Tag: Fantasy (page 1 of 94)

BOOK REVIEW: From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1)  by Jennifer L. ArmentroutFrom Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

Review:

From Blood and Ash is my favorite book ever!  The story was layered and the twists and turns were breathtaking.  The sexual tension was absolutely perfect and the characters are forever etched into my heart.  The storyline enchanted me and the action kept me glued to the pages.  This book refused to be put down!  If you love fantasy and romance, you definitely need to add this one to your tbr!

“You’re such a bad influence,” I murmured as I placed my hand in his.
Hawke curled his fingers around mine. The weight and warmth of his hand was a pleasant shock. “Only the bad can be influenced, Princess.”

The story started off racy, but the world they lived in could be so harsh.  We were brought into a land with castles, Kings, Queens, Lords, Ladies, commoners and I was obsessed learning about it all.  The Ascended ruled the land, and were given gifts from the Gods.  They had fought a war hundreds of years ago, but were still plagued by the Atlantians who believed Prince Casteel should be the rightful ruler. He was said to be the reason behind most of the death that was brought to their land.  And the threat of creatures that were made out of nightmares always felt a breath away.  While Poppy had a past with them, she wouldn’t let fear rule her present or future!

“We’re going to walk out of here,” he said. “You’re not going to make a sound, and you’re not going to give me any trouble, are you, Maiden?”
My fingers closed around the smooth, cool handle of the dagger. I shook my head no.

Penellaphe, aka Poppy, is my favorite heroine!  She was chosen by the Gods to be the Maiden.  She spent her life being veiled and protected at all costs.  She wasn’t allowed to socialize, besides with her maid Tawny, who I loved!  And she wasn’t to be spoken to or even touched.  Her life felt so lonely at times. But underneath what everyone else saw, was a girl who could easily hold her own. Poppy was fierce, brave, a fighter, and extremely brave!  And I loved listening to her thoughts.  She was so easy to click with and feel her emotions, especially when it came to Hawke!

“You’re an absolutely stunning, murderous little creature.”

I have betrayed all of my other book boyfriends because of Hawke Flynn.  He felt like a mix between Aiden and Roth, yet he was even sexier and more forward.  So Hawke was honor, respect, completely addictive and absolutely beautiful.  Of course I was obsessed with him.  Hawke was a guard and his interactions with Poppy had me smiling, sighing and laughing out loud.  I loved that he could be seductive and sexy, and then in the next moment he was protective and thoughtful.  Plus he had this ability to be sarcastic and also put people in their place, it made me love him that much harder.  I didn’t care that I knew so very little about him, all I cared about is how he made me feel.

I couldn’t help but shiver when his eyes finally met mine.
“You’re so damn beautiful,” he whispered, his voice thick. “And so damn unexpected.”

When Poppy and Hawke were around each other, their antics and sexual tension had me over the moon happy.  They messed with each other, and I loved how Hawke called her Princess.  But neither could deny that there was a strong attraction between them.  It almost felt like it was something more, especially since the friendship was so easy between them.  But as the story progressed, moments between them were erotic and scorching hot!  Their chemistry was steamy, even when they didn’t have the easiest path. 

 I knew what the consequences could be. I knew what I was, and what was expected of me, and I knew I could no longer be that. It wasn’t what I wanted in life. It had never been my choice.
But this…this I wanted.
Hawke was who I wanted.
This was my choice.

As the story unfolded, we got to see how layered it truly was.  There were twists and turns. And while I saw some coming, others completely shocked me to my core.  And that didn’t even include the deaths.  Some I cheered at the top of my lungs for and others my sobs were inconsolable.  I stared in shock at the pages, never once thinking that things would play out how they did.  It felt like it twisted in the wrong way.  But just wait, because by the end of From Blood and Ash I was screaming with happiness.  I loved how things ended up and it made so much sense for how the story played out.  So hold on, because it was an extremely emotional road and I loved every single tear, smile and sigh it pulled from me.  This story was truly brilliant!

“When you listen to me, I think the stars will fall.” He followed me down so he spoke just above my ear. “I wish I could capture this moment somehow.”

 From Blood and Ash is my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout book!  I loved how there was lightness and darkness mixed together in this story.  I loved how I would go from laughing and sighing to crying my eyes out.  I loved every single moment in this book, even the ones that gutted me.  I can’t recommend this book enough! 

