Tag: Fantasy (page 1 of 96)

BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra BrackenLore by Alexandra Bracken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

*Note that these quotes come from an uncorrected eARC and are subject to change upon publication.*

Review
“I know my fate,” she whispered to him.
And I will change yours.


I’ll tell you what, Alexandra Bracken never ceases to amaze me with how well she writes. I may not always entire love the story, but writing wraps me up and has me feeling things throughout the entire span of the novel.

This one in particular was not exactly what I had expected….and that’s to say that I guess I didn’t even entirely know what to expect other than this was going to be pretty heavy on the Greek mythology. While I’m no expert by any means, I have always had an interest and appreciation for it and I am an AVID reader of Lore Olympus on Webtoon (sorry Castor, I have an unapologetic hate for Apollo from that, lol). So, that being said, even though I personally didn’t remember what every god and goddess stood for, or what great deeds each hero had accomplished, I really enjoyed doing my own research as each character arrived on the page. Even if I wouldn’t have, there is enough information and context clues that that wouldn’t have really been necessary, anyway. I’m just a tru librarian to my core and always need to know more, more, more.

“It’s a good thing, then,” Iro said with a small smile, “that neither of us has ever been afraid of a fight.”
She opened the door, only to turn back. “By the way, that sword has a name. Makhomai.”
I make war.

Lore smiled.


The biggest part of this story that I didn’t expect was just how fucking VIOLENT it was going to be. Now, I’ve talked about this a lot with Chelsea, and both of us has said that ever since we’ve had kids, we can’t read the same thing as we used to. This, I think????, was a prime example of this. Since it’s in the summary, I’m not spoiling anything by saying her family dies a brutal death. Now, this may sound bad but if It had just been her mom and dad, I think I could have been okay….but no. It was also her two LITTLE SISTERS. Not going to get into it because it makes me sick to my stomach even thinking about but I will just say that the sheer violence that continually crops up in this book is hard to read.

Bracken does not shy away from details and I could vividly picture each death, each cut, each blow. It just got to be a lot for me and that really took a little bit away from the story for me (honestly though I should have known better and prepared, Ancient Greek was savage and we all know it).

Alone. She was alone…
“Stay with me.” Lore let out a choked cry, sobbing for breath and relief at the crush of it all. Don’t leave me…
They didn’t.
She felt her family around her–the soothing touch of them, brushing her cheeks, wrapping around her center. And beyond them, the presence of unseen eyes.


Other than that though the only thing that tripped me up was the fact that in my head this wasn’t a standalone so I wasn’t picturing everything wrapping up so neatly at the end, lol. Also my bad.

ANYWAY, let’s get on to the good stuff. The characters. It shouldn’t surprise you when I say she wrote an excellent leading lady (Lore), a best friend I wish I had (Miles), and ~the~ love interest (Castor). Also many other great supporting characters, AND villains (hooooo let me tell you that betrayal fucking STUNGGGG), but the mains are my favorite of course. I do wish we could have gotten a little more of Lore and Castor…I don’t know…happy interacting in the present??? but I lived. Still many heart-pounding, butterfly inducing moments.

The story, as I said, wraps up neatly by the end and while I at first was like waittttt, this was too easy??? I’ve been thinking about it more and I’m like nooo, girl. Lore has seen SO MUCH death. She needed an ending like that. I also liked the ongoing mention of the Fates and the talk and dwelling on what people are fated to become and how fate can’t be changed and how Lore at the end finally thinks to herself “There was nothing fated. Lore had not been chosen for this; she had chosen to come here herself. Every step she’d made, every mistake, had led her here.” I just think that was such a HUGE moment for her to realize that her life DIDN’T have to be ruled by these crazy ass gods/goddesses or the Agon. She made her own decisions and could be the person that she chose to be. Ahhh gives me shivers just thinking about it.

So, overall. I did really enjoy this but sadly my tender heart can’t take the violence anymore and I had to take a star off. Totally a personal preference (but it does also make me wonder if this is really being marketing for YA lolll).

“You may be a god,” she told him, relishing the sight of his struggle. “But I’m the Persides.”


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read an eARC of this novel in exchange for my honest feedback.♥

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerThe Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1)
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Laini Taylor and Brandon Sanderson.

