Book Review

Book Review: Bright Raven Skies (Sweet Black Waves #3) by Kristina Pérez

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kristina Pérez
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: August 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bright Raven Skies is the thrilling conclusion to the lush and heart-wrenching romantic fantasy trilogy about ancient magic, warring families, and star-crossed lovers by Kristina Pérez.

To save the kingdom, Branwen embraced the darkest aspects of her magic. But she may have lost herself––and the two people she loves most.

Tristan and Eseult are missing. As Branwen searches for them, she must hide the truth surrounding their disappearance from both the king and her lover. Above all, she must find the Queen and her Champion first.

New and old enemies circle Branwen, clamoring for power and revenge, and threatening to destroy the fragile peace that she has sacrificed everything to secure.

THAT ENDING THOUGH.

What a good conclusion. I feel like this series was never super hyped or out in the forefront, but it happened to be one I picked up and have continually enjoyed each installment as they came out.

This one broke my soul by the end.

I just wanted, no NEEDED Branwen to be happy and secure and to know where she really wanted to stand. I got that, even if it left me wanting to weep for those left behind.

Trying to remain as vague as I can, that this ending was unlike ones I’ve read before. Which is probably why it hurt so much. I think it can lean either way on how it makes you feel about the trilogy as a whole. I found a lot of sense in the writing choices, even if I didn’t want to see them. It worked out the way it should and that’s where I’m leaving that.

Ooooh but all of these characters. How I adored them, and hated them, and loved them. All the things. The side characters themselves are incredibly well thought out and help bring the entire story together. I love that they made me angry, and happy, and all the things because sometimes I want that roller coaster from a book.

Just a good ending to a good series that needs some attention. If you like Tristan and Iseult retellings definitely check this one out! It was fascinating, and looking up the background story was really cool too. I love the way the magic worked (and it has limits and rules!), the beautiful countryside of the lands, and all things inbetween.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy retellings
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, a closed door scene or two, one open door scene (at the end)
  • Violence: battles, murder, poisoning, duels, swords, physical, magic

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Book Review

Book Review: From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult fantasy romance
Length: 634 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Release Date: March 30th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Maiden

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

LATEST OBESSSION.

Hello there, yes you. Have you read this yet? Are you reading trying to decide if you should? WELL I’M GOING TO TELL YOU THAT YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD.

It took months of convincing and seeing it around Bookstagram to finally read this. And I can’t believe I waited so long because I loved it!

The romance for this was perfectly choreographed. That first seen between Hawke and Poppy? Hot dang. I looooved the banter and heated moments. The quiet murmurings and clear intent. It had some ACOMAF and The Bridge Kingdom vibes and if you’ve ever read anything of mine, you know I love those books. This gets added to New Adult Fantasy Romance favorite list.

I only ever struggled a tiny bit with the world-building. It wasn’t until the second half when the rest of the story began unfolding that I really understood what was happening and where the pieces fit. I had been confused about all the different creatures, but can say I have grasped it all.

You can see the major reveal coming from awhile away, but that never detracted from the story. I actually liked how it was laid out and even though I knew it was coming it still dragged at my heart and made me excited to see what happened next. I have so many questions for the sequel!?

This was just a gem of a book that needs more love. Highly recommend if this is a favored genre of yours!!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few open door scenes, mildly detailed
  • Violence: bloody, gory and definitely violent; battle scenes, physical, murder, assault
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault and harassment

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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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