Tag: Fantasy (page 1 of 98)

BOOK REVIEW: All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1) by Amanda Foody

BOOK REVIEW: All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains #1) by Amanda FoodyAll of Us Villains by Amanda Foody
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The blockbuster co-writing debut of Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman, All of Us Villains begins a dark tale of ambition and magick...

You Fell In Love With The Victors of The Hunger Games.
Now Prepare To Meet The Villains of The Blood Veil.

After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into worldwide spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters flock to its spellshops and ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.

In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet--a chance to rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

Review

**I’m being extremely honest here when I say that grammar took a SERIOUS hit in the name of purging my emotions- ALSO- ARC PROVIDED BY TORTEEN IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW**

Grins like goblins.
Pale as plague and silent as spirits.
They’ll tear your throat and drink your soul.

That feeling of dread slowly inching up your spine is not the emotion nor the feeling I had imagined I’d experience when I started this novel. The vague sensation of helplessness that comes with the realization that you are not in control of this novel, this novel will not bend to your will, and you WILL be in pain as you see yourself slowly maddening at the fact that you WILL have to wait more than a year to see these characters through to their gory end. The utter calm [and a bit unhinged] madness that inhabits you when you realize- You don’t like that you have to wait for a very long time to see what happens…but you do love this brutal love song written just for you and all the evil things your now favorite character is doing to write said song. You don’t just like it-you love it.

“Do you hear that?” The older one, Hendry Lowe, stood up, brushed the forest floor off his gray T-shirt, cracked each of his knuckles, one by one. “That’s the sound of rules breaking.”
“Do you hear that?” Alistair echoed, smirking as he rose to his feet. “That’s the sound of bones breaking.”

This story wasn’t what I expected. And, that being said, I don’t know what I expected. Did I think it would be akin to my favorite series of all time, THG? No. I didn’t. Did I really think it would be about actual villains? No. And did I think it would hold up to any of my macabre fantasies when I imagined reading it? Heck no. But…It was BETTER. It was MORE. No matter what my mind could have dreamed up, it wasn’t this-never this. And that’s just…it’s a breath of fresh air. Look, I like predictability a lotthere are certain formulas you just cannot beat, no matter what you do, in my opinion. That’s me. But the fact remains that when I go into a book with no idea what to expect and it delivers with such ferocity-I hardly know how to contain myself. And that is this. I am in shock. I am in awe. I am so grateful for TorTeen for thinking of me, for sending me what is now a prized possession in my treasure trove of my absolute favorite stories. Even though I can’t even quite pinpoint what clicked for me-it just did.

Monsters couldn’t harm you if you were a monster, too.

I think it goes without saying that characters are key, especially in a book with such a dark theme-Yeah…villains. Okay. But why. WHY are they villains? The answer is simple-they really aren’t. And herein lies my largest conundrum: Why I am so defensive of my precious book? Because people are so judgmental. I thought each and every character had something dark about them (even if it wasn’t on the surface, but lurking far beneath)-but most of these klds-which they are just kids, in the end-were just pawns in their family’s lineage to grasp high magick for them to horde until the next tournament…And the family that possesses the high magick runs the town.

Like I said-I’m here for it. These characters-to me-were, in fact, villains. Maybe not the twirling your mustache kind, but they all had deeply disturbing ideologies and would do anything and everything to reach what they deemed necessary in their own mind’s eye: to either make a name for themselves, to gain glory, to earn a spot in the tournament (ie, beat out the other contenders in the family), to prove their worth, or to avenge-I won’t expand on that. Avenge is plenty good. My point remains valid-villains are what we make them, not always by what they actually do. And that is this tournament – seven families putting forth someone in their name, the town always viewing these families as evil, corrupt souls (well…maybe mostly just one family), or bottom-dwellers, attention seekers, or soul-suckers. Fact is, heavy is the head that wears the crown-and everyone wants a piece of it.

The Lowes did not tell their children monster stories so that they could slay them.
The Lowes told them so their children would become monsters themselves.

Of the four point of views, there are two that always always made me happy, sigh in relief, and really immerse: Isobel and Alistair. And then there was just ONE that made my heart beat faster, my mouth dry up, and my insides clench in dread, anticipation, and hope…and anyone that knows me at all knows that would be Alistair Lowe. Predictable, anyone? I. Don’t. Care.

