Book Review

Book Review: Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #2) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy romance
Length: 312 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: May 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted—her family, her home, her throne—and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up.

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming.

She will learn the hard way that some evils never die… They only bide their time…

I LIKED THE BEGINNING AND THE END.

But what happened in the middle? Nothing. That’s what happened.

Started off strong with Vi getting to FINALLY see her family again, YAY. I was so excited to see Vhalla and her brother Romulin. I was mostly on bored with Vi’s decision to leave her family so she can save her nation, but when she started that journey I got lost in the bogged down story.

I didn’t think it was going to take the ENTIRE book to get Vi from one place to the other. There was a lot of time spent with her travelling with Jayme and finding a ship, getting to the other continent, etc. I could have done with half of that cut out and actually getting her real story started (which is what I’m hoping book three will give me).

Still working on being a total shipper of Taavin and Vi. They’re not the enemies to lovers store that Vhalla and Aldrik had and there’s been a lot less barriers to a relationship between them so I haven’t felt the tension that I love in a romance. Now that I’ll get to see them in the same location I’m hopeful that I will love them.

Definitely had a moment where I yelled CALLED IT (and I had been calling it from book one). What a twisted moment that was when all heck literally broke loose. Got to see Vi break out of her shell, use her magic, and destroy some things. IT WAS AWESOME.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep reading this series. This book may have read like a true middle book unfortunately, but I love Elise Kova’s writing too much to not keep going.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: physical, magic, ship wrecks, plague sickness

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Book Review

Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

A SOLID DEBUT.

I sat on buying this book for awhile, but I finally convinced myself that this was going to be a good read and that I would want the sequel. Hallelujah, I WAS RIGHT.

This was a beautiful debut that had all the hallmark notes that I love about YA fantasy. Daring action and adventure, a sweet romance, a sassy crew and a villain who’s mind has been twisted by his own fantasies. YUP. All here guys.

I was nervous with the amount of info dumping that happened in the first few chapters. I didn’t want the entire book to be this way. Once an understanding of the magic system and islands was laid out there the story significantly increased in pace and ease of knowing which place was where. There’s a lot of info here (with a smattering of islands to keep track of). Yay for book maps that help keep everything separated.

The crew that Amora embarks with to help save her kingdom was the best. I loved having the pirate Bastian, ex-fiance Ferrick and mermaid Vataea. It was a great mix of banter, flirtations, honest moments, and a found family all its own. The romance between Amora and Bastian made me smile. It grew well over the time period, never rushed into anything, and I felt the heat brewing between them. The way things wrapped up leave a lot to interpretation for the second book. I’m hoping my HEA is in the midst.

I really liked this villain. Sometimes I feel YA villains are a bit laughable and not corrupted enough for me to feel invested in the story. This guy was trying to things right the wrong way and brought all the action this book needed. I was kept on my toes with the twisted magic running rampant through these islands. Definitely made me cringe at times with the descriptions (in a good way). This has an edge of darkness to it without being a dark novel.

I appreciated that the ending wasn’t a giant cliffhanger, but wrapped enough of the story line up to feel satisfied with the conclusion. I’m excited for book two and getting to see how all of these characters develop!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: magic, physical, swords, knives, poison, mythical creature attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 436 pages
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Pantera Press
Release Date: February 1st, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

DIFFERENT THAN I THOUGHT.

I went into this book mostly blind because it had been a few months since I added it to my TBR because of someone’s review I had seen. I kind of like when this happens because it makes everything more of a mystery.

The biggest reason this was different than I thought was that it leaned more towards the younger YA side than the older. The main character, Alex, is 16 (turning 17 during the book), but her group of friends and interactions in general throughout the whole book just led me to think that this was for a younger audience.

I’ve decided that I did enjoy this overall. We all know that I don’t love HP, so I’m usually hesitant of fantasy/magic school based books. I didn’t mind this one. I thought the classes were interesting and I liked the teachers too. I really loved Alex’s friends Jordan and Bear. I liked that she had a friend group that were just her friends. It added an amazing version of a found family trope that I was so here for.

For the plot, I found this to give me enough information without over loading it. There was a nice build up of the villain and his background, the larger world surrounding Medora and about how the magic system worked. I liked the way the way the plot moved through classes, friend moments, action, and more. I actually got to see Alex’s entire school year which was fun too.

I’m curious how this series will continue to expand and hope to read the next book soon.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, magic, physical; not overly bloody/gory

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Book Review

Book Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 450 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

LEFT WANTING.

Well, I made it through this one. And about the only time I really started to feel invested was at about 85% of the way through. Barely anything of note happened up until that point. There was a lot of traveling, a lot of ho-humming, and A LOT of running away from guards.

This book felt like such a middle book that I could easily put it down. It’s way too long for what happened. I think if things were a bit more condensed then everything wouldn’t feel so drawn out. I didn’t need Grey and Lia Mara running around the countryside to get to the heart of the book.

What this book did confirm for me is how much I still don’t like Rhen. I wasn’t into him the first book, and this one didn’t help either. I can’t find anything to connect to him. He’s afraid, rude, rash in decision making and all around awful. I’m even more upset that Harper is being walked all over in this situation. I wish they had been in the book more so that I could further see how that story was progressing behind the scenes.

I’m pretty into Grey and Lia Mara. If I’m being honest, I am a shipper of Grey and Harper. SORRY NOT SORRY. But, Lia Mara is a good heroine too. And at least there was a smooth progression in their relationship and that it never jumped to anything that made me roll my eyes.

I still love Grey. He just has me smitten. I am here for him being King and ruling Emberfall. I am hoping that book three gives me the conclusion I’m craving because the ending of this left me shrugging. The orb of resurrection was alive and well for this book so now I’m wondering what that’s going to do to further the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy (+romance)
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: whipping, swords, animal attacks, physical, knives; not very bloody/gory

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