Book Review

ARC Book Review: Master of Iron (Bladesmith #2) by Tricia Levenseller

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: July 26th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Master of Iron, the conclusion to Tricia Levenseller’s exciting Bladesmith YA fantasy duology, a magically gifted blacksmith with social anxiety must race against the clock to save her beloved sister and stop a devastating war.

Eighteen-year-old Ziva may have defeated a deadly warlord, but the price was almost too much. Ziva is forced into a breakneck race to a nearby city with the handsome mercenary, Kellyn, and the young scholar, Petrik, to find a powerful magical healer who can save her sister’s life.

When the events that follow lead to Ziva and Kellyn’s capture by an ambitious prince, Ziva is forced into the very situation she’s been dreading: magicking dangerous weapons meant for world domination.

The forge has always been Ziva’s safe space, a place to avoid society and the anxiety it causes her, but now it is her prison, and she’s not sure just how much of herself she’ll have to sacrifice to save Kellyn and take center stage in the very war she’s been trying to stop.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for an advanced copy audiobook.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

Tricia Levenseller books are some of my absolute favorite YA reads. She is an auto-buy author for me and once again, has hit it out of the park. I was a bit neutral after the first book in this duo, but this ending, AMAZING.

I loooooved Ziva. The social anxiety rep here feels so spot on and I could relate 1,000 different ways to how she was feeling talking to others, making friends, and being assertive when the time came. Ziva showed great character growth and the ability to listen and learn how to communicate with those she loved.

The ROMANCE. SO DANG SWEET. I adored Kellyn. I liked that they got a lot more time together and that there were legitimate relationship struggles they worked through. It was authentic and I liked how both parties learned to COMMUNICATE and lean on one another as a bond of trust deeply formed. Oh my gosh they were just the best y’all. And some well placed pet name use had me swoooooning.

There’s also a beautiful sister relationship here. Temra and Ziva have one of the tightest connections I have read about. And I liked they way they were always there for each other and also could say, I can do this myself, too. There was a great give and take and acknowledging ones’ place in the world.

Within all of this greatest was a solid plot of action and battles. I love that I felt like nothing overshadowed one plot aspect over the other. There was balance between the romance, the big plot, friendships and subtle quiet moments. I devoured this book and anxiously await Levenseller’s next great read.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: mentions of closed-door
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, war themes, kidnapping, physical and magical altercations, torture

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Book Review

Book Review: Blade of Secrets (Bladesmith #1) by Tricia Levenseller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.

Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.

A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made.

COULD’VE BEEN ONE BOOK.

While I really enjoyed this and always love Levenseller’s writing and story telling, I thought BoS was missing something.

Mostly that I think with 100 more pages this story could’ve been entirely wrapped up and it would have been a fantastic standalone! I hate when it’s noticeable that books shouldn’t be extended out.

What I did love was the social anxiety rep. WOW did I feel so very seen. While it totally stressed me out sometimes (because ya know, I stress myself out sometimes) with Ziva’s thoughts, I could completely get on board with her feelings.

I also looooove the sister bond. Ziva and Temra! The love and support between them was amazing. The journey that they want on only strengthened things between them and I’m hopeful for book two for that to continue. I love a good strong sibling bond read.

Kellyn is absolutely adorable. I love the slow burn between him and Ziva was so sweet!! It bloomed organically and with respect for each other and their preferences on speed of the relationship and I loved that. Not to mention, his huge family was great to see. It really was that tender watching him run around with all of his siblings. How PRESH.

This was a good journey read and while I thought it was missing some action, or some larger to the world aspect, I am invested. I forever love Levenseller’s stories!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, animal attacks, sword/knife violence

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Book Review

Book Review: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: February 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

ANOTHER FAVORITE.

Mmmmm. One of those finish in a day books here. I am smitten by Levenseller’s writing and I will continue to read every book she publishes because DANG. I loved this character driven writing with broken and flawed humans.

This is a romance. While her previous books were more one plot line with a sub-plot romance, The Shadows Between Us is alllll romance. AND I AM ALLLLL HERE FOR IT.

Our unlikable heroine Alessandra really got down with her bad side. While at first I wasn’t so sure about her, I loved her character by the end. She somehow stuck to her ideals, but became more open and trusting at the same time. It was a great combination. Alessandra learned how to have a friendship, a relationship, and how to take down some bad guys trying to ruin all the fun.

Kallias. Oooooo yes. I love him too. He is the sultry YA hero that we all love. A bit distant, strong, amiable, and honestly just trying to do right by his kingdom. I got so excited every time Kallias and Alessandra had some page time together because the sparks were flying. I really felt the chemistry between them and thought the development was good for the length of the book. There were plenty of quiet moments, swoon moments, ooo la la moments that all mashed together to give me a quick darker romance that I adored.

Yes, it’s only 336 pages and that is it’s only downfall. While to me, it didn’t phase me much (I still gave it 5 stars), I can see the dilemma. A lot of the sub-plot lines weren’t as long as I thought they would be. Things kept getting wrapped up in neat bows without some angsty drag out. If the book would have been longer and given more depth to all of these characters and stories I think it would have only made it better.

I did love the side characters. I loved Alessandra’s friends. They would make me smile and I appreciated the way they approached difficult subjects and accepted and loved each other for their differences. Girl power goes a long way for me in a book, so this was a nice touch.

What I can’t believe is how I didn’t figure out the final twist. I gathered most of the intel as the story went on. Yet, all of a sudden Alessandra’s storming the palace to save the King and I’m like oh it’s them, OH WAIT, IT’S THEM! Beautiful blindside. Great conclusion. Smitten with fluffy endings. Love it all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little light
  • Romance: kisses; multiple discussions of sleeping partners and nights together; one little detailed fade to black scene
  • Violence: pit fights, physical, swords, thieving, poison, guns

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Top Ten Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need A Sequel

Top Ten Tuesday is here again and we’re discussing Books That Need A Sequel. Going through my books I realized just how many series I read. Do I mind? Nope, I love series. But below are some great standalones that I felt could have more to make them even better or that I loved so much I want more from their world.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I could definitely live in this world again and get more of Celia and Marco.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Based off of what the book is about, you know the ending will hurt your soul. So I’m thinking a sequel where Catherine has a much happier ending, ya know?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I absolutely adored this book and reading about Puck. Having more of this story and these crazy water horses would be so cool.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Sirens. Pirates. Slow-burn romances. GIVE ME MORE. (Review here).

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Now, she does have The Girl the Sea Gave Back coming out, but those have different characters even though it’s the same world. I would love more Eelyn and Fiske and am happy that they will at least appear in the next book! (Review here!)

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

I think this book was too brief. I did like it, but I think with even more story and tales it would be even greater. Especially if there was a PREQUEL book. Yes, this needs a prequel book. The Wicked Deep was a clever read that left me with so many mixed emotions.

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

I LOVED this book. And wish dearly I could have more of it. Levenseller has become one of my favorite authors.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

A book a few years down the line after Eleanor has conquered all of her demons, falling in love and living her best life. That would be one sweet book.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

I liked this book, but didn’t love it. If things were expanded and had time to flourish I think I would be allllll over it. Because there’s fairies and I love fairies.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

This was on of my favorite books from a few years ago. So many feelings. I could use a sequel with more Atlas and Lily because y’all, they deserve it.

Have you read any of these? What books do you think need sequels? Lets talk in the comments!