Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

  • Overall rating: *** 40144224
  • Reading rate: **
  • Romance: ***
  • Pages: 464 pages
  • Release date: August 25, 2020
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Recommended if you liked: Caraval, The Night Circus

You get a bit of Caraval and The Night Circus vibes in this slow build dark fantasy threaded mystery. The story revolves around a magical contest and a world where women are not allowed to be showmen, Kallia aims to change the game…and everyone is trying to hide their past.

This book was one of my most anticipated new releases of the year, but it did fall a bit short for me. It was a very slow start where you are left with all kinds of mystery and not a lot of answers, so I struggled to continue reading at times. While I thoroughly enjoyed the MC Kallia overall, I was not a huge fan of the other characters POVs and the sudden shifts in POV without any page/chapter break were difficult to adjust to.

The book started to take off around the final quarter and while it ended in a lot of excitement and was not totally predictable, I still found myself needing more answers to be sufficiently involved in the world and attached to the characters. The story does leave you with a cliffhanger ending and I while the first book was not right on the mark for me, I look forward to seeing how to second book in the series delivers.

Synopsis:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for a copy of Where Dreams Descend in exchange for my honest review.

 

Book Boxes, Products I love!!

Unboxing and Review: April Owlcrate

  • Theme: Full Moon Magic
  • Overall: ***
  • Price: $41 shipped in the US
  • Shipping: ***** Owlcrate is rocking with shipping and updates during COVID, they have not been more than a few days off normal schedule this whole time, where other boxes are months behind.
  • Quality of items: ***
  • Overall value for the price: ***

Owlcrate March Unboxing and Review

Whats in the box:

🌒A bamboo moon phase banner inside a canvas pouch featuring a quote by Oscar Wilde, both designed by @paperbackbones
🌓A Shatter Me inspired tote bag designed by @unluckydesign
🌔Notebook featuring a quote from Oscar Wilde and artwork from @kimbeckerdesign.
🌕Winterwood inspired crescent moon bracelet designed by Team OwlCrate
🌖300 piece jigsaw puzzle illustrated by @atalienart featuring Remus Lupin
🌗A collectible postcard illustrated by @lovelyillustration
🌘The book for April is Boon Crier’s Moon by @kathrynpurdie! This exclusive edition features a shiny special cover and sprayed edges. It was also signed and came with a letter from the author
🌗The enamel pin of the month was designed by @whitewidewoods

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Serpent & Dove Book Review

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin Book Review

Serpent & Dove Book ReviewOverall: ***

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: ***

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 513

Purchase on Amazon here

I was super excited about this book, and I purchased an incredible edition with bronze prayed edges from Fairyloot. I have heard so so so many people give this book great reviews so I feel like I had an unpopular opinion, or maybe the hype was just so high it was impossible not to feel let down.

What I liked:

  • I like the take on Magic vs the Church and the different types of witches. I also enjoyed learning how the different witches used their powers.
  • While this was historically based I enjoyed that all of the women still did what they wanted regardless. I have a hard time with historical fiction when it involves women being limited by societies constraints. I would actually classify this book as NA vs YA due to the age of the characters and language/sexual content of the book.

What I struggled with:

  • I needed more background on the world to really understand what was happening. Because of the limited information on each side I really couldn’t relate to strongly to either cause, and frankly they both seemed wrong.
  • I didn’t “believe” in the love portion of the story line. It was enemies to lovers but I didn’t really feel the love develop, i was like it went from enemies for most of the book to instalove.
  • The book really didn’t grab me or keep me engrossed at all, it actually took me about two weeks to finish reading. (something in a 4-5 star range for me I would devour in 3 or less days).

Overall I am interested to learn more about the world and the characters the Mahurin started to build out and I will certainly give the next book in the series a shot.

