Dumplin

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina Pérez

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina PérezSweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
Published by Imprint on June 5, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural
Pages: 448
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.


So I’m a complete mess right now. I’m stuck between wanting to scream or cry. Maybe I’ll just cry very, very loudly, because I’m angry and so intensely sad. The ending of Sweet Black Waves shattered me. This book is loosely based off of Tristan and Eseult, a story that I’m not entirely familiar with, except for the fact that it’s a tragedy. I knew going into Sweet Black Waves that it wasn’t going to end with sunshine and daisies, but ugh, I still didn’t expect it to hit me so harshly.

Branwen is a complex character, who I loved immediately. She’s got a huge heart, always giving, and putting everyone, especially Essy, first. Sometimes I was mad at her, because she kept harmful secrets and made dubious decisions. I wished that Branwen had been more forthcoming sometimes, and let herself lean on others, instead of always letting them lean on her. But that’s not in her nature. She wants to fix everything, and everyone, herself, and her constant love and sacrifice made me love and care about her even more.

The Tristan and Eseult connection wasn’t what drew me to Sweet Black Waves. I immediately knew I wanted to read Sweet Black Waves, because it was described as being a book that fans of The Mists of Avalon – a huge favorite of mine – would love. I’m also obsessed with the Mabinogion, which some of the characters and their stories in Sweet Black Waves, are loosely based on. I loved Pérez’s new spin on this beloved literature of mine! You can tell that she also really loves the Mabinogion.

I thought the story was dragging a bit during the last third of Sweet Black Waves, but then thankfully two hugely significant things happened. One that thrilled me, because I never ever expected it, and I’m really excited to see how it plays out in the future books. The second thing completely broke my heart. Even though I knew something of the sort was coming, it still caught me unawares.

I read an ARC of Sweet Black Waves, but fully plan on buying a finished copy for myself.

four-stars
Dumplin

The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty

The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin BeatyThe Traitor's Kiss (The Traitor's Circle, #1) by Erin Beaty
Published by Imprint on May 9th 2017
Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
five-stars

An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

About 3/4 of the way through The Traitor’s Kiss, I was sure that it was definitely going to be a 4 star read, then all the sudden this amazing twist occurred, a new, exciting, and daring revelation that blew me away. I truly didn’t see it coming! It catapulted my love for this book to 5 stars. The rest of the book was just as awesome, with more twists, and a lot of action, so of course the 5 stars stuck.

Sage starts out as an easy girl to like, and then she quickly becomes someone you love. She’s incredibly smart, book and street-wise. She’s very stubborn, and has a bit of a temper, but when shit hits the fan, I definitely want her on my team. Sage thinks she’s plain and unremarkable, but that’s so far from the truth. She’s charming and perceptive, and easily blends into different crowds, something that the matchmaker instantly notices and respects. The soldiers who were chosen to escort the matchmaker’s group of brides-to-be across the country, are also wowed by Sage, because she’s magnetizing, quick-thinking, and overall, a kick ass spy for both the matchmaker, and the soldiers.

I love how Sage and Mulan, from Disney’s Mulan, are kindred spirits. They’re both the girl that everyone takes for granted. Society thinks that Sage/Mulan are impossible to tame, because they don’t want to spend their lives running a household, gushing about dresses, and other typical things that “proper” ladies do. They want to throw on britches, and get their hands dirty. They’re both highly capable, out-of-the-box thinkers, who get the job done in ways that baffles and amazes others. Sage and Mulan would totally be best friends.

Sage’s foil ends up being a particularly attractive soldier, who is charged with monitoring her for suspicious activities. These suspicious activities are basically just Sage collecting intel on attractive bachelors, for her job as an apprentice matchmaker. Sage also suspects that this handsome soldier is hiding secrets, and it’s so funny watching the two of them spying on each other, while also trying not to fall for each other.

Seriously, read this book! If not just for Sage, then also for a hot, slow brewing romance that you don’t want to miss.

five-stars