Remember the Stars (Tales of Selyento, Book 1) – Eris Marriott [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

All Clarisse wants is to be free. Her life has been governed by abuse, control, and the Church of Light. Tired of ritual exorcisms and condemnations, she’s at the brink of exploding.

Her power is a curse—the reason she can’t be free. Clarisse never asked to be in the center of a centuries-long battle between Terrence, a Reaper-wolf gone rogue, and Death, himself.

If she has to spend one more minute under the controlling thumb of her parents and the Church of Light, she’ll die.

In order to escape, she must choose a side: Death is convinced that mortals wielding power is a recipe for disaster and damnation. Terrence believes magic is a mortal’s key to freedom, enlightenment… maybe immortality.

Will she follow the light of the stars? Or will she let herself fall into the grasp of the shadows?

Trigger/Content Warnings: graphic depictions of abuse, violence, and mental manipulation

Review:

Huge thank you to Eris Marriott and Book of Matches Media for sharing this e-arc with me! The following review is my honest opinion and reflects my reading experience.

I hadn’t heard anything about Remember the Stars prior to working with Book of Matches Media. I was super intrigued by the cover and synopsis. This cover is definitely one of my favorites. It is seriously gorgeous!

Remember the Stars is a young adult dark fantasy story that tells the story of Clarisse, a young woman with magic who has been abused her entire life. It is the first book in a new series called Tales of the Selyento. This story was told in two parts . . . the first is Clarisse’s journey to free herself from the abusers in her life + the second is Clarisse trying to decide what path to take and who to trust. I will say everyone needs to take the time to read the trigger/content warnings prior to reading Remember the Stars. I have included the warnings with the synopsis and at the end of my review.

One of the reasons I was so intrigued by the blurb for this book was the darker themes and cult-like elements of the story. It sounds so weird, but I am totally fascinated by true crime and cults. I thought that Eris Marriott did an excellent job of incorporating the cult (The Church of Light) into the story. She did such a great job showing the manipulation of the cult and all of the people/creatures in Clarisse’s life. There were definitely scenes that were difficult to read . . . again please check out the trigger/content warnings. I will say that I struggled with Clarisse and Terrence’s relationship. The whole thing felt very toxic and full of manipulation, but I think that was the author’s intent.

One of the most unique parts of Remember the Stars is Clarisse’s magic. It sounds so pretty!! It also seems to have no limit in terms of what her magic can do. Although, there are consequences for magic. This is a major part of Clarisse’s journey and it definitely kept me on my toes!

I have a couple of qualms . . . actually just one major one . . . the arachnid centaur demon creature. That is something I definitely did not need in my life lol. The author did too good of a job depicting that image!

Remember the Stars was already released and is available for purchase today! It’s also on kindle unlimited!!

Trigger/Content Warnings: graphic depictions of abuse, violence, and mental manipulation

A Dance with the Fae Prince (Married to Magic, #2) – Elise Kova [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️💫

Synopsis:

Cinderella meets The Cruel Prince in this stand-alone fantasy romance about a human girl and her marriage to the prince of the fae.

She knew her hand in marriage would be sold. She had no idea a fae prince was the buyer.

Katria swore she’d never fall in love. She’s seen what “love” means through the cruelty of her family. So when she’s married off to the mysterious Lord Fenwood for a handsome price, all Katria wants is a better life than the one she’s leaving. Feelings are off the table.

But her new husband makes not falling in love difficult.

As their attraction begins to grow, so too do the oddities within her new life: strange rules, screams in the night, and attacks by fae that Katria never thought were real. When she witnesses a ritual not meant for human eyes, Katria finds herself spirited away to the land of Midscape.

Surviving the fae wilds as a human is hard enough. Katria must survive as a human who accidently pilfered the magic of ancient kings – magic a bloodthirsty king is ready to kill her for in order to keep his stolen throne – and her new husband is the rightful heir in hiding.

The power to save the fae is in her hands. But who will save her from a love she vowed never to feel?

Review:

Thank you to Elise Kova & Book of Matches Media for sharing this awesome e-arc with me. This honest review is based on my experience reading!

A Dance with the Fae Prince is the second stand-alone novel in Elise Kova’s Married to Magic universe. It is not at all necessary to read A Deal with the Elf King to dive into this book.

A Dance with the Fae Prince is a fantasy romance inspired by Cinderella and the tales of Psyche & Eros. This fun adventure is full of fae and all kinds of magical creatures. I am a sucker for any story featuring fae so I absolutely loved how much fae content there was in ADWTFP. Elise does such an incredible job of painting the picture of the fae world and all the different characters. From the first moment we see the group of fae dancing around the fire I was totally captured by Elise’s vivid descriptions and imagery. There are so many great characters, but Raph is definitely my favorite fae. He’s such an adorable and mischievous young fae boy!

Ultimately, I thought that A Dance with the Fae Prince was just okay. The story was very slow and not much happened throughout the book. Despite the story being slow, the actual progression of events was strange. A lot more time had actually passed than I thought. For example, at one point Katria describes how she’s been in the fae world for weeks. I honestly had no idea it had been that long. It seemed like it should have only been days. The pacing was just off. The plot itself was also very predictable. I wasn’t surprised by any of the twists or the ending.

There were some very powerful quotes that I did really love . . .

“I vow then that I will never let this new husband or anyone else make me feel small. I will try with all my might to stand tall. I will never live cowering again.”

