Book Review

ARC Book Review: Morrighan: The Beginnings of the Remnant Universe (The Remnant Chronicles #0.5) by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A richly illustrated and romantic origin story of Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant universe, the world of the BookTok sensations Dance of Thieves and Vow of Thieves and the New York Times-bestselling Remnant Chronicles.

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive.

And that girl’s name was Morrighan.

Discover the origin story of the Remnant universe, penned by the New York Times–bestselling master storyteller Mary E. Pearson, in this lush collector’s edition prequel with lavish illustrations, a romance for the ages, and a magic that stirs the heart.

Thank you to PRHAudio for the complimentary audiobook.

AS EXPECTED, STUNNING.

I have been a Pearson fan from the get-go and I know this novella has been around for a little bit and I am kicking myself for not giving it a go sooner. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Even with a condensed storyline, I felt all the swoon, all the romance and tension and heartbreak that came from these pages.

It’s been a few years since I read The Remnant Chronicles so unfortunately I don’t remember some of the nuanced details of the Morrighan influence in that trilogy. I didn’t have a problem loving this book even with that fact because this story stands really well on its own. I think you could read before or after the series and it would be just fine either way.

I loved these characters and the emphatic passion they had for protecting each other. Faced against some unlikely odds Morrighan and Jafir rose above. I love the writing style, world building and everything in between.

This is a must read for TRC fans!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance Novella
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed-door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, physical abuse, small battle themes, weapons violence

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: December 6th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake. Either way, they’re never heard from again.

Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself. 

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

NEEDED SOMETHING.

I wanted to love this. I went in hoping I would, buuuut here we are. I liked it, it just wasn’t a favorite.

It did have a very distinct YA fantasy feel. And I know that can be a winner for a lot. For me, I felt like I needed more. Something that added an edge, something I hadn’t read before. I don’t know. Within a few chapters I knew exactly what was going to happen and I wasn’t surprised by how it ended.

I did love Leelo as a main character. She has that strength and loyalty that I always appreciate in a FMC. I love that she was open to changing her opinions and took time to understand the new information that was being heaped upon her. Leelo handled a lot of things really well.

The romance is a bit much on the insta-love side. I was hoping for to see them connect over more things before confessions of love started rolling out. Leelo and Jaren were charming and easily sweet on each other.

I loved Leelo’s Mom and Brother. They were some of my favorite side characters and helped me enjoy and look forward to scenes with them. I liked the conclusion and do think it wrapped up things pretty well.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, loss of loved ones, poison, weapons violence, murder, physical altercations

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Saint (The World of the Narrows #0) by Adrienne Young

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns to the world of The Narrows with Saint, a captivating prequel to Fable and Namesake.

As a boy, Elias learned the hard way what happens when you don’t heed the old tales.

Nine years after his lack of superstition got his father killed, he’s grown into a young man of piety, with a deep reverence for the hallowed sea and her fickle favor. As stories of the fisherman’s son who has managed to escape the most deadly of storms spreads from port to port, his devotion to the myths and creeds has given him the reputation of the luckiest bastard to sail the Narrows.

Now, he’s mere days away from getting everything his father ever dreamed for him: a ship of his own, a crew, and a license that names him as one of the first Narrows-born traders. But when a young dredger from the Unnamed Sea with more than one secret crosses his path, Elias’ faith will be tested like never before. The greater the pull he feels toward her, the farther he drifts from the things he’s spent the last three years working for.

He is dangerously close to repeating his mistakes and he’s seen first hand how vicious the jealous sea can be. If he’s going to survive her retribution, he will have to decide which he wants more, the love of the girl who could change their shifting world, or the sacred beliefs that earned him the name that he’s known for―Saint.

Thank you to MacMillan Audio for an ALC.

SOLID PREQUEL.

I know a lot of us are hit/miss on prequel books after the fact the original books are already out. This would be a case of me saying, if you enjoyed Fable / Namesake I think you’ll enjoy Saint too.

I loved getting much of Saint’s background. The heated intensity that is Saint is something else and seeing it with a romantic edge was *chef’s kiss*. It’s a super fast, read in a day, kind of story that gives you a great peek at the fated meeting of Saint and Isolde. It was great getting both points of view because I really wanted some background on Isolde as well. The attraction between them was undeniable and that instantaneous connection worked perfectly here.

The timeline didn’t end where I thought it would (forever wishing Adrienne Young books were a bit longer), but I guess it ended well enough? We all know what happens so I do understand [after the fact] why it closed here, buuut would have loved a bit more in a few different areas.

Audiobook wise: PERFECT. No complaints. Both narrators did an amazing job of reading at the same pace so I was able to keep the speed at the same for the rotating chapters. I felt like it only enhanced my reading experience and would recommend this avenue easy.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, loss of loved ones, loss of life

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Book Review

Book Review: Charting Stars (The Nine Realms Tales #1) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 325 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: May 21st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Talia Benson would consider herself fairly ordinary. Anyone would. Diligent student, only child to a single mother, protector of three cats—nothing crazy has ever happened to her. And Talia wants it to stay that way: stable. Her knack for making friends, along with her obsession with the stars and her love for skirt pockets, coffee, and art, is more than enough to keep Talia happy for the rest of her days—that is, until a single evening in front of a blank canvas becomes the adventure she never dreamed she wanted.

Now, Talia finds herself lost in a world completely unlike her own, a land where monsters roam and magic thrives, where wars are born then die at the wave of a hand, and where strange entities decide the fate of those who live among the Nine Realms. The guardians of these foreign lands have seen a great shift in the heavens. Something has changed, a prophecy has been spoken—a darkness is coming. But maybe, just maybe, an ordinary girl thrown between worlds could be the key to saving it all.

Charting Stars is the first book in a spirited, heartfelt young adult fantasy series by Micheline Ryckman that will appeal to the minds of those who’ve always felt, well, ordinary. Talia’s adventures prove that even an average everyday girl can have skills enough to be a hero. And she’s joined on her journey by a lovable cast of characters—some human, some furry, some covered in ivy vines—who will steal your heart away.

ADORED.

This was such a good read!! It’s a super short fantasy (under 300 pages) and I felt wrapped up in it and loving all of the characters. It’s wholesome and whimsical. All the things I could have hoped for when I picked it up.

It’s a pretty classic YA fantasy (but the characters felt older, so probably closer to NA). Our heroine lands in an unknown land and finds herself on an adventure with a rag-tag group of people while she learns about everything around her. I adored the sweetly paced romance that for fast-paced didn’t bother me for a moment. Jarrett and Talia were just precious.

I liked the plot line and outer story of the magic system and world building. It could have been even further expanded, but I didn’t feel that was the nature of this book which led me to just want to devour it and anxiously await the next installment. I love the way Ryckman writes her stories and I’ve enjoyed everyone I’ve read!

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, near death experiences

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