Tag: Fantasy

Serafina and the Seven Stars

Kim has really enjoyed the Serafina series by Robert Beatty and just finished the fourth in the series! Here is listing of the series:

  1. Serafina and the Black Cloak
  2. Serafina and the Twisted Staff
  3. Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Kim’s review is here).
  4. Serafina and the Seven Stars

Author: Robert Beatty
Published: July 9, 2019
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:

Serafina and Braeden make an epic return in the hotly anticipated fourth installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina series. Serafina, the Guardian of Biltmore Estate, has won battle after battle against the dark forces encroaching on her home. Now, tranquility has returned to Biltmore. Serafina doesn’t trust it. She patrols the grounds night and day, hardly sleeping, uncertain of her place after her best friend Braeden Vanderbilt’s departure for boarding school in New York.

When Mr. Vanderbilt, the kind master of Biltmore, asks Serafina to move upstairs into one of the house’s grandest rooms, she’s sure it’s to keep an eye on the guests who have arrived for the estate’s annual hunt.

But as Serafina investigates, she becomes more and more unsettled by what Biltmore has become-a place haunted by nameless terrors where no dark corridor is safe. Even worse, she begins to doubt her own senses. Is Braeden really hundreds of miles away, or did he return to Biltmore for one strange night before vanishing? Is the bond between them truly broken or is it stronger than ever?

Then Serafina witnesses a crime that turns her world upside down. How can all that once seemed good and worthy of protection now be evil? And how can she guard those around her when she can’t even be sure of the truth of her own heart?

Serafina and the Seven Stars marks the return of a heroine like no other, as master storyteller Robert Beatty weaves his darkest, most astonishing tale yet.

Kim’s Review:

Serafina is growing up and she’s doing it fast! I decided to re-read the other three books before Seven Stars came out and I once again was caught up in the world of the Vanderbilts at Biltmore in Asheville. I was reminded of all that had happened before with the Black Cloak and Twisted Staff and the Old Man of the Mountains. I went back to seeing what good friends book characters can be and the lessons to be learned.

Seven Stars was written in the same spirit as the rest of the series, but boy howdy is it dark! Serafina isn’t the little girl who just keeps Biltmore clear of rats anymore. She’s becoming a teenager who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. It was almost depressing reading the first half of the book when Serafina was just lost and in some ways, useless. And if you didn’t think it could get anymore evil or malevolent than Uriah, well then you’d be wrong.

I had a little trouble putting all the pieces of the story together, even by the end, but I still understood enough to appreciate the brilliance of it all. I would even say that this might not be for the younger kids, just because of all the darkness! But I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Serafina and Braeden! An excellent story!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Kim was also able to attend the Launch Party for Seven Stars and meet Robert Beatty again!  

**Be sure to go to Jessica’s Reading Room on Facebook as we will be giving away some swag Kim picked up from the launch! This will only be for those of you in the USA.**

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Author: Tricia Levenseller
Published: February 26, 2019
329 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.

Kim’s Review:

This is a great, simple fantasy story and I really enjoyed it. In a world of the same YA fantasy themes flying around, reading something unique is a treat. This book is a treat. There weren’t too many bells and whistles and that’s something I like about it. I also enjoyed the practicality of the details.

When Rasmira is sent into exile with an impossible task, she never once questions whether or not she can do it. She observed the problem with intelligence and objectivity. She is the perfect combination of faith and fact. My only real issue with the story is her absolute obsession with boys! I get it, she’s a teenager, of course she’s gonna be looking at boys. My issue is that in the middle of her life falling apart, an impossible task in front of her, her very survival at stake, all she can think about is boys.

Fortunately, Levenseller spins that obsession into a more selfless practicality; unfortunately, there was enough of the annoying stuff to affect my rating. I will say that this is a very good book for high schoolers and I think even those who don’t like reading would probably like this story. Very good good and a beautiful cover!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Sunday Series Review: His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers

Today Kim is reviewing His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers. She rated this series 4 stars.

Books in the Series:
Grave Mercy
Dark Triumph
Mortal Heart


Grave Mercy
Published: April 3, 2012
549 Pages

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Dark Triumph
Published: April 2, 2013
385 Pages

I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets against me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight’s soul. Let go, it cries, I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling, I will catch you, it whistles seductively.

The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Mortal Heart
Published: November 4, 2014
444 Pages

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…


Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 stars

Kim’s Review:

This series is awesome! I got Grave Mercy while I was on vacation in the Outer Banks, at the amazing Buxton Village Books. The cover is beautiful and the story is unique. LaFevers combined history with a little fantasy, yet it all still felt realistic, like it all actually happened that way. The convent of St. Mortain was fascinating. I doubt I would make a good assassin, but I would go to the convent!

The main characters, Ismae, Sybella, and Annith are all likable and relatable. Of them all, I think my favorite is Ismae. She is the main character in Grave Mercy and the first of the assassins that I got to know. She embraces everything with grace and her abilities are the most interesting. Her story sets the tone and standard for the rest of the series.  I’ll admit that when I started reading book two, Dark Triumph, I was a little worried that the story was starting to get predictable. Thankfully, the further I read, the less predictable it was. Sybella’s story was definitely the most surprising and Annith’s romance came out of nowhere!

So, each book has its own merit. And each one is very good and worth reading. I did read them separately, with a couple of books between so any predictability was staved off really well. The men were all great as well. I don’t want to take about them in too much detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I was crushing on each of them as I was reading. Fictional boyfriends are all part of my nerd life, and I regret nothing!

Overall, this was an excellent series, with engaging characters and fascinating circumstances. This is also a great series for older teens.

Purchase Links to the Series:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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