Alistair’s fear wasn’t for his life, but for his mind. Even the most villainous Lowe victors left the tournament changed, broken. But Alistair refused to accept such a fate. No matter how brutal, how terrible he’d need to be, he couldn’t let himself care. Not about the other champions. Not about his soul.
He needed to become the most villainous of them all.

Look, Alistair is the clear favored champion-the one everyone knows has the best chance of winning and the favorite of the tournament…but really that makes him enemy number one and everyone also hates him and wants to gang together and make him dead and cease to exist and wants to steal his family’s smarmy glory. But the fact is, though he is among the wickedest of the contenders, he is also cool, calculated, and able to see reason-which many of the champions fail to do because they trust only what they know and what they’ve been taught, they can’t read between the lines and dig deeper within themselves to see a bigger picture, a deeper picture. And what does Alistair have to lose? NOTHING. Which makes him DANGEROUS. Makes it easy for him to lean back, relax, and fight the predictable and inevitable tide of people allying against him-except one.

“Hello, rival,” he whispered.

Isobel was not only my other favorite because she was closely connected with Alistair (And I will admit I was like the Pavlov dog becoming immediately butterfly-induced by simple association, shut up), but because her chapters fit. They just fit with my mindset like Alistair’s did. Was this intentional? Were we meant to favor them? I’m sure. I wouldn’t call Al the most relatable, but he was someone you rooted for simply because others didn’t like him and obviously he was the misunderstood bad boy-obviously. But Isobel didn’t care to be a champion, she only did it to keep others out of the fray and because she is the best at magick-her cool demeanor pre-tournament and haughty confidence was enough to snare me even without the help of a certain dark, brooding bad boy. I have a type, and these two were it. I’m predictable, but in this, I’m also sane.

“You want to know something funny?” he asked. “In a choice between staying here or going home, I’d still choose here. With you.”

The other contenders were easy to read about, as well-Briony being my likely third favorite due to her positive outlook and loyalty to her optimistic cause….then there was Gavin. I see him being a fan favorite (for those who are not like me and did not fall easily for the widow-peeked, pale, genius prodigy) but I couldn’t get on board with his motives or the way he processed things. I like an underdog, which also, coincidentally, likely makes him a bad boy or tortured hero as well, but deep down he had a bit more rot, perhaps more decay, and that was harder for me to acceptThese characters are layered far more than I gave them credit for, so that makes this hard to say, but in the end I couldn’t root for him, no matter his life nor his choices. That being said, I didn’t hate his chapters nor did I skim them as I do in books where I don’t entirely cherish a character as I do my favorites-that has to be noted for these authors to understand how deeply they reached me. I am a flawed reader, but I can be won over.

Innes had called the tournament a pattern. Patterns could be disrupted.
Reid had called it a machine. Machines could be broken.
Briony had only ever thought of it as a fairy tale. But even the grandest stories eventually found their ending.

And now that I’ve rambled on for literal AGES I’ll get to the actual story-I just. For many moments in this book, I just couldn’t breathe. The heartache, the yearn, the fear, the not-knowing. And then there were so many moments, something I’m not accustomed to, where I frowned or furrowed my brow at the page, where I wondered just what I was reading and why it was assaulting my senses in such a manner. A certain blood bath, an inevitable, heinous act, the deaths, the…well…moment that may or may not have ripped my beating heart from my chest and incinerated it (and, for once, I wasn’t sure I liked it). Oh, who am I kidding-I LOVED IT, and the end, naturally. My smile-my smile couldn’t have been larger, my heart couldn’t have beat any faster, and my stomach couldn’t have been in more of a butterfly tornado. This story, it hurt me in all the best ways possible, which makes me wonder just what’s wrong with me that these are my favorite types of stories and I seek these horrendous plots out.

If he was truly a monster, then why was he so afraid?

I always say I want bad things to happen and my name even boasts peril-but I found that-when it comes down to it-I don’t actually like when terrible things happen to people. And I guess that’s not the same as ‘perilous situations’, because those rarely can always be so dire, but the actual gore of it…it gets to me. In fact, for the first time ever, my blood trigger appeared seemingly out of nowhere (this never happens when I read) and my hands went numb and I physically couldn’t hold my book and had to lay it down for a moment. I really and truly wish for the madness, then when the madness comes slowly crawling to me, I back away and cringe-I’d make a horrendous villain. Truly.

