Shadow Frost by Coco Ma ✨ Spoiler Free Review

Title: Shadow Frost
Series: Unknown
Author: Coco Ma
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Blackstone Publishing
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

IN 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 companions 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, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

Okay, so I’m not going to follow my usual format. I don’t know why but I just haven’t been feeling the structured review writing lately. So let’s just jump in.

Firstly, I will talk about my 2 dislikes of this book and the reason I didn’t rate it 5 stars. Trust me, I loved this book but these 2 things were irritating.
Firstly we have the romance between Asterin & someone else that I won’t name because spoilers. This romance was a very typical, predictable romance and kinda insta lovey. When the second character first got introduced I guess there would be a romance straight away and I was not wrong. I however thought it could of been a good opportunity for a Hate to Love situation but they only showed dislike for eachother for about 3 seconds and then it was all over.. So the author missed that chance.

Now for the second reason I didn’t like this book, which is the character Orion. He rubbed me the wrong way from the very start of this book. His overly jealous personality really freaking irritated me. Then there was the romance he is apart of later in the book….

I can’t say more without spoilers but I want to explain, so if you don’t want to be spoiled for anything then don’t read the next section that is in italics.

So as I said his jealousness pissed me off. It was constant when Quinlan was around and felt very possessive in most situations. Which I did not like. If I was Asterin I would have kicked him to the curb well before this. In the beginning I assumed the jealousness was because he was in love with Asterin, which came across a few times as true but THEN… Bringing in Harry and all of that is completely abandoned. Talk about Insta love! He meets this dude and then instantly stops with the love sick crap towards Asterin and the jealousy shit towards Quinlan… I just don’t get it. Like at all. This character in my opinion just wasn’t written very well, his actions constantly contradicted each other and as I said he came across as possessive at times, which I’m not a fan of in any situation. Of course this may have been fixed for the release of the finished copy, as I did read an eARC but I was not a fan!

Well that’s the dislikes out of the road and now for everything I liked! Firstly, the Characters in general (excluding Orion) and the POV. At first the POV was a little disorientating. We jump between POVs with each chapter and occasionally within a chapter and in the beginning it was a tad hard to follow. The author does not include names at the start of the chapters but the character’s name is usually in the first sentence of the chapter, so it was relatively easy to figure out whose POV we were reading from. After getting used to the frequent changes I actually really enjoyed it! Throughout the book we follow the POV of nearly 10 characters or more which allows you an insight into not only what the main characters are doing but also the bad guys.. Each character felt like they had a unique voice within their POVs section, except for maybe the ones we only see one chapter of POV from. But I think overall it was done quite well and I enjoyed it.

The characters themselves we all very well developed and grew throughout the book which I really enjoyed! They were all written very well excluding Orion and even the ‘bad guys’ were written very well even if they aren’t nice people. Asterin suffered from the kinda typical trope of having more power than most so she has to go and defeat the villain but in this situation it did work and everything fell into place and made sense in the end. I really enjoyed Rose’s character as well! She was a badass and I really enjoyed reading from her POV. I also really liked Luna! She developed so well throughout the story and I 100% agree with her choices at the end of this book! Quinlan was also kinda typical… Extremely attractive, powerful and there to save the day of course… He was an enjoyable character but he definitely fit the mould of most YA male characters. Then we had Eadric who was probably the character that grew the most throughout the book. He was kinda the Dad figure of the group and I really enjoyed his personality and the way he developed.

The next thing I loved was the world & magic system. Both of which are very fleshed out and detailed! I loved learning about this world and the magic system. It was so interesting even if the magic system was not the most unique I’ve seen it was still very solid. I just enjoyed how much it was thought out! There was reasons for everything and it wasn’t like some magic systems where you just have to accept that this is how it works and that there isn’t a why involved… The world was really interesting too and I would love to learn more about the other kingdoms in this world. Which hopefully we will get in book 2!

Lastly we have the plot itself to talk about because it was intense! There were only 1 or 2 places where I guessed a plot twist/plot point but even then I was so into this book that it didn’t annoy me, I just wanted to know the how! Besides those couple I guessed this book was unpredictable! There were so many twists and turns that just kept me hooked the entire time and I loved the rollercoaster ride this book took me on! I do however want to yell at the author a lit for that cliff hanger! How dare you!!

So, overall I really enjoyed this one! It had a couple flaws in my opinion but I enjoyed the ride it took me on. I loved most of the characters and I can’t want to see where they go next. Also that cliffhanger!! I need to know what happens next!!!!!!!! I can’t wait for book 2 but it’s going to be a bit of a wait I would say. There are no details released yet as Book 1 isn’t even released yet…

Thank you to NetGalley & Blackstone Publishing for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan ✨ Mini Spoiler Free Review

Title: The Sword of Summer
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 499 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Disney Hyperion
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis:

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

Okay, so I think Rick Riordan’s writing is the main reason I don’t enjoy these books. First off, I have read the first book in the Percy Jackson series and basically felt the exact same about it as I do with this one. I’m not 100% sure what exactly it is about these books but I just can’t connect with these books. I can’t connect with the characters and because of that I don’t really care about them or what happens to them. So I find myself getting bored & distracted and just wishing it was over already.

