Review of Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

I received an eARC of this novel in return for an honest review! 🙂 Here’s the blurb below it comes out 1st October! ( I can also not believe I got this so early.)

43611226IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields—though has yet to fully understand—Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed.

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her friends begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

 

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

3.5/ 5 Stars

 

I was super excited to get an eARc of this book as the blurb made it sound right up my alley. Warrior princess must fight a demon to save her country with the help of her friends? Consider me intrigued. Also the cover is beautiful.

Asterin was needless to say, awesome. She learnt how to swordfight, she’s a powerful mage and she doesn’t give a damn about the rules.

Luna, Asterin’s friend and basically magicless was strong in her own way. She was soft where Asterin wasn’t and had a relationship with the Elite’s captain. I loved reading about this girl’s soft strength.

Rose is just an utter badass.

Orion was sweet but I wish we got to see more of his relationship develop with Harry. It just sort of happened and I’d rather have liked to see it rather than it be kept secret from the reader as well as his friends for part of the time – and they all worked it out pretty fast anyway.

I didn’t really love the other characters so much. There were a lot of them introduced to us in the beginning and I feel this really affected the pacing of the novel. It felt slow in the beginning, as Asterin didn’t receive her ‘call to arms’ until about a fifth in to the book. It made the plot meander in the beginning and while I enjoyed learning about the characters I was just wondering where this was going if it wasn’t for the blurb. Then in the middle again the story seemed to really dragon on as they searched for the demon.

I wanted to root for Quinlan and Asterin, but they were very hot and cold towards each other. It was fun at times to read and others, I just couldn’t work out why Asterin was suddenly fuming at him. Also Quin’s level of cheesy made me embarrassed for him at times.

Overall I liked the story but the pacing was what really got to me. If you perhaps don’t mind a bit of a slower read then you’ll probably love this book. The magic system in this book was a real gem to read about and I liked how fleshed out the world’s history was too.

 

 

Again, but Better Review (eARC early copy.)

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Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

5 / 5 Stars

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.

 —

I was lucky enough to have been selected for an eARC copy of Again, but Better from Netgalley! I’ve been following Christine on booktube for years and so this book was up on my TBR anyway. But I’m so happy I got to pick this up earlier, and I’m still going to buy this book when it comes out.

Christine has been really mysterious with her writing and I get why – it’s special when it’s just your own creation and it could change so much in the drafting process. My novel is not even the same story when a friend of mine read it five years ago. But because Again, but Better was so mysterious, I had no clue what it was about – except that it was ‘contemporary’. If anyone follows my dusty little blog still you know that I read mostly fantasy so I wasn’t slated to love this book. BUT I DID.

What’s it about? Well, the book’s synopsis is actually stellar for once in giving you a run down. For the most part. I’m hesitant to give spoilers because if you’re a watcher of Christine’s videos then you know you can’t mention a certain thing because then you’re waiting FOR THE THING. IT RUINS THE THING. Maybe that was even too much, if you get it.

Anyway, this book is great for those who are bookish. Shane calls her notebooks Horcruxes, she talks about her love for Cassandra Clare books, Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code. Her love of books and writing really shines through with this novel. The writing itself feels like how Christine talks in her videos. It’s definitely a book to pick up if you’re an avid watcher of her channel.

All I’m gonna say is, it’s not your average contemporary novel. And I don’t mean it in that sensationalising way headlines use to rope readers in. Again, but Better is about a character struggling find her dreams, who wants to discover herself, love and live her life to the fullest with all the struggles that come with that. She starts off at the age of twenty and we also see her life later at twenty-seven too. It’s full of quirky jokes and shows Christine’s own love for Cassandra Clare’s humour. It’s a cute, fun read and if you love contemporaries and perhaps a bit more, then ADD IT TO YOUR TBR!

Lamppost. (You’ll know what I mean on May 7th when this book comes out!)

Also here’s a non-spoiler-y quote that shows off Christine’s humour:

“I jump around, baptizing everyone in the vicinity with my drink.”

Shane goes to a club and dances and this quote tickled me. I hope you guys enjoyed the review and it was informative but not too spoiler-filled. 🙂 Happy reading!

 


 

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Renegade by Mallory McCartney ~ Review

I got free copy on NetGalley in exchange for a review.

This book is a prequel to Black Dawn that came out earlier this year. I’ve never enjoyed reading prequels as they were meant to be read and always found myself loving the prequels when I hadn’t read the main series first. I think the Assassin’s Blade is the only exception to this for me. Renegade followed that rule as I loved the novel as story of itself and plan to read Black Dawn soon. I would rate this novel….

★★★★

Renegade by Mallory McCartney

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Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.

An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters most- finding out the truth.

 

Why I loved this book:

  • The world was rich and full of magic, which left me wanting to know how it worked and how everything was linked. I liked the idea of the teens searching for answers on their own, it had this Harry Potter like charm. And I especially liked Emory’s cunning, which also showed it was something they all did often.
  • There was mystery to this magic filled world that the characters were unaware. I liked the fact we got to discover it (and its evil sides) with the characters.
  • It had a cute magic school vibe, but teamed with the fact the characters were so in tune with their surroundings so it was also a little ‘break out of their surroundings’, which I loved.
  • If you have heard anything about Black Dawn then you’ll probably know Renegade is about how a villain becomes one, I kinda found this out after researching hesitantly. I didn’t let myself know who would be the villain and this made it an even more interesting read as I spent a while guessing. The three guys; Memphis, Adair and Brokk all could have swung that way at different times and really hammered in the idea their choices defined them. I loved this.

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The doom and gloom – Negative Points:

  • I think there were maybe two scenes that had Emory’s point of view and I fell in love with her voice instantly. So this makes me really want to read Black Dawn but also made me wish I would hear more from her in the prequel.
  • I didn’t like Brokk, in the beginning I really dreaded hitting his point of view. He struck me as a bit too whiny, but I found I grew to stand him later as he matured and had to face things.
  • Lastly, I struggled to keep up with a few of the fight scenes. I re-read certain parts to see if I missed something but I still couldn’t seem to work out how some characters or their magic moved from one place to another. I get it that battle is hectic and all that but it took me out of the story as I struggled to work this out.

 

Overall it definitely makes me want to pick up Black Dawn!