Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Folk of the Air #2
How I got this book: Bought
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.
If you haven't already read the first book in The Folk of the Air series, feel free to check out my review of The Cruel Prince and stop reading to avoid potential spoilers from book one.
This book is complicated.
I don't know if I've ever read a book before where I've absolutely hated 99% of all the characters but still loved just how vile and repulsive they are.
They're so evil. ALL OF THEM ARE EVIL. Including the author because that ending was not fair!
The two characters I hate the most are Taryn and Locke, which makes them pretty well suited to each other. I love how at the beginning of book one we were presented with this meek, gentle and docile image of Taryn but as the book progressed she turned out to be the worst sister in the world.
Jude is fantastic. I love her ferocity even in the face of impossible odds and certain defeat. She's cunning, clever and complex and yet still manages to be blindsided by others (don't worry Jude, you're not alone!)
Cardan is still a, well, there aren't really words for what/how he is and I still have some huge problems about their relationship dynamic but the chemistry and tension between the two are so palpable that it seeps from the pages.
The plot twists in this book are EPIC! If you were shocked by The Cruel Prince trust me when I say that you won't even know what to make of The Wicked King. My jaw is still somewhere on the floor where it dropped whilst reading that ending...
The storytelling is compulsive. This book is filled with more politics than the first, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I was so excited to see new places and more backstory from several characters.
If you love fantasy with a dark, foreboding edge, an unpredictable plot line and characters you love to hate, you'll love The Wicked King.
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: Tales from Verania #2
How I got this book: Bought
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.
Life is good.
Until it’s not.
Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.
And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.
Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.
It would seem that I'm having a bit of a TJ Klune marathon at the moment since I just can't stop reading his books...even after finishing this I immediately started one of his contemporary romances. He's JUST SO GOOD, I CAN'T STOP!
Anyway, back to the book at hand.
A Destiny of Dragons is book two in the Tales of Verania fantasy series by TJ Klune. If you haven't read book one yet, feel free to check out my review of The Lightning Struck Heart.
A Destiny of Dragons starts with a rather foreboding prologue that, since finishing this book, I have a really, really, really bad feeling about but I'm trying not to think of it so that I don't cry, but Chapter One picks up not too long after where we left things in book one and it immediately falls back into TJ's hilarious rhythm, with Sam trying to show Justin how much he cares before being hit on by a stranger and discovered by a posing Ryan. I really loved being back with the insane Verania crew who I can't seem to get enough of.
The best thing about this book is 'Sam's New Destiny (capitalised so it must be true)' as much as he hates and complains about it, for the following reasons:
ALL THE FEELS!
As always TJ Klune manages to blend this incredible mixture of awesome magic and magical creatures with outrageous, very crude humour and so much emotion you feel like your heart might just burst.
Sam is on another adventure that he didn't ask for and with the help (and hindrance) of some new characters he still handles it with his classic 'Sam' attitude:
"Finally, I did the only thing a person could do if they were in my position and faced with a gigantic hill monster after having been bad-touched by an old lady into the middle of the woods. I waved and said, “Heeeyyy there.”
As with The Lightning Struck Heart, A Destiny of Dragons takes us on a journey across Verania, with some amazing new places to discover this time around.
However, where the first book in the series delivered very over-the-top comedy, this book didn't have quite the same carefree feel. Things are different for Sam, things are darker, harder and more difficult with much more at stake for Sam and the people of Verania. In this book we see strains on friendship and fear that strikes at Sam's heart, and the hearts of those around him.
I'm really excited and nervous to see how things play out in the rest of the series as there's promise of a lot of dark, depressing shit (there was a point in this book that I was so very close to crying) and I'm completely on edge having no idea what's going to happen next. I really don't think it'll be long before I read book three!
So, to finish, I'm going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from this book, a little pearl of Sam wisdom:
"You can’t hide your head in the sand without expecting your ass to get burned.”
Rating: 4 🔥🔥🔥🔥
How I got this book: This novella is available for free exclusively at tjklunebooks.com
When he sees Satan stuck in a rut, God provides a little divine intervention, suggesting the Devil get back to basics.
Taking God's advice, Satan answers a summons to a crossroad on Earth, hellbent on brokering a deal in exchange for the soul of the human who summoned him.
The problem with that is the summoner is a deviant twink named Jimmy who immediately falls in love at first sight, much to Satan's dismay.
Blasphemy! Where God is a frat bro who wants to get his brother laid, Satan absolutely does not have time for this shit, and Jimmy wants to climb the Devil like a tree.
Important note: If you are extremely religious or find religious satire offensive, this is NOT the book for you!
First off, I want to say:
1. How awesome is the artwork above? The banners were designed by members of TJ Klune's Facebook reader group and I love each one!
