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BOOK REVIEW: The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis

BOOK REVIEW: The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn DavisThe Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1)
by Kaitlyn Davis
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A princess longing to be free...

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong...

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart...

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

Three shocking betrayals. Two star-crossed lovers. One unforgettable journey. If you like fierce heroines, brooding heroes, forbidden romance, and action-packed magical adventures with twists you'll never see coming, don't miss The Raven and the Dove!

Review

She was more than a princess.
She was a force.
If anyone could bring color to a house made of black, it was she. If anyone could return laughter to streets that had grown quiet from so much misfortune, it was she. If anyone could could erase the past and restore the future, it was she.


As soon as I saw that this was a retelling of Tristan and Isolde I knew that I both needed to read this right away but also that I would need to guard my poor lil heart while doing so. I don’t know how many of you know the story of Tristan and Isolde, and while I have never read the actual tale, the movie that came out in the mid 2000s with James Franco and Sofia Myles was my favorite for a really long time. Call me a glutton for punishment but that is my most watched movie of all time. If you don’t know anything about the pair, you might want to look up a synopsis before you dive into this to see what you might be getting yourself into.

On to the plot. This entire book was built upon an incredibly unique premise. Right away in the epilogue, this King who is on a boat on a sea surrounded by mist feels a presence come into the world, “she” he refers to her as. It’s not clear who this “she” is exactly but before he dies from wounds he sustains from a dragon, he tells his only son, “Your queen is here” and then basically makes it sound like they are destined for each other and that their pairing will save the world. Since we don’t know much of anything at this point, we also have no idea what problems this world even has to solve. I was sure intrigued, though.

Once we get into the actual book we learn that this is a fantasy world that features a bunch of floating…islands? I think they’re islands anyway?? That make up different kingdoms that feature a different group of people who have wings of a specific breed of bird. Our main female character, Lyana (dove wings) is the princess of the House of Peace. Since their House is kind of the main one, the courtship trials which are held once in a generation are being held there.

On the morning before it all starts, Lyana and her best friend Cassi fly to a secret spot of theirs just to catch a peak of even the first of the other kingdoms to arrive. It turns out to be the Ravens. Somehow a dragon (which it seemed never usually made it up that high) shows up and one of the Ravens is engaged in battle. Long story short only the crown prince (Xander) and his bastard half brother (Rafe) which had planned on participating in the trials in place of his brother who is missing a hand were ahead of their group. Xander flies back for reinforcements and Rafe is left to try to take on the dragon. He sustains life-threatening injuries. Lyana saves him and they bond when they figure out they both have healing magic in a world where magic is seen is a horrible thing and people are usually killed for.

As you can imagine, things go to hell because as expected, Lyana goes through the entire trials things Rafe is the prince when really he is not and she wins up promised to Xander.

A few other pretty big things happen, too. We catch a few glimpses of that prince I mentioned from the prologue and there’s a spy involved whose identity I never would have guessed and that person ends up in a very interesting predicament at the end of the book. Well, everyone does, really. To be honest, they’re all in a pretty shitty place (which, again, since I knew the story of Tristan and Isolde it really didn’t surprise me).

I’m just now seeing that this is a four book series which I am so happy about because I’m pretty sure this story is going to go to some pretty amazing places. The writing was incredible honestly. From the world-building to the characters, to the flow of everything in general–I was so impressed and am dying for that next book.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Kaitlyn Davis for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay KristoffAurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)
by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

Review

HAHAHAHA I HAVEN’T READ A CLIFFHANGER LIKE THAT IN YEARS. I’M 38 WEEKS PREGNANT I CANT HANDLE THIS SHIT.

I…..honestly don’t even know where to begin with this review. I have been SO excited for Squad 312’s journey to pick back up since I read Aurora Rising also as an ARC back last March. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—being able to be one of those people who are lucky enough to read ARCs is AWESOME. Who doesn’t want to get these books as early as humanly possible, am I right?! However. There are also TWO main downsides to this. 1) You are VERY limited to the number of people you can fangirl to about the book you just devoured and 2) you are now forced to wait EVEN LONGER until the next book comes out. In the case of Aurora Burning….I might die. This GD book ends on THE CLIFFHANGAR OF ALL CLIFFHANGERS, PEOPLE. I honestly couldn’t even tell you the last time I read a book that ended with me furiously trying to swipe left on my Kindle over and over and over to no avail, praying that my Kindle was just frozen and that I didn’t just read the end of the book and am stuck wondering, WAITING to see what happens for over a year. Sigh.

