The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

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Princess Lyana Aethionus should be focused on winning a mate but her thoughts wander to the open sky and the edge of her floating kingdom. Adventure calls and when she heeds it she finds a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon. A match that may just change the course of her future.

Rafe is reviled among his people but he will do anything for his half-brother including posing as him in the courtship trials. When they are attacked by a dragon he sacrifices himself to protect his brother. However, after a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a dove who possesses the same forbidden magic.

In the world below a king fights a forgotten war and with help from a favored spy hidden in the dove royal house, he sets into motion a plan that will change the world. I received this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own. The Raven and the Dove will be released on March 9, 2020.

I am left with a tumult of emotions after finishing this book. My emotions vary from anger to sadness to excitement. I cannot wait for the next book in the series which will sadly not be coming out for a while. This book took me on a phenomenal journey that will have a lasting imprint for months to come.

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The characters were wonderful. Lyana, the main character was a princess fighting to leap outside the constraints of royalty. She longed for adventure and new places in a world that was set on placing her in a cage. Her character was relatable and I enjoyed how she fought to do something good with her magic despite the chance of discovery and death.

The other characters were just as excellently written. They made a diverse cast of characters with painful pasts. However, the love triangle was slightly annoying because it was in a partial state of existence and I was so angry and annoyed with Cassi. Cassi was Lyana’s best friend who spoiler alert, turned out to be a spy and willing to do anything for a savage king who wanted nothing but to fulfill a prophecy that I guarantee you has nothing to do with him. I am so angry with her because of what she did to Rafe. Also, has anyone noticed that Rafe is a popular prince name in ya novels?

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The world-building was stunning. The author created a world where islands filled with flying people lived in the sky while war and chaos raged below an impenetrable mist. Dragons soaked the sky with the fires of their rage and magic that could heal and destroy swirled around the author’s creation. I loved it despite the lack of explanation of the magic and how everything fits together. I assume with time the author will build that up and eventually everything will fit together. I loved the world-building and find that it is unique.

I would recommend reading this book. The rest of the series is planned and comes out in 2020 through 2021 and I could not be more excited. I need to know what happens to the characters and how it all shakes out. And if you love ya fantasy this book is for you.

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

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Camille Durbonne lives in Paris in 1789, a city of labyrinthine streets and upheaval where magic manifests but hides its face. When Camille’s parents die she must rely on magic to keep her sister healthy and fed. However, when her painstaking coins turn back to the metal they originally were and Camille’s brother runs off will their savings she must find a new way to make a better life.

What better way to do this than to enter the glittering court of Louis XVI? Camille uses forbidden blood magic and enters the court to gamble as a Baroness. She moves into a world of poisonous splendor and as she spends each night gambling to create a new life she begins to lose herself. As Paris starts to burn for freedom Camille loses control of her secrets and the game she has been playing turns deadly. She must choose before her world comes crashing down – love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic. I received this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own. Enchantee was published February 5, 2019.

I have heard a lot of excellent things about this book and it did live up to many of my expectations. It was a wonderful read but I was frustrated at how hard it was for me to get into this book. The magic of Versailles and Aeronautics drew me in but the book lacked the ability to keep me up reading it. It is one of the first books in a while that has taken me more than a day to read simply because I kept putting it down since Enchantee could not keep me interested for long periods of time. This was disappointing but I still found the story interesting with its take on a girl navigating the two worlds of France during Louis XVI’s reign.

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The characters were fascinating and Camille Durbonne, the main character was filled with determination, grit, and caring for her sister. Her sorrow was deeply felt and I admired her willingness to do anything to move above the circumstances she was born with including using draining blood magic. She straddled the worlds of nobility and the common people showing the good and the bad of each. She had flaws and it was intriguing to see her choices and how this charted the path her life would take. Her ability to not be cowed by all the things life threw at her was phenomenal and I loved her character.