2. The author provided this novella for free on his website. It's available to read on the site or you can download the PDF or Mobi files to your devices!
If you've read some of TJ's other work, specifically the Tales of Verania series, you'll be very familiar with the authors' brand of satirical, twisted humour. If you haven't, think like a really vulgar (but in the best way) Terry Pratchett but with waaay more sex, swearing and generally outrageous behaviour involved.
Blasphemy! was a really short read (around 20,000 words) and is a tale about the lord of the underworld and his growing loneliness. Throw in some help from his (and I quote) "brother-dad" God who's incredibly interfering, and a very naive young human who falls head over horns in love and you have a classic, hysterically funny TJ Klune story that will keep you laughing out loud from start to finish.
"And while Satan had never been too fond of labels, he sometimes wondered if he was a bear now, like the type who could be called Daddy."
Featuring appearances from a Demon named Derek, a man named Carl, and a very teenage Jesus Christ this story is pretty much un-quotable but I did manage to find this little snippet to give you a taste of what's in store:
"Jesus! Jesus Christ, you better not be making a mess in the kitchen. We just had it cleaned!"
A surly response came crackling through the monitor. "I'm not! And don't tell me what to do! You're not even my real dad. Joseph is! When he and Mom get back from their vacation, I'm going to tell them you never let me do anything."
As I said above, this book is really not intended for anyone who's highly religious or easily offended, but if that's not you, and you're looking for a quick-paced read that promises some heavy belly laughs, go and grab this book!
Enjoy 🤣 and once you read it, feel free to leave your comments below!
Rating: 4.5 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Folk of the Air #1
How I got this book: Bought
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal.
As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . .
This book was so massively hyped that I found myself subconsciously staying away from it. Even though I was aware of the book, I had no inclination to actually read it until I stumbled across a copy in Waterstones last week and got hooked whilst reading the back cover - I had such a strong urge to read it that I started it the moment I got home.
I can tell you one thing - the hype is real! This book was fantastic!
Holly Black's writing is completely immersive, the world is captivating and the characters are complex and deliciously twisted.
Jude is perfect in her imperfections. She's bad-ass, conflicted and haunted. Living with her parents murderer and being forced to move to another world where she's belittled, tortured and abused has hardened her into a fighter both physically and mentally. She's a force to be reckoned with and I love both her character arc and her sass.
"I thought I was playing the game of pissing off people who hated me already and eating the consequences."
This book is filled with deception - the twists and turns from each character are unexpected, the plot is dark and gripping, and the pacing is perfect.
If you're looking for something darker and more thrilling than your traditional fairytale, you'll love this.
“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks,” Taryn says. “Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”
The secondary characters were unexpected to say the least. I don't want to give too much away, but prepare yourself to be surprised.
This is a fantastic book and I can't wait to find out what happens in book 2 after that shocking ending!
If you loved the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas, you'll absolutely devour The Cruel Prince.
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: Paranormal Romance/LGBT
Standalone/Series: Green Creek #1
How I got this book: Bought
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
Trigger warnings: Mental/physical/child abuse.
If you've been reading my blog for a while or you're following me on Twitter, you'll know that TJ Klune has quickly become one of my favourite writers. I can't get enough of his immersive writing style and I absolutely love how diverse his characters and the genres he writes in are. I've only read two other books of his so far, one being a SCI-Fi whilst the other is a more epic fantasy.
So far, I've loved everything I've read by this author and Wolfsong is no exception.
It all starts with Ox. Sweet, beautiful Ox who's unlike anyone else. He's plagued by the words of his father. Telling him he's too stupid, too dumb, too slow. He's kind. He's strong. He's brave. He's so loving. He's the cornerstone of this whole book and I am in awe of who he is and who he becomes.
TJ writes characters that are vivid and diverse. His dialogue is so real that you can just hear it in your head without any effort. Each character is unique and I love the development arcs for each and every one.
What's great is that even though Ox is the narrator of this book, you still see so much growth from the others that they all feel like main characters.
The romance in this book is a scorching slow burn, friends-to-lovers relationship that builds steadily throughout the book until it consumes you.
The plot line is seriously epic, the action is fantastic, the creatures and backstory are so detailed and full of pain, love and ALL THE FEELS that I'm so not over it. Not even a little bit.
I love that, whilst there are a lot of darker, tense moments, there's still plenty of humour and there are so many fantastic, complex relationships to explore; friends, brothers, parents, family, pack.
I mixed things up a little on this read, sometimes reading the eBook, other times listening to the audio-book and the narration by Kirt Graves was brilliant and so very immersive.
Wolfsong draws you in, grabs hold of your heart, tears it apart, repairs the fragments and leaves you not quite whole but wanting more.
