Book Review

Book Review: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

THIS WAS BETTER.

After the mostly disaster of Three Dark Crowns, I somehow convinced myself I wanted to see if book two actually got better (like a lot of my friends had mentioned). They were right, this was at least, better.

I thought the drama and stakes gained a couple of levels that kept me interested throughout the book. The writing is quick and fast paced with a continual flow of things happening.

Having a wicked character really helped too. Katharine hit a monstrous streak that I was here for. Sometimes it’s nice actually seeing some darkness from a book with dark in the title. I found it pretty creepy what had ended up happening to her to cause such a darkness and am curious how that will continual to fuel her decisions.

Arsinoe and Mirabella are fine. I like them and like that all of the queens have stand-out personalities. It would be a bummer if they all sounded and acted the same. There story line was infinitely different and now I have been dragged into wanting to see how book three and four play out. I kind of wish that one of the queens actually did die (maybe that’s coming?) because I feel like the character deaths that did happen weren’t earth-shattering. Honestly, I wasn’t even upset with the deaths.

The romances played a big part of the plot line still. While I felt I got more out of them because this was book two, it was still missing a lot of background information. I know very little about the suitors and I have been having a hard time connecting with any of these characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, a few fade to black with no detail
  • Violence: physical, animal attacks, poison, someone is choked to death

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

I’m really proud of myself for this list. I only bought one book in January and the rest were from Christmas or before. I’ve been trying this year to keep my purchases in check and make sure I REALLY want them on my shelves. There’s not enough to time read a book that isn’t what you want.

Physical Books:

One of Us Is Next (One of Us is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus

This was my first purchase for new releases in 2020! It was a great read and I have loved all of McManus’s books.


The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Yes, yes. We allllll know I’ve read this multiple times but I really wanted the physical copy and I got one for Christmas! YAYAYAYAY.


180 Seconds by Jessica Park

I actually finished and wrote for the review for this just yesterday! Spoiler alert: I LOVED IT.


Confess by Colleen Hoover

Of course another CoHo book is in this group. I have read this one too already and it was another 5 star amazing book by her.


P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

I plan on reading this soon as my second West book. Didn’t love the first one, but I’ve seen this one has the highest ratings so hopefully this works out better.


A lot of these books were from a HPB sale I went too, hence why I picked up another West book. Thought it was about time to read a couple of these.


Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson

THIS SERIES IS SO AMAZING. AND MY MIND IS ALWAYS BLOWN BY THE INTRICACIES. Oh guys. Take a chance on these books. Pleeeeease.


Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

There’s a theme here y’all. Because, OH LOOK another CoHo book! This was the book my friend and I chose for our book club in January. SUCH A GOOD BOOK.


Digital Books:

Vortex Visions & Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1 and #2) by Elise Kova

I am reading this series through Kindle Unlimited so I’m counting these as adding to my bookshelf. I really enjoyed book one and have just started book two. I love being back in this world.

Have you read any of these? What was your last book added to your bookshelf? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Fantasy + Sci-fi
Length: 395 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

PRETTY GOOD.

This book took me for a loop. I think part of the problem was that I did choose to listen to it as an audio book. This can be kind of hard sometimes with fantasies because establishing the world and people and everything else takes time and when you’re thrown into while listening, some things can get missed.

The further that this book went on though, the more I really caught on to everything and started to enjoy it.

This is a crazy different world than I’ve read in fantasies for awhile. People who are part dragon, human, a mix of both, many different colors with many different powers, it was awesome! I love how unique it was and that there’s so much to learn from their world.

Cvareh and Ari are a sight to behold. Enemies to lovers in some of the best ways. Maybe a little rushed into actually wanting each other’s company, but nothing has truly happened yet so I’m on board. I loved their banter and interactions. It took so much from each of them to realize the story from the other’s perspective. Once some communication and secrets were told, things started really clicking with them.

I love having Florence as another POV too. I’m not sure of her true purpose yet but her young voice added a softer side to the story. I adored watching her and Cvareh form a relationship. He really took to her and in taking care of her saved Florence’s life.

