Freya Snow #13: Pandora Review

Pandora (Freya Snow Book 13)

Freya knew she was going to be the Queen of the Underworld because her father was the king, but she knew she had time until her father would die and she would have to take that position. When her father gets sick and reveals that he is dying, Freya is distraught. Not only does she have to deal with her father being gone, she has to deal with maintaining order in the Underworld as she transitions from Princess to Queen. On top of all that, Freya’s mother is back in her life and Pandora’s Box has to be closed, and Alex is back in her life after several years of being with the Enhanced.

This book truly shows how Freya has grown throughout the series. At first she was a teenaged foster child, unsure of herself but eventually sure that she had a crush on her friend Damon. Then, she was in her late teens and gaining her powers as an Angel, and falling for an Enhanced human named Alex. Now she is in her 20s, happily married to Damon, and preparing to name her fiancée Alex as her heartbond. She thought that everything was going well with her life, but now her father dies and her mother is back as a ghost. When she was a teenager, she hated her mother for leaving her on Earth as a baby and not helping bring her back to her father, the King. Now, she is a Queen, older than her mother who is frozen as a 19 y/o ghost, and she has lost both of her parents. I am unsure of how close we are to the end of the Freya Snow series, but this book seems like a perfect setup for the end. Freya is finally reaching the peak of her powers, and she even has all of her true loves by her side. It is truly a beautiful thing to read.

I also enjoyed how Alex was woven into the story. Damon and Freya are both autistic, but Alex is not. There are some things that Alex picks up on that Damon and Freya would not. There are some connections that Damon and Freya have that Alex is not a part of, whether it be magical or just emotional. But she still manages to fit into their dynamic. I’m unsure if Damon and Alex are ever going to have a romantic relationship or if they will always just be connected through Freya, but I am happy either way. The only thing I was confused about was how Jan would weave into this story. She is technically still with Alex, but Alex is living with Freya in the Demon World. I hope this is cleared up in the next few Freya Snow or Engineered Rebel books!

I finished this book quickly as I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next with some of my favorite characters. This book didn’t end off on the best note though, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Freya and her friends/family/lovers in the next installment of this series. Everything is at the point where all the side series are crossing over with the main Freya Snow novels, and it is really unique to be able to see what the side characters are also doing while Freya is going through this time in her life. I would definitely suggest to check out the Engineered Rebel and Royal Cleaners series if you are enjoying this series!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adult LGBT+ romance novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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The Royal Cleaner #6: Exiled Review

Exiled (The Royal Cleaner, #6)

Seph, Gregor, and Caroline have been exiled from the Demon World. Persephone or Seph has to get used to life in the human world, where she doesn’t have the position of queen that she has prepared for since she was born. This gives her time to deal with feelings that she has been pushing away for years, and face the fact that she might have a crush on someone. Gregor and Caroline no longer have to be fake married, which gives Mina and Caroline the chance to marry one another. Gregor is also free to pursue his own romantic interests, and he might have his eyes on a certain man on Earth.

I am interested in the new couples that were introduced in this installment of the series. I knew that Mina and Caroline would always be together, but I was worried that Gregor would never get the chance to be happy as he didn’t have a secret boyfriend on the side of his political marriage to Caroline, but he had his chance in this book! I also thought that Seph would be important, but I just didn’t see how she fit into the Royal Cleaner series until this book. Without spoiling anything, I am happy with how her story turned out as well.

Honestly, this felt like the shortest Royal Cleaner book I have read so far. I loved it so much that I finished it all in one morning on my way to work and then switched directly to the next book in the series. I think that it was the lack of action that truly drew me into this book. I feel like I never got the chance to get close to the characters in the Royal Cleaner series in this way because the books were so packed with action. This slower-paced story focused more on the domestic side of the characters as Mina and Caroline are still spending time with their children including the young twins while Gregor and Seph have to get used to living like humans rather than Demon royalty.

I can’t wait to review the next book in this series to discuss more spoilers about these characters! Just know that things really start to heat up towards the end of this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adult fantasy novel with LGBT+ and neurodiverse characters.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.

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The Angel Eyes #0: Jake’s Redemption Review

Jake's Redemption (The Angel Eyes #0)

In this universe, there was a war of men vs. women many years prior. The women won and can enslave the men, and most women show the men no mercy. Marriage is outlawed, and women are meant to just make use of the many male slaves that are around. Jake has been tortured for years under Darla and doesn’t think that he will ever be able to be happy again. When a woman named Monica offers him a job on her ranch, he is worried that he might be going to a fate worse than Darla. When Monica treats him like a human instead of a slave, Jake doesn’t know how to react. Soon, he finds himself falling for her, but he doesn’t know if he can love again.

