Heart of Thorns book cover

Cover Gushing – ‘The Wicked King’

EW just shared the cover for Holly Black’s book, The Wicked King, the second in The Folk of the Air book series.

Loook at it. It’s STUNNING. I needed to share it, because I am gushing with love, obsession and want for this sure-to-be amazing sequel to one of my favorite 2018 books, The Cruel Prince.

I loved TCP’s cover, but The Wicked King is just a whole new level of amazing. The water is beautiful and I NEED to know why it’s playing such a big part in this second book. Selkies? Mermaids? Kelpies? All of the above?! I need to know – ahhhh!

I don’t want to spoil The Cruel Prince for those who haven’t read it, so if you want to read the awesome excerpt for The Wicked King, click here to be brought to the EW article.

Check out the covers below. Which do you like better?

  

Heart of Thorns book cover

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Published by HarperTeen on February 6th 2018
Pages: 464
Goodreads
two-stars

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

I’m so glad I got this book from the library, and didn’t buy it outright like I originally considered, because it was a huge letdown.

The world was too big and not properly introduced. The characters overcame incredible feats and developed deep emotions too fast to be believed. The concepts in this high fantasy were too fantastical to be contained in one book, and because of that, all the characters were luckily and conveniently able to overcome their own hurdles quickly and easily.

For instance, Bri gets about 5 lessons of swordsmanship, and then they say she’s great enough to fight in a battle. Whaaat? A lot of things in this book didn’t logically make sense.

The worst part though, was the fact that the first couple chapters basically outlined the entire story.  I was easily able to figure out who Bri was, what she was going to face, and where her journey was going to go.

The only thing I enjoyed about this book was the demure relationship between Bri and her Master, Cartier. Unfortunately it was fleeting.

Sigh…

 

two-stars
Heart of Thorns book cover

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on July 7th 2015
Pages: 470
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I had to put The Heart of Betrayal down a few times because of its’ slow pace. This frustrated me a lot because I was very eager to see how Lia’s role in the prophecy – it’s not specifically called a “prophecy” but there’s no doubt whatsoever that Lia’s a “chosen one” – was going to play out.

Lia continues to surprise everyone in this book, Rafe, Kaden, and most definitely the Komizar, who we see a lot of. Let me just say – Hell Hath No Fury. The Komizar was not prepared to handle a powerful woman like Lia. Lia refuses to be a prisoner again so she takes a stand. She’s super badass, not letting her captors push her around anymore. The Heart of Betrayal made me love Lia even more.

The moments between Lia and Rafe were sweet, but heartbreaking. Lia is drifting away from Rafe in The Heart of Betrayal and it made me so sad. Lia’s arc grows stronger when she starts to realize that she was fated to make it to Venda. On the other hand you have Rafe, who throughout the book, mostly focuses on escaping Venda. His arc growth was pretty stagnant.

As far as Kaden goes, he has a rough time in this book. A line has been drawn and he struggles with picking a side. Like Lia, Kaden’s character also grows a lot in this book.

Venda was such a surprise. The citizens are not the savages we were originally led to believe. I loved learning about their history and discovering their true nature.

Although this book dragged occasionally, it was a solid sequel. I thought the ending was great and I’m very much looking forward to the final book.

four-half-stars
Heart of Thorns book cover

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1) by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on July 8th 2014
Pages: 486
Goodreads
five-stars

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.


This is actually the second time I’ve read Kiss of Deception. I first read it back in 2014, and except for remembering that I LOVED it, I didn’t remember much else. When I saw my blogger buddy, Ashley (Twitter: @nosegraze) reading it I decided I finally wanted to finish the whole series, starting with a re-read of book one.

I love the world in Kiss of Deception because it’s creative and complex. The kingdoms of Morrighan and Dalbrek are said to be the honorable “good guys” and the kingdom of Venda the “bad” barbarians. Early on I sensed that things weren’t that black and white, and of course, so does princess Lia.

I find the religion in this series to be fascinating. Venda and the other kingdoms each have their own versions of the Remnant Chronicles, a set of holy books, because the original text was lost throughout the ages. Each kingdom believes that they reign supreme because of their own favorable versions of the text.

