House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

GoodReads Summary:
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
Review:
How do I even talk about this book? I’m undecided about whether or not I want to talk spoilers, so I shall start off spoiler-free and if I feel like I can’t get my thoughts across well enough I will clearly label when/if I start to talk about spoilers.
To start off, the world this is set in was a little confusing. It was unclear if it was supposed to be Earth in 15k years, and if it is Earth, are all of the continents in the same place? I was just a bit confused with the combination of fantasy with modern elements. Despite this, I really enjoyed the combination of fantasy and modern society. I thought it was really interesting to see modern technology within this fantasy world.
Let’s get into the characters. I loved Bryce. She’s a girl that presents herself in one way, a party girl. Everyone so easily believes that of her, underestimates her and I loved it. I loved her proving them all wrong. She loved fiercely and having lost her best friend, she’s just not okay. I adored her relationship with Danika. I loved the fledgling relationship with Connor and was totally devastated at their outcome. I loved how Danika’s journey was brought full circle.
Now, Hunt. He’s an interesting one. I feel like we didn’t get all of his history. We learned about his role in the Angel rebellion and I’m totally here for a man that fights for the right thing. I liked that he’s not perfect. Maas manages to write wonderfully damaged men that are so easy to love. I really enjoyed Bryce and Hunt getting to know one another past the party girl and the governor’s henchman.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I have a feeling the series is only going to get better (it seems to be the trend with Maas’s books.) I’m hoping she doesn’t follow the trend of changing the love interest because I really like Hunt and Bryce together. I thought the world was interesting and I’m excited to learn more about it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

