Book Review

Book Review: Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 469 pages
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…

I SHOULD’VE READ THIS YEARS AGO.

This book floated on and off my TBR for years (no really, it was at least 2 years). WHY did I wait this long? I have no idea. Honestly, I think it was the whole troll concept. I wasn’t super into that. Wow though, I was wrong and am so glad I gave this a chance.

I was immediately drawn in. This is the type of book I read most often and the ones I enjoy easily. Having Cécile thrown into an enemies to lovers situation with Tristan was EVERYTHING. Y’all, I never get tired of this scenario.

I was impressed with Cécile for the most part. I feel there was some communication issues between her and others that frustrated me, but I appreciated she didn’t take her situation lying down. I loved watching her have a change of heart and growing and listening to those around her. I hope she is the liberator these people need by the end.

I could have used a bit more action overall. While things did keep happening, I was missing that extra uhmph from some of the scenes. The flow of the story was smooth though. The romance moved at a pace that made sense (which is always appreciative).

There were a handful of heart in my throat moments where I didn’t know what would happen next. I was impressed at the emotion I felt for these characters. I really had a connection with them and learning about the Troll society was heart breaking and interesting. The magical components made sense in the world and never felt out of place.

A lot was unveiled towards the end that I’m excited to get my hands on book two!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy with a love story
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses and a lightly intense make-outs
  • Violence: physical, poison, spears, magic
  • Trigger warning: mention of a past miscarriage

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Book Review

Book Review: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, historical fiction
Length: 416 pages
Author: Robin LaFeveres
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sybella’s duty as Death’s assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic,vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy in the critically acclaimed, New York Times best-selling His Fair Assassin series, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Kristin Cashore, and Victoria Aveyard. 

The convent returns Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Return to the world of the critically acclaimed His Fair Assassin series in this “romantic fantasy with a vengeance” and sequel to Grave Mercy that takes reader’s deep into the wicked world of corrupt politics, dangerous love, and hard-won vengeance.

DARK AND ENCHANTING.

I think this book was even better than the first. And definitely darker. And twisted. So twisted I didn’t think the facts being laid out was actually true, but it was, and it made my heart hurt.

Sybella was an even better heroine than Isame. She is so broken (with every right to be) and fierce. I wanted all the happiness for her and she kept continually trying to dodge it. JUST LET BEAST LOVE YOU. I will say, with their romance, it was heart-breakingly tender when Sybella got to choose who to love, and when to love. The author gave Sybella the choice and it exactly what Dark Triumph needed.

There was a little less BIG action, but a lot more stabbiness in this book. Sybella is a force to be reckoned with and the size of her heart…and her ability to kill are astounding. She was sneaky and striking.

One of my favorite sub-genres of fantasy is when they have a historical fiction aspect to them. I love the author’s note at the end that details what they took for liberties and what was true.

I’m excited for the third book and think this series has been great so far. It’s interesting and the romances are on fire and I am here for it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy & historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, a very glossed over, no detail love scene
  • Trigger warnings: mentions of rape, attempted sexual assault, infanticide

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Book Review

Book Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy, Historical fantasy
Length: 576 pages
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?

 Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

HAVE MERCY.

Someone please tell me they got that reference.

I picked up this book based off of the hype for the new series, Courting Darkness. The hype train got to me, but it worked! I really had a great time reading this thought it was quick and endearing.

I loved the pacing and felt there was a steady amount of action. I thought there would be a bit more murder because the whole concept is that Ismae is an assassin for the god of Death. There was quite a bit, but I was missing a bit more stabbiness. This concept was great though. Reminded me a little of ToG (because of the assassin idea, but that’s it).

You can see who the traitor was from the first moment they stepped onto the page. Even with that being the case there were still a handful of twists that I didn’t see coming. I was kept on my toes and very worried about how the duchess would fare.

The romance between Gavriel and Ismae was SO GOOD. The romantic tension between them was driving me crazy. I loved Gavriel and thought he was a strong and steady presence. He was continually faithful to his family and was preciously tender, and fierce. Goodness, seriously, the best.

Ismae on the other hand was fine. As the main character I expected a little more from her, but she wasn’t spectacular. I thought it was great how trained she was because girl could hold her own. Other times she annoyed me a bit and her thoughts her repetitive.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy & historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses, a love scene so vague I’m pretty sure nothing actually happened
  • Violence: domestic abuse, knives, poison, physical (it is a book about assassin’s so expect lots of death)
  • Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, sexual assault
Book Review

Book Review: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying. 

RESONATING.

“Each scar marks me as a survivor. A warrior of the wild.”

This was a book that really caught my attention. A lot of powerful phrasing that really hit home for me. I love this authors writing and the way she builds her characters and the story as a whole.

I absolutely love the dialogue throughout WotW. It was impressive. It felt real and had me flying through the book. I didn’t want to put it down! I vaguely figured out where the book was going, but loved the progression all the same.

I appreciate that the romance was believable. That can be a hard task in a standalone. I adored Soren and his practical, loving nature was precious. Things moved at a steady pace and never went too far, which made absolute sense for the time frame/plot. The banter between Sorren and Rasmira had me chuckling and begging for more.

