Review | Of Blood and Bone

It’s been years since the Doom wreaked havoc on the world. And as the remaining population finds a way to survive, Lana and Simon are enjoying their growing family as their time grows short with their daughter. The One is quickly coming of age and will head on her own path to fight the dark that threatens to swallow the world. But even if she’s the chosen one, things won’t be easy.

Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 9.48.31 AMAfter reading Year One, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. I wanted to catch up with all my favorite characters and see where the story went. But I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed with Of Blood and Bone. While the story did move along, the writing seemed very disjointed, as if Nora Roberts wasn’t quite sure how to fill in the time between the first book and whatever comes after this one. For me, there was an overuse of commas which broke up the flow and seemed unnecessary in some cases.

I couldn’t connect with any of the new characters and felt like this one fell flat. There was less detail in Of Blood and Bone than there was in Year One. It was almost as if Roberts just got tired of writing. I was unimpressed. However, you guys know me, and I’m someone compelled to finish out a series that I’ve started regardless of if there’s been a bad book in the lineup. So I’ll be picking up The Rise of Magicks here in a few weeks and hope that the story picks back up. All in all, Of Blood and Bone wasn’t a bad read but it definitely didn’t meet my expectations after the first book.

The Dragon Republic

The war is over…or so Rin thinks. But she still has yet to avenge the betrayal of her homeland. However, in order to do so, she must join forces with the Dragon Warlord whose only plan is to unseat the Empress and create a new republic. But the more time Rin spends with the Dragon Warlord and the Empress, the more she realizes they’re not all they seem.

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 9.41.56 AMI have to be honest, this is not a book I would have picked up had I been browsing the shelves at my local bookstore. Harper Collins sent me a copy of this book (Thank you!!!) and I’m so glad they did. The Dragon Republic is the second book in The Poppy War series. And I haven’t read the first one! So I was a bit lost to the storyline when I first started reading it but it didn’t take me long to fill in the blanks. While I’m sure I missed out on some pretty important details by not reading the first one, jumping in and reading The Dragon Republic was not difficult to do and I soon forgot that it was a sequel.

R.F. Kuang fills this book with laughable banter (probably my favorite part of the book). But for the most part, I felt that the story was quite dry. Enjoyable at times, but it seemed as if there wasn’t a clear flow for the story at all. I’d find myself zoning out during the particularly dense areas and jumping back in when the action came back. Overall, it was a decent book. Not my personal cup of tea but well worth the read.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken

Rhen’s curse is broken. Harper and her brother are stuck in Emberfall. And Grey is no where to be found. But Rhen faces trouble as the rumors of another heir circulate throughout his kingdom. Not only that, but the unknown prince also seems to be a magesmith. After Lilith’s hold on Rhen, he fears anything with magic…even his own brother. But fate will not be ignored and Emberfall is the stage for everything to fall into place.

9BEB35AA-1289-4AEE-ACB5-E329C4A4EE97So it’s rare for me to enjoy the second book in a series more than the first but…holy cow! Brigid Kemmerer does not disappoint!! A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the perfect sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I started reading it, expecting (hoping?) for it to follow more of Rhen and Harper’s adventures as they settle into this new life. But I was surprised to find that instead, we follow Grey and his path to help save his country.

Once again, I couldn’t put this one down. Kemmerer has a talent for creating stories that draw you in, characters you want to learn more about, and man does she know how to leave it on a cliffhanger??? I don’t know how long I have to wait for the next book in The Cursebreaker Series but I’m not happy about it. I’m hooked you guys and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Emberfall!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Time’s a funny thing and our memories even stranger. Returning home can bring up so many memories, some quite believable, others like something from a dream. When a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home, he learns that nothing is as he remembered.

C315E9FD-A3DF-4A48-A1DB-F88299221642True to Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is imaginative, magical, scary, and adventurous all in one. Drawn into a world where otherworldly creatures can cause issues and fairy rings are a safe haven, Gaiman tells a tale like no other. And like most of his novels, I find myself equally satisfied with his story and scratching my head at the same time.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of his shorter novels and therefore, easy to complete. But in the end, I want to go back and read it again to possibly catch something I may have missed the first time around. His poetic way with words are reminiscent of listening to the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland speak. Confusing at times, yet beautiful nonetheless.

