Review of Crown of Blood and Ruin by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
War begins. But secrets have the power to end…everything.

Fallen princess. Traitor. Queen.

Forsaking her people and her birthright, Elise Lysander takes her place at the side of the new fae king of a broken land. Revered by some, hated by many, Elise’s fight for her love and freedom is only beginning.

As secrets of Castle Ravenspire come to light, Elise and Valen discover their enemies hold more power than they ever imagined.

It will take more than blades to defeat them.

Fulfilling a dangerous request from Valen’s imprisoned brother. Destroying a prophecy of fate kept in the hands of Elise’s brutal sister. And an unwilling alliance with a shadowed thief from a neighboring kingdom that might end in victory or more death.

Blood is calling. War will answer.

But for Elise and Valen this fight could be their hard-fought salvation…or a vicious end to everything they love.


Filled with luscious world building, banter-filled romance, and epic battles, this final book in the Northern Kingdom is part Viking, part fairy tale. One-click to start reading today.

*This is the final book in Elise and Valen’s love story, however, more tales will continue in the Broken Kingdoms. Romance and spice increases and is recommended for readers 17+ for the remaining books in the series.*

Review:
What an epic ending to Elise and Valen’s story! I will say I did expect most of the ending. I hadn’t expected a lot of the middle of this book, or the setup for the second one, but this book was quite epic. Highly immersive and you want to keep reading to figure out exactly what happens next. As we know, I love Beauty and the Beast, so I was quite happy to read this. I really loved the growth of all of the characters throughout the three books and how they developed both strength wise and opening up. I have already started the next book, and look forward to finishing it!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Court of Ice and Ash by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
She chose him. He chose revenge. But some choices have deadly consequences.

When Elise agreed to break a vicious curse over the man she loved, she never imagined he was a lost fae prince. But Valen left her to carry out vengeance for his slaughtered family. So when she joins the outlaw fae in their uprising against her own sister, all Elise wants is to forget the prince who holds her heart.

But fate has a different plan.

Reunited in the rescue of a mutual friend, Elise and Valen are forced to decide where they stand in the battle of crowns. As their passion reignites, so too do the dangers threatening to pull them apart for good: a strange magical blight infecting the land, betrayal by one of their own, and a devastating secret not even a fae prince saw coming.

The wicked game for the right to rule has begun. But who will save Elise and Valen from a dark magic with the power to destroy their love forever?

Review:
Elise is stuck in a horrible situation where she must fight for justice, and while she wanted to do so with the man she loved, instead she has to go on as if he hadn’t destroyed her. Seeing Valen fight himself and his true desires was very validating. This book is well paced, hard to put down, and I could not wait to read more. Absolutely loving the twists and turns, and so very glad for how it came together at the end. Of course I’m already on the next book, which would say I do highly recommend this…


Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Curse of Shadows and Thorns: A dark fairy tale romance by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
A rebellious princess. A cursed rogue. A forbidden love that will bring a kingdom to its knees.

As niece of the king, Elise Lysander cares about two things: sneaking into gambling dens, and avoiding an advantageous marriage at all costs.

When her uncle holds the life of her deathly-ill father over her head, reluctantly, Elise puts her fate into the hands of Legion Grey, the handsome and mysterious dowry negotiator. He may be arrogant and infuriating, but soon Legion incites a blistering, forbidden passion she can’t ignore.

As their attraction grows, so do the dangers: attacks from black-eyed people, a cursed enemy who is more beast than man, and rumors of fae returning for the crown they believe was stolen from them long ago.

After a bloody coup upends the kingdom, Elise flees with Legion, but nothing is as it seems. The man she allowed into her heart reveals his own secret plans with the return of magic—and he has every intention of using Elise to see them through.

With war between magic and mortal on the horizon, Elise must pick a side to protect her kingdom. Does she stand with her people who stole the throne? Or with a man who lied his way into her heart and whose secret past could bring her destruction?
 
Filled with luscious world building, banter-filled romance, and epic battles, this first book in the Broken Kingdoms series is part Viking, part Beauty and the Beast. One-click to start reading today.
 
This series will be 9-10 books with four different couples, but characters will be interconnected throughout the entire series. 
 
*Author Note* Be prepared, these fairy tale retellings might begin as a slow burn romance, but the series progresses with the spice and steam. Book 1 is not the standard for the heat of the romance and each book gets spicier.

Review:
I started this book because I’d finished the Hades and Persephone series I’d been reading and wanted to continue along the fairy tale/myth route. This book, I wasn’t sure of when I started. I already had it on my kindle and picked it based on the title; not actually remembering any description. Later I realized I’d found it off booktok, but I digress. I was quite pleased I picked it, as I fell into it right away.

