Review: Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Review

Title: Fire & Heist

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Synopsis: “In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.”

My thoughts (1)

Sky Hawkins: popular, rich, and were-dragon.

Then her mom disappears while doing a heist. And failing a heist is the ultimate dishonor for a Wyvern. Suddenly becoming a public pariah, Sky loses her friends, popularity, and gets publicly dumped by her boyfriend. When she hatches a scheme to reclaim their honor and get back their status and her mother, she is quickly shot down by her dad and brothers at the risk of being exiled from the Wyvern community.

“I understood that they said no- and that I was saying yes. I was stealing that jewel, reclaiming our family honor, and finding mom. And I was doing it without them.”

Not taking no for an answer, Sky sets forth with her heist, handpicking a crew to help her including new human friend Gabriella.

“Really hadn’t expected this reaction to asking a friend to engage in illegal activities, even if magic was involved.”

Ready to accomplish her first heist, Sky instead uncovers a secret that will change the world as she knows it.

This book was so fun! Dragons, magic, HEISTS. Focusing on family, friendships, and self-empowerment, Fire & Heist was a delightful read that I devoured quickly. I loved the authors voice and found myself laughing out loud multiple times. This novel was action packed with plenty of humor and family drama as well as a small side of romance. I enjoyed this standalone novel- just wish it could’ve been a bit longer and further explored the were-dragon realm.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Review

Title: Dance of Thieves

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre: YA/ Fantasy

Series: Dance of Thieves #1

Release Date:August 7th 2018


Synopsis:A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.”

My thoughts (1)

Told from the POVs of the two main characters, Kazi and Jase, Dance of Thieves was a riveting tale that captured my full attention from the very first page. Kazi is a fierce, badass female. Going from a street thief to an employee of the Queen, Kazi and her two equally fierce comrades, Wren and Sonave, are sent on a top secret mission to find a fugitive believed to be in hiding in the mysterious lands of the Ballengers.

Following his fathers untimely death, Jase Ballenger is the newly appointed leader. Proud, powerful, and ready to lead his people, Jase and Kazi find themselves thrust together in an unexpected turn of events.

“This was more than an unexpected turn. It was an unchecked slide into hell.”

I know I say how I dislike insta-love but I honestly adored Jase and Kazi’s relationship and they must be protected at all costs. They were both flawed individuals with secrets and secret agendas but I LOVED THEM OK. They are my precious.

“I do want tomorrows with you, Jase. I want a lifetime of tomorrows.”

I am often weary when reading a novel that takes place in a universe from a series/book I have not yet read, mostly because I always find myself getting completely confused with characters, events, places, etc… With Dance of Thieves, this was not the case at all. Mary Pearson delivers the layout of this novel wonderfully, describing events that had previously occurred in just enough detail as to not be overwhelming and instead focusing on new events occurring and new characters being brought into this world.

And oh lordy, that ending tho

I will say I’m kicking myself for not reading the Remnant Chronicles and have made it a priority to promptly purchase the 3 books and immerse myself into the world once more while I impatiently await the next book ( Vow of Thieves ) in this series to arrive ( September 2019 ).

This was a 5 out of 5 stars read! I completely loved it and have a feeling it is going to send me into a very painful book hangover.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: The Black Witch By Laurie Forest

Review

Title: The Black Witch

Author: Laurie Forest

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Book in Series: #1 in The Black Witch Chronicles


Synopsis:A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.”

“Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.”

My thoughts (1)

The Black Witch follows Elloren Gardner attending a university to fulfill a dream she never thought possible rather than being married off to an unknown suitor as is the custom of the Gardnerians. Starting out, Elloren has firm beliefs on what is righteous and what is evil based on all the stories she has been taught growing up, but as the story ventures on and Elloren finds herself rooming with some of the supposed evil, she soon learns that everyone has their own side of the story and everything that has been drilled into her mind is very much biased as it is the side of the Gardnerians she has only heard.

.

Like many typical fantasy worlds, you have the usual characters( wolf shifters, witches, dragons) but we are also introduced to other characters(yikes, snake faerie sounds crazy!). Set in an intricately built world, most of the story takes place at the University Elloran is attending with all sorts of characters and sub-plots introduced. I am eager to read the next in the series in hopes of wrapping up some of these said sub-plots. Elloran starts out as a naive sheltered young woman but as the story progresses her arc really takes off with her realizing how naive and sheltered she is (albeit, a biiiiit slooooowly) and attempting to fix the wrongs she committed. This is a dark fantasy with plenty of action, magic, a grand prophecy, and a bit of a slow-burning romance as well.