Intense and enigmatic, this fantasy kept me busy. I think the differences in cultures, opinions and ideals will factor in even further as the drama unfolds.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: a little light (witch is used a few times)
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: clawing out of hearts, knives, guns, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Imber (Thanatos Trilogy #1) by Tyffany Hackett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 422 pages
Author: Tyffany Hackett
Publisher: Archangel Publishing
Release Date: June 12th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The locks are failing.

The keys are calling.

The Titans are waking.

Crowned before her time, nineteen-year-old Natylia is thrust into an unpleasant reality—her people don’t want her, her family doesn’t need her and, despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to shake an incorrigible suitor. But when rumors begin to swirl throughout her kingdom the young queen shifts her focus and realizes that the world she loves could be destroyed in an instant.

An ancient enemy, long thought gone, is trying to return.

Forgotten legends have resurfaced, stories that tell of three scepters: the keys to unleashing these foul beings. Across Araenna the hunt rages for this trio of formidable power—to command the keys is to hold the power of mortal gods.

Aided by her snarky elven bodyguard, an unassuming blacksmith, and a clever nature witch, Natylia races to correct the mistakes of the past… before they can destroy her people’s future.

KEPT ME ENTERTAINED.

Which is saying something. I constantly felt like picking this book up and continuing the story. It had the right kind of magic for me to really enjoy. The pacing was good throughout and the flow was steady with waves of action and lighter moments.

Nataylia was a great main character. I love that she was strong and brave, but had her faults. She felt more real and like an actual human. Not a pretty much perfect Princess turned Queen who’s hard to love. Her motives are for the betterment of her people and Nataylia is fueled by her love for her friends and family.

The romance was a bit of a miss for me. Namely because I had my eyes on a different character for Nataylia. And it wasn’t even a love triangle, I apparently saw a lot of chemistry between her and Jyn and am still accepting that she’s with Camion. I do love Camion though. He’s a sweet, caring cinnamon roll who needs a hug. One of my favorite kinds of book boyfriends. Their relationship is adorable and pure so I’m slowly building a ship for them and I’ll decide if I want it to sail during book two.

The magic system is broad, yet well explained. I understood the information and loved the adventure Nataylia and her cohorts had to go on to find one of these magic scepters. There’s a lot of action as they traverse through catacombs and dungeons, with a heavy dose of magical creatures standing in their way. It kept me on edge because I was wholly convinced someone was not walking out of there alive.

A great fantasy that needs a bigger audience. I’m grateful that I saw a friend recommend this because she has never steered me wrong in book choices! I’m excited for the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: magic, murder, swords, animal/creature attacks

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Ashlords (#1) by Scott Reintgen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

ACTION-PACKED.

When you read a tagline that has “Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races…”, both of which are books you LOVE, it makes you think you have to know what this book is all about. I can’t say I see the Red Rising resemblance, BUT I do see The Scorpio Races with a bit more fire.

This book easily keeps you reading. I love how action driven this one was (a difference in my usual choices). The three POVs are all unique voices and really drive the desperation each one has to win The Races. What I found odd at first, yet really vibed with as the story went one was the difference in narration from the others. I think it would be more fun to not go into more detail, but it really adds to the personalities in how it was written.

World-building was totally awesome. The phoenix [horses] are killed each night, and rise each day under new conditions. There’s thousands of combinations to give your horse more speed, armor, better heart and lungs, the possibilities are endless. I love how the alchemy and magic system worked for these. I was a bit confused by the addition of gods into the story? They definitely played a part, but felt a bit disjointed. I kept feeling like they were added only to move the plot along because it needed a boost from somewhere.

I loved all of the characters for a variety of reasons. Imelda is the true underdog with a thorn in her side and something to prove. The choices she makes ultimately lead to larger consequences that will be a big deal in book two. Adrian is the saucy son of the rebellion who’s trying to win for his people. Lastly, Pippa, the daughter of two former winners who’s meant to win, supposed to win, and destined to win. Because of the intricacies of styles it was very easy to know which chapter you were in and who was speaking. I appreciated that it wasn’t muddled whatsoever.