Most of the characters, save Elise, in the royal family seem unredeemable. Following her adventures really resonated with me, for I believe most will feel like her about marriage. The world was well built and developed, the characters the same. Now, I had figured out our “main twist” from almost the beginning, however, I absolutely never would have expected how the end would come about. Oh my goodness! I had to immediately start the second book because I absolutely fell in love with Elise and Legion and need to know what happens next!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Curse of the Wolf King by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
A beastly fae king with a deadly curse.
A devious bargain to break it…

All Gemma Bellefleur wants is to leave her past behind and forget the day scandal broke her heart. But when she’s captured by a trickster fae king who threatens to hold her for ransom, she’ll find herself at the top of the gossip column yet again.

Unless…

Plagued by a curse that will soon claim his life, the human-hating King Elliot will do anything to save himself. And if Gemma can use that to her advantage, she might be able to bargain her way to freedom. All she has to do is help him break his curse.

There’s just one hitch—to do so, they’ll have to trick someone into falling in love with the beastly, brooding Elliot.

With a devious alliance made, their scheme begins, bringing Gemma and Elliot into very close quarters. Soon, an unexpected desire stirs where once there was only hate. But Gemma must fight it. For when the curse is broken, Elliot will return to his true form—a wolf—and be lost to her for good.

Can Gemma sacrifice her budding feelings to save the king’s life? Or will love force her to give up something even greater…her heart?

ACOTAR meets Bridgerton in this standalone fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you like slow burn romance, wolf shifters, and brooding fae royals, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

*NOTE this book is upper YA/NA featuring mature situations and some adult language. The romance is slow burn but leads to moderate steam.

Curse of the Wolf King is a complete stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Fair Isle Trilogy. Journey back to Faerwyvae or begin your adventure for the first time with this enchanting tale. Each book in the Entangled with Fae series can be read on its own and in any order. Happily ever after guaranteed!

Review:
Firstly, fairy tale retelling so obviously I needed to read it. I really enjoyed the development of the characters and the way in which trauma is shown. Trauma impacts people far more than most leg on, and honestly, considering that, Gemma is quite well adjusted. I absolutely loved seeing the development of Gemma’s relationships with those in Elliot’s court, but I did think that it was quite obvious what was going to happen. Despite knowing that, it was still quite an enjoyable read. I absolutely adored seeing how Elliot changed and grew throughout the book.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Rose Gate by Hanna Sandvig

Synopsis:
Once upon a time, a human girl was kidnapped by a fae prince…for her own good.

I was just minding my own business in the woods. At night. As you do when your family is as messed up as mine. When I was rudely abducted to Faerie by a grizzly bear.

Okay, so he’s actually a cursed fae prince named Leith. And yes, he did technically save me from the creepily intelligent wolves that were chasing me down. But now I’m trapped at his castle until they go away, and this prince is far from charming, what with the missing eye, and the curse, and did he cut his own hair with a sword?

I suppose it could be worse. Yes, the castle and it’s inhabitants have been cursed by the Unseelie Queen, but I don’t have a fox handmaiden back home to braid my hair every day. Or dresses that shimmer like starlight. And maybe the prince isn’t so bad, when he’s not growling at me. He might even be handsome under those scars.

But that’s besides the point. I’m going to figure out the curse this castle is under, save my new friends, and get back home before I lose my heart to this beast of a prince.

Until then, I hope there’s at least a decent library somewhere in this castle.

**If you wish that The Cruel Prince was a bit less…cruel, or think that Downton Abbey could be improved by having forest creatures as staff, try The Rose Gate! This is a sweet retelling of Beauty and the Beast that kicks off the Faerie Tale Romances series.**

Review:
This book… I power read this book within two days. It was really well paced, well written, flowed well, and almost impossible to put down (alas, sleep and adult responsibilities!) This story was just perfection in both a retelling and overall story on its own– between the perfect Irish faerie tale feel to the depth of the background of both the modern story and the fae one. I loved Leith as a grizzly bear; it was far more true to the original stories while also making it a bit different from most retellings.

I didn’t see right away the connection between two characters, but I found it quite expertly done. I love how time ebbs and flows differently and how that also effects powerful magic and people’s ability to foresee. I was absolutely enchanted with this novel. The characters were well developed and stood on their own, the plot was layered and wonderful and the connections seemed solid and cleverly/slowly built.

I don’t often feel that the ending of novels, especially fairy tales, are as great as they could be, but I absolutely loved this one, and Isobel’s mentality throughout. Isobel is a strong, independent, and resourceful girl, even if she felt like she was bookish, reserved and shy regularly. Perhaps the journey allowed her to find herself, but she doesn’t give up on what is right and who she cares for– refreshing from the usual heroine.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Devastation: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling by M. J. Haag

Devastation: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling (A Beastly Tale Book 3) by [M.J. Haag, Ulva Eldrige]

Synopsis:
Everything has changed…

Abused and rejected, Benella strives to regain a purpose for her life that does not involve the beast.  However, when her father loses his employment, she finds herself returning to the last place she ever wanted to see.

