Book Review | The Delinquent Crown

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Delinquent Crown (Olexia Legends #1)

Purchase Link: Amazon

Author: Sydney Faith

Format: eBook (from author)

Pages: 263

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure, Family

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from the author, Sydney Faith, in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Olexia is a wild and dangerous world filled with magic.

Miri and Nick find Olexia by chance but choose their fate when they step through the portal. A shard of glass and a hastily-written letter from their mother are all they have to solve their puzzling past.

In Olexia Miri and Nick find danger and unlikely allies, and with their help, they learn to wield their newfound powers and find out the truth about Olexia’s buried secrets.

When the ruthless Council leader learns the siblings harbor a powerful artifact, he sends his bloodthirsty LaKaio soldiers to hunt them down at any cost.

With time running out and secrets about their past being revealed around every corner, Miri and Nick must decide if they’re going to hide away or rise up against the sinister leaders of Olexia.

Thank you to Sydney Faith for giving me a copy of her book to review.

Miri and Nick are siblings living somewhat normal lives on Earth. I say somewhat because Miri, experiences painful episodes that the doctors diagnosed as epilepsy. But her episodes are more than just a medical condition. When they find out about a new magical world called Olexia everything strange about their lives makes so much more sense.

Once these siblings are in Olexia the adventure never ends as Miri and Nick learn about this world full of magic, a different language and way of life.

  • This is the first book of the series and already I am immersed in this world of Olexia. When Miri and Nick steps through portal it reminds me of Narnia, where everything is just so different from Earth. In Olexia they know about “Earth” and call it Terra. But the world building is great, there are different types of people with their owl languages and customs. Also I feel like this book only scratched the surface of Olexia and there is more to learn.
  • There are some strong side characters like Kayta and Siymin who stumbles into Nick and Miri right away. I like Kayta and her attitude, she’s feisty. Siymin is calm, clever and smart. Siymin and Miri’s relationship grows throughout the story and there is a hint of a romance coming between them but I’m sure that will be explored more as the series goes on.
  • The magic system was explained really well too. Not only Miri and Nick both have their own unique powers. Where Miri thought it was a hindrance on Earth, her powers to see the future in Olexia is super useful as well as Nick’s power as a jumper. And I like that they take the time to learn their craft with Tuko also. Being new to this world and magic, it was nice that they didn’t know how to use their powers right away and had to do some actual training.
  • The sibling bond between Miri and Nick is tight and it has to be, for years it has only been the two of them. They were raised in foster care but they always wondered about their past and parents, more so with Miri. Nick has been Miri’s caretaker and he’s done a fine job at it, he’s an awesome big brother. When secrets are revealed in Olexia, it’s a lot for the siblings to take in but I’m sure we’ll see them deal with the information they have more in the next book.
  • The action keeps going in this book which kept it fun. There is a quest for Miri and Nick to find pieces of a magic mirror and they are also trying to find their parents. They encounter LaKaio (basically the bad guys) and have to get out of many dicey situations.
  • I’ve learned that in YA, there can be such an age spectrum when thinking about what audience would love this book. I’m an older adult reading YA and this book felt a little younger compared to some of the YA I’ve been reading lately…seriously, some YA at times can be considered adult reading…or at least New Adult. But this one is definitely for teens and I’d even say middle grade could enjoy this!
  • There are a lot of characters we meet when Miri and Nick jump into Olexia – especially when they meet Siymin’s large family and you would think because their names are so unique, I could follow – but at times I got a little lost. Maybe because I was getting used to the different sounding names.
  • It has a cliffhanger ending! That’s a warning if you don’t like cliffhangers haha…but yeah I read that last sentence and I was like…ohhhh. 🤭

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know Miri and Nick and this new imaginative world of Olexia. As the series continues I’m sure there will be so much more to learn about Olexia and the people that populate such a magical world. Also the cliffhanger ending makes me want to find out what other secrets will be revealed in the sequel! This is a very solid first book for the start of a young adult fantasy series.

About the Author:

SYDNEY FAITH is a YA author who, after a lifetime of living in her make-believe worlds, decided to start sharing them at 17 in the form of books.
When she’s not writing, Sydney enjoys creating YouTube videos, baking and eating chocolate chip cookies, and thinking about writing.
As a Midwesterner, you’ll find Sydney pointing out cows on road trips, enjoying the state fair, and complaining about the snow.

