Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Review of Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Series: Serpent & Dove #1

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (One of my favorites of 2019!)

Review copy provided by HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

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.


REVIEW

HELLLOOO MY DEAR BOOK AND WELCOME TO MY ALL TIME FAVORITES.

This book guys. THIS BOOK. It is exactly what I look for in a fantasy novel and has pulled me out of my YA slump. It’s looking to get super hyped and I’ll be joining in on that hype for the rest of the year. Brace yerselves.

Shelby Mahurin has created an enrapturing fantasy firmly rooted in the history of European (particularly French) witch trials. I absolutely love how she took this dark time in history and weaved her own story out of it.

In Belterra, witches are hunted and burned at the stake by order of the king via religious zealots. In turn, many witches have taken to hiding in plain sight or secluding themselves in a hidden location.

After fleeing her coven, Lou is forced to hide her true nature and resort to thieving on the streets. When a burglary goes awry, she is forced into marriage with a Chasseur named Reid, a witch hunter and her mortal enemy. Seeing this as a potential source of protection against the witches who seek to harm her, Lou struggles to hide her magic from her husband. However, as they spend more time together, she finds she wishes she could share her every secret with him, including her growing feelings, which he seems to return.

This book has so many plot elements I love but particularly fake/forced/arranged relationships, enemies to lovers and forbidden love. YES, this one is heavy on the romance and there are mature scenes and elements (reminiscent of ACOMAF, folks) but that only added to the relationship and personalities of Lou, Reid and the other characters.

Some books can easily lose their way amongst a romantic plot but no such thing happened in Serpent & Dove. We were constantly reminded and shown that Lou was constantly at risk of discovery, by the Chasseurs and her others enemies.

Additionally, I love the magic system created in this. I’ve always been a fan of systems in which magic has a cost to the user. In Belterra, the use of magic requires a balance and strategy. A memory for a memory. Vision for vision. A broken bone for a broken bone. A life for a life. It’s clear that Mahurin sought to create a complex, yet intelligent magic system and she surely succeeds in doing so.

Overall, this is a new favorite of mine and I don’t know how I’ll wait for the next book. There is NO CLIFFHANGER but the characters are definitely in a situation in which their next moves must be well calculated. I cannot wait to see what comes next!

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Review: The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Review of The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Series: The Raging Ones #2
The Raging Ones Review (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Review copy provided by Wednesday Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Wednesday Books for sending me a physical advance reading copy as well!

Visit my recent blog post to read an excerpt of The Last Hope.


DESCRIPTION

A stunning conclusion to the sci-fi romance duology by writing duo Krista & Becca Ritchie, The Last Hope is filled with twists and turns you’ll never see coming.

Sacrifice all you have to survive.

Imprisoned for weeks on an enemy starcraft, Franny, Court, and Mykal have sat with an unfathomable revelation. But as they fight to stay alive, escaping prison means trusting a young mysterious stranger. He knows everything about their lost histories, and when answers aren’t given freely, the bonded trio are forced to join a mission. One that will determine the fate of humanity.

Legend says, a baby—the first of her species—has the power to cloak and teleport planets. Tasked with retrieving the infant, Court fears the baby is just a myth, and if they fail, they’ll never find the truth about their origins.

As Court and Mykal grow closer, their linked bond becomes harder to hide, and dynamics change when Franny begins to fall for someone new. Vulnerable and with no choice, the hunt for the baby sends the trio on a dangerous path to Saltare-1: a water world where their enemies can’t die and survival comes at a high cost.


REVIEW

One of my favorite releases of 2018, The Raging Ones, had me at the end of my seat and screaming for more. It’s sequel and conclusion, The Last Hope, is quite the fitting end to Court, Mykal and Franny’s story. If you haven’t read The Raging Ones, beware of possible spoilers to that book ahead.

I can do a lot of things terribly and a whole lot of things decently and then very few things miraculously.

This duology has always been a little bit science fiction and a little bit fantasy. I think that’s one of the reasons I love it. The Last Hope absolutely expands upon the world-building presented in the first book, as well as the history of the Saltare planets and Earth. We get answers about the link and why Court, Mykal and Franny are the only ones with this bond. We also see and learn more about fan favorites such as Court’s brother Kinden, Zimmer and the Soarcastle sisters. Finally, we are introduced to a new character, Stork, who is by-far my favorite of this book. He has a huge role to play in the story, despite his somewhat mysterious obligations and origins.

