Book Review

Book Review: The Call of the Void (Shadows and Crowns #3) by S.M. Gaither

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy + Romance
Length: 504 pages
Author: S.M. Gaither
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 18th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

War is building. Blood is spilling. And the gods are not pleased.

Casia has survived her brother’s attempts to crush her and her growing army, but the battle for their empire is just beginning. Bitter and wounded, carrying the curse of a dark and dangerous upper-god, and desperate for more allies, she charges northward to seek the elves who once walked alongside the divine beings.

The elven Court of Moreth holds knowledge. Secrets. And power. The kind of power that could shift all of Casia’s wars in her favor. If she can survive the dangerous politics and treacherous magic of the elf-kind.

While these outer battles rage, so too do the ones within. Elander is losing what remained of his divinity. His court. His powers. His grasp on what he once was and what he once knew. But he’s determined to keep fighting, gathering his own ancient allies and working to aid Casia in her wars. He lost her once. He won’t do it again.

But his devotion to her may be the very thing that destroys him.

And when that destruction comes, it comes with a twist—one that could change their entire world.

ANOTHER GOOD READ.

I am just highly enjoying this series!! Such a hidden gem that I can’t get enough of.

I read this book rather than listened and I think that made a difference in my rating. I thought it was a bit slower off the bat and that not as much happened in the overall plot. I was hoping for a bit more political intrigue and action, but that didn’t happen until the late second half.

What I did get a lot of was the roooomance! And I loved it! The spice was definitely stepped up a bit (which wasn’t my full cup of tea, but it’s cool). I love the progression and depth Elander and Casia with each other. They work together and build each other up and I love a supportive relationship like that. It’s always unique to see a fully formed couple before the series is even half over.

I can’t wait for the next read! I adore this entire cast and all of the close friendships. There’s some good movement here and I am thoroughly enjoying every moment.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: three open door
  • Violence: strong blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, war themes and battles, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New Adult Romance
Length: 417 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author of SLAMMED and POINT OF RETREAT.

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever. 

SHATTERED.

Wow does this book absolutely break my heart. It’s a CoHo book. I KNOW something is always coming. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting to see what moment is going to break me. And as expected, once I realized what was happening, alllll of my emotions flared.

I love how Hoover’s books are romances, BUT so much more. SO MUCH more. There’s deeper story. Deeper conversations and thought. They’re nuanced and tend to be traumatic. And I keep coming back for more. I love the journey I’m taken on every time. I adored Dean Holder. Absolutely smitten with that bad boy with a soft and supportive heart. Sky was indominable beyond belief. Going through some of the worst things a child can and to rise again. The strength of many of the characters of this story defied comprehension.

There’s an immersive plot where usually by chapter one I am HOOKED. This was no different. I love working through her backlist of stories because now that I’m on my 15th (maybe more?) of her books, they all have something unique to bring to her collection.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to brief open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual assault and rape (multiple times) of multiple children, kidnapping, on page suicide (by gun), off page suicide mention, PTSD

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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)

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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

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