GoodReads Summary:
A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.
A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.
A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.
Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I was a little worried when I got approved for this one. I don’t remember all that much from the first book, (Dark Shores) aside from the fact that I totally loved it. So, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to jump right into this one, but I saw on GoodReads that the author made a statement that Dark Shores and Dark Skies can be read interchangeably. I thought that was super interesting, so I just jumped right into this one.
We follow Lydia and Killian. They each have their own perspectives, which I loved. Lydia is a bookish girl who loves to learn. But when her future husband attempts to murder her, she finds herself on the other side of the world, a world that she thought was a myth. I loved Lydia because she was determined and strong, even when she didn’t feel like those things. She made a plan and did her best to see it through or make the best of any situation. She was clever and loyal to her loved ones. She did her best to learn as much as she could, about the world she was in and about herself.
Killian is a Marked One. This means he was chosen by a specific god, the God of War, and given abilities. He’s disgraced after losing an important battle, so he becomes the personal guard of the princess. Which means he’s dragged into her plot to overthrow her father. Killian is a good man, though his reputation may not say so. I really liked him.
Overall, I loved this book. It made me want to immediately reread Dark Shores. I loved the world and the characters. There was action and romance and drama. I loved it all. The stakes were high and only got higher. I loved the way the story was concluded. The ending was satisfying enough that I was eager for more of the story, but not annoyed that everything wasn’t solved. I am beyond excited about the characters from this book and the first book to meet. This is a must-read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
Nico had warned them. Going through the House of Hades would stir the demigods’ worst memories. Their ghosts would become restless. Nico may actually become a ghost if he has to shadow-travel with Reyna and Coach Hedge one more time. But that might be better than the alternative: allowing someone else to die, as Hades foretold.
Jason’s ghost is his mother, who abandoned him when he was little. He may not know how he is going to prove himself as a leader, but he does know that he will not break promises like she did. He will complete his line of the prophecy: To storm or fire the world must fall.
Reyna fears the ghosts of her ancestors, who radiate anger. But she can’t allow them to distract her from getting the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood before war breaks out between the Romans and Greeks. Will she have enough strength to succeed, especially with a deadly hunter on her trail?
Leo fears that his plan won’t work, that his friends might interfere. But there is no other way. All of them know that one of the Seven has to die in order to defeat Gaea, the Earth Mother.
Piper must learn to give herself over to fear. Only then will she be able to do her part at the end: utter a single word.
Heroes, gods, and monsters all have a role to play in the climactic fulfillment of the prophecy in The Blood of Olympus, the electrifying finale of the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.
The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)Review:
I cannot start this review any other way besides saying, WHAT THE F WAS THAT ENDING. I’m genuinely upset about the lack of reuniting with a certain friend group. To the point where I had to text Antonia and scream to her about it (with a context text to let me know I wasn’t talking about someone we knew in real life).
I really liked how everything was wrapped up with the big bad in this story. I thought the end result was full of action and drama. I loved the team that came together and ended up really loving one another, despite their many differences. I think Riordan is the king of lovable friend groups. I really liked how each of their stories ended (aside from the lack of the reuniting with on particular character that I mentioned above). They each made life-changing decisions and I really liked these choices.
I’m going to keep this review on the shorter side because I honestly feel like I’ve said everything and more in my previous four reviews. I love this series. I love these characters. I love Rick Riordan. I am very excited to keep reading his books. If you haven’t, start now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Review:
Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.
Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.
Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.
Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.
As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.
Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes, #3)Review:
This finale was incredible. It was for sure my favorite book in the series. Meira has lost and gained much. She trains and learns about herself. But loses many that she loves. Raasch really took “kill your babies” to a whole new level. There are not many fantasy books that can make me cry but this one did. This series was so well done all around. We get to see a bit of autumn and paisley. The two final places we haven’t seen much of. I liked the world-building. Each of the seasons and rhythms had their own customs and things that they valued. I thought that made each new place really interesting.
We also learn more about magic, though the end goal is to rid the world of magic. I thought the magic was really well explained and limits made clear.
I don’t want to say too much about the romance because spoilers. But like if you haven’t read this series or the first two books, maybe don’t read any further. I was so happy about the two characters that I shipped finally coming together. I’m always a sucker for childhood friends to lovers and this gave me everything I wanted.
Overall, I loved this series. And you will too. If you want angsty romance, a bit of a love triangle (but like a good one), interesting magic, and great world-building this series is one you need to read.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Review:
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes, #2)Review:
Meira is really coming into her own in this book. I really appreciated the development she went through. She starts off thinking she needs to act one way now that she knows she is winters queen. But as the book progresses, she realizes that she needs to be true to herself and her instincts too. I liked seeing her work on merging her behavior of how she thought she was supposed to act with what she felt was the right thing to do. Also, she is 100% a savage when it comes to starting shit. I love her.
Theron was my favorite in book one and now I hate him. But Raasch writes him in a way that most of his behaviors aren’t really his fault. Which I think is a cop-out. I just straight up don’t like him anymore.
I was sad in the last book when Mather sort of faded into the background so I loved that he got some of his own chapters in this book and I hope that continues in the third. I really like and respect him. There were some really touching moments where he’s trying to come to terms with most of his life being a lie, usually followed by some really terrible heartbreaking scenes. I definitely ship Meira and Mather.
I also have to mention Ceridwen, the summer princess. She’s fierce and always stands up for what she believes in. I really liked her relationship with Meira. The two brought good things out in one another. She suffers much in this book and I’m hopeful that things will get better for her in the final book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this sequel. I’m eager to start on the third and final book. Ice Like Fire is full of complex (but mostly well explained) magic. We get to see more of the world outside of winter and I thought the world-building was really well done. I loved visiting the other kingdoms and seeing how different they all were. There was also some great mystery left for us toward the end, which is what makes me so excited to finish my reread of this series. I also have to mention that the narrators for this book did such a great job telling the story. They really put emotion into the voices and scenes.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Summary:
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)Review:
This was a reread for me and I listened to the audiobook. I’m glad I chose the audio because it was so well done. I didn’t like Meira at first because she was annoying. Always asking to go for the dangerous missions, which I could understand her motivation. She wanted to be valuable for Winter, but she was more important than she knew. She grew and I really liked her growth.
The magic in this story is so interesting. I remember bits and pieces of what’s to come with the next books and it made me all the more excited to continue my reread. I think the magic (that we learn of in this first book) is explained well and has mostly clear boundaries. It makes sense within the world.
I don’t totally love the idea of the potential love triangle, but I’m also not super mad about it. The romance is very light in this first book, but I know it will go further in the next book and I’m excited for it.
I think the villain was a great one. He’s evil, but it’s also not totally his fault. I think he was a really well done bad guy.
Overall, I’m excited to continue my reread and I think this is a series that many will love.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

