac and Maralyth’s romance sub-plot. It was charming watching them together and I wanted to see the banter and tender pages.

It was an enjoyable story for a standalone. Even when I think it was missing deeper aspects, it delivered likable characters and a nifty, yet simple, magic system to follow. It would be an enjoyable read for younger YA audiences too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: little to none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, poison, loss of loved ones, murder

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