The Last Wish (The Witcher, 0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: 1993 (Originally. Edition shown in photo published 2019)

Genre: High Fantasy, Magic, Short Stories, Adventure

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amazon

” Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny. “

Where to start… First let me say, if you want to watch the show, I highly recommend you read up through book one. Read The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny, AND Blood of Elves first. In the show, there are multiple timelines that cover each of those books.

Anyways, each short story is like a Grimm Fairytale that is even more grim. (Ha. Ha. Ha.) They don’t really end in happy endings and they are often filled with gore. I loved it. They were really dark. My favorite was the Beauty and the Beast one of course. Again, no happy endings, but it was very interesting! Each story is setting you up for the first book, Blood of Elves. And it’s basically Geralt’s back story.

Geralt is fascinating to read about. He acts like he has no feelings but he does. His character development is really well done. The world is changing and he has to change with it. Or die out. It’s really about him navigating his dying profession of monster killing, and where to go from there.

My favorite character is Dandelion (not pronounced like the weed but pronounced more like Dan-DILL-ion). He was the comic relief and the cinnamon roll of the series. I love him. He is a traveling bard who is a quick thinker and has sassy come-backs. He’s a good contrast to Geralt. And Yennefer for that matter.

I’m not really sure how I feel about Yennefer yet. She’s kind of a mysterious morally grey character. She is cool, I just don’t know if I like her yet.

This book was FULL of adventure. I was surprised at how fast I fell in love with it. No wonder it’s insanely popular. It’s dark, intense, and just fun to read. I’m officially a fan of The Witcher!

Have you read this? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

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Dorothy in the Land of Monsters (Oz Revamped, #1) by Garten Gevedon – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Garten Gevedon

Publication Date: October 11, 2019

Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, (Maybe Horror?), Retellings

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

” Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!

My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead.

When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation.

They say this terrifying land called Oz isn’t hell or purgatory, that escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread—The City of Emeralds.

With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends—a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures who also happens to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen—Toto and I have a fighting chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and return us to the world of the living. They say he’s just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence, but I must seek him out. And when I find him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.”

*Thank you so much to the author and MTMC Book Tours for sending me this book!*

I was actually really surprised how fast this colorful, macabre story pulled me in. I was also surprised by how cute I thought the romance was. It is a bit insta-lovey BUT it was more insta-lust than love. Then it turned into more.

I thought Dorothy was kind of funny. She had some really funny come-backs when she was fighting. I enjoyed reading about her! Ardie might be my favorite though! He is just too sweet! Werelion was cute too but more in an animal sort of way. And of course Nick. He ended up being kind of goofy I think. At first I couldn’t figure him out. He was a play boy but also naive in some senses.

I LOVED the story. It was really interesting to see what Oz would be like if Vampires, Werebeasts, Zombies, and Witches were running amok. Each time Dorothy visited a place familiar from the original story, it was overrun with some kind of monster she and her friends needed to fight. Also, I totally want her boots that turn into armor!

It really was a fun read! I would really recommend for Halloween! I want to read book two! The ending of book one makes me nervous but hopeful!

*Amazon link is my affiliate link!*

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Saga Press

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Adult, Urban Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

” There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians. “

This was a book that was picked for my bookclub on Instagram and I had never heard of it or seen it anywhere. I was VERY surprised when I found I could not put it down! Let me just say, this is highly underrated!

Character. Sydney is a character that I found myself going, “Oh man, I want to be like her.” She can take pain, and I mean A LOT of pain, she is kind, extremely clever, and very powerful. Ian was a good match to her I think. He was all of those things as well. Gray was a super creepy baddie. And Laurant was my favorite! He’s just so sweet and is an honorable character.

World. Howard did an amazing job creating this magical society that operates unseen within our own! She made it seem like it could be real. Like if I just looked hard enough I could find it. I love when authors can make you feel that way! I loved the way her magic system worked. I don’t think there were any details that I wondered about! To use magic there MUST be a sacrifice. Whether or not that comes from your body or someone else.

Plot. Oh mama, that plot. A dark house of magic that releases the most powerful magician ever who only has her own plans to destroy them? Yes. That’s their downfall. They were too prideful in thinking that they manipulated Sydney enough to be loyal. And it backfires. Badly. Plus the whole plot is based in magical games to see who will win control over the magical world. WAY cool.

Final Thoughts. Two minor dislikes. One is the audio book narrator. She spoke very haltingly whenever the characters spoke. She. Talked. Like. There. Were. Periods. In. Between. Words. I got used to it but it was kind of annoying. The other really minor dislike is that I wish the fight scenes lasted longer. HOWEVER, modern, magical games. That right there should make you want to read this. I saw there was going to be a second book and I can’t wait!

Recommend me some underrated fantasy books!

*As always, gorgeous book sleeve is from Love You More Studio! Code: Storied10 to save!*

*Amazon link is my affiliate link!*

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo – Spoiler Free Review

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Imprint

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Magic

Adventure Rating: 3.5 Stars

| Amazon


“Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.”