Synopsis:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

 

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The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt 2) Book Review

The Wickerlight by Mary Watson ReviewThe Wickerlight – The Wren Hunt #2 by Mary Watson

Overall: ****

Reading Rate: ****

Romance: **

Pages: 416

Release date: November 26, 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Purchase on Amazon here

Recommend if you liked: Serpent & Dove or The Raven Cycle

The story is dark, intriguing and you never know who to trust or consider “good”. This is a true sequel to the story started in the Wren Hunt and you must read it first to understand the happenings in the second book. Even thought the characters POV are all new in The Wickerlight it continues to build on the story and is tied into events set in motion in book 1. I tried started with this book first thinking it was just based in the same world and was totally lost about a chapter in.

While this book as a little slower than the first I enjoyed it even more due to all the set up that was in place from the first book. I was also eager to learn more about David as a MC instead of antagonist. Watson did a great job of creating such an old world feel with the mythology and culture of the Draoithe, but also mixing modern touches into the society to keep it relatable. Some of the phrasing and spelling threw me off a little when reading but overall it did not take away from the quality of the story. These books definitely kept me guessing between the characters hidden secrets to the plot twists! I still have so many questions and can already not wait until the next installment to find out what happens next!

Synopsis:

Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the opportunity to read The Wickerlight in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

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Lord of the Fading Lands Book Review

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

Overall: ***

Romance: ****

Reading Rate: ****

Pages: 416

Purchase on Amazon: Here

This is a series that has been on my TBR for quite some time. I recently went on a Kindle Unlimited binge of paranormal romance and was having a hard time getting out of it to return to my normal TBR. I decided to go ahead and give this series a try as I know it is very beloved by many. This book gives me a bit of grown up Thrown of Glass vibes… but seeing as this book was published WAY before TOG, it would technically be in the inspired story. A young girl with a mysterious power is declared the truemate of Rain the last Tairen Soul and king of the Fey.

What I liked:

  • You all know I am a OTP kind of girl and this book did not hesitate to get my couple going right from the start.
  • There are a lot of elements going on in the story mages, family drama, courtship drama, the fading Tairen and fay, and not to mention the schemers at court.

What I did not like:

  • The first book was over 400 pages (mass market paperback) but it only covered the span of a few weeks, and the MC didn’t make it very fat into their courtship.
  • I was honestly thinking there was going to be a bit more… romance. Things were heating up in several ways towards the end of the book so possibly more to come further in the series.

This is only the first book of 5 in the Tairen Soul series and I have heard things get better in book 2… which makes a lot of sense due to the amount of world building that needed to occur.

Synopsis:

Once he drove back the darkness. Once he loved with such passion his name was legend.

Once, driven wild with grief over the murder of his beloved, the majestic Fey King Rain Tairen Soul had laid waste to the world before vanishing into the Fading Lands. Now, a thousand years later, a new threat draws him back into the world—and a new love reawakens the heart he thought long-dead.

Ellysetta, a woodcarver’s daughter, calls to Rain in a way no other ever had. Mysterious and magical, her soul beckons him with a compelling, seductive song—and no matter the cost, the wildness in his blood will not be denied. as an ancient, familiar evil regains its strength, causing centuries-old alliances to crumble and threatening doom for Rain and his people . . .he must claim his truemate to embrace the destiny woven for them both in the mists of time.

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Air Awakens Series Book Review

Air Awakens by Elise Kova Book ReviewAir Awakens series by Elise Kova

Overall: ****

Reading rate:*****

Romance:****

Pages: Over 1700 across 5 books

I binged this entire series on eBook in 5 days! and its a 5 book series. I seriously could not get enough of Prince Aldrik and HAD to know what happened next.

I actually skipped over this book on Kindle several times because of the cover art…. do not mean to be cliche but was totally hit by the “Don’t just a book by its cover”.

What I liked:

  • Romance all the way through & Prince Aldrik
  • The books suck you into Vhalla’s world and do not let go. You just keep adventuring from the library, to the Tower of Sorcerers, to a cross continent trek to fight a war and being on the run on the way back!
  • I loved the side characters!! There were so many funny and wonderful additions to the story along the way that really built it out.
  • I enjoyed the differences in the regions that were built out as well as the magic in those regions. The author really built out openings for spin off after spin off.

