Review: Blade & Rose by Miranda Honfleur

Review of Blade & Rose by Miranda Honfleur

Series: Blade & Rose #1

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


DESCRIPTION

A kingdom in turmoil or the love of her life. Which one will she save?

Elementalist Rielle hasn’t heard from her best friend in far too long. Yet no one at the Tower of Magic seems to care about Olivia’s silence, or the curtain of secrecy surrounding the distant capital. Before Rielle can investigate, she’s assigned a strange new mission: escort a paladin named Jon across the kingdom.

When whispers reveal mercenaries have killed the king, taken the capital, and that no one is coming to help, Rielle can’t leave Olivia in peril. But as infamous mages and deadly assassins hunt Jon, she can’t leave him unprotected either—especially as she finds herself falling for his strength, his passion, and his uncompromising goodness. Her past returns to haunt her, a werewolf stalks their steps, and an ancient evil is gathering, yet the restraints forbidding their love strain and snap one by one.

Saving Olivia and the kingdom means defying orders and sacrificing her every ambition, and could mean losing the man who’s become so much more to her than a mission. Which will she choose: her best friend and the kingdom, or the love of her life?

Dive into a medieval world sensual and dark, full of magic and greed, love and blades, where factions vie for influence and there are no easy choices.


REVIEW

One thing I am always looking for is fantasy stories with a new adult vibe. This book absolutely fits that bill and I loved it! This is the type that I could binge and binge and binge on and I am definitely looking forward to the next.

My only caveats are that it’s a little insta-lovey, there could be clearer world building and it probably doesn’t need to be 600+ pages long. However, the characters have riveting back stories and the pacing is on point. This book does not stop giving in the action department. It’s a non stop ride!

Note that this book does have a heavy romance subplot and trigger warning for physical abuse and sexual manipulation/abuse. These are not terribly huge aspects of the plot.

I love the complex relationships between the characters in this and the author did a fine job of giving some of the more morally gray characters redeeming qualities that kept you guessing at your own loyalties.

Overall I HIGHLY recommend this if you’re looking for a book with an adult atmosphere but more YA fantasy vibes. This is it! I am DYING to start the next one but I have other books I’m obligated to read first and it’s killing me!

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Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Review of It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


DESCRIPTION

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.


REVIEW

“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen.”

I am utterly wrecked. WRECKED.

How many of us can think of a person we care for that has done wonderful and terrible things? All. Of. Us. How many of us have excused those terrible things with the wonderful things? All. Of. Us. Why do we give these people hall passes for their bad actions because we know they’re capable of good? Everyone is capable of good. Those people shouldn’t be allowed a pass for doing what we are all capable of.

This book closely examines what it is to love the person who hurts you the most and navigating that hurt. How many of us have wondered what goes through the head of a victim of abuse? How many of us have heard, “Why don’t they just leave them?” or “I would never allow that to happen to me.” How many of us have thought those words ourselves? I like to think I’m at a place in my life that I don’t allow myself to judge in this manner or make these assumptions. But I know I am guilty of speaking these words in the past. And I know I can look at the person I love most in the world and cannot honestly tell you what I would do if I were faced with the type of abuse portrayed in this book.

This is my first Colleen Hoover novel and I knew going into this that it would affect me deeply. Well. This is one of those books that can change you. I constantly found myself a confused bundle of emotions through much of this book and I am so damn grateful for it all.

I too was charmed by and came to love a certain character. At one point I WANTED them to be redeemed. But then I thought: Why does this character deserve to be redeemed? They don’t. I love redemption plots. There are some really wonderful characters out there that have been given and deserve redemption. But guys, some characters don’t deserve redemption. Perhaps this character received a modicum if redemption toward the end but damnit he had to work for it and he is going to suffer for every second and inch of it he is allowed.

This book is beautiful and poignant and absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the most devastating and emotionally gutting things I’ve ever read. I hope I never forget it.

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[ARC] Review: Dark Harmony by Laura Thalassa

Review of Dark Harmony by Laura Thalassa

(Book #3 in The Bargainer series)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


DESCRIPTION

There are worse things than death. Things that lurk in the shadows and slip into your dreams. Things that have no business existing. Things that once slept … but have now awoken.

