adult fiction, book review, fantasy, netgalley, romance

The Promised Queen | ARC Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS

Title: The Promised Queen (Forgotten Empires, #3)

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 5/25/21

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Categories: Romance, Fantasy

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

In The Promised Queen, the thrilling finale to Jeffe Kennedy’s Forgotten Empires trilogy, the fate of the world hangs in the balance as Con, Lia, and their allies sacrifice everything in a final bid to destroy the corrupt empire.

Claim the hand that wears the ring, and the empire falls.

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, claimed the hand that wears the Abiding Ring, but the prophecy remains unfulfilled. Queen Euthalia of Calanthe returned to her island kingdom, but broken in mind and body. With the blood of war unleashing ancient terrors, Calanthe isn’t the haven it once was.

Lia must use her magical bond with Calanthe to save their people while Con fights to hold off the vengeful Emperor Anure and his wizards. Con and Lia will have to trust in each other—and in love—to fend off ultimate disaster.

  • This is the perfect conclusion to a unique, romance fantasy series. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t even think I’d remember what happened in book two but wow, it took off right away and it transported me back to Lia’s world and the cliffhanger of book two.
  • Lia’s transformation from dead to her every potential is inspiring and beautiful. She becomes what she is meant to be and embraces all her orchid uniqueness! Lia is Calanthe. We also learn more of how she was born/created which is so cool.
  • Conri, I love him. He really is a wolf, so rough around the edges compared to Lia’s control and regal manner. I love how they are complete opposites but they compliment each other so well. Conri is a wing-it kind of lone wolf and Lia reminds him help sometimes is okay.
  • I love the world building but Conri and Lia’s love story is just the best to me. They will be added to my favorite book couples for sure! I love their insecurities but how they both work things out, most Conri who is so persistent and will fight for her for always. Their wedding vows at the end made my heart melt. I love them. Also, there is a very sexy, hot scene in the night court, it’s erotic but tastefully done!
  • The supporting cast is great as well and we get a very happy ending.
  • Triggers: memories of torture
  • I felt like the fight with Anure was just a tiny bit anti-climatic? I was expecting more when they confronted him, but Conri and Lia did debate about how much of exacting vengeance was enough (okay so I wanted Conri to hammer him haha). But that’s okay, Lia was right and I think it was a very just ending for Anure though.
  • We get to find out more about Ambrose’s role in this prophetic destiny about Lia.

This series got better with every book that came out, culminating to this wonderful conclusion in The Promised Queen. I was swept away in this lush world of Calanthe where Lia rules with a fair hand. I fell in love with Lia and Conri who fight for each other and the lands that Anure stole from other royals. I was inspired by Lia’s transformation to accept all the different parts of her and be the person she was destined to be. If you like an enemies to lover’s romance story set in a lush fantasy world with a Queen who is a bit more than human, this one may be to your liking.

👸🏻 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

The Princess Will Save You | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: The Princess Will Save You

Author: Sarah Henning

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 7/7/20

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Royals

When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him.

When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warriornot a sacrifice. 

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

  • Fast moving story and quick read.
  • I like the whole women power and consent message.
  • Amarande is sixteen, knows who she loves and wants, and she will do everything for him even get him back from kidnappers. She’s definitely the heroine in this novel and Luca is the dude in distress haha. She wants her man back and she will do anything to get him! It’s a super sweet and innocent love, Amarande is shy about her feelings about him and he is very gentle with her.
  • There is some court intrigue with some other kingdom forcing her to marry or else she loses Luca.
  • There were very few similarities to The Princess Bride (I only watched the movie a million times), like Luca’s torture (Westley’s torture), of course the reverse hero where Amarande is the one saving her love (Westley went to save his Princess), but it’s all out of order so I think the book didn’t follow so closely that I was looking for similarities.
  • Triggers: kidnapping, violence
  • It would’ve been nice to see more of Luca and Amarande’s relationship – because it’s a quick moving story, we are thrown into it knowing they have a thing for one another. She’s very shy about her feelings and they haven’t really said it out loud to one another so I’d have love to see them more comfortable with it.
  • It was a predictable so at times it was boring, a princess who wants to marry who she wants and not give in to the other kingdoms trying to take her kingdom.
  • I’m so used to alpha males (and love them) that I was a little underwhelmed with Luca but honestly he’s a nice guy and they need to be shown love too. I’m curious about his history and if it comes into play in book two.
  • I think this is better suited for Teen Readers