 

My other favorite quotes:

Hawke’s gaze remained fastened on mine as he stepped forward. “Both halves are as beautiful as the whole.”
My lips parted on a sharp inhale. I couldn’t even look to see what the Duke’s reaction was, though I was sure it was nothing short of cataclysmic.
Hawke sensed my move and shifted, blocking my knee with his thigh. “You’re so incredibly violent.” He paused. “I think I like it.”
“Let me go!” I seethed.
“And be kicked or stabbed?” He shoved his leg between mine, preventing any future kicks. “We’ve already covered that, Princess. More than once.”
“I will kill them,” he whispered. “I will fucking kill them all.”
I didn’t think he was talking about the old scars.
Then I wasn’t thinking at all.
“Promise me,” he said, seeming to not hear me as he lifted his head. His gaze snagged with mine. “Promise me you won’t forget this, Poppy. That no matter what happens tomorrow, the next day, next week, you won’t forget this—forget that this was real.”
I couldn’t look away. “I promise. I won’t forget.”
He lifted his chin, kissing my forehead. He leaned back, sliding his thumb along my jaw. “You deserve so much more than what awaits you.”

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

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! ♥

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian

I’m so excited to be a part of the Ember Queen tour! So check out my review below, along with some of my favorite quotes. And enter in a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy! ♥

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura SebastianEmber Queen Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling series "made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir" (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo's blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.

The Kaiserin's strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart's sister.

Review:

Ember Queen was a beautiful weaving together of friendship, trust, tears, love, and sacrifice.  This series completely enchanted me and I devoured it in no time at all.  I fell in love with these characters.  They held my heart in the palm of their hands during their action packed journey!  So if you’re a fan of young adult and fantasy, definitely add this series to your tbr.  Here are some of my favorite things about this final book…..

 

✮Sacrifice and Tears:
Oh, Ember Queen made me cry.  Not only was life and war brutal and unfair.  But the way some of the relationships played out tore my heart apart.  These characters became real to me.  I felt everything they did and I was with them every step of the way.  So it was impossible for them not to mark my heart with their emotions.  It was impossible not to find tears in my eyes or falling down my face.  The sacrifice and certain moments in this story made me cry sad and happy tears.  It was tragically and beautifully emotional.  I loved it!

 

✮Friendship:
Friendship has played such a strong part in this trilogy.  And in Ember Queen, it got even more complex.  There was hurt because of decisions that were made.  There was deep love between some of the friendships.  And there was trust threaded through some of my favorite friendships.  Through it all, it was fascinating watching how they protected each other.  For those around Theo, my favorites were definitely Søren, Artemisia, Blaise, and Heron.  Plus some from the previous books and ones we met in Ember Queen…but those names I’m keeping a secret.

 

✮Trust:
Just like sacrifice played a huge part, so did trust.  In this final book, trust was put on the line and tested.  And some of the things that happened, oh, I didn’t even see coming.  I felt the knife to my heart, right along with Theo.  But it all made for an exciting journey, plus I loved getting to see exactly who we could and couldn’t trust as things unfolded.  It left me always wanting to know what happened next.  So while there was tension, fighting, politics, and strategizing, there was always trust.  And sometimes it took my breath away.

 

✮Love:
I don’t feel like I can say much about this, because of spoilers.  But just know that the love in this trilogy was epic, heart felt and I was rooting for it from that very first book!

 

I absolutely loved this series and can’t recommend it enough.  I binged this trilogy in a matter of days.  And that never happens with me.  I’m usually a much slower reader.  So now I can’t wait to see whatever Laura Sebastian releases in the future, she’s definitely made a lifelong fan!

 

 

Goodreads I Amazon I Book Depository I Barnes & Noble I iTunes: I Kobo I Google Books

 

Favorite Quotes:

“I died the Queen of Peace, and peace died with me,” my mother told me. “But you are the Queen of Flame and Fury, and you will set their world on fire.”

✮✩✮

When the world turns on its head and I’m not sure of anything, I’m sure of you. No matter where we are or who we fight against, I am always fighting for you.

✮✩✮

I survived for so long by not trusting anyone. It was a necessary lesson to learn, and I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t learned it, but now I don’t think I can make it to the end of this war without trust. There is nothing I wouldn’t trust Artemisia, Heron, and Blaise with—not my life and not the future of Astrea, if it comes to that.
The three of them exchange looks before nodding.
Yana Crebesti,” they say.

✮✩✮

Suddenly I miss Søren so much that it feels like a dagger between my ribs, twisting and carving away at my flesh. I don’t know if it’s the hopelessness and uncertainty of this looming battle or if it’s merely being here in this unfamiliar place, alone, but I miss him all the same.

✮✩✮

Even if we have the numbers to win this battle, we won’t do it without casualties. Their blood will be on my hands. And I don’t even know their names.

✮✩✮

“There’s no shame in breaking,” I tell him. “Gods know I did often enough. You just have to put yourself back together again.”

 

 

About Laura Sebastian:

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April 24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).

Website I Goodreads I Twitter I Instagram

 

Giveaway:

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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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