The Alchemists of Loom Review

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Rating: 5 Crowns

5 crowns

Key points:

  • HOLY WORLD BUILDING! Absolutely spectacular!
  • Beautifully defined and relatable characters
  • I just really can’t get over how amazing the world of Loom is

Quotes:

  • “Arrogance and confidence are not the same, but both will get you killed”
  • “It wasn’t every day you had the opportunity to meet another gear that fit so well against your own”
  • “Don’t let the shadows of the past smother the possibility for a bright future”

Summary:

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer-turned-thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Review:

I have been a huge fan and follower of Elise since her second book in the Air Awakens series. When she gave the Street Team a heads up about her new book The Alchemists of Loom, I was immediately excited! But wow, I did not expect a book like this. I was completely blown away and fell in love with the characters and the world of Loom from page one. I have always been a fan of Elise’s writing style during the Air Awakens series but in this book she improved upon the original style and made me fall in love all over again! Her writing has become more detailed, bringing to life the world of Loom and the amazing characters! I am absolutely in love with Ari, Flor and even Cvareh! I am really in love with Arianna’s character. Her character is so complex and I cannot wait to find out more about the elusive White Wraith! My favorite part about this book though was the World of Loom and Nova. Every single aspect seemed thoroughly thought through and meticulously planned out to add to the story line. I love all the guilds and the stories behind each one. Each guild has its own beautifully crafted history and story that makes the book all the more intriguing. I cannot wait to read book 2 and learn more about the history of Loom! Elise, you have created another masterpiece and I cannot wait to see what’s next for the Loom series!!

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine Review

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Rating:

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Main Points:

  • Never a dull moment, every page is filled with action
  • Beautifully developed characters and world building
  • Seamless switches between character point of views

Favorite Quotes:

  • “A warrior doesn’t focus on the odds stacked against her. She focuses on her heart, on her will to face the evil in her world and defeat it, and then she finds a way to do it.” – p. 155
  • “Lorelai was a threat who held her power in restraint because she was just. She was Kind. She was committed to doing the right thing, even when it cost her.” – p. 175

 

Review:

The Shadow Queen is the story of a girl, Lorelai, who is fighting to take back her throne from her evil step-mother. If the plots sounds familiar it should, it’s a re-telling of Snow White and the Huntsman with a few new twists. Lorelai has teamed up with her brother Leo and guard Gabriel and are working towards their plan that will stop the corruption the Queen is causing to the land and people of Ravenspire. But the self-less action of Lorelai introduces a new player into the game, Kol the king of Eldr. Kol is seeking the Queen but to plead for help for his country, which is in its own danger. Kol and Lorelai part ways early on but their journey is continually intertwined throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this re-telling of Snow White and the Huntsman. It was a creative re-telling that I absolutely loved! The story began as a bed-time story complete with the opening line of once upon a time. I enjoyed the quick summary of the background that led to the start of Lorelai’s fight against the Queen. It was a great way to summarize instead of trying to fill in the gaps later in the story that would have detoured from Lorelai’s current journey. And what a journey it was! This book was page after page of non-stop action. There was not a dull moment to be found and I thoroughly enjoyed that the author kept the action coming; it made it near impossible to put it down! The magic that was used throughout the book was beautifully done. I loved the way throughout the book Lorelai came to understand her magic more and more. The way spells worked and the different incantations used was a new twist on a subject matter that has been used time and time again.

I loved that the author used multiple points of view in the book. If you don’t already know I absolutely love multiple POVs. I believe they really help to define each character and to be able to know what their motives are and what thoughts are going through each character’s mind. It really helps me connect to a character more and draws me into the story-line. For example, having Irina’s POV really helped me to see where her motives were coming from, they made me sympathize with her and feel that her actions were almost justified; key word ALMOST justified. I felt the multiple POVs also helped developed each character a little more. I was drawn to almost all the characters in their own way but I was especially drawn to Lorelai. Her need to fight for what she believes in and to put others before herself is a quality that I strongly associate with. Plus the banter between Leo and Lorelai made me laugh out loud more times that I am willing to admit. The characters were so well developed I felt as though I was part of the group with Lorelai, Leo and Gabriel on their missions. Then there was Kol, who’s POV helped us better understanding what he was struggling through and to see how honorable of a King he truly was to put his people before himself. And finally Trugg and Jyn whom we didn’t get to know very well but still played a vital role in the story. While there were multiple characters and POV’s, the author did a great job of interconnecting each character and story-line to make it read seamlessly.