The side characters were intriguing. I hated Camille’s sister though. She was too naive for the world she lived in. I understood her need to be appreciated and assist her sister but I felt that both Camille and her sister neglected the other leading to easily avoided situations. Otherwise, I loved Camille’s colorful friends and her love interest was wonderful. The villain was intriguing but I hated his reason for being the evil in this tale. It was thrown together and I did not appreciate that all his plots surrounded such arbitrary reasoning. Despite this, the characters that filled Enchantee were vivacious and wonderful

I loved the setting of the book. The times before and during the French Revolution are fascinating and I enjoyed a look at both the commoners and the aristocrat’s point of view for they were bloody times and no one was completely innocent. I enjoyed how the author wrote about the beauty of Versailles yet overlayed that with how insufficient it was to cover the wrongdoings of the royalty. It was interesting to read about the two sides of the times with the splendor and lavishness of the upper classes and the struggles of the lower classes. The author quite neatly conveyed the times and the struggles between people that led to the French Revolution.

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Overall, this book was an interesting read but I cannot count it among my absolute favorites. It was less exciting and more boring than expected. However, I will read the second book in the series when it comes out and I hope it can draw me in better than Enchantee did.

Sharing Saturday Sixty-Six

I promised weeks ago to start posting regularly and with the start of 2020, I am committed to this. For my first Sharing Saturday of the year, I have decided to share with you a paragraph from a short story I am currently working on. This is the beginning paragraph. I hope you enjoy!

I wish I had left a legacy.  Don’t we all wish that? To leave something to be remembered by.  I never did that and now I will never get the chance. When my death came I had hoped to have no regrets but alas that is not true.  We all have regrets but we hope maybe it was a lesson a part of life. Something to be remembered and think back on as an obstacle successfully overcome.  But all I see as the darkness closes in on me is my mistakes. I did what I had to do to survive but I could have done more and for that, I can never forgive myself.  Maybe. Maybe there will be something beyond this life. A second chance. Wishful thinking but none of us truly know what is beyond death. I glance up one last time as a hooded face appears briefly before me but all I see is darkness until it pulls away.  Looking up, I see the ancient moon which watches indifferently as inky blackness closes around me for the final time.

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Image result for warrior of the wildRasmira has trained her whole life to lead her village and become a warrior. But when she fails her coming of age trial due to trickery and sabotage she is banished to the monster-filled wilderness. To regain her honor she must destroy the god who claims tribute from the villages or die trying. As she explores the wilderness she learns more about her people, herself, and the god that reigns over them all like a constant menacing shadow.

I finally got around to reading this book and it was phenomenal! Levenseller wrote another strong female character who could take care of herself. Put her in a viciously unique world and you have an excellent story on your hands. From the first lines, I was drawn into the creation of a character who learned and grew in exile eventually bringing change to a world ruled by fear.

Image result for yes i love it gifThe characters were stunning. Rasmira, the main character is the daughter of the chieftain and is a woman determined to become a warrior. At the beginning of the book, we see her as an aloof character who is unsure of how to lead people. As the book continues readers see her growth into a confident leader ready to make the change she wants. In the beginning, all she wants is to please her father but by the end, all she cares for is that she did something for herself, not for her father. Another aspect of her character is overcoming her distrust of friends for the only one she ever had before going into the wild betrayed her. Rasmira is determined to do everything by herself but in the wild, she realizes that the only way to survive is together not apart.

Rasmira’s character is complemented by the ones that surround her. The two friends she makes in the wild are each struggling with guilt and anger at each other. They have not started their tasks and are unwilling to complete them until Rasmira convinces and assists them. The evil villain of the book, the god is an interesting character in the manner that he never truly seemed like a god. Readers find out why later in the book but I won’t spoil it.

Image result for thank you gif funnyIn the end, I loved the book much like I did her other ones. It brought to life a strong female in a harsh world and demonstrated the growth she went through to become a better leader and person.

Books I want ( I actually need as much as air) in 2020

A new decade and a new year is here. Along with this comes a list of books I want to read that come out this year. I am sure that this list will just continue to grow throughout the year but here is my list so far with the release dates.

