Book Review

Book Review: Beasts of the Frozen Sun (Frozen Sun Saga #1) by Jill Criswell

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Jill Criswell
Publisher: Blackstone
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.

Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.

When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.

As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.

VIKING FAV.

First off, the audio book is excellent. I love the narration for the Lira. For Reyker, his was great too, but the narrator read faster and it was hard to listen to at the same speed I was listening to Lira’s narrator.

With that tidbit out of the way, I loved this book!! My friend has been pushing this on me for awhile and I finally picked it up and I thought, why did I wait so long?!

I love how fierce Lira was as a character. She had growth in her mindsets and strength to see things through. Lira constantly stood up for what was right and defended those who deserved it. Her connection with Reyker was fantastic. I loved this romance. The initial meeting gave me some Tristan & Isolde vibes. I thought it moved well and didn’t seem rushed. I think there’s so much here for a wonderful continuation throughout the series and I hope it goes that way.

While it was a solid four star throughout, I realized that I had gotten very much caught up in the characters and the story. I was enthralled by the writing and couldn’t stop listening. Those facts alone set this over to five stars for me. I just loved the setting and the Viking-esque nature of it all. There’s lots of action and emotion and I need to get my hands on book two ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Violence: intense and a bit bloody/gory, battle scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: attempted rape, sexual assault, implied rape (off page), loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Wings of Shadow (Crown of Feathers #3) by Nicki Pau Preto

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 704 pages
Author: Nicki Pau Preto
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the heart-stopping finale to the Crown of Feathers trilogy, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable,” Veronyka must face her most devastating enemy yet: her own sister.

I had a sister, once…

Veronyka is no longer an orphaned stable boy or a nameless Phoenix Rider apprentice: she is the daughter of Pheronia Ashfire, the last queen of the Golden Empire…and the niece of Avalkyra Ashfire, the resurrected rebel queen who tore the empire apart.

We shone brightly, burned fiercely.

Now that the secret is out, everyone at the Eyrie treats Veronyka differently, and with Tristan still a hostage of the scheming Lord Rolan—and Sev with him as a spy—Veronyka feels very much alone. Except for her beloved phoenix, Xephyra, of course, and her new friend, Kade, who has his own reasons for wanting to save Tristan.

Was it always going to come down to this? Sister against sister? Darkness against light?

Veronyka is determined to do whatever it takes to get Tristan back, even if that means revealing her identity to the world and inheriting a throne she’s not sure she wants. But when she discovers that Avalkyra has bonded with a strix—a legendary creature of darkness that feeds off the life force of others—Veronyka realizes she has more to deal with than an encroaching war with the empire. Val is willing to destroy everything to get her revenge on a world that rejected her, and if Veronyka wants to bring peace to the empire and Pyra alike, she must face down her sister once and for all.

The world began with Ashfire queens…perhaps they will also be its destruction.

SPECTACULAR FINALE.

I have been reading series ender duds over and over and FINALLY, hit a closing book that brought it home. This was incredible and fully solidifies my recommendation that get this on your TBR!

For over 600 pages, I hardly felt it was exhaustingly long. The pages were used well and kept the story moving and involved. I love Veronyka as the ultimate main heroine. She is incredibly strong, full of love, and uses her strengths to lift and care for others. I adored the side romance with Tristan and how supportive they were of each other. No ridiculous miscommunications here.

Sev was all things I love too. He had some personal crises that had me wishing I could lift him up. I was so excited seeing his character arc and learning to love who he is and the power he brings to the table. Kade was also insanely supportive and those two melted my heart. All of these ships melted my heart. [Honorable mention the sweetness of Elliot and Sparrow too!!]

Along with the fantastic friendships, family relationships, were insane amounts of action. Wild tension that had me gasping so much my husband stopped and asked me what was wrong ~whoops~. Each time things started to pick up, I never knew quite what would happen and I loved that.

I loved even more how the final scenes with the main villainess went. It wasn’t typical and became profound as Veronyka and Val had a last clashing. The scene was memorable and full of emotion. I love that it gave Val more than just the antagonist role, but this whole other set of layers. She was one of the main POV’s throughout the series too and I loved being in her mind too.

I could keep gushing. This series has a great set of the three books. I don’t remember being let down by any of them. One of the last things I’ll mentioned I couldn’t get enough of were all of the phoenixes. They all had personalities and quirks and cared deeply for their riders. Definitely one of the best parts of the entire trilogy.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Violence: war themes, weaponry, loss of life, physical and magical altercations, fire

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Book Review

Book Review: Raybearer (Raybearer #1) by Jordan Ifueko

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Jordan Ifueko
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: August 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? 

INSTANT HIT.

WOW.

This was so good!! And highly recommend on audio too. I felt that brought Raybearer to life.

I’m always hesitant over a timeline that starts off with a younger child then moves on to teenager/adulthood. I loove the way this was written. I never felt stuck too long in one area, but got all of the information needed to get a great sense of the world being built and the magic system being established.

Found family is a hidden gem trope for me. I start to feel all the things for every member of the group. This was fantastic. I love that Tarisai found her home. She found her friends and family. Those who would love and protect her just like she would them. It was beautiful. Every side character I met stole my heart and I am captivated by them all.

Her relationship with Sanjeet was adorable. Brooding and with the right amount of angst and longing. It played so well into the storyline, but didn’t over shadow the plot. I always love a good romance woven in and I see it here.

The political action was astounding and kept me on my toes. It wasn’t bogged down with too many council meetings and babble that didn’t go anywhere. Every scene had a point and meant something to the story. Many things are incredibly unique to this fantasy and it was refreshing to take it all in. This one is worth the hype y’all and there’s no way to cover the abundant aspects I enjoyed.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses; closed door scenes
  • Violence: small battles, physical altercations, attempted exocutions
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, child sacrifice (not depicted, but spoken of as it pertains heavily to the plot), domestice abuse, gaslighting

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Book Review

Book Review: Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of the Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.

MISSING.

*sigh*

A second book that didn’t have the same flare as the first.

*deeper sigh*

First off, WHERE WAS EDAN? Practically all aspects of his character were taken out here. He occasionally stopped by to confess his love and give Maia a kiss, and that was about it. I really would have loved more of him.

The demon aspects were kind of creepy and kinda cool. I can’t remember reading a YA fantasy that really had a character dive into the realm of demons and almost become on themselves. The lore of it all was interesting and kept me reading when I struggled to pick it up.

Speed and writing were great. It’s a short book and things kept moving. I liked the pace, but lost the overall emotional connection. This was definitely a different and darker stroke from Spin the Dawn. The ending wasn’t anything I didn’t see coming.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene with on detail
  • Violence: physical, animal attacks, weapons, depictions of war/battles

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