Just One More Chapter

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

-Vera Nazarian

 

I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time. 

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Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

 

I tried reading this book many times and just couldn't get into it. I then bought it on Audible hoping that listening to it would rectify some of the pacing problems I was having... my go to remedy when a physical novel is giving me some difficulties BUT no luck. I returned the audiobook unfinished which is something just not done en mi casa but I think that speaks to how poorly we vibed. This book is getting rave reviews. I read a review that went so far as to call this Mrs Roanhorse's Magnum Opus... I didn't get that AT ALL. Now, maybe it is a me thing (quite possible), maybe I'm in the wrong headspace for this book right now but I tried it on 2 different platforms and I just couldn't see it through... a travesty but unavoidable.

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

 

The Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco


Kingdom of the Wicked felt like a little guilty pleasure. It had it all:
- Sassy, stubborn female MC with a well of untapped power? CHECK!
- a slow burn that might end up fizzling before it had time to mature... possibly sent reeling right back into the realm of Hate? CHECK!
- Loads of yummy food talk? Check!
- Begrudging respect --> profound deceit (that was easy to suss out early on)? Check!
- World developement that sucks you in and manages to have you believing in supernatural places/beings/objects? Check!!
- Realistic characters (for better or worse)? Check!
- Character(s) so complex, and yummily gray that you can't help but fall for them... AHEM, Wrath!CHECK!!
- Succinct, solid writing? Check!
- Great pacing with little to no slogging? Check!
- A cliffhanger ending that leaves you lusting, fiending, craving for more? DOUBLE CHECK!!


For some reason I feel the Twin bond so deeply you'd think I had one of my own but alas, no second half here (unless you count my handsome, yet surly, crank of a husband). It feels so inviolable that thinking of it being (traumatically) severed, and one twin having to navigate life without their other half, seems like utter desolation. Our MC, Eliana turned out to be a rash beast in lambs' clothing... an easily provoked, overconfident, rage feuled monster looking for Revenge... at any cost... the payment due would most likely be the ultimate price, the one that can only be paid in full with the relinquishing of your very own Soul. Sounds dramatic right?? It is, and it's worth every minute spent living in this world beside these odious, deliciously duplicitous, insidious, perfidious (and loads more -ious adjectives) characters.


Overall:

I really enjoyed this book! There is a tame, non Sexy-Time scene that is steamy for about 3 seconds but otherwise the book is suitable for teens through geriatrics. The rest of the story has good old Witches, Sapeshifters, Demons, Vampires, Holy men et al...

AND that ending... wow!! I need book #2 in my life STAT!!


If you like Fantastical Magical Realism infused with a variety of preternaturally occult elements culminating in a well thought out Cliffy then this book is for you!

 

~ Enjoy

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik


A Deadly Education was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and...


The premise: a dangerous magical (sentient) school populated by young (sometimes cut throat) magical kids (that live Lord Of The Flies style, policing themselves due to a lack of adult presence), the magical objects the students build and wield as well as the other school residents... a cornucopia of vicious monsters called Mals. There are magical groups, all over the world, like the Enclaves in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments also called Claves. The school kids fight for spots in the Claves (or simply to survive) because the Claves have nearly limitless magical juice to share AND when fighting the things that go bump in the night, it's just common sense to travel in magically gifted packs.


I listened to this on Audible and the first thing that stood out was the narration. I wish I could gush or wax poetic about it but the truth is that the narrator, Anisha Dadia, was just Meh (and that's being generous). Her bland cadence nearly put me to sleep... frequently... and although it felt like the narration was the cause for the book's slow trudge uphill, it isn't fair to place the blame squarely in her lap. SO I'll have to blame Mrs. Novik for the book's lackluster tone/tempo... which doesn't feel good to say BUT by the end, the narrator did start to grow on me... so there's that.


