Category: Books

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands #3)

Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands, #3)Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. With most of the Rebels either imprisoned or dead, Amani needs to figure how to stop the king and she needs to do it fast. But she’s just a girl from the corner of the desert who knows nothing about war and strategy. Amani’s constant self-doubt both annoyed and surprised me (have you ever seen a main character doubt themselves? Because this book made me realize how I just automatically assume main characters know everything). It also didn’t help matters that all of Amani’s decisions kept leading the team into danger. It eventually becomes obvious that Amani really does know nothing about being a rebel. This book concluded the series brilliantly and I’m especially glad that when I read this for the first time I didn’t have a book slump (as opposed to book one and two which I had to re-read in order to enjoy it). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Binge-read this series. You won’t regret it.

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Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Grishaverse #3)

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Verse, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel like everyone and their mother knows how underwhelmed I was with the first two books in this series. All Alina did was be weak or run after Mal (please can we turn this series into a drinking game? Take a shot every time Alina calls out for Mal).
However this book was a work of art. This book showed me why I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing and you get to see the kind of incredible plot twists that are visible in the Six of Crows trilogy.
Following her (failed) attempt at battle with the Darkling, Alina is incredibly weakened and more or less trapped with her Sun Summoning cult.
It isn’t long before Alina breaks free in a desperate attempt to save Rafka. A part of me just wanted to bang my head against something because OMG, have we not done this before??? Like in the last book. And the book before that. Please go marry Mal and hide in a corner of the forest because there is no way you can beat the Darkling.
But I told my snarky side to shut up and I gave this book a chance and I am so glad I did. This book was mind-blowing. I feel like the series as a whole was pretty meh but this book was an explosive finale would just made everything okay. Read this book. Even if you have to skip books 1 and 2, its okay. This book is amazing and I 110% recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy (especially since King of Scars will be out soon!)

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Book Review: The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

The Luck of the Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #3)The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

March’s family is destitute and in an attempt to provide for them, March forges the signature of Michael Cavensham in order to access her own dowry to provide for her siblings. However it isn’t long before her forgery is found out and March is confronted by the man himself. When March and Michael meet, sparks fly instantly. But Michael is harbouring a secret and there are forces around them conspiring to keep them apart.
I feel like most of this novel was fluff with Michael and March’s relationship. I didn’t really like Michael’s character so the lack of action bored me. I was also able to figure out the whole mystery behind this book.
When March is accused of being someone she is not, the plot picks up instantly and I was unable to stop reading. It was from this point onwards that I was drawn to this book and I needed to finish it and have a happy ending ASAP.
This was a fairly okay read but I was unable to conjure up any kind of feeling for Michael which spoiled this book for me.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands #2)

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traitor to the Throne follows Amani’s new (and very exciting) life as a rebel. However it isn’t long before Amani is captured and sent to live with the Sultan’s harem (which is hilarious considering that she is involved with one of his sons and working for the other). What follows is a wonderfully intricate plot of deceit, betrayal and secrets. I LOVED IT ALL.
I’ve tried reading this book thrice. The first time I was just confused as it had been so long since I read “Rebel of the Sands” and I couldn’t remember most of the plot, the second time I was in a book slump and found this book painfully slow to read. I ended up reading 50 pages and then the ending (which I forgot shortly afterwards).
I finally got around to finishing it and while it did take me a few days, it was difficult for me to put it down. This was a gripping, emotional read that left me in tears.
There were so many surprises at the end that I think I’m going to need a while to process everything before I move on to Hero at the Fall. (Now that the series is complete, if you haven’t read it already DO IT!!!)

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1)A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picking up a few months after the events of “A Court of Wing and Ruin”, this is more of a “Where Are They Now” kinda novel (why so much shopping, Feyre? Are you shopping for the entire Night Court? Are you bored coz you have so much money you don’t know what to do???). This book takes a look at everything and everyone post-war and while life at the Night Court is pretty good, not everyone is happy. Nesta is going through some odd angry phase (as always), faeries are mourning the lost of loved ones in the war and the future of Prythian is uncertain. While this is a pretty sweet book there is the air of this being the calm before the storm.
I used to think that Sarah J Maas couldn’t write anything that was not incredibly depressing, heart-breaking or involves multiple people being killed. This book was a pleasant change of pace.
Originally I found this book pretty slow and boring but eventually I grew to enjoy it. It was the happy ending we all deserved after all the horrors of ACOMAF and ACOWAR. This was a great read and my only regret was that it was not published during Christmas. This was a wonderful, feel-good read which I devoured in hours!