The Last Hope picks up very soon after The Raging Ones ended with that epic cliffhanger. Thank goodness for that! I can’t get into too many details of what happens without spoiling the story, but the trio is in dire straights and near the end of the line. They meet the character Stork, who has been searching for the trio. He has the answers they seek, but to earn those answers he needs their help with what is essentially a search and rescue mission. A mission the whole human race is dependent upon.

“You’re not my prisoner. I’m not your captor. If you ever want to leave, you can walk out of your own accord. I’ll encourage you to stay. It’d be the smarter choice, but I’ll never force you to stay here.”

As the trio traverses their newfound identities, they also further build their friendships and find romance. This story has always been largely character driven, while taking place in an imaginative and unique setting. The trio is regularly faced with tempering their emotions for the sake of others, while learning how to use their link to their advantage.

I wouldn’t say this sequel had a different feel than The Raging Ones, but it certainly opened the story to a far grander world and history than I had originally anticipated. I really, really love how this ended too. Seriously, happiness galore.

Overall, this is definitely still a favorite of mine and I highly recommend this duology!

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Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Review of The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Series: The Kiss Quotient #2

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Thank you to Berkley Publishing for sending me a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


REVIEW

Please don’t let there be two of them. He didn’t know what he was going to do with one woman. If his mom had acquired him an entire harem, he needed therapy. After a heart-pounding second, logic returned to his brain, and he concluded she must have adopted a Western name to help her in the States. He did not have a harem. Thank God.

I blazed right through this one and had an incredible amount of fun returning to the world of The Kiss Quotient.

The Bride Test follows Michael’s cousin Khai and a new character, Esme, a Vietnamese immigrant. Khai is intelligent, logical, intense and autistic. He’s also single. The latter of which his mother plans to remedy by inviting Esme to stay with Khai for the summer. Esme desires a better life for herself, her daughter and their family. She reluctantly sees this opportunity as a stepping stone to said life. She isn’t searching for a husband. But how hard could it be? Go to America and seduce this man. Perhaps they would fall in love. And if she didn’t succeed, she would at least be paid for her time. Both Esme and Khai certainly have their work cut out for them.

I really enjoyed this story and found it to be sweet and funny, while also carrying a fantastic message about grief and maneuvering one’s emotions. Esme’s character is truly the bright spot of this story and I admire her hard-working nature and tenacity. She is truly the type of character I could aspire to be more like.

And if she asked, he knew he would give her anything. If he could.

The romance in this is slow to blossom, of course. Khai has never had a non-platonic relationship with a woman in any form. Esme’s past relationships have been wrought with bad experiences. Watching these two navigate their relationship from roommates, to friends, to more was delightful. I especially found a part in which Khai criticizes junior high sex education and seeks advice from Michael and Quan to be hilarious and true in so many regards. (Seriously folks, sex education in its current form is atrocious and so misinformed.)

All of this said, Khai and Esme have big secrets they are keeping from one another (because of course) and must decide how to approach these subjects, or lose one another completely. Khai is in new territory, with Esme constantly in his personal life – whereas before he could ignore phone calls and lock himself inside his house. As they grow closer, Esme finds she doesn’t know how to share the most important part of her life. She fears it’ll shatter her chance of a different life.

It’s important to note that The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test are #ownvoices novels. The author Helen Hoang and the characters Stella and Khai have autism spectrum disorders. Helen has clearly infused both of these stories with her own experiences and struggles. As the parent of a child on the spectrum, I feel the difficulties Stella and Khai have in traversing emotional and social situations deep in my bones. Its something I struggle to help my own child with on a daily basis. I applaud Helen for bringing us these characters and their stories to us readers.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed The Bride Test and his predecessor, The Kiss Quotient. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for Helen’s next novel, The Heart Principle, due out in Spring 2020!

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[Blog Tour] ARC Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann

Review of Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann is available now and it’s FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers! This is absolutely one of my favorite reads of 2019. I was completely blown away by this story. Keep reading for the description, an excerpt and my review – plus a link to enter a bundle giveaway!

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and author Jewel E. Ann for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review as well as an invitation to join the blog tour.


DESCRIPTION

How far would you go for revenge?

