Set Fire To The Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons Review | Gladiators And Elemental Powers, Yet Still No Spark

41954467. sy475 Set Fire to the Gods
Author: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
Series: Yes, first book
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

I’ve only read one of each author’s past work, and they were both very mediocre. However, the glorious cover for SET FIRE TO THE GODS and exciting blurb convinced me to pick up their joint creation. What came out from this experience was reading a powerful punch of combined mediocrity. The world-building was weak, the storyline was fine but failed to grip me, and I couldn’t care less about the characters. This is odd, because despite everything, the writing was fine. The narrative switches between Madoc and Ash’s POV’s as they enter a “war” as gladiators and fight against gods. The blurb promises non-stop action and maybe a hint of romance. Something about it, though, failed to differentiate this story from the amalgam of YA fantasies out there, and it just wasn’t gripping enough to really make me care. This review is my good-bye for picking up any of these author’s next works. Continue reading “Set Fire To The Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons Review | Gladiators And Elemental Powers, Yet Still No Spark”

Jade City By Fonda Lee Review | Asian Gangsters and Martial Arts and Yet, I Expected More

JADE CITY’s been on my TBR for years now, and I’m happy to have finally gotten to it! I have many blogger friends who love this trilogy and would die for its characters. Me? While I enjoyed it, I can’t really say the same. Objectively, it’s an extensive book that tackles a plethora of issues with excitement. Something about it – I can’t pinpoint what – seemed like it was missing in this book. But let’s break it down first.

“The clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master. On my honor, my life, and my jade.”

Set in the imaginative, isolationist island of Kekon, the resource jade rules one and all. The power to wield the bioenergetic nature of jade is power over the people. With that, clans are established to maintain peace and preside over territories. JADE CITY follows the No Peak clan, one of the largest two, as they experience a downward spiral as they struggle to keep the clan from going into war with their biggest competitor, the Mountain clan. The sibling trio that is a part of the ruling family of the No Peak clan consists of Lan, the eldest brother and Pillar, Hilo, the middle child and Horn, and Shae, the youngest daughter who wants nothing to do with the clan politics.

Continue reading “Jade City By Fonda Lee Review | Asian Gangsters and Martial Arts and Yet, I Expected More”

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim | a review showcasing my love for this duology

Hi everyone!

I hope everyreader has been staying safe, healthy, and well during these times. ❤ I’m so excited to review UNRAVEL THE DUSK, the sequel – and conclusion – of Elizabeth Lim’s series, The Blood of Stars, which has inspirations from Chinese culture. I remember enjoying the first book, SPIN THE DAWN (and you can find my review here!), but the sequel blew me away. Maia steps aside from her seamstress role of the first book on an adventure to save her country, and herself.

If this format looks a bit different to you, that’s because this was originally supposed to be a blog tour stop. However, I decided to rescind my tour stop given recent events related to the tour company. Nonetheless, I’m happy to bring attention to this wonderful conclusion!

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Unravel the Dusk
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #2
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Maia Tamarin proved her skill as a tailor when she wove the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars, but it will take more than a beautiful gown to hide the darkness rising up within her. . . . The stakes are higher than ever in this breathtaking sequel to Spin the Dawn, perfect for fans of Six of Crows.

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone–perhaps forever–and no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn Palace than she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace. When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, and in the meantime she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

I had the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars with me: three pieces of magic as old as the world itself. I just hadn’t known how to use them – until now.

UNRAVEL THE DUSK was a magical, fulfilling conclusion to this beautiful fantasy duology that seeks inspiration from Asian cultures. The most notable one is a reference to a well-loved Chinese folktale, which really resonated with me. Readers will love Maia’s story as she battles the demon within her and fights for her country and people!

Continue reading “Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim | a review showcasing my love for this duology”

Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven Review | When The Dragonshifter Hunter Becomes The Hunted

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Author: Grace Draven
Series: The Fallen Empire #2
Release Date: June 9, 2020
Publisher: Ace
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A dragon shapeshifter and a healer with power over the earth fight a corrupt empire in this thrilling and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it’s far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven’t been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They’re wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him–unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire’s twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire’s machinations and his own lethal birthright.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

3.5 STARS for a beautiful love story between a healer with Earth magic and a dragon that can bring lightning to his foes.