The world building in the Shadow Queen was well done but did leave some room for improvement. I felt like I could see the Ravenspire countryside in my imagination from the horrible deterioration of the land to the people in desperate need of a savior. But I wish we could have learned of some of the other areas that were mentioned. While we only spent a brief time in Eldr, I felt as though it was not as well defined as Ravenspire. And yes it was not where the main story line was taken place but it would have been nice to have a little more description of Kol’s home.

My favorite part of the Shadow Queen was the overall theme of love. And not just the love shared between two people but that love can overcome all obstacles. This book wasn’t just focused on a love story between two people but the love for others, love for the greater good and love for your home.

I cannot recommend this book enough especially for the YA lovers who enjoy a good fairy tale retelling with magic, dragons and a strong female protagonist. While the story starts out with once upon a time, you’ll have to read the book for yourself to see if there is a happily ever after.

Check out the book on socialbookreview.co where they compare multiple sites to help you find the lowest price for the book you want!

 

The Kiss of Deception Review

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Rating: 4 crowns

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Main Points:

  • Loved the multiple point of views
  • Beautiful world building
  • Quick read

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Maybe there was no one way to define it. Maybe there were as many shades of love as the blues of the sky,”
  • “If I could only reach out and touch the stars, I would know everything. I would understand.”   

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book not just for the writing style but for the diverse characters and creative world it is set in.My favorite thing about KOD was the multiple point of views! In the beginning, trying to sort out who was who (apart from Lia of course) was a fun challenge and made me want to read faster to find out which POV was associated with each character! I really love multiple point of views to help define each character and to be able to know what their motives are and what thoughts are going through each character’s mind. It really helps me connect to a character more and draws me into the story-line and that is exactly what the author did in KOD.

I have to say I was drawn to almost all the characters but especially Lia. I know it’s a little cliche to be drawn to the main character (I mean that is the point of a main character in the first place right?). But I really enjoyed her strong personality, loyal and persistent nature and her take no crap attitude. My favorite scene with Lia involves a handsy soldier, Pauline and some sassy words by Lia. Lia starts off in the beginning of the book doing something for herself and by the end…well you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out but I will say she becomes a stronger character overall.

All of the characters overall are very well developed. Each character has their own mini journeys that they go through and I really enjoyed that they all connected together. The author did a great job of interconnecting each character and story-line to make it read seamlessly. Some of the things that happen (trying to be spoiler free here!) were pretty predictable though, but not everything can be a grand plot twist! Kaden’s journey especially was one that I really related to. He has had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get where he is but he doesn’t let it affect who he truly is under the mask he wears for his friends. There is one other character that I am still on the fence about but I have a feeling we are going to learn a lot more about her in the next two books so I am going to hold off judgement for now.

Six of Crows Review

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Rating: 5 crowns

5 crowns

Main Points:

  • Not predictable at all (lots of twists and turns)
  • Great cast of characters
  • You will fall in love with this book

Favorite Quote:

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

My Review:

After reading the Grisha Trilogy I was hesitant to come back to the Grishaverse for Six of Crows. I’m not exactly sure why I put it off for so long but wow I had no idea what I was missing! I fell in love with Six of Crows from the minute I picked it up and started reading. I have to say my favorite part of the book were the characters. Leigh Bardugo makes them all come to life with her writing. I particularly enjoyed how each chapter was a different character’s point of view. It really let you get inside the mind of every character and see multiple different views of a situation. I also absolutely loved the story line! I didn’t think Leigh could top the Grisha Trilogy but Six of Crows passed the Grisha Trilogy and still hasn’t stopped (basically it is now my favorite book of the year so far). I loved the scheming, the planning, the plot twists and turns. Just when I think I know where the story is going it does a full 90 degree turn in the complete opposite direction. This book kept me on my toes and made me never want to put it down. If the story is not enough to convince you to try this book just look at the beautiful cover art and the BLACK pages, yes I said black pages. This book is a piece of art in itself. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you are already a fan of Leigh Bardugo. Just a warning it can get a bit graphic, especially with violence. But it only makes the story that much better in my opinion. I can not wait until September and Crooked Kingdom comes out, I’ve already pre-ordered it, I mean with RED pages how can you not!