Lia is such a great character! She’s headstrong, brave, and doesn’t give up. People think she has it all, because she’s a princess, but that’s so far from the truth. Lia’s just a ‘soldier’ in her father’s army, a pawn to be wielded in whatever way the king deems fit. When she escapes to Terravin with her handmaid, and friend, Pauline, she sheds all the shackles of her previous life. She surprises everyone, including herself, with her willingness to live a simple life as a tavern maid. Even though Lia’s at a disadvantage because of her cushy upbringing, she still tackles any task, waiting on rude soldiers, wringing out laundry, scrubbing dishes. She never once complains because she’s grateful for the chance to live a free life of self-made choices and endless possibilities.

Rafe and Kaden are two extremely different and extremely attractive guys who are both harboring major secrets. Lia’s unaware of course that one’s an assassin sent to kill her, and one’s a scorned prince who is both intrigued and irritated that she backed out of their arranged marriage. I loved how the author didn’t reveal who was the assassin and who was the prince until the end. I had my suspicions and I was wrong! I’m pretty sure I was wrong the first time I read this book as well.

I’m so glad I re-read this book, and now I’m going to read books two and three. They’re huge, just about 500 hundred pages, and beautifully written, so I won’t be rushing through them. There’s a lot of details and inner dialogue to be savored, and it makes these books that much more sweeter.

five-stars
Heart of Thorns book cover

Blood Oath (Darkest Drae, #1) by Raye Wagner, Kelly St. Clare

Blood Oath (Darkest Drae, #1) by Raye Wagner, Kelly St. ClareBlood Oath (Darkest Drae, #1) by Raye Wagner, Kelly St. Clare
on November 9th 2017
Goodreads
five-stars

Dark Fantasy. Dragons. Intrigue. Romance.

More than anything, I crave adventure. But in the disease ridden land of Verald, life is mapped out much like the well-established rings of our kingdom.

At the very heart reigns our vicious king and Lord Irrik, an invincible dragon shifter, at his side. Their power poisons the land and the people, leading to a steadily mounting number of enemies.

But change is coming.

When the rebellion surges, the king strikes back. Captured by Lord Irrik, I'm suddenly embroiled in a deadly game. One where I'm desperate to understand the rules.

Because I'm not only fighting for my life... but also a love that could be the very key to my freedom.

I’ve never been a huge high fantasy fan, but lately I’ve felt more daring to give books like Blood Oath a chance. I’m so glad I took the chance, because this book was so much fun!

Our main character Ryn, is well-balanced and easy to love. She’s stubborn, and funny, and doesn’t let people push her around. She has a tendency to throw herself headfirst into precarious situations, but I could easily excuse her recklessness, because she does it mostly out of love and kindness for others. I was devastated when Ryn lost her mother in the beginning of the book, and I was angry when it was revealed her mother had been keeping a lot of important secrets from her. I was quickly invested in Ryn and her difficult journey.

Lord Irrik is one of those delicious,  dark and broody guys that make your ovaries go nuts. He’s a drae (dragon shifter) who has spent most of his life destroying villages and killing people for a hideous, cruel king. When Ryn is kidnapped and tossed into the king’s dungeon, she spends a lot of time with Lord Irrik. She doesn’t excuse the horrible things Lord Irrik does, but she does start to accept that there’s more to his situation. I’m a sucker for that brooding bad boy who has the potential to find redemption, so of course I fell hard and fast for the sexy drae. Ryn and Lord Irrik’s relationship is complicated from the beginning, and only gets more difficult throughout the book.

Ryn’s world kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games, because there’s different sections of the kingdom that cultivate different things. In The Hunger Games it was food, trees, coal etc., but in Blood Oath each sector cultivates a different type of crop. Everyone in these sections are peasants and slaves to a king who rules in the center with a bloody fist.

The ending of Blood Oath was devastating, and shocking, and left me incredibly enticed for book two. Blood Oath only introduced a small part of Ryn’s world, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about the other kingdoms in book two, Shadow Wings.

Seriously, read this book if u love dragon shifters, high fantasy, and extremely strong and resilient heroines. This book has characters you’ll immediately love, and magic you’ve never seen before.

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five-stars