The technical: Sadly, I have to admit that this book, with such high expectations placed upon it, was a bit of a letdown. The world building was grand. The characters were interesting and the writing was good but the pacing was slow slow sloooow. Then there was the unholy mother-load of info dumping. The copious amounts of info dumping Novik did (especially in the beginning) was borderline overwhelming. Now, this gal can stand (or even appreciate) an info dump here and there BUT, like everything else in life (except for an abundance of Love or cash), it's only good in moderation. Mrs. Novik is usually a lot more subtle with how she integrates all of the technical aspects (writing + character development + world building + pacing) BUT this book felt like all tell and no show. I expected this to be action packed and unfortunately I was sorely disappointed... especially during the first half. The next 1/4 was better but it still was a bit of a slog. The last 1/4 ratcheted up the intensity nicely, managing to save what looked like an imminent crash and burn. That would have made me sad because it would have been the first Naomi Novik book fail for me. It felt a bit like a take 'em or leave 'em kind of situation but I'd definitely take a weak beginning ---> a strong ending over the reverse any day of the week. The very last 5 minutes were both satisfying and had a slight plot twist... two great attributes that were instrumental in jump starting the slow paced Little Novel That Could.

 

Overall:
The first half of this highly anticipated read felt like taking Benadryl before bed. I nearly chucked it into the DNF pile, a grievous act for a Novik book, but I persevered and I'm happy that I did. For me, the narrator nearly ruined the entire experience. SO, not only do I think you should give this book a go, I also suggest enjoying this one the old-fashioned tactile way.

~ Enjoy

The Mask of Mirrors by Marie Brennan

This book was just on the right side of Interesting but skirted Boring frequently. The writing was solid. The world building was done well. The characters were almost all dimensional and most were decidedly gray... like I like them... then why was I not completely won over? If a book was able to woo on technical aspects alone then The Mask of Mirrors would be a no brainer BUT, for some reason, it just didn't wow me. Then there was the Magic. The Magics were sporadically mentioned yet not explained until much later in the book if at all... confuuuusing! SO between the vague Magic system and the boggling names and terms, I spent a lot of my time second guessing or inferring. I inferred so much that I feared I might be making up a completely different story. The worst part, all of these things had me debating the merits of skimming. I know, I know... skimming = no bueno (especially when reviewing an ARC) BUT the pacing + confusing terms/names = silly confused faces + wandering attention. Surely not a recipe for success but still... not horrific.


Overall:
This book was, unfortunately, only middle of the road Meh. I tried, I truly did, but I found it difficult to care what happened with the various intermingling plots/subplots and when I say subplots I mean Subplots with a capital S. There were side hustles aplenty. I really liked 2 secondary characters, Leato and Tess but the rest were... again... Meh. Please excuse my descriptor repetition, something which normally would irk me, BUT it's succinct AND apt so I thought it bared repeating. That might sound rough, and for that I apologize, but even though it ticked off all of the technical boxes, it just didn't compel me or demand my undivided attention. It might be a 5 star read for others but for this gal, it was more of a drip than the tidal wave I was hoping for after reading the synopsis.


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

This magical period piece was incredibly charming! It was charming and one heck of a fun, bumpy rollercoaster ride. The pacing was all over the place at times. I originally thought this book was going to be on the slow side (which was true in spots) with loads of women fighting misogynistic societal views regarding what type of person they were expected to be, who they were allowed to associate with and whether or not they should be permitted to perform Magic (especially after marriage in this case). All in all those topics were there but so too were my Victorian(ish) era cravings like social coming out seasons, Debutant Balls, lessons on proper etiquette and the age old dilema of whether to fulfill family obligations vs doing what your heart desires most. There were many charming facets and honestly, I couldn't put the book down. I read it in one night--> day. I started at bedtime, then bedtime turned to dawn which later saw me romping through the house (ereader in hand) trying my best to look busy while also trying not to look like I was helplessly Crazy Glued to this book avoiding my chores.


On the technical side: the writing was very well done. The world building was grand except for the Magic. The Magic system didn't get as much page time and explanation as I would have liked. I feel a bit cheated in that respect. Then there were the characters. The character's depths ran from shallow, vapid puffs of useless space to fantastically deep, rich, evocative personas. There were great characters like the spirit Nadi (who was AWESOME!!) and our MC Beatrice who was equal measures relateable, bold and vexing. She did things that made me scream at my poor ereader, begging her to see what was SO plainly laid out before her... ahem, Ianthe. Ahhhhh Ianthe! Ianthe couldn't be more delicious if he was dipped in chocolate and rolled around in whipped cream with a huge, ripe cherry on top! Their glaring Insta-love (gallant as it was) somehow managed to sweep me into its romantic fervor. Though, in my humble opinion, this ardent amore would have worked MUCH better as a slow, seductive burn. But, c'est la vie! Another beloved character was Ianthe's sister Ysbeta. Ysbeta was an incredibly dynamic character that won me over early on and I wholeheartedly rooted for her and her quest for her happily ever after.