The world building is good & the world itself is interesting enough. The plot is also action packed & slightly engaging in some places. I can also honestly say it was really unpredictable. But those are the only things that really interests me in the story. Also these are the reason I rated this one 3.5 stars and not lower.

So overall, I didn’t enjoy myself that much reading this one! If you enjoy Rick Riordan’s writing then I think this good be a good read but for me it’s just average!

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Mooncakes: Vol 1 by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu – Spoiler Free Review

Title: Mooncakes: Volume 1
Author: Suzanne Walker (Author) & Wendy Xu (Artist)
Genre: YA Diverse Fantasy Graphic Novel
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Pages: 256 (paperback)
Publishers: Lion Forge
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

So, I have never reviewed a Graphic Novel, so this will be a new experience! This won’t be following my usual format and also I won’t talk much about the plot as I don’t want to give anything away when this is a short story and I don’t want to spoil!

Firstly, the artwork is amazing! It’s cute, colourful & detailed and I really enjoyed the art! I will definitely be checking out other Graphic Novels that this artist has been apart of!

Next we have the diversity! We have a Queer Chinese-American Witch that also wears a hearing aid. Then we have Queer Chinese-American They/Them character! Also we have 2 Queer grandmothers in an awesome relationship, and who are also kinda badass! I love how much diversity was featured in such a short story!

Lastly, the story itself was really fun too! It has an interesting world, awesome characters & an unpredictable plot! I didn’t really know what to expect with this Graphic Novel as I hadn’t seen any information about it except that it was awesome, so it was fun to discover the interesting paranormal world that is in this story!

Thank you to NetGalley & Lion Forge for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford ✨ Spoiler Free Review

Title: Crown of Coral and Pearl
Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl
Author: Mara Rutherford
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: August 19th, 2019
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Harlequin Australia
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

Writing

Okay we are going to get my negative out of the road first. This was also the reason this book got 4.5 instead of 5 stars! INSTA LOVE!! Just no! There is not a single book with insta love that I’m like YES BITCH! Just nope..

Moving on! I adore the writing of this book! I DEVOURED it honestly, I read it late into the night until I literally fell asleep because I didn’t want to put it down! This world that is described in this book is so vivid an atmospheric! I loved it! I could picture the whole thing and I love the idea of village on the ocean. Houses just sticking out of the ocean and little boats to travel between it. I love the world!

Plot

I also really enjoyed the plot. It was full of interesting plot points and many twists I wasn’t expecting at all! It was super unpredictable and it kept me hooked the entire time! As I said before, I literally couldn’t put it down half the time!

Characters

I’ve already spoken on the Insta Love, so I won’t mention that again to do with the character. But I really enjoyed all the. characters, even the ones that are not likeable people, I enjoyed how they were written. All the characters felt very fleshed out and I loved seeing how they developed through the book!

Overall

I really enjoyed this book, obviously except the romance… Hopefully that is better in book 2, Kingdom of Sea and Stone. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this series and I also love that this looks like it’s going to be a duology!

Thank you to NetGalley & Harlequin Australia for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Stronger than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan – Spoiler Free Review

Title: Stronger than a Bronze Dragon
Author: Mary Fan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Page Street Publishing
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

Writing

I have mixed feelings about the writing of this one and that is it’s main downfall for me. Firstly, I didn’t feel like the world was explained fully and I didn’t get enough info on the Magic System either, so I was a little underwhelmed with that. What I learnt about the world was super interesting and I would love to learn more, however this is a standalone, so won’t be getting that wish granted. I do appreciate that this is a standalone as YA Fantasy standalones are rare! My other issue with the writing is that it was a tad predictable and pretty cliche. I didn’t love the romance as it was pretty close to insta love. Which is a nope from me. It was only a little predictable, mainly with the romance and related things though. I didn’t guess the major plot points but there were things that I guessed..

However, I did enjoy the action, pacing, world and characters. So I didn’t hate this book but there could have been improvements..

Nothing can truly be fixed. Once broken, nothing will ever be s it was . . . And though you can’t repair something entirely, you can mold it into something better.

Plot

As I previously said there were some predictability, but not a tonne. I did enjoy the plot though, it kept me hooked and it was full of twists and turns. I also enjoyed the pacing, it felt very fast paced which made it easy to read!

