Book Review

Book Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 816 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

SJM’S BEST FIRST BOOK.

There, I said it. And I stand by it. This was the best first book I’ve read from Sarah J. Maas. What a brilliant debut. Man, have I have missed her writing. It never fails me by the time I finish the book that I have felt wrung out by my own emotions.

I’m not even sure where to begin or how to write this review because I’m still so wrapped up in the story. I loved Bryce. She started off poorly and her character arc and personal story was so captivating that by the end I had tears in my eyes as she finally left go of the heartache that had it’s hold on her. Bryce was another bad-a female lead to join the Feyre and Aelin gang. I thought she was had some similarities to her previous leads, but that Bryce stood all on her own.

Once again, we have a great swoon-worthy, broody male to entertain us. Hunt Athalar is slowly being etched in to my favorite book boyfriends list. We’ll see where he ends up by the end of this. Because I can’t be the only one wondering if he’s ACTUALLY Bryce’s final love interest? [Especially if you’ve read A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass, there’s just no way to know]. I liked what we got from him here. I was utterly smitten by his casual looks of just wearing a baseball cap while watching TV to his full armored self taking on demons. The flirtation and burn between Hunt and Bryce was on point and not over the top for a first book where we’re just getting to meet all of these characters. I liked their chemistry and compassion between them.

Not only were the main characters fantastic, the side characters tried to steal the show too. Especially, Ruhn. Y’ALL. He’s a new fav. I absolutely loved the brother aspect for this book. Giving Bryce a character to lean on and work through family drama with. Ruhn is funny, strong, and quite possibly my new favorite person. I think we’ll get a lot more of him and his story as the series grows. Along with him, I’d love to know more about Ithan and the wolf-pack. I feel there’s more to those stories then the original few chapters I got of them. I like that there’s many different facets to Crescent City.

I’m really curious about so many aspects of this series. The only issue I had with this was the amount of info-dumping that came out in the first few chapters. THERE’S A LOT OF INFORMATION. And that’s not an exaggeration. I feel like it took me about the entire book to really grasp the politics and set-up of the city and world as a whole. Now that I’ve latched on to those ideas I think it’ll set up for even greater installments. I liked that this was an urban + paranormal + fantasy, mash-up. Maas somehow combined all of them without making it feel silly (and I’m not usually a fan of paranormal).

Overall audience notes:

  • Urban/Paranormal fantasy romance
  • Language: a lot of strong language
  • Romance: mentions of masturbation, a detailed love scene, and a few detailed almost love scenes; kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: plenty; demon attacks, magic, physical, swords, guns
  • Trigger warnings: suicide ideation (and an almost attempt, method mentioned); depression and grief over loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 470 pages
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Self-published
Expected Release Date: February 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.

WHAT A CONCLUSION.

Ooooooooh my goodness. I’ve never listened to an audio book faster y’all. I downed this book so fast. I have been waiting for this and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I can continue to be Danielle Jensen’s unofficial spokeswoman for this series. BECAUSE I LOVE IT THAT MUCH.

You could literally hear my thoughts as Lara rounded up her sisters to go save Aren. AND IT WAS A THRILL RIDE. Oh those women danced their way into the harem and took what they came for. There was me on the sidelines cheering them on because I live for action like that. I’m getting all amped up just writing this review.

I had a lot of questions going into this book. All were answered in the best ways. My heart is soaring that I got a conclusion that actually wraps up the lines it needs too. BUT, it definitely leaves open some lines for spin-off books. The side characters in TTQ are a song on their own. I found myself smitten with so many of them. Siblings, family members, generals of armies; they all played distinct and proficient rolls.

This romance was still sizzling. I loved the build-up. I knew things had to work out, yet time and again I was led to believe otherwise. That’s how invested I was. Jensen’s writing is captivating and the audio version is one of the best books I’ve listened too. Aren and Lara kept me waiting, and waiting, and then BAM. Room set aflame, y’all. Room set aflame.

The stress levels I felt listening to Lara and Aren try to work things out between them, deciding if they wanted/could be with each other, trying to save a kingdom and kill a king, was on another level. I could keep rambling about how much I love this duology. The Bridge Kingdom is still my favorite, but this was a conclusion that delivered.

AND DON’T EVEN TALK TO ME ABOUT THAT ENDING. I truly gasped and almost started sobbing right then and there. Jensen knows how to tug on those heart strings and beg for a happy ending.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; one detailed love scene
  • Violence: sharks, swords, poison, physical, torture, captivity

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Book Review

Book Review: Talon the Black (The Dragonwall Saga #1) by Melissa Mitchell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 715 pages
Author: Melissa Mitchell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 28th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What would you do if a dragon fell from the sky? Claire Evans is a small-towner from Indiana faced with this exact situation. When a dragon crash-lands in her corn field, she goes gallivanting off to find it.