I was SO HYPED for this book, because I absolutely devoured the previous book of the series PHOENIX BOUND and adored it. While DRAGON UNLEASHED follows a different couple and storyline, it starts right off after the end of book 1. And let me say first: the energy is VERY different. PHOENIX BOUND is brutal and vicious, with a lot of action and violence. DRAGON UNLEASHED is about a healer, and thus has calmer moments, traveling, and dialogue, rather than straight-out battles. I would warn readers to be aware of that before starting DRAGON UNLEASHED, and with expectations that it’ll be like book 1. Different characters = different ways to outline the story. While I’m enjoying this world and lore, DRAGON UNLEASHED follows the same meandering pace that book 1 had, where the middle section dragged for quite some time without an actual progression in plot. I’m all about character interactions and development, but that seemed a bit stagnant as well. And while I love every page immersed in this world, I couldn’t help but feel my attention slip in the middle. Other than that, I enjoyed the rest of the book mightily and thought it was a solid sequel. Book 1 was definitely a bit more impactful for me, but DRAGON UNLEASHED was on the quieter and calmer side, and still as lovely and wonderful.

We begin with a hunt. Continue reading “Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven Review | When The Dragonshifter Hunter Becomes The Hunted”

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa Review | Beautiful Ending to a Beautiful YA Fantasy Trilogy

41733219. sy475 Night of the Dragon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of the Fox #3
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Master storyteller Julie Kagawa concludes the enthralling journey into the heart of the fantastical Empire of Iwagoto in the third book of the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. As darkness rises and chaos reigns, a fierce kitsune and her shadowy protector will face down the greatest evil of all. A captivating fantasy for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas and Marie Lu.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the finale to this trilogy since devouring book two, and I have to say, Kagawa delivers. It was easy to pick up the storyline again and this book eventually became an extended version of the final, epic battle between malicious yokai (monsters) and the safety of the world.

Quick note: If you haven’t read this series yet, I would recommend you checking out my review of book 1 over here. I gave it 4.5 stars and drew fan art! I also have a fan cast of the characters in my review of book 2 over here. This #ownvoices YA fantasy trilogy, inspired by Japanese folklore, follows a quick-witted kitsune on her quest to protect the dragon scroll that can release a dangerous wish into the world. Accompanying her is a super, diverse cast of characters that you fall in love with. Continue reading “Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa Review | Beautiful Ending to a Beautiful YA Fantasy Trilogy”

The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy Review | Have You Ever Read A Book That Was Majority Dialogue?

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The Fiery Crown
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #2
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.

Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters. In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?
One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Despite not loving the first book, I ended up enjoying it to an extent and thought I would give the sequel a chance. It seems that Kennedy’s writing and I just don’t jive. First and foremost to understand is that this series is very dialogue-driven. More than half the book is dialogue, and people talking to “figure things out.” The characters go to one place, talk, and then go to another place, and talk. Not much happens beyond that until 70% into the book, where something actually happens. Finally!

The story switches between Con and Lia’s first person POV’s. Both are trying to defeat the evil king Anure, but with different paths. Lia is risk-averse and doesn’t want bloodshed on the land of Calanthe, which she is a part of as an Elemental. Con, on the other hand, is militant and more than happy to use explosives and make sacrifices to get at Anure. This creates some tension as both characters don’t back down in their ideologies and won’t reveal all the facts to the other. Despite being married, both characters hoard secrets like dragons and reluctantly share them throughout the book. You would think more happens, given we’re in a fantasical world, but those were the exciting bits.

Continue reading “The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy Review | Have You Ever Read A Book That Was Majority Dialogue?”

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane Review | Romantic Fantasy At Its BEST

A Heart of Blood and Ashes (A Gathering of Dragons, #1)A Heart of Blood and Ashes
Author: Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil – until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

A HEART OF BLOOD AND ASHES was super fun, witty, and action-packed! I honestly stayed away from this book because of the cover, but I ended up really enjoying this “dark barbarian romantic fantasy.” And honestly… that’s a pretty good way to describe it. But rather than the bodice ripping energy I thought it was gonna be (extra points for rape-y scenes and possessive Alpha assholes that act arrogantly (that alliteration though), as well as a heroine who gets walked on by everybody), this book turned out to be the complete opposite. It was sexy and progressive, all while retaining the brutal fantasy world that it takes place in. If you start reading, you literally can’t stop. Each scene is a new adventure that you just want to savor. What can I say? The characters, setting, romance, and storyline in A HEART OF BLOOD AND ASHES were all a hit for me! Continue reading “A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane Review | Romantic Fantasy At Its BEST”