Blood of An Exile by Brian Naslund Review

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! Sorry I haven’t posted a review in a while…I’ve been kind of snowed under by a lot of things and have been finding it difficult to post on here, but I’m here now to tell you all about this lovely book – non-spoiler of course!

So here’s the general details if your not aware…

You can find it on Amazon here
  • Title: Blood of An Exile
  • Author: Brian Naslund
  • Hardcover: 416
  • Publisher: Tor
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • My Rating: 4.75*

SynopsisFrom Amazon


Sentenced to die. Impossible to kill.

Bershad was supposed to die. When he was caught attempting to assassinate a fellow noble, he was given the harshest sentence: a command to slay dragons, so his death might serve the kingdom. Yet for some reason he never lost a fight and is now the most successful dragon-slayer in history. However, as a doomed man Bershad is still shunned by his peers and his countrymen. But that could all change.

The king who sentenced Bershad has just given him a way out: kill a foreign monarch and walk free forever. His problem is that Bershad couldn’t care less about the fates of kingdoms – until the dragon-slayer discovers he could save an innocent child in the process.

His mission might also save every creature in Terra.

My Review

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, but you know the drill – all opinions are my own.

Anyway as you can probably guess from the rating, I really enjoyed this book…like really enjoyed it. I honest to Gods didn’t think it would be as good as it was. Quite simply put, Brian Naslund did what hardly anyone does…he thought extensively about how dragons would work in a world among humans. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at other dragon books…I love dragons, but Brian Naslund actually thought about the ecosystem. He thought about how an apex predator would effect that ecosystem and how he could make it work. And work it did my friends. His world building blew me away! I was honestly so excited to learn about the different species, the magic, the eating habbits, the consequence of dragon numbers dwindling…it was just beautiful. Really, a big thank you to Brian Naslund for giving me a world of dragons that I can live and breath and totally imagine being 100% legit.

Bershad, our main character, is a miserable and seemingly prickly man who is forced into a life of killing the very beasts he once admired. His rank and station are removed from him, and he is given over to a life on the road…so it is very understandable that he is prickly. I would be. He gives me all the badass warrior vibes I need in a character! As the book progresses we see him open up and we delve more into him as a person and I have to say… I love him. I’m not even kidding!

There is so much in this story that leaves you wondering why. Wondering when you get to know x, y, and z. It was a truly enjoyable story and I highly recommend this book! If you like dragons definitely pick it up, but even if you aren’t a fanatic like myself pick it up anyway! It was such a good journey, and very worth the read!

Please pick it up if you haven’t already, and then come fangirl/ fanboy with me!! This book needs more chatter! And if you have read it let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

The Gems of Elsana: Into the Wildbarrens by Christian Sterling Review

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! I know, I know I’m the worst person on social media these days! I have been absent so much lately, but I’m back with a review for you all!

Anyway lets get started…

Into the Wildbarrens (The Gems of Elsana Book 1) by [Sterling, Christian]
  • Title: Into the Wildbarrens (The Gems of Elsana Book 1)
  • Author: Christian Sterling
  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Indie published
  • Genre: Fantasy Adventure
  • My Rating: 3*

Synopsis – From Amazon

EVERYONE’S FAVORITE WIZARD, BEFORE THE BEARD.

We know him well. Ever-flowing wisdom. Concealed power. A white beard and a proclivity for mentoring chosen ones. 

In so many tales, we find ourselves enamored with a kindly wizard guiding our protagonist, curious to his roots, source of power, and hidden knowledge. This is that wizard’s story.

Falin is only twenty years of age, and with nine-hundred eighty years left to explore the world, he is eager to begin his quest for the Gems of Elsana, four jewels that provide wizards with their full power. Accompanied by four Champions, Falin considers himself lucky, joined by a sage healer, elven assassin, drakkish warrior, and madorian prince. 

All seems well until the elder wizards reveal they expect Falin’s quest will take them into the Wildbarrens, a desolate and horrid land teeming with creatures of the Dark. Given the circumstances—and to the chagrin of Falin’s honorable Champions—the group is accompanied by an unscrupulous pair of outlaws claimed to have traveled through the Wildbarrens.

In this feel-good fiction, we are cast into a world brimming with our favorite elements of fantasy with new twists unlike anything we’ve read before. Christian Sterling has cultivated the start of a series with unparalleled charm, action, humor, romance, and thrills. All ages will be sure to enjoy this story from its first magical pages, to its last.

My Review

I was given this book by the author in exchange for my honest review here, and so I’m just gonna be 100% transparent and let you all know that before I get into things. This absolutely has no bearing on my review…all opinions are my own.

So, when I was first approached about this book it sounded like something new, fun and such a different take on the old wise one trope, which I love. I loved the different races and the takes on them. I especially loved the Draks – they were such a cool take on something we see saturating the market in the last decade or so!

