Review of A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis:
Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Grey may be the heir, but he doesn’t want anyone to know his secret. On the run since he destroyed Lilith, he has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

Review:
This book is just as epic as the last, however, in different ways. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one. I wasn’t a fan of Lia Mara and moreso the concept at first because I loved the dynamic of Grey, Harper, and Rhen. Unfortunately, this book really made it more and more apparent that Rhen isn’t the protagonist he may have appeared to be previously. While there are understandable reasons for his actions and reactions, I have found myself disliking him more and more… but also liking Grey more.

My personal opinion at the end of this is that Harper would do better as ruler herself, and that there better be a damn good final book in the trilogy to somehow tie this train wreck together. It would have made quite a bit more sense, in my head, for Rhen to have told Harper, and ended up with Harper himself. Instead, everyone seems completely different than they were, and while I enjoyed seeing Grey go out and find a love of his own, it seemed as if there was a major plot missing because as some other reviewers have mentioned, Rhen had lived with Grey for years and should have been able to spot there was an issue. Clearly, the heart so fierce and broken was Rhen’s, in retrospection.

I am not a fan of the actual ending at all. Who would do that after all those three had been through?!

Star rating: ✯✯✯

Review of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (The Cursebreaker Series Book 1) by [Brigid Kemmerer]

Synopsis:
In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

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. 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.

Review:
Firstly, I love that this book featured a character with disabilities. It was a fun take on what made the heroine less capable and have to work harder to manage her goals. That being said, there were several times, especially towards the end, where this condition didn’t seem to make a difference and there was no mention of it. Overall, it was a great addition and way to explain both Harper’s knowledge of skills many no longer have (without giving it away) as well as her tenacity to keep trying, even knowing that she may not be as good as others.

Rhen truly grows, but there is a lot of intensity between Grey and Harper, so it becomes hard to tell who is truly starting to care for whom. While that can be interesting, in many ways, all three characters seem to grow and resonate at the same time with each other and it becomes an interesting take on understanding what the other is going through.

This is a great epic fantasy and I would definitely recommend it. It does a great job of pulling you in and making you want to see what happens next. The only thing I didn’t particularly like was the ending, however, I hadn’t realized it was the beginning of a trilogy before I started writing this.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser 

Synopsis:

In this English translation of the hit German young adult novel from Mechthild Gläser, each book is its own world―with its own dangers. Can a young girl navigate these new worlds and get out alive?

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay. Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House―but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts―at whatever cost.

Review:
This book sounded amazing and I was so excited to read it! I had heard of it, but it took me quite a while to actually pick it up, and I believe that I finally did due to a deal on Amazon I had gotten an email about, either that, or went through my giant pile of books saved on a wishlist and picked it out. Either way, I was glad that I did!

The book is completely unique and interesting in that it went between Germany and Scotland, and the place in Scotland is very secluded. There was great backstory and depth to the location and the people who settled there, and I quite enjoyed it. I also loved getting to have the intimate interactions with characters, and how they can somewhat live outside of their role, much like actors.

Unfortunately I did have some questions at the end that hadn’t been resolved: about Will and how he came to be there, and just quite the unease about how the story ended, with no real resolution to the many problems that had been laid out by Besty.

SPOILER:
Major Bridge to Terabithia vibes. And the story they were trying to save, the main character just seems irredeemable.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Promises and Pomegranates by Sav R. Miller

Promises and Pomegranates: A Dark Contemporary Romance (Monsters & Muses Book 1) by [Sav R. Miller]

Synopsis:
Elena

To most, Kal Anderson is a villain.

Harbinger of death, keeper of souls, frequenter of nightmares.

Doctor Death. Hades incarnate.

They say he stole me.

Usurped my fiancé and filled the cracks in my heart with empty promises.

Imprinted his crimson fingerprints on my psyche and tried to set me free.

They’re not wrong, per se.

Except it was my choice to stay.

Kal

To most, Elena Ricci is an innocent.

Goddess of springtime, lover of poetry, angel of my nightmares.

Little one. Persephone personified.

They say I ruined her.

Shattered her virtue and devoured her soul like a succulent pomegranate.