A beast no more…

Alec, Lord of the North, is a man once more, a man Benella doesn’t know or understand.  As she struggles to reconcile the cold, distant man with the beast she once knew, she must also learn when it is right to forgive and when it is time to move on. 

Review:
This book really put so much into perspective of how Benella felt about relationships and trust between people. There were multiple times one had to stop and wonder why she kept doing the same stupid thing without thinking, but then, people are not always wary all the time. Seeing Alec as a man as he attempts to understand and work with Benella is quite nice, especially when he slips and she is reminded of their time alone. Of course I wouldn’t wish bad things on our main character, but it did seem like there was a lot of almosts that set her mind on a course that could have made a very different end. I realized as I neared the end, constantly worried that the happily ever after wouldn’t happen, that Benella was quite a believable character, with real concerns even if the reader (omnipresent as one is) knew shouldn’t have worried. There were times she misplaced care for possession, though I couldn’t truly blame her as she hadn’t been looked after for most of her life. Many things in life could be far more easily understood if we looked from both perspectives, our own and others, after all.

There were two great quotes that I will share from this final book in the Beastly tales.

“My mother once told me time changed everything. In that moment, I realized what she meant. Nothing ever stayed the same.”

“Her search for material wealth and social standing wouldn’t bring her happiness. Happiness wasn’t so easily obtained. It took kindness and some true sacrifice, neither concept truly understood by my sister.”

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Deceit: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling by M. J. Haag

Deceit: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling (A Beastly Tale Book 2) by [M.J. Haag, Ulva Eldrige]

Synopsis:
Only Beauty can tame the Beast.

Safely hidden within the estate’s enchanted walls, Benella no longer has time to fear her tormentors. She’s too preoccupied attempting to determine what makes the beast so beastly. It might be the taxing visits from the aged enchantress who cursed him or his growing vexation at not being allowed to touch Benella.

In order to gain her freedom, she must find a way to break the curse, but first, she must help him become a better man while protecting her heart.

Review:
The world grew and it became larger and more coloured and I thought that Benella had truly touched the beast. I thought that despite her sisters and how horrible they were that she would turn out not differently in part because she was so sensible. We had so much more added to both knowledge of how Benella grew up to also the people who had been around the Beast and how he cared for them. The ending… how, how could he just do that?! I need to read the third book, immediately! One star off for the end!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Depravity: A Beauty and the Beast Novel by M. J. Haag

Depravity: A Beauty and the Beast Novel (A Beastly Tale Book 1) by [M.J. Haag, Ulva Eldridge, Allisyn Ma]

Synopsis:
Seductively dark. Deliciously beastly.

Benella is concerned with two things–avoiding the two village boys who torment her and scrounging for food to help feed her family. Unfortunately, the best wild fruit and vegetables are near the walls of the estate, a dark misty place inhabited by an unforgiving beast.

When her tormentors lock her behind the massive gates, Benella knows her fate is sealed. Yet, the fate isn’t one she expects. Her encounter with the beast starts a bizarre cycle of bargaining for her freedom, a freedom the beast seems determined to see her lose.

Review:
I quite enjoyed this beginning of Beauty and the Beast’s tale by M. J. Haag. There wasn’t too much spice, but it set a very good scene for what Benella’s life was like, as well as how the Beast acted. Opening scene with the baker left a very lasting impression in my mind thought part of me wonders why Sara would be upset about the particular change in price since it seemed more beneficial to her. I found it very interesting that he was so kind and careful with her for so long. The duality of how she is treated depending on what she wears is not lost. I quite look forward to seeing how the story continues to unfold.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis:
Kingdoms will clash. Choose your side.

The incredible conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone–even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and a magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As the two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

Review:
I waited and waited for the two factions to end up together and honestly I was not disappointed when they were together. However, when the parties were separate, it really seemed like Harper and Rhen left any sort of real connection for most of the book. When they finally came back together, their spark was undeniable, but it remained very obvious that Harper never really found a purpose in Emberfall, though she originally tried to help out in previous books. Jake finally found a purpose, which was great to see, but, Harper really failed quite a bit and really played the part of “uncertain little sister” in this book. The men were great, grew, had good arcs. The women, however, seemed to grow less certain of themselves. Harper’s spark was seen when she fled the castle, but Lia Mara never truly seemed to become fully confident in herself.

While I loved the last chapter and where it seemed to be going I felt like we dropped off with part of the story left untold. Harper still had no real “end” and while we can assume Noah and Jake are together we don’t know where they are staying or what they plan to do. It feels like there should be another book to tie up loose ends, which is to say, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one set 16 years in the future or so…

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: ✯✯✯✯