You can find her at:
Instagram: @sydfaithauthor

ARC Review | The Wickerlight

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt, #2)

Author: Mary Watson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Categories: Dark Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Druids

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

It’s been two months since Zara’s sister Laila was found lifeless on the village green of the small Irish town Kilshamble, not a mark on her. Vicious rumors circle that she died of an overdose or committed suicide–but an autopsy finds no evidence.

Zara believes somebody must know what happened, and she throws herself headfirst into an investigation. But retracing her sister’s footsteps takes her to David, a member of an ancient magical faction called the judges. The judges are in the midst of an ancient feud with another faction called the augurs, and Zara quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous, twisted game. And if she isn’t careful on the path she’s treading, she could end up with the same fate as Laila.

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

FYI: I did not read The Wren Hunt and I should have. Luckily, The Wickerlight is so good as a standalone I didn’t get totally lost. I wasn’t sure what to expect and when I first started the book, I admit I put it down for a few weeks because I had to let it permeate in my head. I picked it up again recently and I finished it in one night. That was totally unexpected.

In The Wickerlight, we get to know this Irish town of Kilshamble, and wow, it is dark, mystery, mystical and magical but not in a happy glittery way. This story is told in dual POV. We meet Zara who’s sister Laila is dead and Zara wants to know how and why. Then there is David, who is a judge (no not the kind with a gavel), he is part of this magical world where augurs and judges are enemies, and there is a silent war between them. I missed a big chunk of David’s background by not reading The Wren Hunt, so read that first. Zara doesn’t know what she’s stumbled into when she digs for clues about Laila’s death, but soon it’s too late to turn back. Zara is learning that maybe Laila was right about magic.

  • I loved learning about the druids and Irish folklore in this story. We learn about the Augurs and Judges who basically hate each other – they have a complicated history.
  • This story is set in a modern world but the magic is so subtle that it fits so well, I love how it came together seamlessly. We are Zara, learning about the secrets of this town. Most of the magic is not as powerful as it was long ago but it works in the modern day world of this story. It’s nature, earth magic. Also the folklore stories about monsters in the forest – gives us a creepy background for this setting. 😳 I enjoyed the dark, eerie tone in this story!
  • The mystery of Laila’s death really kept me in this story. We stumble into this strange magical world that exists in Kilshamble. I love how Zara peels a layer slowly to find out something else about Laila. Laila’s words at the beginning of each chapter adds to the mystery as well! I wanted to find out what happened to Laila for Zara and her family’s sake. Their grief is palatable and this family has crumbled, it wasn’t tight to begin with but Laila’s death has basically broken their family apart. I felt for Zara and her mother. 🥺
  • Zara and Laila’s stories of the Horribles. I freaking loved it because it was their thing together and the stories made it perfectly okay to not be good and perfect all the time as long as you are not cruel, mean or hurtful. The Horribles were their shadow family and a coping mechanism I think because of their family situation.
  • David and Zara. David sounds like he was a jerk in The Wren Hunt and in The Wickerlight his character is fleshed out. He’s not a saint, his life is about pain, and feeling pressure from his dad. As for Zara she feels out of place in this new town, her family life wasn’t perfect to begin with and she carries guilt from Laila’s death. Her choice in the end was unexpected! And I really like their slow burn romance.
  • Obviously if you didn’t read The Wren Hunt like me…I was a little lost in the beginning and thank goodness for the glossary in the back of the book. I had to learn about the Augurs and Judges and once I did get settled in, it was smooth sailing from there.
  • There is a scene where David gets tortured – so trigger warnings: cutting. It’s not a trigger for me but even I got squeamish at the visuals of the scene. But this book IS dark, the judges do not mess around when it comes to discipline. 👀 The augurs have their own form of torture, but it didn’t involve cutting, just mind bending/mind control.
  • The business about hoarding words to make a law (like a spell) at times confused me, especially when it is introduced into the story. I think the idea is so poetic and the story is so lyrical that it went over my head at first. But then the practice grew on me, the way words are precious and how different words call to a person. I especially loved when David was hoarding words, haha, I mean that boy felt it!