And then there was that ending. There are too many spoiler pitfalls to navigate with regards to the ending so I will only say this... that ending was satisfying!


Overall:
This wonderfully written period piece was much better than I expected it to be... and that's saying a lot because I was over the moon about getting my hands on it to begin with. Bottom line is that I enjoyed this book so much I'd gladly buy it for a friend, myself or even my tween daughter! I highly recommend you do the same

.

~ Enjoy

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz

Holy magical relic hunting this book was good! I tore through it with wild abandon and loved every second of it.

 

Of Wicked Blood captured my attention from the very first page and it didn't let go... it still hasn't. I truly enjoyed this read with its delightfully quaint, small town witchy lore to its well crafted characters that were decidedly, deliciously gray. I relished each moment I spent in Brume. I even fell for the insta-love that was one brash leg of a short lived love triangle. That's not usually something I can tolerate let alone cheer for but Cadance was a strong willed, intelligent, capable female... that alone sparked my interest BUT couple her with our other MC, Slate (Remy)... a complex, justifiably pessimistic hottie thief... a tortured soul that miraculously found his hardened Adamantium heart cracked wide open by our pillar of a woman MC. The result being a coupling even a jaded heart could get behind. Then there were the rest of the supporting cast. The secondary characters were also extremely likable especially Alma and Bastian (Cadence and Slate's respective best friends).

 

The writing was gritty and authentic feeling, the kind that convinces you that the characters are mid conversation and you're just covertly eavesdropping. The world building was solid and the characters were both corporeal and rich. They were overflowing with a subtle charm and I, for one, fell victim to it.


Overall:

I devoured this quick read in one sitting and enjoyed every moment in this quaint town with these dynamic characters populating this wonderfully bewitching world. Was it a masterpiece? No. Will it make you ponder great big philosophical ideas? Also no BUT you will enjoy yourself for a few hours and really, isn't that one reason we choose to get lost in books to begin with?

 

~ Enjoy

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

The City Among The Stars by Francis Carsac

Ok, right off the bat I'd like to confess my ardent love for the Sci-Fi genre. I adore it to itsy teenie tiny pieces and now, couple that with a Space Opera backdrop and BAM... a recipe for hours of blissful escapism and endless possibilities. The premise of The City Among The Stars had me imagining myself fully engaged and immersed in geeky Sci-Fi/Space faring heaven... my shangri-la, my haven away from the craziness of Real Life. And so, armed only with an intriguing premise, I anxiously dove into this book untethered.


First off, there are two important factors to mention. 1) this book was published in the '60s and 2) it is a translated work. Early on, both of these facts were painfully obvious. I took the age and the fact that things can easily get lost in translation into consideration while reading and later on when deciding how to rate the book. With these provisos in the back of my mind I read and read and after reading for quite a long time I am sad to report that this great expectation fell flat on it's overreaching butt.


The wording felt disjointed and clunky... more so than with other translated works. I am a girl who loves her character driven novels. I'll also gladly take a book centered around rich, diverse world building with character development coming in a close second BUT The City Among The Stars was neither of those. The characters were criminally flat and weren't even likeable. The MC was a tool, a creaton, a POS who loved to yell and lash out at women and THAT made me cringe.

 

The female representation was appalling! Women were portrayed as property... pretty, shiny arm candy and it definitely chaffed... nay, it wrankled! I (a self proclaimed shiny mess of a female) for one, couldn't get past the flagrant injustice. Women were meant to be draped over the arm of some man and our main purpose was for "pleasure or breeding". I feel nauseated just thinking about the blatant sexism... yes, this might be a reflection of how far the notions of gender equality have come in the last 60 years BUT if you're going to translate the author's blood, sweat, tears and dreams made tangible then don't just go to Google Translate, toss it in and regurgitate whatever shows up on the screen. The translator should be both fluent and finely attuned to the nuances of both languages!