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

Review

As soon as I saw that Kaufman and Spooner were coming out with another book/series together, you better believe I marked it as to-read/I NEED immediately and requested it as soon as I saw it pop up on Edelweiss. At this point, I’ve read just about everything by the both of them together and with other people as well. There’s something about the way they balance both memorable, heart-pounding romance AND death and destruction that really just ~gets~ me.

This one, though, was definitely one of the most unique…As the title suggests, our two main characters, North and Nihm, come from literally the opposite ends of the sky from one another. Nihm is a living goddess on earth and North is a prince in a floating land in the sky. Both as equally as important to their own people as they are to hopefully saving the entire human race.

What really got me here was the mix of fantasy and science fiction. You see, while Nihm’s people have gods and goddesses and practice magic, up above in North’s land it’s all about science. When he falls to the Surface and meets Nihm, he is skeptical for any kind of magic she uses and is constantly trying to reconcile it for some kind of advanced chemical reaction. In most books of this nature, it’s either one or the other. The people either have magic or do not or they either live in some kind of advanced futuristic setting and have this crazy gear that we could only hope to see here on earth some day. The mix of the two was so intriguing and it made for some really good points of conflict between the two.

Other than that though, I found the characters (as always with these two writers) to be extremely likable and memorable. I think I liked Nihm more just because she was so BA and cared for her people so much. That’s not to say North didn’t, I just felt like there was *more* to Nihm in this book. I really liked the romance between them too–the connection they felt. Sometimes something like that can feel too rushed or too cheesy but I thought it felt extremely real in this one. ANDDD can we just talk about the deliciousness of them not being able to touch?! I mean I did want them to be able to and for us to get a good kiss scene in this one but I think it’s almost better that they didn’t to draw it out even further?!?!?!

Finally, I am so intrigued by the prophecy and who it was really referring to and who the other cloudlander is….I of course do have a theory. 🙂 Very ready for book 2!

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to have an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest reivew!

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne YoungFable (Fable #1)
by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn't who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they're going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Review

Never, under any circumstances, reveal who or what matters to you.





In the land of ever-changing Young Adult Fantasy, the newest (as far as I know) trend is Pirates and the like. Anything to do with the sea, really-and I can’t believe how deeply it resonates with me. This is only the third or fourth story set at sea (exclusively) that I’ve read, but it easily catapulted to the top of the pile with grace.



I don’t need much to make me happy-a tortured-or loyal (or both)-hero, a feisty or fierce or witty heroine, and a fantasy that takes me away. That has a deeply rooted foundation capable of carrying a story even when things are slow, or only day to day fillers. They don’t need to be action packed from beginning to end. And, as a seasoned reader and reviewer, I’ve learned I don’t even like that. Back when I was a little less sure of what worked for me, I always thought that action meant good and the more there was, surely the better the book would be.


This crew had already been in trouble when I stepped onto their ship, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was going to be the storm that finally sank them.





After countless series crashing and burning (in my humble opinion) because of this exact reason, I learned that action does not equal plot, and action does not equal a story that resonates deeply in your soul-it can’t possibly reside there, because what really was there to grasp onto? What did the characters say or do that stuck with you? The answer is convoluted and a whole lot of nothing. But, with master storytellers such as Young? There’s something special there that can’t be won with flash and flare-it’s won with quiet, fierce storytelling and a few perilous battles here and there. THAT is how a good fantasy is told, and it’s how it becomes a permanent resident in my heart.

I was standing in the breezeway with my heart in my throat, trying to figure out how to say goodbye, and West couldn’t wait to be rid of me.





Character driven stories are really the bread and butter of my all-time favorite books in my most recent, wiser years, and this story-while there was plenty of action for my taste-is no exception. Fable is an AMAZING heroine, one that I rarely see anymore. I don’t get to read like I used to, but I still know a good heroine when I see one. I have always been about the book boys, but I have a soft spot in my heart when a fierce female comes along and steals the show.

