Category Archives: Book review

Review of The Crown’s Dog by Elise Kova

crowns-dog-cover-smFirst off, what an awesome cover! I love how Jax is captured. The Crown’s Dog is the first book in The Golden Guard Trilogy (a prequel series to Air Awakens that I absolutely LOVED! You can read all my reviews for that series here.)

SUMMARY (from back): A coastal summer is turned upside down by a violent murder, and a quest for lost pirate treasure turns into a hunt for the killer.

Jax Wendyll is the crown’s dog. As punishment for the unspeakable crimes that torment him to this day, his life has been conscripted to the Empire Solaris. However, in an Empire afflicted by peace, his duties are relegated to unquestioningly aiding the antics of the youngest prince, Baldair.

Erion Le’Dan, a nobleman’s son, expects a quiet summer visit to the Imperial Palace, his only agenda to visit with his unlikely friends. But Jax’s discovery of the legendary pirate Adela Lagmir’s old workroom inspires a hunt for her long lost treasure.

The pursuit of Adela’s truth takes the three men to the Imperial summer manor, built along the old pirate mainstays. When Adela’s trident is branded into a murdered servant, Prince Baldair’s summer amusement of treasure-hunting becomes a hunt to find the killer. But, as mysteries compound, the ghosts of Jax’s past may not be the only things haunting them.

WHAT I THOUGHT: If you’ve read Air Awakens, you know the name “Crown’s Dog” refers to Jax Wendyll. He’s a good-hearted character who is quirky and unbalanced as a result of his past that torments him. We see him in action in this book and his deeds are definitely consistent with his later life. I love this character for he’s not afraid to breach convention and we see that on full display as he “deals” with the antics of a 16-year-old Prince Baldair who has yet to make a name for himself. I particularly loved the end of the book where events make him the “elder” identifying with Baldair and Erion’s inexperience with their first kills.

Speaking of Baldair, we find him at the awkward age of sixteen with too much testosterone and not enough sense, behaving impetuously. I loved how Kova sets up the tension between he and his older brother, Aldrick, which clearly reveals his motivations and undisciplined behavior. I guess the only surprising thing was the lack of any parental involvement–of course that would have destryed the entire storyline (LOL!). While I doubt he would agree, when my son was 16, he required adult intervention/supervision to avoid doing stupid things that would impact his life longer-term. The Emperor clearly has other things occupying his attention…but what of Baldair’s mother? We never see her in action.

And then there’s Erion. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him in action. The Air Awakens series alludes to him and then we see him up at the front, but only cameos. This is the first time I saw him in action in a way that allowed me to understand him motivations and I loved it. I really got the sense of his political motivations and how he wrestled with exploiting his relationship with the prince for his own and his family’s gain. That, and his ties to the history with his homeland that had been conquered by and incorporated into the Solaris Empire.

All in all, the plot was engaging–who can’t appreciate preying on people’s fear of ghosts–and the characters made it a very enjoyable  read. I’ll definitely be reading the next book in this trilogy!

I give The Crown’s Dog 5 stars!

Buy The Crown’s Dog on Amazon. It’s in Kindle Unlimited, too!

FREE EBOOKS: If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to download two FREE EBOOKS: 1) the Prequel and 2) the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Enjoy!

Book Review of The Beauty of Darkness by Mary Pearson

BeautyofDarknessThe Beauty of Darkness is the third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson.

SUMMARY (from back): Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous – what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I loved how Mary Pearson wrapped up this trilogy for the most part. In the third book we see more growth in Lia, the main protagonist, as she must overcome disbelief of those around her and assert herself as the leader of Morrighan even though it assuredly means she will die.

Driven by an ancient prophecy, Lia wrestles to overcome the neigh-sayers around her, says “no” to her heart, and plants a stake in the ground that she would save her people.  The courage of conviction that would take speaks volumes about this character who teens can look to as a role model.

Pearson does an awesome job managing the tender relationship between Lia and Rafe. The two sovereigns are stuck in a political conundrum, both their countries needing their leadership, yet as the reader, I felt for them. I longed to see them together.

And with that, I loved how Kaden and Pauline came to love each other. I was cheering duringteh last chapter when Kaden is holding Rhys and he kisses Pauline. Ah… be still my heart. A great ending/beginning for them.