The Wickerlight is an intriguing, lyrical, deliciously, darkly magical, unique story. It starts with grief and pulls you into the mystery of a death and this world of old magic. Definitely read The Wren Hunt first and then come lose yourself in The Wickerlight like I did.

ARC Review | The Guinevere Deception

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)

Author: Kiersten White

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Camelot, Young Adult, Arthurian Legend

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

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. 

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I’ve been around long enough to read a fair share of King Arthur and Camelot legends. I remember devouring The Once & Future King by. T.H. White and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley back in high school! I was obsessed. But it has been awhile since I’ve been interested in the legends and when I heard of The Guinevere Deception, I was intrigued!

This story is told through Guinevere’s perspective and what a view it is! We revisit Camelot through Guinevere’s eyes but deception is everywhere in this book. All is not what they seem at Camelot and magic is forbidden at Camelot, so what does that mean for Guinevere who was sent there for her ability to do magic? Arthur is under threat and she must protect him this time but is she able to or will all her efforts become unraveled?

  • The familiar characters from the Arthurian legends is nostalgic. It’s hard to resist a story about this boy who pulled a sword out of stone and is now a man and a most beloved, golden king. We have the knights and the villains, the legends have been retold so many times, it was nice to enter the world of Camelot again.
  • The story of Camelot is really magical with Merlin the wizard, the knights of the round table and Guinevere. I loved the world building of Camelot in this story, it reminded me of why I fell in love with the legends in the first place.
  • Kiersten White is a talented author and I’ve read a few of her books and love them. Once again, her writing shines and sucks you into the story.
  • The backstory on the characters is important especially for someone new to the King Arthur legends and I thought it was done well. It helped jar my memory about certain characters I had forgotten.
  • Love the twists about Guinevere, Lancelot, and even Mordred! I like how this book is reimagined for our current times. The author added LGBT relationships, and tweaked a few things about the story but I really enjoyed the changes.
  • The book cover is amazing. 😍 I can only imagine what it looks like in real life!
  • I loved the beginning of the book because we meet Guinevere. But about 15%-20% into the book I felt like I was just waiting for something more to happen. I understand though that the backstories of some characters are important, but after Guinevere gets to Camelot it felt like the story slowed down.
  • I struggled in the middle of the story because here is Guinevere who is sent to protect Arthur…but her magic seems so minimal. It seems like nothing much happens for a good half of the story, just world building, but the second half has much more action.
  • I hope we get more character depth in the sequel because outside of Guinevere they were kind of bland. Sometimes even Guinevere was a bit blah…I’d like to see if Merlin comes back into the equation and maybe see Arthur being tested (like he was in other legends) and even Guinevere, the ending shows us there is much to learn about her!

Overall, I enjoyed The Guinevere Deception, but the second half is much more engaging than the first half. It gives a some backstory for newcomers to the Arthurian legends and I enjoyed the changes and twists in the story. It’s a solid debut for this series and I look forward to reading the sequel!

ARC Review | Unnatural Magic

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Unnatural Magic

Author: C.M. Waggoner

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Mystery, Adult Fiction, Romance

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

Onna can write the parameters of a spell faster than any of the young men in her village school. But despite her incredible abilities, she’s denied a place at the nation’s premier arcane academy. Undaunted, she sails to the bustling city-state of Hexos, hoping to find a place at a university where they don’t think there’s anything untoward about providing a woman with a magical education. But as soon as Onna arrives, she’s drawn into the mysterious murder of four trolls.

Tsira is a troll who never quite fit into her clan, despite being the leader’s daughter. She decides to strike out on her own and look for work in a human city, but on her way she stumbles upon the body of a half-dead human soldier in the snow. As she slowly nurses him back to health, an unlikely bond forms between them, one that is tested when an unknown mage makes an attempt on Tsira’s life. Soon, unbeknownst to each other, Onna and Tsira both begin devoting their considerable talents to finding out who is targeting trolls, before their homeland is torn apart…

Thank you to ACE and Netgalley for giving me an opportunity to read this eARC.

