Tag: Fantasy (page 1 of 97)

BOOK REVIEW: All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn Grace

BOOK REVIEW: All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn GraceAll the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2)
by Adalyn Grace
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.

No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

Review

“Are you sure we should even be in here?” Casem demands, his eyes darting around the crowd. His whole body is surprisingly tense.
Sympathetially, Ferrick places a hand on my guard’s shoulder, shaking his head. “It’s no use, Casem. This crew knows no reason.”


The second book in this duology starts off a few months after the end of All the Stars and Teeth. Amora is doing the best she can to pick up the broken pieces of her kingdom all while trying not to fall apart over the death of her father. Unsurprisingly, even though the islands are now allowed to practice whatever multiple kinds of magic they’d like, there is still a lot of unrest from all of the lies that her father kept hidden. After a meeting with her advisors, it is determined that she will take a tour of her kingdom, hopefully finding a husband to sit by her side on the throne in the process.

If you know Amora at all, you will know that this is not something she gives a crap about. SHE is the queen and she needs no king beside her. However, after hearing about a magical object that will allow her to break the curse on her and Bastian that can be found on one of islands, she agrees to set out with the ~old~ crew and then some. Getting back on Keel Haul with Bastian, Ferrick, and Vataea (and two newcomers Shanty—who I freaking loved—and Casem) was so refreshing. I have never personally been on a sea voyage and I doubt I ever will get the chance but there is something about pirate-y novels that call to me.

Bastian’s soul is one of pain. Of longing. Yet is shines brighter than any I’ve ever seen.
He’s beautiful.


My heart hurt so bad to find out right away that Amora had been doing her best to stay as far away from Bastian as possible. While I get it—she didn’t want the confusion of only feeling whole when he was around and basically feeling like she couldn’t trust any kind of emotion about him—it still hurt. They obviously had strong feelings towards one another before she was cursed so I just was sad that she couldn’t rely on that and was only focusing on what she thought the curse was making her feel. He did a good job from the start though, letting her know that while he’d be going with her on this parade of bachelors, he would be trying his best every single day to prove that they did have something special, curse be damned. I loved every single second of their interactions. Always. From the start it seemed like their chemistry was pretty explosive and we definitely get more of that in this book.

“You might not know now, but you’ll learn.” I don’t know where the voice comes from, but I hear it loud and clear. “Make this life everything it should be.”

Overall, even though I really enjoyed this book, I almost wish there had been one more to finish out the series. In the end I felt like there should have been more to the story. The Montara curse was built up to be this huge, ugly thing and then there was the curse that Kaven had put on Amora and Bastian and you’re telling me that it all just went away because View Spoiler ». DO NOT READ THAT IF YOU DON’T WANT A HUGE SPOILER. Seriously though. That part happened so suddenly I didn’t think it could possibly be real and then it was and then I was heartbroken because that person deserved so much more *cries*. Also, we see Amora go through a lot in this book, emotionally. She made another choice at the end of the book that weirdly both did and did not make sense to me and it’s something I will not elaborate on because again, spoilers. I think that people who enjoyed the first will truly love this one too, I had just been wanting a tiny bit more. BUT BASTIAN WILL FOREVER BE #1 IN MY HEART.

“To Zudoh,” he repeats, the stars in his eyes blazing with pride.
“And to a thousand more adventures.”

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Imprint for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Saaba Tahir

BOOK REVIEW: A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Saaba TahirA Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4)
by Saaba Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Prepare for the jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahir's beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off...

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory--or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life--and love--he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save--or destroy--all that he knows.

Review

“Who are you?”
“I am—I—”
 Who am I? “I am born of Keris Veturia,” I say. “Son to the Kehanni who told the Tale. Beloved to Laia of Serra. Friend to the Blood Shrike. I am brother to Avitas Harper and Shan An-Saif. Grandson to Quin Veturius. I am—”
Two words echo in my head, the last words Cain spoke to me before dying. Words that stir my blood, words that my grandfather taught me when I was a boy of six and he gave me my name. Words that were burned into me at Blackcliff.
“Always victorious.”


I have put off reviewing this for six days now. Not because I don’t know what to say, it’s that I don’t quite know how to articulate it. Every so often a book or a series comes along that changes me. I finished the final chapter of this almost a week ago now and I haven’t stopped been able to stop thinking about it since. I feel almost frantic with the need to fully express what emotions have been roiling around inside of me ever since I have finished and all I can do now it just try my best and hope that even a fraction of what I’m feeling and thinking can shine through in this review.