There were two parts I didn’t like about this book. First, I didn’t like how the last battle was resolved. As with epic battles, Lia finds herself between a rock and a hard place, but Pearson extricates her too conveniently for my liking. I hate it when that happens. Lia should have had to dig her way out, not be rescued by the nebulous extraneous third party that does play much of a role at all in the book. I wanted more.

My other gripe was, I didn’t understand why Lia, during the final battle, had to fall off that cliff. It seemed an unnecessary add-on. But this isn’t a major issue.

Overall, this was a great conclusion to this series and I was satisfied. I give this a 4.5/5.0!

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of Eidolon by Grace Draven

Eidolon The Wraith KingsEidolon is the second book in Grace Draven’s The Wraith Kings Paranormal Fantasy Romance series.

SUMMARY (from back): In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis unleashes a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness. His human wife, Ildiko, must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to save his throne.

Three kingdoms on the verge of war must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king will raise an army of the dead to challenge an army of the damned.  A tale of alliance and sacrifice.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I loved the first book in the series, Radiance, for its depiction of how a human adapts to the dramatically different culture of the Kai after an arranged marriage borne out of political interests. Eidolon, while not focusing on the same themes as Radiance, introduces a peril on that world that demand the three nations unite and fight.

I loved the continued world-building of Draven.

Plot: The threat in this book is a horde of demons from the pit of Hell released by the former self-obsessed queen. They pillage and feed upon any living being. The stakes have never been higher and failure is not an option. It was certainly a creative and extreme conflict to be sure.

While the plot introduced a significant conflict, I thought the transition between book one and two was a bit abrupt. I mentioned this in my review of the first book. For it was in the epilogue that Draven crafts this conflict. While the scenario would have been possible based upon the character of the queen she’d set up, I would have like to see the story flow and the narrative create this problem on its own, not an epilogue.

I will not give any spoilers, but I found the execution of the conflict and resolution lacked an emotional hook for me. It seemed academic and while “big”, I wished the events leveraged the emotions of the female protagonist, Ikaido, as well as her husband, Brishen, more. It felt like Draven built the tension and then we moved to lots of action that lacked anything but the occasional pining of the husband for his wife while he’s slaying the bad guys.

Characters: I enjoyed the continued growth of both Ilaiko and Brishen. They have gone from willing pawns in a political game to husband and wife who are deeply committed to each other. I thought the misunderstand between them and how it impacted their relationship (duty vs desire) was well done.

Overall, I give this 4.0/5.0 stars.

Warning: This is not YA. There are a few sexually explicit scenes as would be expected in this Adult fantasy romance work.

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance Wraith KingsRadiance is the first book in The Wraith Kings series by Grace Draven. With the cultural divide that currently besets America, I loved how the author addressed how two dramatically different cultures can peacefully co-exist. A very timely story with far-reaching implications.

SUMMARY: ~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~ Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~ Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I knew I was on to a good book when I saw 1,212 reviews with a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon! Congrats to Grace Draven. Based upon what I read, the rating is well deserved.

The Kai are a race of nocturnal beings with deathly pale skin and long fangs. Certainly the sight of one would be enough to make any sane human run. And many do. But for Brishen (Kai) and Ildiko (Human), they are married to secure an alliance for a treaty between their nations and have no choice but to tolerate each other. But much more happens to them.

The couple are initially repulsed by each other’s physical appearance, but both choose to look beyond the physical and discover the unique and lovable  individual within each. Their relationship grows from tolerance, to understanding, to a deep and abiding love for each other despite everyone around pitying them for the choice forced upon them. It is a very timely theme in light of the racial tensions currently besetting this country. We could all take a lesson from this for I think this thinking works in practice as well as in fantasy.

While I thought the author did an amazing job with world-building as well as character development, I have two complaints. The first is the plot seemed prescriptive and contrived, lacking subtly and intrigue. I love novels that keep you guessing and when the reveal finally happens, you’re surprised because you saw all the clues but never pieced them together. This ain’t that. The author laid out the clues, but in a way that they seemed obvious that she was setting up something for later on. Not a huge negative, I just thought this could have been epic if there was as much finesse put into plotting as character development.

The other small complaint I have is with the ending. The author leaves us with a wrapped up story, except gives us an epilogue that seems very different than anything that happened in the story. It’s not that I couldn’t connect the dots and say “okay, that’s possible” but  the author used an unrefined way to set up the next book. I just thought it could have been done with a bit more finesse. Again, this is not a huge issue, but it just struck me as not fitting in with everything the author had so beautifully set up in the first book.