My reason for requesting this on NetGalley was first and foremost the cover. I love it and then the synopsis mentioned magic and trolls? Well it definitely piqued my curiosity!

But when I started this book I thought maybe I had made a mistake and I wasn’t sure I would be interested in even finishing this book. I thought okay, a girl who is trying to get into a school with mostly boys…nothing new there. I put it aside for a few weeks and finally came back to it and wow, I did not stop! Though this story starts off with a teenage girl named Onna – this is not a young adult novel. It has cursing and lots of sexual themes exploring a romance between a troll and a human male. Yes there is troll sex. 😲

There are two main characters in this story. Onna, is a seventeen year old genius wizard and it’s rare for a girl to exhibit these traits. She is trying to get into a school to further her studies but her gender works against her, no matter how smart she is. Tsira is a troll, who is half human, but in her troll community she is too small, and not considered good looking among her people. She leaves her clan to make her own living, earning her own money but Tsira is also conflicted with her cultural rules about begetting a clan.

Though their paths and lives are different there is one thing Onna and Tsira have in common, they are trying to figure out who is the serial killer on the loose targeting trolls.

The world building in Unnatural Magic is so unique! I love how smart Onna is even though at times I didn’t understand parameter spells – it’s basically complicated math, enough said on that. She’s smart! She thinks out of the box and Onna doesn’t give up, which I love about her.

The most fascinating part of the story has to be about the trolls. It was so interesting to learn about their customer and way of life. Females (and some with male parts) ruled the clans! Tsira’s vahn (which I didn’t totally understand right away), vahn being her “wife” but a male wife – in her case, a human male, was totally the submissive one in the relationship. Tsira and Jeckran’s romance is different and unconventional – Tsira is very masculine, and 10 feet tall! So just trying to imagine how they managed to do the deed was…interesting! 🤔 But hey they managed it! Anyway there is a lot to learn about troll life. I was learning along with Jeckran (Tsira’s vahn). In this world for the most part trolls and humans lived together side by side peacefully until the murders occur. Then we start to see how some humans resent trolls and their magic.

There are other colorful characters in this story, one of my favorites being the Lord Mage, Loga, of Hexos. Onna becomes his apprentice and he is quite humorous and flamboyant, I enjoyed his fun personality!

As for the mystery of the troll murderer, I did have my suspicions and I was right. Onna, Loga, Tsira and Jeckran made a great team together hunting down the killer. This book really had a bit of everything and it pushed my imagination in ways I didn’t expect! It has a happily ever after ending as well but also leaves me wondering what will happen to these characters? Will Tsira and Jeckran be okay? The author did a great job of making me care for these characters. 💕

This is a fantastic debut and I hope to read more from this author! Unnatural Magic is an unforgettable fantasy story full of complicated magic, humor, adventure, mystery and romance.

ARC Review | Sisters of Shadow and Light

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Sisters of Shadow and Light

Author: Sara B. Larson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Categories: Family, Paladin, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

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

“The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes…”.

Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world―including their Paladin father the night Inara was born.

On that same night, a massive, magical hedge grew and imprisoned them within the citadel. Inara inherited their father’s Paladin power; her eyes glow blue and she is able to make plants grow at unbelievable rates, but she has been trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out―leaving Zuhra virtually alone with their emotionally broken human mother.

For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world…until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.

Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I had been reading so many books lately about witches (because tis the season) so reading about Paladins and their magic was so refreshing. Zuhra, her sister Inara, and their mother are trapped in the citadel that they call home. A magical hedge outside of their home keeps them from leaving. Zuhra’s father was a Paladin but he is nowhere to be found, her mother is broken from his leaving and Inara has powers that no one understands. It’s a lonely existence for all of them, but one day the hedge lets a scholar into the citadel and that’s when things get wild.

