Book Reviews

ARC Review of Protect the Prince (A Crown of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep

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Release date: July 2nd, 2019

Publisher: Harper Voyager

 

My Rating:

4.5 stars

4.5 Stars

**This review WILL contain spoilers for Kill the Queen (book 1), please proceed at your own risk!**

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…   

 

Quick Summary:

  • Takes place very shortly after the end of book 1
  • Assassinations, verbal sparring, and political intrigue make this book hard to put down
  • More Sully and Evie…seriously do you need a better reason then this?!?

My Review:

Thank you to Harper Voyager for providing me an eARC of this book via Edelweiss! Ever since I finished Kill the Queen last year I have been trying to patiently wait for this book…it did not work out very well! I fell in love with the first book almost immediately and the sequel was no different.

Protect the Prince begins shortly after the end of Kill the Queen. Evie is now the Queen of Bellona but while she may act and look the part of Queen she doesn’t feel like it. With the nobles fighting for power and dominance, Evie has entered a different type of gladiator ring. This one is not fought with swords and shields though but with words and political maneuvering. But Evie was a part of this world long before she was a gladiator and she knows how to play the long game. As the Mortan’s assassination attempts grow more bold, Evie realizes she will need help if she is to remain in power as well as save her kingdom. Convincing a bunch of nobles she is truly a winter queen is one thing, but can she convince the rulers of another kingdom and gain a much needed ally?

While I loved the first book I think I loved this book even more! I really enjoyed how this book started out similarly to the first book, with someone trying to assassinate the Queen. While there was definitely not as much physical action as the first book (but definitely still plenty), I much preferred the type of verbal sparring and political intrigue we encounter in this book. The storyline was just as engaging though and I blew through this book in one sitting! Once I started I just couldn’t stop, I needed to know EVERYTHING! We also get some glimpses into Evie’s past throughout this book. I really enjoyed the way in which the flashbacks were told, almost like a story within a story. The transitions from past to present were seamless and definitely added to the storyline.

Evie continues to be one of my favorite characters. She is a character that I can fully relate to with her fake it till you make it attitude. She starts off plagued by self-doubt and lacking in confidence but as the book progresses she stops doubting herself and just fights for what truly matters to her. Throughout the book Evie continues to learn more about her magic as well as what it truly means to be a Winter Queen. I love that despite being Queen she doesn’t let the power go to her head, she is still the same kind hearted, strong willed and a bit troublesome woman we loved in the first book. And don’t even get me started on Sully! That man is just everything you want in a handsome prince (who even cares that he’s a bastard?!?). I loved watching the tension in their relationship (or lack thereof) finally hit a climax and the fallout from it! Plus adding in some new characters from Sully’s past just made this book all the more intriguing.

Recommend it?

Absolutely! I love this series so much and if you enjoyed the first book you should definitely pick up book 2 when it comes out! I do have to mention that like the first book this book is a ADULT book and not YA. There are definitely some not YA things going on in this book but if anything it made me love it even more!

Protect the Prince comes out July 2nd! Here are some helpful links for pre-ordering:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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Book Reviews

Review of Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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Release Date: May 7th, 2019

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

 

My Rating:

5 stars

5 Stars

(but seriously this book deserves EVERY DANG STAR IN THE GALAXY!)

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm

A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates

A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder

An alien warrior with anger management issues

A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.    

 

Quick Summary:

  • This book is PACKED with non-stop action…this squad just cannot stay out of trouble
  • So many amazing characters…you will definitely have favorites and not so favorites but you will love them all
  • Jay and Amie are space gods!! Seriously they MUST have had a secret meeting with some aliens because their space building is out of this world!

 

My Review:

Jay and Amie have done it again…seriously these two create book GOLD! I was a little hesitant about this book at first because how could anything top the Illuminae Files? But Aurora Rising has lived up to the hype in my opinion and I am already dying to get my hands on book 2!!

Our journey begins in a galaxy far, far away (get it space friends?) with the golden boy of Aurora Academy (aka Tyler Jones) needing to get away for a few hours before the biggest day of his life (aka the draft which allows a alpha to hand select his squad). Is this a setup for disaster or what? Anyway…Tyler heads off into the fold (aka essentially a place in between time that allows travel between very, very far distances) but while in the fold he encounters a ship that has been missing for centuries and on that ship he finds a single survivor, what choice does a golden boy have except to rescue said survivor? Did I happen to mention that this rescue mission turns into anything but easy when a fold storm (aka really REALLY bad news) begins near the ship and threatens to destroy everyone and everything. But our hero is successful and returns to his home base with a girl from the long ago past and having missed his opportunity to hand pick his squad. So Tyler is left with all the rejects from the draft plus his best friend and his sister…I guess it could have been worse? As Tyler and his squad head out on their first mission, they find out things are not as they seem and Aurora (aka the girl he rescued) may be the key to everything.