Full of action and seriously not sure who was going to win. The race was exciting, with a touch of mystery and plenty of magic. The bigger politics of the society made the phoenix races that much more important and the story that much more enchanting.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: fire, physical, whips, guns, swords, battle/skirmishes

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Book Review

Book Review: Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + sci-fi
Length: 560 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All’s fair in love and anarchy…

The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian struggling to keep their secret identities concealed while the battle rages on between their alter egos, their allies, and their greatest fears come to life. Secrets, lies, and betrayals are revealed as anarchy once again threatens to reclaim Gatlon City. 

THIS WAS A SOLID FINALE.

I was nervous walking into this read. Excited, but nervous. Archenemies let me down and I have all the love for Renegades. Combine these two polar thoughts and I had no idea what I was walking into for Supernova.

I ended up really loving this. I wouldn’t call it a FIVE STAR YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW. More of as I closed the book I realized how much I enjoyed it and my favorite pieces. I thought about how everything came together in the end and how I was cool with everything as it wrapped up (not to mention that EPILOGUE Y’ALL).

My favorite thing about this was the character arcs for Nova and Adrian. They both were coming at the story from opposing sides. As they battled each other and all the secrets started spilling out I got a glimpse into new sides of them. Nova learned that her Uncle’s ideals weren’t all they were cracked up to be, just like she learned that the Renegades weren’t the enemy. Adrian finally found the truth of his Mom’s murder and to let go of some of his own ideals to see the story from another angle. It gave me all the chills watching them. This wasn’t purely superheroes vs. villains, because who can truly define those anyways?

I love that there was actual wickedness. I love a solid evil character who can’t see past their own desires. It makes everything feel that much more dire and puts me on the edge of my seat. I said multiple times, and even wrote it in my notes, that I had no idea how I was going to get a happy ending by the time this was over. There were even a few twists that I did not see coming and loved how they tied into the final plot.

The love story never took over, but did encourage Nova and Adrian through a few of their decisions. I like that is was held back, but that I got to see it flourish. They both deserved some happiness, and if it’s with each other, that’s great [a nod to Ruby & Oscar who were TOTALLY STINKIN’ PRECIOUS in the background over there].

The ending was fascinating and heartfelt. I really like what became of the characters and their super powers. I thought it could have gone one of two ways, and I would have been fine with either [depending on how it was done]. Meyer’s writing is amazing though and it’s so quick to read. Yes, it’s 550 pages, but you would never know it. I can’t wait to see what project she is working on next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + sci-fi
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few light kisses
  • Violence: murder, battles, skirmishes, building collapses
  • Trigger warnings: Chapter 30 – a character talks about being previously molested as a child

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

WHERE AM I?

That’s how I felt most of this book.

My biggest issue was the total lack of world building. I know this is a spin-off from a previous series of hers. I was told by multiple people that you don’t have to read it to be able to understand and enjoy this one. I agree up until the point that if the previous series has better world-building that would have been a major help here.

I finally gathered that it is some type of dystopia / fantasy universe. There were normal US cities, but we had magical powers and people who could transform into gargoyles, so somewhere between all of that is your world. Do I know why it is that way? NOPE, this book’s focus is the romance (not necessarily a bad thing), but since the everything else was sorely lacking, I couldn’t be as involved with the romance.

Though the romance is the part I did like best. I thought the flow between Zane and Trinity was great. It’s sort of slow, with a touch of animosity at first, that gives way to some tender moments. The love scene was kind of odd, but other than that, I ship them.

My other problem with this book was the immaturity of conversation. Using phrases like *douche nozzle* takes me out of the story and I’m clearly still not over that this word was used. The lingo annoyed me as well. Just the whole combination of conversations bothered me the entire time. I didn’t love Trinity as an MC. Never got on board with her.

The plot was focused around finding a lost friend…that was it. There were hints and nods towards some bigger focus, and I wish we had more of that. It made the story somewhat boring because of how intensely focused they were on this one thing. Whoever is really pulling the strings needs to come out of the word work so this book can liven up some more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, once love scene (with some description)
  • Violence: battles, physical, knives, swords, magical

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