Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa

Hello, my lovely book friends. I hope you are all doing well in these troubled times. I hope you are safe and healthy.

As we are all aware, the world is suffering through a pandemic at the moment and many of us have been asked to shelter in place in order to help stop the spread of this virus.

Because of this, many schools  and workplaces have closed. Additionally, a lot of events that a great many people were looking forward to have been cancelled.

In the book world, author tours have been cancelled, along with bigger events such as NoVaTeen and Book Con either being rescheduled or called off entirely.

One thing we can all count on however, is new books being released on Tuesdays. Oh, how I love Tuesdays!!!

This coming Tuesday, March 31, 2020, my most anticipated YA book of the year is set to be released: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa!!!

Night of the Dragon is the third and final book in the Shadow of the Fox series, a Japanese-inspired fantasy series that literally stole my heart when I first picked it up last year.

From the very first chapter of the first book, Shadow of the Fox, I was hooked. Kagawa’s writing style is so pleasing, the lush world, the cleverly crafted characters, all of it combined to be a recipe for an absolutely engrossing tale!

At this point you may be thinking, yes, this sounds great, but what is it about?

In the land of Iwagoto, the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, has the power to bring forth the Kami Dragon.

The dragon is capable of granting the summoner a single wish. If they are pure of heart, theoretically, all is well, if they are not, all hell will break loose.

In order to protect the land, the scroll was divided and the separate parts hidden away to prevent such disastrous consequences from happening, as it had in the past.

People are always searching for the parts, however, as combining them again could grant the summoner unrivaled power.

Yumeko, has been raised in the Silent Winds Temple where one piece of the scroll has been hidden away. When the Temple is attacked by demons, Yumeko is forced to flee, with the scroll.

She promises the monks she will transport it to another temple, where she will then receive further directions. Trained her whole life to hide her Yokai nature, half kitsune, half human, Yumeko is a master of illusion and mischief which obviously aides her in her travels.

Some clarification if you are new to Japanese Fantasy, a Yokai is a type of supernatural being in Japanese folklore. A kitsune, is one type of Yokai, a fox spirit that frequently appears in such folklore.

In the past couple of years, I have read a few different books with kitsune main characters and I feel it is a very fun perspective to read from!

On the run, Yumeko meets up with Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the mysterious Shadow Clan.

Tatsumi has been sent out in search of the scroll. He finds Yumeko close by the now destroyed temple and promises to get her to her destination safely. Of course, he has no idea, she actually carries what he seeks.

They meet up with another character along the way, Okame, a ronin, basically a traveling samurai without a master. He begins to travel with them and quickly became my favorite character. A source of almost constant humor, I just cannot imagine this story without him!

In addition to the lush world and fantastic characters, this triology also has one of my most loved tropes in literature: A QUEST. A ragtag group of characters trying to get from Point A to Point B, overcoming obstacles along the way, nothing keeps me turning pages faster.

At its heart, this is a fantastic quest story.

The stakes, the secrets, the magic, the world, I think you can tell I fell head-over-heels for it all. And don’t even get me started on the hella SLOW-BURNING romance!

The second book in the series, Soul of the Sword, continues directly on from the events of the first book, doing what it should: upping the stakes and continuing to build out the complexity of the world.

Another way I like to describe this entire story, if you aren’t sold already, is anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.

I am currently halfway through the final book. Honestly, I am taking my time with it. I don’t want it to end!!!

So far, this story, again, has continued to build, I know the final scenes are going to be epic. Kagawa has such a beautiful way of showing you the world. I have never felt confused. In fact, I am completely immersed. When I am reading it, the rest of the world could stop and I wouldn’t even notice.

During this difficult time, if you need a way to escape, something to immerse yourself in to forget life for a while, I cannot recommend this series strongly enough.

Now is the perfect time to get lost with Yumeko and Tatsumi, to go on that adventure and maybe save the world. Who knows?

I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for blessing me with an early copy of this book. I am thoroughly enjoying it and plan to finish it later today. Make sure you check back in for my full review. Also, if you have read these books, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Where ever you are and what ever you are doing, I hope you are doing it in good health and happiness. Love you all!

Cheers & happy reading!

 

 

 

Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is done.

In this, the final installment of The Folk of the Air trilogy, we find Jude back in the mortal world, trying to recover from the events of The Wicked King.

Her heart is hurt, but as our girl Jude is apt to do, she is still focused on getting back what she has lost.

Unexpectedly, her annoying sister, Taryn arrives, pleading for Jude’s help. She has done something terrible and sees Jude as her only path to salvation.

How convenient for her.

This help comes in the form of Jude sneaking back into the Faerie Court under the guise of being Taryn. What could possibly go wrong?

Once there, Jude finds Elfhame on the brink of war with the political class and society in general running amok.

