Book Review

ARC Book Review: Furysong (The Aurelian Cycle #3) by Rosaria Munda

Rating: ★★★★☆
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 496 pages
Author: Rosaria Munda
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: August 9th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this explosive conclusion to the epic trilogy that began with Fireborne, Annie and Lee are fighting for their lives—and for each other—as invading dragonfire threatens to burn their home to the ground.

A new revolution is underway, and nobody will emerge unscathed.

In New Pythos, Griff is facing an execution by the dragonborn, who are furious at his betrayal. He has allies on both sides seeking to defy his fate, but the price of his freedom might come at a dear cost. And Delo will have to make a choice: follow his family, or finally surrender to his conscience.

Meanwhile, Annie must race home to hatch a plan to save her Guardians and their dragons. With Callipolis on the brink of collapse and the triarchy set to be reinstated, she may be the one person who can save the city—if she can overcome her own doubts about her future.

Lee is a revolutionary at heart, but now he’ll have to find a way to fight with diplomacy. Going up against the dragonborn court and a foreign princess, he faces a test of loyalty that sets his head against his heart.

As the fate of Callipolis darkens, Annie and Lee must determine what they are willing to sacrifice in order to save each other, defeat their enemies, and reclaim their home.

Thank you to Penguin Teen and Netgalley for the eARC.

EPIC.

This series is TOTALLY UNDERRATED AND EVERYONE SHOULD GO READ IT PLEASE.

Now with that business out of the way let me give a non-spoiler review.

I LOVED this story. It is slow for YA, but as someone who loves fantasy across the board I was into it. Packed with a punch from the get-go the action did not cease for awhile. I loved the drift it took into slower territory, where building of armies, tension, and romance was able to happen. I was absolutely smitten with both romances. Lee and Annie are too precious for this world. This incredible bond formed when they were orphaned children that grew into something unquantifiable. It was passionate and TEARS WERE SHED at some specific, not to be named scenes.

I also adored the romance between Griff and Delo. It had a whole different vibe to it with a changing of position and having to be let the festering anger burst before bonds could reform. I love the hope that came from between them even when things were at there bleakest.

Can we also discuss the side characters??! Holy cow they brought it too. Power has got to be one of my new favorites. He was everything I love about morally gray dynamics. Caught wanting to better his life, falling into unrequited love and more that I wish I could say. His scenes were next level.

And the plot is full of DRAGONS, politicking, action and more. I think this plot flowed really well and I truly didn’t know how things were going to end up working out in the end. I did nick 1/2 star because I wanted a little more *oopmh* in the ending (though I do promise it ends perfectly well and you will not throw your book). Besides that hard to nail down thought with the ending, I NEED Y’ALL TO PLEASE READ THIS SERIES.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: closed-door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: battle themes, loss of life, loss of loved ones, grief & depression depiction, near death experiences, torture, animal cruelty, fires, indentured servitude, harassment

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Luck and Last Resorts (Love, Lists and Fancy Ships #2) by Sarah Grunder Ruiz

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 9th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

They have a second chance at love, but there are some rough seas ahead in the new contemporary romance from the acclaimed author of Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships.

Commitment-phobe Nina Lejeune lives by two rules:
1. Always have fun.
2. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.
The first rule is easy; the second, she’s only broken once.

Ten years after fleeing home, Nina is the chief stewardess on the super yacht Serendipity, single by choice, and perfectly content with how life has turned out.

But Nina’s ex-coworker and old flame, Irish chef Ollie Dunne, isn’t so happy with the status quo. One year after leaving yachting, he’s returned as the Serendipity’s chef with an ultimatum: if Nina continues to deny she’s in love with him by the end of this charter season, he’ll go back to Ireland for good.

Nina and Ollie’s shared secret from their past threatens to shipwreck not only their relationship, but the entire boat. But as their connection grows amidst chaotic guests and crew drama, could there be smooth sailing in their future?

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC.

THIS STORY Y’ALL.

I was told the angst would be high. THEY DID NOT LIE. Off the charts angst, which is my absolute favorite. FAAAAAAVORITE.