Overall, I give this book 4.5/5.0 stars. Get book on Amazon

Warning: This is not YA. There are a few sexually explicit scenes as would be expected in this Adult fantasy romance work.

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of Rite of Redemption by Sarah Negovetich

RiteofRedemptionRite of Redemption is the third and final book in the Acceptance dystopian trilogy by Sarah Negovetich.

SUMMARY (from back): Rebecca escaped the PIT, found a family among the Freeman…and watched too many loved ones die. All she wants is the Cardinal to leave her in peace, but he’s made it clear that’s never going to happen.

When the Cardinal attacks other Freeman villages, she finally understands that no one is safe from his wrath. As the only one who’s stood up to the evil that is the Cardinal, it’s up to her to convince the others that they can’t hide forever. It’s time to fight.

The Machine predicted Rebecca would become the Cardinal’s enemy. It may have gotten that one right.

In the conclusion to the Acceptance series, enemies become allies and old friends emerge, but in the end, sacrifice may be the price of freedom.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I will be the first to say I am not a huge dystopian fan, but Negovetich’s writing hooked me in the first book and kept me buying the subsequent books in the series.

Plot – As with all dystopian books, the world as we know it has been reorganized after a cataclysmic event. The Cardinal is the epicenter of power in this society. In this book, Rebecca, the central heroine, is after taking him down. And of course, only she, as the face of the resistance, can do so. I thought the stakes were set high and Negovetich delivered on suspense, obstacles, and distrust among characters/entities. One thing that drives me crazy with some authors is that they set these elements up then make the resolution way too easy. This was not the case in Rite of Redemption for the most part. I won’t give away the ending, but I would say all but the absolute end where Rebecca “just happens” to run into the guy and it resolves rather easily, gave me a great “ride”.

Characters – I loved Rebecca! I loved how she matured throughout the series based upon everything that happened to her. She becomes the one to save that world by default as a result of who she is and what she values rather than some artificial “nomination” by outsiders.

Her now-husband, Daniel, I didn’t appreciate so much in this book. I thought he bordered on the whiny, petulant side and while I suppose his behavior could have happened in real life, I didn’t care for the change in this guy who used to be so supportive of Rebecca.

Pacing – I liked how the story unfolded. I loved how the Cardinal’s move triggers the beginning of events that must play out. And the author created a logical progression of events, visiting various Freeman villages, etc. I particularly loved how Rebecca’s childhood best friend appears once more in the final installment to wrap up that connection.

Overall, I give this 4.5 stars!

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova

Crystal CrownedI am saddened to be writing this review for it is my review of the final book in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova, a series that I have loved dearly. I am not ready to say goodbye to my new friends.

SUMMARY: Long live Solaris.

One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn?

WHAT I THOUGHT: This being the final book in the series I had high expectations for a “good” wrap up. And those expectations were nearly met.

Let’s start with the bad: The first half of the book has Vhalla and Aldrick wandering around seeing everyone and gathering support. This part left me feeling antsy. I had hoped the book would take off with a bang where Book 4 ended. And it didn’t. I’ve read the book twice now and I understand why Elise did what she did from a plot perspective, but I think there are other ways to wrap things up that involve more action in terms of taking on Victor, right up front.

The good then: I loved how Kova allowed Vhalla and ALdrick’s relationship to deepen and grow. I particularly enjoyed the part where Vhalla comes to understand that Aldrick really wants to be married where his parents were. He asks for so few things, but this detail where we get to see one thing that really matters to him, after so much has been stripped away from him throughout his life, was a perfect conclusion for them.

I was a bit disappointed that Daniel’s character ended up the way he did, but that’s just my optimism showing through. I get that in life not everyone comes out a winner and Kova did a good job at reflecting reality with him.

The great: In a word, Jax. For all his quirks, I love this man. And we finally get to understand why he acts the way he does. Him and Elecia. The two of them were string minor characters and I love how they got to share the limelight in this final installment.

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the epilogue. This section was just perfect. It allowed me to take a deep breath and sigh contentedly. Kinda of like the perfect champagne with strawberries and bree at the end of a long day.

