Review: Realm of Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis

realm of knights cover

Realm of Knights
By Jennifer Anne Davis
Publication Date: September 10, 2019

Find it here on Amazon.

From Goodreads:

Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.

In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.

Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.

To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.

My Thoughts:

NetGalley provided me with this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review and, well…it wasn’t for me. I haven’t had the greatest luck with my NetGalley ARCs that sounded so promising, honestly.

Realm of Knights was no different.

The concept was great! A teenage girl, burdened with her family’s livelihood by pretending to be a boy for her entire life? Sounds awesome!

But.

There’s a right way to do this (*cough* Alanna of Trebond *cough*) and a wrong way. And the wrong way is to spend every other sentence constantly reminding you that Reid is a girl pretending to be a boy. Seriously, it was ALL THE TIME. Pretty much with that exact same wording.

And the summary makes the Knights of the Realm sound way more prevalent than it actually was. I mean, yeah, technically Reid joins them, and some other stuff ensues. But, they sort of felt more like an afterthought, or convenient plot point, more than anything else.

And can we please discuss the fact that the romance in this was SO FORCED and unnecessary? I didn’t even know the romance was happening, and then all of a sudden, there it was. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE romance added into a plot. I love romance in pretty much anything. I’m a sucker for love.

This was not it.

Everything felt so incredibly rushed that I didn’t feel invested in literally ANYONE in the story, until maybe the last couple of chapters. Coincidentally, that is finally when something happened in the story. And then it ended pretty much on a cliffhanger.

That usually gets me to immediately go find the second book, but…to put it simply, I didn’t care enough to.

I truly LOVED the idea of the story, though, and the setting was cool, and even the world it took place in was interesting! But the writing style was not at all for me.

I give this book two drops, because the end got much more interesting than the rest of the story and the plot was a fun idea that reminded me of Mulan or The Song of the Lioness quartet.

Want to see more of my reviews? Check them out here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Review: Cupid’s Match by Lauren Palphreyman

Cupid’s Match
By Lauren Palphreyman
Publication Date: October 1, 2019

Find it here on Amazon.

From Goodreads:

He’s mythologically hot, a little bit wicked, and almost 100% immortal. And he’ll hit you right in the heart . . .

“Miss Black, we have a big problem.”

Lila Black doesn’t believe in matchmaking, let alone soul mates. So then why is she constantly being hassled by the Cupids Matchmaking Service? But this gilded, cherub-bedecked dating agency isn’t exactly what it seems . . . and it’s about to turn Lila’s entire world upside down.

It turns out that Cupids Matchmaking is the real deal. As in, it’s run by actual cupids—who don’t look at all like they do in the paintings—and they have a serious problem with Lila’s “match.” Because this guy shouldn’t be in the system. He shouldn’t have a match. And while he’s irresistibly hot, he’s also incredibly dangerous. Because Lila’s true love match is Cupid. The original bad boy of love. And he wants her.

Now Lila’s once-normal teenaged world has exploded into a mythological nightmare overrun by crime-lord sirens, wrathful cupid hit men, magic arrows that cause no end of trouble, and a mischievous, not-so-angelic love god she can’t seem to stop herself from falling for . . .

Adored by 50 million readers on Wattpad, Lauren Palphreyman’s smash-hit book is now in print for the first time. 

My Summary:

My own brief summary of the story: cupids (in this book, both a supernatural species and a specific person named Cupid) work under a matchmaking agency that brings couples together world-wide by finagling them into “meet-cute” situations with their matches. However, cupids themselves are forbidden from matching, and the story begins when Cupid himself (banished from the agency for reasons unknown to the reader until the end) receives a match!

Enter our protagonist, Lila, who just wants this weirdo matchmaking place to stop spamming her with letters. She storms their office only to be immediately introduced to the supernatural world of cupids and matchmaking and danger and intrigue and so on via a hot guy named Cal, who appears to be in charge. She’s told she has been matched to Cupid himself, who (by the way) has no clue who she is and has decided to go undercover at her high school to find her.

