Book Review

Book Review: The Triumphant (The Valiant #3) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Historical fiction
Length: 416 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The final book in the Valiant series takes Fallon and her warrior sisters on an epic journey from the corrupt Roman Republic to the wonder of the ancient world: Alexandria, Egypt.

“You are from a world, Fallon, that values honor over everything else. Rome is not that world.”

In the wake of their victorious fight to win back the Ludus Achillea, Fallon and her gladiatrix sisters have become the toast of the Republic. Only for Fallon, glory turns to ashes when she learns that Cai has been stripped of his Decurion rank and declared infamia, cast down to serve as one of Caesar’s gladiators. All because he chose his love for her over the life of his treacherous father during the ludus uprising.

But treachery in Rome runs far deeper than Fallon ever suspected. While she is fighting for Cai’s freedom, the unthinkable happens and the Republic begins to tear itself apart at the seams. In the chaos that follows, the Achillea gladiatrices lose any protection they might have had once and for all. They’re not the only ones.

When Fallon discovers that Cleopatra is in grave danger, she and her sister Sorcha rally their war band in an attempt to spirit the Queen of Aegypt out of Rome, embarking on a remarkable journey that will take them to Alexandria—the wonder of the ancient world—and beyond. Far beyond. Along the way, Fallon will have to decide where her heart truly lies, as well as what—and who—she is willing to sacrifice to get there. 

SOLID SERIES ENDER.

I’m on a quest to work through some of the series I’ve started (and want to continue). This is one of them! A fantastic audio read too if you’re interested in that.

I thought things wrapped up really nicely. I wasn’t sure how the everything was going to go down. And for Fallon, Cai and the rest of their group I thought things went as best as they could. There clearly needed to be an end up and with the addition of historical figures and scenes, there was.

There was sooooo much happening here. Action to the brim with gladiator matches, escaping on chariots and dodging weapons. There’s rebellion and a whole new adventure. Not to mention, this romance is STELLAR. A couple who fights together. Not only to BE together but to SURVIVE together. Oh y’all. I love Cai and he has me absolutely smitten. What a cinnamon roll.

The last scenes kind of wrapped up quickly? I thought it was wild to add in another whole battle segment, but I guess it did give closure to a few villain character lines that needed snuffed out so Fallon and Cai could have some actual peace. It was engrossing and I’m so happy that I read this series through. I feel like it’s a bit of a hidden gem and definitely one to pick up!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction
  • Language: none to very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: intense violence with many depictions of blood & gore, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Everblaze (Keeper of the Lost Cities #3) by Shannon Messenger

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: MG Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sophie uncovers shocking secrets—and faces treacherous new enemies—in this electrifying third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is ready to fight back.

Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again.

But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes.

In this nail-biting third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must fight the flames of rebellion, before they destroy everyone and everything she loves.

FAVORITE [YET].

I know long series may take a book or two before I really feel invested and this is where I’ve hit that point for Keeper of the Lost Cities.

Sophie may be the main character but I am obsessed with Keefe. I love him and he is the perfect addition to this series. But wow did he really go through some tough things in this book. Now I just want to hug him. I like that not only do I get Sophie’s story, I get to see deeper into the other characters as well.

This was a much more action packed and heart breaking book. Yet, with the air of being a middle grade read, it didn’t seem as heavy as other fantasies. I really appreciate this distinction because sometimes I just want something on the lighter side and middle grade books tend to provide that for me.

I can’t wait to see where things go next and love how everything is unfolding. I always feel like enough information has been released that I’m satisfied with the book. Yet, enough is held back that I want more and have grabby hands trying to order the next one ASAP. If you’re curious about this series, I definitely say give it a chance. I’m glad my friends convinced me to read it!

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: people falling from cliffs, physical, fire, murder, magical

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bone Charmer (The Bone Charmer #1) by Breeana Shields

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Breeana Shields
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 21st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

CAUGHT UP IN THIS ONE.

Oh wow. I read this from a friend’s recommendation and Y’ALL. TBR STAT.

