Book Reviews

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

In this sequel to the Orphan Queen, Wilhelmina and Tobiah must fight against all odds to stop the wraith from destroying both of their kingdoms. 

“No matter the masks we wear, we always end up together.”

The character development for Wilhelmina was fantastic. She had to learn what it meant to be queen not only in name but also in action. She was forced to make some decisions that were not at all easy and that her haunted afterward. Despite this, she persevered and always strove to do what was best for her people. Tobiah went through many of these struggles too, as well as grappling between duty and desire. Plus, he had some pretty big secrets he was hiding. The first time I read this a few years ago, I remember being quite shocked. Chrysalis was an interesting addition to this story, but I felt that he was terribly mistreated. Yes, he was made of wraith and he often acted without considering the consequences, but I thought that Wilhelmina could have been a little nicer to him. It felt like she either ignored him or yelled at him. 

“Sometimes we hate others for the things we hate in ourselves”

I loved that Meadows finally took us to Aecor. After all the hype around this country, it was great to be there; I just wish there was more time spent exploring it and getting to know the culture.  

I also found that the first ½ of the book was rather slow. It felt like they spent a lot of time talking about the problems and not doing too much to fix them. Despite this, I did still enjoy the book overall and would love to read some more by Jodi Meadows.  

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content. 

“Reasons we should get married:
Because I love you.
We both look good in black boots.
I spent some time without you, and I didn’t like it.
You make me happy.
I make you laugh.
I like the way you fight.
You see through my masks.
I really love you.
You love me, too. (Though you’ve mostly said this while yelling, so perhaps I should have double-checked.)
Army of tiny vigilantes. (I have name ideas.)
Various political reasons that make sense but don’t fit with the theme of this list.
I’m holding your handwriting hostage. You can have it back when you say yes.”

Until next time!

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BOOK REVIEW | Beautiful Beast by E.J Hill

Thank you so much to The555Abibliophobia for this wonderful review of Beautiful Beast!

Here is the new link to this review: BOOK REVIEW | Beautiful Beast by E.J. Hill

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Beautiful Beast (Beautiful Queens, #1)

Title:Beautiful Beast
Author:Emma Joy Hill
Published: June 8th 2020 by Independently Published

Synopsis:
Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart…

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Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

I was quite curious as to how much I would like the second book of the Harry Potter series. Part of the charm of the first book is that everything is new and exciting. Well, I can tell you that I enjoyed it immensely. 

“When in doubt, go to the library.”

As in the last novel, the characters were absolutely charming. I loved how Harry, Ron, and Hermoine’s relationship developed. They did almost everything together and stuck out for each other.

Gilderoy Lockhart, Order Of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary M GIF | Gfycat

If one of them was in a fix, the others were quick to help; even if it meant breaking school rules. And I mean, it was kinda sweet that Ron and Hermoine forgoed their Halloween feast to go to Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th deathday party. I must mention the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart. He both made me cringe and bust out laughing. His infatuation with himself was totally over the top, but I think it was meant to be. I felt really bad for Ginny, though. What a way to start her time at Hogwarts…it does not bode well.   

“Lockhart’ll sign anything if it stands still long enough.”

This time, the way that Voldemort tries to get to Harry was quite creative. I started guessing at it a little, but there were so many pieces that were tied into the mystery of the heir of Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets! Rowling did a fabulous job with this and also with upping the danger and intensity from the last book. 

I’m excited to read book #3 and accompany Harry, Hermoine, and Ron on their next adventure. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Rowling, J.K.: 8601404281891:  Books - Amazon.ca
Book Reviews

Belvedor and the Four Corners by Ashleigh Bello

Blurb

The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and Throne of Glass in this action-packed Epic Fantasy Adventure series.

On a quest for freedom from a tyrant king, follow Arianna Belvedor as she unearths the enchantment buried beneath her dark world and learns how to wield magic alongside her swords. She will either win or die; whichever her fate, freedom is certain.


Arianna Belvedor has only ever dreamed of winning her freedom from the Four Corners—a cold and cruel city where all the children of the world are kept, each with an opportunity to earn their citizenship upon their eighteenth year. Just months away from her ultimate battle, she is certain that her notable skills as a warrior-slave (having been trained by Master Solomon Bell, a formidable mentor in Warrior’s District) will give her an edge during the annual Free Falls Festivals: Free for the slaves who earn their citizenship. Falls for the ones who die.