Wow, I have never read a book quite like this one. So often have I seen a book with female slave/damsel in distress being saved by the male protagonist, but never the reverse. Monica doesn’t believe in slavery, but many women at the time did. Jake had resigned himself to his fate with Darla, but Monica shows him that life could be happy again. He cannot be fully free from Darla because she is constantly keeping tabs on him, but he will be somewhat free on Monica’s ranch until his contract is up.

I also loved how this book shows that both men and women can be traumatized. In many books, men go through trauma and automatically want to go back to having people all over them. Jake doesn’t even want to be hugged by a woman after the horrors he has gone through with Darla, and Monica respects that. When others on the ranch do not respect his wishes, Monica speaks out against it. He has to heal just like anyone else, he isn’t some sort of emotionless being who bounces back after years of torture after seeing a pretty woman or something. Jake needed a time and place to heal, and Monica’s ranch gave him this space.

The romance wasn’t the main focus of this book in my opinion. Jake’s healing was the main focus, which I truly appreciated. Even though the cover looked very sensual, nothing happened until Jake was truly ready to move to that stage of a relationship. When the romance did occur, it was very slow. The characters weren’t just having sex like in some adult romance novels, they truly loved one another and worshipped each other.

To think that this book is a prequel to the rest of the series that hasn’t even come out yet is astonishing. I can’t wait to read the rest of the Angel Eyes series. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a new NA dystopian romance novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.

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Flowers and Keyboards #2: The Other Dress Review

The Other Dress (Flowers and Keyboards 2)

The Other Dress by Emmy Engberts is the second book in her Flowers and Keyboards series about video games, anime, and LGBT+ couples. Elliot works up the nerve to cosplay as an outgoing character named Aoi from Magical Princess Club! At a convention, and he falls for a girl who is cosplaying as Sakura. Izzy is trans, and she enjoys cosplaying as female characters to get more in touch with her true female self. Most people can’t even tell that she is trans now, but she still suffers from dysphoria and uses dressmaking to cope with it. When she meets Elliot at the convention, she is surprised to see how much fun they have together. But she isn’t sure if she can date Elliot or even tell him that she is trans because of the negative reactions she has had from people she has cared about in the past.

At first, before I knew that Izzy was trans, I thought that Elliot was going to come out as being trans because he was so happy to cosplay as a girl. But I found it a way better storyline that Elliot was completely fine with his masculine identity, but he just enjoyed cosplaying as girls from time to time. I have never, and I mean never seen a guy so comfortable with himself in fiction before, and honestly it was really empowering to see. Girls may sometimes dress in typical “guy” clothing in books, but you don’t usually see guys dressing in typical “girl” clothing in books unless they are going to come out as something. Guys can have fun dressing however they want without having to justify themselves just as girls can, and I love Engberts for showing this.

I also liked how Izzy and Elliot were friends before they truly started to fall for one another. Another thing that I really enjoy about Emmy Engberts’ romance novels, there may be somewhat insta-attraction but there is no insta-love “I would literally die for this person” going on. Even though the characters may be high school aged, don’t have that annoying YA couple feel where they don’t really match but fall for each other head over heels. Izzy and Elliot are a perfect match but they still go slowly until they feel comfortable enough around each other to even start dating.

Also, if you liked the characters from the first novel in the Flowers and Keyboards series, they aren’t completely forgotten in this book! I can’t wait to see the next book in this series and meet the new couple.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new YA romance novel to read.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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The Mage-Born Chronicles #2: Mistress Mage Review

Mistress Mage  (The Mage-Born Chronicles #2)

After the battle, Reshi realized that he loved Kestral, and he left. Loving someone was too much like being owned by that person for him to accept, and so he ran. Six months have passed and Reshi has started to woo some royals in order to live in the castle and get close to his step-brother, the king’s “legitimate” child Niko. He is also in contact with his exiled mother, and is avidly trying to avoid his murderous brother Velyn. Kestral stayed with Kila and has been hunting for Reshi for the past six months as well. He is desperately in love with him and would do literally anything to have him back, but Reshi keeps avoiding him. Whenever he manages to get close to Reshi, he shapeshifts into a creature that he can’t keep track of and runs away again. Kestral has to find some way to get Reshi to trust him so that they can finish off Velyn and finally be safe, but Kestral has to get Reshi to stay in one place long enough to explain himself first.