Okay you guys listen I’ve heard/read a bunch of opinions that people have regarding this book and so with that I just want to say that I enjoyed reading this(well, as much as one can enjoy reading about prejudice and the narrow-mindedness of people) and I am looking forward to reading The Iron Flower. It is no easy feat to write a novel revolving around so much hatred and injustice, but I felt Laurie Forest delivered it well. If you took this writing as the author promoting racism, then, um did we read the same book?

“People see what they expect to see,” he says sharply. “Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice.”

I’ve rated this 4 out of 5 stars because as much I enjoyed this, I felt it was a bit longer than it needed to be(600 pages) however, when I was reading it I was unaware it was 600 until I finished. So it was a very long book that felt long but I don’t think it felt like 600  pages long if that makes sense.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Review

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1


Synopsis: “Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.”


My thoughts (1)

Wowee, wowee, wowee. Okay, once again I’m a bit late to a very popular series and author. A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first novel I’ve read by Sarah J Maas but it is most definitely not going to be the last(thankfully she has tons of books out) I’ve been putting off reading ACOTAR for a very long time and finally caved because I felt like it was just staring me down on my bookshelf. Read me,it begged. So I did. All of the book. In one day. Well, more like in half a day. YOLO

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.” 

Feyre is tasked with the care of her family; her father and her two sisters. While out hunting one evening, Feyre happens upon a deer. But she is not the only one hunting. A giant wolf is also out prowling for dinner and she decides to not only shoot the deer but also the wolf. But killing comes with a price and Feyre must pay. Thus, sets forth a series of events that lead to Feyre being swept away to Prythian, the Faerie realm. Upon arriving in Prythian, Feyre comes to the realization that there is more going on in this magical realm than the humans are aware of. A curse, magic going berserk, and creatures far more evil than the Faeries.

“I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.” 

I got some very serious Beauty and the Beast vibes from this and I loved it❤️️. Feyre is a total badass and only annoyed me a couple of times(lol), specifically in the beginning. I loved Tamlin and Lucien and all the other side characters(except Nesta) BUT. but, I am not the biggest fan of insta-love🤷 It wasn’t necessarily instant but just seemed to happen a bit quickly considering all that was going on. There is a lot going on in this besides love though! Magic! Evil, scary monsters! Fighting! CURSES! Just all around awesome! I am so excited to move onto A Court of Mist and Fury now😍

5 out of 5 stars

Review: Head Case by Niki Cluff

Review

Title: Head Case

Author: Niki Cluff

Genre: Teen/YA, Sci-Fi

Release Date: September 14th, 2018


Synopsis: “Allyson has been in a coma for the last nine months. What’s worse, she can hear everything the doctors say. She knows they’re keeping her in a coma and that she’s at the mercy of the hospital’s First-in-Human trial—a VR system implanted in her brain for a second chance at life.
Attached to the VR, Ally discovers worlds unlike home. She can do whatever she wants, but she misses her parents. With help from Harrison, a rabbit-eared boy, they work together to free themselves from Aishwarya, the mad queen of the world. But when Harrison wakes up and doesn’t come for Ally, she’ll split her soul to the brink of death to save herself.”

When Allyson is being forcefully kept in a coma for the benefit of the hospital, all she can do is lie there and listen to what is going on around her. Unable to tell her worried parents what is really happening, Ally is helpless as she overhears them agree to a decision that will place her in a new virtual reality program that’s for coma patients to participate in  which allows them to live a life, albeit a fake one. With no way of telling anyone what is really going on, Allyson is whisked away and undergoes a surgery to have a chip implanted in her.

“Welcome to your simulated world. Would you like to play the tutorial?”

Upon her arrival in the new virtual world, Ally is introduced to many other players. Among them are Chester, a cat-like mischievous boy and a rabbit-eared Harrison who Ally can’t help but feel like she knows. When the self-proclaimed red queen of this new world meets Ally, Ally discovers this world is not the safe haven it appears to be and that although the world is fake in many aspects, some consequences can be very real.