Embedded my evil as deep as I could possibly get and tried to set her free.

They’re not wrong, per se.

Except it was she who ruined me.

Review:
I was worried when I started this book because I’d just finished the fourth book in a series I adored and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to fall into another world but I was instantly thrown into that world. There was definitely passion but a lot of darker kink things that I don’t personally find attractive (blood play)- but to each their own. The story itself was a good connection between Hades and Persephone and the real world; I think it made sense that they were both so damaged in order to fit together.

Hated her parents, loved her sisters, loved Elena, and quite liked Kallum.

Would recommend, but again, there is some major darkness and kink in there that if you aren’t interested in/okay with I would say steer clear.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Trial By Magic by K. M. Shea

Trial of Magic (The Fairy Tale Enchantress Book 4) by [K. M. Shea]

Synopsis:
Lord Enchanter Evariste has been missing for years. Everyone has given up all hope of finding him—except for Angelique.

Because he dared to befriend her when all other mages scorned her due to her dangerous magic, Angelique is determined to find him—no matter the cost. But as years have passed and she has failed to locate Evariste, she’s forced to realize that he was more than a friend.

Battle weary and sick of politics, Angelique is close to breaking…until she hears a rumor that Evariste was taken north.

To confirm the information, she’ll have to break into a den of black mages, hide her identity, and master her magic—which she fears above all else.

But when she finally finds Evariste, she learns she is woefully unprepared for the enemies that hold him captive.

Trial of Magic is an epic fantasy fairy tale that follows a reluctant heroine who wants nothing to do with romance, magical battles, and curse breaking, but finds herself mucking with all three. Like its companion series, Timeless Fairy Tales, this series has clean romance.

Review:
Worth the wait! Was definitely bummed when I read the first three books in quick succession with plans to read the entire series because I couldn’t get enough of Angelique and Evariste and came to find out only three books were done! I was so excited to see Angelique grow as a person, and learn more about fairy tale enchanters and how the aging process works. It was also awesome to have so many badass heroines that weren’t simply having children as soon as they were married.

There were still so many questions and so much left to lose (and gain) at the end of this book! I found myself reading slower and less towards the end because of course I don’t want it to end and have to wait for more, but this was a very substantial book, considered epic fantasy for a reason. I cannot wait to see more of Angelique and Evariste and what happens in the continent, though I’m also hoping to learn far more about Pegasus as well!

**Potential Spoiler!**
Given Evariste’s reaction my prediction is that he might be more human/powerful than Angelique knows, though I am fairly certain he can actually talk.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Blood be Damned by Kel Carpenter

Blood be Damned: Magic Wars (Demons of New Chicago Book 3) by [Kel Carpenter]

Synopsis:
When the Underworld burned, I thought that was the end. Turns out it was only the beginning.

Lucifer’s death was a shot heard around the world. The sudden loss of magic turned the tides for the first time in over two decades.

The humans are rallying. Rioting.
It feels like the stirrings of war.

As if that wasn’t enough, Bree isn’t the sister I remember—and her desire to return to Hell is creating more fires than I know how to put out.

Things are changing. Lines are drawn. Everyone must choose a side.

Even me.

Sometimes the world needs a hero. In a city that’s already gone to hell in a hand basket, it might just need a demon.

Review:
This book was awesome. Piper had to really become introspective to think about what caused the strife and heartache she had in life and how to move on. There were interesting twists and turns, and seeing her further develop both herself and her relationship with Ronan was nice. It’s always good when a heroine has flaws, ones that they recognize and try to work through. Did not see the ending, but very much looking forward to continuing the story when Forged by Fury comes out February 11th.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Synopsis:
Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire. Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky. Book 1 of a three book series.

Review:
This book is spellbinding. From the moment I started I found it hard to set down. The chapters are all the perfect length. It flows well. There are lots of little word games and word connections for readers to find, which is quite fun. I loved all the aspects of this novel, and there were no parts I glanced over or was annoyed at having to read to get to the juicy parts.