“How much pain exists in the world because we cannot get past what has been done to us, because we insist on inflicting pain right back?”

I read Ember as soon as it came out five years ago, really liked it and thought it was a fresh, new, raw brand of YA, and then for some reason didn’t get to the rest of the series until this year. I read/ listened (BTW the narrators are AMAZING, highly recommend) to the rest in preparation for this one in September and just devoured them. I fell in love with the cinnamon roll that is Elias, was frustrated but ultimately was impressed by Laia’s stubbornness and bravery, and wanted to tuck Helene into the recesses of my heart so that she wouldn’t be hurt by anyone or anything else. These characters and their struggles became so real to me that I still can’t think about the book without feeling a hollowness in my chest. It’s crazy. I can’t even remember the last time a book made me feel this way.

“Would that we all knew the cracked terrain of each other’s broken hearts. Perhaps then, we would not be so cruel to those who walk this lonely world with us.”

Going into this book, I was prepared to have my heart broken, I really did. What I maybe didn’t expect was the exact level of storytelling that our best Kehanni, Tahir, would provide. Many fantasy series feature a war of some kind but never have I read about one that felt so real. I truly think that Tahir did a great job of pouring real-world hurt over prejudices, racism, bigotry, etc. into this fantasy world to represent the very real and terrible things that people in our own world have been going through for centuries. These things are not fantasy. People really die in war. People’s homelands are taken away from them and destroyed. Life is not always easy or morality set in black and white for everyone.

“Emifal Firdaant,” I say to him.
“You’ve said that before.” He runs his fingers through my hair. “What does it mean?”
I cannot quite look at him when I say it. “May death claim me first.”
“Ah, no, my love.”
 He gathers me close. “You cannot go first. I could not make sense of the world if you did.”


And yet, even though these stories need to be remembered and the hurt never be forgotten, hope still needs a place to live and grow. That is what I felt at the end of this book. Even though certain characters died and thinking about them STILL MAKES ME WANT TO CRY View Spoiler »  I finished this book, this series feeling incredibly hopeful.

“I wish I could live a thousand lives so I could fall in love with you a thousand times. . .”

I can tell you with 100% certainty that these books and these characters will stick with me in my heart and soul until I die. While this isn’t a light and fluffy series that can be re-read at any time during any mood, I know that I will be revisiting them for years to come. I really hope more and more people discover these books and you had better believe that once I start being able to see library patrons face-to-face again that I will be shoving this series at anyone who asks for a fantasy recommendation.

The chant dissolves into a roar. Within it, I hear my father’s voice and my mother’s. I hear Hannah’s and View Spoiler ». Loyal, they whisper, to the end.

Here’s a few spoiler thoughts under the tag for those of you interested:

View Spoiler »

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

Looking back through Goodreads, I somehow forgot to post this review back in March, whoops! So here we go.....

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura SebastianLady Smoke (Ash Princess #2)
by Laura Sebastian
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia's mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo's country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess--a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn't realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage--Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser's rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.

To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.

Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself

Review:

Looking back, Lady Smoke was my favorite book in this trilogy.  There was lots of action and I loved how the characters worked together and grew. With sweaty palms and my heart in my throat, some of the moments were definitely intense.  The games and strategies they set in place were so much fun to watch unfold.  It added to the unknown feel, made the story more emotional and I loved every minute of it.  With the reappearance of some old faces, this book had it all.  Lady Smoke was definitely my favorite in the Ash Princess Trilogy.

“You want something,” he says quietly, trying to sit up straighter. Heron didn’t do a thorough job of healing him, and he still winces in pain. Bruised ribs, maybe.
“I didn’t realize it was like this,” I tell him. “I had no idea.”
Søren looks at me incredulously before his gaze softens. “It’s war,” he says. “This is how it goes. Your friend is right. We both know I’ve done worse things.”

 
Artemisia

We must also bring them hope,” she said, as if it were a physical thing we could deliver in a basket tied with ribbon. As if it were easy to share with others when it’s hard enough to keep my own hope from dying.
When I say as much to Artemisia, she shakes her head. “Hope is contagious,” she says. “When you have enough, it spreads naturally.”

