Book Review

Book Review: Queen (Fae Games #3) by Karen Lynch

Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)
Audience: Urban Fantasy + Romance
Length: 428 pages
Author: Karen Lynch
Publisher: Tempest Press
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Jesse recovered the missing ke’tain to keep her parents safe, but it came at a high price. In the weeks after her brush with death, she struggles to adapt to her new life, while burdened with the terrible secret she learned about her brother Caleb.

On her first visit to Faerie, Jesse faces new challenges and perils amid the splendor of the Unseelie court. Her relationship with Lukas grows stronger, but her happiness is overshadowed by a threat to both worlds. She might be the only one who can save them if she is willing to risk her own future to do it.

Together with an old friend, Jesse takes on the most dangerous job of her life. She discovers an inner strength she never knew she possessed; one she will need when she confronts her greatest enemy. Secrets are revealed and lives are changed forever. Jesse will make her last play, but will it be enough for her to survive the final showdown of this lethal game?

ENDED WELL.

Ah, I do hate feeling a bit let down by a series ender. This was good, but the second half was much better and I struggled to get there to even enjoy it all.

I love Jesse. I think she’s a brave and bold main character. Faithful to her family, strong in who she is (even when that’s changing) and able to make the difficult decisions. I loved her and Lukas together, BUT WHERE WAS HE. This feels like the romance component is supposed to be playing a stronger role and it never hit that mark for me. I hoarded every moment he was in a scene, and looked for him too often.

The plot was good, but slowwwww. The first half is spent with a lot of very nuanced day to day activities that weren’t apart of the previous two books. After there was more headway in solving some key issues in the plot, progression was at last made! Still felt a bit random, buuuut it worked. I think.

A final series thought, it was good. I haven’t read Lynch’s books in a few years and it was nice to read them again. There was plenty of good things to go around and I know some friends who love this story on a whole other level. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Urban fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, torture, physical altercations, poison, being drugged without consent, sexual harassment and assault, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: Only A Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy + Romance 
Length: 416 pages
Author: Vanessa Len
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

MONSTROUS.

Y’all. This book was incredible. I was hooked within the first few chapters and it rarely let up as this urban fantasy unfolded. Not generally one for urban in my fantasies, I ended up loving how this played out in London. I think the time-traveling aspects were exactly the right thing needed for this story that this combination led to my inability to put this book down.

Joan wasn’t a bad main character, but I did struggle with some aspects of her personality. I liked that she was incredibly loyal to her family and trying to solve many mysteries around her, buuuut, she was also a mega people pusher. It was bothersome to continually shove her thoughts down someone’s throat until they capitulated. Besides that, Joan made some tough decisions and worked with what she had, and for that, I liked her.

There’s some how a combination of fated mates (with an enemies kicker) + a potential love triangle? Honestly not sure what I’m supposed to do with that kind of romance information. I really look forward to how this expands in future books because it is wildly interesting and can go so many ways.

The magic system within the monster world is fascinating. There’s a lot to explore with the King, mysterious woman, Court of Lions and more. I think this book did a good job of giving the answers needed for THIS read, but leaving enough out there for the future books.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mass murder event, loss of loved ones, weapons use, mentions of torture (side character), racism, psychological torture, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Atlas Six (The Atlas #1) by Olivie Blake

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: NA Dark Academia
Length: 375 pages
Author: Olivie Blake
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

THIS WAS ODD.

I’m not really sure what to do with this read. On one hand I enjoyed it. On the other, I’m not quite sure about what I did enjoy.

This is a slowww read. And (mostly) not in a bad way. I don’t mind when fantasies take their time as long as things keep progressing. But at some point this switched over to where I felt like I wanted to skim (which I did).

The characters are divinely unique and I loved that. I hated and loved them for a myriad of reasons. Heavily character driven books are my jam. Though I did wonder why everyone was sleeping with everyone? It just didn’t seem necessary or really adding anything.

Plot wise, I needed more. It wasn’t working for me. There wasn’t enough development of WHY all of these people were together. Not until the last quarter did I start to connect some dots.

I stand undecided on reading book two. I think I’ll probably wait to see some friends reviews first. Or I might try the audio to move through it quicker.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Urban Fantasy + Dark Academia
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple vague + closed door + innuendo
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: cheating, near death experiences, extortion, suicide ideation, suicide, alcohol consumption

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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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