This incident triggers a chain of events that sweep our heroine into a complicated plot to destroy a kingdom. At the heart of it is a powerful sorcerer whose only desire is to bring about a past long forgotten, a past that favors those of magical blood and condemns those who are not worthy, a past that would result in the annihilation of peace and the deaths of many.

Claire finds herself thrust into an old fashioned world liken to those she’s grown up reading about, one of fantasy and intrigue. There, she soon realizes that a lifetime of books hardly prepared her. She must face difficulties never before confronted, and in so doing, discover secrets about herself. All the while, there is one obstacle that ultimately stands in her way: The King of Dragonwall. And she needs him on her side if she is to succeed. Will such a thing be possible?

The King of Dragonwall is not like those before him. Troubled and temperamental, he is scarred by more than the events that shaped him. Worst of all, he is mateless. With no queen and no heir, his subjects are demanding he abandon tradition and marry into nobility. But with the rising threats upon his borders, goblin unrest to the east, and talk of an even darker terror to the north, he will soon have far greater problems than that of finding a wife.

Modern meets medieval in this first installment of The Dragonwall Saga, which is full of magical creatures and adventure. In addition, there are a variety of interesting characters, and even a dose of romance.

THE BONES WERE GOOD.

I read this because my sister had recommend it to me, and I love her dearly, but this wasn’t my favorite. Let me give you a quote that accurately describes my experience.

“Where was her plot? What was her purpose? Which path was she supposed to follow?”

I MEAN SAME GIRL. The MAIN CHARACTER, Claire said this. And that is the epitome of this story. Take out about 300 pages (no really, this massive thing is 700ish) and THEN we would’ve had a pretty decent book. The plot jumped allllll over the place. Random character POV chapters, with their own lines that I couldn’t bother to pay attention too. Claire herself was on some kind of adventure. Did I know exactly what that was? Not really. Save the land, be the “chosen one,” the typical stuff was all I gathered.

I was hoping for more romance as well. Nothing crazy, but our two love interests meeting after 350 pages? Not quite what I had in mind. There were some relationships between other characters on the side, but since I knew next to nothing about them I was confused as to why they even liked each other.

Y’all are clearly seeing my issues here. What I gathered from the book is that the bones of the story were good. I could see vaguely how this could honestly be a good book. I mean, there’s DRAGONS everywhere. That was a big reason I picked it up in the first place. I’m holding off on the second book right now, but you never know. I might pick it back up.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + some romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: some small battles, physical, poison

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Book Review

Book Review: Veins of Magic (The Otherworld #2) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy retelling + romance
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The conclusion of Heart of the Fae, where Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology.

Once upon a time…

Heartache dogs the steps of Sorcha of Ui Neill. Although she is home with her family, she is unable to shake the memories of her time in Hy-brasil. She heals with a heavy heart, tells stories with melancholy words, and cannot forget the magic of the Otherworld. When an opportunity arises to return to her beloved Fae Prince, she makes a questionable deal. Dark magic, druidic curses, and a witch open a portal and send her tumbling into the middle of a war she must end for the sake of all who dwell in the Otherworld.

Saving the faeries will not be easy when she has become a woman they fear.

The once banished king battles his way through the Otherworld, freeing the Lesser Fae with each swing of his sword. Each attack turns Eamonn into something far more beastly than before. Geodes multiply and hinder his movements, harden his heart, and crystalize his resolve.

Together, they face the King of the Seelie Fae and his golden army to end the war that will change the fate of the Otherworld forever.

SUCH A GOOD RETELLING.

Oh what a magical and great ending to this duology. A great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I love seeing the parallels between the two of them. This of course added a lot more to it and made the story adult (in a good way).

I absolutely loved Sorcha. LOVED HER. She was so brave and courageous. Bold and brash. Didn’t take anything from Eamonn and I absolutely was all for how she handled each situation that came her way. Sorcha always knew what she wanted and who she loved. She really held this book. Though, for real, I LOVE Eamonn too. I loved the way that he acknowledged his mistakes. How much he truly loved Sorcha and actually listened to her. What a power couple they were! Long may they reign.

This book dove much deeper into the backgrounds of the fae life and the stories behind why Eamonn and his brother were in the tides of war against one another. It really made the conflict stand out and made this book more a larger impact.

There were definitely a couple of heart stopping moments where I actually didn’t know how it was going to end. It kept me on my toes and the action moments balanced well with the romance and tenderness between Eamonn and Sorcha. I can’t wait to read the other books in this universe!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a few mildly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: battles, swords, physical

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