 

So, I'm thinking that I am probably not the targeted demographic here so I'll cut it some slack.

 

Overall:
I gave this book more chances than I should have. I would pick it up only to put it right back down again. Over and over... rinse and repeat. I wanted to like it, I truly did, but The City Among The Stars made it hard to love... or even like. I appreciate the chance to review the ARC ahead of the release date though! Unfortunately, the bottom line is that it wasn't for me and I wouldn't reccomend it to others.

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Highfire - Eoin Colfer

I really enjoyed this book and I absolutely adore Eoin Colfer BUT let me backtrack a bit. When I originally asked to review this book it was a simpler time. This was pre-pandemic and before all of the other ordeals we have found ourselves facing within the span of 2 seasons INCLUDING (but not limited to): the threat of Murder Hornets, square dancing hurricanes, protests, rioting, and Meth alligators (which is somewhat apropos here). Yes, times were easier and a bibliophile was likely to leisurely request, read and review on a whim. Then came Covid-19 and our world was changed overnight and, sadly, with no relief in sight. Couple all of this with the tensions and anxiety such an environment can
trigger and voila, you have the makings of a newly minted agoraphobic hermit sporting a new state of being born of high octane terror and a dollop of hopelessness. The world was not the only thing to change, I fear I changed as well. BUT please excuse my digression... I only wanted to set the stage.

 

Back to the review at hand...

 

I will admit that I LOVED Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series (all 7 books plus 2 novellas), they are in my top 5 favorite middle grade reads! So, when I saw that he once again penned another publication, this time with an adult target audience in mind, I HAD to have it. The day I was given the ARC I was ecstatic. I finished the book I was currently reading at record pace and then dove right into Highfire... AND... I was extremely underwhelmed. I thought "this can't be right, I must be in the wrong headspace for this kind of story right now" so I put it down to come back to later and every time I revisited, I promptly put it back down again. Fast forward a (mumble mumble) number of months, plus a broken tablet with the ARC on it, and I felt like squelching on my deal to review this book... weren't these obstacles a sign telling me to let it go and simply bale?? Should I just bury my head under a pillow and wait for this wretched year to end?? Well as it turns out the answer was NO... good thing too because it seems that I just needed to enjoy this one auditorily and thus the Audiobook came to the rescue!

 

This (audio)book is not your average Colfer tale. It still bares his signature: elaborately luxurious world building plus his beautifully tangible characters, add in his penchant for unique premises and your product is a work of art that is sure to please a wide variety of readers! His characters are so well crafted that you can imagine them perfectly, clear as day, jumping right off the page... errr... speaker(?!?) and landing right smack into your (messy, reclusive) life. You'll either love them or abhor them but either way you'll FEEL something.

 

The book's namesake Highfire, or simply Vern (Wyvern), is not your run of the mill dragon. He is a Flash Dance tee shirt wearing, oil and Vodka guzzling, ornery recluse of a thing that may or may not be the last of his kind. He has no qualms about blessing some swamp folk (or villages of old) with his fiery breath. After a millennia he is (reluctantly) trying to learn how to coexist and actually care about Humans, or one particular human to be exact. He is trying to stop letting his past horrors, complete with folks always at the ready to wrangle up an angry mob, define Humans as a species. This is especially true with his begrudgingly bequeathed "friend" Everette (Squib) Monroe. I enjoyed Squib's character more than I thought I would and I loved the parts with his mother Elodie in them. I was smitten with Squib's adoration of his mother and the special, unshakable, bond they shared. Oh, then there were the alligators. They don't play a staring role but it is definitely good to have friends/subjects in low places.

 

True to Colfer form, the characters are the best part of the book although his atypical premise came in a close second. I loathed the antagonist more than I disliked a dastardly villian in a long time and could not wait to see how he, Hook, would meet his demise. Thankfully my question was answered and done so with style.