January

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim – January 7, 2020

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna – Marie McLemore – January 14, 2020

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani – January 28, 2020

February

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland – February 4, 2020

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace – February 4, 2020

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De Cruze – February 4, 2020

Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal – February 11, 2020

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley – February 11, 2020

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – February 25, 2020

March

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – March 3, 2020

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski – March 3, 2020

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie – March 10, 2020

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban – March 17, 2020

Thorn by Intisar Khanani – March 24, 2020

April

Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey – April 14, 2020

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova – April 28, 2020

Don’t Call the Wolf by Aleksandra Ross – April 28, 2020

May

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust – May 12, 2020

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess – May 12, 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins  – May 19, 2020

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – May 26, 2020

June

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles – June 2, 2020

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown – June 2, 2020

The Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwell – June 16, 2020

The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae – June 16, 2020

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee – June 23, 2020

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross – June 23, 2020

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke – June 2020

July

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim – July 7, 2020

We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal – July 7, 2020

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning – July 7, 2020

Shielded by KayLynn Flanders – July 21, 2020

August

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons – August 4, 2020

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar – August 11, 2020

Reign by Cora Carmack – August 25, 2020

September

Fable by Adrienne Young – September 1, 2020

The Other Side of the Sky by Annie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – September 8, 2020

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco – September 15, 2020

A Curse of Gold by Annie Sullivan – September 22, 2020

more…

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Image result for sherwood by meagan spoonerRobin of Locksley is dead and Maid Marian doesn’t know how to continue but the people need a savior. Guy of Gisbourne wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as the Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiance but he is the horrible right-hand man of the Sherriff of Nottingham. 

Marian never meant to take Robin’s place, to tread in his footsteps but with a sweep of her green cloak and the flash of her sword she becomes her own hero. The hero that fills the storybooks of old: Robin Hood. 

This book was a new and interesting take on the tale of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. I was drawn immediately into this story but argued with myself over putting the book down without finishing it. The basis for this solely was that the characters were too similar to a favorite book series of mine. This series, Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen had characters whose names were the same as they were in Sherwood despite differing roles. I could have looked beyond most of them except for the villain of the tales, Gisbourne. In Scarlet he was a vile man who I abhorred and yet in Sherwood he was an intriguing man struggling to find justice in an unjust world. I just could not compromise these two images of the character in my mind while reading Sherwood making me irrationally angry about where Gisbourne ended up in the tale. Overall it degraded my enjoyment of the story since I was struggling with previous conceptions of what the characters should or should not be. Despite all this internal struggle I still loved the story for Spooner brought to life the struggles of a girl dealing with grief and the need to create a better world for those less fortunate.

Image result for lucifer gifThe characters are what created the tale for we all know the setting of Robin Hood and the world-building is practically set in stone. The main character, Marian was a noblewoman who could fight and shoot better than almost anybody including Robin. After Robin’s death, she sees a need in her world that she decides to fill by becoming the masked legend of Robin Hood. We see her struggle to decide what is right and what her path and purpose should be. Her anguish and yet internal strength called to the reader and I deeply felt her emotions and admired the raw determination of character it took to do what she did.

The other characters added to the tale in wondrous ways especially Gisbourne. As I have discussed I had issues with his character and yet it was still phenomenal to see him finally break loose of the bonds of society all for the woman he loves. In bringing up love I must complain a little bit about the building of the romance. It just abruptly happened and I felt like there was no lead up to Gisbourne being in love with Marian. They spent three-fourths of the story being enemies and yet they are desperately in love by the end. Definitely not the most developed part of this story. However, this can be overlooked for the special wonder of the tale as a whole.

Image result for read it gifI would recommend reading the story. Don’t read it though if you still have another retelling of Robin Hood in your head because it will mess with you. But overall this was a phenomenal read that lives up to Spooner’s adept storytelling of bringing old characters and stories to life in a different and unique manner.