Review of Scion of Midnight by Kel Carpenter

Scion of Midnight (Daizlei Academy Book 2) by [Kel Carpenter]

Synopsis:
My name is Selena Foster, and I am the first of my kind in a millennium.

I thought that made me invincible. Untouchable. All it really makes me is a target…and a weapon.

The Supernatural Council is going to war, and they’ve decided what better spear than the girl that can slay demons?

So they blackmail me, and I become the property of the Council. 

They think they own me, but you can’t own what you can’t control. 

I thought the first year at Daizlei was hard…but the second might kill me.

Either way, I’m not going down without a fight.

Review:
Wow, what a drudge! This book was hard to get into, and I was 70% through before I started being interested and invested again. So many annoying things happen in the beginning of the book, all to do with Selena being a moody teenager. How her interactions with Lucas go are so frustrating, and even by the end I was still mad at her for all the time she wasted being irritated with herself when apparently the true way to get anywhere is to LET YOURSELF GO, but in the next breath, have control! It isn’t even a matter of her trying to gain skills and better herself, she just has a pity party and never seems to snap out of it. All of her relationships suffer in this book, and while it is likely a set up for the next I really hope the angst and inability to be proactive are lost/worked through. While I am not pleased with how the book ended, I have enjoyed a couple of other series by Kel Carpenter so intend to stick it out and hope it gets better.

There is A LOT of connection in this particular story with similar things in the Queen of the Damned series, which while it was written second, I do think I prefer so far. It’s an adult series, so if adult urban fantasy romance is your jam, check it out.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯

Review of Heir of Shadows by Kel Carpenter

Heir of Shadows (Daizlei Academy Book 1) by [Kel Carpenter]

Synopsis:
There’s only one rule in the world I come from.
Keep our existence a secret. Period.

The day my sister broke that rule one too many times, I knew there would be consequences. I expected us to be sent to one of those schools for “troubled” kids—and maybe Daizlei Academy was, in a way. But really, it was far more complicated than that.

You see, I thought that world had forgotten me. Forgotten us. For years we were left alone, and one day . . . we weren’t.

It was only when I got there that I remembered the second rule:
Trust no one.

Because in our world? They would kill me if they knew the truth of what I am.

Daizlei Academy is a school for Supernaturals.

And me? I’m so much more.

*This is a YA+ Academy series with slow-burn romance and a strong but flawed heroine. It is labeled YA(+) for stronger language and some mature situations. As the heroine ages and grows so does the content of the stories.*

Review:
While I recently (starting in December, I believe) have been binge reading Kel Carpenter, this book has been quite a bit different than many of the other series I’ve read. From the beginning we learn about the triplets Selena, Alexandra, and Lily and we are brought on a journey with them. Firstly, we learn very early on about Alexandra and Lily’s powers, but I can honestly say that I had no idea what Selena’s were until she revealed it herself–an enigma that would have made me want to keep reading even if I hadn’t already been fairly invested in the story.

Selena goes through so many things that I feel so many people would resonate with–being the “oldest”/one who has to look out for her siblings and make sure they’re okay, as well as having guilt/trauma over not being able to fix things or prevent life altering things in the past (and having a complex because of that). Selena also throws herself into something she’s trained in, and I feel like many people, especially those with trauma or trying to forget things and focus on something better, also do that to escape their thoughts, feelings, emotions. Seeing her grow as a person, both kill wise and psychologically, was an enjoyable experience.

All of the main characters are rather well done and fleshed out, and like most series, I immediately started the next one when I finished this one.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Queen’s Crown by K. M. Shea

The Queen's Crown (Court of Midnight and Deception Book 3) by [K. M. Shea]

Synopsis:
Since the day I was crowned Queen of the Night Court, someone has been trying to kill me. Yay, me!

Finding my would-be-killer has been last on my to do list for a long time—which should tell you what a dumpster fire my life has been. But I can’t ignore it anymore. Whoever is plotting against me is getting serious. If I don’t do something soon I might not survive their next attempt.

Normally, I’d count on Rigel—my consort, who also happens to be a deadly fae assassin—to have my back. But he’s been gone for two months, and when he finally returns he won’t say where he’s been. Great, that’s totally not sketchy.

To make matters worse, I love Rigel—and he doesn’t believe me when I tell him! How’s that for romance?

