Review: A Heart So Fierce & Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.”

REVIEW:

A Heart So Fierce & Broken is the second book in the Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer. I absolutely loved A Curse So Dark & Lonely so I was excited to pick up this book. This is the second book in the series, so there will be a few spoilers. Proceed with caution.

This book picks up with the big reveal of Grey being the missing heir. The kingdom of Emberfall has been thrown into chaos. The curse has been broken, the “monster” is now gone, but a civil war is brewing over the missing heir. There is also discourse over the kingdom of Disi. Princess Harper promised (non-existent) troops and the people grow leery of this promise. Grey must come to terms with his new status, and make the ultimate decision about the future of Emberfall.

Okay, so I didn’t love this book which was really frustrating. First, let’s talk about the things I liked. The pacing is great in this book, even though I didn’t really love it, the plot really moved. I liked learning more about the kingdom of Emberfall and the addition of characters from the kingdom of Sylh Shallow. I also enjoyed the relationship between Lia Mara and her sister.

Now, let’s get to the parts that I didn’t enjoy. The thing I loved about A Curse So Dark & Lonely was Harper and she is nowhere to be found. The book mainly alternates between Grey and Lia Mara’s points of view, which makes sense since this is more Grey’s book. I just figured that there would be some chapters with her, involving what was happening in Emberfall. I also felt that this book shoved Rhen back to the starting point. All the character growth shown in the first book was completely lost. I guess my struggle was that it felt like this book had no point. They spent the whole book traveling, and Grey was so lost personally that it felt like the character just lost his voice. I still feel like I don’t understand why Grey wants the throne. With the epilogue reveal, it feels like we are just back to the very start of the series which I don’t love.

Overall, this book was a disappointment, so much so that I considered not finishing it. It is a testament to Kemmerer’s writing that I was compelled to finish. I’m still going to pick up the last book in the series because I need to know how Harper’s story ends.

RATING: 3/5

Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide”

REVIEW:

This book has been sitting on my TBR for awhile but I finally picked it up. Where Dreams Descend is different from anything I’ve read recently. This book gives Phantom of the Opera and Night Circus vibes.

Where Dreams Descend is told from three points of view, Kallia, Jack, and Demarco. Kallia is a showgirl and powerful magician. She has been performing at the Hellfire House, a mysterious venue run by Jack. Kallia doesn’t really know much of her past and a lot of her present life has been a lie. Jack is Kallia’s teacher, magician, and captor. He often tells her it is for her own good that he keeps her trapped at the Hellfire House, but never gives any answers. Demarco is a former magician with a tragic past. He is seeking answers to his own personal tragedy when his and Kallia’s lives begin to intertwine.

I love the concept behind this book and the idea that magicians have real magic. Kallia is a compelling heroine, who is easy to root for as the world tries to break her down. I think the relationships in this book are very interesting. With Demarco, Kallia has found someone who really understands her. Her relationship with Jack is very twisted, he is both her captor and her teacher. She does have this strange pull to him, that can’t be ignored.

I really liked this book and it is incredibly compelling and interesting. I also think this book is too mysterious. We aren’t really given any info about this world, kept in the dark like Kallia. My problem with Where Dreams Descend is that I still don’t really understand how the world works, how the magic works, or what is really going on. The fact that this book is still incredibly compelling and I couldn’t put it down is a testament to the writing. By the end of this book, the mystery has only deepened and ends with a completely crazy cliffhanger.

I’m excited to see what the next book reveals, and hopefully, a lot of my questions are answered because I have a lot of them.

RATING: 4/5

Review: Daughter Of Smoke & Bone By Laini Taylor

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?”

REVIEW:

So even though this series turned 10 years old recently, I had just discovered it. I was strolling through my bookstore when I happened to stumble upon it. Needless to say I completely loved this book, and I am so excited to see where this series goes.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a bit hard to explain because the mystery of the world and what is going on is slowly revealed and explained to the reader throughout the book. Our heroine is Karou, she doesn’t really know where she came from; she goes on mysterious errands, deals in actual wishes, and interacts with “monsters” daily. Her life is turned upside down when she meets Akiva. Drawn to each other almost immediately, secrets are revealed that change everything about the world that Karou thought she knew.

I don’t want to reveal too much because one of the things I loved about this book was letting all the mysteries play out. I loved that as a reader you are just as much in the dark as Karou, you discover everything as she does. I loved the whole world that was built in this book, and the magic involved. You have our recognizable world, and then the incredible second world of the Seraphim and the Chimera. Taylor does an excellent job showing and building both of these worlds. They feel wholly original, and like nothing I’ve read in awhile. This book was also surprisingly romantic which I wasn’t expecting, but enjoyed that added layer to the story and relationships.

I honestly cannot recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone enough. I loved every minute of reading it, and was completely sucked in. If you are looking for a new fantasy series definitely check this one out. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

RATING: 5/5

Review: Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.”

