Series: Stolen Crowns

BOOK REVIEW: Ship of Shadows (Stolen Crowns #2) by Tee Harlowe

BOOK REVIEW: Ship of Shadows (Stolen Crowns #2) by Tee HarloweShip of Shadows (Stolen Crowns #2)
by Tee Harlowe
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

He broke my heart once. Now working with him might shatter it for good.

I’m chained to my crown. Queen of a court I don’t want. Ever since my brothers and father disappeared, I’ve been forced to rule, to give up the freedom I crave.

It’s all the pirate lord’s fault. Bastian Lore sailed into my life, charmed me completely—then betrayed me. The scoundrel kidnapped my brothers and delivered them straight to the shadow court where they’re trapped, their shadows now under the court’s control.

Worse, Bastian has returned—and his offer to rescue my brothers and find my missing father is too good to be true. All he wants in return? My help finding a cure for his mysterious illness. I don’t trust him, but if anyone can navigate the shadow court and get my family back, it’s him.

He’s as charming as ever. But I can’t fall for him again. If I’m not careful, it won’t just be my heart that I lose—it’ll be my family, my court… and my life.

Ship of Shadows is book two in Stolen Crowns, a series of steamy standalone but interconnected fairytale retellings. This enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance is perfect for fans of banter, (very) snarky heroines, and slow-burn fantasy romance.

Review:

Ship of Shadows was a beautifully, captivating retelling that was Disney meets romantasy!  It was Peter Pan, yet with Hook as the love interest, and wrapped around the tale was also The Little Mermaid.  I loved this book!  The characters came alive, the story was impossible to put down, and I loved how elements of the original tale played out but also found new light.  The twists and turns were fabulous, and the ending had me closing the book smiling!

“Do not speak to me like that,” I said, stepping forward. “I am the princess of Apolis, and you will address me as such, or you’ll lose your tongue.”
Bastian chuckled darkly. “You won’t cut out my tongue, not when you know firsthand all the things I can do with it.”

While this can easily be read as a standalone, I can’t recommend reading Mirror of Malice first.  There you meet our main heroine, Princess Gabrielle.  Her brothers were taken by the pirate lord, Bastian Lore.  And then her father and his men disappeared too.  She was to become Queen, yet that wasn’t what her heart wanted.  With Bastian back and promising to help get her brothers, in exchange for finding a cure for an illness, Gabrielle’s world was going to get turned upside down. The man had already broken her heart once, how could she trust him?  Yet what unfolded was the most fantastical journey that had me glued to the pages!

Our entire relationship was stolen moments. Secret trysts. A lie.

From those first few words out of Bastian’s mouth, I was a goner.  He was protective, ruthless, and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to protect those he cared for.  He was feared, yet underneath that gruff exterior was a heart of gold, or at least I hoped.  From the moments he seemed to show he cared, like the fireworks, I fell that much more in love with him.  Bastian made me laugh, smile and when he shared little pieces of his past, it made the stars shine brighter!

Second star to the right, he’d said. That’s our star.

Gabrielle tugged at my heart.  She was trapped with a future she didn’t want.  Her brothers were taken by the man she had fallen in love with.  And when she boarded Bastian’s ship, everyone hated her.  Her loneliness pierced deep into me.  Yet through it all, she was resilient.  I loved watching her use her water magic.  I loved her finding a way into those hearts around her.  And I loved watching her use her cunningness to try and stay one step ahead of others.  Yet, Gabrielle also double crossed Bastian.  So there were many shades of gray within the pages!

“I’m trying to be so good,” he whispered, “when all I want is to be so very bad.”
I didn’t move, letting his words, his breath, his scent, wash over me.

Bastian and Gabrielle together were explosive.  The sexual tension could be seen with every look, touch, and word between them.  There was an enemies to lovers vibe there.  And the secrets they both kept were numerous.  Yet through it all, they both acted like they were trying to protect the other.  And while I’m super picky about second chance romance, this one was done fabulously!  So when there were moments between them that were more, the steam was perfect too!

There were a million reasons not to do this. Yet with his voice so soft, so vulnerable, I couldn’t make myself care about a single one.

Along for the ride were Bastian’s crew, Driscoll and Leoni.  I adored the two women on Bastian’s crew and Driscoll.  Driscoll made me laugh numerous times!  Yet Leoni and I never clicked.  I’m hoping that will change with a future book.  Within the story, there were so many moments that had me smiling in joy!  I loved how elements from the original tales played out.  So many of them twisted in ways that were shocking and unique.  I’m not going to say much besides walking the plank part and afterwards, the cabin, and many more were some of my top favorites!

He dipped his head down, a question in his eyes, and I answered, tipping my head up. He brushed his lips against mine.

Ships of Shadows was filled with twists and turns, moments that will make you laugh and fall in love, and the ending was perfect!  This second chance, enemies to lovers vibe romance swept me away!  With found family and forced proximity laced within the pages, it just made me love this book even more!  I’m so excited to see what happens next in this world, and I have a guess about what two fairy tales it will be.  I can’t wait!

He placed his hand over mine. “Then who do you need me to be if not your hero?”
A grin spread across my face. “I need you to be what you’re best at. The pirate lord of the Dark Seas.”

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Mirror of Malice (Stolen Crowns #1) by Tee Harlowe

BOOK REVIEW: Mirror of Malice (Stolen Crowns #1) by Tee HarloweMirror of Malice (Stolen Crowns #1)
by Tee Harlowe
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

He’s supposed to be my salvation, but he might just become my ruin.

