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!

ARC Review: The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Review

Title: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Author: Kiersten White

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Science-Fiction/

Release Date: September 25th, 2018


Synopsis: Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

My thoughts

This novel follows the point of view of Elizabeth, an orphan adopted into the Frankenstein household as a caretaker and friend for the young Victor Frankenstein. Afraid of being cast back out of the fortunate luck she came into, Elizabeth molds herself into the person she believes she is needed to be. Tasked with the mission of keeping young Victor out of trouble, Elizabeth learns all the necessary actions needed to soothe and keep Victor calm and out of trouble. When Victor goes away to school, Elizabeth is worried her place in the Frankenstein household will no longer be needed. Desperate to get her Victor back, Elizabeth sets out on a journey that sets forth a series of events that will change the life of Elizabeth and all she knows.

I really enjoyed this retelling of Frankenstein! Elizabeth was such an amazingly complex protagonist. Manipulative, clever, adaptable, and sure that to have a place in the world and not be forgotten, she must have someone who needs her.

“If I could have worn nothing but my slips, I would have. But clothes were part of the role I played, And I never stepped out of character where they could see me.”

Enter Victor Frankenstein. Beyond intelligent, curious, and often times terrifying, Elizabeth is the only one who understands him. She is his and He is hers. Even when Victor is doing truly horrific acts, Elizabeth turns the other cheek so afraid of losing the one who needs her and in turn, losing her place in the world.

“I had accused Victor of creating a monster, but I had done the same.”

The scenes are painted so vividly it felt as if I were there in the 18th century England alongside Elizabeth. This was a creepy, twisted, DARK tale that I did not want to end! What an excellent way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein!

5 out of 5 stars

Interested in pre-ordering? This is set to be released in September!

Click here to pre-order on Amazon!

Click here to pre-order on Barnes & Noble!

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

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

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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

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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

Review: Illusion by Stephanie Elmas

Review

Synopsis: London, 1873.

Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck.  Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.

Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.  Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.

During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love.

Will he and Walter come to her rescue?

Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst.  Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara.

That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life. With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…

Filled with mystery, magic and larger than life characters, Illusion will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My thoughtsStephanie Elmas is a wonderful world builder. From the very start she captures the essence of life in London in the late 1800’s. Starting a bit slowly, this story quickly enthralls you and is hard to put down. With magic, mystery, captivating characters, and a hateful villain, I found this to be an overall fun read and fans of magic and historical fiction will enjoy this.

4 out of 5 stars

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

Review: Blind The Eyes

Review

Blind the Eyes by K.A. Wiggins is a YA/Fantasy novel and the first in the Thread of Dreams series.

Synopsis: In a world where hope kills and dreams are deadly, obedience is the only way to survive. But when one girl learns her society’s absolute control and guarantee of safety are both illusions, she risks her hard-won status, her home and her life to rebel and expose its lies.

When haunted teen Cole discovers the state’s guarantee of safety from the nightmarish Mara in exchange for obedience is a fraud, she realizes hers isn’t the only life at stake. Cole needs allies to help her escape execution by nightmare and expose the lies. Now, with a ghost at her back, enforcers in pursuit, and a charismatic rebel leader gaslighting her, Cole must figure out who to trust to bring down the state and stop the dying before the nightmares eat her alive.

A YA dark fantasy about identity, trauma & taking back your choices. Ghosts and world-monsters in post-eco-disaster Vancouver.

My thoughts

I really wanted to like this book! I thought the cover was awesome and the plot summary seemed very intriguing-however, I just could not get into this book. I found myself getting confused as to what was happening more often than not and had to go back and re-read portions to try and figure out what was going on. Along with the very complicated story line, I also had a strong disliking towards the main character, Cole.  The authors writing style is very visual and different, I loved that she created such a unique world. I feel I would’ve enjoyed this more if it wasn’t so confusing so with that I’ve rated this 3 out of 5 stars.

3 stasr

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

Review: Shadow Of The Fox by Julie Kagawa

Review

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa is a YA Fantasy novel and the first in The Shadow Of The Fox series.

