Author: Lana Harper
Series: The Witches of Thistle Grove
Series #: 2
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Age Group: Adult
ARC?: Yes

Wild child Isidora Avramov is a thrill chaser, adept demon summoner, and—despite the whole sexy-evil-sorceress vibe—also a cuddly animal lover. When she’s not designing costumes and new storylines for the Arcane Emporium’s haunted house, Issa’s nursing a secret, conflicted dream of ditching her family’s witchy business to become an indie fashion designer in her own right.

But when someone starts sabotaging the celebrations leading up to this year’s Beltane festival with dark, dangerous magic, a member of the rival Thorn family gets badly hurt—throwing immediate suspicion on the Avramovs. To clear the Avramov name and step up for her family when they need her the most, Issa agrees to serve as a co-investigator, helping none other than Rowan Thorn get to the bottom of things.

Rowan is the very definition of lawful good, so tragically noble and by-the-book he makes Issa’s teeth hurt. In accordance with their families’ complicated history, he and Issa have been archenemies for years and have grown to heartily loathe each other. But as the unlikely duo follow a perplexing trail of clues to a stunning conclusion, Issa and Rowan discover how little they really know each other… and stumble upon a maddening attraction that becomes harder to ignore by the day.


Review

It was a huge surprise for me! I enjoyed this book so much. There was just something about it that worked for me; but hadn’t quite worked for me in the first book. Maybe this is a sign I need to go back and try the first book again! 

Issa was a brilliant character and I LOVED everything about her. She was such a nuanced character, and one that I think people will relate to. (Even if we don’t have any witchy powers, sadly). Issa and her relationship with her family was lovely. The way Harper played out her sisters and her relationship, as well as the relationship with her mother was so well done. I loved that side plot and how it contributed to the book. 

And Rowan was SO SO adorable. I loved when he was being so gentle and caring. It made me melt. We didn’t get as much relationship with Rowan and his family, but I like how Harper showed that Issa and Rowan had good, but different, relationships with their parents. 

Oh, did I mention that this was an enemies to lovers romance? No? It is. And it is well done. One thing I really appreciated about this book is that miscommunication isn’t a huge trope, but done here, it was  done right. I was very impressed with Harper for that. 

This isn’t what I would call a super spicy book, it has a few spicy scenes, but by and large the book is focused on the mystery and the relationships between the characters. There are a few plot points that made me laugh, and I just loved how it was opposites attract romance too. Rival families…it pretty much hit on all the things I love. 

Harper is also a great writer. It’s bliss to read this book, because the cadence and the pace of the book. Also, there is an atmosphere to this book. It reminds me of a cozy mystery, but with witches. And diversity. 

There were a few important conversations had in this book regarding racism and prejudice (Rowan is a Black man). 

Talia and Emmy were back (briefly) in this one, so we heard how much they were into each other. It was adorable! (I really do plan to go back and read the first book…) 

I will say, Issa felt like such a strong character, but she hits a point in this book where she becomes overwhelmed. I loved the representation of anxiety and trying to deal with it on your own because you’re supposed to be “strong”. 

Overall, this was a fantastic read and I highly recommend that you add it to your shelves! I know I want to! 

P.S. the title is so cute too. I totally forgot I had DNF’d Paybacks a Witch until I requested this ARC, got approved and went to look. This is what happens when pretty covers and cool descriptions are briefly looked at, and not read all the way through. I guess I didn’t realize this was a sequel. 🙈

.

Author: Jessica S. Olson
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.

But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.


Review

When I guessed what Owlcrate’s March pick would be, I was excited. I was very much looking forward to this book. Let me preface this by saying I think the book was good, but it wasn’t blow me away good. This is a book that was a solid three stars; neither bad nor super good. If I’d read this before buying it, it wouldn’t have been a book I bought. Checked out from the library, for sure! So…where did this book go wrong? 

The inspiration for this book was clearly Dorian Gray. I mean magic portraits that fix people? But I did love the interpretation of that into magic for this book. What I would have liked more of is worldbuilding. My mind bounced between this being a real world with magic, or a fantasy world. I would have liked a better setting to set the tone and to understand the world a bit better. 