I give Crystal Crowned 4.5/5.0

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of The Crown’s Game

TheCrownsGameA fun tale with a hint of Russian history mixed in. That’s how I summarize The Crown’s Game by debut author Evelyn Skye.

SUMMARY (from back): Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side. And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know.  The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

WHAT I THOUGHT: The concept of a wizarding duel is what hooked me on the book. Well, that and the amazing cover. That said though, I felt like the book didn’t quite live up to the expectations set.

The book started out slow. The first half was filled with introducing characters etc, and I nearly put it down. But with the promise built up for the book, and the fact that it’s traditionally published, I hung in there.

I enjoyed the three main characters: Vika, Nikolai and Pasha. Vika and Nikolai are enchanters while Pasha is heir to the throne of Russia. The three end up in a love triangle, which I didn’t mind, but my problem is I don’t feel like I got t o know the characters well enough to cheer for any of them. Things happen, but I’m left feeling incomplete. I wanted more depth.

As for the plot, this, too, disappointed. I was never clear why either character chose to do what he/she did each turn. Short of one-ups-man-ship, I found what they did creative, but lacking context other than, do the next move bigger.

Then there was the ending. I was hoping neither protagonist had to really die, that their magic would save the day somehow. I was disappointed.

This is the debut of YA author Evelyn Skye so I will give her that, yet with it being traditionally published, I’d hope for more.  I give this book 3 stars.

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of A Court of Mist and Fury

ACourtofMistandFury

Amazingly beautiful cover! So many unexpected twists. An ending I had to read twice as more and more depth was revealed. Oh so good! That’s A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Maas is a master at storytelling. Period. And this book is even better than the first in this series.

I chose to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses to get back up to speed before reading this one. And I’m glad I did because I’d forgotten so many of the details Maas gave us. For instance, I’d forgotten just how broken Feyre is from her time “under the mountain.” This installment picks up with Feyre reeling from that trauma. She’s back with Tamlin and we’re breathing a sigh of relief…but not for long for he wants to put her in a glass box to protect her from every danger (to protect his fragile heart), while she withers from the stifling confinement…confinement not unlike what she experienced under the mountain, and she fractures.

As if that’s not a complex enough beginning, the Lord of the Night Court intervenes… I love how Maas uses characters she’s coached us to hate, just to reveal another side that explains why they behave as they do…and from motives we not only accept, but actually advocate, launching us in a whole new direction. As a side note, I loved the banter between Feyre and Rhys–It’s clear they both use it to protect themselves from being vulnerable and exposed, but at the same time in my head I’m thinking, just lay yourself open and bear, you won’t regret it. Oh feels…

Sarah introduces a host of five major new characters, an inner circle, that are each so different from each other, wounded and traumatized just like Feyre. I loved how they each grow and develop throughout the story helping Feyre sort through and begin to heal from her brokenness. What awesome friends.

In book two, we also discover what that “minor” detail in book one accomplished when all seven Lords gave a drop of their power to bring Feyre back to life.  Look out. Talk about power…I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when Feyre masters these new abilities in book three because the story is just begging to go there, especially when the King of Hybern needs to be dealt with. And we already have forewarning that the dude plans to use Feyre, and not for good.

I have to add a plug for the world building as well. Maas added a lot more depth to several of the courts in book two–the political divisions between, the relative power of several, different races, and how betrayal can emerge without warning.

I must confess I JUST finished rereading the last five chapters of this book because the first time through I had to know how it ended, but Maas throws SO MANY details in those last chapters that my reread left my head spinning, it was so good.

CAVEAT: I need to mention that while this book is technically listed as “Teen,” there are several explicit sex scenes that had a purpose in the narrative, but if you are turned off by that kind of thing, you’ll probably want to steer clear.

I give this 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Mist and Fury on Amazon

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses

CourtofThornsandRaoses_CoverUnique in a way that makes you fall even more in in love with the characters–that’s how I summarize this Beauty and the Beast retelling by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

WHAT I THOUGHT: This is my second read of this book. I read it the first time when it came out a year ago in May 2015, but with the release of the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury days ago, I needed to reread it to remind myself what had happened. I found the second reading even better than the first, filling in details I hadn’t noticed before.