Overall this was an okay read for me, I think I expected a bit more from it. The messages about consent and woman empowerment is relevant and important. It was fun to see some Princess Bride references and I am interested to see what happens with Amarande’s mother and learning more about Luca’s background. I have the arc to book two so we shall see what happens.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Blog tour, book review, fantasy, magic, romance, Young Adult

BLOG TOUR} These Feathered Flames by. Alexandra Overy | ARC Review

Welcome to the blog tour for These Feathered Flames by. Alexandra Overy!

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: These Feathered Flames

Author: Alexandra Overy

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 496

Publication Date: 4/20/21

Publisher: Inkyard Press

BUY HERE: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks | GooglePlay

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sibling Rivalry, Political Intrigue

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

  • It has a gorgeous cover! I love red covers.
  • I liked the power of the Firebird. Izaveta and Asya are twins but separated because one will be Queen and the other will be this mysterious, powerful Firebird. The Firebird basically finds someone who’s done something it deems wrong and takes “payment” in usually violent ways from the person committing the crime. Asya is the Firebird and she is trying to control the power in her, afraid of it’s power.
  • Izaveta is the cold and cunning princess who will be Queen. She plays the politic games and tries to stay a step ahead of everyone, including her own sister.
  • There is a strained relationship between them since both have different roles in this kingdom. But each of them have missed one another, so it was interesting to see them navigate their relationship as strangers pretty much. Deep down though, their need for each other is fierce.
  • I liked Asya’s growing relationship with her guard. Asya is feared and despised by everyone around her, including her guard, but things change when they are thrown together. Things definitely get intense between them and it’s a f/f romance. Izaveta has a growing love interest as well but with a scholar.
  • Sadly, I didn’t connect to any of the characters.
  • If you like Three Dark Crowns where sisters are against one another, you will enjoy this one. I think I needed to be in the right mood to read this one.

For me this was just an okay read, maybe it would have been more enjoyable for me if I was in the right mood for it. I do think the story is fascinating with the Firebird storyline and it will definitely appeal to young adult fantasy readers.

🔥 ~ Yolanda

About the Author:

ALEXANDRA OVERY was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.

https://www.alexandraovery.com/

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

book review, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, New adult, paranormal, romance

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire | Book Review

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 637

Publication Date: 9/20/20

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

  • Glad that Casteel has redeemed himself after book one. He seems sorry about lying to Poppy and motivated to help his people so it’s just getting those two things on the same page which is a challenge for him. At least the truth is out there now (most of it) and Poppy can do what she wants with it.
  • Kieran and Poppy have a growing friendship and…something else? Are they a threesome? I don’t know but there were some scenes that made me think it might eventually be that way? We shall see – no judgment here (at least on that aspect haha), but I like Kieran, I say he deserves his own loves story.
  • Since Poppy and Cas/Hawke went backwards in their relationship at least by the end of this book there is forward movement again.

Triggers: violence, death

  • I am not connected to any of these characters (Kieran is probably my favorite) and unfortunately this was a chore to get through. I skimmed a lot because I didn’t care what they were doing or what they were talking about. It is over 600 pages long…and not much happened. I was bored but pushed through, which made me realize…I won’t be reading book three.
  • Nothing about Poppy and Casteel gets me excited to read about their relationship struggle. There are a lot of trust issues on Poppy’s part, understandably. As for Cas, he is trying to make amends which involves a lot of sexy time because that’s what they are good for…”pretending” the bad stuff between them didn’t happen. I was annoyed with the pretending – why pretend? I wanted Poppy to just deal with it and see Cas for who he really is. Also, he likes when she’s violent and points it out constantly – I love a good enemies to lovers romance but the characters never usually have to tell each other they are violent and love it, repeatedly. Can Cas just give her heated looks because I’m sure we’ll know what that means when she starts stabbing people. 😂
  • Poppy’s gift…what is so amazing about her knowing everyone’s feelings? The healing part is great but the feelings? What is the point, how does it help anyone, she won’t even use it to gauge Cas’ feelings! I think her healing and fighting skills alone is a good balance and show of strength.

I usually crave an enemies to lovers romance fantasy novel and I’m in the minority here but this one is not it for me. I think the first book was way more enjoyable because of Hawke’s undercover persona and Poppy’s too (she was literally under cover!). In this second book, the both them are pretty much unveiled and honestly…they were both more sexy undercover.😅 So I understand how it’s the middle book, and Poppy is struggling to come to terms with the truths being revealed, but I have no patience for it. The steamy scenes were probably the best parts because at least there was some kind of action going on! I think this would have been less of a struggle to read if the slow and repetitive parts were edited out. It needed to move faster, especially since these characters love violence, okay then let them fight and keep fighting, press the gas, not the breaks. Needless to say, I’m not going to finish the series – the next book is 625 pages and I can’t deal with Cas telling Poppy again that she turns him on when she’s violent. We know, Cas, we know. I do want to find out about Kieran, but I’ll read the spoiler reviews for that. 😜

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, romance, series, Young Adult

We Free the Stars | Book Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Title: We Free the Stars (Sands of Arawiya, #2)

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 592

Publication Date: 1/19/21

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Catalog: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Duology

The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.

As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.

Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.

  • The adventure continues in the conclusion of the Sands of Awariya duology and our beloved characters go through hell and back to save their people. I love the action, the heartache, the longing, the twists, and the victories!
  • Talk about the slowest burn ever between Altair and Zafira ~ obviously they want to be together but there are so many obstacles between them, mainly their ability to say what they feel or the fact they both seem to feel they deserve one another. It was frustrating to watch their back and forth but I loved it all the same. I loved the yearning between them.
  • The writing – this author writes so beautifully! I kept noting quotes I had to save because it gave me all the feels. The writing is fluid, effortless and such a pleasure to read.
  • I love the characters: they are diverse, each has their own strength and weaknesses, but they are there for each other. I love their bond, and thank goodness for Kifah and Altair bringing the humor.
  • Zafira goes through a tough personal journey because of what the Jarawat is unleashing in her. Can she retain who she is when she is filled with such dark power? Will her loved ones be afraid of her? And what is Zafira when her reputation as the Huntress is over? Who is she now?

Trigger: grief, violence, emotional and physical abuse

  • I didn’t realize this book was long until I got it. At almost 600 pages it took me a few days to finish, but I’m not complaining. I just wished I read it as an ebook instead to keep from holding a heavy book haha.
  • The personal journeys the characters go through are rough, especially for Altair, Nasir and Zafira. For a time it feels like the despair for all of them is too much, everyone had suffer and hope was fleeting at one point – even I felt like they had no chance at beating the Lion.

We Free the Stars is a great conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology. It is written beautifully with lush world building, action, betrayal, a slow burn romance, a fight against evil and characters fighting for each other and the ones they love. In the end the message of yearning and hope prevails.

♥️ ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the Book ~

book review, fantasy, magic, romance

Fly with the Arrow | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Fly with the Arrow (Bluebird’s Secret, #1)

Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 311

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Fairytale Retelling, Fae, Young Adult/New Adult

A STOLEN BRIDE. A TERRIFYING BRIDEGROOM. THE GAME THAT WILL DETERMINE THEIR FATES.

No one told her the most important law of the court – the Law of Greeting.
If they had, maybe she wouldn’t have greeted Bluebeard when he arrived to claim a mortal wife. And if she hadn’t greeted him, she wouldn’t have become his sixteenth wife or been swept away to the lands of the Wittenhame.

But if none of that had happened, then she wouldn’t have been an integral part of the game that takes place every two hundred years – a game that determines the fates of nations .

For not all is as it seems, not in her homeland of Pensmoore, not in the Wittenhame, and certainly not in her new marriage.