A hit-and-run accident leaves Jersey Six orphaned and homeless on the streets of Newark, shattering her dreams of school dances, pink nail polish, and a diploma.

Eight years later, a burn victim with amnesia wanders into Jersey’s barely-existent life. She resists his efforts to form a friendship until he reveals knowledge of the person responsible for derailing her future. Through their unusual friendship, she discovers a way to avenge the deaths of her foster parents.

All she has to do is destroy the world’s biggest rock star.

In the ultimate game of sex, lies, and manipulation, can Jersey discover the truth? Or will she be blinded by attraction, deceived by love, and destroyed by her past?


EXCERPT 

“We ate at the hotel.” Her lips twisted to the side. “Mind if I stick some stuff in my bag for later?” 

A tiny wrinkle formed between Ian’s eyes, just below the long sweep of his black bangs. “There will be lots of food available later too. But…” he shrugged, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees “…take whatever you want.” 

Jersey glanced over her shoulder at the food and the three other men in the room. She decided to wait a little while before shoving as much as possible into her bag like a free-for-all. “Thanks.” Jersey returned her attention to Ian. “So … you’re a singer. Like … are you a big deal?”

Every word she spoke seemed to feed his level of happiness. “Well …” He rubbed his chin, twisting his lips. “We play music. People like to listen to our music. But no … it’s not a big deal. We’re not saving lives or anything like that.” 

She eyed him with suspicion for a few seconds. That smile of his didn’t feel worthy of complete trust. “Um … what exactly do you need me to do? What’s my job? They already took Chris. Will that big, bearded guy come for me too?” Jersey couldn’t remember his name.

“No.” Ian stood, pushing his elbows out from his shoulders, twisting side to side. “Tonight you are just going to watch the concert from backstage. Tomorrow night you’ll sell merchandise.” 

“Drugs. You mean drugs, don’t you?” 

Ian paused his stretching, letting his arms fall limp to his sides. “Merchandise—T-shirts, posters, keychains, phone cases, hats, guitar pics …”

“To who?” 

“Fans.” Ian grinned. “Okay. I might have understated all of this to you … can you name a famous singer? Old or new. Doesn’t matter. Just a famous singer.” 

“I had a foster parent who used to listen to Josh Groban.” Jersey gnashed her teeth, still feeling so much anger. Dena wasn’t just a foster parent; she was Jersey’s friend. 

“Okay. Well, Josh has sold millions of records, and he’s a huge star in his genre of music. Thousands of people pack venues all over the world to see him sing live in concert. And they sell merchandise of his at those concerts.” 

Jersey gazed unblinkingly at Ian as he scratched his jaw. 

“Well, I sing a different genre of music, but I, too, travel the world, singing to sold-out concert venues, andI have people who sell my merchandise at these concerts.” 

Jersey dropped her bag to her feet and planted her fists on her hips. “Listen, Coop. Stop talking down to me. I’m not an idiot. I know what a concert is. But earlier today you didn’t say what you did or what the job was you were offering. You bought a homeless person a hot dog and offered her a job. Of course, I’m going to think something sketchy might be involved.” 

Tipping her chin up, she held her breath to puff out her chest, pretending the recent revelation of Ian Cooper being a famous singer didn’t faze her one bit. Inside, Jersey’s heart hammered into her ribcage, and her mind reeled trying to figure out the day’s events. 

“Coop?” His lips twitched into a tiny grin. 

“It’s short for Cooper.” 

“Clearly.” Ian chuckled. “But my name is Ian. Everyone calls me Ian.” 

“I busted the nose and jaw of a kid named Ian. He tried to stick his cock in my ass. I’ll call you Tom, Dick, or Harry, but I’m not calling you Ian because that makes me want to physically harm you.” 

Ian’s eyebrows shot up his forehead as his head whipped back a few inches. “Coop it is.” 

Enter Jewel’s giveaway for a signed paperback and swag!

https://www.jeweleann.com/jersey-six-giveaway


REVIEW

Jersey sucked at subtle. She sucked at a lot of things, like patience, restraint, kind words and giving a shit.

This book was visceral and mind bending and just downright AMAZING.

I absolutely adore Jewel E. Ann’s writing, characters and stories and this one levels the playing field. It has the unwavering grit of her Jack & Jill series, the desperate and unyielding romance of Undeniably You and the absolutely mind blowing suspense of Transcend and Epoch.