I liked Lucy and Myra’s relationship throughout the book, I thought it was one of the more powerful components of the book. I also felt August’s anxiety intensely, and when they were talking about Lucy’s chronic illness, I understood that too. So there was some excellent representation in this book. (I really kind of want to know what Lucy’s illness actually was – it sounds a lot like my Crohn’s Disease). 

What I didn’t love was the romance in this book. It felt underdeveloped to me compared to the sisterly and family relationships. I could have lived without it, as I didn’t feel that August and Myra had any chemistry whatsoever. And that weird love triangle? Messy! And definitely did not enjoy that part of the book. 

Maybe it’s because I’m an adult, I had pretty much figured out what was going on from the start. Which isn’t always a bad thing; however in this case there wasn’t enough depth to the other parts of the book to make me think that it was a great book. 

Finally, I found the writing clunky. It did not flow smoothly to me, and I felt that we were ricocheted around. The writing was stilted to me. Overall, I just felt that the writing didn’t work. 

This book was not a bad book, but it also isn’t one I’d be desperate to read again. This book will be enjoyed by people who are fond of gothic mysteries, as well as fantasy.  

.

Author: Jennifer Saint
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy, mythology
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?


BLOG TOUR!

I’m so delighted to bring you my review of Elektra by Jennifer Saint! Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for inviting me on the tour! Ariadne was one of my favorite retellings — so I was beyond delighted to be offered this chance. As some of you may know I got my undergrad degree in Classics and History. I focused a lot on women in history as well as queerness. This book was such a perfect rendition of taking a new perspective on the classic myths that we all know (and may or may not love). Without further ado, I bring to you my review of Elektra.


Review

Elektra is the stunning story of three women – Clytemnestra, Elektra and Cassandra. Saint takes the stories and myths about these women and brings them to life. She gives them agency in a way that the myths never did. They become real to the imagination, and you can feel for them. It is an intense book in many ways. 

If you’re familiar with Greek mythology you know about the Trojan War, and you know about Agamemnon. You know what happens to all the characters in the book. Still, reading it from a different perspective, of what was happening while the men were away was amazing. 

Saint infused her characters with so much life and personality they come off the page. In the Greek stories they often depict the women as one of two ways: traitorous or the perfect woman. There is no inbetween. And more often than not, even if the woman is perfect there is still some issue; that she is betrayed by the men. 

Notably, both Helen (who is in this book) and Clytemnestra who are sisters are perceived as betrayers in Greek myth. Which is interesting when you compare it to what Agamemnon and Menelaus did. 

This book had so much heart in it. There is one part that absolutely shredded me; I had to go get a tissue and take a deep breath before I continued reading the book. It was impactful in a way I think it wasn’t in the original myth. 

Just for some background in this book Elektra is devoted to her father. Clytemnestra hates Agamemnon for what he did. Had started hating him even before. And Cassandra is just doing her own thing. The relationship between Clytemnestra and Elektra is fascinating. I felt that Elektra was supposed to stand for how people were supposed to perceive Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra was supposed to be how he really was. Cassandra is seeing the war firsthand, and we get her perspective, a woman’s perspective on the war. 

Saint’s writing is amazing. I was lulled into this story, and it reads with such a cadence. There is no wasted part of the story. I felt every piece included was intentional. Saint deftly weaves in the relationships and family relationships with the myths they come from. She manages to explain how Helen and Clytemnestra are related to Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. She does this with other characters throughout the book. 

Placed together, it is visually stunning to read. It is feminist, as it takes myths written and retold by men and gives women their agency and their strength back. It gives them their own stories beyond just being the “betrayer” or the “woman waiting”. This book was about family, about grief and about love. 

I absolutely loved this book, even if it tore my heart out. 

.

Author: Ava Reid
Genre: fantasy, dark fantasy
Age Group: adult
ARC?: Yes

A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.

Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for an arc in exchange for an honest reivew!

I was super excited to get an ARC of this book, I gave her previous novel 4 stars. This one is somewhat interlinked with that one, and touches on similar subjects. This one is dark fantasy and horror combined. I had hoped that I was going to absolutely love this book, however, it fell short for me in many ways, which is a bit unfortunate. There were some good aspects to the book as well, and I will discuss those aspects first.

Reid is a talented writer. I love her prose. It is able to evoke feelings, emotions, moods and atmosphere. It is essentially, a lush book that could be easy to get lost in. The writing is one of the best parts of the entire book to be quite honest.

