Book Review

Book Review: An Heir Comes to Rise (An Heir Comes to Rise #1) by C.C. Penaranda

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: C.C. Penaranda
Publisher: Lumarias Press
Release Date: February 25th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A SWORD…
In the impoverished outer town of a kingdom where fae outrank humans, Faythe, an orphan with a talent for swordplay, knows the importance of keeping her head down around the fae patrol. She and best friend Jakon long for a better life, and her desire to swing her sword in combat may bring the purpose and coin she’s yearned for.

A DREAM…
When she draws the attention of royal guard Nik, she soon learns that her mortal nature isn’t the only reason to remain out of sight. Nik is a Nightwalker, a silent assassin of the mind with the power to enter others’ dreams, and whether she trusts him or not, he’s about to awaken abilities in Faythe that shouldn’t exist in a human. Nightmarish abilities. Deadly abilities. Abilities that will teach Faythe blood really does run thicker than water…and if she doesn’t trust in higher powers soon, blood will run indeed.

AN HEIR…
For this is no battle Faythe can fight with steel. Within the city walls, suspicions are arising, and here in the outer town she has deeper bonds to protect. It seems everyone will die with a dark secret to tell, but what if one unlikely human girl was born harboring the darkest secret of all…?

In a clash of steel, a mortal body may fall. But in a clash of dreams, a powerful heir may rise.

Fans of THRONE OF GLASS and RED QUEEN will enjoy this first instalment in a gripping new fantasy series that portrays the unbreakable strength of friendship, the struggle for honor, and the ache of sacrifice.

INTRIGUED.

I have found myself in an odd thought zone after this one. I was simultaneously disgruntled that there were a loooot of Throne of Glass similarities and delighted that it had many essences of my favorite series ever. A juxtaposition that ultimately worked out because I’ve already started reading book two.

I did enjoy the friendships and many of those dynamics. I love strong bonds like that because found family is always my jam. I’m curious how those will further change throughout the series.

The romance grew on me. I thought it could have used a bit more something but I liked Nik and all that he was able to teach and help Faythe with (I’m continually trying to remain vague to not spoil anything).

Plot was good too. A decent balance of slow and action fueled moments. Even some good twists that kept the pages turning. I am very much interested in continuing because I have some ideas for book two that I can’t wait to see how they play out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, imprisonment

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Book Review

Book Review: Bride of the Shadow King (Bride of the Shadow King #1) by Sylvia Mercedes

Rating: ★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 498 pages
Author: Sylvia Mercedes
Publisher: FireWyrm Books
Release Date: March 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For fans of The Bridge Kingdom and A Deal with the Elf King, this arranged marriage romance about a human princess forced to wed a dark and desperate Shadow King is sure to entice!

A shunned princess. A reluctant king.
A marriage that could save both their kingdoms . . . but destroy their hearts.

Though she is the oldest daughter, Princess Faraine lives in the background, shunned from court and kept out of sight. Her chronic illness makes her a liability to the crown, and she has learned to give place to her beautiful, favored younger sister in all things.

When the handsome and enigmatic Shadow King comes seeking a bride, Faraine is not surprised that her sister is his choice.

Though not eager to take a human bride, King Vor is willing to do what is necessary for the sake of his people. When he meets the lively Princess Ilsevel, he quickly agrees to a marriage arrangement.

So why can’t he get the haunting eyes of her older sister out of his head?

When disaster strikes and the marriage alliance is compromised, Faraine suddenly finds herself forced to take her sister’s place . . . regardless of her new husband’s desires. Can she find a place at Vor’s side as his queen? Or is his heart forever closed to the woman who deceived him so cruelly?

Passionate and alluring, Bride of the Shadow King is an arranged marriage tale with dual point-of-view (his and hers). It’s perfect for fantasy fans looking for a touch of spice to go with the sweet in their next swoony, slow-burn romance.

OH HOW I WANTED TO LOVE THIS.

First off, really shouldn’t compare a book to THE BRIDGE KINGDOM and then it have ZERO qualifying reasons for the comparison. There’s an arranged marriage and that’s it. That’s also in plenty of other books too. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

The love interest, Vor, was just too nice. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a love interest either. It was like he couldn’t say one tiny banter like comment without immediately apologizing. There was no angst, heat, passion, zilch. Zero. I don’t mind a sweet romance, but you can still bring some kind of passion to it. Not to mention, Faraine hardly has a personality herself. *sigh*

For the last 15%ish, that was intriguing. Predictable based off of where things were going, but I liked the pick up in action. There were actual emotions by all parties and some of the world building and magic system finally started to make sense.

Unfortunately disappointed with this one and won’t be continuing the series.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: one brief open door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, poison, small battle scenes, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: Queen (Fae Games #3) by Karen Lynch

Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)
Audience: Urban Fantasy + Romance
Length: 428 pages
Author: Karen Lynch
Publisher: Tempest Press
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Jesse recovered the missing ke’tain to keep her parents safe, but it came at a high price. In the weeks after her brush with death, she struggles to adapt to her new life, while burdened with the terrible secret she learned about her brother Caleb.

On her first visit to Faerie, Jesse faces new challenges and perils amid the splendor of the Unseelie court. Her relationship with Lukas grows stronger, but her happiness is overshadowed by a threat to both worlds. She might be the only one who can save them if she is willing to risk her own future to do it.

Together with an old friend, Jesse takes on the most dangerous job of her life. She discovers an inner strength she never knew she possessed; one she will need when she confronts her greatest enemy. Secrets are revealed and lives are changed forever. Jesse will make her last play, but will it be enough for her to survive the final showdown of this lethal game?

ENDED WELL.

Ah, I do hate feeling a bit let down by a series ender. This was good, but the second half was much better and I struggled to get there to even enjoy it all.

I love Jesse. I think she’s a brave and bold main character. Faithful to her family, strong in who she is (even when that’s changing) and able to make the difficult decisions. I loved her and Lukas together, BUT WHERE WAS HE. This feels like the romance component is supposed to be playing a stronger role and it never hit that mark for me. I hoarded every moment he was in a scene, and looked for him too often.

The plot was good, but slowwwww. The first half is spent with a lot of very nuanced day to day activities that weren’t apart of the previous two books. After there was more headway in solving some key issues in the plot, progression was at last made! Still felt a bit random, buuuut it worked. I think.

A final series thought, it was good. I haven’t read Lynch’s books in a few years and it was nice to read them again. There was plenty of good things to go around and I know some friends who love this story on a whole other level. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Urban fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, torture, physical altercations, poison, being drugged without consent, sexual harassment and assault, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: The League of Gentlewomen Witches (Dangerous Damsels #2) by India Holton

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Paranormal/Historical/Fantasy Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: India Holton
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the teahouse…

Miss Charlotte Pettifer belongs to a secret league of women skilled in the subtle arts. That is to say—although it must never be said—witchcraft. The League of Gentlewomen Witches strives to improve the world in small ways. Using magic, they tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper, entirely unlike those reprobates in the Wisteria Society.

When the long lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it is up to Charlotte, as the future leader of the League, to make sure the powerful talisman does not fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is most unfortunate when she crosses paths with Alex O’Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy. With all the world scrambling after the amulet, Alex and Charlotte join forces to steal it together. If only they could keep their pickpocketing hands to themselves! If Alex’s not careful, he might just steal something else—such as Charlotte’s heart.

LAUGH INDUCING.

I love the eccentricities of this story. It’s a wild combination of genres, characters and themes and that’s what makes it so good!! I found myself laughing, leaning into the unique nature and having a good time.

My only small issue was how the relationship started. It leans more towards an enemies with benefits vibe, and I personally have a harder time with benefits books. BUT. I will say, Charlotte and Alex truly grew on me. They kept denying the fact that they were clearly in looooove and it made for some hilarious situations. I really liked them by the end and thought everything wrapped up well (I’m curious if there’s another book coming??).

Even though things go all over the place, the plot is a strong note throughout. I like that this was easy to follow so when the points of view switched up or flying houses intruded, I knew where things were ultimately going. A great read, and the audio book was wonderful!

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal / Historical / Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: vague open door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, explosions, physical altercations, weaponry

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