Review of Sky of Wind: An East of the Sun West of the Moon Romance by Emily Deady

Sky of Wind: An East of the Sun West of the Moon Romance (Fairy Tale Royals Book 4) by [Emily Deady]

Synopsis:
He’s my fake husband. Our kingdom’s only hope.
And he has no idea that I’m desperately in love with him.

I’m not strong and powerful like my brothers. I’m just a princess. A rather spoiled princess. My skills will not help us win this war.

But turns out, my mischievous mind and diplomatic mouth are perfect for subterfuge. By marrying Sol–a magic-wielder–I can sweet talk our way directly into the enemy’s headquarters where Sol can destroy the source of their power.

I just can’t let myself get distracted by my fake husband’s stormy eyes, or the gentle pressure of his hand on my arm as we exchange pleasantries with fellow dignitaries.

Pull it together, princess. Your people come first.

Sky of Wind is a standalone sweet romance with a happily ever after set in a larger fantasy world. It can be read on its own, but if you don’t like spoilers, start with Shard of Glass.

Review:
I absolutely loved this book. Having just finished the book about Robin when she was younger it was so great seeing not so young Meena. I absolutely loved seeing Robin again as well, especially with the knowledge that Lady or Maid gave. Meena shows that she had deep feelings and puts others first, even if her family never gives her the chance to ever do anything. Perhaps it’s because she’s a girl, perhaps it’s because she’s youngest, but seeing her learn of the real world and plight of other people was both heartbreaking and endearing. She took everything in stride and worked so hard to try to keep her people, and Sol, safe. This series is magnificent and I loved this book. Highly recommend this series and Emily Deady as an author.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Lady or Maid: A Goose Girl novella by Emily Deady

Lady or Maid: A Goose Girl Novella (Fairy Tale Royals) by [Emily Deady]

Synopsis:
Most people wouldn’t complain about being sent to live in a palace.
But I’d rather stay in my forest home.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice. I’m far too young to inherit Lockwood and the king of Iseldis is now my guardian. His luxurious feasts, blazing fires, and fancy clothing will do nothing to ease the fresh pain in my heart.

But my maid has an excellent suggestion. If we switch places before we arrive at the palace, I can grieve my lost parents in peace before my entire life changes.

What could go wrong?

Lady or Maid is a short story about Ian and Robin which takes place ten years before Shard of Glass. It is a sweet retelling of The Goose Girl and takes place during the Iseldan version of Christmas. Cuddle up for some cozy snow, sour berries, and a first crush.

Review:
This book was just perfect. I loved how donkeys were worked in instead of merely horses; it gave an interesting and neat development to the story that hasn’t been done. It was also neat how Robin showed herself to Ian despite supposedly being a goose girl, and how much he could see from his interactions with her. His keen insight after studying under his father to become king was quite well shown. I quite enjoyed this novella, and didn’t want to set it down. It was easy to read, but what really drew me in was how it really revolved around the emotions, relationships, and connections between the royals and their inner circle. Absolutely loved it.

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 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 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: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Golden Braids and Dragon Blades by Melanie Karsak

Golden Braids and Dragon Blades: Steampunk Rapunzel (Steampunk Fairy Tales Book 4) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
Being the heir to Camelot is a tangled mess.

Rapunzel has spent her entire life living in Merlin’s cave on the coast of Cornwall. Under the protection of her faerie guardian, Gothel, she’s stayed safe. Safe and bored. Dreaming of a life that looks more like a Jane Austen novel, Rapunzel fears she’ll never have the chance to explore Victorian England’s modern delights. Or meet a man. Or be kissed. Or anything else remotely resembling normal.

When Red Cape Society Agent Ewan Goodwin’s monster-stalking device leads him to Rapunzel—and her unusual pets—the pair’s destinies entwine. Together, they must solve a mystery tied to the very roots of King Arthur’s Britannia.

Review:
I absolutely adored this novel! I had everything I could have asked or hoped for- faeries, dragons, magic, romance, steampunk, fairy tales, and frequent mention of Pride and Prejudice- my personal favourite classic! The protagonists are spunky but intelligent, and it was easy to fall into this novel, like all of Karsak’s books. I loved getting to know our male protagonist better, and seeing Rapunzel grow into a capable young woman.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Ice and Embers: Steampunk Snow Queen by Melanie Karsak

Ice and Embers: Steampunk Snow Queen (Steampunk Fairy Tales Book 2) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
It takes more than passion and pixie dust to thaw a frozen heart.

With the 1814 London Frost Fair in full swing, actress Elyse McKenna’s performance in A Midwinter Night’s Dream thrills the crowd. But Elyse’s backstage has life is beginning to take on a distinctly Shakespearean flavor.

When she fell in love with Lord John Waldegrave, Elyse was prepared to keep their affair secret. But she wasn’t ready for her new love to rock her relationship with her dearest friend, Doctor Kai Murray. 

Everything Elyse thought she knew about her feelings for her old friend is flipped upside down when an enchanting ship captain turns her attention to Kai.

If Elyse hopes to escape the Thames with her heart intact, she must discover the truth about the captain, Kai, John, and her own feelings—before it’s too late.

Ice and Embers is a retelling of the classic Snow Queen fairy tale set in New York Times best-selling author Melanie Karsak’s steampunk universe. Journey to gaslamp London during the 19th century to see how Melanie puts a steampunk spin in this reimagined fairytale.

Review:
I put off reading this, in major part because Snow Queen isn’t one of the fairy tales I’m overly familiar with, but I was pleasantly surprised by how very well done this was. I quite enjoyed the behind the scenes looks at being in the theatre and being a doctor/doctor’s assistant, but it greatly annoyed me with how many times pirouetting across the stage was mentioned, since pirouettes do not travel but rotate in place. Other than the dancing descriptions being off, I thought the story was overall lovely.

I loved how Elyse was so innocent and naive, despite being in a position where she’d see these roles and situations on a regular basis. I truly loved how A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and Shakespeare in general) was entwined with the book. If you love steampunk, Shakespeare, fairytales, dance and romance, I’d recommend this book for sure.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