Alas, Arianna’s talent with a sword cannot outmaneuver the burning curiosities of her heart, leading her to reveal a shocking yet spectacular secret about King Devlindor and his long-standing reign as High King of Olleb-Yelfra.

The world as she knows it is a lie, its true spellbinding history exploited and suppressed under centuries of deceitful acts.

Her world turned upside down with new, unfathomable knowledge, Arianna must make a choice that could change her life forever—ignore the truth and continue following the path laid out for her since birth or break free from her chains and carve her own… if she can survive.

Immerse yourself in this addictive fantasy world as Arianna is thrust on a thrilling journey to uncover magic and more than earn her rights to freedom.

Belvedor and the Four Corners is a recipient of the 2017 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.

Review

This book has a lot of potential! I found that the world was unique and interesting, it had some suspenseful action scenes, and the friendship between Arianna and Lessa was sweet. Unfortunately, though, this was not a book for me. Some points of the storyline were a little awkward like how four slaves from different districts just happened to meet as they escaped. There was also a lot of dialogue. I know that some people really enjoy this, but I prefer a balance between dialogue and colourful prose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

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Sooo I’ve never read this series before…. I know, I know! Don’t shoot me. I was a little curious about what all the hype was about, but I never had the motivation to actually acquire copies of this series. Now that I’ve read the first book, I think I understand. J.K. Rowling creates a world that is colourful and absolutely bursting with creative attributes. There were so many times when I thought, “Wow! What a brilliant idea,” or was astounded by how unique and imaginative it all was. It makes me curious about Rowling’s thought process and also super impressed!

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Harry was, of course, a sweet and brave boy with perhaps a streak of recklessness. Sneaking a dragon up to the astronomy tower at midnight…? Well, I suppose it was for the greater

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good. I loved Ron and Hermione, Harry’s best friends. They were adorable and their friendship was admirable; although, there were definitely a few bumps in the road. Then there was also Hagrid and Dumbledore and Neville and so many more characters. I enjoyed them all! Even Snape’s creepiness was great. The negative characters gave the cast such a full dynamic. Of course, he-who-must-not-be-named was a chilling villain and the fact that everyone (except Harry) was afraid to say his name made it even more so.

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The world-building was absolutely marvellous. Rowling makes everything so vibrant and colourful that you almost, for a little while, believe Hogwarts is real and that your letter will come by owl any day.

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

The pacing of the story had a nice rhythm to it. I think because there was so much to experience and discover, I was kept engaged. I’m curious to discover if this will be the same in the following books. Which leads nicely into my last statement. I will definitely be reading the next book! I actually have already started…. If you have not read this book (which I highly doubt), then you should. If not for the enchanting story, then at least for the experience. Harry Potter is a classic (and I can see why now), so you should add it to your list alongside books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.  

Bye for now!

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Book Reviews

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows

This is my second time reading The Orphan Queen and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still found myself being swept away by the story. 

“I was there was the war began. And when it ended.”

The world that Meadows creates is unique and enchanting, yet dangerous and harsh. It was thrilling to join Will as she went undercover as a refugee noblewoman and navigated the court and the streets of the Indigo Kingdom. Will was brave and kind and independent, not only in taking care of herself but also in the decisions she made. She wasn’t afraid to go against what other people wanted her to do especially if she knew it to be wrong. And Tobiah? Who is the real Tobiah? It was almost hard to get to know Blackknife because Will and him did a lot of fighting and not so much talking. Then with the prince, I was never quite sure how he actually felt about something. One thing I’m a little confused about is whether or not Tobiah knew who she was the whole time. I think he did, but I’m not sure if that was super clear.  

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“Oh, nameless girl. When will you learn to trust me?”

As for the writing style, the main thing that I really loved about this book is how Meadows is able to just sit in a scene and completely fill it out. She doesn’t just drop us in a scene for a few pages, then move on to another, she actually lets us explore it and look around a little. I think this is definitely something I can apply to my own writing! 

“A queen who wouldn’t take risks for her people wasn’t worthy of being a queen at all.”

