Book Reviews

Legendborn Book Review!

Don’t make your life about the loss. Make it about the love.”

Tracy Deonn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Summary From Book

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight. 

My Thoughts

I didn’t think I would love this book as much as I did. I’ve been on an adult smut kick, so going to a YA fantasy was a shock to my system. However, I could not stop reading this book once I started. A friend of mine was raving about how amazing this book was, so I decided to pick it up (I also have two copies of it from subscription boxes). I was not disappointed!

The author shares their take on the story of Merlin and it is beautifully done. I found myself a bit overwhelmed with information and following all the bloodlines and things, but there’s a super helpful cheat sheet in the back of the book that saved me. I’m usually not into the Merlin-esque fantasy but Deonn did a phenomenal job making it captivating.

I LOVED Bree so damn much. What a hardcore character. I loved her personality and how she speaks up for herself. She wants to find out about her mother so she is going to do whatever it takes to get answers. I was wary of her best friend for the first like ¾ of the book. I thought Deonn was going to come back and make her a bad guy, but that didn’t happen (thank goodness – don’t do Bree like that)! The main love interest in the book, Nick, was a decent character. He was a bit dull for my tastes and I found myself shipping Bree with Selwyn…I’m hoping that there’s a second book and that that specific relationship is explored more. We all know I’m a sucker for the bad boy. Speaking of Sel…what a guy. I HATED him at first but once we actually got to see into his character; swoon (it can’t just be me, right?).  The side characters were also pretty great. They played a part in the plotline and I appreciated how Deonn didn’t add them in and then make them insignificant. They had purpose.

Deonn also tackles racism and microaggressions that people have toward people of color. Bree acknowledged the issues and brought to light why some of the thing that were said were inappropriate, even if the person saying them didn’t understand or thought they were “just joking”. I appreciated that Bree was a character of color and that Deonn included the hardships that she faces, even in a fantasy based book. So often we get characters of color and they don’t face any hardships or issues, and it isn’t relatable or realistic. Kudos to Deonn for being authentic in her writing.

Overall, the plot of the book was enjoyable. There was A LOT of detail and building of the Merlin lines and story, but it was done gracefully. I also like the Hunger Games-esque feel to the story. However, Bree was even more badass than Katniss, IMO.  I was rooting for Bree and scared for her all at once. She had absolutely no training for anything related to this world, but she didn’t let that stop her.

When the story ended I immediately had to research if there was going to be a book two…all I found was that there’s a possibility for one in 2021. I’m hoping that’s true! I can’t wait to continue this story and see where the magic takes Bree and the others.

Book Reviews

Fables and Other Lies Book Review

I pity those who can’t get lost in fictional worlds.”

Rating: 4/5 Cups of Tea (Stars)

Back of the Book Synopsis

Do you believe in curses?

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true.

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill.

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away.

My Thoughts

This was one of the last books I bought in 2020 and it was the first book I read of 2021. I was intrigued by the title, the cover, and the length of the book. I hadn’t intended to make it my first read of the year, but I’m glad that I did!

I loved the main character, Penelope (Penny for short). She told the story well and I was interested in the story she had to tell from the beginning of the prologue! Her friends were a fun add to the plot as well, as was the main male character, River Caliban.

The gothic storytelling and use of fables (and other lies) is something I don’t usually dive into. I really enjoyed how two feuding families, a curse, and everything in between played out. We just watched Holes, and it reminded me of the curse and families in the movie…which was ironic and funny. The supernatural aspect of the story was done well also. It wasn’t overwhelming but held enough of the plot to keep us moving through and engaged in the story.

The island that Penny grew up on celebrates Carnival once a year, for a whole week, and that’s when most of the book takes place. I would have liked to have more description of different activities that were happening because it was fun and interesting, but also because Carnival was a large part of the plot. The way the costumes and festivities were described was done very well and I had very vivid images of what was going on in my head.

The main part that left me unfulfilled in this book is the lack of romance. There is some, but it’s slow burn and pretty brief. With the book being a little over 200 pages long, the slow burn doesn’t really work and by the end, I was invested in the relationship and wanted MORE. The romance had so much potential because it was unique, but I was sad when it ended and I didn’t have all the sexy times I anticipated.

Later in the story there are a few chapters that switch POV. However, this switch also changes the writing from first to third person and that was quite jarring for me. The chapters were very short during these switches and I don’t know why the change from first to third happened. I didn’t necessarily feel like anything was gained by doing so, so I’d be interested to find out the author’s reasoning.

Overall, the plot and characters were fabulous. I have never read anything by this author and will definitely be checking out more! It’s an easy and quick read and was worth picking up. I’m happy to be starting 2021 on a high note!