Overall:
I couldn't believe the 180⁰ my attitude took... From the first time I picked up the book (nearly writing it off altogether) to getting the audiobook and relishing every second with it, my whole perspective and mindset did an abrupt about-face. My advice is: if you are having a hard time getting into this one as well, I highly recommend persevering OR do what I did, get the audiobook... it was well worth the time... you'll laugh, cringe and cheer.

Great book!!

~Enjoy

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S King

Everybody Sees the Ants - A.S. King

This YA coming of age story packs a punch! I laughed a little, I cringed a little and I cried a lot. This book was poignant in a way I haven't experienced in a long time. I had turned my back on this genre for a while now and to be honest, this book made me seriously question why I ever left. There are SO many feels right now having just this moment turned the last page but, for once, I don't feel like waxing poetic with loads of flourishing adjectives BUT I will say this... this book...with its succinct yet touching writing, its minimalistic world building that let the generously dynamic characters lead the show... has changed me in some small yet meaningful way and I don't believe that I will ever forget its message/ feeling.

 

Overall:

What can I say? If you're into the YA genre... if you're into stories about people enmeshed in shitty situations yet they manage to find a way to overcome and become their best versions... then this book is a must read! I devoured this in one sitting and enjoyed that thrill/dread of rushing up to meet the book's end. If you're into that then read no further, you've found your next read!


~ Enjoy

A Declaration Of the Rights of Magicians by H.G Parry

Well, this one was a tough one to rate. I had trouble getting into this book so I read it in spurts. Chunk reading is great if you find the material interesting but when you're struggling to stay awake, it's hard to retain the details.

 

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians felt like it could be a few books that were squished together to approximate the shape of a cohesive story. One "book" was about the aspects of Revolution and the subsequent difficulties regarding drafting and implementing a Constitution (including Magical rights and Slavery Trade rights) in differing countries. The second "book" was about the abolition of Slavery and all the barbaric, abhorant (physical and magical) practices that go hand in hand with that Trade. The third "book" was about the actual Magic. Who should have the rights to use it especially with social class distinctions? What was said magic allowed to be used for? AND, this third aspect of the book followed the Dark magic (shadow Magic and Necromancy). Who was orchestrating the creation of the malevolent shadows and to what end? All three "books" felt like they were barely tethered together and the result was a book that didn't quite know what it wants to be when it grows up. The technical aspects were all there. The writing was done well. The World Developement was rich and the Characters were likeable. I would have liked it more if the characters were more dimensional and if the different storylines gelled better.


Overall:

This Alt-Historical Fantasy felt period appropriate. The wording and ambience did manage to give off Revolutionary hues. You could feel the desperation, the repression, the injustice, the grit and the will to fight for better/ freer lives.

The premise was extremely promising but the product fell short for me. BUT if bland (too harsh?!?) Revolutionary, Alt- History, Magical Realism is your thing then you might want to give this one a go. I thought it would be a nice change from the pure Fantasy I have been submerged in lately but unfortunately it wasn't for me.

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Year of the Witching
Year of the Witching

Year of the Witching was an excellently written ride through a witchy town and the nightmarish forest that cradled it. It is an unputdownable read and I'm sad to have reached its end so quickly. The atmosphere was tense and thick... rife with endless (ghoulish) possibilities. It definitely felt like anything could happen at any given moment... things could easily have gone well or very very wrong and I, for one, was constantly wondering... waiting with bated breath.


Bethel, the focal town, was home to a sinister Prophet, his diametrically opposed heir apparent, the myopic cult-like flock of followers, some women that may or may not have been witches, and the malevolent forest dwellers. It was also chock full of rampant tropes (not necessarily a bad thing). From the evil, pious "holy men" that took grievous advantage of their naive (though others might call them complicit) congregants... those they had sworn to their diety of choice, here it's The Father, to protect. To the Puritanical, Patriarchal, sexist society with their unapologetic oppression of women. It was a perfect breeding ground for birthing a rebellious female activist, fed up with the injustices she and the rest of the women were made to endure... even if she was blissfully unaware of her radical inclinations early on. She became hellbent on changing the wrongs of her progenitors while still honoring her heritage. Eventually she found the fortitude to rise up and help fix what she could... she, her family, the menacingly spooky forest occupants and Ezra all worked together as a disjointed, unlikely yet effective ghoulish team that brought into the light (and might have subsequently decimated with unholy wrath) the patriarchal and societal ills. I mentioned Ezra... yummy yummy Ezra. He's the next in line to be the holy grand-poo-ba and not only does he abhor his father and his father's practices, he also is our MC, Immanuelle's, love interest. This paramore seemed to fall deeply in love without much preamble or foreplay... I might even go as far as to call his devotion to her as bewitched. (hehehe) I adored both Ezra and Immanuelle. I even loved/loathed much of the secondary characters especially Immanuelle's family... they were amazingly (low key) supportive (in a Tough Love sort of way) and truly came through when it mattered most.

