Book Review

Book Review: These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA/NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 464 pages
Author: Lexi Ryan
Publisher: HMH
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From New York Times best-selling author Lexi Ryan, Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses in this sexy, action-packed fantasy about a girl who is caught between two treacherous faerie courts and their dangerously seductive princes.

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.

READ IT.

Did I think I would be saying that when I started reading this book? No. BUT Y’ALL. Let me convince you to read it too.

THV has been touted as an ACOTAR/TCP (The Cruel Prince) mash-up. I know this may be a bad thing to some, but for me it made me love it allllll the more. Many books claim to be like those classic fae reads, and I love that this one ACTUALLY DELIVERED on that fact. It gives all the vibes you could hope for, with being its own story, and that’s what I’m here for.

Hello a love triangle I can handle. This was written beautifully. Even if I made my pick once the second love interest came onto the page, I still felt drawn both ways. I had to yell a few times at the book of course, but by that ending, all things became clear and I will not hear further commentary and WHO BRIE SHOULD BE WITH.

I loooove the strong sister bond here too. Brie is a fierce force of nature who will do whatever she needs to do in order to save her sister. I love her passion and strength. Those closing scenes had me fist pumping at her bad-a self and I can not wait to see her revenge in the next book.

There’s gossipy goblins and curses. Twists and turns with plenty of action. Soft and subtle moments that will bring the swoon. Goodness, I just adored this book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA/NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses to brief open door
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, loss of parents and loved ones, indentured servitude, poisoning, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Annie Sullivan
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: September 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.

YOU’RE GONNA HEAR ME ROAR.

This was a great standalone!

I listened to it on audio and found myself really caught up in the story. It’s not very long yet, gives a good amount of depth for the characters and world-building. I, of course, wish there was more, but liked what I got overall.

Kateri was a strong heroine. I like that she chose her own path and was able to overcome her own prejudices. The romance between Kateri and Cion was my favorite blend of enemies to lovers. And for a standalone, it didn’t feel insta-love at all! There was depth to their conversations and moments and some fun banter as Kateri joined the Desert Boys.

The villains are on the bland, typical side. All got the demise necessary to maintain the plot. The action was engaging at least and I found myself knowing where the story was going, but enjoying the journey I was being taken on.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: animal cruelty, death by animal, sandstorms, physical, sword battles, arena battles
  • Trigger/Content Warning: description of murder of a loved one and an infant

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Book Review

Book Review: Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove #3) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The spellbinding conclusion to the New York Times and IndieBound bestselling trilogy Serpent & Dove. This stunning fantasy take on French witches and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Evil always seeks a foothold. We must not give it one.

After a heartbreaking loss, Lou, Reid, Beau, and Coco are bent on vengeance more than ever before—and none more so than Lou.

But this is no longer the Lou they thought they knew. No longer the Lou that captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT I FEEL HURTS.

My one main sentiment is that of the previous sentence. Why can’t I get a good ending to a series? Is this why I have a hard time finishing them? UGH.

I love the characters and this world and I think that’s also what made the dissatisfaction more apparent. Everyone on this cast is solid and well rounded with flaws and strengths. Wit and passion that make me love them. And I desperately needed more of that.

What I missed most was Reid and Lou, being Reid and Lou. In vague terms, both characters were dealing with separate debacles that took until page FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE to be completely and fully resolved. To say I was salty was an understatement. I wanted the banter and flirtation that was way more present in the first two novels. The main conflict doesn’t always have to come between the couple. Especially if the couple has already truly gotten together before the finale then why not LET THEM WORK TOGETHER. Gosh dang it, such a missed opportunity.

With those debacles came a very round about and torturously long route to the final battle. With many scenes that dragged on. And when the sex scenes came into play I didn’t love those either. They didn’t fit the story, and they definitely didn’t fit the YA category. A big mash up of MEH.

I was full of anguish at how all of this went down. I loved the tidbit from a past character. That was sweet and hopeful. The ending wrapped things up at least, and the epilogue was cute.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses to two brief open door scenes
  • Violence: physical, magical, near drowning, fires, loss of friends, battle scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 472 pages
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Publisher: Straus and Giourx
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

A GOOD START.

I’ve decided I’m into this. Enough to check out the next in this series.

It’s hard to judge a fantasy series off of the first book because I know fantasies can take a long time to build. I think that was the case here. There was world-building, magic systems, personalities of characters to begin to figure out. This was all present here and makes me hopeful that in the next one we’ll get get to the real deepness of the book now that the groundwork is laid out.

I love the setting and it felt good to be back in a YA fantasy world. It’s my favorite genre for a reason! I love Zafira and Nasir. Hot dang the tension between them was aaaaamazing. Hardcore shipping them and better get a HEA with them or I’ll just be obliterated. They had good banter, moments of strength and weaknesses, and you could really feel them.

Things started off strong with pacing, but oh wow, dragged in the middle. It unfortunately showcased one of my lower favorite tropes, traveling. Most of the book focused on Zafira going on a journey to restore magic. Plenty of things happened along the way, yet at times felt like it things were moving rather slowly. Luckily in the last quarter they sped up again and the action took off, leaving me wondering what’s going to happen next.

These side characters were fantastic too! I didn’t find the forgettable or annoying. I wanted to know more about them and was also blown away when plot twists came in involving them. They weren’t wasteful additions and clearly are bringing a lot to the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, some intense kissing
  • Violence: swords, arrows, ifrit/magical creature attacks, physical, magic

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