Book Review

Book Review: The Sunken City (The Sunken City #1) by Emma V.R. Noyes

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 376 pages
Author: Emma V.R. Noyes
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: January 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Amare Bellamy is not a witch. Orphaned as a child and raised on a ship by the most dangerous men in the Caribbean, Amare is one thing and one thing alone: a pirate. And pirates hate magic.

After a fateful storm plunges her to the depths of the ocean, Amare wakes to find herself in a strange new world: an underwater kingdom, where magic exists, but is strictly outlawed by the King—a man who claims to be her true father.

As Amare struggles to fit into her new role as Princess of the Sunken City, she finds herself tangled in a web of love between two brothers—one good, one not so good. And as strange powers manifest within her, she must question everything she was raised to believe—especially if she has any hope of stopping the evil brewing at the bottom of the ocean.

IT WAS OKAY.

Don’t let the hype fool you, this is only alright (says me so you could feel different of course).

I think the concept is really interesting. I liked the underwater/Atlantis vibes but wish everything was set in a full fantasy world. I found myself confused by the “historical fiction”ish aspects? Like what year was this set in? Were certain plot aspects correct? I don’t know, I got lost in that nonsense.

Amare, our MC, was full of sarcasm. And while it was charming for a bit, things began to fall flat when it kept happening. Quip after quip gets old fast. Her new friend group was fine, I was once again confused by some of the dynamics *shrugs*.

Now, the love story plot. It’s a love triangle, between brothers. If I’m going to read a love triangle, I gotta say, that’s my least favorite version. It was utterly predictable and I felt no connection to any of the romantic aspects. Much of the plot is stuffed with tropes that don’t have any new spins on them.

I found it to be a really quick read at least. And I didn’t have trouble moving through it. I’m kind of curious to read book two? I think I’ll wait it out a bit though.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, explosions, loss of loved ones, near death experiences

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Book Review

ALC Book Review: The Isles of the Gods (The Isles of the Gods #1) by Amie Kaufman

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Amie Kaufman
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: May 2nd, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Selly’s father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter on land while he sails to adventure in the north seas. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician’s marks on his arm boards her ship, presenting her and the crew with a dangerous mission: to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods. What starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and stirring two dangerous gods from centuries of slumber…

Magic, romance, and slumbering gods clash in the start of a riveting fantasy series that spans gangsters’ dens, forgotten temples, and the high seas from the New York Times bestselling author of the Aurora Cycle.

Thank you PRHAudio for the gifted audiobook.

GREAT STARTER.

I just really enjoyed this book. I don’t have any complaints. I loved the full cast audiobook. I thought it was a fantastic starter to a series I am very much invested in now with characters that I love.

It’s a really interesting world building idea. It kind of has some historical vibes, but is very much fantasy too. I have been in love with this combination forever so this was great. Got a big multi-POV cast with FIVE characters and I love it all. I especially loved getting the antagonists point of view. Oh my gosh it was INTENSE and was something I didn’t know I needed.

The romance in here is just starting and is a perfect combination of sweet and banter filled. I love it (and am purposely keeping specific names out to not spoil anything). I love that each point of view is unique and that they each have their own story line too. I feel emotionally attached to everyone.

Plot wise it took a few chapters to understand the basic world and concepts and why the giant sea adventure was occurring. But it’s nothing that doesn’t make sense with time and is clearly setting up for the larger series.

Can’t wait for more!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: executions, loss of life, near death experiences, gun violence, physical altercations

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Book Review

Book Review: Twin Crowns (Twin Crowns #1) by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber
Publisher: Baizer & Bray
Release Date: May 17th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A high-stakes fantasy rom-com about twin princesses separated at birth—one raised as the crown princess, and the other taken as an infant and raised to kidnap her sister, steal the crown, and avenge the parents’ murders.

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?

AS EXEPCTED.

Admittedly I went into this kind of knowing where I would land and was not swayed to love it more than I did.

This is a younger YA fantasy. Which is usually not a problem, I just didn’t love some of the dialogue and general dynamics and how they were written. The main characters (especially Rose) irked me and took a lot for me to even kind of like the sisters by the end.

The romances are cute. A bit too fast paced and whatnot. I did like them though and think there’s potential for better progress in book two (I think it’s a duology?).

Plot wise, SUPER predictable. And not in that way I generally don’t mind. More so in a way where absolutely nothing was a surprise. Left me with a lot of underwhelming feelings. I do have kind of want to see how book two goes? I’m curious enough to give it a try.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: weapons violence, physical altercations, kidnapping, loss of parents, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 492 pages
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

STILL GREAT.

This is a reread review.

I feel like every year a few book stick out to me that I desperately want to reread, and this year, that’s all of Pearson’s books. There is something old school YA fantasy about these that just sing to my soul. I loved getting to read this one again as it still maintains one of the best plot twists I’ve ever come across. If you saw it coming, I am impressed.

I do remember why I went with four star. There’s quite a bit of long winded traveling that I would have loved shortened, otherwise, this immaculate book holds all the nostalgia. And isn’t it amazing when a reread is positive?

I love these characters. This is a love triangle that doesn’t make me want to throw my book and the politicking and intrigue of it all builds the world with intrigue. Everything from the characters to subtle magic system is developed well. I can’t wait to continue this series!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical violence, weapons violence, small battle themes, loss of loved ones, kidnapping

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