For Callypso Lillis, the fae magic that now runs through her veins is equal parts curse and good fortune. For the very thing that bonds her to Desmond Flynn, the King of the Night, also makes her vulnerable to the Thief of Souls, a man who wants to break the world … and Callie along with it.

But it’s not just the Thief whose shadow looms over the Otherworld. Des’s father is back from the dead, and he wants revenge on the son who sent him to the grave in the first place.

Des and Callie must figure out how to stop both men, and time is running out. Because there are forces at play working to tear the lovers apart once and for all … and unfortunately for them, death is no longer the worst thing to fear.


REVIEW

“I have a secret.”

Let me preface this by saying that The Bargainer series is one of my all-time favorite series (we’re talking like top three guys, these books are a big deal to me) so I had a lot of expectations going into this. Let me respond to that by saying that it did not disappoint. Seriously, I cannot get over how perfectly Laura has wrapped up Callie and Des’ story.

“There will always be bad men, and they will take and take and take. But so will I. People like us are not victims. We’re someone’s nightmare.”

After the explosive and emotional ending of A Strange Hymn, the Thief of Souls still plagues Callie’s dreams and Des’ kingdom is under the greatest threat it has ever faced. Callie and Des must piece together the clues they’ve been given to track down the Thief of Souls and put an end to his torments.

Now for the part of the review you’re all waiting for: HOLY. GODS. This was a wild-ride! This book has everything I’ve come to expect from Laura Thalassa: witty comebacks, an air of mystery, shameless sensuality (LOTS OF IT), heartwarming romance, emotional turmoil, fiery and utterly terrifying women and villains that make your skin crawl.

I truly loved how much this story focused on Callie’s siren nature and her learning to embrace her powers. YASSSS GURL. Callie’s character ARC completes itself in this story and she truly becomes a force to be reckoned with, a nightmare, everything she was made to be. I’ve always loved how Des has willed Callie to welcome who she is and has never let his presence overshadow her. They have always felt like partners to me and it was no different in this book. While many of us are here for the ever charismatic Desmond Flynn, it is Callie’s character that shines in this.

That said, Des is as satisfying as ever. I swear every time he uttered the words “ah, ah, ah” or asked one of his rhetorical questions I melted a little inside. Who needs a book boyfriend when you can kidnap Desmond Flynn and make him your book husband? Hah. Kidnap Desmond Flynn. Sure. You should be forewarned that Des gets a little feral and extra carnal in this, his fae nature is being pressured and he does rule over the night and everything that happens within it, after all. That said, I loved every little bit of it.

Furthermore, one of the BEST parts of this story is Temper. Get yourself a best friend that’s a crazy sorceress who will help you take down your enemies. I have always loved Temper’s character and there were subtle hints that there is more to her story. Fingers crossed that Laura gives us more of Temper AND Malaki. (Also: Malaki, looks like he could kill you but is really a cinnamon roll, just saying…)

“Even shadows can deceive and gods can die.”

By the end of this story we are reminded once again that behind his crown Des is the ever-calculating Bargainer. For every secret you hold, he has a dozen. Nothing gets past him and he has a plan for every scenario. Seriously, there is a part near the end that will probably have you flying out of your seat and cheering with delight.

I’d also like to just say: the Thief of Souls … I KNEW IT. He has worn many faces but he was also exactly who I thought he would be! I was freaking out a little when his identity started piecing itself together more because all of my theories were totally validated.

Also – have you read Laura’s The Unearthly series? These two series take place in the same world and there was a juicy little Easter egg dropped about that story as well!

In finality, an epic conclusion to an epic series. How will I go on with my life knowing I’m no longer waiting for more books about Callie and Des? The only thing that shall tide me over is knowing Laura Thalassa is out there, writing more stories with wonderfully devastating characters such as these. Excuse me while I super glue this to my favorites shelf because it’s never allowed to leave.

AND THAT PROLOGUE YO.

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[ARC] Review: Crown of Embers by Meg Anne

 

Review of Crown of Embers (The Chosen #3) by Meg Anne

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Mother of Shadows (The Chosen #1) | Reign of Ash (The Chosen #2)

This copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

“There had been happiness here, but now all she could feel was the joy someone had taken in destroying it.”