Nina and Ollie are such gems. I loved the flashback chapters that were perfectly placed to give credence to the flair of the second chance trope. And I must mention, HE FALLS FIRST. Ohhhhh how I live for that sub-trope. I was smitten with Ollie up and down, around and around, FOREVER. I LOVE HIM. He is swoony, and kind, the best banter and when he stands up for what he deserves? YES. YES. YES.

My girl Nina, I admit, made me want to shake her a few times. I understood a lot of the feelings and internal struggles. I guess, for me, it was dragged on just a *touch* too long? But that was my only minor complaint. Otherwise, Nina was on this incredible journey that forced her to confront many things that needed to be knocked down. I loved these two together.

All of the sub plots and side characters were everything my Below Deck loving soul could not get enough of. The perfect dose of drama, THE CAPTAIN, glimpses of Jo and Alex? Everything flowed and fit in so well. I didn’t feel like there was wasted space, just glorious writing and a story that I couldn’t put down.

READ IT.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one vague and brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: identity theft/fraud of a minor, remembrances of domestic abuse, smoking

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Book Review

Book Review: Blood Scion (Blood Scion #1) by Deborah Falaye

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 432 pages
Author: Deborah Falaye
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 8th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This is what they deserve. They wanted me to be a monster. I will be the worst monster they ever created.

Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.

Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.

Sloane rises through the ranks and gains strength but, in doing so, risks something greater: losing herself entirely, and becoming the very monster that she abhors.

Following one girl’s journey of magic, injustice, power, and revenge, this deeply felt and emotionally charged debut from Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, is a magnetic combination of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and Daughter of Smoke and Bone that will utterly thrill and capture readers.

ENDING SAVED IT.

Note: this book is super dark and does not hold back. Please check trigger warning and make sure you’re in the right frame of mind for it!

This was something different, without a doubt. I’m not sure my mood reader self was quite read for everything, buuut I did really enjoy this story overall.

One of the best aspects was the strong female main character, Sloane. I loved her. She had to make the hardest choice over and over again and she kept rising and pushing forward. The audiobook did a fantastic job at narration and I think this also helped bring the story to life.

So much of this plot is heavy and unforgiving. There’s complex characters and a compelling plot. I did find it at times a little slow and I occasionally had a hard time getting fully into the story. The ending though? WOW, I did not see that coming at all. It was full of twists and wildness that set up for book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Dark Fantasy
  • Language: light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: very high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, colorism, rape mentioned, sexual assault, self harm, child abuse, child soldiers, suicidal ideation, death of a parent, genocide, torture, executions, gun violence

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Gilded Era Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Krista Jensen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: August 2nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A TURN OF THE CENTURY ROMANCE

Lydia Wooding is fascinated by the latest inventions the new century brings, including motorcars. She longs for the independence they represent and believes that women should have a say in the future of the industry—just as they should have a say in suffrage, adventure, and, of course, love.

Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dream a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is invited to Briarwall Manor to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew’s once shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motorcars.

Andrew, however, is wary of cars, having lost his parents in a tragic auto accident when he and Lydia were young. And he’s not sure a relationship between his sister and Spencer is the best idea—not when Sir Lawrence is available and could match both Lydia’s social status and her fortune.

Torn between risking their hearts and being loyal to their dreams in an era of whirlwind change, Spencer and Lydia anchor themselves with the determination they both share: to live life to its fullest.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for an ARC.

SOMEWHAT CHARMED.

I really loved Jensen’s previous contemporary (Miracle Creek Christmas) so I took a chance here on reading her first book set in a different time period. Some things worked for me and others didn’t.

The romance was sweet. I did enjoy the characters together and by the end I thought they had believable chemistry. I just didn’t feel enough heat (and not in a steam way), in a general sort of manner. Spencer was smitten from the get go and that was adorable there were some missing aspects that I needed to feel more connected to their relationship.

I liked the turn of century setting and the plot surrounding motor cars. That was new to me in this genre and I liked seeing some of the tools of the trade. Occasionally these scenes were a bit extended, so I’m glad they wrapped back into parts of the backstory.

There’s some good friendships here. I love the woman bonding together and the activism they were working for at the time (being suffragettes). A bit too silly, for instance, I really don’t understand the Wendy flying thing? BUT, women supporting women is always a great addition.

I’m curious what other books will line up in this series with other friends and family members.

Overall audience notes:

  • Gilded Era Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of both parents (car wreck), grief depiction

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