The Last Dragon King cover reveal!

It’s cover reveal time once again!

Both the cover and the description of this book caught my eye. The Last Dragon King: Kings of Avalier Book One, by Leia Stone, is available for preorder from Amazon, but releases September 29, 2022. You can also head over to my Instagram page for details about an Amazon gift card giveaway run by Book of Matches Media (rules in my post–ends September 4th, 2022).

The synopsis:

The Dragon King is looking for a wife. 


This news throws the women in my village into a tizzy. King Valdren will be sending out the royal guard to bring women of childbearing age to his castle in Jade City, but only those who carry enough magic to produce an heir for him.

I’m a watered-down human with a mere ten percent dragon magic lineage. I know I won’t be chosen, but for some reason the magic sniffers command me to present myself to the king as a possible wife.

I’m ready to go to Jade City until my mother tells me a terrifying secret. A secret that could get me killed… by the king himself.

The Last Dragon King cover
The gorgeous cover of The Last Dragon King
The Last Dragon King cover
I wonder what the MC's secret will be?

Up next, a review! See you again tomorrow,

-CKB

Indie Author Spotlight: Tessonja Odette

Indie Author Spotlight: Tessonja Odette

As the author of 16 titles and counting, plus a new series of retellings called Entangled with Fae, Tessonja Odette should be on your radar, especially if you loved books like The Cruel Prince or A Court of Thorns and Roses. I adored her first book in The Fair Isle Trilogy (To Carve a Fae Heart…my review can be found here), so I was thrilled to find out her new series ventures back into Faerwyvae.

From what I’ve read of Odette’s work, I’d describe it as crowd pleasing fantasy with a sharp bite. There is romance to be had and swoony moments, but they are hard-won by the protagonist.

A Taste of Poison cover mockup

Tessonja Odette was on my “author TBR” for a while when, for the second time, a book of hers fell in my lap through a Book of Matches Media tour (there’s one happening right now, in fact, for A Taste of Poisonsee my Instagram for giveaway details for a contest through Book of Matches Media, which ends August 28, 2022 at midnight PST). I clawed my way out from my endless TBR pile to read this one. Once I started To Carve a Fae Heart, I wondered what had taken me so long!

While my summer of ARC reading has prevented me from getting more than a chapter into A Taste of Poison, her latest, you can be sure I’ll be returning to Faerwyvae as quickly as possible.

To learn more about this author, visit tessonjaodette.com.

The Fair Isle Trilogy, by Tessonja Odette
The Fair Isle Trilogy, by Tessonja Odette

To Carve a Fae Heart review

A Review of To Carve a Fae Heart, by Tessonja Odette

Note: I received a copy of this book as part of a Book of Matches Media tour and am leaving an honest and voluntary review.

Love enemies to lovers, or squeal at the thought of a heroine in STEM starring in a fantasy novel? Like The Cruel Prince but wish it was less…cruel? (And no, I’m not talking about The Queen of Nothing!) To Carve a Fae Heart is all that and more.

For me, this book did everything right. King Aspen is proof of how well Tessonja Odette knows her readership. He was the perfect dark and growly fae king, with all the right hints that there was more to him than met the eye. His character hit all the notes a fae king in a (semi) arranged marriage to a human should, the Beast and the handsome prince all in one.

To Carve a Fae Heart Cover

Having a heroine who relies on logic and scientific knowledge dropped into fae lands was also a lot of fun. And I can’t stress how much I appreciate that Evie is a STEM girl! I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and romance, and that familial love (both the comfort and the pain) is so bound into the story, too. Fans of Helena Rookwood and Elm Vince’s An Enchantment of Thorns will also appreciate this one. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next in To Wear a Fae Crown.

My rating:
5/5

To learn more about this author, visit tessonjaodette.com.

Tessonja Odette’s The Fair Isle Trilogy has a new look!

I’ve been reading book one of the Fair Isle Trilogy until the wee hours, and I can’t get enough! The fae king may have antlers, but he definitely has that steely charisma readers of fae romantic fantasy love so much (including this gal!) This YA/NA fae trilogy by Tessonja Odette is also getting a new look (including pretty new hardcovers, all designed by the author herself!).

