Book Review

ARC Book Review: This Vicious Grace (The Last Finestra #1) by Emily Thiede

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Emily Thiede
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: June 28th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Emily Thiede’s exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an eARC.

THAT WAS SOMETHING.

I feel perplexed by my thoughts on this one.

We’ll start here. On one hand, I had a hard time putting this down. The writing was great and captivating. Easy to follow and fly through. I LOVED the banter between the love interests Alessa and Dante. And hello, a bodyguard romance? YUP. You read that right. The build-up was sweet and I liked how they got to know each other and connected on multiple levels.

I also did liked this cast of characters. Everyone had different personalities and nobody blended into the background. I would have loved even more background on Alessa’s new group of friends to solidify those relationships even more.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t call this a strong fantasy. It leans heavily to the romance (which is fine for me), but not hard enough into the world building and magic system. Things were laid out well, yet as I was finishing the book I realized some aspects just didn’t make sense? It’s hard to explain, but as a devout fantasy lover there were things missing for me.

Definitely still interested in the second book. I think that has a lot of potential and I would looooove to see where this romance can go. Can’t wait!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA/NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: vague open door
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, creature attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: attempted murder, near death experiences, kidnapping, imprisonment, mentions of past child abuse, thoughts of suicide (and others trying to convince the MC to commit suicide)

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The North Wind (The Four Winds #1) by Alexandria Warwick

Rating: ★★★
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 551 pages
Author: Alexandria Warwick
Publisher: Andromeda Press
Release Date: January 13th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lush. Dark. Romantic. Introducing a newly reimagined tale written in the vein of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone.

Long before civilization, there were the gods. And before the gods, there was the earth, the celestial bodies, and air given flesh. They are the Anemoi—the Four Winds—and they have been banished to the four corners of the world.

Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. Her parents are gone. Survival is all she knows. For three hundred years, the land known as the Gray has been encased in ice, surrounded by a great barrier called the Shade, which protects the townsfolk from the Deadlands beyond.

But day by day, the Shade weakens.

Only one thing can stop the Shade’s fall: a mortal woman taken captive across the barrier, bound in wedlock to the dark god who reigns over the Deadlands. He is the North Wind, the Frost King, an immortal whose heart is said to be as frigid as the land he rules.

And the time has come for the Frost King to choose his bride.

The North Wind is a standalone, enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance, the first in a series sprinkled with Greek lore. Perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laura Thalassa, and Scarlett St. Clair.

DISAPPOINTED.

This was not all I hope it to be folks. Just wasn’t.

I LOVED the initial premise. The Frost King comes to get a bride? Gimme that. I would say I was into the first 40% or so. The plot moved well and I did like the writing throughout. There’s definitely a slow burn, enemies to lovers romance that I know others will love.

BUT.

Where it fell flat for me was some of the world building that became glaringly confusing. Even by the end I still had unanswered questions that would alter the entire story. There wasn’t a deep enough explanation into the main conflict (and reasoning why the King needed a bride). Holes here left holes in the entire plot that I couldn’t look past. If you’re reading this purely for the romance, you’ll probably like it, but if you’re looking for more fantasy built around it you might be disappointed like me.

The main character did have some growth. Naive and immature to start yet found her footing by the end. I liked most of the development for her and the relationship with the Frost King. Too much spice for me personally that didn’t further the plot and felt added to increase the steam but not the substance.

I’m thinking about trying the next book in this series. Hopefully it’s at least 100 pages shorter than this one. Not all I hoped for, but not all bad either.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, alcoholism, creature attacks, near death experiences, blood and gore, battle scenes

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Marriage for One by Ella Maise

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 520 pages
Author: Ella Maise
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love.

Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.

It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.

It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.

One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.

After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?

WELL, THIS WAS GOOD.

I can’t believe I waited so long to read this one because it was so goooooood. Oh my goodness. I LOVED the first half. The grump x sunshine trope with a dash of I hate everyone but you. GOLD. I didn’t realize just how much of a sucker I am for that kind of vibe in my romance reads.

Jack and Rose are in a marriage of convenience (lets just drop all of my favorite tropes into this one). Watching the push and pull of feelings had me in a puddle. I adored all of the small things Jack did to subtly show her he cared and how Rose remained positive about the new situations before her. The angst was real and the banter was top notch. And I swooned right along with Rose every time Jack rolled up his sleeves or gave a small smile. These are the things that I love.

What I didn’t love was how one of my favorite tropes was dragged out a bit. I’m here for a good, take care of someone when sick trope, buuuut this one went on for probably 100 pages or so and slowed down the pacing of the book a bunch. Without that I probably would have thrown 5 stars at it easy.

Yessss, there’s *drama*, but I didn’t care one bit. I was already so deep into this relationship and I think it actually fit the book well. Things get wild, and I was into it. ANYWAYS. Definitely recommend this one [spice was too concentrated/too much for met at the end, buuut for those who love that, read it!!]

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: 3 long open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: bribery, loss of a loved one, surgery, medical situations (exams, testing, appointments), extortion, panic attack

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Gravity of Us (Elements #4) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 270 pages
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: April 12th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

THIS WAS EVERYTHING.

I couldn’t put this down from chapter one. All of a sudden I had a deep need to know what happened next and so I began a journey of ALL the dang emotions through the lives of Lucy and Graham.

“If you need to fall, fall into me.”

I mean, COME ON. Look at those words. Did you swoon? Because I swooned so many times throughout this book!! One of my new favorite grump and sunshine trope reads. I loved these characters with my whole being. I found myself almost in tears by the end waiting for a happy ending. I love that Lucy was optimistic and truly cared from her soul about her loved ones. That Graham was hardened by abandonment, but was also able to work on himself. The chemistry was undeniable. It was a slowwww burn and incredibly romantic with all of the lead up.

An incredibly sweet story that has a lot of heavy and deep content matter (I’ll put that in the warnings below). I adored the banter and soft smiles. The cute way they just hung out together. How they undeniably stood by each other’s side when things got hard instead of running away. I was wrapped up in this opposites attract love story and I beg of you to read it!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to one brief open door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a mother smoked while pregnant (off screen), emergency delivery, preemie baby in NICU, cheating, loss of parent(s), domestic abuse, alcoholism, child abuse, parental/spousal abandonment

Instagram || Goodreads