GoodReads Summary:
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)Review:
Hi, I loved this. That’s it. That’s the review.
Just kidding, but I do for some reason I find it harder to review books that I liked over books I didn’t.
I’ll start with the world. I was fascinated with this world. The concept of the Breaking and how it happened was a mystery that pulled me through the story. The need to know more about how this world came to be how it is was and how it might be fixed. I thought the world-building was so well done. This is a fantasy world, but I could still picture the places so vividly in my mind (which is something I’m usually pretty bad at). Chupeco has done such a great job describing this broken world.
The characters were certainly an interesting bunch. Let’s start with the twins, Haidee and Odessa. I really liked Haidee. She’s on the sun side of the world and wants to make positive changes, but her controlling mother doesn’t really make that easy. She meets Arjun and they go off on a dangerous mission together to learn more about how they might fix the world. I liked that they started off bickering and we got to see them learn to admire one another and then have that turn into more. I thought their relationship progressed naturally and not too fast. Odessa is a character I have mixed feelings about. I liked her at first, the sheltered goddess who loves someone she shouldn’t. But as they travel toward The Abyss she kind of loses her shit. She is influenced by gifts she’s given and changes dramatically. I really didn’t like her as she became more ruthless and paranoid. I did like that she pulled it together and did the right thing. But I didn’t like her for most of the book. Odessa is one half of a female/female romance. The other half is Lan. I liked Lan a lot. She’s damaged, but still very strong. I enjoyed seeing her overcome her past and working through it via talk therapy with a friend of hers. I liked the romance between Odessa and Lan at the start but stopped shipping them when Odessa started losing it.
The last thing I want to mention is the magic. The magic in this world was bizarre but also really well explained, which I always appreciate. It had limits and purposes. There were different kinds of Magic’s and I completely understood the gates and that part, I didn’t totally know everything about the abilities of The Devoted. It seemed like they all have different extents of abilities, but I don’t know if I missed it or if it just wasn’t talked about.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. I thought it was beautifully written. The mysteries were suspenseful and very intriguing. The characters were ones I cared about and felt strongly about (whether good or bad). The world was so well built and described. I will forever scream about Chupeco’s work because she is an incredible author and this book is just another great example of that.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

GoodReads Summary:
All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.
As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.
This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.
ReverieReview:
I picked up Reverie because the author will be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival. I’ve seen lots of promotion about this book before its release but never any actual reviews. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed this book.
Reverie was interesting and compelling. I thought it was incredibly unique and I couldn’t get enough. The main character Kane is dealing with memory loss and was honestly rather unlikable. But he grows, and his growth was really well done and I ended up liking him by the end of the story.
The concept of this book is that there are things called ‘reverie’s’ and Kane and his friends have abilities that keep them lucid and also allow them to keep the reveries from getting out of control. The reveries were a little confusing at first, but they were explained a bit better as the book went on. They’re essentially dreams that come from the subconscious. I’m still not totally sure how they come to be or why, but I’m not overly bothered by that.
Overall, this was a super enjoyable book. The writing was beautiful. The characters were interesting. I definitely am excited to meet the author and hear him speak. I will be recommending this one for sure.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

GoodReads Summary:
Find the heir, win the crown.
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.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
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.
In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)Review:
Let’s talk about disappointment friends. So, I flew through this story because Kemmerer is an incredible writer and can draw me into the story even if I don’t particularly care or like what I’m reading. So many books that I’ve read in the last few months have fallen into the trap of one of the sequels (sometimes the second and sometimes the third book) completely undoing the events of the previous book. It seems like Rhen just completely undoes all of the character development that we saw in the first book. He’s cruel and horrible, even after finding out the identity of the heir. I hated him and hated that Harper was staying with him.
The next biggest issue I had was that it really felt like…nothing happened? Like I said above, Kemmerer is an amazing writer, so the story is paced well and I never felt bored, but I finished the book and honestly wondered what the point of the book was being really nothing happened aside from the heir deciding he wanted to be the heir instead of hiding or dying.
Despite these issues, I still enjoyed reading it? I know that doesn’t make any sense. I liked Lia Mara. I liked that she could see what was wrong with her country and how things could be better if only things other than cruelty and viciousness were valued.
Overall, I’ll probably finish the series when the third book comes out, but I won’t have very high expectations.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Spellhacker by M.K. England