REVIEW:

I keep bouncing between 3 and 4 stars for this book. Overall, I enjoyed it. I think the mythology and concept of this book are amazing. I loved learning about the Bone Criers and their beliefs and practices. What makes me hesitate between 3 and 4 stars is that I never really got sucked into this book. I’m not even quite sure what held me back, because it is such an original idea.

The novel is told from 3 perspectives; Sabine, Bastien, and Ailesse. I enjoyed the alternating POVs and it made the pacing better. Sabine’s chapters could get frustrating because I felt like she was running around in circles for most of the book. I also wish that time didn’t jump so fast. Bone Criers are tied to the moon. So important things happen on new and full moons, but all of the action happens on those nights and not much in between, even though weeks pass. I felt like it would have flushed out the romance a bit more between Bastien and Ailesse. I also think it would also have made Sabine’s chapters feel less chaotic.

Bone Crier’s Moon gets points for strong female friendship that doesn’t disappear the minute the love interest is introduced. There was a twist towards the end of this book that surprised me and sets up such an interesting dynamic in the next book. 

Overall, I think you should check this out if you are looking for something a little different. The mythology and world building are excellent and where this book leaves off makes me excited for the sequel.

RATING: 3.5/5

Have you read Bone Crier’s Moon? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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March Releases to Get Excited About!

March is almost here and that means more new books! February was a tough month for me mental health wise, and books were really there to save the day. I’m happy to be back updating this blog and talking about the books I can’t wait to read.

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo (March 30, 2021)

“The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology”

This is probably the book I am most excited for in March. I love the Grishaverse and Nikolai is my favorite character. (Also super excited for the Shadow and Bone series coming to Netflix.) I think I’ll have to try and squeeze in a reread so that I’m fully prepared for this book.

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai (March 16, 2021)

Even with a step-by-step plan, these fake fiancés might accidentally fall for each other in this hilarious, heartfelt romantic comedy from the author of The Marriage Game.”

So this was my Book of the Month choice for January and I absolutely loved it. I really loved every minute of this book as I read it. I highly recommend this book if you are a romance novel lover like myself. You can check out my full review here! Also look at the gorgeous cover. We need more purple book covers in this world.

Namesake (Fable #2) by Adrienne Young (March 16, 2021)

“Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.”

One of these days I will get around to reading Fable. I keep hearing such amazing things about it, and with the release of the second part right around the corner I won’t have to even wait. Again, another absolutely gorgeous cover.

Bone Crier’s Dawn (Bone Grace #2) by Kathryn Purdie (March 30, 2021)

Ailesse and her friends change the afterlife in the gripping conclusion to the fantasy duology that began with Bone Crier’s Moon from New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Purdie–perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Roshani Chokshi.

I actually just recently finished Bone Crier’s Moon, the first part in this duology. (I’ll have a review up soon.) I enjoyed the mythology of this book and it felt very different from anything I had read recently. It also left off in a really exciting way to lead into this next part. I’m excited to see where this story goes and how it ends.

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley (March 9, 2021)

“In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.”

This one sounds super interesting and has a lot of promise. I always love stand-alone fantasy books. (Not everything needs to be a trilogy!) It is a slow burn romance, so what’s not to love about this book.

So now you can add all of these to you TBR list! What release are you most excited about?

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Review: City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?”

REVIEW:

I wasn’t super excited to read City of Glass since I didn’t enjoy City of Ashes, but I wanted to push forward with the series. The thing about these books is that I really like the Shadowhunter world, I’m just constantly annoyed by Clary and Jace.

Clary and Jace annoy me so much. No one can possibly understand either of them, and no one is right but them. With this book starting out with Jace making the decision to leave before Clary has a chance to come to Alicante, and Clary making the decision to just ignore everything and make her own portal; I wanted to slam my head against a wall. They are both so selfish, it is honestly incredible. I thought that a big portion of this book was going to be about saving Clary’s mom. Yet, the author made the decision for all of that to happen off-screen which was baffling.

More incest which is wonderful, for the ultimate reveal that “jk guys, they aren’t siblings I would never do that”. I knew going into this series that there was the incest fake out, I just didn’t think it would be three books worth. But don’t worry, Clary still kissed her actually brother. Are we sure Simon isn’t related to her? Since she kissed him too. I probably liked this book the most out of the first three of the Mortal Instruments series, but that’s not too hard. I think this book had the best forward motion, though someone really needs to make an attempt at training Clary. The Shadowhunter history is fascinating, and learning more about that world was a strong point of these books.

I’m glad I went with the reading order that Cassandra Clare recommends because I don’t think I could read more about Clary and Jace right now.