I’ve seen a few reviews already that have said they loved this one even more than the first. While I’m not sure I can quite agree with that, they were at least on an equal level. Getting to know everyone just that little bit more (especially more on Zila’s past) was great. There were a LOT of twisty parts, especially towards the end that just left me reeling. There are things that we end the book not knowing that will drive you BONKERS. Basically a good word to describe this book is ~frantic~. They’re all in a rush to not get killed, to learn more about Auri’s powers, to find the Weapon, to save the galaxy—you know, real important things.

Aside from ALL THAT though, even just seeing them grow is a family unit made my heart swell. They are all affected from the situation with Cat, understandably, and none of them really want to take this connection they all have for granted in any way. We see certain romantic relationships grow which made me so happy and I’m hoping that we’ll see more…*cries*…of that..*sniffles*…in the next book. I really don’t want to give ANYTHING away, just know that this was the sequel that I had been looking for and I will be counting down the mother-custard-ing days until that last book is out.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the chance to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.

BOOK REVIEW: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

BOOK REVIEW: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay AdamsUndercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)
by Lyssa Kay Adams
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart... even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned. (

Review

Liv Papandreas is a badass. I repeat, Liv Papandreas is a badass.

Even though we get a picture of what these two main characters were like in the first book, the scope of what we learn when they are the focus is obviously so much more. The two briefly meet earlier on because of  Liv’s sister Thea and Mack’s friend, Gavin,  but they really don’t know anything about each other. When Mack decides to wine and dine his latest girl and make things ~official~ he of course decides that he needs to go to a super swanky restaurant and buy her this $1,000 cupcake that surprise, surprise is Liv’s job to make. Due to a series of….very unfortunate events…the cupcake ends up in Mack’s girl’s lap. Neither one of them care very much as it was an accident EXCEPT for Liv’s douchey, slime-ball of a boss. When she goes up to his office later that night to receive the talking-to of a life time, she walks in on him sexually harassing another employee and things proceed to blow up from there.

Let’s just say that neither Liv nor Mack’s nights end up very good after that. Liv is FURIOUS about what she witnessed and without a job and Mack is left sans girlfriend, feeling guilty for playing a role in Liv being fired. The two, begrudgingly (especially on Liv’s part) eventually decide to team up to take down the previously mentioned douchey slime-ball.

What I really enjoyed about this book, other than Liv’s badassery, was the push and pull of Mack’s and Liv’s relationship. They both have their own share of issues but as the book progresses we slowly see both of them showing sides of their life and who they truly are to each other that no one else has ever seen before. There were plenty of bickering scenes which then always sets up a good scene for explosive kisses (which we get a few of) and you know that this is going to be a couple that is always going to be poking at each other just to rile the other one up.

The scenes with the other guys from book club were just as fun as the first book. The Russian, I tell ya, lol. He might be my favorite. I just love picturing this huge group of hot, hulking guys who are insanely famous and rich getting together reading romance novels lololol. Ugh, still such a genius idea.

Finally, the biggest component of this book that ended up being so satisfying to read was the take-down of the bad guy. It ends up coming to light that (not surprisingly) this guy has been a predator for LONG time and has paid a lot of women off because he’s done terrible things. There were a few really important scenes with Liv and a friend that also happened to have been taken advantage of by the sleaze bag, where Liv got so mad because her friend just wanted to let it lie. She had a café that she owned and ran and she just wanted the past to stay in the past. I mean that is such…relevant commentary on situations that have come to light recently with several different rich and powerful men and that you know has happened for years and years in the past. While Liv’s friend did eventually come forward about it, they had a little bit of a falling out about it before that. What I learned from that situation is that even though you are always going to want those people to get in trouble, the women who went through it don’t necessarily want to drag that past into the now because of the pain it’s going to cause them. Just because they didn’t come forward with it when it happened, doesn’t mean they should be discredited (like what seems to happen these days). They just knew in that moment that even if they did come forward, they probably still wouldn’t have gotten believed and their life would have been even worse off than if they just stayed quiet.

UGH. It makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it honestly.

Luckily in this story at least, the girls and Liv get partial justice anyway which is something. Liv learns to be more understanding and to trust and love and Mack learns how to just be himself. Overall a very good continuation of the series!

Huge thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara Holland

BOOK REVIEW: Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara HollandHavenfall (Havenfall #1)
by Sara Holland
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it--at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds--each with their own magic--together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie's brother. It's where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it's where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens--a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She'll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she's letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie--no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Review

Is this the year of the 3s for me???!?! I don’t think I’ve ever rated this many books a three in such a short period of time. Again, it’s not that any of them have been bad, I’ve just been missing some kind of wow factor.

This story in particular had the structure to be great. I honestly think we’ll see more of that in the next book if Maddie is able to travel to different realms, it just seems like this one spent the entire time setting up for future events and because all of it took place within the walls of Haven (or just outside of them) I really didn’t feel like I could rate it any higher than a three.

There still were quite a few twists and turns that had me really guessing who the mysterious bad guy was going to be and honestly you don’t get all of the details on certain things until right at the end which made the suspense more real and exciting. Along with that, I really liked the writing in general. I haven’t read Holland’s first series, Everless, yet even though I’ve heard really good things especially about the first book. I can’t say for certain then that those of you who loved that will love this but I really think she set up for an amazing second book.

Other than more action, one thing I hope to see more of is character development from Maddie. I think she came a long way over the span of this book but it seemed like every other second she was doubting herself and being self-depreciating and just going through a LOT. Given her circumstances, I really do ~get~ it but…it was a lot to handle. I just wish she had made some better decisions a little earlier or tried to get help or something, anything really. I don’t know, I’m conflicted, lol because I can see how everyone kept her in the dark and it makes complete sense that she was such a novice at everything. I keep playing devil’s advocate with myself to see both sides of the picture but I also can’t help but feel what I feel immediately as I’m reading, ya know?

Overall thoughts, this wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t something that WOWED me–it was just good. It was solid. Will I still read the next book? For sure!

Huge thanks to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi

BOOK REVIEW: The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani ChokshiThe Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)
by Roshani Chokshi
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Returning to the dark and glamorous world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

Review

*SCREAMS IN AGONY* AHHHHHH ROSHANI HOW COULD YOUUUU. GUYS GUYS GUYS. WTFFF. I thought the first book was *okay* hahahahahaha omg I’m dead right now, dead. It’s times like these where I consider myself an idiot for requesting ARCs that don’t come out for MONTHS meaning I have to wait for the next book EVEN LONGER. DON’T MIND ME ILL JUST BE OVER HERE FREAKING THE F OUT 

P.S. I’ve been sitting on this review for so long because I wanted to wait for the cover to come out…and that was BEFORE the pub date got moved back to September.  I’m crying thinking about how long we might have to wait for book three!!

*All quotes come from an unfinished copy and are subject to change.*

“I wouldn’t dismiss myths”, said Enrique quietly. “Most myths are just truths covered in cobwebs.” 

I’m going to be straight up with all of you. I did not love the first book. If it wouldn’t have been for that ending with Laila and Severin and the information that was exposed about a certain someone really not being the heir, I don’t know if I even would have requested this ARC. Thank God I did. When I saw that I was accepted for it, something in me craved it. I immediately picked it up and basically didn’t put it down until I was finished.

This book, to me anyway, is a lot different than the first. It’s got an edge to it. Our main characters are REELING after the death from the first book and it has all but completely disbanded their once tight-knit group. Their grief throughout the entire book is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Characters are darker than they once were because of it, and some of the relationships are so strained that it almost makes it hard to breathe, thinking back to it. I don’t even usually like these types of books. I guess I must have been in the mood for something a little grittier than my usual fare.

“Be a light in the world, my Zosia, for it can be very dark.” 

Because this book doesn’t come out until SEPTEMBER** 2020 and anything could change (I really hope it doesn’t), I’m not going to get into the plot. All you need to know is that their goal in this one is to find ~the book~ they’ve been wanting for a while now. They are lead to an extremely unique place to look for it and I enjoyed Chokshi’s ability do describe even the most simple of things especially in this instance. She has the ability to make everything seem so much more than it actually is which obviously adds to the magic and mystery of it all.

There were some twists that I certainly DID NOT see coming which is always a delicious thing. We learn so much more about our characters and their pasts and it helped me connect with a few of them way more than I had in the previous book. And then. The ending. THE ENDING. Holy crap, guys, it’s one of those endings where you can see it happening through multiple sets of eyes so you’re finding out different information at different times and I was literally yelling at my Kindle and my husband was getting upset with me because I wouldn’t stop to tell him why. Basically I’m almost kind of beating myself up over the fact that I’ve already read this because now I’m going to have to wait WAY TOO LONG to find out what happens in the last book. And I REALLY. REALLY. need to know.

. . .finally Laila recognized the shape and flutter of this ache.
Hope.
It felt like the flicker of newly made wings, thin and chrysalis-slick, dangerous in its new power. Hope hurt.


Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for the chance to read this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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