Cal also goes undercover at the school, to protect Lila from Cupid being able to find her and ensure the match doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, the plan rapidly falls apart and they are stuck working with Cupid against both the matchmaking agency and a radical group of cupid terrorists called “the Arrow,” hell-bent on killing Lila and/or Cupid to eliminate the possibility of a match. There’s a lot of arrow-shooting, tense glances, hiding things from friends and family, and twisty-plot points that follow.

My Thoughts

This one was…not for me.

I was so excited to read this book. One, because it sounded interesting and SUPER cute. Two, because it’s an author who started this story on Wattpad and I’m a sucker for new authors trying to break out. And three, because it was my first ARC received (ever) from NetGalley and I couldn’t wait to get back to reading a reviewing amazing new stories!

BUT (and it pains me to say that, because I wanted to enjoy this so incredibly much) it was SO SO difficult for me to get through the terrible e-ARC formatting. Seriously, guys, it was just AWFUL. They’ve got a LOT of work to do as far as fixing format goes, because my eyes were crossing just trying to follow lines of dialogue that were mushed together into the same paragraph, all right next to each other.

As for the story itself, it was definitely a new and original take on the cupid myth! Once I pushed through the formatting issues, I would definitely say that this story has a lot of potential. Everyone else seems to think so, because it has rave reviews all over Goodreads. I’m not sure that I understand that, really, because the entire plot was a little bit…cutesy and juvenile for me.

There were some cheesy lines that I think were meant to be emotional or heavy, and they didn’t quite come across that way. Some of the things the characters did or supposedly felt didn’t quite seem believable to me (and yes, I get that it’s a fantasy, technically, but you know what I mean). It felt like this was meant for a much younger audience…maybe middle-grade?

In short, I know a lot of people enjoyed this (clearly, because it was optioned for a pilot on CW Seed…not sure if it went any further than that or not but you can check it out here). It was not for me, but I think a younger audience would enjoy it as a cute, quick summertime read!

My rating on this one would have to be two drops. I finished it and didn’t skim through a lot of it, and it was a quick and easy read once I’d gotten used to the format, but it was not something I would pick up again.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Published by Scribechick Media, LLC on March 22, 2018
Find it here on Amazon
!

From Goodreads:

A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA…

Think you know what it’s like being a baller’s girl?
You don’t.
My fairy tale is upside down.
A happily never after.
I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.
I was a fool, and his love – fool’s gold.
Now there’s a new player in the game, August West.
One of the NBA’s brightest stars.
Fine. Forbidden.
He wants me. I want him.
But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won’t let me go

*Certain aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

My Review

Whoa. I’ve read sports romances before. I’ve gone through phases where sports romance was pretty much the only thing I’ve ever read. And I even know that I’m SUPER late to the Kennedy Ryan craze, but one of my favorite Booktubers (Chelsea Palmer, if you’re interested!) was raving so I had to check it out.

In case you were wondering, this is not simply a sports romance.

Kennedy Ryan touches on SO many things throughout this story, but the major trigger warnings in here are domestic violence and rape (not on the part of the protagonist, obviously). She did not hold back one ounce on either of those topics.

Shit gets dark, y’all, but in an amazing, incredible, on the edge of your seat way. I can’t remember the last time my heart actually started racing while reading.

I cried. I cheered. I had my Kindle on the table and both hands on my face in anxiety. My husband was deeply concerned for my sanity but I was SO into this story I started the audio book in the morning, downloaded the Kindle Unlimited version in the evening, and finished it sometime late at night.

August and Iris have a beautiful, supportive relationship, and they are literally there for each other through everything. He’s so careful of her feelings and how she is treated after what she’s been through, and I’m here for it.

I could go on about this book for days, and if you know me in real life, I have done that. Relentlessly. Sorry (not really though).

I literally could not put it down. If you’re wondering, this book one MILLION percent gets a 5 drop review from me and I will talk it up to anyone who asks.

If you want to see anymore of my reviews, check out this page!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Review: Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Crown of Coral and Pearl
By Mara Rutherford
Published on August 27, 2019 by Inkyard Press

Find it here on Amazon!

