Book Review: King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

Goodreads: King of Battle and Blood (Adrian X Isolde #1)
Published: 30 November 2021
Genre: Fantasy Romance (Romantasy)

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Their Union Is His Revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

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Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Goodreads: The Wolf and the Woodsman
Published: 08 June 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all. 

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#TopTenTuesday: Reading Before the Year Ends – The Romance & Fantasy Edition

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Characters I’d Love An Update On (Where are they now that the book is over?)

I’m going rogue this week because I have zero brain power as I type this and I’ve been thinking about the titles on my TBR that I want to read before the year ends. They’re a mix of 2021 releases and backlist titles that I was super pumped to get to but for one reason or another were put off instead 😂 Most of the time it’s the hype that actually cautions me away from the books because I’m too scared that I’ll be disappointed! Does that happen to anyone else or is it just me?

Anyway, these are the titles that I’m really hoping to read before the year ends. 🤞🏽

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Blog Tour Review: Creation by Bjørn Larssen

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Creation (Why Odin Drinks #1) by Bjørn Larssen. Thanks to the SoT for organising and to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Creation (Why Odin Drinks #1)
Publisher: josephtailor
Publication Date: 18 August 2021
Genre: Humorous Fantasy, Norse Mythology Retelling
CW: Contains the word “ass-thetics”

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

In the beginning there was confusion.

Ever woken up being a God, but not knowing how to God properly? Your brothers keep creating mosquitoes and celery and other, more threatening weapons. What can your ultimate answer be – the one that will make you THE All-Father and them, at best, the All-Those-Uncles-We-All-Have-But-Don’t-Talk-About?

“FML! The answer’s why I drink!” – Odin

Perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, and Mrs Brown’s Boys.

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ARC Review: Given to Darkness by Phil Williams

🥳 Happy Pub Day to Given to Darkness! 🎉

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Given to Darkness, book two in the Ikiri duology by Phil Williams. When I was approached by Phil to read the conclusion to this thrilling duology I immediately said yes because I remembered how much I enjoyed book one! Check out my review for Kept from Cages.

Special thanks to Phil Williams for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Given to Darkness (Ikiri Book 2)
Publisher: Rumian Publishing
Publication Date: 19 October 2021
Genre: Supernatural Action Thriller

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Ikiri demands blood. Whose will it be?

A malevolent force stirs from the heart of the Congo. One child can stop it – but everyone wants her dead. Reece Coburn’s gang have travelled half the world to protect Zipporah, only to find her in more danger than ever. Her violent father is missing, his murderous enemies are coming for them, and her brother’s power is growing stronger. Entire communities are being slaughtered, and it’s only getting worse.

They have to reach Ikiri before its corruption spreads. But there’s a long journey ahead, past ferocious killers and unnatural creatures – and very few people can be trusted along the way. Can two criminal musicians, an unstable assassin and a compromised spy reach Ikiri alive? What will it cost them along the way?

Pick up this exciting conclusion to the Ikiri duology today, for a supernatural thriller that will keep you hooked right to the finish

BUY A COPY:

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Blog Tour Review: The Goddess of Nothing at All by Cat Rector

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for The Goddess of Nothing at All by Cat Rector. Thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Goddess of Nothing at All
Publication Date: 01 October 2021
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Retelling

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

A dark fantasy Norse myth retelling for fans of Circe, The Witch’s Heart, and The Silence of the Girls

Perhaps you know the myths.
Furious, benevolent Gods.
A tree that binds nine realms.
A hammer stronger than any weapon.
And someday, the end of everything.

But few have heard of me.

Looking back, it’s easy to know what choices I might have made differently. At least it feels that way. I might have given up on my title. Told my father he was useless, king of Gods or no, and left Asgard. Made a life somewhere else.

Maybe I would never have let Loki cross my path. Never have fallen in love.
But there’s no going back.
We were happy once.
And the price for that happiness was the end of everything.

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Blog Tour Review: Small Places by Matthew Samuels

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Small Places by Matthew Samuels. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Small Places
Publication Date: 03 August 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Small Places is a no-nonsense urban fantasy fairy story. Jamie, a shy, lonely boy, runs an errand for a witch as a child, helping them ease a family friend’s experience of cancer. Thirteen years later, Jamie’s own mother is suffering from terminal cancer as well, and he’s come back to his childhood village to spend more time with her before the end. He receives a card from the witch, Melusine, asking for his help – and casting his mind back to his childhood experience – goes to see her, hoping she can help his mother. Amidst freak earthquakes and storms, he’s drawn into working with the bad-tempered Mel in an effort to find out what’s wrong with Gaia, the earth spirit, as they visit the Seelie and Unseelie courts, finding the former racist and the latter paranoid, meeting stoned fauns and beer-brewing trolls along the way.

It’ll appeal to fans of Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London series, Charles de Lint’s work or Clive Barker’s Abarat series.

CW: Strong language and violence throughout, with some graphic injury detail, scenes of involuntary restraint, giant spiders, dead animals, implied cruelty to animals, and some fantastical creatures of a horrifying nature

TW: Cancer, mention of previous self-harm and an instance of a drink being tampered with

BUY A COPY NOW!

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Book Spotlight + Excerpt: Paladin Unbound by Jeffrey Speight

🎂 HAPPY PUB DAY TO PALADIN UNBOUND! 🥳

Hi, friends! I’m delighted to share a book spotlight + excerpt today as part of the tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour for Paladin Unbound by Jeffrey Speight!

Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour by clicking the banner below.

Goodreads: Paladin Unbound
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust
Publish Date: 01 July 2021
Genre: Epic Fantasy

The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.

The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.

As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.

Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?

CW/TW: Gore, Violence, Racism, Body Horror, Torture, Human Trafficking

BUY NOW:

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Blog Tour Review: Bloodlines by Peter Hartog

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Bloodlines by Peter Hartog. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Bloodlines (The Guardian of Empire City #1)
Publication Date: 28 August 2018
Genre: Dystopian Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi Techno Thriller
Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

When former hotshot homicide detective Tom “”Doc”” Holliday is recruited to join Special Crimes, he trades in his boring desk job for a second chance to do what he does best, hunt down killers. And his first case doesn’t disappoint: a murdered woman with a bogus past, her body drained of blood, and two eyewitnesses wasted on the designer drug goldjoy claiming a vampire did it.

For Holliday is no stranger to the unusual. He wields the Insight, a fickle clairvoyance that allows him to see the dark and terrible things that hide upon his world. After all, when you live in Empire City, where magic and technology co-exist, and humanity endures behind walls of stone and spell-forged steel, anything is possible.

Saddled with a team whose past is as checkered as his own, Holliday embarks upon an investigation that pits them against bio-engineered vampires, interdimensional parasites and the magical masterminds behind it all.

From nightclubs and skyscrapers, to underground drug labs and coffee shops, Holliday’s search for the truth will uncover a shadowy conspiracy that spans the ages, and forces him to confront a destiny he never wanted.

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ARC Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books/St Martin’s Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Check out my review for Fable (Fable #1)!

Goodreads: Namesake (Fable #2)
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: 16 March 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems. As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

TL;DR: Overall, a very satisfying and neatly wrapped up conclusion to this duology. If you love stories full of action, a strong female lead, a cast of morally grey characters that you also can’t help but root for (mostly), and a setting in which the sea comes to life off the pages, I would highly recommend checking out these books! Also, major cover appreciation to this set of covers because they’re STUNNING!

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