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

ARC Book Review: Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2) by Dana Swift

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Dana Swift
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 18th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.

After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.

Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante . . . but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.

Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already. . . . Now, can they save themselves?

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

LOVED THIS.

What a great conclusion!! My heart is happy with how things ended and I adore this duology so much. The writing captivated me. The world building was great and the magic system was unique. Add in a top notch romance and I have been smitten.

Jatin and Adraa were a power couple. Jatin was incredibly sweet and bold. All of his sweet words and soft moments with Adraa brought on the feels. I love how brave and unfailing Adraa was. Facing new avenues she might have laid down for a moment, but stood back up with even more fire in her veins. I loved them together and how this book didn’t have some dumb break-up. They worked together even when separated and WOW DO I LOVE THAT.

I wish the prison break set-up didn’t take so long because I wanted the group back together. I did think a lot of learning happened on both sides though that ultimately led towards the conclusion. The action scenes flowed well and I didn’t have glaring slow moments as I enjoyed this story.

This was a magical duo. I am really in awe this is a debut duo. I can’t wait to read Swift’s future books because I was very much wrapped up in this one.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: little (the use of the word Blood is the “curse” word)
  • Romance: implied closed door
  • Violence: blood/gore depiction, magical and physical attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: torture, false imprisonment, loss of a parent

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm from the East (Glass Alliance #2) by Joanna Hathaway

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 496 pages
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 11th 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West

Part war drama, part romance, Storm from the East is the second novel in Joanna Hathaway’s immersive, upmarket YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye.

War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.

When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.

TORN.

My heart hurts after this one y’all.

HURTS.

BOOK THREE STAT.

For a middle book, I enjoyed this! I’ve been loving reading these through audio format. Great narrators. Capitvating and makes me want to listen as fast as I can to know what’s going to happen next.

My sweet souls Aurelia and Athan. This is one of those reads where you shout at the book, WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE HAPPY?!?! I’m begging the last book to give me some hope or I might have committed to a series that will destory my bookish soul.

One of the only things that frustrated me was how it took until over halfway for our main’s to even SEE each other again. I don’t like when an obvious ship is separated for so long. It makes things drag a little between them even if the action is roaring around them.

And wow does the action roar. This war is only amping up and there’s so much to unpack. Betrayals, lost family lines, secrets, hidden identites and it’s amazing. I love how intricate this plot is and that I rarely find myself bored with a scene.

Really great read. Really excited that I get to read the sequel soon because I MUST know what happens next. I love these characters. I know more heart crushing is going to happen, but dang it, someone give me an at least hopeful ending by the time this is all over.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: kisses to a closed door scene
  • Violence: often; depictions of war and skirmishes, physical altercations, plane crashes, gun violence
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide (a scene near the end), loss of a loved one, plane crashes

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Book Review

Book Review: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Rating: ☆☆ ☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

HERE FOR THIS.

What a great start to a series. I’m glad I picked this one up, and enjoyed it as an audio version too!

I’ve heard this had some World War vibes and I can definitely see that. It was really interesting to match that up with a fantasy world (but with no magic). My only issue was that the world was a bit confusing. I had a hard time remembering which nation was which and who was mad at who. By the end that was mostly cleared up, but I’m hopeful that book two expounds further.

I also want to mention that I’ve seen some comparison to The Winner’s Curse (which is one of my favorite series FORRRREVERRRRR) and I can see some semblance. Competing nations, forbidden romance, a princess. So yes, if you enjoye that series, I’d give this one a try.

Smitten with the romance. I was worried there would be some insta-love based off of how the plot was rolling, BUT ALAS, there was not. Just some genuine attraction and burgeoning feelings. I love that Aurelia and Athan wrote letters to each other. It made the fact that they were in different locations not seem as big of an issue since I still got those connections over the letters.

I’m genuinely thrilled to see where this goes. There’s a lot here. Plenty of things to still happen. I love the action and pacing of this first book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kiss
  • Violence: airplane battles (and crashes), physical altercations, gun violence
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, depictions of wartime

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