Book Review

Book Review: Temple of Sand (The Gods of Men #2) by Barbara Kloss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: NA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 523 pages
Author: Barbara Kloss
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sable has been exposed for who she is: Imari, the illegitimate daughter of Istraa’s king, and a Liagé—someone born with forbidden Shah power. After ten years of hiding and surviving in the bitter cold Wilds, she is finally returning home.

But it’s not the homecoming Imari envisioned. After all, her father proclaimed her dead ten years ago, and with an anonymous Liagé leader operating in Istraa’s shadows, attacking villages and burning down temples, her father fears the people will blame Imari.

It could mean his throne, and her life.

Worse yet, the night Imari played her flute in Skyhold’s court, something unlocked inside of her, and now her power will not quiet. Neither will the growing fury she feels on behalf of Istraa’s Sol Velorian labor— people who share her blood.

As that fury becomes too loud to ignore, Imari chooses to use her position to liberate the Sol Velor. But can she free them without angering enemies hungry for the power she wields—a power that could rip the Five Provinces apart?

INTO THIS.

Oh how I’m loving all of these Kindle Unlimited finds. This is another great fantasy (with a large romance plot) series that I am without a doubt enjoying.

I love the way that religion was used in this story. The details were woven into the characters lives and it played a large part in decisions and actions. Combining the religious aspects with music was another great style choice. It was enchanting reading the way the musical tones were being conveyed. I like to think music can be soothing to us all (whatever genre/style we prefer!) and thought this was a great addition to the overall plot and story.

Ohhh how I wish Jeric and Imari found each other again sooner! I hate waiting until half the book is over for my love interests to be back on the same page. Once together, sparks started flying all over again. I LOVE these two. They have banter, and beautifully touching sentiments. Some heated moments (with a little steam) and I want them to end up together. Better get my happy ending in the next book!!

This story is very interesting and the plot feels like it’s always thickening. The villains are flat-out vile and appreciatively not one-dimensional. Temple of Sand combines dark aspects with hope and light to achieve a gorgeous book. I can’t wait to read the next one and definitely think you should take a chance on this!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: heated make-outs; one mild open door scene
  • Violence: gory/bloody; murder, demon possession, physical, creature attacks, magical attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, hints at past sexual assault

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Book Review

Book Review: The Gods of Men (The Gods of Men #1) by Barbara Kloss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: New Adult Fantasy Romance
Length: 452 pages
Author: Barbara Kloss
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: June 26th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sable hated the gods. She hated what men did in their name.

Magic is forbidden throughout the Five Provinces; those born with it are hunted and killed. Sable doesn’t know her music holds power over souls—not until, at age nine, she plays her flute before the desert court and accidentally stops her baby sister’s heart, killing her. Horrified by what she’s done and fearing for her life, she flees north, out of Provincial jurisdiction and into the frigid land of exiles and thieves, known as The Wilds. There, Sable lives in hiding, burdened by guilt, and survives as a healer. But now, ten years later, someone—or something—is hunting her.

On the run again, Sable’s best chance for survival is Jos, a lethal man from the Five Provinces, who claims to need her skills as a healer to save his dying father, and she needs the large sum of money he’s offered. There’s something about him Sable doesn’t trust, but she doesn’t have many options. A spirit of the dead is hunting her, summoned by a mysterious necromancer, and it’s getting closer.

Sable soon discovers she’s just the start of the necromancer’s plan to take over the Five Provinces, and she’s the only one with the power to stop it. But harnessing her forbidden power means revealing it to the world, and the dangerous Provincial, Jos, she’s beginning to fall for.

BETTER AND BETTER.

Off to a slow and confusing start, I wasn’t sure where the hype from my friends had come. If felt dropped into a story without a basis for the location, world or magic system which left me really lost for awhile. Once I started to figure things out, we were good to go!

The romance brought on the heat (in a low steam way) as things progressed. I love the spicy kissing scenes and the clear pull between Sable and Jeric. Oh my goodness did I adore Jeric. He’s that dark and brooding type with a heart that gets softened by Sable and I AM HERE FOR IT. All of their interactions and banter made me love this book all the more.

The magic here is wild and I’m still a little confused by it. There doesn’t seem to be a full explanation for it so far, but I did at least establish how it works [mostly]. The world is also a touch confusing too. Yet again though, it did get better over time.

I like that this had a villain I didn’t see coming. My initial choices were there own brand of awfulness. I like the unreliableness of those kind of characters. It also doesn’t leave you on a major cliffhanger. The Gods of Men reads like a full story, there’s enough strings untied though where I’m saying I MUST HAVE BOOK TWO.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult/New adult fantasy romance
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses, heated make-outs (with clothing removed)
  • Violence: physical, magical, murder, creature attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved one(s), multiple instances of implied sexual assault/rape, sexual assault, attempted rape

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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: Fire Study (Poison Study #3) by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: New adult Fantasy
Length: 441 pages
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: February 26th, 2008
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The apprenticeship is over—now the real test has begun.

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before…

Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

IT WAS FINE.

Not gonna lie. I’m glad I can be finished with these books (yes, I know there was more added and a spin-off series as well, I’m stopping here though). I just, struggled with these y’all!? It’s okay, it happens.

I fell more out of love with Yelena this time. Her character growth happens so late in the book that I’m no longer enamored with the concept. I was tired of her shoving others away to “protect them,” instead of allowing them to help her. Yelena also continually ran off to danger without a second thought. There comes a time to be brave and then just reckless and repetitive.

But don’t worry, our elusive love interest shows up in the nick of time to save her time and time again. Yet also, where was he for the first 200 pages again?! I hate that. Don’t introduce a love interest and then not even utilize him for the story. Ugh.

I enjoy the writing and the world itself. The plot may still be confusing to me (where’s the endgame here?), but there’s a lot here about recovering and working towards a place a peace after awful things have been done to them. I liked these aspects and how it was approached.

Maybe this series wasn’t for me, but I know plenty who enjoyed them. They’re a bit older, so could be a good backlist title!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene
  • Violence: swords, magic, physical altercations, fires, torture

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