Book Review

Book Review: Red Tigress (Blood Heir Trilogy #2) by Amélie Wen Zhao

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Amélie Wen Zhao
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ana Mikhailov is the only surviving member of the royal family of Cyrilia. She has no army, no title, and no allies, and now she must find a way to take back the throne or risk the brutal retribution of the empress. Morganya is determined to establish a new world order on the spilled blood of non-Affinites. Ana is certain that Morganya won’t stop until she kills them all.

Ana’s only chance at navigating the dangerous world of her homeland means partnering with Ramson Quicktongue again. But the cunning crime lord has schemes of his own. For Ana to find an army, they must cross the Whitewaves to the impenetrable stone forts of Bregon. Only, no one can be certain what they will find there.

A dark power has risen. Will revolution bring peace–or will it only paint the streets in more blood.

BUT WHY THO.

I take serious annoying issue with obvious lack of communication. Or plot decisions THAT JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE. This book was pretty good, some stumbling at the end made me throw my hands up.

I’ll start there. Ramson and Ana could have both been much more open at the end of this book. I’m tired of something claiming to be romance, but there actually isn’t anything happening in their relationship. I got a kiss. No admissions or anything else and then the end. Ughhhhhh.

Otherwise, y’all, not too bad of a middle book for a fantasy series. Dragged a bit here and there, but I’m still highly invested. I loved the addition of some new POVs and how they played into the story. I think I was more hooked on them then Ana/Ransom by the end.

This was more plot driven than character driven. I’m personally a fan of character driven novels, so this is a statement that may be good (or bad) for you. I think I was hoping for some more connections and understandings, and I mostly got change of location and here’s some more bad guys. A note to the villains though, there’s multiple, they are wild, and I love it. I do. I like a good villain that doesn’t make me roll my eyes because they’re ridiculous. These villains have enough background to amplify themselves within the story.

I’ll definitely be reading the last book. I need a great finale to see where this overall series will sit for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kiss
  • Violence: battles, weaponry, magical, loss of loved ones, explosions; fairly bloody/gory

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Book Review

Book Review: 11 Paper Hearts by Kelsey Hartwell

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kelsey Hartwell
Publisher: Underlined
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A YA contemporary rom com about a girl who follows a trail of paper hearts from her mystery admirer–and it’s a paperback original perfect for fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and the Kissing Booth.

Ella’s life was picture perfect. She had a circle of close friends, a jam-packed social life, and an amazing boyfriend. But then something completely unexpected happened: a car accident after a Valentine’s Day dance. When Ella woke up in the hospital, she couldn’t remember the accident . . . or anything about the weeks before it, including the reason she broke up with her boyfriend.

Now, a year later, she begins receiving paper hearts from a mysterious admirer who seems to have the answers she craves. Ella is intrigued. The hearts contain clues to help Ella remember her life before . . . and take her on a journey she never imagined. Following the paper hearts is the most spontaneous thing Ella has ever done . . . but will she find love?

VERY SWEET.

I suuuper enjoyed this one y’all! It was perfectly cute and sweet. What I love about a great young adult contemporary romance. The premise of the hearts was fun to follow on the journey.

My only true complaint was how oblivious the main character was. The people she assumed who were writing the hearts made me laugh because of how CONVINCED she was that it she was right. Her friends were also terrible and I was enraged half the time at them. Gratefully it alllll worked out in the end so it at least worked within the story.

Besides that, this was a wonderful adventure! I loved following Ella’s story. Andy was so dang precious. They had banter that kept me smiling, and a vibe that I was hooked on. It’s completely predictable, but that is where it works best. A cute and predictable romance that will give you some good warm fuzzies.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: car accident
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: car accident resulting in retrograde amnesia, bullying, terrible friends

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Book Review

Book Review: Exile (The Extinction Trials #2) by S.M. Wilson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopia
Length: 384 pages
Author: S.M. Wilson
Publisher: Usborne Publishing LTD
Release Date: June 1st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials.

