Tuesday 25 May 2021

Review: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
Release Date:
August 13, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

The Bridge Kingdom is a BookTok favourite and one that I went into with high expectations. After finishing this book I can officially say I really enjoyed this! It is a solid fantasy with a great plot and the writing style makes this story an easy one to slip into. The world and the politics in this story are really interesting, the (very) slow-burn romance had me at hello, and the last 20% of the book is such a rollercoaster of emotions you'll be forced to pick up the sequel straight away.

This book started off so awesome. Our main character Lara is described as a badass and ruthless assassin and from there I'm hooked. The opening scene? Immense. My interest levels peaked to 5000. However, slowly as the chapters unfold where Lara has been described as this cutthroat, trained since birth, deadly assassin, nothing that she actually does reflects this entirely. This was frustrating to read because it felt that the character was being described in one way but didn't really live up to that through her actions. Over the course of the book, I suppose she proves herself in little ways and I hope this is shown more in the sequel because I was coming to really enjoy her character by the end. 

This book is a solid 4 for me as I felt hooked all the way through and I loved the world and learning more about Ithicana. The romance was really enjoyable. It is a slow burner! This is an important heads up as I went into this book thinking it was going to be spicy from 20% in and it was not.  The book is told from both POVs with a heavier emphasis on Lara. I would have liked more moments between them told from Aren's POV just so we could see the finer moments of them falling for each other. Aren and Lara have great chemistry and I'm hoping for more intimate moments between them in The Traitor Queen (book 2).

Their relationship has been described as an enemies to lovers, which I suppose on the surface it is. However, it's not really knife-to-throat or "I will kill you" ETL, it's more like "Oh hey there, guess we're getting married as part of this treaty and our two nations don't really get along, but here we are. Wanna be friends?" I did however enjoy the dynamic of having our main character as a spy in the enemy's territory and her slowly finding out why they may not be the enemy she once thought they were. But enemies? To lovers? More like suspicious woman becomes the king's wife and is actually a spy and deep down he knows she's only there to get information from him about his kingdom but he wants to give her the benefit of the doubt and they both end up falling for each other anyway. Not sure what trope this is... but essentially if you like the idea of the betrayal trope then go for this. It will hurt you!

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy with a betrayal trope. Perhaps for fans of The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson who want a little more spice. I've seen this book compared to From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout, but personally, I don't think this spice is on the same level if that is what you're looking for this might not be the one for you. I do think it will heat up over the course of the series and I can't wait to read book 2!


4 Falling Books

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Book Release Day and Review: Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass

Happy Book Birthday to this wonderful YA contemporary!

Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that's when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

Where the Rhythm Takes You is such a joyous read that will keep you up all night and really give you that sweet contemporary YA experience. It is set in the beautiful backdrop of Tobago and I found myself longing to walk along the beaches, try the food, and wanting to experience everything it has to offer. This book deals with the loss of a loved one, learning to let go, and letting yourself fall into your passions. It has really left me with a fuzzy feeling, wanting to seize the day and nurture those passions that bring me joy. 

Ever since her mother died, our main character Reyna has been making sure to look after her family's hotel in Tobago and making sure it meets the standards that her mum put in place. She even put her dream of going to study art with her best friend aside. Reyna is shocked when she finds that her ex-boyfriend Aiden, who is now a major music celebrity, is coming to stay at the hotel and she has to be his tour guide. Throughout the book, we learn more and more about their history and where it went wrong. The slow burn of Reyna and Aiden's romance just killed me... and I loved it. Sometimes I felt Aiden could have shown a little more emotion and having a dual POV would have been really great at certain points within this book, however, I enjoyed Reyna's side nonetheless and the story of their second chance love tied up nicely by the end.

The way Reyna's mother's death is told to us felt so raw and so real it brought me to tears a few times. And her difficult relationship with her father and her best friend also felt realistic. There are also some funny laugh-out-loud scenes that came from Aiden's celebrity friends, who all felt so down to earth that they were a joy to read about. I loved the 'fame' aspect of the book didn't overtake the storyline. I do not think anything in the story really shocked or surprised me, there were no major twists in a sense. I would have liked something like this in the overarching plot, but it also worked fine without it. There may be some things that were seemingly predictable, but there's no denying that this book is such a fun read it did not matter.

I would highly recommend Where the Rhythm Takes You if you're looking for a YA contemporary that has all the classic ingredients but feels fresh at the same time. There is also a brilliant soca playlist at the back of the book, which is a genre I had never listened to before! This book is so easy to slip into. I read it over the course of a few days and each time I picked it up I felt I was returning home to friends. I cannot wait to read more from Sarah Dass because this debut novel hit the spot. 


4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Balzer + Bray for providing an eARC on Edelweiss

Friday 7 May 2021

Review: Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date:
March 2, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

*Possible spoilers for Chain of Gold*

Cassandra Clare strikes again and breaks my heart. Surprise surprise. Chain of Iron follows our main cast from where Chain of Gold leaves off. Cordelia is marrying James to cover up James' actions and save Cordelia's reputation in society. Cordelia has real feelings for James, but she knows he is in love with Grace. The Shadowhunter wedding in this book was EVERYTHING. Gold attire with the Herondale family in attendance? Why did I not get an invite?! The plot of this book thickens when there is a series of Shadowhunter murders on the streets of London and the gang of Merry Thieves attempt to find the killer. Lucy has been spending a lot of time on her own and with Grace attempting to resurrect Jesse. Sounds bad? It certainly is. Overall, I loved all the storylines and how they unfolded in this book. If you're looking for action, romance, a murder mystery, and ANGST you will love this.

My favourite part of this series is the characters. Each one has such a special place in my heart and I love them all more than I can describe. Chain of Gold introduces them all and I felt that some were not developed as much as I would have liked. However, COI fills in this gap and I was not disappointed. We learn a lot more about Matthew. Oh, Matthew. I hope he gets his happy ending at some point he does deserve one. If you loved Matthew's humour and wanted to give him a hug in COG, oh boy it does not get any easier here. 

What can I say about Cordelia and James' relationship? ANGST. PAIN. I want both of these characters to be happy and I hope they can find it in Chain of Thorns despite every lucky star being against them. We know that James is not actually in love with Grace, but instead is being influenced by the GODDAMN silver bracelet given to him with instruction from Tatiana. I do hate that lady. There are certain scenes that have my whole heart when James has glimpses of his love for Cordelia through the bracelet haze. 

The most painful part of this book was the last few pages. It put me in physical, emotional, and mental pain! If you remember CC's classic cliffhangers, this contains another one. However, completely worth it! You need to read this and experience it.

I am such a simp for the Shadowhunter series. I think this may also be my favourite so far. It has all the characters we loved in The Infernal Devices and as a bonus, they are the parents of the main characters? This is a fanfiction come true. I would 100% recommend you keep reading if you have read TID. I am so excited for Chain of Thorns. I am sure there will be more heartbreak, more angst, more pain, more pain, and erm, more pain?


5 Falling Books