I absolutely loved the characterization; everyone had such solid personalities and attitudes, especially for the teenagers. There wasn’t as much forward knowledge of the thoughts and feelings of the adults, but that was understandable. The knowledge and love of different hobbies and activities shown by the main characters in their daily lives was refreshing, even if they might not like their overall jobs.

I loved this book, and am only sad I didn’t realize it was a three book series based on the blurb on the back when I purchased it at the store. I will, of course, continue on to finish this series- hopefully sooner than later! I do believe this was written for a younger audience, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome!

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fairy Godfather by Melanie Karsak

The Fairy Godfather: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 3) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
What happens when a fairy godfather falls in love?

With my excellent track record as a fairy godfather, the elders sent me to Chancellor on a mission to help Alice, the quirky owner of the local bagel shop, find her Prince Charming. No one has managed to find a match for Alice. Where they failed, I will succeed.

The only trouble? My head isn’t in the game because I’m too busy falling in love with my best friend’s sister
.
I’ll need to get my feelings in check before I blow it for Alice. The upcoming Cherry Blossom Ball should give me the perfect venue to make a little magic happen. Can I pull it off before the clock strikes midnight on both our dreams?

Join Rayne in The Fairy Godfather, book 3 of The Chancellor Fairy Tales, a modern day retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.

Review:
This book was such a sweet one. Of the three in the Chancellor fairy tales series it had the most connection with a commonly known fairytale, Cinderella. That being said I loved the fairy angel, and I loved Rayne. All the characters were believable and enjoyable to watch as they worked and grew. It was great seeing Alice go from stock-best friend to fully fleshed out character during the series. It was also neat how while there might be a fairy godfather, Dorothea is also very similar to a fairy godmother, trying to keep the Hunter line well taken care of. All in all, loved this book, but of the three, I still think The Cupcake Witch may be my favourite.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Cupcake Witch by Melanie Karsak

The Cupcake Witch: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 2) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
They say the course of true love never runs smooth. That’s nothing a magical cupcake can’t solve.

Buttercream. Vanilla. Fondant. Dark chocolate. Strawberry crème. Brown sugar. Lemon curd. Molasses. Baking has always been my true love. But it wasn’t until I unexpectedly inherited Serendipity Gardens that my bliss called me. Bittersweet.

Everything’s going to work out perfectly as long as the local land baron and his annoying but undeniably handsome son don’t bulldoze my dream first.

I’m going to need a little magic to win this battle, but in Chancellor, a pinch of enchantment is always in plenty.

Review:
This book was brilliant. While there was no real “fairy tale” attached, I think that’s why I loved it so very much; it was a magic all of Karsak’s own. Like the first book in the Chancellor Fairy Tale series, this one also deals with loss. It’s interesting how sometimes it takes losing things for you to find something worth holding on to.

I think that many people end up feeling like Julie and Horatio at some points; it can be hard to find your path when someone older that you respect has tried to lead you one particular way. I loved how this book tied in so many characters from the last, and now we have a bit more understanding why everything might be happening how it is in this town. So glad for how everything worked out, and I absolutely loved it.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Glass Mermaid by Melanie Karsak

Synopsis:
I’m the last mermaid.

On the shore of Lake Erie, I spend my final days hunting beach glass, making jewelry, and waiting for my mermaid glamour to leave me. Then it will be over. I resigned myself to the fact that there’s nothing more for me. Until I saw Cooper.

He comes to the beach every day to paint the sunrise and sunset. Nothing in this vast world has sparked my attention as much as him. I have no business falling in love with a human. Not now. And Cooper seems to have secrets of his own. I should leave him alone, but the curious mermaid in me can’t let that shiny bauble go.

More than anything, I want to be part of his world…before it’s too late.

Review:
This was surprisingly deep for such a short read. This book went through grief, and how people deal with it, how scary and tragic situations can be, and how sometimes you have to be willing to give up everything to help those you love. One of my favourite parts of this novel is how the fairy tale element is clearly there, with one of our protagonists being a mermaid and all, but it isn’t just a retelling. Also the back and forth between Kate and Cooper’s point of view was perfectly executed. All in all, loved it, and think it shows a deep understanding for people going through hard times.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