I’m a prisoner in my own castle. Trapped by my apple-loving narcissist of a stepmother, desperate for my betrothed to rescue me.

Yet it’s not my one true love who comes—it’s the king of thieves.

He takes my stepmother’s mirror, the source of her power, but leaves with an additional treasure: me.

Now I’ve traded one prison for another. Penn Vanderbilt is cunning, captivating, and completely insufferable. He’s also secretive about his stolen goods . . . and the reason he kidnapped me.

Forget the thief’s plan. I’ve got one of my own: pretend to go along with his little scheme while plotting my escape.

I’ll only have to con the greatest con man alive. Never mind that I might be falling for him. The price of failing is my kingdom. But succeeding might just cost my heart.

Mirror of Malice is book one in Stolen Crowns, a series of steamy standalone but interconnected fairytale retellings. This enemies-to-lovers, opposites attract book is perfect for fans of banter, (very) snarky heroines, and slow-burn fantasy romance.

Review:

Mirror of Malice was a fairytale retelling that was enchanting and will sweep you away!  With the most fabulous found family, all the adventure, a beautifully magical setting, and storyline that was easy to binge, this book was so much fun!  Mix that in with lots of laughter and a little bit of steam, and well it was impossible not to fall for this book!  Mirror of Malice was a Snow White retelling, with some Robin Hood mixed in, that was beautifully executed!

“You kidnapped me!”
“You’re welcome for that, by the way.”
“I didn’t say thank you.”
“I noticed.” He tsked. “Not very polite for a princess.”

Princess Liliath of Elwen was trapped in a tower with her two best friends for two years, courtesy of her evil stepmother.  She was convinced her betrothed, Jasper, was going to rescue her any day now.  And when she was rescued, it wasn’t who she thought it would be.  It was Penn Vanderbilt, the king of thieves.  He had plans to use the Princess for his own cunning reasons.  Yet she has plans of her own, to take back her crown!  What unfolded was a magical journey that was laugh out loud hilarious!

I’d been stripped of my crown, imprisoned by my stepmother, made to watch my court fall apart, and yet this man, he might be my greatest obstacle yet.

Penn was my absolute favorite!  He was a book boyfriend many will fall for.  He cracked me up time and again, and I loved how he did what he wanted to do and didn’t apologize for it!  He had his merry little band of 7 thieves who lived in a tree house, in the most beautiful described area.  Seriously, the descriptions in this book were breathtaking.  I would love pictures to go along with this story!  And he stood up for what was right and true.  Penn was thoughtful, brave, protective, smart, and so easy to love!

He was coaching me on my shortcomings when it came to eavesdropping. Unbelievable.
I gritted my teeth. “Yes, apologies that I’m not an expert criminal.”
He continued, as if I hadn’t even spoken. “You also breathe shockingly loud. Is that a medical condition of some sort? You should really have a healer check that out.”
My mouth dropped open and I shoved him. He barked out a laugh.

Lilith had a lot of growing up to do. She was a naive fairytale princess, who was stuck up and thought she was better than Penn and his criminal ways.  I loved how Penn was so blunt with her.  And I definitely laughed at Lilith as she struggled with her training.  Her squeaking at a bug had me rolling on the ground.  I felt like she was a contestant on Wipe Out lol.  Plus her incessant need to remind herself of her plans, oh goodness.  There is a huge but coming…..but  Lilith’s growth was amazing to watch.  It was real.  Took so much work and effort on her part.  I loved the punch!  And her realizing how she had been so wrong, I could stand up clapping!  By the end of this story I was so proud of the woman she became!  Lilith became a Queen that many would be proud of!

Penn stepped back and brought his boot down on my stick, snapping it in half. Then he spun around me, dropped to his knees and crushed my back to his chest, arms around my neck, limiting my breathing.
“Now, come on, Lilypad,” he purred into my ear. “You know I’m not one to make empty threats.”
“Oh, I know,” I rasped. “I also don’t care. I’m not . . . scared . . . of you.”

Penn and Lilith’s slow burn, opposites attract romance had the most fabulous banter!  And I loved watching what was an initial enemies existence, turn into a tentative friendship.  It took a while to get there, and I loved how everything felt like it occurred naturally.  And when they did turn to more, there was some steam that fit them perfectly! Surrounding them were the 7 thieves.  Shadow and her blunt ways was one of my favorites, and Hammer too!  And as they trained and went on adventures, there were so many scenes that will stick in your head.  The swamp and the dragon were two of my favorites.  And most of all, I loved all of the humor in the pages.  There were so many times I was laughing so hard I had tears pouring down my face!  Sir Stallion I’m looking at you!

I was just drifting off to sleep when I could’ve sworn I heard him whisper, “Just so you know, you’re not alone.”

I didn’t talk too much about the plot, because I believe that is best for you to discover on your own.  But know that the princess’ kingdom was ruled by her evil stepmother and everything was dark, bleak and filled with rot.  And I kept nervously waiting for that poisoned apple to show up!  So with one horse and one bed tropes, it just made this book even more loveable!  The twists were done so well!  I didn’t see that latter one coming at all!  The epilogue was fabulous!  And I am excited for more stories set in this world!  It seems like the next book may be about Gabrielle and someone I won’t mention, you’ll learn in this story!  And I’m also hoping we’ll get a novella or something more on Seraphina too!  If you love fairy tale retellings, definitely add Mirror of Malice to your tbr!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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