After they’d slain all the other champions-her ex-best friend among them-it would only be the two of them left. Maybe that would be months from now. Maybe it would be days. But that was what this alliance led up to. Not a kiss stolen in the dark, or a priceless gift given without being asked.
A duel.

I must say one last thing before I depart-if you’re even still here with me, reading my nonsensical rambling- I am so big on character driven books, which I think I’ve mentioned no less than five times in one way or another as I type out this review, and this is a perfect example- I don’t think this was the most action packed book, but I think where it lacked (and I say lacked for loss of a better word) in lots of action, it gained in connecting with the characters so when something happened or was mentioned, we felt instead of riding along beside it. I think this is the biggest execution flaw in some of these popular series that gain so much momentum-they win us in book one and two, then throw in so much action in book three that I personally lose interest and forget the whole series even existed when, before, my world centered around said series. So I think subtlety is key-every bad moment, every sacrifice, any betrayal, any shortcoming, they mean so much more when staring down the barrel of these characters’ wants, needs, plans, desires. We care so much MORE when the battle comes because we had time to immerse ourselves, and I think that is so important here, and perhaps why I am just so elated I had the opportunity to read this novel and go in blind before others start to talk about it (but also, what a curse).

I went on and on and on and for that I’m sorry, but these emotions have been brewing inside of me for over 24 hours and I needed to purge everything epic that is this book. These authors ensnared me with simple words and a brooding, tortured boy, but they kept me because of the choices they made, the way they shocked and surprised me at each and every turn, if only because they didn’t do the typical (and sometimes they did, further confusing me more), and the way they captured my heart and soul. That’s truly not an easy thing to do-I may bluster and boast that I love giving out 5 stars to books that make me happy, but a true five star is one that can capture my heart and wind it’s way into my daily routine, invading my thoughts even when I don’t want them to-that’s this book, and I’m so happy to be ordering a copy to support these authors as soon as I’m able-with a certain special personalization, of course ;).

*This is an uncorrected proof, so quotes are subject to change*

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Curse of the Specter Queen (Samantha Knox #1) by Jenny Elder Moke

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Curse of the Specter Queen (Samantha Knox #1) by Jenny Elder Moke

I’m so excited to be on the tour for Curse of the Specter Queen! I absolutely loved this story! So check out my 4.5 Star Review below and enter to win a copy of this book! Enjoy!♥

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Curse of the Specter Queen (Samantha Knox #1) by Jenny Elder MokeCurse of the Specter Queen (Samantha Knox #1)
by Jenny Elder Moke
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A female Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider when Samantha Knox receives a mysterious field diary and finds herself thrust into a treacherous plot. After stealing a car and jumping on a train, chased by a group of dangerous pursuers, Sam finds out what’s so special about this book: it contains a cipher that leads to a cursed jade statue that could put an end to all mankind.

MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU...

Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn't return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam's peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose - to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher - one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life. Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?

Indiana Jones gets a refresh with this female-driven mystery adventure, set in the 1920s, full of ciphers, ancient relics, and heart-stopping action - the first in a brand-new series!

Review:

Curse of the Specter Queen was impossible not to devour in one sitting.  The story brimmed with adventure, friendship and a sprinkling of romance.  This is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come!  If you’re a fan of books that are impossible to put down, characters with tons of heart and stories that play out like you’re watching a movie, then you definitely need to pick up this book!

She had solved one puzzle only to find another. It beckoned her, laying out cryptic clues and drawing her in like a trap.

Sam lived a quiet life in the 1920s restoring books until a damaged diary ended up in her hands.  From that moment on, her whole life turned upside down.  While trying to protect those she cared about, from men who would do whatever it took to get that diary back, Sam took off on an adventure of a lifetime with her childhood best friend and her best friend’s older brother.  You guys!!  This book was so much fun and a breath of fresh air.  The story quickly picked up pace and there were some fun twists and turns as the story unfolded.  I even jumped and screamed at one point.  Be prepared to get pulled into this world and to not want to ever leave it!

What if, instead of leading them to the answers, she was leading them to disaster?