Can Jude save her sister and her power before everything is ruined?

I’m sad, man. Yes, everything was wrapped up, but this felt so quick. I needed more time with my babies!

Why you play me like this, Holly Black?

I’ll be honest, I feel like I didn’t retain much of this story. Completely not the book’s fault, I was just so anxious to know how it was going to turn out, I flew through it.

I definitely plan to reread this entire series at some point, to really soak it in. With this being said, I do wish this had been a little longer.

I came away feeling a lot of the story felt very surface level and I wish it would have gone deeper. This could be me just being hurt that it has come to an end however.

Either way, a great series overall. So glad that I read it and looking forward to reading more by Holly Black!

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Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Louise Le Blanc is a young witch who knows a few things about the world. Witches are good and the Chasseurs are bad. Good versus evil. There’s no in between.

But when her own mother tries to kill her, she is forced to flee her coven and the world suddenly seems a very different place.

Reid Diggory has lived a very different life, abiding by the creed ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.’ Working for the church as a Chasseur, literally a witch hunter, he has been raised to see the same black and white world that Lou has.

When Reid and Lou are hastily forced into a marriage, he isn’t aware that she is a witch but she’s definitely not his type.

What could possibly go wrong?
Short answer: pretty much everything.

Guys, I was so pumped to read this book based on early reviews but admittedly, in the beginning, I wasn’t sold. The pacing was super off for me and it took me until the halfway point to really become engaged with the story.

This book is over 500-pages so that means I spent 250-pages trudging along just hoping it would get better.

Luckily, for me, in the end, it did come around and I turned out enjoying the last half quite a bit. The final group of characters who joined together to battle the baddies was fun and I look forward to reading more of them together in the second book.

That’s right, I will definitely be continuing on with this series!! In short, I wish I could give this a higher rating but personally, I felt the beginning portion could have done with some more editing.

Again, however, the second half was strong and I am intrigued enough to return to this world and see what happens with Lou and Reid!

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Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon #1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, #1)A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Wavorly Sterling was a child, a vampire attack decimated the population of the town in which she lived. In fact, she is known as the only survivor, rescued, or captured, depending on your perspective, and brought to live within the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain.

Set in a dystopian world, where the blood supply is low, the Stratocracy has developed a vast and interesting system for raising ‘human supply units’. These supply units are eventually chosen and bound to a master who they vow to serve, and feed, for the duration of their lives.

Wavorly is brought to a sort of private school where the girls are raised together and taught how to please their future masters.

The majority of these girls were born within the Stratocracy so have never tasted the freedom of the world outside as Wavorly has. This sets her apart from them and she struggles trying to understand their seemingly docile personalities in the face of what lies ahead of them.

In fact, when we first meet her, she is in the midst of executing an escape attempt. Although it may not go as planned, you have to give the girl props for her strength and determination.

No matter how hard she fights back against the powers that be however, Wavorly is ultimately selected to go live in the castle of Lord Anton Zein and act as one of his supply units. They have a complicated history and you just know something’s going to go down at that castle!

I really enjoyed this, you guys! I do not read a lot of vampire-related content, really my only experiences being Salem’s Lot, NOS4A2 and Doctor Sleep, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this or not. Apparently, it’s my new thing!

I loved the dystopian feel of this story. The world-building was excellent in my opinion and I cannot wait to learn more in Book 2.

I also really enjoyed quite a few of the side characters, they added depth, humor and challenging personalities to the story. There were people you really wanted to get behind and people that were a joy to hate. Yes, that is a thing.

Although the plot got a little jumbled for me towards the end, I was still on board for all that was happening. There were revelations and betrayals, a lot of excitement.

I think this left off in a great spot for the continuation of series and I definitely will be continuing. This was one of those books that when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and wishing I was!

Overall, this was an impressive debut. I feel confident this author has a bright future ahead of her. If you are looking for an inventive and captivating, fast-paced read, you should definitely pick this one up!

Thank you so much to the author, Kelsey Quick, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I have since preordered the paperback because I love the cover and also, have no self-control.

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Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1)Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Demons and gargoyles and chosen ones…

18-year-old Trinity Marrow has a special gift. She can see and commune with ghosts and spirits. This isn’t her only gift though, there is a lot about Trinity that is special.

Because of her unique nature she has been hidden away at an isolated compound for years with the Wardens protecting her. What are Wardens, you may ask? They are gargoyle shape-shifters protecting mankind from demons, of course.

Trinity spends her days wandering around the compound and training with her Warden protector, Misha. She also spends a lot of time with her chatty, ghost sidekick, Peanut.

I must confess, Peanut was probably my favorite character. He is so funny, stuck in the 80s, his pop culture references brought me back. Love you, Peanut!