This was a really fun book to read! I was not expecting it to be a spin on the classic Alice in Wonderland but was pleasantly surprised. Ally is a great protagonist, real and likable and the side characters were great also. I wish the character development could have gone a bit more into depth, specifically, Ally’s hacking skills. I feel it would’ve really added to the story. The pacing was a bit all over with it being slow, then quick, then just right. However, the setting of the virtual world was described very realistically and Niki’s writing is vivid and thorough. I loved the ending and with that cliffhanger I am hoping for a sequel!

*I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Thank you Niki for the opportunity to read this!

4 out of 5 stars

where2buy

Click here to buy on Amazon

ARC Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Review

Title: Phoenix Unbound

Author: Grace Draven

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Series: Book #1 in The Fallen Empire

Release Date: September 25th, 2018


Synopsis:  “A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.

My thoughts

Oh. My. Gaaaaaaawd. What a frikkin great book and great start to a series! Grace Draven is an author I am definitely going to be looking into more. I was drawn in from the very beginning and completely and totally adored this book. The two main characters are Gilene, a fire witch, and Azarion, the prime gladiator of the Empire. Both Gilene and Azarion are such wonderfully developed characters. It was so great watching their growth throughtout the novel. Both have endured such hardships but still remain such beautiful characters.

There is vengeance, and there is justice.” She said repeating Gilene’s words. “This is both.”

Gilene was seriously so amazing and everything I love in a heroine. Fierce and brave, she was my favorite part of the whole story (well her, and the enemy-turned-lover aspect of the story. Don’t judge me, I live for these kinds of tropes.) Besides romance, Phoenix Unbound has an abundant amount of action as well as a good amount of ghosts, magic, and revenge. Also, how GORGEOUS IS THAT COVER. I did not want this story to end. But alas, it did and now I will be not-so-patiently awaiting the next book in the series!

5 out of 5 stars

*I received access to this galley for free through the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review*

Interested? Phoenix Unbound is set to be released September 25th!

Click here to pre-order on Amazon!

Click here to pre-order on Barnes&Noble!

Review:Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Review

“And there’s nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.” 


Title: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Dark Fantasy/YA

Series: Book 1 in The Grisha Trilogy


Synopsis:  “Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.”

My thoughts

Okay, this is the first book by Leigh Bardugo that I’ve read and holy cow why have I put this off for so long??!! I’ve heard such rave reviews of Leigh’s Six of Crows duology as well as the Grisha trilogy so when I saw this book was only 4 dollars on amazon it was too good of a deal to pass up! I always get nervous reading books that are so hyped up because I don’t want to be let down if I end up not liking them, but thankfully this book is well worth the hype!

This was a truly excellent read and I couldn’t put it down. This novel has everything: well-developed characters, an impeccably built world, perfect pace, and an exceptional plot twist that shooketh me-shooketh to my very core😨 Alina is so relatable as our main character. She is witty, a bit naive, and flawed and just wants to find a place where she truly belongs. Mal (aw, Mal) is sweet, resilient, and a typically oblivious boy at times. And the Darkling, oh lordy, is well-dark😝 and you love to hate him. Ooh there’s just something about a bad boy 🤷

I ordered book #2 almost as soon as I started reading this because I knew I was going to love it. I very much recommend this! Yay for Leigh Bardugo! I can’t wait to read the Six of Crows duology next( yes I know I can’t believe I haven’t read that yet either🙈)

5 out of 5 stars

where2buy

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Review: Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Review

Title: Black Dawn

Author: Mallory McCartney

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Series: Black Dawn Book #1


Synopsis: “The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen.

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.”


My thoughts

I enjoyed the premise of this book and the cover of it is so pretty! I just wish it could have been a bit longer to better explain certain aspects. This is a very intricate world that I feel requires a touch more explaining. It is the first in the series so perhaps the next book will have more information. We are immediately dropped into this world and there are a lot of POV shifts that at times make it a tad bit difficult to follow and connect to what’s happening.  There is plenty of action, some romance, and fun fantasy that make it fairly enjoyable read despite the confusion I felt at times. Overall, I liked the book and will be looking out for the next in the series.

3 stasr

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*


where2buy

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Review: The Traitors Kiss by Erin Beaty

Review

“We each play several roles in life – that doesn’t make them all lies.”