 I adored Sam!  She seemed so content living her quiet life surrounded with books, but there was so much more to her then meets the eye.  As the story unfolded, we got to learn about her past and her love of solving puzzles and riddles.  Sam was brilliant, clever and I loved how she persevered time and again.  She refused to be stumped trying to decipher a two hundred year old letter and finding a missing relic.  They discovered they had to stop a ritual to raise an ancient god that would end the world.  But through it all, there were so many heartwarming interactions between her, Jo and Bennett.  I loved the three of them together!

“Like I used to say at the academy, good luck and don’t get caught.” Joana gave her a mock salute before disappearing around the side of the house.

Joana aka Jo had been Sam’s best friend, but circumstances pulled them apart from one another.  You could tell that they cared deeply for one another, so I loved watching them mend their friendship.  And Jo, oh she was a blast and so much fun!  I loved how adventurous Jo was and how she loved those around her fiercely.  It was fun watching her help pull Sam out of her shell and seeing the two of them work together.  Especially since Sam wasn’t afraid to take risks like “borrowing” cars lol or giving her brother, Bennett, a hard time or two.

“Doesn’t she look fabulous?” Joana prompted, when no one had said anything for several long moments.
“Like a vision,” Bennett said softly, the words slipping out before he could take careful stock of what they might reveal. Sam’s breath caught somewhere between her mouth and her lungs in a painful lump that got beaten about her chest by her rapidly thrumming heart.

Bennett, eeps!  I fell so hard and quickly for him.  He tried his best to protect Sam and Jo, to send them back home to safety, but neither of them were having that!  They joined Bennett on his quest to go visit his Professor in Ireland.  And we got to see firsthand that while Bennett and Jo were extremely smart and worked seamlessly together, Sam usually one upped Bennett.   I loved that!  There’s so much more I want to say, but my lips are zipped!

Bennett was right: to stay could be disastrous— it probably would be, if she was honest with herself.
But she couldn’t leave . Not now. Not when she was so close to an answer. Not when the fate of the world might be at stake.

Thievery, curses, friendship and adventure were sprinkled throughout the pages making this book impossible to put down!  With magic, unknown enemies, and puzzles to piece together, this book was entertaining from beginning to end.  If you’re a fan of movies like The Mummy, Indiana Jones or National Treasure then you definitely need to pick up this book!  I’m so glad I did and now I can’t wait to go read Jenny Elder Moke’s other book, Hood!

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

 

 

Find it: Goodreads I Amazon I Kindle I Audible I B&N I iBooks I Kobo I TBD I Bookshop.org

 

 About  Jenny Elder Moke:

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. She worked for several years at an independent publisher in Austin, TX before realizing she would rather write the manuscripts than read them. She is a member of the Texas Writer’s League and has studied children’s writing with Liz Garton Scanlon. She was a finalist in the Austin Film Festival Fiction Podcast Competition in 2017 for her podcast script, Target. When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenny lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children.

 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Giveaway:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/1/2021

Fire and Ice

Excerpt

6/2/2021

Lisa Loves Literature

Review

6/3/2021

YA Books Central

Excerpt

6/4/2021

Jazzy Book Reviews

Excerpt

6/5/2021

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review

Week Two:

6/6/2021

The Reading Wordsmith

Review

6/7/2021

Kait Plus Books

Excerpt

6/8/2021

A Court of Coffee and Books

Review

6/9/2021

The Bookwyrm’s Den

Review

6/10/2021

Stuck in the Stacks

Review

6/11/2021

Do You Dog-ear?

Review

6/12/2021

Christen Krumm

Review

Week Three:

6/13/2021

What A Nerd Girl Says

Review

6/14/2021

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf

Review

6/15/2021

Thindbooks Blog

Review

6/16/2021

History from a Woman’s Perspective

Review

6/17/2021

Emelie’s Books

Review

6/18/2021

Eli to the nth

Review

6/19/2021

@fictitious.fox

Review

Week Four:

6/20/2021

Books Are Magic Too

Review

6/21/2021

Star-Crossed Book Blog

Review

6/22/2021

Book-Keeping

Review

6/23/2021

The Momma Spot

Review

6/24/2021

The Book View

Review

6/25/2021

Momfluenster

Review

6/26/2021

onemused

Review

Week Five:

6/27/2021

Book Briefs

Review

6/28/2021

Always Me

Review

6/29/2021

The Book Review Crew

Review

6/30/2021

celiamcmahonreads

Review

 

BOOK REVIEW: A Wicked and Beautiful Garden (Witches of the Island #1) by Katie McGarry

BOOK REVIEW: A Wicked and Beautiful Garden (Witches of the Island #1) by Katie McGarryA Wicked and Beautiful Garden (Witches of the Island #1)
by Katie McGarry
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Twenty-eight year-old Cassie Strega can’t escape fate.

