Friday, May 26, 2023

Book Review: "The Serpent and the Wings of Night" by Carissa Broadbent

Title: The Serpent and the Wings of Night
Author: Carissa Broadbent
Series: "Crowns of Nyaxia" #1
Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romance
Page Length: 491 pages
Publication Date: August 30, 2022
Rating: 5 // 5 stars 

If you're anything like me, you'd have seen this book everywhere on booktok and bookstagram in the last few months. It has blown up and everyone and their mother seems to be raving about it. Even reviewers I follow who are notoriously tough on fantasy romance seemed to love it. So I bought it a couple months ago and this past weekend I decided to give it a go. 

I pretty much did not stop the moment I started this book. I read it in one sitting, in one night, and loved it. Carissa Broadbent just has a writing style that lets me fall into her books and not even notice how long I've been reading until hours later.

I'd say this book is The Hunger Games meets Throne of Glass meets vampires. Everyone keeps recommending it as similar to ACOTAR but I don't really get that vibe (only similarity is the love interests have wings?). Of course, I've not yet read the second book so maybe that's where people are getting that from.

But let's get into the actual book. In terms of our main character, I loved her. Oraya's story was addicting to read. I liked her as a character and I was rooting for her the entire way. She's a human in a world not designed for humans but that doesn't make her weak in any way. Entering the Kejari is a way to change things for her.

The Kejari, a legendary competition held by the goddess of death every hundred years, grants the winner one wish. This competition is the key to Oraya's future and finding her long-lost family. And it was addicting. I love competition and tournament stories and this one was so fun. I will admit, I expected it to be different than it was but the way it went was still quite good. 

Our love interest definitely had me swooning. Raihn is another vampire in this competition and he teams up with Oraya (though she's reluctant) to get through the competition to the end. He was so fun to read about. His wit, their back and forth banter, the slow unraveling of his secrets...I loved it. 

The world is fascinating. Vampires, gods, and certainly provides for an interesting mix. I am very eager to learn more about this world as there's supposed to be six books total in this series, with a couple spin-offs/companions already out. I love a big world we get to play in and I'm very interested to see this one unravel a bit more. 

The ending shook me, but was also pretty on par with a book like this. I think I'm beginning to see a pattern with my favorite fantasy romance books and how they end...because three of my all-time favorites have now ended this way in the past year and a half. It's a popular ending for sure and I thought this one was particularly well-done. 

There's really not much more I can say without spoiling things that I don't want to spoil. Overall, I loved this book. It was so fun to read and I loved every second. I'm cautiously optimistic about the sequel, though, as I've heard a lot of mixed things and I'm expecting it to be a lot different than this first one. Either way, I'm excited to know what happens next and to see more of these characters. I'm also intrigued by all of the companions/spin offs. In the span of the month this world went from one book to four so there's a lot of material I can catch up on for sure.

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Series Review: "The Bonds That Tie" by J. Bree

Series: The Bonds That Tie
Author: J. Bree
Reading Order & Individual Ratings:
  1. Broken Bonds - 4.5 // 5 stars
  2. Savage Bonds - 4 // 5 stars
  3. Blood Bonds - 4.5 // 5 stars
  4. Forced Bonds - 4 // 5 stars
  5. Tragic Bonds - 4 // 5 stars
  6. Unbroken Bonds - 3.5 // 5 stars
Overall Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Between this series and all of the books set in the Mounts Bay world, I'm pretty sure J. Bree is a new favorite author of mine. While this series did not surpass the Hannaford Prep, Queens Crow, or Butcher of the Bay series for me, I still really enjoyed it. It was the series that introduced me to J. Bree.

So I first started this series back in December, just a little after the publication of the last book. I binged the first five books in just a couple weeks. I was obsessed with Oli and her boys. I finally got to the last book in April and finished the series. 

My overall thoughts for this series are basically that it was good but that it didn't need to be that long. Each book was quite long and then the series overall was six books. I think for the overall plot and romance arc, it could have been done in four or five books. My favorites were the earlier books but I am also quite satisfied by the ending. 

Let's start with the characters. One thing I like about J. Bree's "why choose" romances is that the characters are very distinct from one another. Sometimes with "why choose" books, it can be easy to fall into the trap of all the love interests being very similar and hard to tell apart. But this series, and the Hannaford Prep series, shows that is not the case with J. Bree. I could tell who was who just by how they were speaking and I loved that. The slow burn was deliciously slow. I love J. Bree's books for that. But it was worth the payoff in the end. I liked that the different relationships between Oli and her boys also developed at different speeds. It felt more realistic. The steamy scenes were also well worth the wait. 