If you’ve been following my reviews for awhile, you’ll know that this series is like my guilty pleasure. I adore Helena, Von, Ronan and the rest of the Circle and other supporting characters and am always looking to read more of their story. This installment did not disappoint!

Crown of Embers follows Kiri Helena and her Circle as they rally to find allies in the battle against Rowena and her Shadows. What I loved the most about this book was the chance to see more of Elysia as the characters travelled. We meet enemies and allies alike, both willing and reluctant and Helena must decide who is worthy of her trust. I especially enjoyed the Night Stalkers and am looking forward to learning more about the new character Reyna in the next book.

All of that said, if you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ll know that each ended with pretty hefty cliffhangers (this one – not so much … *whew*). Well, let me assure you – within just the first few paragraphs, WE FIND OUT WHAT IS IN THE BOX (*glory glory hallelujah*). Thank goodness for that because I was so distraught at the end of the last book! I just needed to know!

“Let their blood bring new life. One for every one lost … “

One of the biggest plot points to Crown of Embers is Helena learning to handle unsurmountable loss, control her staggering power and strengthen the bond between her and Von now that they are reunited. With all of their plotting and planning, Helena is constantly on the go, without much time for herself, her Mate or the Circle and she must find ways to manage her duty and still live her life. Because there is so must strategizing in this book, the story did slow down in pace at times but never once did my interest wane.

Also – Ronan. SO MUCH YES. He has come to be my favorite in this series (I’m certain I do not stand alone) and I just want him to find the happiness he deserves.

As the ending neared, the atmosphere of the story grew more ominous and I just KNEW something was brewing on the horizon and oh boy did it! My lips are sealed other than to warn you to keep your pearls and Kleenex close. You may need them! (I AM STILL NOT OVER IT)

Overall, another fun installment of The Chosen by Meg Anne. I truly love this series, its characters and world. The next book cannot come soon enough!

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Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Review of Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Rating: 4.25/5 Stars

I received this copy from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“The blue of the day’s sky and the black of the night’s are different, but one is not better than the other. We need both.”

I was pleasantly surprised by this one, I found the story to be so satisfying. It ended up being exactly what I needed to read! If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that pushes the boundaries of young adult into new adult without being overly explicit, this is the book for you. And that cover!? Look at how beautiful that cover is!

This story follows two main characters, Jasminda and Jack. Jasminda, half Elsiran and half Lagrimari is an Earthsinger. All she desires is to live a life of peace, away from others on her homestead in the wilderness. Jack is an Elsiran soldier, disguised as the enemy, desperate and in seek of a way to end the centuries old war between Elsira and Lagrimar. Chance will bring them together, but it seems as though destiny keeps them there.

The first third of this book was somewhat slow. I was a little unsure of what I was getting into and had a lot of questions. I liked the story and found it interesting, but it really didn’t reach out and grab me. However, after that first third, the ball really gets rolling. The setting, pace and feel of the story changes tremendously and I read nonstop until I finished it, I couldn’t put it down!

The world created in this story is rich and vast, I hope we get the opportunity to learn more about the lands beyond Elsira and Lagrimar in future installments. Additionally, one of my favorite parts was the “Collected Folktales” included at the beginning of each chapter. They were very reminiscent of Aesop’s Fables and were so unique, clever and even charming. I looked forward to reading them as each chapter ended and another began.

The story itself includes many elements I absolutely adore and I was very proud of the characters regarding most of the choices they made. Each of them stuck to their convictions and never followed paths that I felt were out of character. Jasminda and Jack are both very admirable in their actions, despite a few moments I was irritated with them for avoiding what was staring them straight in the face, but hey – that’s what makes books interesting! I *really* wish I could give you more about the story and my thoughts on it but I would be spoiling a major reveal by voicing half of what I want to say and it’s just not fair to do that!

So I’ll just include a few elements I loved: traveling, courtly intrigue, mysterious histories, forbidden romance, and more!

Also, WE NEED MORE POC fantasy and sci-fi main characters written by POC authors!

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Release date: May 1st, 2018

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