I still get chills just thinking about this book!! From the very first chapter you are thrown into a book of non stop, heart racing action. This squad just cannot stay out of trouble, not that I am complaining because it made for an exhilarating book! The storyline was so fluid and there was so much information to process but it never felt overwhelming or like the authors were just info dumping. I absolutely loved the unique way they incorporated some of the information, it was very Illuminae Files esq and worked perfectly in this book!! I also loved the different twists and turns and deceptions that occurred throughout the story. I did get the impression that the authors wanted you to figure out some things while there were others that seriously smacked me in the face because I had absolutely no idea it was coming!

Probably my favorite part of this book though were all the characters. I LOVED that the book was told in alternating POVs. Each character got to tell at least part of the story from their POV and it was incredible how seamless the transitions were between each character. I never felt like the different POVs were overwhelming or confusing. In fact I felt like having each character tell a part of the story made me relate more to each character individually. I got to know each character and learn more about their background stories or different events that happened in their past. I definitely liked some characters more than others but by the end even the character I liked the least made me cry. Jay and Amie have an amazing gift for making characters that jump off the page at you and make you believe are real…even if they are aliens. Seriously, I think Jay and Amie have had secret meetings with an alien race because their details of various alien races in this book are just out of this world.

And then there is the whole world building…or in this case space building that is just incredible. Jay and Amie are straight up masterminds with imaginations that I don’t even think hallucinogens could compete with. Where they come up with these worlds and various parts of the worlds and creatures of the worlds…my words could not do it justice. Honestly you just need to read this book to understand how amazing it is.

Recommend it:

100% YES! I cannot recommend this book (or any of Jay or Amie’s other books for that matter) enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have no idea how I am going to wait a year for book two. But I guess if Aurora can survive two centuries I can survive another year.

 

Book Reviews

Review of Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1) by Helen Scheuerer

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Release date: August 25th, 2017

Publisher: Talem Press

 

My Rating:

3.5 stars

3.5 Stars

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital. But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.

 

Quick Summary:

  • Slower pace in the beginning but picks up speed towards the end
  • So much world building and a super creepy mist that I need to know more about
  • I totally want to be a Valia Kindred now…where can I apply?

My Review:

This book had been on my TBR ever since I got Kindle Unlimited earlier this year and with the third book coming out in July I figured why not start it now? To be honest I almost stopped reading this book very early on but I am so so glad I stuck with it! It turned out to be a book that I couldn’t stop thinking about and had a very hard time putting down!

My favorite part of this book was definitely the storyline. Initially it was a little slower paced but when it picked up there was no stopping the action! I constantly had about a million different theories running through my head of what this could mean or maybe this person is this or that. No spoilers but I definitely didn’t see one big thing coming but some other things were a bit easier to pick up on.

I also loved the author’s writing style. Her descriptions were beautiful and I felt like I was right there on the journey with the characters. And her world building was beautiful! We got to see so much of the one continent through the characters journeys and it felt like a real place to me. One of the most unique things about this book was the mist. While we didn’t learn much about it in this first book, I feel like a lot more information is going to come to light in book 2.   

One of the main reasons I almost stopped reading this book was the main character Bleak. I just couldn’t connect with her and honestly still am not her biggest fan, but this is totally a personal preference. In the beginning of the book she is the town drunk and street rat until the King’s men come to take her to the capital. And while she does do some redeeming throughout the book, I just still don’t feel as connected to her as I did other characters. I did LOVE Henri though. She was fierce and strong and has some seriously awesome magic!! There were other characters who were just as awesome as Henri and some that you can’t help but hate.

Recommend it?

I think it is definitely worth reading book one and seeing what your thoughts are on it! Personally, not connecting with the main character makes reading a book a struggle but I am glad I stuck it out with this one! I definitely have some questions that need answering!

 

Book Reviews

ARC Review of DEV1AT3 (LIFEL1K3 #2) by Jay Kristoff

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Release Date: June 25th, 2019

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

My Rating:

4.5 stars

4.5 Stars

 

**Be warned this review/summary has MAJOR spoilers for LIFEL1K3!!! If you have not read book 1 I highly recommend NOT reading any further until you have!!**

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

 

Quick Summary:

  • Takes place almost exactly where LIFEL1K3 left off…thank you Jay!!
  • Expanded world building with more of the Yousay which made for a fun game of guess where the characters are now
  • So many new characters…some I completely fell in love with and others that I wanted to smash in their faces!!