RATING: 2.5/3

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Review: The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head…”

REVIEW:

I was excited to dive back into the Luxen world. I always get completely sucked into Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books even if sometimes they are somewhat predictable. The Darkest Star hit a lot of the same beats as Obsidian (The first book in the Lux series), but I still enjoyed it.

The Darkest Star is set 4 years after the events of the Lux series. It was interesting to see how the world has changed since the big Lux invasion and the trauma the world as a whole is dealing with since everything changed. I figured out the big twist involving Evie pretty early on, but still enjoyed how it was handled. I also felt like the ending was kinda blah. We had this big and suspenseful build-up and then just nothing. Obviously, the book is setting up for the series to come but I wish the ending had built to a better climax. I also grew frustrated with the running pattern of someone sitting down with Evie, telling her a bunch of things, then something big happens, so they sit Evie down again and tell her okay we didn’t tell you everything before so here is more of an info dump. After it happened like 3 times, I was just annoyed because it felt lazy.

I also enjoyed the little peeks at what Katy, Daemon, and Archer were doing sprinkled throughout the novel. There is a part of me that hopes they will have a bigger role to play further in the series.

Overall, I enjoyed The Darkest Star. It is a great edition to the Lux series and I’m excited to see what happens to this new cast of characters.

RATING: 3/5

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WWW Wednesday – January 13th, 2021

It’s Wednesday which means another WWW Wednesday. I’m answering the three questions below. Let me know your answers in the comments or share on your own blog!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Fire Falling by Elise Kova (Book #2 in the Air Awakens series). Super excited to see what happens next in this series. It has similar vibes to the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. So if you are looking for something to fill that hole, I recommend this series.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. It was my January choice for Book of the Month and an early release. It goes on sale to the general public in March. I absolutely loved this book. It was exactly what I needed to start off the year, and a distraction from the chaos of the first week of January. I definitely recommend this book!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think my next read will probably be The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It is a spinoff of The Lux series, which I finished last year. I’m excited to see where this spinoff series goes. Honestly, though my mood has been all over the place so far this January and I haven’t really been able to stick to the books I’ve been picking.

Have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading?

Let me know in the comments!

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Review: City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?”

REVIEW:

Alright, I have to be honest it was a real struggle to read and finish City of Ashes. I think the flow was much better than City of Bones, but overall I just didn’t like this book.

Jace is not a likeable character, and look I know that these first three books are largely based off a Harry Potter fanfiction that Cassandra Clare wrote. That Jace was Draco, but here’s the thing Draco wasn’t the romantic lead. I just have a big problem with him in general. I don’t really understand how no one has taken Clary under their wing and started training her. Like obviously, there are much bigger things happening in the world with Valentine wanting to start a war; however Clary keeps involving herself in these issues. It would probably be helpful if she knew a bit more about fighting and the Shadowhunter world. Also, there were too many Simon is dead fake outs in this book.

Let’s get to the real problem though…it’s the incest! Everyone is under the impression that Clary and Jace are siblings. It has been revealed at the end of the previous book. Obviously, it is a bit awkward them having kissed prior, but we can write that off. We can’t write them off making out in the fairy kingdom, super gross. The absolute biggest problem I had though was in an honest conversation that Clary is having with Luke about his relationship with her mother, she thinks “I do still love Jace, damn society I’m going to be with him anyway.” She then runs to Jace to declare her feelings, when Jace tells her, “We are brother and sister. We can’t do this.” Cassandra Clare, are you implying that I should also feel devastated along with Clary? Because that’s what the tone of this book suggests, and I really absolutely hate it.

Look, I straight up didn’t like this book and honestly I’m really hoping that it gets better from here. I knew about the faux incest plot going into this series, but I didn’t think there would be this much emphasis on it, my mistake. I’m going to power through this next book and hopefully we start to see some improvement.

RATING: 1/5

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WWW Wednesday – January 6, 2021

Happy New Year! It is the first Wednesday of the new year, which means another WWW Wednesday. I’m answering the three questions below. Let me know your answers in the comments or share on your own blog!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Dark Harmony by Laura Thalassa. It is the third book in the Bargainer Series. I am completely loving this series! It is a fantasy romance, so I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for their next read after From Blood & Ash or the ACOTAR series.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu. This was the first Shadowhunters novel I actually really enjoyed. I had some issues with the first three Mortal Instruments novels. This book didn’t focus on Clary and Jace which is probably why I enjoyed it. I’ve been reading the Shadowhunters novels in the order that Cassandra Clare suggests, which gave a nice break from the Mortal Instruments series. I plan on taking a break from the Shadowhunters novels for all of January, but we will see if that changes.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My next read will be Fable by Adrienne Young. I’m super excited to read this book! It has been all over bookstagram, and I’ve heard so many wonderful things. Also I’m obsessed with the book cover. It is absolutely stunning. I received it for Christmas and I hope it lives up to the hype!

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought!

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