Before we go, I do want to briefly touch on the magic element in this book. It was interesting that it’s illegal and that throughout the story, Will’s relationship with it grows; and perhaps she becomes less afraid of it. But I’m a little confused about the wraith. What exactly is it? This might be explained more in the next book. I mean, why should the readers completely understand it when the characters don’t either.    

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content, so I could fully enjoy this adventure. 

Ta ta for now!

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Court of Bittern Thorn by Kay L Moody

This was an enchanting start to Kay L Moody’s new series The Fae of Bitter Thorn. The protagonist, Elora was a brave and talented mortal who loved her family deeply and did not allow the tricks and glamours of the Faerie realm to sway her. Although, sometimes she did not make the most intelligent decisions (like when she took the red ribbon off) and it frustrated me a little that she wasn’t more careful upon entering Faerie. As for Prince Brannick, I cannot say he was my favourite. My opinion of him definitely improved as the story went along, but I found that he was rather full of himself and his appearance was too perfect. I don’t know about you, but it really bugs me when the male love interest is absolutely gorgeous. It’s just unrealistic and rather cliche. 

One of my favourite things about this book was the world of Faerie that Moody created. I loved all of the sprites and brownies and the different faerie courts. It was fun to join Elora as she explored this realm and as she, in a way, fell in love with it. While the writing was good, I cannot say that I was captivated by it. Although, that could be my personal opinion of enjoying colourful and flower writing styles. 

Lastly, this was a clean read which was lovely. I always enjoy a book more when it excludes profanity and sexual content. 

Thank you to Book Sirens for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Have a happy and spooky Halloween my friends!

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Review: Beautiful Beast

Babbling Books

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

“They wanted to see a beast, so that is what they saw.”

Fairytale retellings are something I love, but they’re hard to get right. After all most of us come into the stories already knowing the basics of what’s supposed to happen so coming up with something original to add to the tales can be difficult. Having said that, I applaud E.J. Hill for bringing something new to the table while still holding on to elements that made us love the originals to begin with. However, I’m not so sure you could call this a fairytale retelling, since to me it’s more reminiscent of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast than it is of the original fairytale.

I won’t give too much away for fear of spoilers but there are certain things that happen in the book that are too close, or even exact copies of, the animated…

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Book Reviews, my writing

Beautiful Beast is on Book Sirens!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Beautiful Beast is now on Book Sirens!!! This means access to over 1,000 reviewers and an easy way to share my book. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

If you are interested in joining my reviewer group, just follow this link: Book Sirens. But don’t wait too long! At this time, I can only accept 20 reviewers.

My name is Kalista. They call me the beast.

Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart to another, while Arawn must learn to see past his hate and prejudice. Together, they struggle against spells, wolves, and time itself to break the curse. If they fail, Kalista will fall asleep and will never again wake.

But maybe you’re too busy to review it now. That’s alright! I completely understand. So just add it to your to-read shelf or your wish list and you can come back to it later. Beautiful Beast on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Reviews

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This was a lovely and unique adventure! Harrow has a beautiful writing voice that is quite charming. I think it was my favourite part of the book. I found myself lost in a forest of colourful descriptions and creative similies. It was quite enjoyable to read! 

“I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.”

Another thing I loved about this book was all the pieces that came together to form the ending. At first, when January began reading her book, I wasn’t crazy about the change. But as things went along, I became invested in this second story and wanted to discover how it would play out and fit into January’s. 

For the characters… January began as a naive and slightly timid girl, but as the story went along, she became brave and more independent. She even left her companions and finished her quest on her own. I was actually surprised at this. I had not expected this boldness from her, but at the same time, it felt right that she did this. Samuel was a sweetheart! Although, I wish their relationship was developed a bit more. But at the same time, this wasn’t the focus of the story, so it’s not a huge deal. The villain, Mr. Locke, was, yes, intimidating. However, I had a hard time transitioning from cold, unsympathetic Mr. Locke to psycho-leader-of-an-evil-society Mr. Locke. 

In terms of the plot, I can’t say it worked well for me. While I enjoyed the twist of a book within a book, at times it slowed the pacing down quite a bit. Also, the climax of the story had a different flavour than your typical YA novel. At least that it how it felt to me. There was an element of romance, but the ultimatum was the reunion of the family. It is not often that this is so central in YA literature and I liked that it resided so prominently in this book. 

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read, but there was some mild language.    

I hope you all have a fabulous day,

Emma

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