GoodReads Review:
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.
Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
No pressure.
SpellhackerReview:
After reading The Disasters last year, I was very excited about England’s 2020 release. I was even more excited to see that they will be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival.
Spellhacker was diverse and funny. It was full of found family and diverse characters overcoming hardships. I loved every page. The group we follow are friends that are all very different but love one another anyway. They come from different places and manage to make the best found family. That was one of the big differences between this and The Disasters. This friend group had a past and in England’s first book the friends were strangers when they met. I think the backstory of the characters and how they met was well done and believable. Their history wasn’t info-dumpy, rather it was given to us in bits and pieces at the perfect moments.
Diz was an interesting main character. There were times I really didn’t like her. The conflict between the friends somehow was simultaneously silly, but also very understandable. Some of the fights seemed totally blown out of proportion but then we would hear from another character and it didn’t feel that way anymore.
I also loved the magic. It was interesting but there was so many different kinds so I was grateful for the guide of what each one did at the beginning of the book. I would have liked to explore the limits a bit more, but I didn’t think there was anything left unexplained or that didn’t make sense.
Overall, this story was so much fun. The banter was enjoyable. Though there was a certain betrayal I saw coming from a mile away. Part of me was waiting for it the whole time and another part kept doubting the first part would ever happen. I loved the characters and their relationships. The diversity was wonderful and I loved the little romances that came about. This is definitely one that people should be talking about.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Summary:
As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.
Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.
Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?
As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.
These Divided Shores (Stream Raiders, #2)Review:
Okay honestly, I’m not even sure where to start with this review. This book was large. And overall, I really enjoyed it. There were a few little things that I didn’t like. The main one being Lu’s attitude. She had a few revelations about her past and they’ve really hit her hard. I can understand being thrown and upset by this for a little while, but she was made miserable the whole book, whiney and lost in herself. I honestly wouldn’t have cared if it had been for like the first half of the book at most. But it wasn’t really resolved.
I loved Ben and Gunnar. Their relationship and its development were 100% the best part of this book. They were two people from such different backgrounds and despite that, wanted to be together. I loved every word of their flirtation and ultimate coupling.
I’m going to keep this short because I took forever to write this review so I don’t have that much to say. I thought the political issues were wrapped up really well and I was very satisfied with how everything ended. I will definitely continue reading the work of this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, though they are companion novels and not truly a series. I loved this second book much more than the first. All of the things that made me not totally adore the first book were resolved in this book. I’ll stop being vague and get right into it.
First of all, it’s an enemies to lovers trope which is always a good time for me. Gauri is the princess of her kingdom and Vikram the prince of his. They are at war. When Vikram gets invited to the magical Tournament of Wishes, but is told he must find and bring his partner. The moment he sees Gauri, he knows she is the one he was told about.
I loved Vikram. He seems like he doesn’t take anything seriously, but he does. He just has that positive personality that means he makes jokes at the wrong times and is just generally an upbeat person. I really loved him. I think the contrast of Gauri’s character was so well done. She’s a warrior and all she wants is to be the leader to her people she knows she can be. I really enjoyed both characters accepting their desires and facing their fears.
Their banter had me cackling. I really loved their constant teasing and shots at one another. It was definitely my favorite part of this story. We really got to see their relationship for and develop together as we also got to see them grow individually. This was something I missed in the last book because the characters already had a past together. Also, the timeline wasn’t at all confusing like it was in the first book which I appreciated. I also really loved that we get to see bits and pieces of the previous book. The characters didn’t play a huge part, but we saw them and I enjoyed that.
I loved this world that we were in. The magical and the mythical were well explained and honestly so fascinating. I was completely captivated by this world and all of the characters in it. I adored the romance, especially the ending. I have loved everything I’ve read by this author and I’m not really excited to pick up the first book in her newest series.

Quotes:

“A story had no owner ship. A story could break its bones, grow wings, soar out of reach and dive out of sight in the time it took just to draw breath. It meant we weren’t walking a cut path. We carved it into existence with
every step.”

“It felt silly to say that he couldn’t bear to lose her. He never had her. She was not a thing to be possessed. But her entrance in his life had conjured light. And losing the light of her would plunge him into a darkness he’d never find his way out of.”

“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash. Sometimes it means taking what ever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving out your life with the pieces you’re given.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Beholder by Anna Bright