All she wants is to live a normal, quiet life delivering the babies in her small town. But when she discovers she comes from a lineage of witches, her life becomes extraordinary—in the gravely dangerous type of way.

Then, she’s reunited with her first love.

Orion, the sultry Fae warrior who broke her heart years before, is searching for a baby. Not just any baby, but the queen of the Fae who will one day lead them in their final battle against the demons determined to rule the world. The same baby who has been calling to Cassie for help in her dreams.

Fighting the intense attraction of their former blood bond, Cassie and Orion work together to find the child. But when the heartbreak that nearly destroyed Cassie nine years before looms once more, she’ll have to decide whether getting involved in the supernatural war is worth losing everything, including her life.

Review:

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden was an enchanting tale that will sweep you away!  With magic, questions and the unknown swirling around, it made this book impossible to put down.  If you’re a fan of fantasy or urban fantasy, then you’ll definitely want this one on your tbr!

Once upon a time, I had fallen in love with him, and to him, I was nothing more than a momentary distraction.

Cassie Strega was kind, caring and felt so much around her.  She loved her job of delivering babies and living in her quiet, little town.  So when her ex walked back into her life, everything changed.  The loss of Orion had devastated Cassie years ago.  Little did she know that she would need his help soon.  The world was about to wake up knowing that witches exist, and Cassie was one of them.  But he needed her help too.  Orion, who was Fae, was searching for a baby.  She was their queen who was to lead them into battle against the demons.  And that same baby had been calling to Cassie.  With so much at stake and up in the air, their fates were irrevocably tied together…for now.

“Take what you need from me, Cass.” His hot breath tickled my ear. “Take everything and all you need. I’m yours.”

I wasn’t sure what to think of Orion MacAleese at first.  He was a warrior Fae that was tasked with finding their queen.  And while he didn’t always play by the rules, it was obvious that he still cared for Cassie.  Fiercely.  He would do anything to protect her and he showed her time and again exactly that with his actions and words.  While Orion could be thoughtful and caring, he also had kept many secrets from Cassie.  And Cassie struggled with his deception and secrets, while trying to ignore the passion that was running between them.

Making the strands a rugged mess, Orion shoved a frustrated hand through his hair. “What do you want me to say?”
I slapped my palm against the table. “I want the truth!” I whisper-shouted . “I want this black hole in my brain to be gone. I want to know what happened to us!”

I loved learning about Cassie’s powers right along with her.  She had always been able to read human’s emotions, but as she learned about controlling the elements I was fascinated.   I also loved watching what Orion was capable of, I was jealous of his transporting skills!  But with life and death situations surrounding them, and fate constantly pushing them together, it was hard to ignore all of the emotions there.  Cassie tried her best to keep Orion at an arm’s length away, but as we got peaks into their past it was so obvious how wonderful they were together.  As they continued to work on their common goal, to find the baby, it became harder to ignore that they belonged together.  And the chemistry, lust and love that swirled around them.

“Heaven, hell and earth, Cassie. I will move each and every single one for you.”

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden will keep readers hooked from beginning to end!  I’m so happy that the ending was the perfect stopping spot!  We got to breathe for a moment and even got a few answers, but there are still so many unanswered questions.  From how their world worked, to those around Cassie, to even her past, I can’t wait to learn it all!  If you’re a fan of JLA, I think there may be a good chance you’ll enjoy this book!  There were quite a few elements in this series that reminded me of a few of JLA’s series, so if you like her stories then I think you’ll like this one too!  I can’t wait for that next book!

*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 ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: The ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutThe ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Bow Before Your Queen Or Bleed Before Her…

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes book three in her Blood and Ash series.

She's been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen…

Review:

You always had the power in you.