From Goodreads:

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

I received this as an eARC from NetGalley in return for my honest review, and man do I not regret that. This is supposedly the first novel in a series from a brand-new author, but it doesn’t read that way AT ALL.

This book touched on SO MANY things, but before I get into all of that, have my quick summary!

This book (with its absolutely beautiful cover, by the way, can we please discuss that real quick? *drools*) follows Nor, a young woman from a floating village called Varenia. The Goodreads summary really covers the important points, but it downplays how MUCH importance Varenians place on physical beauty.

I picture Nor and her twin sister Zadie’s mother to be one of those crazy dance moms you see on those TV shows. The sisters are forbidden from doing so many fun things (mostly Zadie, as Nor has a small pink scar on her face, which is considered her “deformity”), all on the fear that something will happen to injure one of them and permanently scar.

She’s a terrible person. I GUESS she has her reasons for it, maybe? But I don’t really think they justify how awful she is as a person and a mother.

The story really gets started when Zadie IS injured after being chosen by the village elders to travel to Ilara and marry the prince. No one but Nor can go in her place because reasons. Adventures ensue, people aren’t who you think they are, and plot twist-y and romantic things happen.

My Review

I LOVED this book. I really did. As I said before, the writing style is so descriptive and AMAZING, that you really can’t tell this is Mara Rutherford’s first novel.

She touches on beauty and its importance in society in such a spectacular way. You follow Nor’s personal growth as she learns that the tiny scar on her cheek is not nearly as important as the strong and capable woman she is on the inside, and that there are much more important things in life and society than how one looks on the outside.

You can’t help but empathize with Nor and Zadie’s situation from the beginning, and the sisterly bond between the twins hit me particularly hard, as my own sister is my best friend in the entire world. They would do anything for each other, and they do, constantly.

I did get a little annoyed with Nor throughout the middle of the book, as she can be incredibly naive and trusting. She can’t really be blamed for this, though, because she’s spent her entire 17 years of life living in a small floating village that had no (or at least very limited) contact with outsiders. They aren’t allowed to step foot on land, because reasons.

She quickly moves passed that, and becomes a strong and awesome heroine. As for the hero…WOO BOY the chemistry between her and Prince Talin is off the charts from the beginning. I adore that man, I really do. It was a little insta-love, for me, but it worked.

There are some plot twists that happen that, if I’m being totally honest, were rather predictable from the beginning. This didn’t come close to ruining the story for me, though, and they should make for awesomeness in the sequel.

The only problem that I have now with this book is that I’ve read it so early. I have, like, an ENTIRE YEAR before the sequel comes out.

I. Can’t. WAIT.

I’d give this book a solid 4 drops, bordering on 4.5! This was a great read, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!

four drop four star review

If you liked this review, go and check out some of my other ones here!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

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The Witness

by Nora Roberts

Find it here on Amazon!

Published April 17th 2012 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Find it on Goodreads

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller — and will leave people hungering for more.

I love love love love a good Nora Roberts book. It actually took me a really long time to finally get into her because I felt a lot of them were similar and repetitive…BUT. This was the first one that made me sit up and go “Woah.” There were others that came after it, definitely. But Elizabeth’s story (or Abigail’s…spoiler alert. Sort of. Not really.) was fantastic.

Nora Roberts delves into the Russian mafia, the Witness Protection Program, cyber security, and even touches on mental abuse. It’s pretty wide-ranged, obviously. But holy crap is this an adventure.

Elizabeth shows herself to be a very multi-faceted character…and an interesting one. Her ultra-clinical mom pretty much treats her as a science experiment for the first 16 years of her life. I mean, I like science, too. But I’m pretty sure her mother was a sociopath. Apparently Elizabeth had enough and decided to rebel and show how unlike her mother she actually was. She didn’t want to go on to be the youngest doctor (I think EVER, because she was soon to be sent of to med school at 16, and that’s just ridiculous), she wanted to be an FBI cyber crimes specialist.

