Month: April 2021

Lodestone 4/5 stars

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I am a sucker for a good dark fantasy, and this one was totally worth it. The magic system was super interesting, and the world-building was absolutely fantastic. The dark and gothic aspect to this book made it all the more enjoyable and at times even chilling. Melanie was an amazing main character, and I loved seeing her grow and change throughout the book. In conclusion, if you love dark fantasy novels with magic, intrigue, and mystery, you will LOVE this book!

Summary provided by goodreads

Lodestone-peddler Melaine is desperate to stop hustling her raw magic for a tuppence. Her rare gift of infusing her magic into a lodestone to sell for another’s use and never keeping any for herself is nothing but a degrading path to an early grave.

Yearning for a better life, Melaine turns to her unconventional childhood idol, the powerful but sinister Overlord, sorcerer-ruler of Centara. When she achieves an audience and arrives at his reclusive retreat of ancient Highstrong Keep, she finds that the compelling, handsome man who conquered a kingdom by the age of twenty is now a weak, shadowed husk, and he needs her lodestones to give him strength. In exchange, he will take her on as his apprentice.

Trapped in Highstrong with a half-crazed prisoner, a strict servant, and the Overlord, Melaine learns that they may all be prey to far more malevolent forces than the Overlord’s black-magic experiments. Faced with menacing apparitions, ancient curses, and an even greater horror that could threaten the entire kingdom if unleashed, Melaine’s penchant for survival is contested by her growing feelings for the Overlord and her path toward finding a deeper meaning to life than the pure power she once craved. 

Malice 4/5 stars


I really enjoyed this sleeping beauty retelling for a variety of reasons.

  1. The magic system is super interesting
  2. The politics and laws add a level of complexity to the story
  3. Instead of a prince, the love interest is the villain!!!

I absolutely love when a fairytale retelling changes the story into something completely new, and this book definitely delivered! There was a bit of a slow start seeing as it is a new world with many laws you must acquaint yourself with, but after that initial info dump, the story, the characters, and the world were absolutely fabulous.

(Summary provided by Goodreads)

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again.

Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain. 

The Shadow in the Glass

4/5 stars

A gothic retelling of Cinderella??? Count me in!
I absolutely loved this Cinderella retelling. It was darker than I expected from a fairytale retelling, but that gothic aspect made it very unique. Elenor’s character was very well written in my opinion and I felt like the author did a very good job of forming her character. I loved the suspense created each time Elenore used a wish, and the anticipation of the final wish built and built. Al in all, if you like fairytale retellings with a dark twist this is perfect!
Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for an honest review

(Summary provided by Goodreads)

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it. A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.

The Ice Swan

Rating breakdown:
Characters- 1/1

I really loved this book. It had so many good twists and turns that made it so enjoyable. If you love the Anastasia movie, you will definitely love this book. I fell in love with the characters and felt like they had a very well-paced emotional journey. The plot was intense at times, with a lot of action and intrigue. I absolutely love the historical aspects incorporated into this book, and it makes me want to keep reading books placed in this period. All in all, 100% recommend if you like slow burns with a large focus on history, plot, and character development. The only criticism I have is that at times, it was hard to follow the Russian vernacular she used for some of the character’s dialogue but other than that, everything was straightforward and easy to follow. 

(Summary provided by Goodreads)

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape. Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka. Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help but hope the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland and beyond, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.

By April 10, 2021.  No Comments on The Ice Swan  Reviews   

Descent of the Drowned


The plot of this book was super interesting, and the characters were all well developed with their own unique flaws and struggle that readers were able to explore throughout the book. There were moments where the writing was a little hard to follow, and the lack of a glossary for the terms made understanding the world and culture this book is set in a bit difficult. I do not know much about the mythology and culture this book is based on, and I think a glossary would have really helped with the info dump in the first hundred so pages. Overall, I really did enjoy the world-building in this book. It was super unique and interesting, and I think it is much easier to follow and enjoy once you make it through the world-building.

(Summary provided by Goodreads)

She is bound to serve. He is meant to kill. Survival is their prison. Choice is their weapon. As the sacred slave of a goddess, Roma is of a lower caste that serves patrons to sustain the balance between gods and men. What she wants is her freedom, but deserters are hunted and hanged, and Roma only knows how to survive in her village where women are vessels without a voice. When her younger brother is condemned to the same wretched fate as hers, Roma must choose between silence and rebellion. Leviathan is the bastard son of an immortal tyrant. Raised in a military city where everyone knows of his blood relation to the persecuted clans, Leviathan is considered casteless. Lowest of the low. Graduating as one of the deadliest soldiers, he executes in his father’s name, displaying his worth. When he faces judgement from his mother’s people—the clans—Leviathan must confront his demons and forge his own path, if he ever hopes to reclaim his soul. But in the struggle to protect the people they love and rebuild their identities, Roma’s and Leviathan’s destinies interlock as the tyrant hunts an ancient treasure that will doom humankind should it come into his possession—a living treasure to which Roma and Leviathan are the ultimate key. Set in a colonised Indo-Persian world and inspired by pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, The Descent of the Drowned is a tale about power, identity, and redemption, and what it takes to hold on to one’s humanity in the face of devastation.