I knew, I just KNEW about a quarter of the way into this book that it would wreck me. I was coming to love a character I should hate and not really sure why I should hate them. I was coming to distrust a character I loved and couldn’t make sense of how JEA was totally throwing my mind of kilter.

Truth didn’t live in the light; it hid in the dark, dancing with demons, afraid to be set free, afraid to be seen by judgmental eyes.

This book touches on SO many tough and authentic subjects such as homelessness, PTSD and mental illness, sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, trauma, abandonment, amnesia and JEA does it well. So freaking well.

The relationship that develops between Jersey and Chris, their cohabitation and friendship was so genuine and touching. I really enjoyed the portrayal of their mutual dependence upon each other and how they found safe company in each other.

And Ian … well, he looked at her like he understood her, even though there was no way he had an inkling what her life was really like. He felt like the day to her night and a promise on the distant horizon.

Then Ian enters their lives and their whole world is ripped away while the world itself is handed to them on a silver platter. Jersey’s life with Ian is tumultuous and confusing at times. They crash together like waves breaking upon a cliff. Both molding each other into what comes next and unable to stop the rolling of the tide. I was intrigued, I was appalled, I was in their clutches and then I was shocked. I loved how messy and beautifully their relationship blossomed and their feelings developed. I could feel the desperation behind their moments together.

The big revelations in this truly shocked me. I had one of them guessed around 50% … but that’s not saying much because I was still thinking to myself, “If this ends up being true, this is CRAZY.” Well let me tell you folks, it was true and then the crazy train just kept on barreling down on me. The next plot twist came and knocked me off my feet. A true mind bender. And it all made sense. It made perfect sense.

Forever doesn’t exist. It’s just what people tell themselves to make the now a little more bearable.

Jersey has secrets we know and an insatiable desire for revenge. Ian is holding something back that he knows will change the way Jersey looks at him forever. Perhaps she will never wish to look at him again for the crimes he’s committed.

Overall, this one definitely ties with Undeniably You for my favorite JEA book and that’s saying a lot, because I feel very strongly about that book and the fact it made me cry for basically the last half of it. 😂 I highly, highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance in the vein of Colleen Hoover. I haven’t seen anyone write such emotional and gripping but romantic stories as her and Jewel E. Ann.

“Wish me luck, Jersey.”

“Luck, Coop.”

I also have never read a “rock star” romance because I felt as though it wouldn’t be my cup of tea but I feel like I could definitely jump upon the bandwagon now. 😂

SPOILER BELOW!

SPOILER, but I have to say it: And Chris – omg Chris – his character became so manipulative and such a driving force behind Jersey’s actions. I was like, “Who is this guy and where did our friend go?” He became so toxic, but I really loved the way JEA portrayed his arc and the influence he had on Jersey. His personality change versus Ian’s personality were exactly how I guessed the plot twist regarding Chris – though I did not anticipate the story of what actually happened to him. I loved this twist though, it was great.

SPOILER END

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Release Date: June 13th, 2019

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[ARC] Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Review of Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Series: The Aurora Cycle #1

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


REVIEW

And though this pack of losers and discipline cases and sociopaths might’ve been the last picks on anyone’s mind during the Draft, turns out none of them are bad at their jobs.

FLOORED. I am floored.

Zila would say it’s statistically impossible for Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff to continue putting out these amazing stories (both together and individually) – one after the other. But in truth, they’re just THAT good. Kaufman and Kristoff (sounds like the name of a law firm) are back to scatter our minds across the ‘Way with more unthinkable twists and to wrench our hearts out of our chests with more romance, tragedy and soul-stopping moments.

Its hard not to compare this to the Illuminae Files but besides an amazing cast of characters and space setting we’re going to stop the comparisons there (other than to say both are great, read both!). I recently attended a panel in which Jay Kristoff was present and one of the questions was, could you change the genre of your book from sci fi to fantasy or vice versa? He answered yes and it couldn’t be more true. Aurora Rising has a sci fi setting but will absolutely appeal to fantasy fans as well – due to many strong fantasy elements (magic kinda stuff, mythology AND QUESTS). A friend recently called it “scifantasy” and I’m going to do the same because IT FITS.

We the Legion
We the light
Burning bright against the night

Aurora Rising made me so nostalgic for stories I love: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Serenity/Firefly, Starship Troopers, Defiance, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy … elements from each are there and waiting for us to indulge in them.