Teenage rebellion happens and some other bad stuff that you can find out if you take my advice and read it, but fast forward 12 years and she’s understandably skittish about coming close to anyone or anything, but she has a super cute dog who is named Bert, which is awesome. I’m a fan of anyone who makes a dog such a huge part of their story.

She meets Brooks Gleason, who’s the smokin’ hot sheriff of the small town she decided to settle into. With no better way to say it, he literally forces himself into her life (not in a creepy way, but more in a small-town, charm-y and cute way) and she sort of gets used to him and yay, love happens!

The only thing that kind of bothered me at times while I was reading was how robot-like she made Elizabeth seem. Yes, I understand that her mom sucked and she had a definitely-not-normal childhood and was all focused on school and everything. BUT she spent 12 years on the run and away from her mother’s rules and still was more socially awkward than Sheldon Cooper. I think she was trying to portray someone who was very scientifically minded, but…it seemed kind of forced to me.

That’s it though. The single bad thing I have to say about the whole book, because Brooks Gleason is another fictional boyfriend of mine. He’s awesome. And teaches the super awkward Elizabeth/Abigail how to be a semi-normal human being. As does his family, all of whom are pushy and lovable and sweet. And they love dogs.

In case you couldn’t tell, I adored this book, and it gets all five drops from me.

5 drops

You made it through another review! Here’s another picture of Loki:

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre (and the rest of the Razorland Series)

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Enclave (Razorland #1)

By Ann Aguirre

Published April 12, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Find it here on Amazon!

Found on Goodreads

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters–or Freaks–who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight–guided by Fade’s long-ago memories–in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Ann Aguirre’s thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world–facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to feel about this book, honestly. There were a ton of SUPER mixed reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, but the summary was too interesting for me to pass up. Come on, the future, zombies, and a dystopian romance? I’m pretty sure nothing is more mainstream than this right about now.

So why didn’t I ever hear of this book until I’d dug fairly deeply into everything that Goodreads has available? Not a clue.

But I loved it. And I went and immediately bought the other two, because I couldn’t help myself and my self-control sucks (and also my money management skills, shhh…).

A brief summary on the whole series (without super spoiling anything): It’s about a century into the future, and humans screwed up Earth by sciencing like there was no tomorrow…until there really wasn’t a tomorrow for a lot of them. They killed the majority of the population off with chemical and biological warfare, and those left were either mutated or stuck living in various forms of seclusion. The main character, Deuce, was born in an enclave that took up a place in what was left of New York City’s subway system, trying to survive on what was passed down from very short generation to generation. She had never seen sunlight, or been in a space wider or taller than a subway tunnel. When she comes of age (in the enclave, it’s fifteen) she becomes a Huntress for the enclave…kind of their law enforcement/food provider/all around muscle. And she is a BADASS. I enjoy a good badass woman in my books. She gets partnered up with Fade, who found his way into the enclave from topside, and sparks fly (hahaha…you’ll see what I did there if you read it…I amuse myself sometimes.) Eventually they find their way topside…and so do the mutants that they’ve been fighting. General warfare/badassery ensues as they meet new communities and learn about the world that came before.

And there’s a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a happy ending.

This entire series was honestly a roller-coaster for me, mentally and emotionally. I spent the whole thing laughing, crying, and becoming unreasonably frustrated with some of the things that Deuce chooses to do/think.

It does get sort of love-triangle-ish, which is honestly one of my pet peeves…but Ann Aguirre executed this extremely well and doesn’t make it too angsty. And the character development that you see throughout all three books of the main characters is INCREDIBLE. You are really able to put yourself in Deuce’s mindset and grow along with her as she learns that the whole world doesn’t really work the same as they did in the subway tunnels.

And I won’t lie, Fade became one of my fictional boyfriends. He’s awesome. That is all.

I would hands-down recommend this book and the rest of the series to anyone. And I already have been. Which means that it gets all five drops!

5 drops

So that’s it! My first book review! Here’s a picture of my dog, Loki, as a reward for reading all of that:

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Isn’t he cute?

  Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.