Fable is made of tougher skin having been raised under the Narrows trade leader, Saint, and after being left on an unforgivable island where she had to fight for her life every single day, she’s not one to be messed with. One goal in mind, she dredged day after day, morning to night, to make coin when the Marigold came every couple weeks looking for what only she could deliver. She’d trade what she had dredged, and she was finally close enough to get off the life-threatening island she was left on four years prior…until she attracted the attention of every other dredger trying to find the same HEA fate as she, and instead it became about fighting for her life not silently and intently as before, but kicking and screaming, striking a deal with the only trader she could halfway trust-West.



Which…this brings me to the crux of everything, doesn’t it? West was a beyond amazing character, for me. I love when the heroes (and the heroines) are morally gray and you can’t quite pinpoint who they are, what their intentions may be, and how they want the pieces to fall. West was just that. He is a perfect example of the heroes I continually fall hard for, because he keeps his emotions close to his chest-He doesn’t betray what he’s really thinking. But, his actions continually speak louder than his words (or lack thereof) and he is always waiting in the wings, rushing to help Fable even when he can’t trust her.

And though West had said again and again that he didn’t do favors and that he didn’t take chances, he’d done both. Over and over.
For me.





This was the slowest of slow burn romances and it was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. I don’t need book long, flashy romances. I need that build, that something to look forward to-the hoping, the praying, the what-if of how it will-or won’t-happen. And, ultimately, I love waiting for that horrible end we just know is coming. I’m sorry, but it gets my perilistic, masochistic heart pumping and my blood buzzing. It simmers under my skin just WAITING to see what obstacles the hero and heroine will face and…I’m done sounding [exactly like who I am] psycho.



Fable honestly took me by surprise. I knew I wanted to read it; I was excited about it. But, it wasn’t until I started the book that I felt my soul leave my body and my heart begin pounding, butterflies erupt in my stomach, and a giddiness erupt that is unparalleled since having my little boy. It was an escape, a world to look forward to after a long day with two small children, a sickness that just now seems to be finally going away, and a reprieve from my ‘I must always be on’ duties. I haven’t felt like that in over a year. For that, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Fable.

BOOK REVIEW: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutA Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance?

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice….

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

Review:

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was an epic continuation of the Blood and Ash Series.  This story brought out all of my emotions!  The laughter constantly floated out of me, I cried more tears then I could count, my smile was a permanent fixture on my face and at times uncertainty pooled in my chest.  I loved every single minute of it!  If you’re a fan of addictive fantasies, fearless heroines and the most enticing of book boyfriends, then you definitely need to add this one to your tbr!

He was both the villain and the hero, the monster and the monster-slayer.

This book picked up right where From Blood and Ash stopped.  Deceit and lies swirled around Poppy.  So much of what she thought was true wasn’t.  Her Kingdom, Hawke, to even herself.  My heart ached watching her come to terms with it all.  But Poppy persevered.  She was brave, fearless and faced challenged head on.  She was someone that you could look up to and respect.  And I loved listening to her voice as we traversed this new chapter of her life with her.  Especially anytime she was near Casteel.

“Most people aren’t as insane as you,” I said in a throaty voice that wasn’t mine.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” He scraped harder with his sharp teeth, just below where he’d bitten me before, and I gasped as my body jerked. “And the truth is, you like my brand of insanity.”
My blood pounded through me in a dizzying push. “I don’t like anything about you.”
He laughed as his lips skimmed the side of my throat. “I love how you lie.”

Oh you guys, Casteel was the embodiment of intoxication.  I am obsessed with him. I didn’t care that he could be cold and ruthless at times.  I didn’t care that he could kill without a second thought.  He did what he had to do to keep those he loved safe and to get what he wanted.  So the way he protected and respected Poppy made my heart race.  The way he spoke to her made me smile and laugh.  And the way he looked or touched her set my soul on fire.  Casteel is officially my favorite book boyfriend ever!

“Just pretend?” I trembled as the tips of his fingers skated down the side of my throat, around to the nape of my neck.
“Pretend.” His lips hovered above mine once more, right there, teasing.
I closed my eyes, my voice barely more than a whisper. “Yes.”

This story was filled with not only a physical, but an emotional journey.  So I loved watching Poppy and Casteel figure out their way alone and together.  There was the proposal, frightening creatures, horrific truths, obstacles that seemed impossible to breach and deals to be made.  Trust, faith, and love shimmered across the pages but so did the uncertainty of their world, what was to come and their feelings for each other.