Artemisia became one of my favorites.  She was such an unknown in Ash Princess.  And she came across as cold.  But in this book, I started to absolutely love her.  Artemisia was complicated and the more we learned about her, it explained all of her complexities.  One of my favorite things was watching how Theo and her interacted.  I loved watching their dynamics play out.  Watching them learn to trust and work together was one of my favorite things in this story.  I could easily read a spin-off series about Artemisia!

 

Søren

The last time I saw him, I had betrayed him and he had told me he loved me anyway. He doesn’t. He can’t love me.

Yes Søren had done horrific things, and had gone along with some of his father’s wishes, but it didn’t matter me to.  When I looked at him, I didn’t just see all the blood on his hands and soul.  That was partly because he was raised by a monster. So when he was finally free, I loved the choice he made.  He had so much redemption in him and I was his biggest champion.  I loved how smart he was and how quick he was in situations.  He was a true warrior and survivor.  And I loved how Søren was Theo’s biggest supporter.

 

Theodosia

I did what I had to do, I tell myself again, and though that might be the truth, it doesn’t ease the guilt that’s worked its way under my skin.

I love that Theo was smart and who she chose to trust. But most of all, I loved that she couldn’t control how she felt.  No matter how hard she tried. She was fierce, brave, yet she still had a heart. In my eyes she had everything that would someday make her a great ruler!  Especially when she stood up for what she believed in.

I know him and he knows me and the darkest parts of our souls match.

The plans that came together were exciting and the way the politics played into this story was fascinating!  If you’re a fan of the first book or fantasy, then this book is for you!  Lady Smoke set the stage for the final book, and I was so excited to see how it was all going to end!

BOOK REVIEW: Immortal Fire (Red Winter Trilogy #3) by Annette Marie

BOOK REVIEW: Immortal Fire (Red Winter Trilogy #3) by Annette MarieImmortal Fire (Red Winter Trilogy #3)
by Annette Marie
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Once, Emi believed the heavenly gods were righteous and wise, while the earthly yokai spirits were bloodthirsty and evil. But with a traitorous deity poised to destroy her world, and the yokai standing as humanity's only defense, the lies of her upbringing have toppled to reveal a far more terrifying reality.

Despite the looming threat, Emi can't escape her greatest distraction: Shiro, the fox yokai who has so deftly claimed her heart for his own. Soon—too soon—she will have to break the curse that binds his magic and memories. And once the ancient power inside him awakens, the yokai she loves will be changed forever.

As the earthly gods gather to wage war against the heavens, Emi and Shiro must gamble everything to turn the tide against their immortal, all-powerful foes. Together, they will find a way to save her world—even if it means losing each other.

Review:

*Buddy read with Sophie @ Beware of the Reader and Raven @ Dreamy Addictions*

Immortal Fire was an epic conclusion to a thrilling trilogy!  I devoured every page and yet at the same time, I wanted to slow down and savor every moment.  I became so attached to these characters, I didn’t want my time to end with them.  With twists, sacrifice, love and friendship flowing throughout the pages, this book was impossible to put down.  I can’t ever recommend this trilogy enough!  Here are a few reasons why you should pick up this book….

“Now that I’ve finally found you, why must I lose you?” His torment cut through her, rending her heart. “Every instinct I possess demands that I protect you, that I save you. But I can’t. I can’t stop this.”

The story:

Shiro drew her up and, for a single instant among the chaos, he crushed her against his chest, his face in her hair. Somehow her arms were around his neck, and she held him just as tightly, knowing it was their final embrace, their final moment together. There would be no more time for farewells.

Immortal Fire was a beautiful and deadly tale.  There were lots of obstacles in their way.  So I kept finding myself with sweaty palms.  I didn’t always feel like I knew what was going to happen next and I’d get so nervous it felt like my stomach was tied up in knots.  So of course I kept finding myself gasping out loud.  And again there were elements to the story that creeped me out.  The kanashibari…ugh *shudders*.  With an action packed story and some epic battles, this book had it all.

 

The characters:

“Saving my life won’t earn you Amaterasu’s forgiveness!” She shouted the words, her hands clenching with sudden fury. “I would rather die fighting than give up!”
His dark eyes widened.

Emi was perseverance.  No matter how bleak the situation was, she kept trying.  And even though it felt like sometimes she didn’t even get two second to breathe, and I was terrified for her, she kept going.  I loved how much she continued to grow and how much she was capable of thinking on her feet!