Year One

It hit without warning. An illness that is dropping humans like flies. It’s ruthless and causing fear in everyone that sees its effects. But some are immune and some…well, some are just different. The Uncanny. Beings with special traits and abilities that are being blamed for the illness that has managed to kill 2 billion people in what feels like the blink of an eye. But despite all the cruelty that bares itself in the chaos that ensues, there is still goodness in humanity. A group of survivors have banded together to try and make a place for themselves in what’s left of the world. But comes next after the end of the world?

CF2D84E8-0BD9-49E6-81A2-A82D8999E601I have to admit, I’m not a Nora Roberts fan. I’ve never been drawn to her other works but when I heard about Year One I had to pick it up. And I’m glad I did! The storyline alone is something that piqued my interest. What can I say? I love a good survivalist, apocalyptic novel. And let’s face it, with what’s going on in the world today, this was strangely eerie to read. But Roberts also brings to life a multitude of characters that shouldn’t blend together as easily as hers do.

While I enjoyed the overall story and the characters involved, I had a bit of a problem with the way Roberts writes. Now, again, I’ve never read any of her other stuff, so maybe this is just how she writes. But it was almost like driving down a pothole-ridden road. Her words would be going along smoothly but then would get rough and jagged. Sentences seemed broken up with random unnecessary commas. Still, Year One was a book I couldn’t put down and I highly recommend it if you’re into the “end of the world” era of stories.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Rhen is a monster. No, literally, a monster. Cursed by a less than pleasant enchantress, Rhen is cursed to become a monster again and again until he can find a woman to love him. Left with only his loyal commander, he ventures forth to worlds other than his own to find some girl unwitting enough to get tangled up with the likes of him.

33F69FA9-EB27-4383-9431-96B96FEAFE30Harper is in her own mess. Her mother is slowly dying of cancer. Her father has borrowed money from the worst possible person, and in return, her brother is now doing dirty work in order to pay back the loan. But one night, as she stands lookout for her brother, she is taken to another place and finds herself being courted by an arrogant prince.

Brigid Kemmer is a magician. That’s all there is to say. She has a way of telling a story that sucks you in. Really, I couldn’t put this book down. Jumping between the viewpoint of the two main characters, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is one of the few epic fantasy romances that is sure to stand out. With characters that you can’t help but fall in love with (no pun intended) and a storyline that has no end of thickening plots and twists, this is one for the ages. And I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel!

And The Mountains Echoed

Abdullah and Pari are two young children living in Afghanistan in a little poverty-ridden town. Their father makes a choice and the two siblings are never the same. Follow the choices of one man through the decades and how far-reaching our choices, and our family, can be.

828913B5-2F1E-44D8-A19B-5AFF3BC1A90BAfghani culture is not something I claim to understand, let alone the ins and outs of family in that part of the world. But And The Mountains Echoed give just a glimpse of the way things are (were?) in Afghanistan. I’ll be honest, most of the time I had a difficult time following Hosseini’s plot through all the time warps. This book was hard to read from an emotional standpoint as well. If you’re expecting a happy feel good novel, I highly recommend that you move on. Hosseini drags you down into the darkest depths of emotion and doesn’t let go.

While at times it seemed that certain parts of the story didn’t fit together, Hosseini is able to tie up everything towards the end of the book. This definitely would not have been a book I’d just pick up off the shelf but it’s a beautiful work of fiction. Hosseini is almost poetic with his writing, bring to life the harsh reality of Afghanistan and the not so glamorous side of life in the middle east.

Review: Project Duchess

Fletcher Pryde, Duke of Greycourt, has not had the happiest of childhoods and it shows. He is cold, wealthy, and carries a reputation he didn’t ask for. But when his mother is widowed yet again, the winds of fate may change for Grey and the life he envisioned for himself.