 

All of these feelings made possible due to Alexis Henderson's beautifully rich prose and superb character and background development.

 

Overall:
What a debut novel! I was enthralled... enraptured... beguiled. There are definite Handmaid's Tale vibes and all sorts of Salem influences. I was creeped out and entranced at the same time. What a good read!

 

~ Enjoy

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Oona Out of Order was so good that I am sad to see it end. I heard impressive things about this book and I am happy to report that it delivered. Unfortunately there aren't enough hours in the day to read every book that catches my eye so I had to enjoy this one in spurts in audio format. I listened to this book whenever possible and do you know what? I enjoyed every second of it! It even made the worst chores in the house more bearable... I'm talking dishes, mopping the floors, dusting and even cooking... if there was a type of chore or spare moment to plug in, I was there, hanging out with Oona.

 

This fantastical journey was uniquely beautiful due to it's lack of chronology and the ensuing chaos that kind of life can cause. The narrator did a great job giving voice (and life) to the nicely fleshed out characters even though the men did start to sound similar after a while. The premise of trying to navigate a different year of your life at a time... out of order, made for an interesting plot. The fact that she did not know who, or what, she would encounter at the stroke of midnight on New Years made me think (and cringe) at the obstacles said lifestyle would force you to traverse. I adored the main characters and tried to put myself in Oona's shoes quite a bit. I, of course, would have done things slightly differently but, even so, it was ultimately a highly entertaining listen. There were only a few twisty turny bits but, at the end of the day, it turned out being a lighthearted romp through the craziness of a highly unmoored girl/lady's life.

 

Overall:

Oona Out of Order was quirky, fresh, unique, sometimes sad and oft times frustrating... so much so that, on a few occasions, I found myself glaring, judgy- like, at my tablet willing Oona to listen to my (inner) sage advice and make better choices. Nevertheless, I found myself 100% enamored with this book and with these characters. I am sorry to see it end but not devastated which in my eyes is the mark of a robust, well rounded book. I highly recommend this (audio)book, it was a mug of Hot Totty in front of a crackling fire at a posh ski resort beside someone you can't stand to be without. Take away message? Cherish each and every moment!

~ Enjoy

The Unleashing of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

Well slap my butt and call me Charlie, this was excellent... okay, admittedly I am shite with coming up with creative idioms but know what I'm pretty good at?? Gushing over books. And let me tell you, this book is worth the gush.

 

This is the 4th book in the Ren Crown series and I'll keep things brief for Discretion's sake. This book is another great addition to the series that swept me up and has yet to let me go. It is the perfect accompaniment to the three books prior. It delivers drama, angst, perseverance amidst seemingly insurmountable odds, creepy villians, inspiring friendships, an unfortunate love triangle and MAGIC... loads of Magic!

 

Even though this one is a tad slower paced than its predecessors, it in no way detracts from the overall splendor. The writing is still tight, the world developement is masterful and the characters are surprisingly relateable for such a fantastical book. AND that ending... WOW!!! It was packed to the rafters with action, emotion, betrayl, realization, coming of age or into one's abilities and yes there may have been a few... okay a tsunami of tears that I successfully shielded my ereader from... yay! All this emotion brimming to capacity in the wee hours before dawn is a lot for this girl to handle sans coffee BUT I am not so sleep deprived that I can not find my way over to book #5, the final installment to an amazing series!! Who needs sleep when you have an addictive literary distraction waiting one click away?