Characters

The characters were quite enjoyable even though they were a bit predictable. This is one of those books that you are left wondering if you are supporting the right character and questioning their choices. Which I enjoy personally!

She throws up her hand. “If you were any denser, you’d fall right through the earth!”

Overall

So overall I enjoyed some things and disliked others. The book was enjoyable, action packed, fast paced, had an interesting world and good characters but there were a few things that could have been improved!

Thank you to NetGalley & Page Street Publishing for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Spoiler Free Review

Title: Aurora Rising
Series Name: The Aurora Cycle
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Pages: 470 (Paperback)
Publishers: Allen & Unwin
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic

Writing

The only way I can describe this book is straight out entertaining!
My first critique of the writing is that because this book was so fast paced & there are so many POVs I found it a bit lacking of background information. There were only really a few things that I felt like was fully explained as they directly impacted the story. But I wanted to know more about this world and also the ailen races.. I love a good action packed book, but I need a balance between action & world developed which this one felt a little lacking in.
Secondly, again because it was so action packed & there are multiple POVs I found that I didn’t fully connect with the characters. I enjoyed them and was rooting for them but I don’t feel that full on connection to them. Really any of them.

As for good things, it was action packed, very fast paced & the witty banter was on point! It made for an enjoyable and entertaining experience.

“Hmm.” I make a show of patting down my uniform, peering down my tunic. “I seem to have left the part of me that cares in my other pants.”

Plot

This is going to be a short one as I’ve already basically explained it all. The plot is fast paced, action packed & gripping. Also fairly unpredictable, there was one major thing that I easily guessed before the big reveal but for the most part it was unpredictable.

Characters

So as I’ve already said, I didn’t have a huge connection with the characters but I did enjoy them. My favourite would have to be either Finian or Kal! I can’t choose between the two as they were both amazing! Also the banter between Cat & Fin was on point!

I loved that we got POVs of twins, both of them. I found that really unique as It’s kinda rare to have a Twin as an MC let alone having POV from both Scarlett & Tyler.

I also appreciated the rep! Main one being Finian who is both disabled and possibly either Bi or maybe Pan? If that’s what an ailen race calls it anyway… I don’t believe it was specifically stated but from the evidence that’s the vibes I’m getting.

“Are you, like, a professional arsehole or . . . ?”

“More a hobbyist,” Finian replies. “Hoping to go pro next season.”

Overall

Overall I enjoyed the experience. It was a fun, fast paced, action packed, interesting & hilarious book and I loved it but there were a couple little negative things that I had for it too. I’m super keen for book 2 & hopefully there is a little more background explanation & also I am able to connect more with the characters!

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King of Fools by Amanda Foody – Spoiler Free Review

Title: King of Fools
Series Name: The Shadow Game
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019
Pages: 599 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Ink Yard Press
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Writing

There hasn’t been a book written by Amanda Foody that I haven’t loved so far! Her ability to create absolutely incredibly detailed and unique worlds is just outstanding. You never know what you are going to discover next or what mystery will be unravelled about these worlds. It’s constant and I love it. The world of New Reynes is just so amazingly developed I can’t believe it’s not real. Next are her magic systems which are intricate, unique and interesting! I absolutely love them! Everything about this book is detailed, developed & amazingly written!

Plot

Just oh my god! The plot flowed amazingly. It had the perfect amount of action and false sense of security! SOO much happens in this book but it never feels overwhelming or unrealistic. Just perfectly action packed, heart breaking and gripping! This book will keep you at the edge of your seat most of the way through!

Characters

The characters of this book are so well developed they feel real. You see them grow throughout the book. There are characters you will love, once you will hate & ones that you will constantly be confused as to whether you love or hate them. They are so well written!
I love that we followed 3 POVs in this book as opposed to only 2 that we had in Ace of Shades. As well as Enne & Levi we also follow Jac in King of Fools which I loved. Jac is an amazing character having him as a POV just bought him to life even more.

Overall

King of Fools was an amazing sequel to Ace of Shades. Amanda Foody is starting to become one of my all time favourite authors! Especially if she keeps creating amazing books! The worlds, the magic, the characters, the plot! Everything is just soo freaking well done!

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

You could also use my affiliate links for Book DepositoryBooktopia or Angus & Robertson.

Booktopia
Paperback // Hardcover

Angus & Robertson
Paperback // Hardcover

Book Depository
Paperback // Hardcover

Have you read King of Fools? What are your thoughts on the Magic System & World?!

Have you read Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody? Does King of Fools live up to it? Or better?

Purchase any of the books mentioned from BOOK DEPOSITORY! World Wide FREE shipping and awesome prices? Can’t say no to that!

Aussie? Want quick shipping? Awesome prices? Want to be able to utilise AfterPay? Then try BOOKTOPIA or even ANGUS & ROBERTSON!

All the links!

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