I love her world-building. It definitely captures the imagination, and you can even imagine it was real. This I think it partly because it is grounded in truth. It makes it easier to believe.

The incorporation of the fairy tales was excellent and remains one of my favorite parts of the book. I love how they just meld into the story seamlessly.

Even the premise of the book was good, so what was wrong with the book overall?

I struggled a bit with the characters. I feel that I didn’t ever really become convinced by them or their relationships. I wish I had because I think it would have been more successful for me.

Secondly, I was bored. This is definitely a me problem. I kept getting distracted and wanting to skim read through this book. I felt that there was no advancement in plot or character development, and that some of it was repetitive. I kept hoping that the end of the book would make it better. It sadly didn’t. It did get more intense towards the end of the book, but didn’t make up for the pacing.

I am however looking forward to seeing what the author produces next!

.

Author: Lexi Ryan
Series: These Hollow Vows
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult/new adult
ARC?: yes

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.


Review

How does one rate this book? Honestly, I am struggling with it. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Between the gorgeous cover and the description I thought it was going to be a shoo in for a top five book of the year. I should know better though – and I’m going to write this review a bit differently because I feel that I can’t divide it up into the sections I normally do. Instead I’m going to divide it up by beginning, middle and end for this review. And I had opinions on all three parts. To sum it up: each part had a different rating for me.

The beginning, or I should say, the part I had the issue with.

Yeah, so in short. The beginning. I feel like parts of the beginning were totally unnecessary to the story overall. I don’t mind a slow start, and it wasn’t even that slow. We find Brie in the middle of a heist. All well and good, but then something else happens and I feel the pace got thrown off. I know the beginning is setting up the rest of the book for what happens next, but I felt it should have been much more concise. Her sister, Jas, being stolen. I know Ryan was trying to set up the sister’s relationship and their friendship with Sebastian, but I felt those parts were drawn out. Honestly, the beginning was an unfortunate two stars for me. I almost gave up, but I decided to push through to the middle. I told myself if I didn’t like the middle then I would DNF and just be disappointed. Honestly, I have almost nothing to say about the beginning because it felt…irrelevant to the whole story. So, moving on to the middle part.

the middle part in which it does get better…sort of.

So, yes, it did get better in the middle. We find out who the two love interests are. And me, I always go for the bad boy. So Finn it is. Or…is it Bash? Honestly, I don’t know who the truly bad boy is here. Both? Neither? Well, we get the Seelie and Unseelie courts and how Brie must find three lost artifacts to free her sister from the clutches of the evil Unseelie king. Yep – find the three artifacts and overcome the challenge of learning her new magic. Like I said, my interest and the pace picked up in this part. In a way, parts of the plot were “eh” to me. Again, I felt bored at times. Like, Bash’s parts…I wasn’t interested! I found him boring. Which I know I’m not supposed to, but all I wanted to do were skip those parts.

Also the whole marriage thing…interesting. And the bond…interesting. I kept wondering where that was going.

Suffice to say, it held my interest enough that I wanted to continue the book and find out what happened. A solid three star middle. It redeemed itself!

part, the end of the book

Or, in other words, the last fifty pages is where it got really good. I’m a sucker for Finn. I’m Team Finn. Bash can jump off a cliff.

ANYWAYS, like the end was where I was like OH I see why it was said to be like The Cruel Prince. I get it, I get it. Those last pages were what made me LOVE the book. It was a stunning turn of events and had me with my mouth open. (I will admit, I had sort of guessed it, but still…the run up and reveal of secrets was great).

Thus, the last part got four or five stars. I can’t math, so I just said I’m giving it four stars. Close to 3.5, but four because the ending knocked it out of the park.

In case you were wondering as well, I didn’t realize it was a fairytale retelling, but it had moments of what I felt like were a combination of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast woven in.

All in all, I am excited for the sequel.

.

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves
Series #: 3
Genre: historical, fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

In love they breathed. In destiny they believed. In the end, will divinity be their demise?

After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin.

Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass.

With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay.


Review

No one is more devastated than me – because I gave the first two books five stars. I LOVED this series. I’m a little upset that I am only giving this book 3.5 stars. If you want to know why, please read on! 