After surviving on Piloria once, Storm and Lincoln are the obvious candidates to return to the dinosaur continent to test the new virus that should clear the way for human settlement. But they have their own priorities – finding a cure for the plague that’s sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive.

DINOSAURS, OH MY!

Wow am I so happy I found this series! It’s pure entertainment for me (as a dinosaur fanatic) to get to read these. I love the dystopian-type setting and the exploration of Piloria.

Once again we have our two main characters, Lincoln and Stormchaser. I still liked them this time around. Though it looks like there might be some feelings there and I want more exploration of that. More exploration of all the characters interactions and musings. It’s a continual high stakes read with being chased by dinosaurs and surviving in the wild, that I’m realizing I’m not getting a lot of character connection.

I did see it come out towards the end and am so happy that it went the direction I was hoping. I think Strom and Lincoln both have some big decisions to make and it has amped up the finale. This series is overall an intriguing premise and I will practically read anything that involves dinosaurs.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: dinosaur attacks, endemic of a skin disease, physical/weapon attacks

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Ayana Gray
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Magic doesn’t exist in the broken city of Lkossa anymore, especially for girls like sixteen-year-old Koffi. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, she cares for its fearsome and magical creatures to pay off her family’s debts and secure their eventual freedom. But the night her loved ones’ own safety is threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi unleashes a power she doesn’t fully understand–and the consequences are dire.

As the second son of a decorated hero, Ekon is all but destined to become a Son of the Six–an elite warrior–and uphold a family legacy. But on the night of his final rite of passage, a fire upends his plans. In its midst, Ekon not only encounters the Shetani–a vicious monster that has plagued the city and his nightmares for nearly a century–but a curious girl who seems to have the power to ward off the beast. Koffi’s power ultimately saves Ekon’s life, but his choice to let her flee dooms his hopes of becoming a warrior.

Desperate to redeem himself, Ekon vows to hunt the Shetani down and end its reign of terror, but he can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Koffi believes finding the Shetani and selling it for a profit could be the key to solving her own problems. Koffi and Ekon–each keeping their true motives secret from the other–form a tentative alliance and enter into the unknowns of the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild magic and untold dangers. The hunt begins. But it quickly becomes unclear whether they are the hunters or the hunted.

In this much-anticipated series opener, fate binds two Black teenagers together as they strike a dangerous alliance to hunt down the ancient creature menacing their home–and discover much more than they bargained for. 

Thank you to the Publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

MUST HAVE SEQUEL.

There has to be more right?

Because I need ANSWERS.

Admittedly, it’s not an insane cliffhanger, but it definitely opens up for another novel with some questions and plot that need resolved. Crossing my fingers there’s more to come!!

I really enjoyed this one. It is SLOW though. Know that going in. It took about 30% before I fully grasped what the point of the plot was (as I only read the synopsis once I usually forget what exactly is supposed to happen by the time I read a book). Once I got an idea of where this was all going I was much more invested. Beautiful writing kept me engaged and turning pages and I melted into the slower pacing as I soaked up this world.

Koffi and Ekon were great narrators and main characters. I love the dual POV (+ a third one, that I won’t name for spoilers!). Moving back and forth between them helped establish the connection building in their relationship and the dynamics of reasoning for both of their situations. There’s a very subtle and light romance as well that I found really sweet. This is definitely not a romantic fantasy, but it’s a good little sub plot.

This is a solid debut novel filled with Pan-African influence. I loved the magical hunt and all of the wild creatures that were encountered. The action keeps ticking up as the pages increased leaving me flipping fast at the end. It’s a beautiful world, with a magic system I thought was well constructed and I look forward to [HOPEFULLY] a second book!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: animal attacks, a large scene involving spiders, physical altercations, weapons use
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical/verbal abuse, loss of loved ones, drug use, kidnapping, murder, sexism, slavery/indentured servitude

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