When a group of Wardens from another clan arrives with news of vicious attacks going on outside the compound, attacks killing demons and Wardens alike, Trinity finally has something interesting to focus on. Spying on the superiors chatting, Trin gets caught by a member of the outside clan, Zayne, the most beautiful gargoyle to ever live…

Events occur that force Trinity and Zayne to leave the compound together and we all know where that’s going, it’s Jennifer L. Armentrout, y’all!

I really enjoyed this one and am totally kicking myself for putting it off for so long. It started a little slow for me but as soon as Trinity met Zayne, I was hooked. There is a ton of action in here, some great fight scenes, humor, shocking revelations and a little bit of steam!

This story still has so much room to grow, as well, and left off in a superb spot for a sequel. I don’t know how many books are planned to be part of The Harbinger series but you better believe, I want a front row seat for all of them!!!

Highly recommend for people looking to start a new YA Fantasy series with a touch of romance.

Thank you so much, Harlequin TEEN, for providing me with a copy of this beauty to read and review! I appreciate it.

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Review: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars

In the walled-city of Alu, traditionally three maidens get chosen when the ruler dies to accompany him into the underworld. Essentially a death sentence, being chosen is nonetheless viewed as a great honor. When our story begins, the ruler is currently on the brink of death.

Kammani’s father is a great healer, although disgraced after a former royal patient’s death, he gets summoned to the kingdom to attend to the ruler. Unfortunately, he mysteriously disappears, never getting to tend the sick man.

Kammani has been training under her father’s tutelage for many years. She dreams of one day being the best healer in all the land.

When her sister gets chosen to be one of the ruler’s maidens, and her father cannot be found, Kammani takes it upon herself to get into the kingdom and prevent the ruler’s death. If she doesn’t, she could lose her sister as well; the only family she has left.

Once in the kingdom, Kammani feels like something sinister is going on. After a botched attempt on her life, she knows she must be close to the truth.

I truly enjoyed this world. I felt it was rich and well built. If I had to sum in up, I would say, in my head I was picturing Astapor, ‘the red city’, from Game of Thrones. A world sharply divided between haves and have-nots. It was brutal and dangerous with a healthy dose of palace intrigue.

I really loved these characters and how the story unfolded. There is a lot of beautiful writing in here on grief and sacrifice. The love of family is a strong theme throughout and some of the dialogue between Kammani and her slightly pouty younger sister, Nanaea, had me in tears.

I did get frustrated with Kammani now and again over some of her choices but overall, I understood her motivations and felt attached to her character. I think we left it at a perfect spot for the continuation and I look forward to the battle that I know will be taking place. It’s bound to be epic!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This is such an impressive debut with a lush, dangerous world, one I cannot wait to return to!

Well done, Kelly Coon. Well done!

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Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is a magic within her, a power, that even she doesn’t know the limits of.

In its opening pages, we find young Princess Guinevere arriving in Camelot for the first time. Sent there to marry King Arthur, all she knows of him are what the legends tell. For he is a great man, the greatest, the one to pull the sword from the stone.

While it is true, he is a great King, one who strives to make the kingdom a better place, there are those outside the kingdom who threaten his reign.

Unbeknownst to anyone but themselves, Guinevere hasn’t actually been sent from a royal family in the South to marry Arthur, she has been sent there to protect him.

You see, there is more to Guinevere than meets the eye, much more than a fragile Princess desiring a life of luxury. She holds secrets so dark they are even unclear to herself.

It has been a long time since I have consumed any media revolving around the Arthurian legend. I had a wonderful time reading this and thought it was splendidly done. I felt very connected to Guinevere’s character and enjoyed following her on her journey of self-discovery.

I think if you have any interest in the story of Arthur and Guinevere, you should definitely give this book a shot. I think it was a nice twist to hear the story from her perspective, which is much darker and more convoluted, in this case, than I anticipated. In fact, it was intense at times trying to piece it all together.

She is confused about a lot of things, her past, which she doesn’t remember, her purpose and her heart. I think she experienced a lot of growth over the course of the book and although not all of her choices were the best, I think she was doing the best she could.

The supporting cast of characters were also fantastic. I love Arthur and am hoping for a deeper connection between them for the second book. This left off in an incredible spot and I know the next book is going to take the story up a whole other notch!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This was a highly anticipated book for me and it did not disappoint. I look forward to continuing with this series!

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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Sent on a mission to retrieve a part of a map leading to the mysterious Isla de Canta, where a secret treasure trove is said to be, Alosa, a 17-year old Pirate Captain, goes and purposefully gets herself kidnapped by her enemies.

Odd tactic, true, but her thought is, once aboard the enemy ship, The Nightfarer, she will have ample opportunity to search for said map.

Her enemies, too busy patting themselves on the back for capturing the Pirate King’s daughter, won’t even notice when she goes slinking about.