He claimed my lips as if he were staking a claim to my very soul. The possibility that he was already well on his way to doing so should’ve served as a dire warning, but I was far too immersed, far too gone at the feel of him, lost in how demanding his lips were.

Anytime Poppy and Casteel were together, I would find myself laughing, smiling or sighing.  Well also tears a time or two orrrr more.  But their relationship was so deep, so real.  I loved how hard Poppy fought against Casteel.  She tried her best to not cave, to not care for him.  But he was Casteel, he was irresistible.  So while they may fight, bicker, and wear masks around each other, at the end of the day they were perfectly imperfect together.

His forehead dropped to mine. “There is one more thing I need. Something that I’ve needed for days. Weeks. Months. Maybe forever.” The bridge of his nose brushed mine. “But I know you won’t allow it. Not like this.”
The pounding in my chest moved lower. “What…what have you needed for so long?”
You.”
I shuddered.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was seductive, addictive and mesmerizing. There was a fierceness to this story that consumed me.  It was impossible to put down and not to feel everything all these characters did.  We got to know characters deeper….I love Kieran!  And we got to dive into their world and see so many things unfold that I can’t talk about.  It’s killing me to keep quiet!  A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was absolutely breathtaking and I can’t recommend it enough!

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

 

Other Favorite Quotes:

“You’re beautiful when you’re quiet and somber, but when you laugh? You rival the sunrise over the Skotos Mountains.” – Casteel
 
“I have a lot of blood on my hands, Poppy. Sometimes, so much that I don’t think they’ll ever be clean. So much that I don’t know if I ever want them to be.”
 
The next time I saw Casteel, I was going to shove the stupid knife so far into his chest, he would have to dig it out.
 
“You don’t smell like that to me,” he murmured, and a shiver curled its way down my spine. “You smell like honeydew.”
Oh, my gods….
Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

From Blood and Ash #1
Review:

Jen
 
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire   #2
Review:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn DavisThe Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2)
by Kaitlyn Davis
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A mage written in prophecy…

When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her.

A hunter forged in blood…

Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He'll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences.

Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…

With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she's been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she's ever known.

Review

Damn. DAMNNNN. I found and devoured book one via NetGalley in March and I was DELIGHTED when Kaitlyn reached out, asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the second book. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve read thousands of books, traversed a thousand skies and lands, and lived through the eyes of thousands of characters. There have been many similarities, how could there not have been? So when I come across a book that feels completely new, I pay very close attention. This story is one of those instances.

There’s an entire world with floating islands, each hosting a different kingdom home to a different race of bird people (I mean that sounds weird when I word it like that but really it’s just the type of wings those people have, lol). They fear magic and when they find any of their people with it, they either kill them out right or rip off their wings and throw them over the ends of their lands (messed up, right???). They think that magic represents and is given by a god that all of them fear and that he lives below their lands in the mist that hides dragons and other terrible things.

In that first book we discover that that is NOT the case. There is an entire world of people down there without wings, where magic is NOT a crime and where the people live in that perpetual mist just trying to survive. Their King, Malek, has been working his entire life to find the queen of a prophecy who is supposed to help him save the world.

This book is broken up below and above the mist in the POVs of Lyana, Rafe, Malek, Xander, Cassi, and a new character, Brighty. Getting to know more about the world below the mist was soooo intriguing and seeing Lyana come into her power was so amazing. She might honestly be one of my favorite heroines of all time. She’s just so fucking bad ass and GOOD. Malek on the other hand got on my shit list for MANY different reasons. Rafe. Oh sweet baby Rafe, you tortured soul. I just love him. I love Cassi’s strength and her budding relationship with ~a certain someone~ and was so glad when she finally was able to tell people her secrets.  Xander is just also such a pure soul and I cannot WAIT to see him as a King some day for his people.  Seeing him react to Cassi treating him like a normal, strong person was everything.  Overall it’s just such a memorable cast of characters and I am dying to find out more about new developments with the prophecy and the lands above the mist and relationships and EVERYTHING.

The writing is so damn good. It had my heart beating wildly on so many different occasions, especially towards the end. I need moreeeeeee!

Huge thanks to the author for letting me get my hands on this early in order to shout out my honest thoughts and opinions to the world

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