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Grisha Verse #2)

Siege and Storm (Grisha Verse, #2)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picking up shortly after the first book, Alina and Mal try to live a regular life away from Grisha magic and the problems that come along with it. However it isn’t long before they are discovered by the Darkling and his new team of monsters (Seriously that guy is like a damn roach. CAN HE NOT DIE?)
The Darkling still has plans for Alina and her magic. But Alina is not the girl she once was and will not go quietly. I loved how Alina’s character has developed. She is stronger and more sure of herself.
However, the more she tries to fight against the Darkling and his power to save Ravka, the more issues she seems to create between herself and Mal.
This book would make an excellent drinking game if you took a shot everytime Alina called “Mal”or everytime they had issues. I understand that they are still teens and angst is part of the YA world but COME ON! Can’t they be like Kaz and Inej and put their issues aside for a while? There is an entire world at stake.
I feel like at this point I am just tolerating them just so I can find out what happens to the Grisha. I ship Grisha. Mal and Alina can go be fed to the Darkling’s monsters.
That being said, the ending of this book blew me away and I had to get the next one immediately. Mal and Alina have one more book to stop getting on my nerves with their teenage relationship issues.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picking up shortly after “Six of Crows”, “Crooked Kingdom” follows Kaz and his gang as they plan their revenge after being double-crossed. Kaz wants his money and he wants his Wraith back. This is both personal and business. But while Kaz and the team are trying to stay alive, avoid the police and save Inej, Ketterdam is overrun with foreigners hoping to cash in on jurda parem in some way. There is also a new threat to Grishas (because when it rains, it pours) everywhere- a new type of being hunting the Grisha.
I felt like this book had a slower pace than “Six of Crows” but I enjoyed how this book showed that even the great Kaz Brekker makes mistakes and can be caught in his own traps. After finishing this book, I was left heart-broken and desperately needed more. After binge-reading this series it was impossible to think that I would no longer wake up and go to work while listening to this story. I needed to know more about these characters and their lives. What were their childhoods like? When would I see them again? What were they doing at this exact moment? Are they okay? I developed a very unhealthy attachment to this world and I love it. This was a compelling read and I loved the many plot twists and turns. I can’t wait to read the other books set in the Grishaverse.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Six of Crows follows dirty hands Kaz Breker as he tries to assemble a crew to do the impossible – break into one of the most heavily guarded prisons and kidnap a prisoner.
His team consists of a gambling sharpshooter, a heart render and the man who wants to kill her, a girl who specializes in secrets and a privileged youth.
If they don’t get killed, this job will leave them rich and able to achieve their wildest dreams. Of course the tensions between them mean that they will have to learn to work together first.
Compelling, well-written with incredible world building this book was such an adventure. The characters are funny and colourful. The plot was surprising and suspenseful. There were crazy twists around every corner which I loved! After finishing this, I had to get the next book immediately. This book is definitely worth all its hype.

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Book Review- The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

The Wren HuntThe Wren Hunt by Mary Watson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and I loved it so very very much. There are no words to express how delightful I found this book but I will try.
Wren is an augur- she sees patterns that predict the future. But the augurs powers are slowly draining away. In order to save her family, Wren takes an internship with the mysterious and powerful judge Cassa Harkness. Wren’s real job is to be a spy and report anything that could help the augurs win against the judges. It also involves Wren spending constant time in the presence of the boys who chase and humiliate her as part of a “game”.
From the very start of this book I was just as terrified of these boys as Wren was. They are bullies who think nothing of using physical violence to get their way.
This was a well-written book with flawless world-building and many twist and turns. The day that I received this book, I had previously seen it all over my social media feeds and for good reason. This is a pretty unique read and I would love to read more. Because of what I had heard about this book, I made a game out of guessing the plot and while I was pretty close, this book still managed to throw me for a loop which was so fun! Definitely read this if you’re a fan of fantasy fiction. THIS BOOK IS GOLD!!!

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Fiction Friday: Book Tour- Excerpt from A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

Summary:

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .

General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.