New to do list: catch my would-be killer and convince my own husband I love him. All in a day’s work for the Night Queen.

I knew I should have demanded a job description before I took on this queen gig…

Synopsis:
Finally, so many loose ends put together, and relationships mended that have been waited for since the first two books. I absolutely love this series, because Leila remains her feisty sassy human self while still trying to integrate into the role of queen. I also love that as a horse/animal person she is always trying to do what is right for the animals, but also encouraging people to be safe and wear helmets!

I love Rigel so much, and I’m glad to see how things turn out with them in the end.

I unfortunately had an inkling who had caused the attacks, but that didn’t stop the enjoyment of the book or how everything was discovered and resolved.

Leila does what she thinks is good for her people, and it’s so fun seeing her people enjoying casual human entertainment activities, especially with how into it they all seem to get. The absolute end it brilliant and while I never want K. M. Shea’s series to end, it was still sweet.

I absolutely love how empowered K. M. Shea’s heroines are, even if it takes them a while to get to that point–it just makes it that much more realistic! I definitely recommend this series to anyone who loves faeries, though I’ll forewarn you–you end up drinking so much tea while reading it!

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Book 3) by [Leigh Bardugo]

Synopsis:
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. The nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

The Darkling rules from his shadow throne while a weakened Alina Starkov recovers from their battle under the dubious protection of the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Now her hopes lie with the magic of a long-vanished ancient creature and the chance that an outlaw prince still survives.

As her allies and enemies race toward war, only Alina stands between her country and a rising tide of darkness that could destroy the world. To win this fight, she must seize a legend’s power—but claiming the firebird may be her ruin.

Review:
It was hard to get into this, seeing Alina start as such a meek and modest person. Despite continuously not wanting to be used and controlled, she always tends to end up in situations where people are telling her what to do, how to look, how to act. She never really steps up and figures out what needs to be done- there’s always someone else there with the answer (Thank you, David).

This book was when I finally gave up any hope that the Darkling would be redeemed. So much potential for him to be changed. I did, however, quite come to like between the second and third books, Nikolai. In many ways I was disappointed in how this one ended, in part because I thought she would have made a good queen to Nikolai. Of all the things they could have done when free, I hadn’t expected what they chose.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯

Review of Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Book 2) by [Leigh Bardugo]

Synopsis:
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner—hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice—and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Review:
Running from your problems never solves them, as Alina and Mal find. While I was team Darkling in book 1, finding that he’d be willing to completely destroy Mal to get closer to Alina definitely made me dislike him. As Alina grows into her powers and learns what she believes she has to do and use her abilities for, she becomes a different person. While this is addressed several times in conversations, Mal still holds out hope that she’s still the same person whereas when this type of thing happens, two people wanting different things with their lives, generally that is when they move apart. Though admirable that Mal still wanted to stay close and do his job… is it really?

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Book 1) by [Leigh Bardugo]

Synopsis:
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.

Review:
It was hard for me to get into this book at first, and it wasn’t until the third chapter that I really got into it and became invested. The relationships were definitely not enticing, and there were several times I was hoping she would give up on what she knew before and embrace what she could have instead. I did enjoy how the author had Russian influences, because it’s always fun to learn about another culture, and I will say I think it very much added to this trilogy.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

Synopsis (from Amazon):

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill―including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness―one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

Review:
This story felt like it went on forever, and I never wanted to set it down. There are twists and turns everywhere, both supernatural and common teenage problems to see and deal with, and all of it very relatable. Bellamy’s father is known for being crazy, and people worry or laugh suggesting she’ll be the same, so already, Bellamy has to deal with being ostracized and belittled, even if just for being smart at times.

With supernatural uncertainties, Tate and Bellamy find themselves having to figure out a mystery, while also learning about each other and how to associate with someone physically disabled. All in all, I thought the situations, and their reactions to them, were very realistic, and the story was gripping and quite wonderful. I certainly recommend, especially to those who enjoy Beauty and the Beast.

Star Rating: 

Review of The Princess Search by Melanie Cellier

Synopsis (from Amazon):
An outcast.
A prince.
And a deadly rebellion…

After a lifetime of rejection, seamstress Evie can’t trust Frederic, the crown prince of Lanover–not his words of friendship or the way the warmth in his eyes seems to ask for even more. But when they end up on a tour of his kingdom–one filled with increasing danger–Evie’s mistrust might doom them all.