This is a paranormal shifter novel done absolutely right!
Rating: 4.5 STARS
Standalone/Series: Spellslinger #4
How I got this book: ARC from Bonnier Zaffre and Hot Key Books via NetGalley
The fourth book in the page-turning SPELLSLINGER fantasy series.
Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.
(Not much of a synopsis on Goodreads, but, if you haven't read the first three books in the Spellslinger series yet, you can find them here!)
I discovered the first book in the Spellslinger series in December 2017, and after reading the following two books in the series earlier this year, it's become a huge favourite.
So, I was more than excited to see Soulbinder pop up in NetGalley as I was desperate to find out what happened after the events of Charmcaster. I'm going to do my very best here to keep any spoilers out of this review, but if you haven't read the first three books of this series, you might want to look away now. You can find my reviews of book two (Shadowblack) and book three (Charmcaster) by clicking on the respective links.
This series goes from strength to strength with each new instalment that I read, and Soulbinder is no exception. It felt much more action-packed than the other books in the series, which really sped up the pace.
I have noticed a few recurring trends in these books, often with how they start (in the form of the trouble that Kellen is usually in), something bad happening to my favourite character, and the endings which lead Kellen on a new path and show how much he's grown, but each time it's something a little different that keeps things fresh and moving forward, and whilst each individual book has a sub-plot, the overall plot is continuously fuelled and driven forwards.
One of the best things about this book is the new characters, in particular, Butelios who is the absolute sweetest person, and the source of many, many smiles during his interactions with Kellen.
"...wearing an idiots smile so bright it made you want to kiss him. Even if you weren't into boys."
(Shame, because I'd totally ship these two!)
Kellen has developed beautifully throughout this series, discovering new strengths, facing his weaknesses, learning new truths and just becoming a better person. He truly rules this book (as does my little fur baby Reichis, of course) and his agony was so painful to witness, even though at the same time you can visibly see just how much he's grown and learned from Ferius and Reichis, becoming the hero (I personally believe) he was destined to be all along.
This book is the most heart-wrenching of the entire series, and I was so close to sobbing at one point that I almost didn't want to continue, so brace yourself for ALL THE FEELS!
"Life ought to be more than just losing the things you love one after another until you have nothing left."
As always, the politics between the various regions, clans, peoples etc. in this series, made the book extremely interesting, as did seeing the cast of new characters clashing with the old. Look out for some pretty awesome new displays of magic!!
The book itself is absolutely stunning, so far we've had beautifully illustrated covers in red, blue, orange and now green...I think the next one is purple and it's going to look stunning! The illustrations inside are also beautiful and work extremely well alongside the funny and poignant quotes at the start of each paragraph.
"Cages have bars and everyone knows you're supposed to escape a cage, but houses have walls and people lock themselves inside to feel safe. You ask me, it's a lot easier to break out of a cage than a house. - What passes for Squirrel Cat Wisdom."
After reading Soulbinder, I can't wait to find out where Kellen's journey takes him next, to discover new enemies, reface old ones, to reconnect with past characters, to be introduced to new ones, and above all, to see what kind of man he becomes.
"...I won't know for sure until I meet the man you're going to be once you finally get tired of being the boy you once were."
If fantasy and magic is your thing and you're looking for a story featuring an unlikely non-typical hero, a ferocious, bloodthirsty squirrel cat, beautiful friendships, brutal enemies and uncertainty at every turn, I highly recommend that you read this series!
Feel free to chat with me about it in the comments whilst I twiddle my thumbs waiting for book 5!
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone/Series: Summoner #1
How I got this book: Bought from Audible
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.
As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
I decided to read this book after seeing Taran Matharu at the NYALitFest. It had been on my radar for a while and I decided, after listening to the sample, to give the audiobook a try.
This was a buddy read and it took us a month to listen to this one.
The first thing I noticed about The Novice were the clear comparisons to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Pokemon - an interesting combination.
I found the story intriguing, if following a fairly typical, boy stumbles across powers/magic and starts training at magic school, befriends a boy and a girl and has to defeat the evil, snobbish, wealthy child(ren).
However, I had a huge problem with the narrator. It got to the point where the narrator was massively distracting me with the way he pronounced a lot of the words. It was just driving me crazy, and making me laugh when the story just didn't call for humour.
I persevered because I was enjoying the story, the magic was interesting, and I loved the Pokemon similarities, especially finding out that the humans are the pokeballs which was a funny twist!
I also loved the characters, especially the daemons who have their own personalities.
Where the story ended was a little frustrating (probably because I'm not a huge cliffhanger fan) but it does leave the story open for book 2 and I am interested to see where this goes.
However, I think I'll definitely be going with the paper book/eBook next time, instead of the audiobook.