The Crown of Gilded Bones was an epic continuation of the From Blood and Ash Series! Betrayals, lies, and secrets wove their way through this book. While friendship, love and trust were there too. I loved how it all came together and created a story that was stunningly brilliant and magnificently crafted! It gave me chills, caused tears to fall down my face, and made me to laugh out loud so much, sometimes at the most inappropriate times. If you’re a fan of this series, or are contemplating picking it up, I can’t recommend it enough! It’s definitely one of my top favorite series ever!

I opened my eyes as the wolven stopped, lifting their heads to the sky. Their ears perked. My one-handed grip on the reins tightened as Setti pranced nervously beneath me as I reached down, placing my hand over the small pouch at my hip. The ridges of the small toy horse pressed against my palm. I stared at the banners, at the crest that represented Casteel and I, as large, winged shadows fell over the armies of Atlantia as they rode west.

This story was action packed and EVERYTHING I could have wanted and more. With my heart in my throat, it felt like I was watching a movie play out. We ended up getting so many answers to questions from the first two books and we got to learn everything right along with Poppy. I loved that she was in the dark too and that we got to piece things together with her. I also loved seeing how much she grew! From wanting to learn how to ride a horse by herself, to discovering mysteries from her past, to even watching her harness her powers, she was impressive! My love and admiration for Poppy grew, especially when she learned to use her voice and put others in their place that deserved it! And standing strongly by her side was her husband Cas, who I am beyond obsessed with.

“You know, don’t you?” He searched my eyes with his. “What you mean to me? What I feel for you?”
“Yes.”
He wiped away another tear with his thumb. “I never knew it could feel like this. That I could feel this for someone. But I do—I love you.”

Cas was seductive and lethal as ever. We got to see the depths he would go to keep Poppy safe.  He loved her with his heart, soul and every single thing that he was! And while my heart broke for the both of them at times, I loved how they became a formidable team. They talked and worked things out together. They were truly equals in their relationship. Poppy and Cas became the ultimate couple! And while the first two books were sexy….you guys!! This story seemed even more sexual! Poppy and Cas could go from sweet to beyond sensual *fans face*. I loved their moments together. I loved that they tried new things. And I loved a water scene the most, oh it was soooo hot! This book was seductive and so many fans of this series are going to love some of their more erotic moments!

That primal power surged, invading all of my senses. It silenced every emotion inside me until only one remained: vengeance. There was nothing else. No empathy. No compassion.
I was me.
And yet, I was something else entirely.

We got to spend time with so many of our favorites like Kieran.  I loved watching his relationship with Poppy grow!  Plus I kept my fingers crossed that we would get to see Ian and Tawny! But there was so much unknown. Who could Poppy and Cas truly trust?!  I found myself shocked to the core quite a few times over how things unfolded. Twists and turns collided with seemly innocent scenes that left me staring at the pages. Betrayal. Death in places I never thought of that hurt. Plans in place that rocked their world and left me terrified for Poppy.  And so much more.  My heart shattered at the unfairness of their world.  I cried so many tears. Yet, I kept hoping for retribution for certain things. Because this is Poppy and Cas. No one will stand in their way or not be punished for their wrong doings. I had so much faith and what unfolded was legendary!

“You will bow before your Queen.” Casteel eyed the Atlantian coolly. “Or you will bleed before her. It is your choice.”

The Crown of Gilded Bones will sweep you away and become an instant favorite! Especially since there was so much light in this story! I was beyond giddy multiple times over how things played out. And a few scenes had me laughing so hard I had tears coursing down my cheeks! You guys!!!! I want to say so much more but I also want you to discover all of these precious and heartfelt moments yourself. Just know that this story was filled with countless smile inducing and swoon worthy moments!  But that ending?! Muahahaha, it was heart stopping and I will be counting down the days until I can read the next book!

“What is going on with you two?” Jasper asked.
“Apparently, there’s a Willa who wrote a sex diary of some sort,” Kieran said with a sigh. “It’s Poppy’s favorite book or something.”
I turned to the wolven as Casteel made a choking sound again. “It is not my favorite book.”
“Nothing to be ashamed of if it is,” he said with an indifferent shrug, but I tasted his sugary amusement.
“A sex book?” Jasper repeated.
I was going to wither up and die right here.

