Book Review

Book Review: The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆ 
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 625 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Release Date: April 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen.

UH OH.

First two books I could have easily handed out more than 5 stars.

This one? 3 stars. An it was fine, kinda read.

I am still really into Poppy and Cas. They’re a great team, they do have chemistry and seem to work together well. I love Kieran and the rest of the wolven crew. All good things.

Nowwwww, where my issues lie.

I started noticing the flaws my friends who have read (and didn’t love) these books have mentioned. One of them being the repetitive nature of literally everything. Poppy’s inner monologue goes on and on and on and one point until I’m exhausted by her thoughts. And if you thought ACOSF had too many random sex scenes, then definitely don’t read this because I thought all of the sex was so RANDOM. Like run off in a corner, do it, then come back and keep going. I don’t know. It felt really forced and really didn’t love that.

My last big issue was that I felt like NOTHIGN HAPPENED. There was high action right from the start then high action right at the end. Between there wasn’t a lot of anything.

Okay okay, one more: WHY WERE NORMAL MONTHS USED? Poppy and Cas’s birthdays are apparently in April in December…in a made up fantasy world. That took me out of the book so fast, I’m clearly still bothered by this ridiculous notion.

Maybe if these books were a lot shorter they would seem like they were holding more substance. I’m still planning on reading the next one. I’m invested enough to continue, but I have some expectations for how it goes down. The ending was pretty predictable and left me wanting more. I’m curious how this is supposed to go on for 3/4 more books?

I’m hopeful. Some middle books are on the lower end of a rating for me. I loooove Cas the most. And as long as things work out there I think there’s an upward trend in sight.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: kisses to multiple open door scenes
  • Violence: murder, physical altercations, pretty gory/bloody

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Book Review

Book Review: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 496 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

THIS WAS AS GOOD AS I WAS EXPECTING.

Oh did I love this. Even more than the first book. It just added to everything I experienced the first time, and now that I’m more solidified with characters/world/story, it made it all the better.

I am so in love with Hawke and Poppy. What a feisty relationship. I find myself smirking and enjoying their banter and conversations. I spent half the time shouting, JUST SAY I LOVE YOU ALREADY. Because seriously, the chemistry is off the charts. Not to mention the steam. H-o-t. A little bit past what I’m comfortable with (and I don’t mind skimming so it’s not a huge deal). I did like that it fit into the story and made the romance between them come alive. I like steamy scenes to really play their own part to the story.

What’s also amazing is the plot itself. Gods, wolves, vampires, OH MY. This is very intricate and layered. I learned even more about the world and how all the players were holding their cards. I’m excited to see how that keeps weaving into Poppy’s life as she unfolds the mysteries that have surrounded her.

Real obsessed with most of these side characters too. Namely, Kieran. His dry humor and witty remarks only make me love this series even more. I think he’ll play an even bigger role in the next installment, along with all of his werewolf friends. I can’t believe it myself, but I am loving this vampire/werewolf story. I think it’s all in how Armentrout has portrayed and written them. It’s not gimmicky, it’s fierce and powerful characters that have just made me love this series.

Amazing ending where I’m shouting, I KNEW IT. I actually don’t know if I know it, but all signs point towards a third book that’s sure to stop my heart a few times.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: some light to strong
  • Romance: a bit of everything (as I said very steamy); would probably say 3 to 4 flames out of five; multiple open door scenes
  • Violence: bloody/gory; physical, magical, swords, catapults, fire, swords, arrows
  • Trigger warnings: PTSD from being captured and tortured; losing loved ones

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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: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

WHERE AM I?

That’s how I felt most of this book.

My biggest issue was the total lack of world building. I know this is a spin-off from a previous series of hers. I was told by multiple people that you don’t have to read it to be able to understand and enjoy this one. I agree up until the point that if the previous series has better world-building that would have been a major help here.

I finally gathered that it is some type of dystopia / fantasy universe. There were normal US cities, but we had magical powers and people who could transform into gargoyles, so somewhere between all of that is your world. Do I know why it is that way? NOPE, this book’s focus is the romance (not necessarily a bad thing), but since the everything else was sorely lacking, I couldn’t be as involved with the romance.

Though the romance is the part I did like best. I thought the flow between Zane and Trinity was great. It’s sort of slow, with a touch of animosity at first, that gives way to some tender moments. The love scene was kind of odd, but other than that, I ship them.

My other problem with this book was the immaturity of conversation. Using phrases like *douche nozzle* takes me out of the story and I’m clearly still not over that this word was used. The lingo annoyed me as well. Just the whole combination of conversations bothered me the entire time. I didn’t love Trinity as an MC. Never got on board with her.

The plot was focused around finding a lost friend…that was it. There were hints and nods towards some bigger focus, and I wish we had more of that. It made the story somewhat boring because of how intensely focused they were on this one thing. Whoever is really pulling the strings needs to come out of the word work so this book can liven up some more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, once love scene (with some description)
  • Violence: battles, physical, knives, swords, magical

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