“Love is the closest thing we have to meaning in this world. The love of a mother for her children, the love between friends, the love of a husband and wife, love for who we are and all those who strove before us to hand us the world we have now — love is why we live, why we fight, why we carry on when things get tough . . . it is not always easy. But it is our reprieve from true hardship, not the hardship itself.”

“Because now you know this is how you should have been treated all along. Because you know that if one person sees you, respects you as they should, then there’s no excuse for anyone else not to. The fault does not lie–has never lain–with you, but rather the shortcomings of those you have been surrounded by. You were always worthy.”

Overall I enjoyed A Dance with the Fae Prince. It was nothing super exciting or original, but it was fun. If you’re looking for a quick read featuring all sorts of magical creatures then I’d definitely check ADWTFP out!

A DANCE WITH THE FAE PRINCE IS SET TO BE RELEASED AUGUST 19TH.

On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea, #1) – Vanessa Rasanen [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

AN HEIR ON THE RUN

In one month, Aoife Cascade will turn twenty and take her seat on the Council of Cregah, an honor she’s been preparing for her whole life. But when she lets a secret slip to her mother with devastating consequences, all her plans for the future crumble. Believing her people to be better off without her, she flees Cregah, stowing away aboard a pirate ship bound for dangerous waters.

A PIRATE CAPTAIN WHO NEEDS HER HELP

Captain Declan McCallagh is young compared to the pirate lords, but after twelve years on the grueling sea, he has earned a well-respected ship and the attention of the lords, who’d like nothing better than to see his ruin. All he wants is to leave the Aisling Sea-and his past-behind him. But when his sister demands he find the enchanted dagger her rebel faction needs to overthrow the ruling Council, he’ll have to decide whether to cast off all family ties or take the perilous voyage to waters guarded by sirens, only passable with the help of the last remaining fae, currently imprisoned by the Council.

With murder and betrayal at every turn, can Aoife and Declan learn to rely on one another?

Or will the secrets they carry destroy their people-and each other?

Review:

Massive thank you to Vanessa Rasanen and Book of Matches Media for sending me this e-arc! All opinions are my own.

So I had been hearing rumblings about On These Black Sands for a while and I was definitely intrigued. And then the fates aligned and I was able to sign up for the ARC tour with Book of Matches Media. I was so excited to be chosen and to get my hands on an early copy of this incredible book.

On These Black Sands is a fantasy pirate adventure full of snarky characters, swoon-worthy pirates, and an absolutely fascinating world that I am dying to learn more about. There’s swashbuckling adventures, political intrigue, romance, betrayal, and some truly crazy twists!

On These Black Sands is primarily told through two perspectives: Aoife and Declan. Aoife is a naive young woman and former heir whose entire world has just been shattered. Declan is a young pirate captain desperate to prove himself and keep his painful memories at bay. These two characters have a magnetic pull to each other. Their connection was evident from the first time they meet and it only grew with each interaction. On These Black Sands is an excellent slow burn romance. It takes a while and we really only get a taste, but I can’t wait for more of Aoife and Declan. One of my favorite things about their relationship is that there’s an instant attraction and connection, but they don’t act on it. No instant love here! Aoife and Declan spend countless hours just talking and getting to know one another. This builds on their initial connection and creates such a beautiful bond. Some of my favorite scenes were just Aoife and Declan together in the captain’s quarters. I adore their sassy banter!! Plus there’s an “only one bed” trope which is one of my favorites! Not to mention . . . Declan is totally swoon-worthy!

There are also a few side characters who I am dying to get to know more. AKA TOMMY! I can’t wait to get more of him (and the rest of the crew) in the next book. There’s also Declan’s sister, Cait, who has a few of her own POV chapters that were super intriguing. I really want to know more about Cait and her rebel group, the rogues. My one complaint about On These Black Sands is that I wanted more. Cait’s chapters and story arc were all very vague. I feel like I still don’t really know what her purpose with the rogues is and who they really are. I’m guessing that this is all coming in the upcoming books.

On These Black Sands is definitely a “set-up” book. What I mean by this is that there is a whole lot that is introduced and that I am dying to know more about. There is action, adventure, and more, but there is a lot of world-building and set up for the rest of the series. I was totally captivated by this story and I cannot wait to continue on this adventure with Declan, Aoife, and the crew of the Siren’s Song. There is so much more coming in the rest of the series. I am especially looking forward to more of the fantasy elements (the fae, magic dagger, etc.) coming into play.

The ending of On These Black Sands is epic. The twists and cliffhanger are crazy and have me so dang excited for the next book in this series. That cliffhanger is perfect. I don’t know how I am going to wait to find out what happens next. Curse of being an early reader, I guess?

Some random things that I loved about On These Black Sands:

  • The colorful and vibrant towns. Vanessa’s writing is so descriptive and vivid. I loved the imagery!
  • The Irish influence!! My last name is McCarthy so I love the Irish inspiration! I will say that I am so grateful that Vanessa included a pronunciation guide.
  • Anxiety and panic attack representation. I love seeing mental health rep in fantasy books. As someone who also struggles with generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks, I truly appreciated the way Vanessa depicted Aoife’s anxiety.

On These Black Sands is a fantastic book! I was hooked from the very beginning and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! If you love pirates, a good slow burn romance, well written characters, and fascinating world building then you should definitely check out On These Black Sands by Vanessa Rasanen!

On These Black Sands is set to release August 10th, 2021. Preorder your copy today!!