I really like the idea of the world, and the way it was so divided into different segments and different people. And I also found that the plot line often gave me ‘classic fantasy’ vibes. It was clear to me whilst reading that the author himself is a fan of classic fantasy, and that by writing this he wanted to take classic fantasy and spin it on its’ head.

However, and there is unfortunately a however, I also found that the writing itself seemed a little less than natural at times. The dialogue for one didn’t seem to flow at times, and I often found myself transported back to the type classic fantasy that showcased characters who didn’t quite feel real or believable for that matter.

Sadly I also have to say that I found things to be a little too predictable, a little too convenient, and sometimes I felt there were character inconsistencies.

I really don’t have an awful lot to say on this book if I’m honest. I feel the premise had great potential but the execution let it down a little.

Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh Review!

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! So sorry I haven’t been around lately, but today I’ll be sharing my views on this arc I read recently. Buckle up booknerds

  • Title: Daughter of Kali: Awakening
  • Author: Shiulie Ghosh
  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Peach Publishing (1 Jun. 2018)
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • ISBN-10: 1780363710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780363714
  • My Rating: 3*

SynopsisFrom Amazon

We all have our demons. Kaz Deva aches to fit in and be normal. But with the unnerving ability to see things that others can’t, ‘normal’ is not an option. After a shocking confrontation with evil, Kaz is drawn into a dangerous world of myth and magic. An ancient Guild of Warriors fights to keep demons at bay, her mother is harbouring a dark secret, and a Hindu goddess is haunting her dreams. Everything she thought she knew is a lie, except her feelings for a boy she can never have. As Kaz learns the truth of who she is and where she comes from, something awakens inside her; something cold and ruthless. With the battle between Warriors and demons becoming ever more deadly, Kaz must find a way to survive her destiny and control her supernatural powers before it’s too late.

My ReviewSPOILER WARNING!!

Firstly let me say this was an arc from netgalley, but I picked up this book because I was really interested to see how hinduism played a part in the story. In my opinion it’s not something we see often in YA.

You will have noticed that I only gave this a 3* and here’s why:

Whilst I was over the moon about the diverse rep of the main character her strange character behaviours were too much for me to overlook. Firstly we get the immediate angle of ‘mother and daughter don’t get on’ – to the point that the daughter is outright rude A LOT, but we have no real indication of why that is. Oh but she does like to mock her mothers indian food, and her mother’s love for the Gods etc, which I found odd considering I was excited to see some hindu rep!

There wasn’t a whole lot of reasons behind the strange resentment Kaz had for her mother…at least in the start anyway, and it bothered me that she was outright mocking her mothers way of life, and at one point even claimed the incense and statues of the Gods had embarassed her!

Another thing that annoyed me was the forbidden love trope. Whilst I confess to enjoying a forbidden love story when done well, I just couldn’t get on board. If you have read this you may be thinking “Why Steff? Because it makes her a terrible best friend to like the guy?” No, my darling readers, that is not my issue. My issue lies in the fact that Kaz, and her best friend are 15. The Love interest is 18, and someone who was brought up as trained warrior…

Let’s just think about that for a second. Now whilst in the UK the legal sex age is 16, I still don’t find it appealing to read about an 18 year old guy lusting after a 15 year old…it’s weird, and quite frankly I just can’t! As for him being trained as a warrior from a young age, I just can’t see how that would at all fit in well with two girls who are in high school. Am I insane, or are they just leaps and bounds apart.

It gave me shadowhunter vibes a little, with the whole ‘demon hunters’ thing and a whole guild of people who govern them and their training.

Another thing that I didn’t particularly like, yes another, was that Kaz (aged 15) was a normal kids then her mum SPOILER got kidnapped by a demon and all of a sudden she is commanding all the people in one of the safe house/ bases for the demon hunters. Like what….ACTUALLY WHAT!!! ARRGGHHH! How on earth can you expect me to believe, a 15 year old with no experience, in comand/ management and who has only just found out demons are real can suddenly flip a switch and start commanding other who are many years her senior and have been doing this basically their whole lives…uh uh! No sorry you lost me!

Whilst this has become a rant, I do think that the way the demons where portrayed was different, and I was intrigued by the whole Kali twist in there, so that was fun, but I’m afraid overall I can’t say it left me feeling like I has just read a great book…the more I think about it the more it annoys me.

So that’s it, my rant…I mean review for Daughter of Kali: Awakening! Please let me know in the comments below if you have read this, it would be super interesting to know what other peoples opinions are on it.

A Pack of Vows and Tears by Olivia Wildenstein arc Review

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! I am so excited to tell you all about this beautiful arc I received. This is the second book in The Boulder Wolves triology, and I had the privilege to get the arc of the first on netgalley a while back.