 

The Star-Touched Queen Review

 

Rating: 4 crowns

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Main Points:

  • Beautiful re-telling/re-imagining of Hades and Persephone story
  • Interesting writing style, lots of riddles/meanings within meanings
  • Strong female protagonist

Favorite Quote:

  • “My star-touched queen,’ he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. ‘I would break the world to give you what you want.”

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

 

My Review:

From the first page I completely fell in love with this book. I am a big fan of Greek mythology so to see a re-telling/re-imaging of Hades and Persephone with a Hindi influence, well I never stood a chance of dis-liking this book. I felt that the second half of the book was where Roshani’s writing and character development really came to life. The characters in the second half were so full of life and details, but maybe that’s because there was not just human characters. I feel like her world building was very well developed from the start of the book. I felt as if I could see Bharata through Maya’s eyes and oh the Night Bazaar! I felt like I was walking with Maya through it, my imagination was in over-drive trying to conjure the creatures described! I thought the book was a very quick read (mostly because I HAD to know what was going to happen so I couldn’t put it down). But the writing style was something unique that I don’t see in a lot of books. I really enjoyed the riddles and how a lot of things said had multiple meanings and interpretations. This book really made me stop and question what was just said multiple times throughout the book. I also really enjoyed Maya and her journey throughout this book, I don’t want to give away too much but by the end of the first half of the book I was not her biggest fan but I fell in love with her more and more throughout the second half until I was head over heels. I highly recommend this book especially if you enjoy mythology, mythical creatures and a good re-telling/re-imaging.

Warrior Witch Review

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Rating: 4 crowns

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Main Points:

  • Good twists and turns
  • Some parts were predictable
  • Great conclusion to the series

Favorite Quote:

  • “Given the choice between one lifetime spent with you or a thousand without, I will always choose you.” – Tristan

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen. Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world. As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone. But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.

 

My Review:

First, if you have not read the first two books in this series go and read them! This series is filled with romance, heartbreak, trolls, magic, even some political strife. Seriously, stop reading this right now, go on amazon or book depository, buy them and read them!

Now onto this book…

The short and sweet of it is I would have read this book even if it was absolutely trash because I had to know how Tristan and Cecile ended. Luckily that wasn’t the case and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this epic conclusion. I have always been a fan of Danielle’s writing and Warrior Witch exceeded my expectations. Now some people don’t like when a book has multiple point of views, I am not one of them. I’ve always been under the guise of the more point of views the better! Danielle again tells the story from both Tristan and Cecile’s POV. While I am glad she continued this into WW, I would have liked to see more point of views, maybe Marc’s or Sabine’s, just to add a little more to the story. There were some great plot twists that I did not see coming and really enjoyed! But on the other hand there were more than a few that were very predictable (but this is just how Danielle sometimes wants them to be). I won’t give specific example, trying to stay spoiler free, but you will notice them as you read. I don’t want to give away the ending but I have to say I really, really enjoyed how this series ended. It had tears in my eyes and so many feels in my heart. Overall, I really enjoyed reading WW and the entire Malediction Trilogy!

The Neverland Wars Review

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Rating: 4 crowns

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Main Points:

  • Well done modern adaptation of Peter Pan
  • Fast read, never a dull, slow down moment

Favorite Quote:

  • “All she had to do was hold to his hands and let herself fly”

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

 

My Review:

Wow I absolutely loved this book! It was fast paced, full of adventure and had a writing style that I immediately fell in love with! I could picture each and every character and the scenes seemed to dance off the pages and into my imagination. I absolutely loved her take on this “modern” peter pan and how it related so well to the current generation. This is Peter Pan for our generation! I cannot wait for the next book!!