“Command me, Emi.”
This time, her heart didn’t stumble. It soared. How casually, how confidently he ordered her to rule him. Without restriction, without hesitation or doubt, he’d demanded she ask him for anything she wanted. Anything she desired.
A shiver ran through her. Before she could think, before she even realized she was speaking, the words slipped from her traitorous tongue.
“Kiss me.”

Shiro was the ultimate book boyfriend.  He was always thoughtful of Emi.  And I loved how he always listened to her.  How he always chose her.  And even when he was possessive of her.  I’ve said it before, but the lengths Shiro would go to protect Emi made my heart soar.  Add in the fact that he made me laugh and had so much wisdom and insight.  Sigh.  I loved everything about Shiro.

He staggered back a step, holding his hands away from her as though he had no idea how an embrace worked. She pressed her face against his shoulder, tears streaking her cheeks.
“Thank you, Yumei,” she choked.
“She’s crying,” he growled at Shiro.
“Try returning her embrace,” Shiro said with a snicker. “That might help.”

Yumei was the truest of friends to Emi and Shiro, even if he would never acknowledge it lol!    He was still cunning, cut throat and wickedly handsome, yet friendship entered his heart.  And I loved seeing how much he would do to help his friends in need.  With darkness radiating around him and never knowing what he was thinking, I loved watching Yumei in this story.  He could be so matter of fact and he made me laugh.  But I loved how protective Yumei was of Emi and Shiro and I’m hoping he gets his own story some day!

 

The ending:

“I would have kept you forever, little miko.” His words were soft, almost soundless. “I would have taken you with me wherever the tides of time carried us, and I would have loved you until the very end.”

That ending was beyond epic.  If you love happily ever afters, then you’re in for a treat with this series.  It was an extremely rough path to get there.  It even made me shed some tears and all out cry.  Multiple times.  But that ending was everything my heart could ever want!

“You realize you’re mine now, don’t you?” he growled. “I am keeping you. Forever.”

Immortal Fire was an emotional tale that continually pulled at my heart.  Especially since there was a love story that felt forbidden and star crossed.  They were truly doomed from the start, but I still held out so much hope for Emi and Shiro.  But it helped that there were humor in moments you wouldn’t expect.  I loved how the hidden smiles and laughter could be found in this story.  Especially since sacrifice felt like a strong theme in this book.  So just know that I closed Immortal Fire on cloud 9 and I can’t ever recommend this series enough.

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Red Winter
   #1
Review:

Jen

Dark Tempest #2
Reviews:

Jen
 
Immortal Fire   #3
Reviews:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW: Dark Tempest (Red Winter Trilogy #2) by Annette Marie

BOOK REVIEW: Dark Tempest (Red Winter Trilogy #2) by Annette MarieDark Tempest (Red Winter Trilogy #2)
by Annette Marie
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Emi has dedicated her life to becoming the perfect vessel for the goddess Amaterasu, but the insidious betrayal of another deity has changed everything. Now Amaterasu has charged Emi with an urgent mission: to find and free the earthly gods before mankind is brought to its knees beneath divine tyranny.

At her side is Shiro, the mysterious fox spirit. When she first saved his life, she could never have imagined that behind his cunning and confidence, he was lost--his power bound by a devastating curse and his memories obscured. His veiled history is somehow tied to the missing gods, but he can't remember how or why.

As their search leads them into the murky depths of the spirit realm, the shadows of Shiro's past begin to emerge. With each brief awakening of his true self, she loses a little more of him. The fate of the heavens and earth rest in her mortal hands, and she must find the missing gods before time runs out for her world--and for Shiro.

Review:

*Buddy read with Sophie @ Beware of the Reader and Raven @ Dreamy Addictions*

 

Dark Tempest was a lush and vivid story and in this second installment, the ante was upped even more!  There was adventure, it was action packed and there were so many impossible hurdles in their way.  Yet there were moments that made me laugh, smile and melt into a puddle.  This book had it all!  Here are some of my favorite reasons why you should pick up this series…..


✮ An intricate story line that held me in it’s clutches:

“Does it get easier when you live a long time?” she whispered, a tear slipping down her cheek. “Or does pain still cause the same suffering? Does regret still make it hard to breathe?”

