Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

The Black Witch (Book #1 The Black Witch Chronicles) by Laurie Forest Book Review

  • Overall rating : ****
  • Reading rate: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Pages: 601
  • Release date: May 2, 2017
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen
  • Recommended if you liked: Serpent & Dove, Shadow & Bone

I have had The Black Witch on my TBR for a VERY long time, so when some fellow Bookstgrammers put together a read along I jumped on the chance.

I actually went back and forth between audio and physical book for this read and I think starting with audio really helped with some of the heavy world building in the begging. Once things started to take off later in the book I picked up the physical book to finish off because I wanted to absorb all of the details.

What I liked: This books has all the feels

  • A great mix of politics, people and magic system.
  • Lots of great characters, I found myself caring for (and hating) so many people in just the first book.
  • I 100% know I am in for a serious heartbreak at some point, there are LOTS of great love lines going on in this series. While there are love interests in this book there are no explicit scenes so keeps it YA.

What I struggled with:

  • There is a lot of prejudice and bullying in this book, some of it was a bit hard to get through but it essential to the story and things pick up as it goes
  • There were quite a few scenes that felt a little repetitive and the story could have been a bit shorter and been just as good if not better for me

Overall I HIGHLY recommend this book… and no spoilers but I finished the sequel in a single day and it gets even better!!

Synopsis:

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of rebels…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.

Have you read The Black Witch? If so, what did you think of it? Any similar recommendations?

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

The Dark Tide (The Dark Tide #1) by Alicia Jasinska Review

THe Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinksa

  • Overall rating : ***
  • Reading rate: ****
  • Romance: **** Lots of love, but nothing steamy
  • Pages: 336
  • Release date: June 2, 2020
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Recommended if you liked: The Wicked Deep
  • Purchase on Amazon here

As soon as I saw this cover I knew I had to request! Gorgeous right!!! Between that and the description I could not wait to get my hands on this book.

What I liked:

  • This was a fast-paced dark fantasy read with Beauty and the Beast vibes…. well, with a gorgeous Witch Queen as the “beast”.
  • The story dives right into the action and does not let up until the very end.
  • I enjoyed the concept of the world Jasinska set up, the way magic works and the idea of the island being a sanctuary where witches and humans escaped persecution from the mainlanders.

What I struggled with:

  • The book fell a little short for me due the lack of broader world building and predictability. I felt like I came into an already rolling story line and while some background was filled in as we went, I was still left with a lot of questions.
  • The way the story was set up also allowed you to predict characters actions and the overall outcome of the story but was still overall a good read.

The book is listed as being a series but I felt it worked well as a standalone and was not set up to have an immediate next issue to resolve.

Synopsis:

Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.

Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for a copy of The Dark Tide in exchange for honest opinion.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Skies (Book #2 Dark Shores) by Danielle Jensen Book Review

  • Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2)Overall rating: *****
  • Reading rate: *****
  • Romance: **
  • Pages: 464
  • Release date: May 5th 2020
  • Publisher: Tor Teen
  • Recommended if you liked: Dark Shores, Throne of Glass,  The Remnant Chronicles

Jensen does it again!! I read Dark Shores last year and loved it but was nervous about the sequel due to the change in Main Characters but it 100% delivered.

What I liked:

  • This book was action packed from start to finish. While being very different from the first book it still tied into the world perfectly.
  • We got to learn more about the Gods of the Dark shores and the Corrupted, less Pirates of the Caribbean and more Mythology meets The Walking Dead!
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters Lydia and Killian… and oh my goodness the “bad guys”!

What I “struggled” with:

  • While the events of this book run concurrent with the events of Dark Shores I do recommend reading Dark Shores first. It houses more world building and background information that I thing was valuable for me to enjoy Dark Skies as much as I did. Dark Skies also has a few spoilers for Dark Shores towards the end whereas I do not feel Dark Shores spoiled anything in this book.

I actually thought this story was going to be a trilogy since the remaining characters from both first two books are supposed to regroup in the third but it turns out there will be more!!! I seriously cannot wait to see what Jensen does next with all of these moving pieces.

Synopsis:

A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

Book Boxes, Products I love!!

Fairyloot Rulebreakers February Unboxing and Review

  • Theme: Rulebreakers
  • Overall: ***
  • Cost: $42 USD including shipping
  • Quality of Items: ***
  • Value for the Money:***
  • Shipping: ** While I enjoy the lower shipping costs for the US, the vendors are terrible and it actually takes me longer to my box now than it did when it shipping internationally. My book was also damaged due to the way it was packed and shipped *Twice this month for book damages from Fedex*
    • Fairlyloot responded right away to my email about the damage but advised it will by 15-20 days for replacement book * After a month I followed up and du eco shipping delays it will be another few weeks.