I have to say that even though the chase may get annoying for some readers, I truly enjoyed Kestral chasing after Reshi in this book. All Reshi does is usually run away from a situation when it becomes to difficult or too dangerous for him to face, and it has worked for him in his life so far. Now, there is finally a person begging Reshi to stay in one place. Their personalities are complete opposites, but now they are becoming more one alike one another. Kestral used to be the quiet one who avoided Reshi’s advances, now Reshi is forced to be quiet to stay in hiding away from Kestral.  They are also struggling with being apart from one another, even though Reshi would never admit it. I loved this couple from the beginning of the first book to the end of this book. They had their hiccups, but no couple is perfect. I still believed that they were a perfect match by the time I finished this novel.

My favorite part of this book was watching Reshi bond with his brother Niko. I wasn’t expecting them to get along as well as they did, given that Reshi lived a stressful and impoverished life while Niko got to live a privileged life, but Reshi was able to see through Niko that life as a royal was not amazing either. Niko had been sick all his life and had barely been allowed out of the castle many days. He struggled with being alone and having no friends because of this, and he never got to experience many of the luxuries of being the prince because of his sicknesses. Reshi originally was jealous of his brother, but then he began to befriend and even pity him to some extent. Only thing I was worried about was that Niko was accidentally going to develop a serious crush on his brother before they were properly introduced, but that was avoided completely. I would love more stories of just the two of them learning how to be true brothers to one another!

The action of this story was intense as a lot of “final battles” occur. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I was happy with the ending. All the twists and turns leading up to that ending went perfectly, and I was happy with how all the characters ended up. If things had been any different, I don’t think I would have been as satisfied. I’m especially glad that Kila didn’t get any sort of random lovers. She loved the military, and that shone through her character entirely. She did not have time for extra dalliances, and I respected her for that.

Overall, this was one of my favorite fantasy duologies, and I can’t wait to read more by this author. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new fantasy novel to enjoy, or a new romance novel with LGBT+ characters.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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Queen of the Sea Blog Tour Plus Review

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Walker Books US (June 25, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1536204986
ISBN-13: 978-1536204988



Praise for QUEEN OF THE SEA

The art, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s style, creates levity during perilous situations. The book is dense with dialogue, often feeling more like a work of prose than a graphic novel. As a result, this complex work will be more accessible to those familiar with graphic novels…Certain to charm sophisticated graphic novel devotees. —School Library Journal (starred review)

Meconis offers an atmospheric alternate history inspired by the childhood and succession of Queen Elizabeth I in this quietly ambitious graphic novel…Art in soft, earthy colors brings this singular story to life in styles ranging from simple line drawings to elaborately styled text illuminations. The island world is richly developed, both in its physical particulars and its close-knit community (fascinating digressions into topics such as convent time, hand gestures used at table, and chess and embroidery flesh out daily life), and Margaret proves herself an endearing heroine with a strong voice full of humor and wonder. Her perspective transforms a storm-wracked rock into a vibrant world of hidden treasures. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Meconis’ humor and storytelling gifts here wed seamlessly with her evocative pen-and-ink and gouache illustrations, which are rendered in warm earth and sea tones and brim with movement, expressively capturing even Margaret’s interior monologues. With its compelling, complex characters and intrigue-laden plot, this will have readers hoping it’s only the first of many adventures for Meconis’ savvy heroine. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Weaving faith, love, statecraft, and self-discovery into a tale of palace intrigue relocated to the halls of a convent on a remote island at sea, Dylan Meconis uses the trappings of the history we know to create a high-stakes adventure in an alternate past that feels so detailed and so familiar, you’ll find yourself wondering why you never read about it in school. This beautiful book swept me away from the first page.” —Kate Milford, author of the Greenglass House series

“Dylan Meconis is at the absolute top of her game. A gorgeously rendered, lovingly realized alternate history, full of personal revelations in the midst of political intrigue. A tale of growing up, and of understanding that the world is larger and stranger than it once seemed. (Plus it has a Terrible Recipe for Terrible Gruel.)” —Ben Hatke, author-illustrator of the Zita the Spacegirl series

“This is the book I was always trying to get my hands on in high school that never seemed to materialize. An adventure to lose yourself in, with an attention to historical detail to please the nerdiest among us. I fell easily and completely into this world and its characters, knowing I was safe in Dylan Meconis’s hands, and I’m really excited for more people to find out what I’ve known for a long time—that she is one of a kind.” —Kate Beaton, author-illustrator of Hark! A Vagrant

Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.