16 year old Yumeko, a half human, half-kitsune (fox shapeshifter), has lived at a remote temple her whole life. Raised by the monks who reside there, Yumeko has led a sheltered life learning to control her kitsune abilities and keep those abilities a secret. When the temple is attacked for a part of a scroll that holds the power to call forth the powerful Kami Dragon, Yumeko must flee so the scroll does not fall into the wrong hands. Whilst escaping her burning home she runs into Tatsumi, a member of the Shadow Clan, known also as The Demonslayer. On a quest to retrieve the very scroll that is in Yumeko’s possession, he agrees to accompany her to the Steel Feather Shrine, where she leads him to believe the scroll was sent. Joined along the way by a disgraced samurai ronin and a nobleman, the motley crew embark on an epic quest full of demons, giant centipedes, and other terrible creatures from Japanese folklore.

My thoughts

This book was delightful! Geez! I stayed up till 2 in the morning reading it and had to force myself to put it down for the night just to devour the rest of it when I woke up. Now I’m mad I read it so fast because it was so good and I don’t want to wait for the sequel. Wah. Full of magic, mayhem, and ahmazing folklore, Julie Kagawa created a beautifully intricate world that was so fun to get lost in. I loved it❤️️

5 out of 5 stars

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

Shadow of the Fox is set to be released October 2nd!

Interested in pre-ordering?

Click here to pre-order on Amazon!

Click here to pre-order on Barnes & Noble!

Review: Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin

Review

Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin is a Mystery/thriller novel and the first in the Wolfe Security series.

When a murderer escapes a high security prison and starts targeting those responsible for putting him away, defense attorney Brynn Holloran is shocked to hear the man she’d helped convict 3 years ago could be potentially coming for her as well. As a result, Brynn’s boss hires a team of security to tag along with her and a fellow colleague as they head to Dallas for the biggest case of Brynn’s career. Not one for being told what to do, headstrong Brynn is making it difficult for the head of her security detail, former marine and secret service agent, Erik Morgan. With her life on the line, Brynn will need to put aside her stubborness and learn to trust Erik and his team to do their job and keep her safe as truths begin to unravel and the murderer begins checking off people on his list.

My thoughts

This was such a gripping story! It started out a bit slow but pulled you in once it started to get momentum. I don’t read many mystery/thrillers because I get easily freaked out and for some reason I started reading this at night when everyone was asleep (🤷) . Foolish, foolish me. With shocking events happening at every corner, this book had me on the edge of my seat (er, bed?) right up until that INSANE twist at the end!

4 out of 5 stars

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

Interested in starting this series? Desperate Girls is set to be released August 7th!

Pre-order here on Amazon!

Pre-order here on Barnes & Noble!

 

Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Review

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory is a contemporary romance.

When Nikole’s casual boyfriend of only 5 months proposes to her front of a stadium full of people, she is shocked. Not only had this come out of the blue but he spelled her name wrong on the proposal! When Nikole turns down the proposal, things begin to turn a bit ugly in the crowd. Watching the event from a few rows back, Carlos and his sister decide to swoop in and rescue Nikole before reporters can descend on her. Thus beginning the friendship between Carlos and Nikole.

Nikole, looking for a rebound to come back from that awful proposal, and Carlos who is too busy with family and work to have any kind of serious relationship, decide that since they’re both on the same page they can be in a friends-with-benefits type of deal. What could possibly go wrong with that? (😉)My thoughts

This was a light, fun romance. Full of diverse characters, hilarious dialog, great feminism, and excellent, yummy food. I did not read The Wedding Date and about halfway through I had a feeling that this story was a sort-of-not-quite sequel to that so I looked up The Wedding Date and I was right! Now I want to go read it also!

I laughed, I cried, I loved it! Aw! Such a feel-good story❤️️.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received access to this galley for free through the First to Read program. *

Interested in reading?

It’s set to be released on September 4th!

Click here to pre-order on Amazon!

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