3.5 Stars. I know. Unpopular opinion alert. This was one of my, if not THE most anticipated release of 2019, and I felt let down. It didn’t get my heart racing, or make me feel like if I don’t know what happens I might die. It was just pretty good. So I guess I’ll start with my dislikes. It was boring. It only picked up about HALF WAY through the book. Yikes. Nina was my favorite character from the Six of Crows Duology, so I was very disappointed in her story line. Her’s never picked up. I was boring all the way through. In fact, I gave up hope that it would ever pick up, so after a while, whenever her chapters came up I just wanted to skip them. I honestly think the book would have been better if these chapters weren’t in it. That was my main complaint, but I have a small irritant as well. About 2/3 through the book, there is another random POV. And while, I like that character, I couldn’t help but feel his POV was pointless as well.

Man, that first paragraph was harsh, so let’s talk about the good stuff, because there was A LOT of good stuff! Zoya. I LOVE her. She was refreshing. She used anger and her beauty as a shield to protect herself from the world around her. She has a rough childhood. Her character growth was probably the greatest out of all of them. Nikolai. Loved him. Always will. His was the most interesting story line. Which is good, since the book IS about him… He goes through battles internally and physically. His relationship with Zoya is SO interesting to watch unfold. Their witty, sarcastic, back and forth banter was actually pretty funny at times. All of my stars go to their story. My favorite part of the whole book (don’t worry, no spoilers) is when they leave and go on a bit of an adventure and train.

I really liked the inventions mentioned in this book. I hope there will be more talk of those. It could become a pretty cool magic/ steampunk world.

As usual, the writing style is A+! Descriptive without losing you in the story.

The ending though… WOW! SO GOOD!

So I’m going to try out a new thing in my YA reviews. I am going to add a content section. I have had a few people throughout my years of reviewing book DM me (Instagram) about if a book would be appropriate for such and such age. BUT I want to put a disclaimer, I LIKE YA BOOKS. I read them no matter what the content is, BUT I am a 27 year old adult. I am asking people right now to not get in a hubbub if I put something in the content that they think doesn’t matter. This is just so the parents can decide themselves. So, I will be putting a content warning AND other content. The things in my content warning may also be things that are necessary for certain situations. So I am not saying that they are necessarily bad. That’s why I am saying I am leaving it up to the parents to decide. I am probably over explaining myself but better that than have misunderstandings. So let’s give this a try.

CONTENT WARNING FOR KING OF SCARS: Swearing, sexual innuendos, violence, blood, depression, death, a couple scenes where dead people come out of the ground, drinking, talk of worshiping saints and gods.

OTHER CONTENT: Strong female POV, strong male POV, healthy relationships, friendship, camaraderie, overcoming your fears, using your mind to think through situations, protecting others.

** Beautiful sign is from Bookish Signs and More shop! Rep Code to save on two or more items: Lauren20

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3) Spoiler Free Review

Author: Brent Weeks

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon

“As the old gods awaken, the Chromeria is in a race to find its lost Prism, the only man who may be able to stop catastrophe, Gavin Guile. But Gavin’s enslaved on a galley, and when he finally escapes, he finds himself in less than friendly hands. Without the ability to draft which has defined him . . .

Meanwhile, the Color Prince’s army continues its inexorable advance, having swallowed two of the seven satrapies, they now invade the Blood Forest. Andross Guile, thinking his son Gavin lost, tasks his two grandsons with stopping the advance. Kip and his psychopathic half-brother Zymun will compete for the ultimate prize: who will become the next Prism.”

Alright y’all. This one is going to be short because we start verging on the territory of spoilers. A lot of plot twists. A lot of changes. And I freaking loved every moment. Brent Weeks is the king of plot twists. Just information bombs that make your jaw drop. I know I say this every book but this one was my favorite. They just keep getting better and better!

Oh wait, Weeks is also the king of character progression. He does an amazing job of slowly, through character experience, molding the character and having them grow up. Like Kip and Teia. Let me tell you, they go through some serious stuff! Kip is becoming such a strong character. Teia too! Gavin… hmm. He needs to learn a thing or two. Ha!

I think the character I relate to the most is Karris. She sees in black and white. Something is either good or bad or someone who did bad things can become good. I’m like that. However, my favorite character, and get ready for this, is Andross! Yep. I said it. He is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read about.

I hate Zymun and Sharp. They need to die. Sorry, not sorry. I hope Teia gets to kill Sharp and I hope Kip gets to kill Zymun. Liv’s chapters are boring. But I’m thinking Weeks is setting her up for something major.

Learning more about the magic and the world is sooo cool! Some of the interactions, Kip especially has, is some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever read!

That is about all I can say without any spoilers! This series has it all. Character progression, action, magic, intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance. I’m completely obsessed.

Caraval Giveaway!

Caraval Giveaway Alert! 

Caraval is one of my all time favorite series so I thought I’d share it with all of you! You can join my giveaway on my Bookstagram page! I have two prizes, one US and one International! 

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US Prize: One copy of Caraval by Stephanie Garber with a signed bookplate

One Caraval quote print

One Legendary Hot cocoa mix from March’s Shelflovecrate! This is an exclusive

item you can’t get anywhere else!

International Prize: One book up to $15 USD from Book Depository or Amazon as long as they ship to your country! (Price does NOT include shipping :))

*Giveaway not affiliated with Instagram, Flatiron books, Stephanie Garber, or Shelflovecrate!*

Good luck!

Happy Adventuring!