Book Review

ARC Book Review: Last of the Talons (Talons #1) by Sophie Kim

Rating: ★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Sophie Kim
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own.

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

YIKES.

I was really excited to read this book and within the first few chapters I saw the downfall was imminent. I love books that have more dialogue than not. And it took 5 chapters for any major dialogue to actually start occurring. This became a theme throughout that made me start passing over paragraphs of incongruous information.

With an enemies to lovers romance I was hoping to latch on to, I was let down here as well. Lina continually came off as immature while Rui was really into her, but without a good basis for the attraction? These two did not connect well, but apparently he wanted to kiss her from the moment he saw her and I don’t believe it for a second.

The relationships (platonic and not) weren’t here either. I wanted to see Lina have one friend, a true bond, someone for her to move forward with and nobody became that person for her. The side characters were one dimensional and only placed in to further the plot occasionally.

There’s other issues I had with some of the sub-plots and OH, YES. The flashback chapters?! Were always out of nowhere and had no merit into the current timeline. Instead of showing us Lina’s character as the book progressed, random flashbacks were thrown in to show that she used to have a found family? IT DID NOT WORK.

Anyways, I’m frustrated with this book clearly. High hopes were dashed and I won’t be continuing the series.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: make-outs & an implied night together
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of friends, murder, kidnapping, poisoning, near drowning and other near death experiences, weapons violence

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Liar’s Crown (Dominion #1) by Abigail Owen

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Abigail Owen
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

One born to rule. One to forfeit…

Everything about my life is a lie. As a hidden twin princess, born second, I have only one purpose—to sacrifice my life for my sister if death comes for her. I’ve been living under the guise of a poor, obscure girl of no standing, slipping into the palace and into the role of the true princess when danger is present.

Now the queen is dead and the ageless King Eidolon has sent my sister a gift—an eerily familiar gift—and a proposal to wed. I don’t trust him, so I do what I was born to do and secretly take her place on the eve of the coronation. Which is why, when a figure made of shadow kidnaps the new queen, he gets me by mistake.

As I try to escape, all the lies start to unravel. And not just my lies. The Shadowraith who took me has secrets of his own. He struggles to contain the shadows he wields—other faces, identities that threaten my very life.

Winter is at the walls. Darkness is looming. And the only way to save my sister and our dominion is to kill Eidolon…and the Shadowraith who has stolen my heart.

Thank you to RB Media and Netgalley for the Audio ARC.

WOW THIS WAS GOOD.

Book hype for this one is real. I super enjoyed this.

Audio notes: I don’t have any! I LOVED the audio. Great narrators. Easy to listen. I flew through it. Highly recommend that avenue if you’re into audiobooks!

Another read where I felt remined why fantasy genre is the best genre. I loved the world building and shadow concept. The twists behind that was so cool and I felt added another unique layer to this story overall. Filled with a morally gray love interest that you can’t get enough of, I was hooked. I liked the steady pacing and that there’s a slow build to everything else happening.

Meren was a strong FMC and I liked her tenacity and loyalty to her sister. I love a great sister bond and I know that’s what is happening here and I hope we get to see more of it in the next book. Reven is the complex soul I love and I’m happy that I feel like I know him as well as Meren. Sometimes the love interest gets tossed aside and seems one dimensional and I liked the complexity his characterization received.

The ending was WILD. Still a bit in shock and everything expertly led to this conclusion. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one open door + some innuendo
  • Violence: moderate
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: battle scenes, loss of life, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles #2) by Laurie Forest

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 597 pages
Author: Laurie Forest
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs, but their actions have propelled them straight into the ranks of the realm-wide Resistance against Gardnerian encroachment. As the Resistance struggles against the harsh rulings of High Priest Marcus Vogel and the Mage Council, Elloren begins to realize that none of the people she cares about will be safe if Gardneria seizes control of the Western Realm.

With tensions heating up in Verpacia, more and more Gardnerian soldiers continue to descend upon the university…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the newly rebuilt Fourth Division base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to wandfast to her, convinced that she has inherited her grandmother’s magic—the prophesied power of the Black Witch. As his very nearness seems to awaken a destructive power inside her, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

I DID IT.

First time I tried to read this, I DNF at 140 pages.

Second time, I went with the audiobook and made it through. Even gave it four stars. I’m as surprised as you are.

My main issue is this dang love triangle. I just can’t get with it. And I still like the wrong guy more too. For a bit it seemed to push the narrative for inner conflict within the main character, Elloren. Now it seems superfluous with how much of the ending went. WHY THO. The constant thoughts Elloren has about Lucas and Ivan make her lack depth and opportunities for growth in other areas.

Ignoring my romantic plot issues with this one and we can get into how intricate the other aspects of the story are. It’s a heavy political read with many sides at play. At times devastating and shocking. Throw your book across the room status. Other times, things seems to finally be going the right way. I liked this push/pull nature and it helped keep the story moving.

I do plan on continuing. I’m invested enough to see how book three will take care of a few plot lines. We’ll see what happens next!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Violence: mid-level blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discrimination, racism, genocide, torture, kidnapping, small battle scenes

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Far Wilder Magic by Alison Saft

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Alison Saft
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: March 8th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.

In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.

Thank you the the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

A BIT CONFUSING.

Oh the plight of a standalone fantasy.

I really enjoyed Down Comes the Night and have been excited to pick this one up and I’m kind of bummed it let me down.

What I struggled with most was the world building and magic system. It was obnoxiously convoluted for a standalone. Info dumping for some things and not broad enough explanations for others left me utterly directionless. Even by the end I was still a bit mixed on the religions, world system and more.

In the mix of things I did like was the romance. Wes and Margaret grew on me over the book. That sweet sense of first love and finding some who gets you and supports you. They were also solid as main characters. I love character growth and both exhibited plenty by the end. I enjoyed their banter and quiet moments.

Still not quite sure what the deal was with hunting the fox? It was a unique plot I’ll give it that, but I found myself skimming far more than I wanted. Great characterization and movement, but slow and enigmatic plot.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one vague and brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discrimination, prejudice, breaking and entering, hunting (of animals), physical altercations, animal mauling, neglectful parents, depictions of grief

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