  • Zuhra and Inara’s sisterly bond is so tight, I loved it. We get more of Zuhra’s thoughts and feelings about Inara because Inara isn’t lucid most of the time when under the influence of her Paladin powers. Eventually we get Inara’s perspective but I feel like it’s most Zuhra that dominates the story. Zuhra helped raise Inara and Inara only knows her sister’s affection growing up in the citadel. When they are torn apart, all they want to do is get back to one each other. 😭
  • The world of the Paladin was so fascinating, I was devouring anything and everything about them. Halvor, the scholar is a wealth of information for Zuhra. Yes, Zuhra grew up in the citadel but knows NOTHING about the Paladin because her mother refuses to talk about them.
  • The budding romance between Raidyn and Zuhra had me on edge!🔥 And this comes in the second half of the book – which I think was fine except I knew, just knew it wouldn’t be resolved and it would have to wait until book two. 😞 There is a romance growing also between Halvor and Inara, but we shall see what happens with that one.
  • Zuhra to me is an interesting character. I wasn’t sure that I was connecting to her in the beginning but I understand why. She has had no interaction with the outside world. The only people she has come into contact with is her sister (who is barely lucid), her mother (who comes off cruel and cold) and Sami (her nanny/maid who loves her but cares for her mother too). How do we get a feel for someone who is cloistered in a magical citadel with no way out, no one to really talk to, who sees the first guy in her life and wonders if she’s falling for him She doesn’t…but she’s trying to discern what she’s feeling for the first time in a lot of new situations. Zuhra has always felt hopeless, weak and helpless. But we see her grow, we see her come out of her shell…and I can’t wait to see how much more she changes in the sequel.
  • The family issues, there is a LOT…ugh…I didn’t love it, because who loves family strife? But there were parts in the end that really made me tear up. I was quite emotional about it. I liked that it made me care about this broken family.
  • So much action at the end, but it makes me wish the sequel was coming out tomorrow.
  • Some might find the beginning of this book slow. It is, if you are waiting for action to start right away. But we are getting to know Zuhra and Inara and their cloistered, sparse, depressing life. There was a time when I said, ok…is anything going to happen?! I remember looking at the page and realized I was around 100 when things really started happening.
  • Zuhra’s mother, Cinnia…I know her heart was broken, I know she despaired being alone to raise her kids in a citadel that entrapped them. I know she had no way of understanding what happened, but damn it was she cold and cruel to her girls. Because she was hurt and afraid she took it out on them. And I don’t forgive her still…even though at the end, there was some understanding between all of them. But Zuhra took the brunt of it in her upbringing and Cinnia needs to do a 180 in the next book because…these girls needed their mother.
  • Though the perspectives alternate between Zuhra and Inara, I was more invested in Zuhra’s experience. It felt uneven, but I hope it does even out in the sequel.
  • I’ll have to wait forever for the sequel. Sigh….

I enjoyed this book so much because of the sisterly love, the amazing magical world of the Paladins and their gryphons, and that frustrating growing romance between Zuhra and Raidyn. I wanted to scream, Kiss ALREADY!!! 🤣 I hope we see Zuhra grow stronger and confident in herself and I’m worried about Inara. What will happen to her? 😞

Sisters of Shadow and Light is an emotional journey of two sisters, finding themselves and bringing their family back together. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

ARC Review | A River of Royal Blood

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A River of Royal Blood

Author: Amanda Joy

Format: paperback (Bookishfirst winner)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Adventure, Sibling Rivalry, Blood Magic

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

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Thank you to Putnam and Bookishfirst for giving me a chance to win this ARC of A River of Royal Blood.

A young adult fantasy book about sisters dueling to the death for a crown? It sounds reminiscent of other sibling rivalry books out there but this one definitely stands out!

A River of Royal Blood took me two days to finish, because it’s one of those books that set the backdrop for what’s to come in this series. It may seem like a lot of info dump but I think in this case it is needed because this imagined world is intricate and detailed. If you don’t like slow building fantasy then this book might put you off. The plot of the two sisters fighting for the crown also takes a bit of a back seat until the end.

The strength of this book is the world building because my goodness it is rich, colorful and so diverse. There are humans, fey, bloodkin, khimaer and more lands we will discover in book two I’m sure. The queendom of Myre finds it’s ruler with the Rival Heir tradition, where two sisters who are of age (17+) will find to the death and winner takes the crown. What a cruel tradition.

There is a magick system in place in this world and everyone who has magick seems to have their own different strengths. A few characters show mind controlling powers, where as Princess Eva has marrow and blood magick. But what is it? Because Princess Eva has the magick but can’t access it. Omens that were witnessed before her birth said her power would be great and terrible. Her older sister Princess Isadore already wields her persuasion magick so expertly. The sisters were once close, the scenes that portray them in memory as children show them in happier times, but those days are over with Eva’s 17th birthday approaching.