 

My Review:

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Jay for this ARC! Jay mentioned that he would have a couple of these ARCs at a event I was attending and that if anyone wanted one to just go up and punch him. I definitely did not/could not punch Jay for a ARC…more like stood awkwardly around him and babbled a bunch of words but somehow he understood and I ended up with this wonderful book!! So thank you so much for this beautiful, heart destroying book!!

DEV1AT3 starts off almost immediately after the end of LIFEL1K3 and am I ever grateful for it after the ending of book 1!! Jay once again creates an amazing story line with some new characters and places that are just incredible! I love that we got to see more of the Yousay in this book and it was so fun trying to guess, just based on the name given (missing letters and all), where the characters were in today’s USA. I also thought the way this story was told was well done given that our main characters weren’t always together. Jay did a great job of seamlessly switching from one character’s storyline to another. There were definitely times where I wish we could have stayed with one character but alas where would have been the suspense if we knew right away what happened.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the shift in character focus from Evie and Zeke to Lemon and Cricket. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Evie and Zeke…well jury is still out on Evie she has some redeeming to do after the end of book 1. But it is so nice that these characters that were a bit more like sidekicks in the first book really start to take a more prominent role in this book. Plus having more Lemon is really expanding my vocabulary! I have gotten some very strange looks when I say spank my spankables…totally worth it! I do wish we could have seen more of Evie and her siblings in this book. I think that would have just involved a lot of killing so I guess I’m okay with it. But we also got to meet a couple new characters whom I absolutely love! I definitely don’t want to spoil this book for anyone so let me just say I am definitely more fond of certain new characters compared to others.

Recommend it?

ABSOLUTELY!! In true Jay style his books are a bit more graphic and violent than your typical YA books but his writing style and unique world building make any of his books an auto buy for me and this series was no different. I have no idea how I am going to wait a year or more for book three…guess I’ll just have to survive on his other books until then!!

 

Book Reviews

ARC Review of Chosen Champion (Vortex Chronicles #2) by Elise Kova

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Release date: May 1st, 2019

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

My Rating:

4 stars

4 Stars

 

**This review WILL contain spoilers for the first book, Vortex Visions, please read with caution**

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted—her family, her home, her throne—and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up.

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming.

She will learn the hard way that some evils never die… They only bide their time…

Quick Summary:

  • Lightspinning is the coolest magic EVER and I love seeing more of it in book 2
  • A lot more background information and scene setting but still a fast-paced read
  • Elise leaves me breathless with all the plot twists and turns and that betrayal…seriously had to remember to breath at points

My Review:

First I would like to thank Elise for sending me an eARC in exchange for my honest review! I have been anxiously awaiting the second book in Vi’s journey since I finished book one! So let’s get into book two!

Book two starts off basically where book one left us with Vi continuing her training with Taavin and searching for the apexes of fate. Vi’s lightspinning magic (seriously the coolest magic EVER) has come a long way but she still has a lot more to learn. More importantly Vi’s continued search for the apexes has been going slowly and now with her family on their way to take her “home”, to the South, her time is getting shorter. Vi knows that to save her family and the world she must make sacrifices and take some serious risks, but will it be enough?

This book went by all too quickly! I started reading it one morning and in the blink of an eye I was more than halfway through. Compared to the first book, book two has a lot more background information and scene setting but it did not slow down my reading! I’m pretty sure I read this book faster than I did the first. Plus, we get to see some more old characters from the original Air Awakens series! When I read these books I see so much of Vhalla in Vi. I see her same doubts and insecurities but also the same strength and passion that made Vhalla into the strong Empress we see today. Elise’s characters feel so real to me which is why I love them so much! They are not these perfect characters who every once in a while make little mistakes. They have fights with their sibling, they continually have doubts, they never know if they are making the right choice but despite all that they make a choice and try to do what they think is right. Sometimes that works out in their favor and sometimes it goes horribly wrong, you’ll have to read for yourself to find out which!

But seriously Elise did you have to rip out our hearts and stomp on them?! She knows what I’m talking about…well actually there are a lot of things that could relate to. This book was full of twists and turns and a betrayal that left me breathless. I had an idea about it…felt it in the back of my mind but kept thinking no way that would never happen…but it did and it hurt. Elise is truly a mastermind when it comes to storylines and I cannot wait to see more of where this series is heading!

Recommend it?

If you’ve already read the first book and enjoyed it than ABSOLUTELY! If you haven’t read the first book…go read that first and then go read book two! I cannot recommend this series enough, especially to other Air Awakens fans. Elise does such an amazing job with her books and deserve so much more acknowledgement!!