517CefsaNLL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Beatrice is not your average woman. Having dealt with the inappropriate affections of her uncle, she has no interest in being with a man. Let alone a man like Greycourt. His arrogance is off-putting and getting to know him is not easy. But when Grey’s mother turns Beatrice into one of her ‘projects’, he can’t help but involved. However, family secrets run deep on both sides and as they get to know one another, uncovering those secrets could cost them much more than they bargained for.

I absolutely love historical romance. It’s one of my favorite genres to read. But I’ve never had the pleasure of reading any of Sabrina Jeffries’s books, and I just may have to start bingeing them all! Project Duchess is the first in a new series for Jeffries. Telling the story of a family wrought with tragedy and an underlying mystery they’re desperate to solve, it was easy to get sucked into the intrigue and intimacy this book provided. The characters, while seemingly your typical romance characters, were easy to enjoy and I wanted to know more about them.

However, what is up with evil uncles??? It seems like the biggest villains in this book were the uncles who mistreated their relations. It was a bit annoying that it seemed to always come back to how uncle so-and-so did this. It also seemed as if the ending was a bit rushed. The writing became sloppy and amateur at best. But Jeffries did manage to leave a cliffhanger that makes the reader want to pick up the next book in the series.

While probably not my favorite romance novel, Project Duchess was an enjoyable and easy read. If you’re looking for a romance series to get into, this may be the one for you. Look for Project Duchess on shelves June 25th!

Review: Three Dark Crowns

A47B1A61-FCE9-4353-B78F-7ECBD9009857Three sisters. Three queens. One crown.

Life for Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella is anything but normal. They are gifted girls, each with a special power. Katharine has the gift of poison, able to withstand ingesting any poison she comes in contact with as well as mixing intricate potions to dispatch her enemies. Arsinoe is a naturalist, a gift that allows her to make plants bloom and call animals to her. Mirabella is an elemental with the ability to control the weather as well as the elements. But only one of them can take the throne.

In a novel filled with rituals and long-standing traditions, Kendare Blake weaves a dark tale of magic, romance, and evil. The three sisters are unique characters on their own. However, I felt a bit inundated with the other characters (i.e., the priestesses, the council, etc.). It became intricate and at times hard to follow. There were also places where I questioned why the characters would make that decision. Nothing leading up to it seemed to make sense and nothing after made sense either. As if it was spur of the moment and simply to move the story along.

Blake of course left Three Dark Crowns with a cliffhanger, and one I definitely wasn’t expecting. With a significant twist in the story (saved for the last page), Blake left me wanting more and curious to see how the triplets would continue in a world that seems set against them killing one another. All in all, a decent read but probably one I wouldn’t pick up again. However, that could all change with the sequel to this one, One Dark Throne.

Review: Die Again, Mr. Holmes

I’ve been a little lax in my reading habits lately and I’m trying to rectify that. But I just have so many books I want to read and I’m trying to do it all at once. Obviously, it isn’t working.

C1B37DBC-EB33-49D8-A501-B775B53236A1A woman seeks the assistances of Sherlock Holmes to discover where the man she loves has gone. An uptight noblewoman has lost her maid and requests the help of Lucy James to find her. Sherlock and his daughter are at it again in the gripping mystery with all the familiar characteristics of the classic Holmes we love.

Die Again, Mr. Holmes is another Holmes/James mystery that is sure to keep you turning the pages. I was skeptical when I received this book for a review. As someone who loves Doyle’s classic character as well as Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayals of the detective, I wasn’t sure that this book could stand up to such a large character. But I was pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoyed following Holmes and his daughter on their adventures as they try to track down the two missing people and suddenly find that their cases are related.

In true Sherlock fashion, there is plenty of intrigue and plots that Holmes has neglected to share with his counterparts. Among the staple characters of Holmes and Watson, we’re introduced to quite a few new ones as well. While this is not the first book of this series, it makes me want to read from the beginning and explore the history of Holmes and his daughter.

**I received a copy of this book from Smith Publicity for an honest review.**