Overall:

 

This series is so damn delicious that I'd give up a lot just to be able to sojourn amongst these characters in this world at will or whim.

 

I have laughed, cried and constantly dreaded its ever nearing conclusion. BUT alas, All Good Things and such. There are answers I NEED... not the least of which being "Which boy does Ren choose to sweep off his feet and magic off into the sunset with her?" "What's in store for the Bandits?" And of course "How does Stavros get his comeuppance?" Guess I'll find out soon enough.

 

The Destiny of Ren Crown... ready or not, here I come.

~ Enjoy

The Rise of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

WoW, now THAT'S how you keep things interesting!! This is the third book in the series and things are getting heated... heated and complicated. Since the series is steadily picking up steam you might feel like jumping right into the thick of it BUT this one is definitely a series that needs to be read in order or else you'll be lost!


Anyway, here are some quick thoughts on this hidden gem. I'll keep it brief because it's good... really good and I don't want to ruin any of it for you.

 

In this installment you, once again, are (not so) gently reminded about Ren Crown's proficiency in acquiring and keeping all sorts of interesting friendships plus her loyalty and devotion to (almost) everyone/every "thing" (ahem... rock guards, origami creatures, a carnivorous vine plant etc...). The interrelationships at play in this book are stronger, more complex and viscerally tangible. The writing is on point. There are worlds of wonder... worlds you'll be completely immersed in and vivid backdrops with deep, robust characters who you'll instantly connect with and either adore or abhor as if on cue. The world developement is masterful and the characters... oh the characters... the characters are deliciously sublime, so much so that I often find myself wondering what's going on in their world whenever I step away from the book. Then there's more of the delinquent's club... YAY!! They are pure deviant awesomeness... there's more Ren/Olivia bonding (which is amazing)... more Dare steamy-ness with a hint of dangerously questionable intentions... and last but never ever least in any way...


There is more Ren & Constantine (which I drool over)!!! There, I said it and meant it... the rapor between Ren and Constantine is beautifully torturous... it's the bitter sweetness of a looong drawn out, slowly percolating, definitely possible (in my love struck eyes) romance...that'll have you anticipating the next book even more, even if it's just to see what's in store for them next.


Overall:

I adore this book, this series and now this author! I want to climb to the top of a modestly high hill (I'm in Quarantine shape so cardio isn't my thing right now) and scream into the Ether for all to know... "I LOVE THIS SERIES!!".


Will The Rise of Ren Crown impact you so much that your World will be irreparably changed?? The short answer is no BUT it will surely stick in your uniquely beautiful noggin, expanding your views on what's possible... which is fascinating and wonderous in and of itself. I am enamored with the uniquely imaginative, gorgeous mind that is Anne Zoelle and I am here for her and all of her brain babies. I might be gushing but I mean every word, my fervor is real


My personal TBR pile is teetering, threatening to crush me under its weight and at the tippy top... along with an embarrassingly large number of ARCs I have yet to read and review... stands a series that I can not help but inhale, back to back... one after another only interrupted by a miniscule amount of sleep and a paltry amount of sustenance consumption. Every single time I finish the current read I find myself fiending to know what happens next.... what are those wiley characters up to? I KNOW I should be more responsible and take care of those ARCs but I can't help myself, I adore these books and life's too short, if you find something you really enjoy READ IT!!

 

So those are my final thoughts on the matter. I endorse this series 100% now pardon me while I shoot on over to book #4 post haste.

~ Enjoy

The Protection of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

The Protection of Ren Crown - Anne Zoelle

Book 2... much more revealed... twice the awesomeness!

 

This, the second book of the Ren Crown series, is everything I hoped for. Originally I was afraid it might suffer from the dreaded Lax of the Second Book syndrome BUT I am ecstatic to report that I worried for nothing, it was brilliant!

 

The characters are just as robust as ever. When Ren adopts you into her circle she'll do whatever it takes to make sure you're safe and happy. Olivia and Rens' friendship is blossoming into such a complicated, beautiful thing that they may end up near the top of my Favorite Female Friendships list of all time.... talk about a slowly percolating/hard won but decidedly worth it relationship! I love almost all of the characters but Olivia is simply (reluctantly) amazing. Oh, and that ship I mentioned in my last review?? Well, I happen to love them together even more now! You'll see... Con + Ren = Swoon.