Each of the main characters (Rasmira, Sorren & Iric) all went through these characters arcs that dove into deeper waters. Conquering fears, realizing one’s true nature and abilities, and learning to communicate were just a few of the aspects broached. I feel like I really got this book. Which is probably why I’m gushing over it now.

The only “eh” thing was the god Peruxolo. There wasn’t much to him so he wasn’t a completely believable antagonist. The scope of the story was so much broader than him that his background took a backseat. I was at least satisfied in the fact that the truth was fully explained at the end.

“My soul has worth, and I won’t let it depart this world just yet.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy (vikings)
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: light kisses to barely intense make-outs
  • Violence: ax, knives, physical

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First Impression Fridays

First Impression Friday || Deathcaster (Shattered Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

Howdy! I wanted to add more to my blogging week and decided to try First Impression Fridays!

This meme was created by Joe at JW Martin – Storeys of Stories. The rules are:

• Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
• Did you think you’d love and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right?
• Link back to Storeys of Stories so everyone can enjoy reading all the First Impression Fridays out there!

BOOK SUMMARY:

SPLINTERED ALLEGIANCE.

Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf Line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf Line.

ANCIENT DANGER.

In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a Southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms… as well as the enemies within the castle.

THE DEADLY COST OF PEACE.

Master storyteller Cinda Williams Chima delivers spellbinding action, bittersweet reunions, and dazzling revelations in this indispensable conclusion to the Shattered Realms series. 

I’m about 100 pages into the finale book for the Shattered Realms series. I’m a bit sad that this is the last book in this world. Seven Realms became one of my favorite series last year and immediately picked this up after finishing it.

So far so good in this behemoth (656 pages!). There’s been a lot of POV changes and a lot of things happening. I expect chaos to reign and am excited to see what the costs will be to bring peace to this land at last.

I’m also hoping all of my ships sail. I’m not sure if anyone will be killed off. I’m hoping it’s not anyone high on my favorites list or I’ll flip my lid.

I think that I will love this book. I wasn’t as impressed with book 3, but finales have a way of winning me over big time. I know I’m going to lose sleep trying to finish Deathcaster.

Final rating prediction?

☆☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆

This book would have to fall off a cliff for me to give it less than an amazing rating. Gonna get back to it now.

Is this on your TBR? Have you already read it? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book Review

Book Review: Stormcaster (Shattered Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 535 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The third book in the thrilling four-book Shattered Realms series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima

The empress in the east—the unspeakably cruel ruler whose power grew in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster—tightens her grip in this chilling third installment in the series.

Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose.

Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled territory.

Multiple intricately interwoven storylines converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant.

I LIKED MOST OF IT.

Unfortunately, I think this will be the weakest book in the series. My biggest issue is that each book has started with a new character. Then we spend 100+ pages going over their back story while I’m impatiently waiting to get back to the main story-line, stopping the empress.

The problem with beginning with the back-story is that it makes all of the love interests seem quick and insta-attraction (even when the story talks about time jumps). I love the opposite attraction of Evan and Destin. Evan is striving to right wrongs and save not only his Kingdom, but the Seven Realms. Then we have Destin, a complex, morally gray character who I LOVE. I never know what kind of move he’s going to make.

I think all of these relationships are going to have a major reckoning in Deathcaster. I can’t wait to see how everyone comes together since literally every pair is one opposite sides of the realm currently.

Now there’s so many POVs and so many things happening that I was missing some characters. Lyssa and Ash, for instance, were hardly in here, even though they are super critical to the finale.

While I had some issues, this authors writing is still entrancing. I find myself flying through the book. I love all of the politics and world-building. Everyone is crossing paths and then double-crossing their actions. It’s really exciting and I love all the twists and turns. I definitely have a lot more questions and am so excited to finish this just in time for the release of the last book!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, physical, poison
  • Trigger warnings: domestic abuse

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Book Review

Book Review: Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 551 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A lifelong war.

Alyssa ana’Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn’t pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.

A life in peril.

Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon has been fighting for his king since he was a lýtling. Lately, though, he finds himself sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.

The shadow of defeat.

GOOD.

It’s simple. This book was good, not great. I still was captured into the story by the writing and characters, but it was still missing that last little oomph that makes it a 5 star.

I love love love Lyss. She is a beast. A warrior. Independent. Lyss doesn’t even own a dress! And she has muscles! Oh how I adore the way the author portrays her heroines. I can’t wait to see how Lyss grows into the future Queen of the Fells and rules her Queendom. This is a big reason why I continue to love this (and her previous) series.

The love story is cute, definitely not insta-love like it was in Flamecaster. A little more slow-burn, with my favorite trope: enemies to lovers. Hal is caring and enigmatic. I really want more of his back story. I think there relationship is going places and I am here for it. He only annoyed me when he became a little too love-struck and that literally all he could talk about.

I was a bit confused that we only saw a few characters from the previous book. As a series it was strange to change to essentially a whole new cast. The two stories with Ash and Lyss haven’t combined yet so I’ll see what kind of answers I get in the next installment, Stormcaster.

The plot is engaging and continually moving forward. The antagonists are closing in from both sides on the Fells. And the action kept me on my toes. I’m definitely still interested in continuing this story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: an intense-ish make-out
  • Violence: arrows, knives, poison, explosions, physical

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