What I didn’t like:

  • All the “love triangles” that were thrown in throughout the books, I do not like my one true pairing to be questioned lol
  • While I loved Prince Aldrik and the other side characters I never 100% warmed up to Vhalla the female MC. She was a bit all over the place with her feelings and actions.
  • I also feel like there were problems that arose that I saw coming a mile away but the characters were just oblivious too.
  • I felt like the magic system and the crystal still needed a bit more explaining in the end. The author is also writing a spin off series based after Air Awakens that maybe fills in more of those gaps.

If you liked Throne of Glass I feel you will like this series (although no Fae and less smut) the overall story line was still quite similar.

There are 5 books in this series:

  1. Air Awakens
  2. Fire Falling
  3. Earth’s End
  4. Water’s Wrath
  5. Crystal Crowned

Air Awakens Synopsis:

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all–the Crown Prince Aldrik–she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Have you read Air Awakens? Tell me what you think about it below in the comments?

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The Storm Crow Book Review

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Overall Rating: **

Reading Rate: **

Romance: **

Release Date: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

I received an ARC of The Storm Crow in a Fairyloot box and was very excited to read it. I was really sad when I had a very hard time getting through this book. It took me several weeks of picking up and putting back down to finish, which is very unusual for me. The book kicks off with the Illucian Empire invading and easily destroying all of Rhodaire’s rookeries and crows.

To start I just felt the situation that the book was based on should never have happened and after it was hard for me to keep going with the story line. In response to the tragedy instead of stepping up to help her country the Princess goes into a depression. I think too many books are based on women that start out weak and broken, and while I understand that they are trying to convey what people really go through the trope has just been overdone for me, and it didn’t add to this book in my opinion.

The book started to pick up towards the middle. Thia’s personality begins to develop when she finds the Storm Crow egg and begins great banter with the Illucian prince. I was getting excited for the how to book would develop and end when they introduced another guy into the mix…and we all know how I feel about Triangles at this point (tear laugh face).

What I liked:

  • What is not to love about magical crows that you can ride!!
  • I like the way the author set up the world and the differences and strained relationships between the nations. I enjoyed learning about the different cultures she built out and was eager to learn more as the story developed.

What I didn’t like:

  • There were some holes in the concept of the magical crows and the fact that only one country had them and needed them to survive.
  • The “major events” that  occurred in the book only occurred because lack of caution and preparation, this was very hard for me to get over.
  • I have a hard time with characters that are constantly down on themselves and continually take strong side characters for granted. This is just my personal preference but it did make the book harder to get through for me.
  • I think the romance story line was on a great track with an enemies to lovers with the Illucian prince but then took a U-Turn with the introduction of the inventor.

I originally I had this book at three stars, but when I came back to it and started thinking about all of the elements I took issue with I had to lower it to two. The way the book ended means there will be more to this series. While I didn’t feel the usual urge of needing to know what happens next I will most likely give the second book a try to see if the series picks up any before deciding to DNF. I cant say I would recommend anyone to run out and buy this book, more of a wait and see what happens with the series first.

Synopsis:

Eragon meets And I Darken in this thrilling new fantasy debut that follows a fallen princess as she ignites a rebellion to bring back the magical elemental crows that were taken from her people.

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them. 

Have you read The Storm Crow? Tell me what you thought in the comments below!

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The Bargainer Series Book Review

The Bargainer Series by Laura Thalassa Book Review

Overall Rating: ****

Romance: *****

Reading Rate: *****

I blew through this entire series in about 3.5-4 days and then immediately started searching for anything else by Laura Thalassa  that I could get my hands on.

To start this is definitely an adult book with quite a bit of smut and language. The main character “Calli” is a Siren, and I love how dark her character is. I feel a lot of stories start with this pure broken female lead and while she certainly had her demons, she was also a bit of one herself. I cant even with the Bargainer… just “sigh”… he is terrible and I love it!

The first book toggles back and forth from Calli’s present day interactions with Des the Bargainer and her teenage interactions with him. I was a little concerned with the age dynamic early on in the books thinking it was about to go down a road I was not comfortable with, but stick with it and I feel things were pretty quickly cleared up.