The second (and the book I am reviewing today) I recieved from the lovely Olivia Wildestien herself. Please note that although I recieved this arc for free all my opinions are, as always, my own, and I have not been paid at all for this review.

A Pack of Vows and Tears (The Boulder Wolves Book 2) by [Wildenstein, Olivia]
You can find your copy here!
  • Title: A Pack of Vows and Tears
  • Author: Olivia Wildestien
  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Twig Publishing (28 May 2019)
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy/ PNR
  • ISBN-10:  1948463172
  • ISBN-13:  978-1948463171
  • My Rating: 4*

SynopsisFrom Amazon

She thought the fight was over but it was only just beginning.

Ness Clark’s place amongst the Boulders and at Liam’s side is compromised. First, when her cousin claims Ness helped him elude his death sentence. And then, when August Watt, Ness’s childhood friend, comes home to Boulder.

Although August’s plan was to pledge himself and return to active duty, he finds himself incapable of leaving. This becomes problematic for Liam and Ness, because a mating link has clicked into place between Ness and the ex-marine. If not consumed, the link will fade, but that’ll take months. How long and hard can two people fight a physical attraction that renders their bodies unreceptive to anyone’s but their mates?

Ness is tired of fighting, tired of having to prove herself worthy of her pack’s trust and of her Alpha’s affection. But when an enemy pack arrives and threatens the Boulders, she has two choices: step aside and let the wolves who have pushed her away fend for themselves, or step up and help them fight the newcomers.

Ness has never stepped aside…not for anyone.

Why would she start now?

My Review

As this book is a sequel I kind of knew what to expect. Not in terms of plot of course but in terms of setting and characters etc. I had my fave characters, I had characters I was less keen on. That being said, Olivia Wildenstien has this ability to take me on a wild ride, and turn my emotions completely on their head!

There were twists I didn’t see coming, a few actually, and I read this book in record time. I’m a sucker for the romance in this story and can’t tell you how much I’m rooting for the ship. The annoying thing is how quickly Olivia can make you change your mind about someone you thought you liked! I went into this book thinking I liked a character, and it turns out I really don’t after reading this.

What I really appreciate about these books is that Ness, our main character, is strong, independent, and has known much heartache and personal tragedy. It’s one of the reasons we root for her so much in these books. She is strong yet vulnerable, and whilst she always bounces back we get to see the strife she endures.

It’s hard to review this book because all I want to do is scream about the spoilers. I just want to chat until the cows come home about what happened and how I feel! I really enjoy these books. They always get devoured within hours, and quite honestly I find it cruel I have to wait for the next one…not fair at all.

Immediately after reading this I messaged Olivia and told her about my angst and she just laughed, saying she had done her job.

These books are definitely worth a read if you like romance shifter stories. I should add that I normally never read shifter stories but for this series I make an exception.

If you are interested I suggest taking a look at book one – A Pack of Blood and Lies:

Find it Here!

Synopsis

The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender. 

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane–son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him. 

Except Ness. 

Thus begins a treacherous game. 

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.

Have you read any of these books? If yes…we should chat! If not, then you really should give it a go if it sounds like your cup of tea. Let me know in the comments below!

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers Review!

Hey Beautiful Booklovers!! As promised I am finally posting another review! I plan to catch up with my review posts as there are so many books I want to talk to you all about! So hopefully I should be able to get back to posting one a week or thereabouts.

You can find it here on Amazon!
  • Title: Grave Mercy
  • Author: Robin LaFevers
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Andersen Press (3 Jan. 2019)
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • ISBN-10: 1783448237
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783448234
  • My Rating: 4*

Synopsisfrom Amazon

Young, beautiful and deadly.

Trained as an assassin by the god of Death, Ismae is sent to the court of Brittany, where she finds herself underprepared – not only for the games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

A dangerous romance full of intrigue, poison and finding one’s path

My Review

This book had been sat on my shelf for a while…neglected, and I honestly can’t remember why I picked it up; I just felt drawn to it that day, but I’m so so glad I did!

First of all I did not expect some of the hard hitting issues that come into this book, and in fact the series. As a woman, these books make me feel empowered – despite the terrible things these female characters go through they manage to bring themselves back into a state of control. One where they don’t need to feel afraid anymore! It was really refreshing to read a story where the main character wasn’t this perfect girl devoid of any tragedy and having read the next book – I believe this is a theme of these books.

I loved the beautiful historical fiction feel this book gave me. It is definitely fantasy as there are gods and magic to get behind but there is this tragic tortured past of France that leaves us feeling this tale could entirely be true in the most wonderful sense (probably has something to do with the fact I’m a dreamer, but aren’t all book lovers?). I liked reading about the political games being played, the worry over a warring country, and the general intrigue.