Nervous energy fitted through me as I read Dark Tempest and I found myself laughing because I was so excited with how it kept playing out. Pieces of the puzzle were falling into place, yet they kept coming up against impossible feats.  So yes I had sweaty palms and was extremely nervous in some moments.  Other times it was eerie, creepy or my claustrophobic self was freaking out.  I even screamed out loud, much to the dismay of my husband sleeping next to me.  And towards the end of the book, I even had tears in my eyes.  It’s just that I was completely immersed in their world. Nothing existed around me except Emi, Shiro and their story.

 

✮ An Unlikely Team:

Emi didn’t move as he stopped beside her and gazed down with those solid silver eyes. A shiver of fear ran down her spine.
Then he extended his hand to her.
“Today, we claim victory.” His ever-unreadable expression softened fractionally. “Well fought, Emi.”
Her breath caught. He had actually called her by name. She managed an exhausted smile as she reached up to take his hand. – Yumei

A kitsune, a Tengu and a mortal girl.  They couldn’t be more different if they tried.  Yet Shiro, Yumei and Emi made an unlikely but strong team. It took them a while to get there, but I loved watching their journey.  I loved each trial that pushed them closer together, that had them working as a team.  They had to find trust.  They had to have hope.  And I loved that they made me laugh at times.  We added two more to this group, as the story progressed, and I loved seeing how it all played out.

 

✮ A Great Love That Can’t Be, Yet I Still Hold Out Hope:

“Say the words, Emi,” he breathed. “Tell me you don’t want me.”
Eyes wide, she trembled, unable to speak, unable to think. He was telling her what to say, but she couldn’t say it. She didn’t want to.
“Shiro.” She wasn’t sure what she’d intended to say, but his name came out in a pleading whisper and even she could hear the longing in it.
That was all the answer he needed.

Throughout Red Winter, Shiro and Emi had been through so many trials and tribulations that it all felt so effortless for them to help each other now. Their relationship progressed and the trust that was there was built on a solid foundation.  And even though Shiro and Emi weren’t together, because they couldn’t risk the future, it still all felt so monumental.  What they sacrificed for each other.  The lengths they would go to protect one another.  It was beautiful.  Plus their their banter was fabulous.  I kept hoping for their HEA, but with the revelations in this book, my heart will keep trying to find hope.

 

✮ A Heroine We Can Respect:

His hand closed on her sleeve. “You have to run.”
“Not without you. Get up, Shiro.”
“Emi …” His eyes lost focus entirely and his eyelids drooped.
As she sucked in a panicked gasp, she realized how slow his breathing was. “Get up, Shiro!”

Emi was given an impossible task from Amaterasu.  She was to find the other Kunitsukami, the earthly gods, and free them since Izanami had imprisoned them.  On top of that, she had to fight for others to believe her.  To trust her and her judgement.  And I loved how she earned allies and others respect.  I loved that she refused to back down and that she found her voice.  And I loved that she stood up for what she thought was right.  Emi was brave, fierce and I was so proud of her and for how much she grew!

 

✮ A Hero I Love:

“I don’t know how I’ll feel about anything when my memories return.” His arms tightened around her. “But I know I fear losing you more than anything that might befall me.”
Tears stung her eyes. “Shiro …”
He would lose her no matter what. She was destined to die, to be consumed by Amaterasu in only a few short weeks.

Even though Shiro’s past and memories were still bound, he always felt larger than life to me.  Shiro was oh so cocky and I loved the fire inside of him.  He could be fierce and lethal when he needed to be.  And I loved how he was always protective of Emi.  His actions and intent always showed he cared.  Plus there were so many little details that tugged at my heart…..like I adored that he called her little miko, and I loved when he called her Emi, since it was so rare.  Shiro continued to capture my heart.

From within the shadows of his gaze, something ancient looked out at her, something wise and cunning and dangerous. Something that whispered to her and called to her soul.

With snowy, winter vibes and magical places that set the scene, I absolutely loved this second book!  And while there was a huge revelation, that I guessed in the first book, there were so many aspects to this story that kept me on my toes.  These characters have my heart and even though I didn’t talk about him above, I love Yumei.  Yumei was still brutal, harsh and seemed to have no remorse at times.  Yet he captured a piece of mind heart too.  I couldn’t wait to see what happened in the final book, and I’m so thankful I was able to drive right in.  And just in case you can’t tell, I definitely recommend this series!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Red Winter
   #1
Review:

Jen

Dark Tempest #2
Reviews:

Jen
 
Immortal Fire   #3
Reviews:

Jen
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