  • I haven’t read the classic Bluebeard story but I’ve heard about it, and always thought it was just some pirate story. After reading this retelling of it, I’m very curious about Bluebeard (I don’t think I’ll read it still) but I’m fascinated about why he killed his wives! Anyway back to Fly with the Arrow, I found this to be a fast-paced, wild story that at times reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, Izolda being Alice and entering this crazy and wild world of the fae in Wittenhame.
  • Izolda is very level-headed for 19 years old which I appreciated because Arrow (Bluebeard) is really her opposite, full of energy, mood swings and very unpredictable. They are a great match, balancing each other out.
  • I enjoyed the world building even though at times I felt confused, because there is a lot going on but I also didn’t mind the whirlwind of it…if that makes sense? I loved Arrow’s magical house with a talking fireplace and a gargoyle. I love the humor and the way Arrow talks just cracks me up, especially when it’s with his riddles. I love riddles so this book was so much fun to read.
  • I love the cover, that’s what drew me to the book and I passed it on by because it was a Bluebeard retelling. But I came back to it because of how pretty the cover is.

Triggers: violence, decapitation

  • It’s a cliffhanger ending. 😦 So if you can’t stand cliffhanger endings then I’d suggest you wait for the whole series to be published.

This is a fun, wild journey into the world of the Wittenhame where Arrow (Bluebeard) is a ruhthless fae prince. Arrow has collected a few wives in his past but Izolda is different from all the rest, so far. It’s got action, a slow burn romance, humor and riddles galore. I’m excited to see what happens next in this series! I’m glad I decided to read this one.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, netgalley, New adult, romance, Young Adult

Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores, #3) | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5

Title: Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores, #3)

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 576

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: fantasy, young adult, new adult, romance, politics

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

THEIR BATTLES ENDED IN VICTORY

Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.

His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.

BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN

Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.

Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.

My Attention: read in 2 days

World Building: epic world building and so much more traveling in this one through xenthier stems and a deadly trek through Sibern

Writing Style: kept the intensity throughout

Crazy in Love: slow…angsty, forbidden love stories 

Creativity: I love the Dark Shores series, it has everything

Triggers: violence, killing

  • I love that even though this book is told through 4 perspectives, the chapters are so short, each person has enough book time. BUT…I was worried I’d be attracted to one couple more and for me personally, I was drawn more to Teriana and Marcus. They two of them are just so intense, so strong-headed and Marcus is just stuck in a tight, tight spot. Killian and Lydia are complicated as well, but they have other problems.
  • There is an intense time for Teriana and Marcus and let me tell you it gets so rough for them. All seems lost, they are losing hope but they each carry one another through this difficult time. There is a sex scene between them (honestly it had to happen! haha), so that’s why I thought it was more New Adult than Young Adult. Except for that scene though, they are pretty chaste.
  • Killian and Lydia goes through hardships too but their story seems slower because they are apart. It picks up steam in the ending. Most of the book they are apart with Lydia under Quindon’s tutelage now and Killian making his choice of putting they kingdom before anything else. The angst between these two frustrated me, Killian frustrates me! The good thing about Killian and Lydia’s scenes were learning more about the blight and Rufina’s history.
  • The distrust growing in the Thirty-Seventh adds so much tension and complication to Marcus’ life and it gets even crazier in the end when Cassius thwarts him again. Seriously Marcus gets such a bad deal!
  • I made a big mistake reading this book assuming this was the LAST BOOK in the series…at the midway point of this 500+ book, I was like…wait a minute this book cannot be ending this way, nothing is being wrapped up. Yeah…it’s not the ending of the series at all! 🤦🏻‍♀️
  • These couples cannot be together for so many reasons. Killian and Lydia have a chance, but Marcus and Teriana…what will Marcus do? I just want them all to come out of this happy and ALIVE.
  • The author took the characters in this book and seriously put them through the wringer…😭 this can only mean good things are coming in book four, right? But the ending…is madness!