 

Pre-Order Information:

Chosen Champion is out May 1st so HERE is a nice pre-order link to make sure this book is on your kindle the minute it is released! (not an affiliate link)

Book Reviews

ARC Review of We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal

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Release Date: May 14th, 2019

Publisher: Fierce Reads

 

My Rating:

5 stars

5 Stars

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

People lived because she killed.

People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

 

Quick Summary:

  • Once you understand the terms you will become immersed into this world
  • I could not help falling in love with all of the characters in this book
  • Beautiful, lyrical writing style that you will loathe to stop reading

My Review:

First I would like to send a big thank you to Fierce Reads for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

It is not very often in the YA community that we see books involving Islamic/Middle Eastern culture. I think this is truly a travesty that needs to be rectified and hopefully Hafsah’s debut will help make it more of a possibility! When reading this book I became truly immersed into it. There were some words/terms in the beginning that I had to look up (thank you google!) and I hope there will be a glossary in the finished copy to help the reader understand some of the lesser known terms. But once I was able to understand the terms, this book had my full attention. This was partly due to the incredible world building. We only get to see a part of the world in this book but through various characters we get to hear about some of the other parts. I cannot wait for book 2 because I have a feeling we are going to see a lot more of this world! The author’s writing was so lyrical and beautiful that I found myself craving to read more. I actually felt compelled to write down quotes (which I don’t normally do) because they were so beautiful and I cannot wait to share them with you all!

Not only was the writing beautiful but the storyline and characters were so perfect. The book is told in alternating points of views between Zafira and Nasir. Nasir’s POV starts off full of action while Zafira’s starts with a bit more background. It is a perfect balance between the two POVs that I never found myself wanting more of one POV compared to the other. Even though Zafira and Nasir are the main characters, you cannot help falling in love with all of the characters in this book. Every character has a role in the story and while we learned a few things about each character’s story I absolutely need to know more about each one of them! The storyline was also full of one surprise after the next! I never knew what to expect next in their journeys. I did see one certain revelation coming but there were so many (and I’m guessing TONS more) that I was truly left stunned after finishing the last page.

 

Recommend this book?

Absolutely!! This book was the perfect combination of three dimensional characters, a fast paced-action packed storyline, and lyrical writing style that will constantly have you wanting to read more of this book. I truly loved immersing myself into this world and cannot wait for book 2!!

 

Don’t forget to follow the pre-order instructions *HERE* for a set of character cards you will not want to miss!

 

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (exclusive edition)

Book Depository

Book Reviews

Review of A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

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Release Date: January 29th, 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

 

My Rating:

5 stars

5 Stars (but in reality this book deserves ALL the stars)

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

 

Quick Summary:

  • Ridiculously hard to stop reading it
  • Perfectly imperfect characters
  • Be warned you will want book 2 immediately! (Jan 2020 can’t come soon enough!)

 

My Review:

I really don’t even know how to start this review. This book was everything you could want in a book and everything you didn’t know you needed! I started this book at 2 pm on a Sunday and by Monday at the same time I was finished. It has been a very long time since a book has thoroughly enchanted me as much as a Curse so Dark and Lonely did. When I wasn’t reading all I was doing was thinking about the book and when I could read it again. Enough gushing let’s talk about why I loved it so much!

Probably my favorite part was the storyline. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies so when I hear about a book that is loosely based on it of course I want to read it! This book took Beauty and the Beast to a whole new level. First, we weren’t trapped in the castle watching “the beast” try to woo “belle” we actually got to explore outside and see what was going on in the town. I loved that Brigid explored more than just the central love storyline of the curse, we got to see how the curse was affecting everyone else in the surrounding town. Second, I loved how fast paced this story was and despite being almost 500 pages it flew by and all I wanted was more!! There was never a dull moment in this book. From the very first sentence I was hooked and it took all my willpower to be able to put it down.

Now let’s talk characters because they were perfect (in a not so perfect way). Harper is by far my favorite. Working in a NICU and seeing Cerebral Palsy first hand and watching the kids struggle to hit developmental milestones, Harper’s character made me feel that much more attached. And the fact that Harper does not let it define her or even hold her back makes her character that much more real. Watching her overcome so many obstacles in this book and became this strong woman, I don’t have words for how much I appreciate a character like Harper being represented. I also really enjoyed reading about Rhen and Grey. Both characters were similar to Harper that they both had their own self-doubts and issues to overcome but to a lesser extent. I just love all three of them so much and cannot wait to read more in the next book!

 

Recommend it?

I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. It had everything you could want out of a good fantasy book: wonderful relatable characters, a strong storyline, plot twists, and even an evil sorceress! If you haven’t considered picking up this book, you need to do it ASAP!! I promise you will not regret reading this wonderful book!