Book Review

Book Review | A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, by Brigid Kemmerer

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1)by Brigid Kemmerer

Publish Date: January 29, 2019
Published by: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 496
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.


My Review:

While I enjoyed this book and was mostly engaged while reading it, I did think it had a few flaws. The characters were interesting and well-rounded, the romance grew beautifully, and the plot was engaging. Continue reading “Book Review | A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, by Brigid Kemmerer”

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Book Review

Book Review | ALL IS FAIR, by Dee Garretson

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All is Fair, by Dee Garretson

Publish Date: January 22, 2019
Published by: Swoon Reads
Pages: 288
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Lady Mina Tretheway knows she’s destined for greater things than her fancy boarding school, where she’s being taught to be a proper English lady. It’s 1918, and war is raging across Europe. Unlike her father and brother, who are able to assist in the war effort, Mina is stuck sorting out which fork should be used with which dinner course.

When Mina receives a telegram that’s written in code, she finally has her chance to do something big. She returns to her childhood home of Hallington Manor, joined by a family friend, Lord Andrew Graham, and a dashing and mysterious young American, Lucas. The three of them must band together to work on a dangerous project that could turn the tide of the war.

Thrilled that she gets to contribute to the war effort at least, Mina jumps headfirst into the world of cryptic messages, spycraft, and international intrigue. She, Lucas, and Andrew have to work quickly, because if they don’t succeed, more soldiers will disappear into the darkness of war.


My Review:

So I was intrigued by this novel because to me, its premise made it sound like it was going to be about espionage and decoding ciphers to help the Allies against Germany during the Great War. I’m not sure why that’s what I thought it was going to be now that I look back at the summary, but what this turned book turned out to be was definitely a far cry from what I expected. And not all of it was good. Continue reading “Book Review | ALL IS FAIR, by Dee Garretson”

Book Review

Book Review | SLAYER, by Kiersten White

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Slayer (Slayer #1), by Kiersten White

Publish Date: January 8, 2019
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 416
Genre: YA Fantasy
Tags: pop-culture retelling, demons, slaying, mystery, action, splash of romance, family angst, mother issues
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.


My Review:

I don’t normally read these pop-culture novels. You know, all these ones based on Wonder Woman or Batman or Star Wars. They’ve just never really interested me all that much before. But when I heard about this story based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer something in me went “ooh, yes.” Obviously it was that part of me that adores Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that’s been itching to go back to it again. I was still a little hesitant in going into this book, but I was surprised to find myself easily enjoying it and getting sucked into the story in no time. It’s filled with some great characters, excellent story and character arcs, and of course, demons and other things that go bump in the night. Continue reading “Book Review | SLAYER, by Kiersten White”

Book Review

Book Review | GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, by Natasha Ngan

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Girls of Paper and Fire, by Natasha Ngan

Publish Date: November 6, 2018
Published by: Jimmy Patterson Books
Pages: 336
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


My Review:

I really wanted to like this book. Going in, I was so excited for an Asian-inspired fantasy story about two girls falling in love while prisoners to a tyrannical King. It sounded inspiring and beautiful, and while there were moments of both, particularly in certain passages and quotes, I was just so utterly bored throughout the whole story that I can’t help but being disappointed in this book. The plot dragged, with characters that were only slightly interesting, and the twists were so predictable that I was completely unenthused even when the action started happening. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I made it past the halfway point and was not in the mood to start something new while I was in tech for a show, I would have DNF’ed this a lot sooner. But with all the positive reviews I just kept hoping it would get better, but it just never did for me. Continue reading “Book Review | GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, by Natasha Ngan”

Book Review

Book Review | THE CONFECTIONER’S GUILD, by Claire Luana

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The Confectioner’s Guild (The Confectioner’s Chronicles #1), by Claire Luana

Publish Date: October 23, 2018
Published by: Live Edge Publishing
Pages: 395
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

A magic cupcake. A culinary killer. The perfect recipe for murder.

Wren knew her sweet treats could work wonders, but she never knew they could work magic. She barely has time to wrap her head around the stunning revelation when the head of the prestigious Confectioner’s Guild falls down dead before her. Poisoned by her cupcake.

Now facing murder charges in a magical world she doesn’t understand, Wren must discover who framed her or face the headsman’s axe. With the help of a handsome inspector and several new friends, Wren just might manage to learn the ropes, master her new powers, and find out who framed her. But when their search for clues leads to a deep-rooted conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, she realizes that the guild master isn’t the only one at risk of death by chocolate.

If Wren can’t bring the powerful culprit to justice, she and her friends will meet a bittersweet end.


My Review:

On reading the premise of this book I was immediately intrigued. It sounded both magical and mysterious and I was in the mood for a little bit of both. The Confectioner’s Guild turned out to be a semi-sweet tale that had a lot of intrigue and intricate world-building, some really interesting characters, and a unique blend of magic that added just the right touch to the story. Continue reading “Book Review | THE CONFECTIONER’S GUILD, by Claire Luana”

Book Review

Book Review | A BLADE SO BLACK, by L. L. McKinney

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A Blade So Black, by L. L. McKinney

Publish Date: September 25, 2018
Published by: Imprint
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.


My Review:

When I first started this book I really enjoyed it. It pulled me in quickly and held my interest throughout the story. The writing is excellent, the storytelling very well done, and the characters were very lifelike and distinct. It had a bit of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe which I digged a lot, and the action and intrigue kept me captivated throughout. My only issue, though, was that by the end it started to feel like things were getting dragged out, and with so many new issues occurring and adding up on top of each other, it felt like the plot would never end.  Continue reading “Book Review | A BLADE SO BLACK, by L. L. McKinney”