blog tour, Book Review

ARC Book Review & Blog Tour: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Janella Angeles
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: August 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

Thank you to Wednesday books for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

WONDERFUL DEBUT.

You hear this has some The Night Circus aspects and you’re immediately drawn in. I am definitely in agreement. The magician, circus, and romance aspects were soooo good. Soooo good that I can’t wait for book two. There’s a lot here to unfold!

One of my favorite pieces is that I still haven’t decided who’s on what side. The ambiguity of characters and story leave much open to interpretation (in a good way). While plenty is revealed and you’re not left hanging, I love how much isn’t revealed.

Since I’m always a fan of romance in books, I am setting sail of Kallia and Demarco’s ship. I absolutely LOVED how this relationship moved. It’s one of the textbook slow-burns that are my faaaavorite. It was believable and they have true chemistry between them. I really can’t wait to see where they move on next.

Kallia is an amazing heroine. Goodness, I thought she was spectacular. Kallia was brave and bold, confident in her abilities and was striving to better her life. She was also flawed, and got herself wrapped up in tough situations. The conflict made her seem real and truly like someone you can root for her, and root for her I did!

This book reminded me why I love reading young adult fantasy. I would love to see a map to further expound on the world, but I thought the overall development was good. The magic system was interesting and all of the mystery kept me on my toes. The atmosphere and creepy vibes were some of favorite aspects.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little light
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: physical, magic, elements

Author Bio:

JANELLA ANGELES is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age — which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she’s lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she’s most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderberry Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Chain of Gold is the first novel in a new trilogy that stars the Shadowhunters of Edwardian London.

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.

OH THE TRAGEDY.

Let’s be honest, Cassandra Clare is fantastic at weaving high drama, high tragedy filled love stories. AND I CAN’T HELP BUT BE INVOLVED. So involved. That’s how this book snuck a four star rating out of me. I love how hopeless everything gets, and then how Clare gives me that happy ending I crave by the time the series wraps up. It’s addicting, so here I am again, reading another Shadowhunter series.

James and Cordelia. OH MY GOODNESS YES. I knew Will’s offspring would give me another guy to swoon over. I love the burgeoning sparks and the fact that a new plot/trope was added in that I haven’t seen before in these books? It really brought this up for me. I wanted to see some fresh things and got them.

I liked the plot and how everything flowed. Once again, I felt that things were luckily a bit different than others. This has peaked my interest. The combination of warlock blood, princes of hell, necromancy and ghosts have set up a series that I’m glad I decided to read.

Good news first: I looooove all the main characters: Cordelia, James, Matthew, Lucy, Jesse, Alastair, Thomas, Christopher, Anna…and I know I probably forgot someone because I’m going from memory. Which leads me to my other issue, the vast amount of characters. I had to resort to pulling up a family tree just to keep things kind of straight in my head. I appreciate a story with a great cast, but this is pushing my limits for keeping track of everyone. I can’t wait to learn more back stories and see more ships form!

And I feel inclined to say that there was plenty of Will and Tessa (and Jem) sightings that made my heart so happy. That was my initial inclination to pick up this book because I missed them so much. They were in the background more, of course, but were added in enough to make me smile.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult urban fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, intense make-outs; one no detail fade to black scene (between Will and Tessa)
  • Violence: demon battles, physical, fires, magic, near drownings

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Book Review

Graphic Novel Book Review: Gone Rogue (Wires and Nerve #2) by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi Graphic Novel
Length: 324 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer [Illustrators: Stephen Gilpin and Douglas Holgate]
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: January 30th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Iko – an audacious android and best friend to the Lunar Queen Cinder – has been tasked with hunting down Alpha Lysander Steele, the leader of a rogue band of bioengineered wolf-soldiers who threaten to undo the tenuous peace agreement between Earth and Luna. Unless Cinder can reverse the mutations that were forced on them years before, Steele and his soldiers plan to satisfy their monstrous appetites with a massacre of the innocent people of Earth.

And to show he’s serious, Steele is taking hostages.

Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin all feature in this epic new battle. But it is Iko who must face her deepest fears when she uncovers the truth about her own unusual programming.

LOVED THIS.

This was such a great conclusion y’all. I loved the artwork, the story, the characters. Ah, it was nice spending a bit of time back in this world.

I adored the addition of the new characters and getting to understand Iko’s humanity. I love her personality and sass. And just how incredibly great of a person she really is. Kinney and Iko definitely have that spark between them and it was precious seeing their friendship grow.

Smitten with all my fav characters all over again. BUT HELLO, where was my Cinder and Kai wedding? Honestly, only thing missing [Scarlet and Wolf were pretty dang cute though]. These are a must read if you love the original books. These are engaging and action-packed and I feel actually add to the original story. There’s a chance to see an in-depth look at what Luna and Earth are like post Levana.

Short and sweet (just the way graphic novels are). The plot is dynamite, Iko is the perfect main character for this volume and you get to see all of your old friends again, what’s not to love?

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy sci-fi graphic novel
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: swords, physical (not depicted in an overly gory/bloody way)

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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

Instagram || Goodreads