Normally I am pretty impressed with Fairyloot but this month i just was not feeling the box, or the redo of the cover for the book. I bought this as a one off box and wish I had saved the money, I probably will not keep anything that came in the box.

Whats in the box:

Fairyloot Rulebreakers Unboxing and Review

  1. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller with a purple color swapped cover and artwork on the reverse
  2. Serpent & Dove mug
  3. Foiled scarf inspired by Sorcery of Thorns
  4. Wicked Saints lip balm
  5. Mordor luggage tag
  6. We Hunt the Flame Art print
  7. Nevernight filed bookmark set and sticker
  8. Strange the Dreamer tarot cards

 

Do you have a favorite bookish box? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Wicked As You Wish Book Review

Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1) by Rin ChupecoWicked as you wish book review

  • Overall: **
  • Romance: *
  • Reading Rate: ***
  • Pages: 432
  • Release Date: March 3, 2020
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Recommend if you liked: Reverie
  • Purchase on Amazon HERE

My initial thoughts when starting the book were that I came into the middle of an existing story line. It was like Alice in Wonderland and other tales crashed into the world as we know it. We are in the modern era but with a twist on the countries and of course the presence of magic. There are several countries and magics listed and different type of people that can use them, and different groups that tolerate and don’t tolerate.

What I liked:

  • I think the author had a great concept for the world it just was not fully executed in this first book.

What I struggled with

  • The story started off seemingly normal and then dove into a mish mash of action scenes and new characters and events that were not ever clearly explained. I felt like I was reading through someone’s dream where the landscape and characters were shifting without any defining laws.
  • This is the first novel I have read from Rin so perhaps this is just her writing style and I was not aware.
  • I also felt the author had some pretty strong political views that were coming off loud and clear in the story and it was a bit off putting for me.
  • They also tried to include a large amount of diversity into the book, but to the point that in an attempt to be inclusive there were so many characters you had little information about them other than what made them “different” and I personally felt it was counterproductive. I am all for diversity in a story but actually make a character not just try to check a box.
  • While I was not a fan off all the missing information it did make the story fly right along in the beginning. As the book progressed I found it harder to stay interested and would set the book down for days at a time.

While the story did end in a cliffhanger with little wrapped up, I am not in any hurry to find out what happens next and most likely will not pick up the next book. The author has an incredibly interesting world going. I think if the focus were narrowed to the key characters and storylines in future books it could be a good series.

After reading the book ( I always try to go into my ARCs a little blind so no bias) I learned that this was the authors first book she wrote and was extremely passionate about so makes more sense why it is so rough around the edges.

Synopsis:

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left desolate and encased in ice when the evil Snow Queen waged war on the powerful country. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is in hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them. Tala doesn’t mind—she has secrets of her own. Namely, that she’s a spellbreaker, someone who negates magic.
Then hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, and Avalon’s most powerful weapon, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of Wicked As You Wish in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury Book Review

Blinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury Book ReviewBlinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury

  • Overall: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 330 for the paperback, however I read on Kindle
  • Release Date: October 2, 2018
  • Publisher: The Parliament House Press
  • Purchase on Amazon here
  • Recommend if you liked: ACOTAR, Shade of Vampire

This is a really cute Hades and Persephone retelling and the first book in a duology. The main character is a 20 year old art student from Rhode Island whose entire life changes when Hades swoops in the retrieve her from the hospital after her parents are killed in a car accident while traveling to Greece.

While this story does have a lot of ACOTAR similarities it is heavily tied to the romance story line between Persephone and Hades with the events of the broader world being more a sub plot. But she is an artist, rough relations with her family, the inner circle, etc.

What I liked:

  • This was a cute fast paced read, I love a good quick romance story.
  • The romance line was carried throughout with a little steam here and there, nothing that would not fall within what you commonly see in other YA books today.
  • I enjoyed the mythology aspect and the takes on traditional stories of the Gods.

What I struggled with:

  • While the MC is 20 years old but she acted much younger in my opinion. She was very resentful towards her parents and thought their affections were “icky” basically. She did seem sheltered and spoiled with an overprotective mom so this may be really where they were trying to get at but I had a hard time with it. I think she also took the death of her parents and change in her world a bit too well, but maybe just not time in the story to capture that recovery timeline.
  • The story never made it clear why Persephone had no choice of her own in staying with Hades vs returning to her mother. We also never received any insight into the mother’s side of the story. Hoping this gets cleared up in the second book in the duology.
  • There were also a handful or spelling/grammar errors as well as a few small contradictions in the story, nothing to the larger plot line.

