Review: King of Scars

Title: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Source: Indigo Book Box
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal. 

Review:

I’ve been excited about this book for months! I’m so glad I finally got to read it.

It’s been a while since I read Six of Crows and the Grisha trilogy, so it took me a few chapters to get oriented in the story. It was a little confusing because there are characters from both series in this one, so I had to remember what happened in both series to understand this one.

This story was so thrilling. It was so hard to put down because there were a lot of plot twists. This book followed different perspectives, like the Six of Crows series, including Nina, Nikolai, and Zoya. We get to learn a lot about their histories. These were some of the most interesting characters so I’m glad they were the focus of this book.

This is a fabulous story! I recommend reading the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows duology before reading this book, since those characters appear in this book. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

What to read next:

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

Have you read King of Scars? What did you think of it?

Review: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)

Title: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that was “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” ( Bustle ), Lady Smoke is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people. 

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia’s mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo’s country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess–a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn’t realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage–Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser’s rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.

To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.

Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself.

Review:

I loved this book!

It started exactly where Ash Princess ended. The characters discussed some things that happened as a refresher of the last book. It was easy to get right back into the story.

This story explored some of the other countries in the world. Theo and her group have to get some help gathering armies to invade Astrea. I loved seeing how different these other countries were from the Kalovaxians.

Theo is a great character. She grows a lot in this story. She was so sheltered that she doesn’t understand a lot of things in the world, but she doesn’t show her lack of knowledge. She is still able to control her people and grow as a queen.

The ending of this book was so thrilling! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

What to read next:

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

Have you read Lady Smoke? What did you think of it?

Review: Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)

Title: Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Review:

This book was so good!

Theodosia is in a unique position in this story. She is living with the people who invaded her castle when she was a child and killed her mother. She is their prisoner, though she doesn’t always live like one. She is put on display, and is often beaten in front of an audience. Now it’s time for her to rise up and take her place as Queen.

I liked how Theo was positioned in this story in relation to the royals. In many contemporary fantasy novels, the main character is placed below the royal family, usually in a servant place. However, this one was different since Theo was more of a prisoner or hostage. I liked this twist.

The story got a little slow and repetitive in the middle. However, the last 100 pages were so fast paced, I could hardly put the book down. There were some twists at the end, which have made me so excited about the next book!

What to read next:

Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Have you read Ash Princess? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: White Stag (Permafrost #1)

Title: White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling. 

Review:

This story was a little slow to start, but once I got into it, I flew through it. I found the goblins to be very unusual creatures in this book. I always think of them as ugly little creatures, but they were more human-like and beautiful in this story. They were more like how elves and vampires are usually described.

The hunt was very exciting in the story. The goblins must compete in the hunt to kill the white stag, making the one who kills it the next Goblin King. There are two main competitors, who are the two most powerful goblins. Janneke and Soren had to battle some other strange creatures throughout the hunt.

I loved the ending, which had a little twist that I suspected was going to happen. I can’t wait to see what happens in the rest of the series!

What to read next:

Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

About the Author:

Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid   fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop.

Follow Kara:

Twitter – @PandeanPanic

Buy the book – http://wednesdaybooks.com/galaxies-and-kingdom/white-stag/

Thank you to Wednesday Books for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1)

Title: The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1)
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…
 
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen. 
 
London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
 
Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

Review:

This story was a lot of fun. It begins right in the middle of the action, with Irene on a mission to get a book for the Library. It took a while for me to get into it because I had no idea what was happening in the first chapter. Now, looking back on it, I understand it, but it was a little confusing at first.

The Library is a dream place for book lovers. The librarians find books and bring them back to the Library so they have every original and unique copy of every book. They travel to alternate universes to find alternate copies of books. The one that Irene has to find in this book is a unique copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Once I got into this book, I loved it. The ending was so good, it made me want to start on the next book right away! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

What to read next:

The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2) by Genevieve Cogman

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde

Have you read The Invisible Library? What did you think of it?

Review: If the Magic Fits (100 Dresses #1)

Title: If the Magic Fits (100 Dresses #1)
Author: Susan Maupin Schmid
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred dresses that nobody ever wears. Dresses like those need a good trying-on, and Darling Dimple is just the girl to do it. When she tries on Dress Number Eleven, something unbelievable happens. She transforms into the castle’s Head Scrubber! It turns out that each dress can disguise her as someone else. And Darling is about to have an adventure that calls for a disguise or two…or a hundred. 

Review:

I loved this unique fairytale!

In this story, Darling Dimple is an orphan who works as a servant in Princess Mariposa’s castle. Darling loses her job as a scrubber and has to work as a presser. There she discovers a closet full of magical dresses. She has to use the dresses to unlock the magic of the castle and ultimately save the Princess and her kingdom.

Darling Dimple started out as a shy girl, but her confidence grew when she wore the different magical dresses. Each dress turned her into a different person in the castle, from the head of the staff to aristocratic ladies. This was a great way of showing the parts of the story for both the castle staff and the royals.

I love reading retellings of fairytales and original ones. This one was so much fun. There was some foreshadowing at the end, which I think points to the next book in the series being about Darling Dimple’s biological parents.

What to read next:

Ghost of a Chance (100 Dresses #2) by Susan Maupin Schmid

Fairest of All (Whatever After #2) by Sarah Mlynowski

Have you read If the Magic Fits? What did you think of it?

Review: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents #1)

Title: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents #1)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Pottermore Limited
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

‘Minerva was the Roman goddess of warriors and wisdom. William McGonagall is celebrated as the worst poet in British history. There was something irresistible to me about his name, and the idea that such a brilliant woman might be a distant relative of the buffoonish McGonagall.’ – J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing from the Pottermore archives: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K. Rowling also gives us a peek behind the closed curtains of Sybill Trelawney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.

Review:

This is a great collection of stories from Hogwarts. It is part of an ebook series created by Pottermore. This book gives some details of characters, which do not appear in the Harry Potter series.

The book begins with Minerva McGonagall’s life story. It wasn’t until I started reading it, that I realized we don’t know much about her past from the series. She faced many hardships in her early adult life, but they shaped her into the strong woman she was as professor and headmistress of Hogwarts.

The second part was about Remus Lupin, so it was definitely a tear jerker. J.K. Rowling even said it was an emotional story to write. He is one of my favourite characters in the series, and he had a tragic life.

The book ends on a lighter note with stories about Sybill Trelawney and Silvanus Kettleburn. They were minor characters, and Kettleburn doesn’t even appear in the original series, but their stories were entertaining.

This is a great start to the Pottermore series, which is a must read for Harry Potter fans!

What to read next:

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling

Have you read Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies? What did you think of it?