Using her numerous abilities, Alosa does do a pretty good job with her search. Her biggest challenge, handsome and smart, First Mate, Riden. He’s a bit of a distraction.

This is definitely a cute story. I really enjoyed Alosa’s character. She was confident and stubborn, not to mention a real badass. There’s something about a Lady Pirate that I can definitely get behind. The setting was fun and Riden was a swoony worthy love interest to be sure.

However, this being said, it took me a LONG time to get through this. It wasn’t really drawing me in. I didn’t find anything compelling about it.

Perhaps if I had read it when it was first released, I could have joined the hype and been more jazzed for it. Overall, for me, it was a good story but there was nothing really groundbreaking about it.

I will probably continue on with the duology, mostly because I want to visit the home of the sirens. I think a young Meg would have enjoyed this a bit more.

Alas, if you are looking for a fun pirate adventure with a bit of romance, it is definitely worth picking this one up.

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Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1)Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a world divided in two, East and West, where neither side knows the true existence of the other, one people, the Maarin, control the in-between.

The Maarin are a seafaring people who recover lost and stolen goods and trade along the coasts. They are the only people living who not only know the existence of both East and West, they are also the only people who know how to navigate the savage seas between the two.

Living under the mandate of, East must never meet West, all this goes astray when young Teriana, heir to the Maarin people, exposes deeply held secrets to her dear friend, a part of the Celendor Empire, Lydia.

Now higher-ups in the Celendor Empire have conquest on their mind and they will do whatever it takes to discover the route of the Dark Shores. Taking Maarin and her crew prisoner, she is now forced to show them the way or risk all of her people’s lives.

Strong armed by Marcus, Commander of the 37th, a legionnaire for the Celendor Empire, she does the only thing she can do; she shows them the way. Not all is smooth sailing on their voyage however and Teriana and Marcus end up forging an unlikely alliance in order to make it through.

I thought this was such an interesting story. You can definitely feel the ancient Roman inspiration for the Celendor Empire and I love the mystery of the Dark Shores themselves. The relationship between Teriana and Marcus is good, although a little instalovey, not too bad.

In addition to a bit of romance, there is quite a bit of political intrigue in here which I am always down for. There’s nothing better than good ole-fashioned blackmail for political gain to keep a plot progressing!

I had a lot of fun reading this and definitely plan to pick up the next book. This one left off in a great spot with a horrible villain still on the loose. I’m not sure how long this series will end up being but I am seriously hoping for at least three.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had so much fun reading this and really would like to hear more people chatting it up. If you like ocean-related content, Roman-inspired worlds, unlikely alliances, political backstabbing and meddling gods, pick this one up!!!

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Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)The Wicked King by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caution: This review contains spoilers for The Cruel Prince. Go further at your own risk. I mean it. Seriously.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

With her brother Oak safely out of Elfhame, Jude is five months into her puppeteering of Cardan’s reign as High King. The dislike between the two of them is just as high as ever but y’all know there is an unhealthy dose of sexual tension as well. Jude has terrible taste in men.

Speaking of terrible, her sister, Taryn, is poised to marry Locke in just three weeks time and ends up trying to make-up with Jude prior to that event. She claims she wants her there and that she has missed her. Blah, blah, blah. A mild reconciliation ensues.

Side Not: Almost instantaneous gag reflex reading any sections with Taryn in them. Just me?

Anyway, moving on. Cardan continues to be a lot to handle. Considering his daily hedonistic lifestyle, it comes as no surprise when someone tries to assassinate him. Jude then hears on good word that Orlagh, Queen of the Undersea wants Cardan to marry her daughter, Nicasia. If he won’t, she plans to take down all of Faerie.

In a wild turn of events, Jude gets held hostage by Orlagh. That’s a whole thing. Can I just say, the Undersea is pretty much my favorite setting ever. How dark and ominous was that!?! Balekin is involved; the Court of Shadows, they are all here and up to their evilest of no-good deeds.

I am obsessed with these books because there is so much plotting, so much scheming. You never know who is going to try to stab you in the back next. I enjoy how ruthless those circumstances have made Jude.

Ultimately, she is just a regular girl put in an extraordinary world and through pure power of will has transformed herself into an absolute force to be reckoned with.

Per usual, Holly Black’s writing is so engaging. I was flipping these pages so fast trying to get to the end. What an ending it was! Talk about a cliffhanger. I am SO GLAD that the release for The Queen of Nothing has gotten pushed up to Fall 2019, otherwise…torture!?

I love this series with my whole heart. Jude is my Queen. I cannot wait to see how this is wrapped up, although truthfully, I would be happy if it never ended. Slytherin book recommendation all day long. Read it, love it, fangirl about it. That is all.

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