I want to cover what I enjoyed about the book first. Because there were aspects of the book that were enjoyable. Chokshi is a talented writer. I’ve loved everything that she has written, and the writing in this is no exception. I thought it was fabulous. Chokshi has a way with words and they melt into your brain as you are reading. 

Another aspect I liked is that this is historical fantasy, and I found it well done. Much like the first two books there were lots of puzzles and action in this book. 

The characters are another facet that Chokshi is a master at. She is able to craft characters that are so wonderful and feel as if they can step off the page. I did enjoy the overall character arcs in this book for the most part. 

The major thing that brought this book down was I felt that this was just a repeat of events in a slightly different way from the first two books. It felt rather repetitive. And while I do think the characters had depth, I didn’t feel that they were as well done as in the previous books. I also would have liked more from Hypnos character. He was a side character, but he also was a main character? Honestly, that was a little confusing. 

To be honest I was going, plot, what plot? Throughout this entire book. I felt that this book drifted around a lot, with no true purpose. It didn’t feel as if it was for character development either. I’m not sure what happened here, but it was not nearly as good as the first book was. The pacing was awkward for me too, and I felt that I was bored – and I was SO SAD because I wasn’t bored in the previous two books. I’m really not sure what happened with this book. It just didn’t work as well. 

I did however, love the ending. I was pretty happy with it. I knew it was going to be bittersweet, and it was in multiple ways. But I loved where all the characters ended up, especially my faves, Zofia, Enrique and Hypnos. 

Overall, the book was good, it just wasn’t as good as the first two books. I am excited to read whatever Chokshi writes next!

.

Author: Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Series: Twin Crowns
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: YA
ARC?: Yes

A high-stakes fantasy rom-com about twin princesses separated at birth—one raised as the crown princess, and the other taken as an infant and raised to kidnap her sister, steal the crown, and avenge the parents’ murders.

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?


Review

What can I say but WOW? Because this book was *chef’s kiss* amazing. At first I was a bit nervous on how this plot was going to go, but I LOVED it. I loved every inch of this book. And THAT ENDING. I need book two in my hands ASAP. I’m not going to survive until I know what happens next. 

This book is full of action, suspense and drama. The POV alternates between Wren and Rose, two sisters who are separated at birth. I have several characters in this book I really loved. Actually, most of them I liked. (Except the villains. I don’t like them.) 

One thing that this book did well was it had layered plots. Sometimes the different plots can make a book difficult or hard to read; but in this case, the book did it very well. We have Rose’s plot, Wren’s plot and then the two romance subplots along with two larger plots. Juggling all those plots was no doubt difficult. Then, we get a third subplot at the very end. I am CONVINCED that this is not going to go my way. 

Anyways, this book has witches and it is GREAT. I love witch-y reads and this one is high fantasy. In some ways I think it is similar to Serpent & Dove. Not to say it’s exactly like it, but that’s the feeling I get from it. 

The romance subplots were so fun. Tor is my favorite of them all. I love Wren and Rose equally, and I love how they have such different personalities. It made reading the book a joy. I also love Shen and his humor because it made me laugh out loud. 

This book was so full of action and suspenseful that I literally could not put it down. I had to know what was going to happen to these characters next. And the DRAMA.

That cliffhanger was so brutal, especially for me. I was all NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Anyways, I can’t say too much without spoiling all of the book. It’s best read with as little knowledge as possible so you get to enjoy all aspects of the book. 

I am eagerly awaiting book two, and I can’t wait to get myself a copy of this book! 

.

Author: T. Kingfisher
Genre: fantasy, horror
Age Group: adult
ARC?: Yes

After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.

Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.

On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last. 


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So I have previously rated Kingfisher’s books three stars. And this one sounded really good to me. It had all the hallmarks of being a book that would keep my attention. As a note, this book has horror components as do most of Kingfisher’s works, but the horror in this book takes place in a fantasy world that is much like a fairy tale. Grimm fairy tales really. So, saying that, there are dark parts of this book, but they’re not terribly dark I would say. There are a few CW like domestic abuse, being buried in a coffin that might be triggers for some people.

I felt that this book was engaging, it made you keep wanting to turn the next page and find out what happens. It is very much an adventure story, but the framework to me feels like how fairy tales are formatted. Even some of the writing felt like that as well. It made the story work! But there were parts too where it turned fairy tale conventions upside down, and I thought that was well done as well.