In this spin on the classic fairy tale, an ugly duckling must discover her true worth in order to save her kingdom and maybe even find true love.

Review:
This book truly shows that your past experiences will aid you in your future, and that the way you look at your life is just as important, if not moreso, than what you’ve gone through in the past. Although things hurt, experiencing pain is a part of life.

I quite loved how Evie, a seamstress who designed all sorts of clothes, ended up among a royal tour, getting to help the kingdom and teach the crown prince how to see beyond the obvious, and look for little details, reliving the life she had before, and realizing that getting out of it and being in a position to help isn’t something to be ashamed of– she should be proud of how she’d worked to elevate herself, and become something.

Star Rating: 

Review of Fractured Beauty by Adrienne Monson, Angela Corbett, Angela Brimhall, Lehua Parker

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Beauty and the Beast may be a tale as old as time, but in this collection by the Fairy Tale Ink you’ll meet five newly imagined Belles and the Beasts they love.

Angela Brimhall’s beast is a terrifying sea monster cursed by a scorned gypsy. He must risk all to save the strong-willed princess before losing his last chance at love and redemption, becoming forever damned to the briny deep.

Lehua Parker’s Nani is trapped by Indian and Hawaiian traditions and a fiancé locked in stasis in a medi-mod. Cultures and expectations collide in this sci-fi futuristic world where nano-bot tattoos and dreams reveal the secret of Nani’s heart.

Angela Corbett’s Ledger is determined to find out more about the mysterious woman who saved him from certain death and uncover the secrets of  Withering Woods, but some beasts are better left caged.

Adrienne Monson’s Arabella rushes to an enchanted castle to pay her father’s debt, but is met with a burly beast with a mysterious past. It’s a howling paranormal regency romp that will keep you turning pages well past your bedtime.

Review:
Brimhall’s– Quite enjoyed this story, the way that it twisted and curved, with everything twined together.

Parker’s- I loved this story. I didn’t necessarily think of it as Beauty and the Beast, but it was brilliant, unique, and I quite enjoyed it.

Corbett’s– It was an alright short story, but I didn’t quite see a big Beauty and the Beast theme, except for one character’s appearance. My least favourite of the stories.

Monson’s– I quite enjoyed the way she delivered an enchanted castle, and the way the romance developed. I also really enjoyed why Arabella’s father was sent away, and what it meant to and for her, and the Beast, ultimately.

All in all, an alright compilation, but most would have been better if allowed to shine on their own, without being considered a “Beauty and the Beast” novel.

Star Rating: 

Review of An Inconvenient Princess by Melanie Cellier

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Penny knows all about expectation. After all, she’s a seventh child and they’re always blessed, especially in a fairy-favored family like Penny’s. But Penny also knows all about disappointment. Because there’s nothing magical about her at all. She’s perfectly ordinary, even outshone by her own twin, Anneliese.

But maybe being ordinary is a good thing in this case, since gifts from the family’s fairy godfather, Mortimer, tend to lead to disaster. Which is why Penny is filled with dread when she discovers her twin has called on Mortimer for help. Anneliese ran away to find adventure, but now it sounds like she needs rescuing—if only Penny knew where to find her.

But soon Penny has far more problems than the location of her missing sister. When she’s forced to call on Mortimer herself, she’s soon embroiled with a rogue fairy, a tower without doors, a charming prince, and one highly inconvenient princess. With more and more people looking to Penny to secure their happily ever afters, will Penny ever have a chance to find one for herself? Find out in this twist on the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel.

An Inconvenient Princess is a romantic fairy tale novella. It can be read on its own, but is more fun when read as a part of the Entwined Tales, a series of interconnected fairy tales by six different authors. Each story follows the adventures of one of seven children from the same family as they seek out their own happily ever afters in spite of their reluctant fairy-godfather.

Review:
Penny is pragmatic. She doesn’t want to find trouble,but she knows her sister lives in a realm of tall tales and being extravagant, so when she sets off, Penny knows she will have to follow. Penny is an intelligent heroine, which makes her interesting. Despite being the younger twin, she feels responsible for Anneliese, and it drives her to great lengths. Finding her courage to become a leader instead of a follower, and try to do what is right makes this a great ending story for the series, especially since the happy ever after isn’t what you’d expect it to be.

Star Rating: