Book Review

Book Review: Water’s Wrath (Air Awakens #4) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance
Length: 362 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Expected Release Date: April 24th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.

The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.

DEAD.

I feel that is the only sentiment I can give this book. BECAUSE I’M DEAD. Kova? Not afraid to kill off characters. This isn’t the first one she killed in this series, and it probably won’t be the last. BUT STILL. My heart is broken. That entire section of the book was a moment. A gosh dang beautifully tragic moment.

Yet again, completely obsessed with Aldrik. This man is going on his own character turn around and I am HERE FOR IT. I also love that Vhalla doesn’t cut him any slack. They both pick up and encourage each other. And they hold each other to a higher standard. It’s amazing what this relationship has been turned into and I am so happy with the current outcomes. They are precious. I can literally not handle a single moment Vhalla and Aldrik spend together. I gush every dang time.

Vhalla. She is really becoming a top fav character of mine. She is resilient, and owns who she is. I love watching her learn to love herself. Vhalla has a lot of crap she deals with too and I’m curious where that will take us in book five. She treats those around her as best as she can and is passionate about bringing peace to her home.

I can’t keep up with the dangerous situations that are constantly being thrown out. Can no one catch a break?! I hurt for my team y’all. All of these characters have become so very precious to me and I can only cross my fingers that I get a happy ending. There’s been enough sadness! Though really, I feel a cementing of a top 5 favorite series every happening soon. Stay tuned.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: quite a bit and somewhat detailed; knives, elemental magic, descriptions of deaths off screen, torture, murder, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Fire Falling (Air Awakens #2) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 359 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: November 19th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?

Fire Falling is the second book in the Air Awakens Series.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT KIND OF CLIFFHANGER?!

THAT WAS THE BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER I HAVE EVER READ. At least I think so, it’s the most recent one in my memory that had me literally buy the next book (YAY KINDLE) at that moment and read the first chapter to make sure I had a handle on what happened.

I’M NOT OKAY.

This book drew me in, loved me, THEN BROKE ME. I am so hooked by this series now.

The focus here is the love story. And I know that not everyone loves stories like that and I understand, but for me? ALL DAYYYYYY. I love love. Anywho, Aldrik and Vhalla just broke into my top five OTPs. I absolutely can’t get enough of their interactions and I was pretty sure this slow burn was going to be the end of me. It was slowww and so well built. By the time I actually got a kiss scene I squealed. That’s all I wanted y’all. Some declarations and some kissing. YES.

“My Vhalla, my lady, my love.”

There’s a lot more going on than this relationship (but am I honestly paying that much attention? Okay, not as much as I should). I am loving the politics of finding out more about the Emperor. His character is a bit of an enigma still. I want to know all the reasons he’s really trying to conquer the lands around him.

All of these side characters are amazing. I am devastated by some choices Kova made for them, but I will prevail. It’s too great of writing for me to be that upset. Everyone is easy to love (or hate) and I feel connected to the story through all of them. I love the roles everyone is playing and can’t wait to see those continue.

This book surprisingly takes place over a couple of weeks on the way to the battle. I didn’t even realize this because I was so focused on everyone else. I was entranced by this book and I’m pretty confident that Elise Kova is going to be an auto-buy author by the end of this.

HERE FOR IT ALL Y’ALL.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy (focus on romance)
  • Language: none (or maybe one word, but so little I didn’t notice)
  • Romance: some kisses/make-outs, sleeping in the same bed but actually sleeping, no sex scenes
  • Violence: knives, swords, a bit bloody, elemental magic, murder, loss of loved ones, poison

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Book Review

Book Review [Re-Read]: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: YA fantasy romance
Length: 355 pages
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

RE-READ WAS SO WORTH IT.

I listened to this on Audible with narration by Justine Eyre. I really loved it on audio and thought the voices and accents were great. Highly recommend in this format.

Oooooh I missed this book, Ooooooh I missed these characters and this romance that still felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest when I finished it.

THIS OTP Y’ALL. Kestrel and Arin are all mine. I can’t get enough and love the absolute slow, angsty burn they give off the entire book. Coming from two different sides in their world they have a lot to conquer to realize they want each other. They slowly build from a tentative friendship to a passion-filled moment where the pieces start to fall into place. I love that the power dynamic flips between the two and we get to see how each responds to their struggles. While still fighting for their country, Kestrel and Arin realize they have started to fight for each other too.

Sneaky politicking and schemes abound in this entire series, but I love seeing the start-up in TWCurse. There’s a glimpse of the players laying out plans and putting others into action that really build over the books. I love the sharp mind Kestrel has to flush out and strategize. It’s even cooler how their game, Bite and Sting, has its own roll in the books.

So much action. I love how things are constantly fluctuating from slower, quiet moments to big, WHAT WILL HAPPEN moments. I found myself this time (it’s been 3 years since I’ve read it), still guessing a bit and LOVING IT. I generally knew what was going to happen, yet, when a book can provide the feels a second time around, you know it’s good.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy (focus on romance)
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few passionate kisses
  • Violence: battles/skirmishes, duels, poison, swords

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult fantasy romance
Length: Audiobook (to come out as a print book, expected to be 354 pages)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Audible Originals, LLC
Release Date: October 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy? 

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom. 

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. 

Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

MY NEW FAVORITE BOOK.

No really, I’m serious.

Without a doubt this is my new favorite new adult fantasy romance (ACOMAF holds the TRUE #1 spot, but this is what I’m going to obsessing over for awhile).

First, the ANGST between these two had me melting. I LIVE FOR ANGSTY ROMANCE. It’s an enemies to lovers trope with the crux being a marriage because of a treaty. These two have never seen each other and know very little (and incorrect) information about each other. And it creates this amazing vibe between these two. Lara and Aren that I am here for. ALL DAY LONG. This romance is slow building, tender, and intense.

This world-building was so cool too. We only got highlights of the two main kingdoms (Lara’s home, Maridrina & Arn’s home, Ithicana). But Ithicana is one of the neater fantasy locations I’ve read about. It has this huge bridge running through it, it’s made of islands. We have killer sharks and snakes roaming the sea and lands. SO COOL.

I knew the ending was out to destroy me. You could feel it in the air. And it did. Ugh, heart ripped out, knowing it had to happen to create book two. Am I happy about it? NOPE. Do I understand? Sure sure. I am even more excited for book two because reunion scene? Oh heeeeck yes.

Trust me. If you have any inkling about this book, read it. It is currently only on Audible but is releases as a physical book in August. I thought the Audible version was great though! I was enraptured by it and had no problems keeping up.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy romance
  • Language: some strong language + occasional crude language
  • Romance: an almost love scene (somewhat detailed), kisses, explicit love scenes
  • Violence: arrows, war, ship battles, shark attacks, snake bites, murder, poison , knives

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Characters from 2019

This week for Top Ten Tuesday is a Character Freebie!

I wanted to highlight my favorite characters from this year! My only rule is that is has to be new characters. I will only choose characters that are new to me in 2019 (so no series that I am continuing). I hope to highlight some new books you may not have read yet!

Though as I made this list I realized I loved too many from one book so I did combine as necessary. WHOOPS.

I will link as many reviews as I have!

SpensaSkyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson

If could name all of the things I love about Spensa we would be here all day. She is strong, tenacious, unwilling to back down, but is also fiercely loyal and loving to those around her. This book was AMAZING and I literally have no chill about reading Starsight this fall.


Alyssa ana’Raisa – Shattered Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

Flamecaster || Shadowcaster || Stormcaster || Deathcaster

When Lyssa walked onto the scene in book two of this fabulous series I was DONE. I love a warrior heart that I want to cheer on through every facet of a book.


