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 | UMBERTOUCHED, by Livia Blackburne

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Umbertouched (Rosemarked #2), by Livia Blackburne

Publish Date: November 6, 2018
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 375
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

The mission was a failure. Even though Zivah and Dineas discovered a secret that could bring down the empire, their information is useless without proof. Now, with their cover blown and their quest abandoned, their only remaining hope is to get home before Ampara brings the full might of its armies against their peoples.

As Shidadi and Dara alike prepare for war, Zivah and Dineas grapple with the toll of their time in the capital. After fighting alongside the Amparans against his own kin, can Dineas convince the Shidadi—and himself—where his loyalties lie? After betraying her healer’s vows in Sehmar City, can Zivah find a way to redeem herself—especially when the Dara ask her to do the unthinkable? And after reluctantly falling in love, what will the two do with their lingering feelings, now that the Dineas from Sehmar City is gone forever? Time is running out for all of them, but especially Zivah whose plague symptoms surface once again. Now, she must decide how she’ll define the life she has left.

Together, healer and warrior must find the courage to save their people, expose the truth, and face the devastating consequences headed their way.


My Review:

This was a very strong sequel to Rosemarked, and I absolutely loved watching the continuing journey of Zivah and Dineas after the events in the previous book. It was filled with action and intrigue and kept me engaged throughout. It left me feeling happy and sad, content with how things ended but also leaving things a little open-ended, not perfectly wrapped up in a neat little bow. Continue reading “Book Review | UMBERTOUCHED, by Livia Blackburne”

Book Review

Book Review | ROSEMARKED, by Livia Blackburne

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Rosemarked (Rosemarked #1), by Livia Blackburne

Publish Date: September 7, 2017
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.


My Review:

This book pulled me in from the start. I don’t know what it was about it – the writing style, the characters, the world-building – but I fell in love with it almost immediately. There was just something about it that had me constantly engaged and wanting more. With beautiful world-building and characters that shine off the page, Livia Blackburne has made me an immediate fan of this book. Continue reading “Book Review | ROSEMARKED, by Livia Blackburne”

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 | NOT YOUR SIDEKICK, by C. B. Lee

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Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad #1), by C. B. Lee

Publish Date: September 8, 2016 (audiobook published 2018)
Published by: Duet Books (audiobook published by Tantor Audio)
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Pages: 283 (approx. 8 hrs)
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether


My Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time, so finding an audiobook of it on Hoopla was a wonderful discovery. I loved the whole concept of a daughter of superheroes finding a job with a villain, paired with a f/f romance that covers the trope of secret identities. And while it was everything I expected it to be and a little more, I still felt frustrated at times and not completely enthralled with the story. Continue reading “Book Review | NOT YOUR SIDEKICK, by C. B. Lee”