Synopsis:

What if you were the missing piece in one of the world’s most epic legends?

Despite being an art history student, Summer isn’t thrilled to be stuck with her archeologist family all summer in Greece. While the rest of her college friends are posting a million selfies by the pool together, Summer is stuck alone, trying to entertain herself alone in a place where she doesn’t even speak the language.

Upon her arrival to Greece, strange dreams and even stranger shadows seem to haunt Summer, leaving her to ponder the meaning of pomegranate seeds and twisted, darkened faces.

Suddenly, her stay abroad leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of a dark stranger, who claims to be the god, Hades, whom she feels like she knows from another life. In a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, Summer is seduced to the lowest point of Greece where Hades’ lair awaits…the Underworld. Determined to find out who she is and where she belongs in an age-old myth, Summer joins Hades to discover that the secrets about her past life are beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

Thank you to Chantal Gadoury and the Parliament House Press for a copy of Blinding Night in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Reverie by Ryan La Sala Book Review

 

Reverie by Ryan La Sala Book ReviewOverall: ***

Romance: *

Reading Rate: ***

Pages: 416

Recommend if you liked: I am Number Four series

Release Date: December 3, 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Purchase on Amazon here

What I liked:

  • I enjoyed the premise of Reverie and the overall story line, the “reveries” were a unique and whimsical element.
  • The plot of Reverie draws you in from the very beginning as you start out with the main character’s POV right after a mysterious incident and the loss of his memory. As you being to meet more characters you are left wondering what is real and who to trust, I just had to know how it ended!

What I struggled with: The characters and world building are where I struggled.

  • I found the characters, especially the MC Kane very immature and tended to fall back in rushed and repeated emotions.
  • I would have enjoyed the book much more if the characters acted more mature and had been really built out. There were hints at complex characters with complicated pasts that defined who they were now, there just was no real chance to get to know them in the single book.
  • The book was really focused around one part of a larger issue. I feel they won a battle but were not even sure what the war was just yet.
  • There were also a lot of questions let open about how the Reverie’s and Posey came about although room is left for more books in the same world that might explain later.

Synopsis:

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different. 

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know. 

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Thank you to Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of Reverie in exchange for my honest opinion.

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.

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Dance of Thieves Book Review

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Overall: ****

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: *****

Pages: 505

Purchase on Amazon here

These last two months I joined my very first read along. It started with The Remnant Chronicles and end with the Dance of Thieves Duology.

I was actually a little hesitant when starting this series as I was a little meh about the ending of The Remnant Chronicles which this is a spin off of.  I was pleasantly surprised to be immediately sucked into the action with this book. It occurs several years after the end of the original trilogy but since there was already so much back story on the world there was not a lot of building needed.

I also really enjoyed seeing more of the side characters from the first series and learning more about new people and places in the world. I also liked that this story was less “royal” and you got to learn about the Rahtan and smaller regions of the continent.

The story is based on Kazi who is a member of the new and improved Rahtan of Queen Lia from the original trilogy. She ventures to one of the smaller kingdoms to investigate “treaty violations” and hunt for long lost traitors.

  • I felt the main characters were actually quite unlikable, but grew on me over time. As with the first series as well I really enjoyed the side characters and the world/culture building the Pearson does.
  • I would recommend this story over The Remnant Chronicles but I fear you would not understand a large portion of the story line and character arcs without having read the original trilogy first. It is classified as a spin off but is really more a continuation of the story.
  • Because the point of views switch from Jase and Kazi you know so much of each side of the story. Which for me causes frustration in knowing that a lot of the problems and barriers are from each side keeping secrets instead of being honest. I am hoping to see some of this resolved in the second book now that a lot of new character and relationship building has occurred in the first.

AND THAT ENDING! All I have to say is make sure you have Vow of Thieves ready to start reading right after you finish! I devoured the first book in 3 “work” days so that shows you how sucked in I was and I will be diving right into the second book asap.

Also guys let’s not ignore how completely gorgeous this book is! The naked hardback is also gorgeous and has beautiful maps as the end pages.

Synopsis:

A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations.

A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power.

Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen’s premier guard.

A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself.

A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.

When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their lives―and their hearts.

Have you read this duology? If so, tell me what you think below in the comments!

Publisher: Henry Holt