Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Symphony of Stars (The Gods of Men #3) by Barbara Kloss

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 576 pages
Author: Barbara Kloss
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: March 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Will Imari fall like every sulaziér before her?

In a desperate attempt to save King Jeric’s life, Imari drew upon the power from the Tree of Wisdom, hidden deep within the forsaken lands of Sol Velor. But Imari could not have known that by doing so, she would also free Zussa—the Great Deceiver—who had been bound between worlds since the beginning of time.

Thus freed, and now using Azir Mubarék as a vessel, Zussa will stop at nothing to exact her final revenge: to unravel the world as it is written.

With Trier destroyed and so many Sol Velorians and Liagé now under Zussa’s employ, it seems the Five Provinces are doomed to Zussa’s insatiable wrath. Jeric and Imari’s only hope is to return to Corinth, to gather whatever fighting men will help, but Jeric hasn’t been home in over two months. He can’t possibly know what awaits him there, or if he still has a throne.

Regardless of what they find, Imari soon comes to realize that her particular gifting as a sulaziér is crucial in their inevitable fight against Zussa. The only problem is that her flute—her talla—is broken, and she can’t channel Shah power properly without it. Jeric has miraculously discovered a new talla, but using it might come with a price that Imari is not willing to pay.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of the book!

GREAT CONCLUSION.

There is something so satisfying about finishing a series. Especially when the last book concludes the things you need to close the book and appreciate all the words you’ve read.

I am just smitten with this romance. I adore Jeric and Imari. I would have loved even MORE of them because every time they graced the pages I would swoon. I loved all of the quiet moments and a lot of those ending scenes where they both fought for the love between them. Jeric never game up on Imari and I AM HERE FOR IT.

There were many points of view (I think even more than book two?) and it was nice getting different angles of the impending final battle. Seeing characters make turn arounds, finding new love, and coping with big changes. I have enjoyed this entire cast. The protagonists and antagonists. Both played their roles well which gave to an intense finale.

The first half was a bit slow for me as most of it was travel based (which is never a strong trope for me). By about halfway things definitely started picking up as kingdoms unraveled and the great deceiver maxed out the dial on their plans.

This series has been stunning all around and I am so happy to have found it! Available on KU and a great read for new adult fantasy lovers!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy romance
  • Language: light
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: torture, physical and magical altercations, weapons violence, possession, near death experiences

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.

When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.

Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.

With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.

Haunting and romantic, Kristen Ciccarelli’s Edgewood is an exciting novel from a bold, unforgettable voice in fantasy.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an eARC.

MELODIC & HAUNTING.

Well if the cover isn’t already drawing you in, let me tell you, this was a GREAT standalone fantasy. They’re often hit or misses. This was a hit. Happy I read it. Couldn’t get enough of it.

I really liked the main character, Emeline. She had limits, yet didn’t let that stop her. She used her strengths and her heart to make the decisions and I never found myself wanting to roll my eyes at her choices. I love a heroine who grows and comes into her own over the course of a book.

The romance with Emeline and Hawthorne enchanted me way more than I was expecting. I like a long haul, yet this quick paced romance got me good. I liked the reveals, the quiet, tender moments and the clear passion emanating from their bond across time.

A well thought out plot that touches on some tough subjects (see trigger/content warnings). Reading the author’s note at the end brought the novel into an even better light. I like the way things were handled and the acknowledgement of how tough getting older and coping with those changes can be. While at the initial moment, I didn’t love the ending, the further I thought about it (and now writing this review), I see the connection. I see the intention of the author in this choice and really think it fits for the book.

This isn’t a full fantasy, it’s got a dash of urban nature to it. I love a good urban fantasy + fae though so no complaints here. I love all of the music components and everything else this book offered. I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: brief/vague open door (2ish scenes)
  • Violence: physical altercations, weaponry, creature attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a grandparent with dementia, loss of memory without consent, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: October 26th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.

She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria… even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.

The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world… or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?

Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves…

One sister.
Two sinful princes.
Infinite deception with a side of revenge… Welcome to Hell.

A SOFT FOUR STARS.

I am mixed on this book.

Half the time I felt like it was trying too hard to be sexy. I know that this was a jump into new adult fantasy romance, WHICH IS FINE. I love that genre. It’s cool. What isn’t cool is the forced angst that happened for 80% of this book where I just wanted them to do it and move on so the plot itself could move forward. Some of the angst was working for me, most of the scenes weren’t.

Still obsessively in love in Wrath though. He holds his own star in this case. He gives me my favorite kind of dark, brooding vibes. I love how he is with Emilia and by the last closing scenes I felt much better about them together. Gives me a loooot of hope for how the next (maybe last?) book is going down. I like when people work together, let’s do this.

Since the plot was stalled for most of the book, the little glimpses were only seen at the end. They were some wild glimpses though that surprised me. I definitely need more information and that alone helped me like this book more.

The audio was a great read and I liked the occasional sound effects used! I love a wonderful production for audios.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: multiple open door
  • Violence: murder, mutilation, physical & magical altercations

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Book Review

Book Review: A Trial of Sorcerers (A Trial of Sorcerers #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy
Length: 355 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: March 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ice is in her blood.

Eighteen-year-old Waterrunner Eira Landan lives her life in the shadows — the shadow of her older brother, of her magic’s whispers, and of the person she accidentally killed. She’s the most unwanted apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers until the day she decides to step out and compete for a spot in the Tournament of Five Kingdoms.

Pitted against the best sorcerers in the Empire, Eira fights to be one of four champions. Excelling in the trials has its rewards. She’s invited to the royal court with the “Prince of the Tower,” discovers her rare talent for forbidden magic, and at midnight, Eira meets with a handsome elfin ambassador.

But, Eira soon learns, no reward is without risk. As she comes into the spotlight, so too do the skeletons of a past she hadn’t even realized was haunting her.

Eira went into the trials ready for a fight. Ready to win. She wasn’t ready for what it would cost her. No one expected the candidates might not make it out with their lives.

This is the first book in a young adult, epic fantasy that’s a tale of competition, coming of age, distant lands, elemental magic, and romance. It’s perfect for fans of the Legend of Korra, Truthwitch, and A Sorcery of Thorns.

WELCOME BACK TO SOLARIS.

Ahhhhh I’m so happy I loved this one. I LOVE AIR AWAKENS WITH MY WHOLE BOOKISH SOUL. And when the Vortex Chronicles let me down I didn’t know what to expect with A Trial of Sorcerers. Thank heavens it was a HIT.

I felt a reawakening of my love for Kova’s writing and expert slow burn and torturous romance scenarios. I loved Eira. I loved how much she learned to believe in herself and stand up on her own. I also felt like there were some nods to Elsa from Frozen. I love a bad-a ice queen so no complaints here. It was delightful.

Completely tortured by a love triangle where I just KNEW what was going to happen and wasn’t surprised (but not in a bad way) when things unfolded as they did. I honestly would have been upset otherwise. I can’t wait for more of Cullen. ALL THE CULLEN.

The plot is intricate and I’m amazed how easily another story in this universe has been unwoven. I think it’s going to be another great series ahead and I am anxious for book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a loved one (on page), near death experiences

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