So, lets first touch on the amazing and beautiful world that Maas built. Humans live in fear of the powerful fae living north of an invisible, but magically strong wall. Fae who live forever and must manage the politics by and between seven courts: Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn, Dawn, Day, and Night. And then there’s Hybern, a monstrous island that is set up as a threat to the fae for later, in another book in the series. When I first saw the names of the courts, I remember rolling my eyes thinking how unoriginal, but Maas does a good job giving us enough detail and flavor for differences between that the lack of originality actually worked, although I’m looking for even more rich differences as the series progresses. I’m particularly looking to understand the different powers each of the High Lord’s of these courts wield.

And then there’s the characters…

Feyre is a nineteen year old who has been the provider for a family, formerly of means and status, who has fallen on very hard times as a result of her father getting greedy with his business dealings and losing everything. She’s the only one who is mobilized to hunt and do anything pragmatic to help her, her two sisters and father survive.  From the get go we see a character who is strong and who cares for others at her own expense, but whose heart is fragile after everything she’s been through. Such a great foundation.

When she kills a fae in disguise on the human side of the wall, we meet Tamlin who claims Feyre and drags her north to the Spring court. Tamlin is set up as a mysterious character who only after conversation with his second in command do we come to learn his name, and only after conversation with a creature who Feyre ensnares and must tell the truth, that he is High Lord of the Spring court. This unveiling does a good job at building the secrecy that is prevalent among the fae. And based upon how Tamlin treats Feyre, protecting, caring for, and more, when she deeply understands she is nothing in Fae society as a human, I found myself rooting for the pair.

And then there’s Lucien, Tamlin’s second in command who has a gold fake eye, replacing the one someone or something dug from his head. The detail sets up the mystery of his background. We observe his indifference of Feyre and only later come to understand and appreciate  all the trauma he has endured as a member of the Autumn court now living in Spring court.

The details of these main characters and their flaws make them relatable and endearing.

And then there’s the plot. I feel like there should be ominous music playing LOL. Wow, Maas’s amazing imagination is fully on display and satisfies the need for gripping suspense, rooting for the underdog, and hoping the best for lovers pining but separated by a powerful, evil villainness, Amarantha. As you might imagine, Feyre is the target as the weak human, used as a tool to get at Tamlin who has fallen madly in love with her.  Oh goodness… what a series of conflicts that has you cheering the whole way.

I won’t spoil the ending but will just say that Maas sets up book two in a satisfying, but not in-your-face announcement kind of way, giving Feyre more powers than she started with.

This is a must read! I give it 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Thorns and Roses on Amazon

NOTE: I would call this New Adult, not YA based on the mature situations detailing torture and some explicit sexual content.

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of The Rose and The Dawn

TheRoseandtheDawnI loved The Wrath and The Dawn, and could not wait for this second book in The Wrath & The Dawn series by Renee Ahdieh!

SUMMARY (from back): In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

WHAT I THOUGHT:  I have great respect for authors who can craft tight, flowing sentences and such great writing, as I’ve come to expect from Renee Ahdieh, filled the pages of this book 🙂

In this book, I appreciated the author giving us more depth into some of the co-stars of the series: Tariq, Rahim as well as Despina.  In fact, she gives us a great shock with Despina for I never expected to find out what I did about her. That, combined with another shock related to Khalid at the very end, made the book one I’d recommend reading.

Despite my excitement at the release of this book, I have mixed feelings about this second installment. The Wrath and The Dawn posed an awesome conflict with a king forced to kill his wife at dawn every day until a curse had been fulfilled. The premise intrigued me and I thought the author’s narrative proved consistent and compelling with Shahrzad standing up and refusing to allow it to continue.

This book, to me, lost the focus and pace. In this installment, the curse is addressed although we never truly find out (we are left to infer) that the curse is broken. I found the pace dragging for the first 25% of the book with characters doing a lot of sitting around, waiting. Only after that do we finally get the plot truly moving.

I also found the end dissatisfying with how the author wrapped up the story with Shahrzad’s father, a conflict that I thought a lot more could have been done with. Initially there is the set up that the guy won’t let the book out of his sight, and all it takes is a daughter to spike his tea and that conflict is fixed. I was disappointed that the author chose not to make this into a much bigger problem before the book’s resolution. It could have been epic.  But all we see is a weak character when he had so much potential. The end of his character arc wasn’t any better. I won’t say what exactly happens to him, but it certainly wasn’t epic.

I give this 4 stars!

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!