I loved the characters, their flaws, and the relationships that developed – particularly the enemies to lovers trope that cropped it. It was a book I didn’t want to put down, and made me immediately want to jump into the next one (which I did).

I love how Robin LaFevers manages to capture the self-doubt of her characters, and then follow through with the release of that doubt. You truly get to journey with them from the very beginning to a transformation of self, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story.

You may be wondering why I’m being so vague on plot etc, but as is my way…I honestly think you will benefit from knowing little when going into this story. If the synopsis sounds like something you’re interested in then by all means pick it up and see for yourself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Have you read this book? The series? What were your thoughts? Or perhaps it’s on your tbr? Let me know in the comments below!

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller Review

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! The book in the spotlight today is the awesome Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller!!

I have to say I’m a sucker for a warrior themed book! I just adore the whole shield maiden vibe, and when it’s done well always leaves me feeling empowered!


You can buy your copy here from Amazon!
  • Title: Warrior of the Wild
  • Author: Tricia Levenseller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (1 Mar. 2019)
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • ISBN-10: 1250189942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250189943
  • My Rating: 4.5*

Synopsis – From Amazon

Eighteen-year-old Rasmira has always been both praised and scorned for her talents. As her father’s chosen heir, she has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village.

Fortunately, her long wait is almost over and after she passes her coming-of age trial, she’ll finally be able to live on her own and not have to deal with her mother’s constant rejection or the jealousy of her peers. Perhaps then she will be able to be both a warrior and a woman. But when trial day arrives, everything goes terribly wrong. Her test is sabotaged, and by law all those who fail are banished and given an impossible quest to reclaim their honor in death. And Rasmira is given the most difficult quest of them all: She must kill the oppressive deity who claims tribute from her village every year or die in the attempt.

My Review

The short version? I really loved this book. Give me female warriors, and axes any day! Tricia Levenseller is great in her ability to tell a good story in a short book.

Okay so, I loved the world, I loved the creatures, and I loved the characters.

The world was one I would happily steal into…you know, if I was a bad-ass warrior who could take down all the dangerous creatures! We follow Rasmira on her journey into banishment after she is wrongly sabotaged in her coming of age trials. What I loved about this book was Rasmira’s character arc! She really comes into herself so much throughout the 336 pages. You get to see her develop, and trust and oh my gosh, I loved it!

The creatures…honestly I really loved all the new crazy and dangerous things that roamed in the wild of this novel. I always get excited about new creatures in books, and Tricia Levenseller didn’t disappoint me!

Now, if you have read Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King duology, you may know that she is a fan of sexy romances. This book did have a romance element to it, but what I loved about it was that it did not overpower the main plot. It was there, but my attention was still firmly in place where the characters overall goals lay.

This book gave me action, teamwork, great character arcs, great world building, and amazing new creatures.

Overall, I would say pick it up if you love a good female warrior, beautiful friendships, complex family dynamic and an awesome fantasy world.

My only regret? It’s a standalone [insert – me crying into a pillow]!

Have you read this book yet? Is it on your TBR (It definitely should be Booklovers)? I’m so happy I read this book, but then again I am a massive fan of anything even loosely viking themed! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

The Binding by Bridget Collins Review

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! Today I am coming at you with an overdue review for The Binding by Bridget Collins! I read this book a couple of weeks ago, and now that I can consolidated my thoughts I am finally ready to give you my opinions on this book!

You can buy a copy here on Amazon
  • Title: The Binding
  • Author: Bridget Collins
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (10 Jan. 2019)
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy
  • ISBN-10: 0008272115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008272111
  • My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis From Amazon

Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.

My Review

You know as general rule I try to keep things non-spoiler, and this review is no different in that department, though that really is a tough feat!

From the synopsis you think you know what your getting into with this book, at least I did, but let me tell you this book was not what I expected it to be! Nevertheless, the writing was gorgeous, the characters in-depth, and the plot…wow that plot takes you on a ride.

There was so much I didn’t expect to encounter. So much I just didn’t see coming, and quite honestly I really had an unexpected surprise with this book; not because I didn’t expect it to be good, but because I was expecting something, got something else, and yet still managed to really enjoy it. That in itself is an unusual thing for me.

There isn’t a whole lot of focus on the magic of book binding, but what is there is sound enough, and to be honest this is a book that is focused firmly on the characters – whom I adored/ hated where necessary. There is so much to love about this book – the story line for one, the relationships for another, and I really am glad I read it (even if I originally picked it up thinking it would be more magic focused etc,).

If you like historical type fiction/ magical realism with lgtbq+ representation, I honestly think you can’t go wrong with a book like this. I laughed and I cried, which to me shows the great skill of an authors ability to make you feel a part of their world.

Have you read this book? Or are you planning on reading it? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always happy to fangirl/ boy over books with you all!