In terms of plot, I thought it was very intriguing. The world inside our own that J. Bree built in this series was fascinating to learn about and read about. I think the plot was fun and addicting, though again I think that the books could have been condensed and that the plot was stretched too long. 

Overall, these books were addicting and I had a lot of fun reading them. I will definitely be returning to them in the future and I hope to one day get the physical copies for my bookshelf when I have the space and money to do so. I'm also just grateful to this series for introducing me to J. Bree. Without it, I wouldn't have found any of her other books that have become some of my favorites of all time. 

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, May 22, 2023

Book Review: "Fourth Wing" by Rebecca Yarros

Title: Fourth Wing
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Series: "The Empryean" #1
Publication Date: May 2, 2023
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Let me just start off this review by saying that the hype for this book is totally justified and I am 100% the target market for it. Like if you could take a bunch of the things I love plus my desire for dragons and mash it all together, this is it. It honestly feels a bit like this book was tailor-made for me. 

I'll get into the nitty gritty of the review in a minute but I also just want to mention my experience since finishing this book. I read it in one sitting, though I did take my time and savored it so it was a longer sitting than usual. I just didn't want to put it down or do anything else. And then I went to bed not long after and literally dreamt about this book. I dreamt about the story and it was like I was there. I've not had that ever happen (or if it has, I can't remember). Just another reason for me to be obsessed with this book.

Alright so let's actually dive into why I loved this book so much. First things first, I'm a big mood reader lately. I have to be really interested/excited for a book in order to read it nowadays because I'm so exhausted from work/life otherwise. I was gearing up all week to read Fourth Wing over the weekend when I finally finished work. So I did have the buildup of a week of being excited to read it. The hype online is real for this book, which I think also helped along my desire to read it. And because I was super excited to read it, it meant that I was loving every moment when I started.

The main reason I loved this book was the characters and then the setting and plot. I'm a big character-driven reader and this book has a lot to root for. Of course I love our main character Violet but I also loved the entire cast of characters (and dragons) we get to know. My top favorites are definitely Rhiannon, Liam, Tairn, Mira, and, of course, Xaden. 

Violet was a really intriguing main character in my opinion. She's got chronic illness/pain so she's not as equal in the physical department when it comes to the other cadets at Basgaith. It sets her back a lot and it's something she consistently struggles with. However, she's badass in so many other ways and still tries her best at the physical stuff even though it takes her 125% more effort than anyone else. She's witty and smart and passionate and I just loved her. Is she perfect? No. But is anybody in real life perfect?

I loved the setting. A war college training them to be dragon riders? Yes please. The moment I heard that I was intrigued and wanted to know all about it. The way it was described and the inclusion of the map of the college allowed me to very vividly picture what it all looked like while I was reading it. I would love to actually go to a place that looks like how I imagine this war college to look like. 

Then we have the plot. Now, as a fantasy romance, the plot and the romance can't be separated from each other too much as the romance is such a big part of the plot. So as I talk about the plot, the romance will naturally worm its way in, kind of how it happened in the book. 

This world is only a few years past a major rebellion that ended with a lot of executions and the surviving children of these rebellious people being forcibly conscripted into being dragon riders (with the unspoken hope that as many die out as possible). Xaden is one of these children. And Violet's mother is a General, one who is responsible for a lot of what happened after the rebellion ended. Naturally, this leads to a lot of resentment between Xaden and Violet. 

That's only the backstory, though, as the actual plot starts with Violet entering this war college to become a dragon rider (in an initiation that almost kills her). It takes place over the span of a year as Violet trains to bond with a dragon and be a rider. It was so fascinating to read about. I'm a sucker for stories set in boarding schools/universities/etc and this was no exception. 

While the main plot is Violet learning to become a rider, there's also a sneaky bit of mystery woven in that I won't discuss so as to not give away any spoilers. However, this added a lot of depth through this first book and heavily contributed to the ending and what I suspect the plot of the second book will be about. 
The last element of the plot was, of course, the romance. It was deliciously slow burning and I loved reading about it. I don't want to give away too much so that everyone can experience it for themselves without expectation but it was so good. I am very much looking forward to how this continues in the next book because DAMN. 

Yes there were some tears at the end when you-know-what happened. Yes I have not stopped thinking about this book since I finished it, even while reading other books. And yes I am obsessively counting down the days until the sequel comes out later this year. And let me just say, I'm so glad the sequel is only six months away instead of a full year. 

Overall, I loved this book so much. It's definitely in my top two of the year so far, if not my number one read. I had so much fun, didn't want to put it down, and never wanted it to end. It was recently announced that it's plotted to be five books long and I am so incredibly excited for each and every one of those books. I can only imagine the fun we're going to get into as it goes along.

Thanks for reading!

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