Persephone, Suri, Brin, Moya & Arion – The Legends of the First Empire Series by Michael J. Sullivan

Age of Myth || Age of Swords (RTC – 5 stars)

I am obsessed with these ladies y’all. I’ve only read the first two books (Age of Myth & Age of Swords) because I’m waiting for my library copy of Age of War (book three of six). And I am loving this so much. These women hold their own and are bright and cunning. If you’re a fantasy love (especially like Sanderson) check out these!


Alex & Sage – The Traitor’s Circle by Erin Beaty

The Traitor’s Kiss || The Traitor’s Ruin || The Traitor’s Kingdom (releases TODAY!!)

One of my latest OTP’s (I have many). I love these two even when their lack of communication in book two had me anxious and shouting at my book. STILL LOVE. I am so excited to finish out this series Tuesday! I especially love that Alex doesn’t hinder Sage. He trusts and believes she can and will do what she says. Nobody holding her back.


Squad 312 – The Aurora Cycle by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising

I LOVE EVERY MEMBER OF THIS TEAM (especially Kal, of course) . This book was absolutely amazing and I love this writing duo.


Jackaby – Jackaby Series by William Ritter

Jackaby || Beastly Bones (RTC – 4 stars)

Jackaby is so clever! His antics actually make me laugh out loud. I love his dynamic with his work partner Abigail Rook. I need to finish this series stat.


Lara & Aren – The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

MY NEW FAVORITE NEW ADULT FANTASY ROMANCE.

Take note and look for my review on July 15th. I loved every single piece of this book and can gush for hours. I need more people to read this to discuss!


Bayr – The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

I love anything Amy Harmon writes, this was no exception and I absolutely fell in love with Bayr. You watch him grow up in the book and UGH if it doesn’t pull at all the heart strings. All I wanted while reading was for him to get his happy ending.


Vhalla & Aldrik – Air Awakens by Elise Kova

RTC – 4 stars

I’ve only read the first book (and part of the second), but you know when you read a book and know in your bookish soul that you will love these characters? This is how I feel about them.


Percy & Annabeth – Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (RTC – 5 stars) || The Sea of Monsters (RTC – 4 stars)

Another series I’ve only started (and am only getting to now – I KNOW I KNOW), but I am loving these two! I feel like I’ve seen some spoiler-y stuff that they’re endgame? I SURE HOPE SO. But I also love where their friendship is and how much they care and respect one another.

Have you read any of these books? What is on of your favorite new to you characters of 2019? Lets talk in the comments!

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven

Radiance

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance, love scenes, minor language, violence
Length: 297 pages
Author: Grace Draven
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 13th, 2015 (first published Feb. 2014)
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

This was exactly what I expected this book to be and exactly what I felt like reading! A solid fantasy romance that was unique in its own ways.

First of all, Brishen and Ildiko? They don’t hate each other. Yes, forced to marry, but both of them are actually decent creatures who decided to make the best of a situation they didn’t choose. Refreshing to say the least.

While I could have used a little more angst between the two (they almost got along too well) it was nice that they seemed to appreciate each other. It was charmingly funny that they initially thought each other absolutely hideous.  Of course it was a huge play on don’t judge a book by its cover, but I don’t hate that trope…when done well. The slow burn of Brishen and Ildiko seeing the potential of a romantic relationship had me saying, yaaass. 

Besides those points, it’s nothing new for the genre or ground-breaking in anyway, but I was craving a solid romantic fantasy that I could drift away into for a bit and this delivered. Some pieces of the story aren’t fully fleshed out (the magic system, the other kingdom, etc.). It didn’t detract from the story though.

I liked the side characters and thought they played their roles well. Each brought a different angle in the communications between Kai and humans. I was a little disappointed in the epilogue because I thought it would be a little more epic (if you’ve read it tell me!!) but I’m definitely interested in the next book for this series!

Overall audience notes:
– Fantasy romance
– Minor, barely there language
– Detailed love scenes
– Violence (arrows, knives, torture)