I’m on the rebrand tour through Book of Matches Media, which is particularly awesome since I’ve had my eye on To Carve a Fae Heart for a while. I’m now wondering what took me so long! But there is a contest that goes with this tour…

For details on the giveaway contest, where you can win signed hardcovers of To Carve a Fae Heart, To Wear a Fae Crown, and To Spark a Fae War as part of the Book of Matches Media tour, head over to my Instagram page.

Here’s the synopsis for book one, To Carve a Fae Heart:

Every young woman dreams of marrying a king.
Everyone except for me.
Because the king I am to wed has razor sharp fangs and a thirst for blood.

All my life I knew I’d come of age during the Hundred Year Reaping. According to the ridiculous treaty, two human girls are sent to the faelands as brides for the fearsome fae king and his devilish younger brother.

Not me. I was supposed to be safe. Two girls were chosen from my village already. But when they are executed for offending the king, my sister and I are sent in their place.

What a mess. Then again, maybe it’s not so bad. The younger brother I’m paired with doesn’t seem as monstrous as I’d expected. He’s delightfully handsome too. But nothing compares to the chilling, dangerous beauty of the fae king. And when my sister flees the castle and her terrifying husband-to-be, I’m left to marry him instead.

If I go through with this, I might not survive my wedding night. If I don’t, no one is safe, neither human nor fae. An ancient war will return, bringing devastation we haven’t seen in a thousand years. Can I sacrifice myself for the good of my people? Or will a dangerous desire be the death of me first?

If I don’t lose my heart, the king will certainly lose his. I’ll carve it out with an iron blade if I have to.

…And now for those beautiful covers!

The Fair Isle Trilogy, by Tessonja Odette
The Fair Isle Trilogy, by Tessonja Odette
Fair Isle Trilogy
Naked hardbacks, designed by the author!

That’s all for now! Review of To Carve a Fae Heart coming soon.

Cheers!

CKB

Frozen Hearts and Death Magic review

A Review of Frozen Hearts and Death Magic

Note: I received an ARC and am leaving an honest, voluntary review. Parts of this book depict a violent, abusive situation.

This book was so much fun! Though Frozen Hearts and Death Magic is inspired by telanovelas, I didn’t find it overly dramatic. The characters, each a royal of kingdoms living in fear of a fae invasion or, in River’s case, an actual fae, were so lovely to get to know, and the intrigues were all interesting and absorbing (better still, readers are on the side of the one kingdom that suspects the bad guys). Because of the modern language and characters, this was a great book to read after Ashley Shuttleworth’s A Dark and Hollow Star.

I really enjoyed the magic system, which is hereditary and usually limited to one ability per character. Ironworkers can manipulate metal (Fel is so accomplished, he can fly; he also was born without hands and has learned to use metal ones seamlessly; he deals with ableism in a bit of fantasy representation). Leah is a necromancer grappling with fascinating dream magic. Naia is just beginning to discover her magic, and her relationship with mysterious fae River gave me the tingles from chapter one.

I would easily rate this book higher, but the writing changed in one of the storylines and there were flashbacks inserted late in the plot, interrupting all the exciting things that were happening. Combined with a lot of copy editing issues there that got distracting for me, I found myself getting a bit frustrated.

Frozen Hearts and Death Magic

A controlling, abusive situation that another character found themselves in was an extremely stressful surprise that others may also find hard to read. (Thankfully, the characters are awesomely magical enough that it doesn’t last long and they otherwise have plenty of agency.) It was well worth reading through these parts for me because I enjoyed everything else so much.

If you are the kind of reader who minds modern language in a high fantasy setting, this may not be for you (I did find it particularly well-suited to the teenage characters, and bristled a bit when the adults slipped into it at times). All that being said, I will happily pick up book two and see what happens to these wonderful characters and their developing magic.

Overall, I thought Frozen Hearts and Death Magic was un-put-downable.

My rating:
4/5

To learn more about this author, visit dayleitao.com.

A Darkness at the Door review

ReviewADarkness

Note: I received an ARC and am voluntarily leaving an honest review. Triggers for this book include child abduction, violence, execution and torture.

What a ride this book takes you on, and what an amazing arc for Rae! Better still, the outstanding plot points from Thorn return in A Darkness at the Door, in a way that isn’t forced and that I found very satisfying.