Most of the book is about Princess Eva learning about her magick and how to access it. We meet a lot of different characters in the book some fey, bloodkin, human and khimaer. I think the khimaer is the most fascinating, because they take on parts of animals with their human form also. They sound magnificent! There is a lot of history being told in the story which people might find to be boring info dump, and sometimes I’m in that category but this book kept me engaged. I wanted to know the history of Queen Riana and Baccha, the Lord of the Hunt. I loved learning about the Sorceryn and Auguries (who studied Omens/cosmos) and wanted to know about the khimaer and the Dracolan – by the end of the book, I was like, give me more! Oh also, I want more bloodkin! 🧛‍♂️

There are assassination attempts on Eva that seems to take more precedence than the sisters fighting. And there is a bit of a romance as well between Eva and a certain Prince who has fangs and scales like a snake – that’s kinda hot right? 😅 I always like a little romance in my fantasy novels but even if it wasn’t there, I think I would still be invested in Eva’s journey.

As for Princess Eva she’s definitely got family issues, I mean she grew up knowing she will either kill her sister or be killed by her! It’s cutthroat to be a royal, right? Her mom doesn’t show her affection, and she’s definitely daddy’s girl but he’s been gone from court for awhile. She has lots of conflicted emotions about her magick, her identity, the history of their queendom, her family and knowing who to trust and trying to figure out who loves her. ☹️ Her mom and sister are like ice queens whereas Eva is emotional. But what I love about Eva is that she learns…she wants to know the history of their kingdom and if she ruled, she has plans on how she could fix the injustices that took place on the khimaer people.

A River of Royal Blood is a stellar and solid debut, full of world building, magick, political intrigue, sibling rivalry, some romance, some killing, and lots of blood and secrets. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series!

Book Review | Serpent & Dove

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 519

Categories: Witches, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult/New Adult

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

I heard great things about this book but wow when it actually meets expectations, it’s a glorious feeling.

I started this book at 8pm and finished right before midnight. 😱

Oh the feels! Oh my heart. It was everything I wanted in a book.

Louise le Blanc, or Lou, is a witch hiding from her coven, and now she is living as a thief in Cesarine. Not only does Lou need to hide from her coven, she needs to stay far away from witch hunters called Chasseurs. Chasseurs are devout men of the church, and their main goal is to eradicate witches from this world. Lou runs into Reid and the rest is history.

Lou is so funny, sassy, brave, charming and so full of life. I love her! She has a foul mouth, curses a lot, sings bawdy songs 🤣 but she’s also compassionate. Then there is Reid who is so devout and chivalrous, he doesn’t even swear, and he is the captain of the Chasseurs. It’s a fun enemies to lovers romance relationship. When these two are together it’s just so funny how they get under each other’s skin. I love seeing them drive one another crazy! But when they finally open themselves to one another…

And I categorized this book as new adult…because there is definitely a sex scene and it’s beautiful. 😍😅

But that’s not the only love that gave me the feels in this book, Lou and her best-friend Coco, was friendship goals. These two together are such badass females, but so full of heart! Coco is Lou’s ride or die, sister from another mister, partner in crime, best friend and I LOVE them together. There is a celebration of female, in this book and the Chasseurs are so hellbent on thinking women and witches are evil, or that women had to be chaste and pure.

And the rest of the cast, was amazing as well. There are villains, magic, secrets, betrayals, broken hearts and mended ones too. This story made me laugh, it made me feel giddy and I think I even teared up at some parts. This world of witches and chasseurs just sucked me in, it took me on such an enjoyable, exciting and emotional reading journey. My heart was full at the end!

Then the ending was like a mic drop which made me silently cackle in delight (because everyone was asleep in the house!). YES, please give me more COCO in book two. I can’t wait to meet her coven! I went to sleep SMILING. That’s how good this book made me feel. It was fun in an unexpected way.

It’s one of my favorite reads this year and I have a feeling it’s a book I’ll be rereading a bunch before the sequel comes out next year.