I found this to be such an easy read. I loved the magic system. Things made sense and was unique. It was twisted and set-up in a way that I was worried it would be confusing, but turns out…it worked out perfectly.

It’s told from two divergent timelines. One if Saskia made one choice, and one if she went on a different path. I loved how this played out! Even while reading the chapters it was straight forward as to which voice was narrating. And the way they combined hit everything right. I haven’t read a timeline like this that worked out so beautifully.

There’s a soft and slow romance throughout that was tender and sweet. Bram stole my heart (and Saskia’s) and someone needs to tell me they get a happy ending.

The book has a lot of dark tones and ambiance. The villain was an absolute type who took a bit to see coming. I liked that they fit into the story well and their corrupt nature kept me on my toes. I really can’t wait to read book two and see how everything ends!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: death, intense murder scenes; generally a bit morbid

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Book Review

Book Review: Wings of Shadow (Crown of Feathers #3) by Nicki Pau Preto

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 704 pages
Author: Nicki Pau Preto
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the heart-stopping finale to the Crown of Feathers trilogy, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable,” Veronyka must face her most devastating enemy yet: her own sister.

I had a sister, once…

Veronyka is no longer an orphaned stable boy or a nameless Phoenix Rider apprentice: she is the daughter of Pheronia Ashfire, the last queen of the Golden Empire…and the niece of Avalkyra Ashfire, the resurrected rebel queen who tore the empire apart.

We shone brightly, burned fiercely.

Now that the secret is out, everyone at the Eyrie treats Veronyka differently, and with Tristan still a hostage of the scheming Lord Rolan—and Sev with him as a spy—Veronyka feels very much alone. Except for her beloved phoenix, Xephyra, of course, and her new friend, Kade, who has his own reasons for wanting to save Tristan.

Was it always going to come down to this? Sister against sister? Darkness against light?

Veronyka is determined to do whatever it takes to get Tristan back, even if that means revealing her identity to the world and inheriting a throne she’s not sure she wants. But when she discovers that Avalkyra has bonded with a strix—a legendary creature of darkness that feeds off the life force of others—Veronyka realizes she has more to deal with than an encroaching war with the empire. Val is willing to destroy everything to get her revenge on a world that rejected her, and if Veronyka wants to bring peace to the empire and Pyra alike, she must face down her sister once and for all.

The world began with Ashfire queens…perhaps they will also be its destruction.

SPECTACULAR FINALE.

I have been reading series ender duds over and over and FINALLY, hit a closing book that brought it home. This was incredible and fully solidifies my recommendation that get this on your TBR!

For over 600 pages, I hardly felt it was exhaustingly long. The pages were used well and kept the story moving and involved. I love Veronyka as the ultimate main heroine. She is incredibly strong, full of love, and uses her strengths to lift and care for others. I adored the side romance with Tristan and how supportive they were of each other. No ridiculous miscommunications here.

Sev was all things I love too. He had some personal crises that had me wishing I could lift him up. I was so excited seeing his character arc and learning to love who he is and the power he brings to the table. Kade was also insanely supportive and those two melted my heart. All of these ships melted my heart. [Honorable mention the sweetness of Elliot and Sparrow too!!]

Along with the fantastic friendships, family relationships, were insane amounts of action. Wild tension that had me gasping so much my husband stopped and asked me what was wrong ~whoops~. Each time things started to pick up, I never knew quite what would happen and I loved that.

I loved even more how the final scenes with the main villainess went. It wasn’t typical and became profound as Veronyka and Val had a last clashing. The scene was memorable and full of emotion. I love that it gave Val more than just the antagonist role, but this whole other set of layers. She was one of the main POV’s throughout the series too and I loved being in her mind too.

I could keep gushing. This series has a great set of the three books. I don’t remember being let down by any of them. One of the last things I’ll mentioned I couldn’t get enough of were all of the phoenixes. They all had personalities and quirks and cared deeply for their riders. Definitely one of the best parts of the entire trilogy.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Violence: war themes, weaponry, loss of life, physical and magical altercations, fire

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