EXTRACT:

Mark quirked his mouth into a half smile. Nicole had always been direct. It was one of the things that had first drawn him to her. She wasn’t about to let him get away with arriving unannounced without admitting that he wanted something. Good, because he liked to be direct too. “You’re right. I do want something from you.”
“Say it.” She crossed one leg over the other and for the life of him he couldn’t stop staring at how those breeches hugged her long legs. Outside, he’d been slightly obsessed with how they hugged another part of her anatomy. And that shirt . . . the one that was exposing her chest in a way that made the back of his neck sweat. Leave it to Nicole to have her hair down and to be wearing breeches while riding around a French château on a horse named Atalanta. She’d been besting the comtein the race they’d been engaged in. That was also like her. She adored competition and hated to lose at anything. If he had any hope of her saying yes to his proposal, he needed to make certain he didn’t become her adversary . . . again.
He glanced around the drawing room. Outfitted in rose and cream silks with the occasional hint of green, the room was tastefully decorated. The château itself was large and well appointed without being ostentatious. She had access to his money but had never spent a shilling of it. No, this was all a result of her own money or her family’s.
He spread his arms wide along the back of the settee. “No reminiscing? No catching up? No discussing the good times?”
Her dark red eyebrow inched even higher. “Were there good times? I seem to recall those being few and far between.”
“There were a few.” In bed. He tugged at his collar.
She poked at the chignon on the back of her head. Only she could make a quickly put-together hair arrangement look effortlessly gorgeous. Several tendrils of the long red locks fell to frame her face, which wore a decidedly disgruntled look. “Out with it. I’m quite busy. I’m attending a dinner party this evening and I must dress.”
Mark bit the inside of his cheek but ultimately he couldn’t keep the comment that had sprung to his lips to himself. “A cleaner pair of breeches?” Damn, she looked good in those breeches. She looked good altogether. Better than good. The years had been kind to her. The fresh-faced plumpness of her cheeks had given way to a slenderness that made her cheekbones prominent. Her lips were still full and pink and inviting. Her hair luxurious, soft and smooth. Her eyes looked more world-weary, to be sure, but their sea-foam-green depths were still astute and intelligent. Her body was still trim and fit. Her thighs looked even fitter, probably from riding astride. Ahem. What he wouldn’t give to see those thighs once more, to have them wrapped tightly around his—
“Despite my present appearance, I do own a gown or two.” Her words snapped him out of his indecent line of thought. She gave him another tight smile.
He stood, crossed to the nearby sideboard, and poured himself a brandy. “Going to meet the comteagain?”
“Careful,” came her throaty voice from the settee. “It’s nearly sounding as if you’re jealous.”
Still facing the sideboard, he cocked his head to the side. “Jealous? Whatever does that word mean?”
“The comteis a friend, nothing more.” Her voice sounded dismissive. He didn’t believe her, however.
Mark splashed more brandy into his glass. “I’m certain you’d tell me if he weren’t.”
“I’m certain you’d care.”
Mark turned back toward her and took a healthy swig of his drink. “A man doesn’t like to think of his wife in the bed of another.”
She actually rolled her eyes at that comment. “Oh, you’ve been celibate all these years then?” she countered, her voice dripping with skepticism.
He had been, but he’d die a slow death back in the French prison camp before he told her that. However, he wasn’t so unrealistic as to think Nicole would have remained untouched. They had agreed to part ways, hadn’t seen each other in ten years. She was a beautiful woman in the prime of her life. Still, the notion of punching the comtedead in the face held a great deal of appeal at the moment. “I’ve never been one to kiss and tell, love.”
She gave him a tight smile, which clearly indicated she didn’t believe him, either. “You’re a general now?” she asked abruptly, clearly ready to change the subject.
“I am.” He moved to the window and looked out across the lavender fields, one arm held behind his ramrod-straight back as if he were surveying a battlefield. The stance was still comfortable for him even after all these years of working for the Home Office.
“I suppose congratulations are in order.” The tea arrivedand Nicole poured a cup for herself and splashed in a liberal amount of cream. He remembered that about her. She took her tea with no sugar, just cream.
“No congratulations needed,” he intoned, taking anotherswig of brandy.
The silver spoon she used to stir her tea clinkedagainst the delicate china teacup. “I must admit, I’ve often wondered when I’d get a missive that you’d been killed.”
His chuckle was humorless. He turned to face her.“Such little faith in me? Or wishful thinking?”
“Neither,” she replied, lifting the cup to her pink lips.“Just a profound knowledge of how reckless you are.”
He inclined his head. “Used to be.”
“Really?”She raised a brow. “Is that why you’ve come? To tell me you’ve changed?”
He chuckled. “I haven’tchanged that much.”
“I’m not surprised.” She set down her teacup andcrossed her arms over her chest. “Tell me, Mark, why have you come?”
He saluted her with his glass, the amber-colored liquid shining in the afternoon sunlight. “You were right. I need a favor from you.”
She didn’tso much as bat an eyelash. “Of course you do. What’s the favor?” She picked up her cup once more and took a sip.
He downed the final splash of brandy and met hergaze. “I need you to return to England with me for a few months and pretend to be my loving wife.”

Author Bio:

VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides and Playful Brides series.

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