You know, I think I would have been happy for a book of only Marcus and Teriana again because they are my favorite. I think Killian and Lydia’s story is about to get more intriguing because of the reveal at the end but they could have had their own book also. I assumed in this book the four would meet up together, but I was wrong. I’m glad the series isn’t over yet, because I love everything Danielle L. Jensen writes. Give me more romance, angst, political intrigue and action. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

💛 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, E-book, fantasy, magical realism, urban fantasy

A Song Below Water | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: A Song Below Water

Author: Bethany C. Morrow

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 288

Publication Date: 6/2/20

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Black Lives Matter, Young Adult, Coming of Age, Identity, Magical Realism

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

  • I love the cover – it is gorgeous!
  • I really liked the concept of this urban fantasy world where sirens, sprites, eloko, mermaids and gargoyles. I’ve always been fascinated with sirens and gargoyles. The fact they are here together in one book is awesome.
  • This book was released in 2020 when the tensions in the USA was at an all time high with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so much more. The pandemic was going on, Black Lives Matters protests, it was volatile, and if you watched the news, Portland, Oregon was the home of many protest stand-offs. So this book being set in Portland with the death of Rhoda Taylor gracing the news – it definitely reflects our current time.
  • I really enjoyed the parts that brought in some creepiness like the sprites and their singing Red Rover…what was up with that? I did enjoy when the story went there towards the fantasy side so I want more of that.
  • Tavia and Effie are tight as can be – their bond is very strong which is beautiful.
  • Triggers: police brutality, racism, suicidal attempt
  • I was sometimes lost reading this book because there was a lot going on. Also at times Tavia and Effie were so tight, I couldn’t remember if I was reading Tavia or Effie’s chapter.
  • As much as I loved the fantastical elements in this book, I was confused a lot and this book is under 300 pages, which means I should have finished this quick. I didn’t, I struggled through it. I was probably expecting more fantasy and explanations about the different creatures living in this world.

I love the concept of this book but the execution didn’t work for me. I wanted more of the magical elements. I wanted the fantasy to blend better with the contemporary world with black lives matter dominating Tavia and Effie’s life because the issues in this book are relevant, important and need to be read. I’m reading the second book next since I have it as an arc from NetGalley so I hope that one is better.

🌊 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Southern Sun, Northern Star | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance, #3)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/20/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Historical Fantasy, Romance, War

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired Southern Sun, Northern Star

Reeling from the tragedy that beset her family, Princess Aurelia has joined the resistance in Havenspur, spying on the Northern leaders who were once her allies and determined to stop her uncle’s machinations for war. Meanwhile, her beloved pilot Athan leads his squadron into battle as the Safire wage a losing war abroad and combat growing unrest back home.

When Athan is sent on leave to Havenspur following the death of a comrade, the pair reunite and rekindle their romance until Aurelia uncovers one of Athan’s secrets, a secret that could save countless lives. But exposing it to the right people will cost her Athan’s trust, and this time, their shared memories of love might not be enough to stop the fateful path of destruction that threatens all they’ve fought to defend.

As history unfolds around them, every move they make drives them one step closer to either recreating their parents’ shadowed past or redeeming the alliance that could bring peace.

The breathtaking finale to a legendary series. Part war drama, part romance, Southern Sun, Northern Star is the epic conclusion to the Glass Alliance series.

  • War is horrible and it affects everyone on both sides or every side, in awful ways. This book is the culmination of the war Safire is waging, the precipice where we find out which way the ending will unfold. And it comes with fire, death, and the sheer will to keep going, fighting and surviving. We are at the front lines, we are in the trenches with these characters and it’s grueling.
  • We see Aurelia make the most drastic change of all the characters, she becomes the thing she never thought she could be. The reason I love this series is in most fantasies where a girl turns into a killing machine, there is an evil she is fighting. In this series, it is not so black and white ~ there is so much gray and the killing here is realistic. It is people killing people, not people killing fantastical creatures/people. So Aurelia changing from a sheltered Princess into a killer, saddened me. I was hoping someone would keep their innocence in this war but that’s what war does – it robs the young of their innocence.
  • Athan’s change comes with being a fighter pilot for way too many campaigns. He has killed, shot planes down, it’s become automatic but something has got to give. What gives is his family breaking apart. Athan’s childhood and young adult life has been tragic, but in this final book it takes his tragedy to a new level. Athan could have broken so many times…but he stays strong as best he can, it’s all he can do.
  • All the loose ends are tied up nicely in this conclusion. Secrets are revealed and very hard choices are made. The writing is beautiful consistent from the start to the finish of this trilogy.

