Serpent and Dove: Review

Finally. FINALLY. A well-written fantasy that does not remind me of anything that I’ve read in the past. Don’t sit on this one, folks.

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date. This, in no way, affects my glowing review.

SERPENT AND DOVE is a fantasy told in a split POV narrative. First up is Lou, a witch in hiding who’s missteps cause her to get married to a witch hunter named Reid. Reid is stiff and dedicated to his beliefs whereas Lou is often vulgar and unchaste. Together they form an unusual pairing that is often filled with bitterness and confusion. Enemies turn up, as they do, and both Reid and Lou have to decide where their allegiances lie. To each other, or the lives they were born into.

LOU is a snarky arse eighteen-year-old who turns her nose up at the Church and its ideals. She lives her life as a thief to get by in this France inspired world. She has bestie written all over her. She’s fierce and independent, but also likewise vulnerable with flaws. The only other heroine I can think of that compares is Celaena from Throne of Glass, but that’s only a minuscule portion of who Lou is. Shelby created a protagonist that you can cheer for until the end. She is the ultimate YA heroine.

REID is a witch hunter, or Chasseur if you will. He’d been raised to believe witches were evil, and to follow the good book, almost blindly. He’s a tall drink of water with cinnamon roll tendencies. That is to say; he’s so chaste and innocent, I was hoping Lou would ravage the poor guy sooner rather than later. He’s tall, and prone to rage-filled outbursts, mostly because he does not understand the woman Lou is. Oh man, the tension between these two was so thick I had a hard time pulling my kindle away from my face. Teamed up with Lou, they are a force to be reckoned with. Their romance is nail-biting delicious.

Add to this your TO BE READ, pre-order, whatever. If you like fantasy, kick-arse heroines, and a fresh magic system and world, this is the one for you.

The plot flowed beautifully and had me hooked from page one. Usually, with longer books like this, I tend to take my time, but I had to blow through this because it was literally THAT good. I felt my body sag when I saw this was only a duology. But needless to say, I will follow Shelby’s career to my dying day. She is one to watch!

Expected publication: September 3rd 2019 by HarperTeen

When the Sky Fell on Splendor: Review

GAH. This is going to be one of those harsh reviews that I really hate writing. But because I’ve loved the author’s other works, the disappointment of this one hit hard.

So, here we have a group of kids. Franny (the POV we read from, her brother Arthur, Levi, Remy, Nick, and Sofia. They are creatures of loss, one way or another, and find companionship in it all while being part of a small Youtube channel while they visit haunted places and recall ghost stories. During one such nightly excursion, they encounter something otherworldly.

This book started solid, with hints of movies like Super 8 and maybe even Signs and a little bit of Goonies and E.T. But unfortunately, it didn’t take off in the same caliber. I prepped myself for the big reveal to what happened with Franny’s brother, only to never truly get it. I wanted a real Signs moment, where Mel Gibson finally comes to terms with his wife’s death type thing. Don’t get me wrong; the book had fantastic characters in that I could tell them each apart which is hard to do when you’re writing a book with six close friends vying for the reader’s attention.

Basically, the story dipped and stayed underwater for quite some time. I found myself skimming, (which is the first sign of boredom). There was quite a bit of flashback, which I ordinarily don’t mind, but there were so many which should have built up to something and never did. Not to mention, I felt incredibly DUPED by the cover and the synopsis. I thought I was finally getting a fresh alien novel. ARGH.

This book was compared to The Serpent King, which is a total bull crap lie. That book had heart and what ultimately led me into reading it as buying it as quickly as I did. Henry’s first two books were shiny gifts to the world, but this one was one of those shoebox presents wrapped in newspaper.

Circle of Shadows: Review

Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with the e-arc, but I went ahead and waited until the book was out to buy it, to own, since it was so beautiful. I ended up with a purple sprayed edges copy which was signed!

Anyhow, since The Crown’s Game was such a super great book, I think I expected something of the same caliber. Unfortunately, this one was not on the same level, at all.

This book started out promising — Wolf and Spirit as two apprentice warriors who discover a secret plot to overthrow the Empress. Spirit is good at magic while Wolf is skilled at combat. They encounter whole new sort of magic that could threaten their land. They’re not taken very seriously, so they take matters into their own hands.

The premise was really cool. I loved the idea of “geminas” where one person is bonded to another and able to feel what they feel. The magic system was cool and original. I love stories centering around Japanese culture. The world reminded me a lot of an anime, but as much as I tried to picture it as one, it all fell away as the story progressed.

Everything felt…convienent and forced. I absolutely did not care for the characters. The situations were a bit cheesy and had that done-before feeling. The AHA moments did not draw a reaction from me. The side characters were brief and their moments seemed just the same, even though one character had a huge scene that should have affected me. Don’t get me started on the love triangle. WHAT? I know it was probably created for conflict to carry over into the next book, but it felt weird and necessary, and I hated it. The slow burn with Wolf and Spirit was enough. Her unwillingness to see Wolf as a romantic partner and him fighting his attraction held enough conflict to hold its own.

The monikers were awful. Fairy, Broomstick…UGH

The book moved past scenes too quickly. I felt like there was never enough time to ground myself in one spot.

I believe my expectations were simply too high. This is one of those books that I will forget the next day. I’m so sad because I wanted to love it, but alas.