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Photo Review – The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana

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The Confectioner’s Guild

by Claire Luana

Summary: A magic cupcake. A culinary killer. The perfect recipe for murder.

Wren knew her sweet treats could work wonders, but she never knew they could work magic. She barely has time to wrap her head around the stunning revelation when the head of the prestigious Confectioner’s Guild falls down dead before her. Poisoned by her cupcake.

Now facing murder charges in a magical world she doesn’t understand, Wren must discover who framed her or face the headsman’s axe. With the help of a handsome inspector and several new friends, Wren just might manage to learn the ropes, master her new powers, and find out who framed her. But when their search for clues leads to a deep-rooted conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, she realizes that the guild master isn’t the only one at risk of death by chocolate.

If Wren can’t bring the powerful culprit to justice, she and her friends will meet a bittersweet end.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Review:

The Confectioner’s Guild was a whimsical fantasy that involved magic and baking with murder and mystery.

It turns out that I don’t often enjoy whimsical tales or book about baking, but if you’re into urban fantasy with a bit of cozy mystery and baking, it’s fun.

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Star 3

Photo Review – The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

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The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)

by Roshani Chokshi

Summary: No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Source: I received a signed hardcover in my Uppercase subscription box

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Review:

The Gilded Wolves was a fun and intriguing book about a secret society full of heists and secrets. Th setting was fun and I enjoyed the characters.

My biggest issue with the book was how similar it felt to Six of Crows, just not quite as dark, but even the characters were similar with the tortured hero, the glittery and seductive girl, the skilled and secretive girl, etc.

Still, I enjoyed and would recommend The Gilded Wolves.

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Star 3

Photo Review – The Queen of Sorrow (The Queens of Renthia #3) by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Queen of Sorrow

(The Queens of Renthia #3)

by Sarah Beth Durst

Summary: The battle between vicious spirits and strong-willed queens that started in the award-winning The Queen of Blood and continued in the powerful The Reluctant Queen comes to a stunning conclusion in The Queen of Sorrow, the final volume of Sarah Beth Durst’s Queens of Renthia trilogy.

Queen Daleina has yearned to bring peace and prosperity to her beloved forest home—a hope that seemed doomed when neighboring forces invaded Aratay. Now, with the powerful Queen Naelin ruling by her side, Daleina believes that her dream of ushering in a new era can be realized, even in a land plagued by malevolent nature spirits who thirst for the end of human life.

And then Naelin’s children are kidnapped by spirits.

Nothing is more important to her than her family, and Naelin would rather watch the world burn than see her children harmed. Blaming the defeated Queen Merecot of Semo for the kidnapping, Naelin is ready to start a war—and has the power to do it.

But Merecot has grander plans than a bloody battle with her southern neighbors. Taking the children is merely one step in a plot to change the future of all Renthia, either by ending the threat of spirits once and for all . . . or plunging the world into chaos.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

The Queen of Sorrow was such a great ending to an underrated fantasy series. It brought together some characters from the first book and the dilemma of the second book ending, so if we thought there were plot holes or easy endings, the finale addressed it all. I wasn’t really satisfied with two queens, but it was necessary at the time and not nearly such a great solution, which was explored better in the finale.

I cannot rave about this trilogy enough! I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved that it was a nice break from emotional YA fantasy and wasn’t the long and complex type of adult fantasy, nor the swoonworthy and romantic adult fantasy that often features female characters.

I loved the world building and magic system and was thrown by a lot of the twists and dilemmas. It was unpredictable, unique, and thoroughly enjoyable!

Books are hard to find where I live and I am so stoked that I magically found a mass market paperback… it was what ultimately made me finally dive into the series and finish!

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Star 4

 

Photo Review – The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia #2) by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Reluctant Queen

(The Queens of Renthia #2)

by Sarah Beth Durst

Summary: Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns.

Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.

Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves.

But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.

Sarah Beth Durst established a place of dark wonder in The Queen of Blood, and now the stakes are even higher as the threat to the Queen and her people grows both from within and beyond the borders of Aratay in this riveting second novel of the Queens of Renthia series.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Review:

Book two of the Queens of Renthia was awesome. I thought perhaps the series would be all about the main character of book 1, but book two followed another character as well. I enjoyed the journey and loved seeing the actions of book 1 have real world consequences.

It was a strong sequel with compelling characters and I highly recommend it!

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Star 4

Photo Review – The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Queen of Blood

(The Queens of Renthia #1)

by Sarah Beth Durst

Summary: An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

Source: I purchased a hardcover

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Review:

The Queen of Blood was awesome! I think it’s technically considered YA, but it’s not really what you’d expect from a YA book. There’s none of the usual tropes, the characters aren’t highly emotional, and romance isn’t in the forefront at all. I’d recommend it as a non romance adult fantasy because I think it works well in that category.

The world building and magic system was unique and interesting. I was intrigued by the idea of spirits in nature and a queen who keeps them in check for the safety of her people.

I definitely recommend the book and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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Star 4

Photo Review – The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen

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The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3)

by Erika Johansen

Summary: In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Review:

The Queen of the Tearling trilogy has to be one of the most unique and strange, but somehow compelling fantasy (or is it fantasy?) stories I’ve read. I loved the weirdness, the jumps through the past and future, and the characters.

The Fate of the Tearling was a strong conclusion and the ending was mind blowing. Saying much else would just be giving too much away. I did enjoy getting to see a glimpse of the beginnings of the Tearling, with William Tear still alive and the next generation beginning, when we start to see the problems bubble up.

I highly recommend the series.

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Star 4

Photo Review – The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

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The Book Jumper

by Mechthild Glaser

Summary: Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.

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Source: I purchased a hardcover

Review:

The Book Jumper was a fun middle grade fantasy about literature. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and was the sole reason I purchased the book.

I enjoyed the premise, but I felt that it wasn’t as great as I’d hoped. A lot of the lessons to be learned are done by the Inkheart trilogy and I feel that the Inkheart trilogy was able to convey the same type of message with a much better story that gripped me regardless of my age. I think the biggest think lacking in this book was the character development. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I found even the mom to be kind of ridiculous and unbelievable.

This is a good story, so for kids who have perhaps exhausted the middle grade category and love books (and have already read Inkheart), perhaps this book is a great suggestion!

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Star 3

Fox and Wit Challenge – Book I bought because of the cover

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – Book I meant to read in 2018