And Squad 312 … this squad is so disjointed and an utter disaster in its infancy. Hold onto your butts though, folks. This is a squad we can all stan. There is witty banter, established and budding friendships, romance (insert googly eyes) and a genuine kinship between Tyler and Scarlett. I loved witnessing Squad 312 go from reluctant allies to working together as if they already know each other’s next move. I wont say much about the individual characters as I feel you just need to read the book and meet them, but the authors have done such a fantastic job of creating a team that is well balanced in knowledge, personality and background. As well as representation of sexuality, disability and ethnicity. ALSO. SPACE ELVES ARE A THING.

Do moons choose the planets they orbit? Do planets choose their stars? Who am I to deny gravity, Aurora? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?

The story itself will keep you on the edge of your seat with it’s constant motion. The world is vibrant and well developed in ways I haven’t experienced lately. This book is one hell of a ride and you won’t be able to set it aside once you start. I was captivated!

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[ARC] Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Review of Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Series: Glass Alliance #1

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Thank you to Tor Teen for sending me a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.


REVIEW

I LOVED this book and am now obsessed with this world. A fantasy world at war inspired by World War II-era Europe? It is just as beautiful and bittersweet as it sounds.

Some books move so slowly you feel as though your soul is being sucked away. Other books move at a steady progression, building and building, while you know a sudden crescendo will bring it all crashing down. This is the latter and it’s still building.

The MOMENT I finished I went back to read the Prologue straight away and it just hit me SO. DAMN. HARD. Seriously, read the book and then read the prologue again. Good luck keeping those tears at bay. I knew it likely took place later in Aurelia and Athan’s story, but it doesn’t take place at the end of this book and we are still learning about these two, their relationship and what will bring them to that point in the prologue. There is still so much to come.

And let me just say, this book is written and plotted fantastically. Ingeniously. The characters have a well of depth, much of it still to be discovered. Hathaway paints these characters well. They are young. They are impressionable. They want to be heard and want to please. They are teenagers. They are realistic.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of movies like Atonement – and I just have this sickening feeling we are headed down a very similar path, but I also can’t look away. I know this story is gritty and the world Hathaway has written is sweeping and golden in its detail. I know there are dark things to come and things are only just beginning but I have to know. I have to know these two will eventually get their mountain.

This is a story about the desperation of war and love and finding your voice. THIS is the type of story that will stick with you. THIS is the type of story that should be written and I’m so very grateful it was.

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On Sale Date: February 5th 2019

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[ARC] Review: Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Review of Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Thank you to the Balzer + Bray for sending me a review copy via Edelweiss and finished copy in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied behind his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging to the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark. So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group.Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.


REVIEW

This was one of my most anticipated 2019 releases, but it just wasn’t for me.

Instead, it was exhausting. And also one of my biggest letdowns as of late. It started off great, then got soooo slow, then weird and unconvincing. Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for actually having finished this – I was so close to DNFing it and that is something I adamantly try to avoid. I try limit myself to one read and one audiobook at a time, but I became so disinterested in this that I set it aside multiple times. It took me almost three weeks to finish this and in that time I finished eight other books.

Maybe it’s just me? Hopefully it’s just me because I WANT this book and author to be successful – but I really feel like there was so much untapped potential here.

The story started out with a truly fantastic premise. Bonded warriors, a unique magic system and intriguing mythology! However, after our two main characters infiltrate the enemy’s forces, the action and progression of the story really felt as though it fell to the wayside. For most of this book I felt as if things were dead in the water.

Near the end, the story became incredibly over-the-top and just plain weird. Not to mention, the romance aspect in this went in a totally unexpected and uncomfortable direction. One of the main characters is approached romantically while recovering from hallucinogens and it wasn’t even treated as wrong. I really couldn’t make sense of how the romance in this took a complete 180 – it was just so forced and convoluted.

Overall, I felt as though Circle of Shadows definitely deserved a little more polishing before it hit the shelves. I will be speaking about it on my Instagram soon – as I am apart of the tour (I am super excited and grateful for this!) – unfortunately this just wasn’t for me. I certainly hope others will enjoy it more than I did!

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Order Circle of Shadows from these booksellers

On Sale Date: January 22nd 2019

AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound