Book Review

ARC Book Review: Truel1f3 (Lifel1k3 #3) by Jay Kristoff

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi / Dystopia
Length: 480 pages
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 30th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves–and each other–was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war–this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals. But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are. 

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

GREAT BOOK.

I’m so excited I received an eARC of this book because I have been anxiously awaiting the finale. It was stellar.

So much happened in this book y’all. Sooooo much. I was amazed at how much was fit into a book less than 500 pages. A ton of action, changes in point-of-view and locations, drama, it’s all there. At times I thought there was no way that everything could be wrapped up properly. I was happily surprised that everything did! I don’t remember having any major plot holes that weren’t filled or questions answered. I got the ending I was after, which is always a good sign.

I love that this series really transferred to being about Lemon Fresh. I loved her as a heroine. Sassy and fiery with incredible amounts of bravery and resilience. It was fantastic and fit into the young adult category well. I enjoyed getting to know many new characters and getting a lot of POVs. I like seeing all sides to the story and this really helped create that scenario.

Even characters I had a hard time loving [Eve and Preacher] to name a few had some redeeming moments throughout. I was impressed with the writing and would expect nothing less from Kristoff. I continue to return to his books because of all the emotional entanglements I find myself in and the way I can’t help but cheer for the characters.

There’s quite a bit of philosophical questions that come up while reading and I love the discussions that could arise from reading this series. I appreciated the way the story was able to open my mind to new thoughts and concerns.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / dystopia
  • Language: a moderate amount
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene that is hardly mentioned
  • Violence: guns, explosions, poison, physical
  • Trigger warning: a brief suicide scene with method

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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: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: February 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

ANOTHER FAVORITE.

Mmmmm. One of those finish in a day books here. I am smitten by Levenseller’s writing and I will continue to read every book she publishes because DANG. I loved this character driven writing with broken and flawed humans.

This is a romance. While her previous books were more one plot line with a sub-plot romance, The Shadows Between Us is alllll romance. AND I AM ALLLLL HERE FOR IT.

Our unlikable heroine Alessandra really got down with her bad side. While at first I wasn’t so sure about her, I loved her character by the end. She somehow stuck to her ideals, but became more open and trusting at the same time. It was a great combination. Alessandra learned how to have a friendship, a relationship, and how to take down some bad guys trying to ruin all the fun.

Kallias. Oooooo yes. I love him too. He is the sultry YA hero that we all love. A bit distant, strong, amiable, and honestly just trying to do right by his kingdom. I got so excited every time Kallias and Alessandra had some page time together because the sparks were flying. I really felt the chemistry between them and thought the development was good for the length of the book. There were plenty of quiet moments, swoon moments, ooo la la moments that all mashed together to give me a quick darker romance that I adored.

Yes, it’s only 336 pages and that is it’s only downfall. While to me, it didn’t phase me much (I still gave it 5 stars), I can see the dilemma. A lot of the sub-plot lines weren’t as long as I thought they would be. Things kept getting wrapped up in neat bows without some angsty drag out. If the book would have been longer and given more depth to all of these characters and stories I think it would have only made it better.

I did love the side characters. I loved Alessandra’s friends. They would make me smile and I appreciated the way they approached difficult subjects and accepted and loved each other for their differences. Girl power goes a long way for me in a book, so this was a nice touch.

What I can’t believe is how I didn’t figure out the final twist. I gathered most of the intel as the story went on. Yet, all of a sudden Alessandra’s storming the palace to save the King and I’m like oh it’s them, OH WAIT, IT’S THEM! Beautiful blindside. Great conclusion. Smitten with fluffy endings. Love it all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little light
  • Romance: kisses; multiple discussions of sleeping partners and nights together; one little detailed fade to black scene
  • Violence: pit fights, physical, swords, thieving, poison, guns

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Book Review

Book Review: The Defiant (The Valiant #2) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + historical fiction
Length: 374 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 23rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Gladiator Fallon and her warrior sisters must face off against a rival gladiator academy in this lush sequel to the highly anticipated historical fantasy The Valiant.

They call her “Victrix” now. Victory.

But winning the highest honor ever bestowed upon a gladiatrix in Rome has earned Fallon more deadly enemies outside the arena than she ever faced within it. And it is those dearest to Fallon who will pay the price for her success.

Now, Fallon and her warrior sisters are thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the Roman Empire.

MORE INTO THIS.

We all know the terror of reading a second book and feeling let down. This series [to me] did not have that happen! I felt more invested in the characters and story the second time around. I felt like I knew them more and that more things made sense.

I’m happy that the romance was way easier to enjoy. I thought it was rushed and iffy in the first book. I found myself utterly smitten with Cai in this book and how much he wants to be a partner with Fallon. I like that they’re on the same side and their quiet moments were tender and I better get a happy ending in the last book.

There was plenty of action in this book! It’s fantastic getting a lot of bad-a women being gladiators and owning it and taking down creepy cult groups. YES. While there is a romantic sub-plot the focus is on the group of women as a whole.

I love how the history of Rome weaves through the story. Talk of Caesar, coups, politics, Cleopatra, war. It helps bring the story to life and listening on audio has been stellar in this format.

Not quite sure why there’s a book three or what it will intend (I usually don’t read synopsis for later books), but I definitely intend on reading it!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical fiction + fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, swords, arrows, physical

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