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone/Series: The Numair Chronicles #1
How I got this book: ARC from NetGalley
Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.
In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.
If you've been following me on Twitter or Goodreads, you'll know that I've really struggled with this book.
This is my first book by Tamora Pierce and I was really intrigued by the synopsis and liked the start of the book, but it quickly felt dull and boring. I had a lot of trouble connecting with the characters and the plot for the first 45% of the book and I almost stopped reading.
I just felt as though nothing was really happening and I struggled to see an overall plot. I persevered because I hate giving up on books and there were some parts of it that I did like, such as the magic itself, and some of the other characters such as the masters, the gladiators and the gods provided the most amusement.
I did feel as though the book picked up around 55-60%, things seemed to get more interesting and I felt more of a connection with Arram as he faced certain challenges.
Mostly, I was somewhat disappointed with the ending. I know that this is the first book in a series but honestly, it took me such a long time to read with very little taking place and then ended in such an odd, non-conclusive place that I feel really confused.
I think the story and the characters have more to offer and I'm really hoping that book 2 has better pacing as I'd like to find out what happens next, but only if it doesn't drag on for quite so long.
Have you read this one? What do you think?
Welcome to my stop on The Soul Keepers blog tour!!
Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate, I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm excited to share my review with you all.
Rating: 3.5 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Death is just the beginning.
After dying in a terrible car accident, Rhett awakens in the afterlife and is recruited to join the crew of the Harbinger, a colossal seafaring vessel tasked with ferrying the souls of the dead. To where exactly, no one knows. But the crew must get the souls there, and along the way protect them from vicious soul-eating monsters that will stop at nothing to take the ship and all of its occupants.
Rhett and his new friends have a hard enough time fighting back the monsters that grow bolder and more ferocious every day. But then a new threat emerges, a demon who wants something that Rhett has. And if she gets it, it could mean the end of everything... for both the living and the dead.
This book took me COMPLETELY by surprise!
I admit that I struggled a little to get into it at the beginning but I quickly got caught up in the fantastic mythology.
To sum it up, this book felt like a mixture of Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and a modern spin on Greek mythology.
I loved the writing style, particularly when it came to the action scenes which were fantastic, and also the plot twists which were extremely unexpected.
The characters were varied and interesting, keeping me engaged throughout and the mythology is fascinating, especially the ship itself, and its changing nature.
My only complaint with this book was the ending, I just felt that it left so many unanswered questions. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend The Soul Keepers to mythology and YA fantasy lovers in general.
You can click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a print copy of The Soul Keepers (US/CAN only - giveaway hosted by Xpresso Book Tours).
Finally, you can click the banner at the top to follow the rest of the tour and feel free to leave your comments below :)
Rating: 4 STARS
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone/Series: Untitled #1
How I got this book: FairyLoot June Box
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace--someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.
Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.
I was so excited to receive an early, exclusive copy of this book in the June 'Rebels in Ballgowns' FairyLoot box. The book itself looks really beautiful, which is always a bonus!
This is one of those books that just gets better and better as you keep reading. When I first read the synopsis it gave me sort of Hunger Games vibes, and in terms of the sisterly bond and the island it definitely delivered.
I love the characters in this book, the two sisters who are so different, and all of the fantastic females we meet along the way. Serina is by far my favourite character. For me, she's a stronger character than Nomi, her personality and conviction are what drive the book forward.
The mystery, the deception, the shock, awe and terror, this book is full of it, and at it's core is an exceptionally strong feminist message, an uprising if you will, which you can gather before you even start reading, from the dedication itself...
"For every woman who has been told to sit down and be quiet...and who has stood up anyway."
I love that about this book. I love the power play, the gender roles, the pushing back against societal norms, and the realisation that you don't have to just accept the life you've been dealt and the choices that have been made for you.
I did see pretty much all of the 'twists' coming but that wasn't actually a bad thing, because it was what I wanted. I wanted these certain things to happen, to throw the character's into new situations and to see how they'd react.
Whilst this book does have smatterings of romance, I was mostly pleased with how it was handled. Particularly how the subject of consent was handled and demonstrated. Seriously, all men should be given this book so they can see how a man should behave when a woman says no i.e. by backing off and not being a complete a-hole!!!
By the end of this book I just wanted more! The ending was amazing (truly my favourite part of the book) and it leaves the story in a perfect place to continue and I want it desperately! I NEED MORE!!!
Overall, if you're looking for a strong, feminist story set in a rich world filled with greed and pain, where characters must do the unthinkable so that they can discover their true strength and purpose, this is definitely the book for you!
Grace & Fury releases on July 31st, so look out for it and remember that you can click on the book cover image above to add to your Goodreads TBR!
What do you think? Is this book on your TBR?
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