GoodReads Summary:
Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.
But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
The Beholder (The Beholder, #1)Review:
Honestly, I was really hoping this would be a new favorite or at least a four-star read. Sadly, I gave it three stars, but I could have given it two. I really just couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be historical fiction or fantasy and there was potential for a retelling aspect as well. It was just confusing. There were real places used, like England. Then there were “fantasy” elements that were very clearly based on Norse mythology of Asgard and Yggdrasil. Along with the main character being from Potomac, which may or may not be a real place in history but if so, it’s not one I’m familiar with. I just wanted some consistency. It’s one thing to borrow from history or mythology but to borrow from both in one story is too much.
Another thing I had an issue with was the main character, Selah. I listened to this on audio so I don’t know how to spell her title. But she’s the equivalent of a princess without actually being one. She’s next in line to lead her people. But I don’t know how she plans to do that because she is extremely naïve and also a huge pushover. She doesn’t even really object much when her stepmother informs her that she’s being sent away.
Then we get to the journey and Selah shows how much of a thirsty girl she is. She flirts with the ship’s captain. She has weird feelings she isn’t sure how to deal with. Then she gets to England and she “falls in love” with the English guard that is assigned to her. (By the way, I guess the plot twist with this like a day after she got to England.) She finds out some things and she’s embarrassed and “turned into a joke” which was just so ridiculous and overdramatic. I was so annoyed with her because the reasoning for the deception in England was honestly good and she acted like a child. After she arrives in Norge, suddenly she’s in love again. How does a girl fall in love (like deep, serious love) with two people she’s never previously met in the span of a month? It was annoying and very unrealistic. But then things happen and she has to leave the second prince that she’s fallen in love with.
Torn from the man she loves; she must continue on. She knows something is going on with her father and instead of, I don’t know BRINGING HIM A LEGITIMATE DOCTOR, she just continues on the journey she’s been assigned. I don’t know if I’ll continue. I liked the narrator and the book went by fast and I am a little curious as to how this will all come to an end. A lot of things bothered me in this book, but it was still kind of fun.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)Review:
After reading Roshani’s middle-grade books, I was interested in picking up one of her YA releases. I loved her writing in her other books and short stories that I’ve read so I was excited about this one.
I did really enjoy The Star-Touched Queen, despite the few points that had me wildly confused. I liked our main character, Maya. She was the outcast daughter because of the horoscope she was born with. Most of the others avoided her and blamed bad things on her. Regardless of this, she’s trying to work on skills and learn. She spies on her father’s meetings and keeps up with the local politics. So, she already knows when her father comes to tell her that she must choose a husband. I really liked Maya. She’s swept up into an unfamiliar place and does her best to stay positive and figure out what she’s gotten herself into.
I also really liked Amar. I liked that we didn’t really know what he was hiding either, but that we were given hints to try and figure it out. I wish there had been an easier way for this pair. At first, I thought their relationship was sort of insta-love, but after learning the memories that Maya had lost, I really loved them together.
My biggest complaint about this book was that sometimes I found myself just wildly confused. I felt like the timeline was never very clear and that made bits and pieces of the story really confusing. It got better in the second half of the book.
I love the world and the mythology involved in this story. I really enjoyed all of the mythical beasts that were talked about and introduced. I also really love Kamala.
Finally, Roshani’s writing is absolutely stunning. I could have highlighted half of this book if I had gone into the story intending to annotate. I didn’t, but I love the writing. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it would have been a five-star read had I not been so confused in the first half of the story.

Quotes:

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.”

“The truth,” said Amar, taking a step closer to me, “is that you look neither lovely nor demure. You look like edges and thunderstorms. And I would not have you any other way.”

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

“The worms do not take heed of caste and rank when they feast on our ashes,” the Raja said. “Your subjects will not remember you. They will not remember the shade of your eyes, the colors you favored, or the beauty of your wives. They will only remember your impression upon their hearts and whether you filled them with glee or grief. That is your immortality.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Tamsin, the Glittering Court’s hard-angled emerald. Her outsized aspirations make her a fierce competitor, rising to the top of the ranks. But when the ship she boards for the New World is tragically lost at sea, she is quite literally thrown off-course.
The Emerald Sea (The Glittering Court #3)Review:
Tamsin’s book is the one in this series that I was the most excited for. Her adventures were the most different from the first two girls in the previous books. We got to see more of Adoria because Tamsin sees more of it.
I liked Tamsin. She’s a fiery spirit and fights for what she believes is the right thing. She has to spend so much time standing up for the other girls. I really loved finally getting to figure out what her big secret was. And I am not afraid to admit that I definitely cried at Tamsin’s reunion with Mary.
I loved the relationships and the adventures that Tamsin found. She became a voice of reason in a world that is so full of hate for those that may be different. I thought it was really interesting that the scheming that we learned about in the first two books were tied even more together with this one.
I’m not sure what else to say about this book because so much of it could be considered a spoiler and I really loved this so I want others to read it without knowing what happens.
Overall, I loved the happily ever after. I loved getting to see more of Adoria and the people that live there. I really enjoyed finally getting to know Tamsin’s story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.