Title: The Traitor’s Kiss

Author: Erin Beaty

Genre: Fantasy/ YA/ Romance

Series: Book 1 in The Traitor’s Circle


Synopsis:  Strong-willed Sage Fowler does not want to be married to someone she doesn’t love and has other plans about the way her life will go. When her uncle sets up an interview with the matchmaker in hopes of marrying her off to a wealthy family, it goes horrendously wrong and Sage is deemed unfit to marry, which is quite alright with her. Deciding to take Sage under her wing and make her an apprentice, the matchmaker, Mistress Rodelle, tasks Sage with the responsibility of setting up other young ladies into marriages for political alliances.

Alexander Quinn is a newly promoted Captain and after a failed scouting mission, Quinn’s father, the General, sees the perfect opportunity in teaching Alexander patience by tasking him with escorting a handful of ladies to the politically important matchmaking summit of the year. When Alexander learns of his new mission, he feels it is not a good use of his time but takes his new mission seriously in hopes of pleasing his father.  Intent on learning all he can about who he is traveling with, Captain Quinn sends Ash Carter to spy on the girls whilst pretending to be a carriage driver so as to remain under the radar. Sage is also being used by Mistress Rodelle to spy on the ladies and to spy on the soldiers accompanying them in hopes of learning any pertinent information for future matchmaking.

When the Captain finds out about Sage’s role with the ladies and her uncanny ability at deciphering truths, he decides to use her role among the women as an opportunity to gain information.  With a political unrest growing, Sage finds herself right in the middle of a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

My thoughts

What a great book! (And what a great cover!) I loved Sage and her feisty, witty, temperamental character and the slow-build relationship between her and Ash. And Oh. My. God. That plot twist got me good! I was sitting there thinking “wow why do I feel like I keep missing something important here?” and then BOOM! Plot twist slapped me right in the face and I felt pretty dumb for not catching it sooner. I love a good plot twist🤷 All the characters and the world they live in are built up so intricately it feels like you personally know each and every one and are right there with them. There is a great villain who you can’t help but truly hate (especially at the end, grrrrr ☹) I am eagerly awaiting the second book to get here so I can find out what happens next in our heroine’s journey!

5 out of 5 stars


where2buy

 Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Monthly New Releases, Uncategorized

Hello fellow book lovers! I know we’re already halfway through July(um, wait what??!) but I just wanted to create a quick list of some books I’m excited for that are set to be released later this month!

First book that I am excited for is Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart. I just pre-ordered it the other day and I can’t wait till it gets here! This book looks soooo good and I keep seeing it pop up on my bookstagram! The author has an awesome pre-order incentive going on right now as well! Pre-order before the release date ( July 31st) and you’ll be sent an enamel pin, a postcard with hand-lettered quote, book map poster, and a signed bookplate! But hurry, quantites are limited! Click here for more details!

The next two books I’m looking forward to are both written by Jane Washington! First, Strength ( which is the 4th book in The Curse of the Gods series and is co-written by the awesome Jaymin Eve) which is set to be released on July 20th. I loved this series! If you’ve never heard of it before check it out, all the books have high ratings, and for good reasons! Willa, the main character, is frikkin hilarious I love her. I’ve been not-so-patiently awaiting this release since inhaling the first 3 books and yay, it’s finally almost here! Jane’s next novel, I Am Grey is set to be released July 31st(so far only available to purchase as an e-book) and is a standalone and I want to read it soley because I love Jane (I mean that in the non-creepiest of ways).

Thirdly, any fans of Charlie Holmberg rejoice! Her new novel, Veins of Gold, is releasing July 17th (2 days away wooh!) I loved the Paper Magician series and this sounds like it’s going to be another great read! Historical fantasy and magic, oh my!

Fourthly, Sea Witch coming July 31st which is described as “Wicked meets The Little Mermaid in the captivating origin story of the sea’s most iconic villainess, perfect for fans of Heartless and Dorothy Must Die” and they had me at Wicked meets the Little Mermaid. I love a good origin story.

and Fifthly (are these even words??), Heart of Thorns! I have been seeing this one pop up on the good old bookstagram as well and if the cover doesn’t make you want it then the description will. Another July 31st release date, so far yet so close. *sigh*

What are some books you’re excited for?

Let me know in the comments I love hearing about new books!

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!

xo,xoJessica