 

The world development, on the other hand, is as steady as can be. It did not drop off in any way, it's as creative and imaginative as always.

 

Now onto the writing. The writing is solid, not flowery or verbose and that ending??? Well let's just say that that ending is 100% not boring.... in fact it is most certainly a briskly paced, character defining, crazy revelations revealing page turner. Queue betrayl and shocking realizations.


Overall:
I loved this book just as much, if not a bit more, than I loved book #1 and that's saying a lot. Go ahead, pick this series up and treat yourself... you deserve it!

 

~ Enjoy

The Awakening of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

The Awakening of Ren Crown - Anne Zoelle

I read this... I loved it... is there more to say?? Yes. Do you NEED to know more??... Probably not but I'll tell it anyway :-)


This book deftly sets the stage for what I believe will be one hell of a freaking good series. It sneakily devoured hours of my time which happens to be, for me at least,, one of the signs of a great read. It is a wiley little find too because, right now, it's free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. I was sucked into this book from the very first chapter and later I found myself unceremoniously and very much against my wishes, spit out at the very end bleary-eyed, missing hours, totally out of sorts, hooked and fiending for more. Fun times huh???


Well, the safe answer to that scenario is usually NO BUT I am happy to report that no one was harmed in the reading of this book... well I wasn't that is. Anywho, once I reached the very last page I drastically veered off track, derailing my carefully planned list of what I was to read next, and snatched up the other 4 books in the series. Did I know before I started that I would be completely engrossed... mentally and emotionally effected... blindsided?? Heck no but I am sure glad I was. To me it felt more like a sprint rather than a marathon and I couldn't have slowed down to appreciate the view even if I wanted to!


This book has lots to love. It contains a magically kick ass female MC, a unique and varied chast of characters, highly imaginative world building and writing that will have you fully immersed. The female protagonist Florence, aka Ren, is formidable but is totally unaware of just how so. She is resourceful, has immense raw innate power and she is not afraid to explore this new world. She unabashedly flexes her burgeoning magical abilities with flare. She learns quickly and is a most adept student... a highly effective combination. She is strong willed, clever, talented, determined and decidedly morally grey... just how I like them. There are 5 extremely dynamic characters that form a support network for our resident bad ass, Ren. Her Crew?? Team? Pack? What have you... each contributes an exclusive piece to this cohesive group and each are essential players in the grand scheme of things.


Then there are the technical aspects. The writing is solid. The dialogue is excellent. It is organic, flows naturally and feels real. The character development is superb. Each character is unique in his/her own right but together they are a formidable group. I adore each of the main 5 + Ren... a rare occurrence for me. I usually find fault, or become vexed to the point of... skimming...

 

(((gasp)))

 

I'm usually repulsed by at least one of the main cast's irritating traits/dumb decision making/ flat-out stupidity BUT that wasn't the case here. I won't regale you with descriptions of each character we meet but I will say this... not only is there a beautiful bond of friendship blossoming between the supporting characters... there is also a couple I wholeheartedly ship... a couple that is so far from being a thing right now that it seems like a near impossibility. These two would be paramores are in the "just barely friends" category at the moment, mainly because Ren is totally immune and uninterested in this aloof guy that oozes charm and sexual prowess YET I can't help but root for them. This is yet another curiosity because I am usually 100% repelled by the ultra sexy, filthy rich, nonchalant, devil may care, player type. BUT there's something about Constantine. He is a bad boy who is knee deep in swooning girls and couldn't care less. He is a menace to society and is also a well known troublemaker YET he is more interesting than he has any right to be, he's extremely intelligent, a tad dastardly, charming and gorgeous... just like any yummy heartbreaker should be!


Overall:
I loved it, breathed it, lived it! This book is an excellent introduction to these dynamic characters, in this unique/highly imaginative world with its multi layers and overtly creative cast. Doesn't that sound like fun?? Try this Magically Realistic Fantasy... it'll be worth the hours you get lost in its pages!

~ Enjoy