I didn’t get the whole “book boyfriends” thing until I read this book and Bren came along. In the early chapters of The Theft of Sunlight, we’re assured Rae will never get a match because of her turned foot and mobility issues. In A Darkness at the Door, Bren frequently laments that Rae is hard to keep up with. She’s a force for sure, because of both her determination and her goodness, and it is fantastic to see a person who sees that falling for her, and vice versa.

Slowly, Rae recaptures every scrap of dignity she lost in The Theft of Sunlight, redefining what it means to be a country girl in the city (hint: it means being more capable and grounded, now that she’s free from the pretenses of palace life). We also see her practice self-acceptance and body positivity, and coming to terms with the benefits of using a cane. In one scene, Rae thanks her body for how far it carries her, including the foot so often referred to as a limitation. She even uses opponents’ ableism against them. The disability representation is exceptional here.

This is an action-packed book with plenty of heart to balance its darkness. I can’t help but rave about the entire series, and the wonderful heights its heroine reaches in this last installment. Because I have the sense of there being so many more stories to tell in Rae’s world, I can only hope we’ll return to Menaiya again someday–or at the very least to wherever Bean is.

My rating:
5/5

To learn more about this author, visit booksbyintisar.com.

Trivia: How well do you know the Six of Crows duology characters?

How well do you know the Six of Crows characters?

Love Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology? (Of course you do! You’re here!) Test your knowledge of the unforgettable characters below!

  1. What kind of Grisha is Kuwei Yul-Bo?

    A. Heartrender
    B. Fabrikator
    C. Inferni
    D. Tailor

    2. Which of these Grisha skills does Nina have at the beginning of Six of Crows?

    A. Tailor
    B. Heartrender
    C. Healer
    D. All of the above

    3. Where does Pekka Rollins keep his office?

    A. The Kaelish Prince
    B. The Emerald Palace
    C. The Black Veil
    D. Sweet Reef

    4. Which of these characters is NOT a Grisha?

    A. Zoya
    B. Genya
    C. Jesper
    D. Colm

    5. Which one of these characters join a consortium of jurda traders according to Kaz’s plan?

    A. Jarl Brum
    B. Karl Dryden
    C. Mister Crimson
    D. Cornelius Smeet

    6. Which of these roles or disguises does Jesper NOT assume as part of a plan?

    A. Zemeni delegate
    B. Mister Crimson
    C. Jurda farmer
    D. Gambler

  1. C. Inferni

  2. D. All of the above (these are all Corporalki skills)
  3. B. The Emerald Palace
  4. D. Colm (Fahey)
  5. B. Karl Dryden
  6. C. Jurda farmer

Less than 4 questions right: You’re a Six of Crows novice! Maybe it’s time for a re-read!

4 questions right: You’re familiar with the duology, but the details have gotten fuzzy!

5 questions right: You’re almost an expert!

6 questions right: Are you Leigh Bardugo? No? Just a really huge fan? My friend, you are in the right place!

So how did you do?

9 Fantastic Quotes from the Six of Crows Duology

9 Fantastic Quotes from the Six of Crows Duology

Crooked Kingdom is my favorite of the two books in Leigh Bardugo’s brilliant Six of Crows Duology. I had so many highlights! In all fairness to Six of Crows, I’ve plucked out some of my favorites from that book to include in this list, too.

Here they are: Nine fantastic quotes from the Six of Crows Duology.

  1. What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to ring magic from the ordinary. – Crooked Kingdom

2. She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him. – Six of Crows

3. He felt free, dangerous, like lightning rolling over the prairie. – Crooked Kingdom

4. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together–knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.” – Crooked Kingdom

5. I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?” – Six of Crows

6. “That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.” – Crooked Kingdom

The Six of Crows Duology

7. “Nina glanced from Inej to Kaz and saw they both wore the same expression. Nina knew that look. It came after the shipwreck, when the tide moved against you and the sky had gone dark. It was the first sight of land, the hope of shelter and even salvation that might await you on a distant shore.” – Crooked Kingdom

8. He needed to tell her…what? That she was lovely and brave and better than anything he deserved. That he was twisted, crooked, wrong, but not so broken that he couldn’t pull himself together into some semblance of a man for her. That without meaning to, he’d begun to lean on her, to look for her, to need her near. – Six of Crows

9. “Stop treating your pain like it’s something you imagined. If you see the wound is real, then you can heal it.” – Crooked Kingdom