PS I love that Journal! New passages were read and *fans face again* they were beyond scorching HOT!

 

More Favorite Quotes:

“Well,” Casteel drew out the word. “That will not be a quick death.”
Watching the stone turn black in the moonlight for a moment, I looked at Casteel. “I was wrong before. Some don’t deserve the honor of a quick death.”
One side of his mouth quirked, hinting at a dimple as his gaze flickered over my face. “Such a stunning, vicious little creature.”
 
He was beautiful. He was brave. He was intelligent. He was kind and accepting. He was ferocious.
And he was mine.
 
“I—”
“Let me guess,” he said. “You have a question.”
I frowned as I crossed my arms over my chest.
“What?” He glanced over at me.
“Nothing.” I exhaled heavily. A moment passed. “Kieran?”
“Yeah?”
“I have a question.”
He sighed, but there was a slight curve to his lips. “What is your question, Poppy?”
 
It was okay to be nervous. Who wouldn’t be in my situation? But I wasn’t afraid.
Because they were right.
I was brave.
I was fearless.
And I ran from no one and nothing—and that included a crown.
 
“I wish we weren’t about to have this meeting because I really want to fuck you on this table right now.”
My eyes widened.
Gods,” Kieran muttered, sitting back as he dragged a hand over his face.
 
Silence.
A tremor rippled through me. The hum in my chest pushed and expanded, and my heart—my soul—twisted because I already knew. Oh, gods, deep down, I already knew the answer. I cracked as I drew in a too-shallow breath.

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

 

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

The Crown of Gilded Bones #3
Review:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

BOOK REVIEW: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri ManiscalcoKingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)
by Kerri Maniscalco
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe—witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked Princes of Hell that she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Review

“Love is the most powerful magic. Above all else, remember that. It will always guide you where you need to go.” She dropped her hands and stepped back. “Now go, bambina. Go be brave. Your heart will conquer darkness. Trust in that.”

This book had NOT been on my radar at all until Chelsea mentioned how much she loved it and a few friends from a discord server I’m on had been recently raving about it. I saw that it was short, had nothing else to read, and decided to pick it up. Let me tell you, if these were the olden days of no children and no full time job, I would have finished this baby in less than a day. Regardless of the little time I had to read, I DEVOURED it. I had never read any of Maniscalco’s previous books so I was stunned to find how much I loved her writing style. It was all so descriptive and basically had my drooling with every single mention of Italian food and drink (which seems to be general consensus of every single person who read this book, lol).

“Maybe. It depends on how many customers we have and how late it gets. Honestly, I might just go home and try out some new recipes, or read.”
“Ah. Such a pious young woman, reading the Good Book.”

“Mmh.” I smiled down at my cutting board. The novel I was in the middle of was a good book, it just wasn’t the Good Book. I refrained from telling him about the last chapter I read—the one where the hero expressed his love in many colorful and physically astounding ways. I supposed, technically, his stamina could be considered miraculous. I’d certainly become a believer of impossible expectations.


When it came to the actual story itself I was just as pleased. I always find it interesting to read about how different authors go about portraying witches and other paranormal entities in a “real world” setting (I don’t know if I would call this urban fantasy as its set in an earlier time period???). Emilia, the main character, is what you might call a “good” witch??? Her Nonna has forbid her twin and her from practicing any kind of darker magic or from even THINKING about anything of that nature.

See next paragraph and lol at me.

“One day you might beg me to kiss you.”

Okay guys…lol I feel like an idiot right now but I wrote the top half of this review like at least a week ago and I have no idea where I had planned on going with it after having consumed several other books since finishing this one. Basically all I really want and need to say is that Wrath is grumpy and hot AF. I need him and Emilia together and I am so intrigued by how the next book is set up and what will happen. If you haven’t already, I urge you to check out Maniscalco’s Pinterest boards because the stuff she has pinned for #2 look dark and sexy as hell. “As hell” lol get it? Anyway I pretty annoyed with myself about not doing a great job reviewing this because I really did fly through it. The chemistry between Wrath and Emilia was sooooo so hot and I thought their connection via beautifully changing tattoo/ Emilia screwing up her summoning to be both hilarious and exactly how I needed them to be forced together. I want more, more, more.

As above, so below.

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