When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.

You can purchaseQueen of the Sea at the following Retailers:
       
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Margaret has lived on an island with nuns and servants her entire life. The nuns are of the Elysian order, and their job is to pray for the sailors that sail on the waters near their island. They also take in those that need shelter who come to the island, and help those who are washed ashore from a shipwreck. Margaret knows that she couldn’t have been born on the island, but none of the nuns are willing to tell her where she came from. She was also the only kid on the island, at least until William came. This book tells the story of her adventures on this island as she learns about her family, true family, and friendship.

I love graphic novels, but I have never read a historical fiction graphic novel. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but this book completely blew me away. Margaret was such a lively character, she reminded me of the girls that I grew up reading in the classic novels at the library like Pippi Longstocking and A Little Princess. She was full of life and lit up the rooms she was in, even on an island full of nuns and servants. She was imaginative, but she wanted to grow up to be a nun so she could help people. She never even thought of life off the island until more people from the mainland started coming to the island, but then she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even when she thought about mainland life, she didn’t start to rebel against the people who had raised her. Which I took as a breath of fresh air. Not all preteen/teenaged girls are crazy and rebellious, some really enjoy their lives like Margaret did. You can be imaginative without trying to run away every 2 seconds.

This had to be one of the most fun yet even still historically accurate graphic novels I’ve read yet. I learned small things about living on an island full of nuns in the 16th century as I read about Margaret’s life there as an outsider. There were traditions that these nuns upheld, stories that these nuns told, that I had never even heard about as a non-Catholic Christian. Even so, the book wasn’t so forcibly religious that a non-Christian person would feel uncomfortable reading it. The historic religious events were woven in with brilliant storytelling and beautiful pictures.

I read this entire book in about 2-3 hours, while on buses and trains commuting to and from NYC. This book was so addictive that it took me out of that uncomfortable and annoying commute and made me think about a completely new world while I was reading it. I can say that I definitely have not had that experience while reading a graphic novel before.

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new historical fiction book or a new graphic novel to enjoy. I cannot wait to read more by this author!

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.

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Photo Content from Dylan Meconis

I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories since the first grade, and I’ve been making comic books since middle school (no, really! Seventh grade was a tough year for me socially, so I had a lot of time to draw). I started my first book-length comic (graphic novel) in high school.

Unlike a lot of people who become professional artists and authors, I didn’t go to art school or a creative writing program in college. Instead, I mostly studied history, literature, philosophy, and French in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. This means I have a brain full of weird facts, old books, strange art, and the extremely useful ability to read The Tales of Canterbury in the original Middle English. Except for the Middle English bit, it’s all come in very handy for writing and drawing historical fiction and fantasy.

I first started to get paid for making comics when I was still in college, when my first graphic novel was published online. After college, I worked as a graphic designer and visual communications consultant (which means “person who helps teach adults complicated stuff in cool new ways using pictures”). I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, global charities, technology companies, libraries, and a lot of other interesting organizations. I’ve made illustrations, animations, information graphics and cool presentations, explaining everything from how microchips work to the ways that clean drinking water can help communities in the third world.

For the last ten years, though, I mostly work as a writer, comic book creator and illustrator! Sometimes I make books totally by myself, and sometimes I get to team up with other writers or artists. It can be lots of fun, but it can also be very hard work. Luckily, I never get tired of making new stories.

 
       
WEEK ONE
JUNE 24th MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
JUNE 25th TUESDAY A Dream Within A Dream TENS LIST

JUNE 26th WEDNESDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW & INTERVIEW 

JUNE 26th WEDNESDAY Triquetra Reviews EXCERPT

JUNE 28th THURSDAY Cover2CoverBlog REVIEW

JUNE 27th THURSDAY Wishful Endings FILL IN THE BLANKS

 

 

JUNE 28th THURSDAY TTC Books and More TENS LIST
JUNE 29th FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT 
 
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JULY 1st MONDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW

JULY 2nd TUESDAY Book Queen Reviews REVIEW 

JULY 3rd WEDNESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW

 
JULY 3rd WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW
JULY 4th THURSDAY Wonder Struck REVIEW

 

JULY 4th THURSDAY Such a Novel Idea REVIEW & PLAYLIST
JULY 5th FRIDAY Bri’s Book Nook REVIEW
JULY 5th FRIDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
 
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