There are three books and a novella in the series:

  1. Rhapsodic (The Bargainer) (Volume 1) 
  2. A Strange Hymn
  3. Dark Harmony 
  4. Emperor of the Evening Starts (2.5/Novella)

I really wanted to give this series 5 stars because I enjoyed it so much, but it is not a story for everyone and does have the cliche romance element. If you were a fan of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, I think you would really enjoy this series as well.

Rhapsodic Synopsis:

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear. Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects. But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more. For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken. If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.

Have you read this series? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

– Megan

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Sorcery of Thorns Book Review

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Overall: *****Sorcery of Thorns Book Review Margaret Rogerson Charlie Bowater

Romance: **

Reading Rate: *****

Pages: 456

Published: June 4th 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Buy it on Amazon: Here

I cannot express how excited I was for this book to release. I read Rogerson’s Enchantment of Ravens earlier this year and really enjoyed it! Plus, my goodness the level of cover gorgeousness is just crazy!!!

This book is very different from EOR, so if you were not a fan I would still give Sorcery of Thorns a try. I will say as a fan of both I feel Sorcery of Thorns far surpassed EOR for quality, and I enjoyed the writing style used more in SOT. Even though this book was over 400 pages I blew through it in 2 days, I just could not put it down and had to find out what happened next.

What I liked:

  • Guys the library and “living” books, could there be more of a dream world for a Book worm?
  • Rogerson did a great job of building out a complex world, characters, and storyline for only having one book to do so. Can I pretty please get more books in this universe!?
  • It felt a little like a story line from the show Supernatural and I loved it!!!

What I didn’t like:

  • I never really got attached to Nathaniel the way I normally would for the Male lead in a story, I felt Silas his demon servant overshadowed him.
  • I would have like a little more steam in the love interest. I didn’t take anything away from the book for this however, this book is firmly YA and kept it PG-13, steam is just my personal preference. Also, if you lean more towards the Adult/NA end this may not be for you.

I was really worried this book was going to be a victim of the hype but I really think it delivered. If this is the only book in the universe I would be so so sad… I already have two editions of this book and would rush to buy anything and everything Rogerson put out about this world. While there are demons and fighting and a hint of romance I still feel this is a book I would recommend for a teen to read, but also enough of a story that adults can still enjoy as well.

Synopsis:

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined. 

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Finale by Stephanie Garber Book Review

Overall rating: ****

Romance: **

Reading Pace:***

The Caraval series is one of the few times I have read a series as they released. I actually did not know that it was a series until I got to the end of the first book.

I was so so so excited for Finale and to see how the story ended and completely thought that I would breeze through this book in about a day as I did with the others, but it actually took me right at a week to get through. There was a lot more complexity to this book than the previous two. There was a real dive into the characters and how they are felt and tied together versus the hustle and bustle of the Game that you encountered in the first two. As a standalone book I did not like it as much as the first two, but I think it did a great job of bringing everything together to wrap up the story. I think that is a bit of the curse of final books a lot of the time and of course no one is happy to see a series that they love stop, even if they really wanted that ending!

Finale Caraval Book Review

What I liked:

  • Deeper dives into the main characters feelings… and all the great Tella and Legend moments
  • Finally having all of the secrets revealed!!!
  • The author left some amazing opportunities for Spin-offs series or novellas of the Fates… please of please give me some more Jacks!

What I didn’t like:

  • I honestly missed the game in this book, I wish it had been closer to sequences of Caraval and Legendary.
  • This points of view flipped back and forth between Tella and Scarlett, so it was a little harder to get invested in the characters connection for me.
  • There were a lot of people and characters- I really think the dealing with the fates alone could have been split into another two books.

I know people have a lot of strong opinions about this series and it seems to be in extremes. Yes, while I agree that the series is not a work in literary art. They are fun, suck you in stories that leave you wanting more and wondering what on earth is going to happen next. Also, if you happen to follow author Stephanie Garber on social media, she is super sweet, always going out of her way to keep fans informed and thanking them. Honestly just on person alone I would read her work.

Official Synopsis:

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: May 7, 2019