Triggers: death, violence, war, PTSD

  • Arrin was the one who I wanted to know more about as the books went on and we do find out more about him which I’m happy for but his story is sad. Everyone’s story broke my heart but I was hoping something could turn around for Arrin.
  • I’m not sure if it was just me, but there were some spots I had to reread because I felt like I missed something, for example, the General’s secret being revealed. It took me awhile to realize how Athan found out, but minor things like that where I should have been paying more close attention, I think it was because I was so emotionally exhausted (the war scenes are gritty), I just missed a few things because I was trying to look for a happy moment and in this book it is rarely there.

This book is the perfect conclusion to the whole Glass Alliance series. What could I expect of a story of two families mired in war? Heartbreak. Despair. But it was so realistic, I was always hoping so hard for the war in the story to end. I love how this series delves into the changes that happen to the characters and shows how war affects everyone involved in it from the front lines, the masterminds and the people bothering not getting their hands dirty. From start to finish this series was written beautifully. It’s definitely a must read if you are into historical fantasy.

✈︎ ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, historical fiction, romance, Young Adult

Storm from the East | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Storm from the East (Glass Alliance, #2)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 496

Published Date: 2/11/20

Categories: Historical Fantasy, War, Family, Romance

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West

Part war drama, part romance, Storm from the East is the second novel in Joanna Hathaway’s immersive, upmarket YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye.

War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.

When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.

  • We return to this intriguing historical fantasy world, the second novel in the Glass Alliance series and the stakes are higher. The plane fights are more thrilling as Athan tries to advance in his career as a fighter pilot and impress his father (who is barely impressed by anything he does). Aurelia is trying to stop a war but making more of a mess of things. There are secrets, there are truth bombs, and real bombs, there is romance. There is so much I feel like this should be a movie.
  • The family dynamics of the Dakar’s is fascinating, toxic, riveting and I really need to know what Sinora has on the General! But the siblings in this family has been raised in an unconventional way, all they have known it seems is war – they grew up with a manipulative father and they are left hungry for his love and praise. I feel like we get snippets here and there about each boy, of course we know more about Athan, but Arrin and Kalt, are intriguing – mostly Arrin at this point. Their sister doesn’t get a lot of scenes but she seems interesting as well.
  • Aurelia travels to Resya and learns more about her mother’s background and some shocking truths are revealed. I kept feeling like she means well and thinks she’s a step ahead when really sometimes her involvement just messes things up more. She has a good heart and wants the war to be over because she knows how evil it is, all these lives dead for what? But she’s torn because of her family secrets as well. How does she stop a war and keep her family safe at the same time? It seems impossible.
  • I love how this series is written. Each chapter gets to the point quickly and it moves the story quickly. I really like how this story questions all sides fighting a war, is it ever worth it, who is the more evil one, who will benefit in the end, and will it ever end when vengeance is the motivation? And what is the true cause each side is fighting for?
  • PTSD gets a spotlight in this series and we see Athan really start to go through it. We already know Arrin’s affected by it, but Kalt not so much maybe because he’s on a ship? And then there are the people caught in the crossfire of war who suffer greatly as well.
  • The ending was a shocker and I am definitely going to be reading the arc to book three, ASAP.

Triggers: violence, war atrocities, suicide, PTSD

  • Athan and Aurelia have a few scenes together in this series but for the most part they are not together. There are letters written between them that aren’t sent but we feel the yearning between them.
  • Will war ever end? When will it be enough for General Dakar?

This sequel really keeps the story moving at a clipped pace, almost like we are the ones marching into battle along with everyone else. I felt the tension between the Dakar boys and Athan’s thrills in the plane and fears. I was shocked with Aurelia’s discoveries and Sinora’s actions, and Athan and Aurelia’s love is so bittersweet but will it stand a chance? Can peace be achieved between all sides? I’ll be reading the third book right away to find out!

📚 ~ Yolanda