I enjoyed the writing immensely, as well as all the characters in the book. Marra was such a great character, and I loved the way she looked at the world, and how she acted. I felt she was a well-rounded character that was likeable, as were the others. They all had distinct personalities that shone through and made the characters feel real.

I found that they were intriguing, and there were some good moments throughout the book, and humor woven in as well, despite the darkness of the tale.

Where this book really succeeded was the atmosphere. It was dark and it was creepy and it gave me the chills. I kept shivering through certain parts.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book! I think fans of retellings, dark fantasy, horror and fairy tales would probably enjoy this book!

.

Author: Tara Sim
Series: The Dark Gods
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy, dark fantasy
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.

But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city. And without it, all the realms are dying.

Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Risha, a necromancer struggling to keep the peace; Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with rebellion in her heart; and Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light— will sacrifice everything to save the city.

But their defiance will cost them dearly.


Review

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

I love a good epic/high fantasy, and the description of this book sounded so good. And like something that I would really enjoy. As anyone knows, adult fantasy often comes with a lot of worldbuilding. It’s got the time for it, and the need for it. From the first moment we are thrown into a vibrant world, wherein not too much is explained. In this you sort of must figure things out for yourself. However, it also feels a bit on the YA side?

Compared to other fantasy books the beginning of this was quite intense, and it was the setup of the characters and their future. We dove right on it. However, once we get past the beginning the pace of the book slows down. And I felt a lot of it wasn’t necessary to be honest.

We have multiple POV characters (which I thought overall was done well), and I felt that the characters were all individualistic which is nice. They all had personalities even if I didn’t always like them. Characters don’t have to be likeable after all. I enjoyed the family relationships some of the characters had as well, such as Dante and Taesia.

The one thing I wished is that she had stuck with the same POVs throughout the entire book, and not added or dropped any at random parts. It was a lot of POVs and it did work; because it was bringing together what was to happen at the end.

We get to about 35% and the pace does pick up a little bit. We start to see more of the plot come together (and then some of the plot fall apart…and not be picked up at all the rest of the book). But the overall plot was solid, and it was quite epic.

I found certain aspects of the book frustrating. (The parts with Dante, because he and Taesia are pretty much my favorite characters).

I think this is a good start to the series, I’m still not totally sure what to make of it. Like, I liked it. I did! But at the same time I didn’t like it, and I cannot put my finger on what that dividing line is.

Yes, the ending was epic. But some of the buildup just wasn’t there for me the way I wanted it to.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book; I think it was superb, and I think Sim is a great storyteller. I just don’t know if I just wasn’t vibing with this book…or something else. Either way, I think this is a series I may or may not continue. And as I mentioned previously, this book reads more YA than adult. 

.

Author: Scarlett St. Clair
Series: Adrian x Isolde
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy, romance, erotica
Age Group: adult
ARC?: No

Their Union Is His Revenge.
Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀
But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀
Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀
The answer will shatter her world. 


Review

I knew what I was going into when I picked this book up – and I enjoyed it. I called it From Blood and Ash Lite. I thought I was funny. Really, the only similarity is vampires and the fact that it is paranormal fantasy. With ~~~spice~~~. Which, if you know what this is going in, you won’t be disappointed. I’ve seen quite a few reviews panning this for what it is, so just be aware going in, a lot of the book is explicit as romance is the center piece of this book.

I enjoyed the book for what it was. It was a fun book to read, and while it wasn’t very plot heavy, there was enough plot that it was still enjoyable. The plot looks like it is going to really start going in the next book to be honest. This one felt more like a setup for the future books.

I liked the side characters in this story as well. Sorin was one of my favorites as well. And there were queer characters incorporated nicely, I thought.

I liked the relationship between Isolde and Adrien well enough, but at some parts I was slightly frustrated with their interactions with each other. I know there was a point to it, but some of those interactions just bothered me.

I can’t explain why I didn’t love love this book, but enjoyed it. I’m not sure what it was, maybe the characters weren’t just as fleshed out as I would like.

One thing that was supremely well fleshed out was the worldbuilding. And as we went along we learned more about the world that Isolde and Adrien live in. There is a bit of political intrigue in this book, but not too much.

There are quite a few beheadings in this book! Not super gory though, which is great for me.

If you like paranormal and spicy books with vampires then this will be a book you enjoy! (especially if you enjoyed FBAA)

.