Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Firstly, thanks to Harlequin Books Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: June 18 - June 27 2019
Date Released: June 11 2019
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:

"Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…"


I do wonder if JLA puts crack or weed or some kind of drug in her books because they are freaking addictive. I literally had to physically tear myself from the book every time I needed to put it down. Side note I didn’t realise Storm and Fury was a spin-off of The Dark Elements and I should have finished that series before picking up this one because now I know how TDE ends… welps. Storm and Fury is essentially the story that Zayne got since he didn’t get the girl – I’m actually bitter about that because as much as I loved Roth, I shipped Layla with Zayne. Now that’s off my chest, on to the actual review.

Trinity Marrow is a human who’s grown up protected in the Warden compound. I’m not going to lie, I could guess who she was pretty early on so it wasn’t a big WOW when the reveal happened. I enjoyed her character, to an extent. By now I’ve kind of gotten the gist of the kind of female MCs JLA likes to write: really good at combat, witty/snarky sense of humour, a girl who stands her own ground, manages to attract trouble, wants to help others and is stubborn. Trinity fit right into that mold and it almost felt the same as reading Alex from Covenant. I think they’re basically the same person just in different bodies. Katy and Layla also displayed similar traits however I really likened Trinity to Alex. Although Trinity sometimes annoyed me and I don’t actually know why. The main difference from Alex was Trinity’s physical appearance and her vision impairment. I thought the vision impairment was the most interesting aspect of her character as it’s not every day a supernatural book has a combat-competent MC that’s vision impaired. I would have liked to see more of this actually – rather than her randomly tripping I wanted to know if she wore contacts or glasses and how this affected her day-to-day life. I got the impression she sometimes wore glasses and I would’ve liked to see how she fought with glasses because that’s got to be a hassle – considering how I can’t even do downward dog without them slipping down my nose I can’t imagine dodging punches without them flying off.

Now Zayne is even broodier than in TDE. More broodier, more sullen, just as sweet and hot (but nobody beats Aiden St Delphi. NOBODY). I don’t know how the scary looking stone gargoyles on buildings can be hot but JLA makes them hot. Especially a fine specimen (statue?) like Zayne. I really liked the way JLA wrote his character in that he hasn’t miraculously gotten over the events of TDE. His wounds are still fresh and Layla is still a touchy subject. Moving on is never easy and we get to see Zayne’s progression through Storm and Fury. Seeing his character unfold through Trinity’s eyes was also interesting considering the way we perceived him in TDE – both Layla and Trinity pine for him but in different ways. One’s been in love with him from the beginning, the other was sceptical of his character and only physically attracted to him. Makes for an interesting dynamic.

There’s quite a few appearances from TDE which I enjoyed seeing and how they play into the events of the Harbinger series will be an interesting one in the future books. I do love it when authors include much loved characters into other books *rubs hands together* just as long as they stay happy ya know? Poor characters had their fair share of turmoil in their own books, now they must rest.

I liked the diversity explored in Storm and Fury – there’s a same-sex couple who have a healthy relationship, as well as characters with different ethnicities and skin colours (still waiting for an Asian though). They’re not used as plot devices, these characters just are, which is the way society is so I was on mega board with this.

Plot-wise I’m not sure I follow with how big the impact is made out to be. Like I’m getting the impression this is Armageddon (ya know Harbinger giving me the End of Days/Judgment Day vibes) but the ways the characters are playing out seems lowkey. I’m hoping for the significance of some characters to be revealed later on because they seemed to be arbitrarily selected in Storm and Fury for convenience rather than destiny/fate playing out in epic proportions. That made more sense in my head. I’m trying to make the connections of certain characters to the overall plot and how all the pieces were strategically placed eons ago to be played out. Got to wait and see I guess.

Overall, Storm and Fury is another addictive paranormal story in JLA’s repertoire. I’m hoping we get more differences in Trinity’s character development and the plot expands to the Biblical heights it forebodes. The characters show potential and the Harbinger series is promising thus far so I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Blog Tour: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Date Released: February 26th 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Fantasy

"From the internationally bestselling author of The Bone Season, a trailblazing, epic high fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons—and the women who must lead the fight to save it.

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep."


YOU GUYSSSSSS I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BLOG POST TODAY!!! LOOK AT THE EXCLAMATION MARKS. My most and I mean MOST anticipated release of 2019 is Samantha Shannon's The Priory of the Orange Tree AND IT IS HERE - it is glorious, it is MAGNIFICENT.

I am beyond thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the release of this masterpiece and today I have for you a playlist inspired by the book.

For me this playlist represents many of the elements I felt and saw whilst reading the book: fighting,  war, the world falling apart, dragons, believing in yourself and freedom. I thought these songs embodied these ideas and I hope you feel them too when you listen.

Listen here:

(I created the playlist on YouTube as Swordland isn't available on Spotify, sorry peeps!)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Blog Tour: Enchantée (Enchantée #1) by Gita Trelease

WOOHOO I'm very pleased to be on the blog tour to celebrate the release of Enchantée by Gita Trelease! The blog tour is worldwide and started on February 6, with the Australian leg of the tour beginning 27 February. Check out the hashtag #enchanteeblogtour on social media for more.

Date Read: February 16 - March 2 2019
Date Released: February 21st 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan (Australia)
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Historical Fantasy
My Rating:

"Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…"


Enchantée was a fun adventure with an undercurrent of darkness - disguised as a light, magical read all set against the opulent backdrop of the final years of the French monarchy.

Self-sacrificing middle sister Camille is tasked with taking care of her siblings after their parents died. Her brother is descending into gambling debts and her sister is still weak after suffering the illness that killed their parents. Camille has a large weight on her shoulders and puts a lot of pressure on herself to protect her sister who doesn’t see how their older brother is becoming more and more dangerous. I really felt for her because I feel that if she hadn’t been the breadwinner, she might have been better off - the things we do for blood no matter how toxic the relationship hey? As the only worker of magic amongst her siblings, she uses her own blood and sorrow to fuel the magic so that she can pretend to be a baroness and gamble for money at Versailles. Girl has a lot of sorrow from years in poverty let me tell you. I loved the effect of Versailles on Camille - she doesn’t become addicted to gambling itself but rather to the glitz and glamour of that lifestyle, and always wanting more. It’s an escape from reality because while what she’s doing is dangerous, a part of her is having fun eating and drinking and meeting friends. Personality wise I can’t deny I thought she was a bit bland - other than a common interest of gambling and being courtiers I didn’t really see how everybody became friends? There was no proper conversation, she’s constantly thinking about the next game to get more money, protect her sister and that’s about where her personality starts and ends?

I definitely preferred the secondary characters more. My favourite was probably Chandon who’s this sweet, fun loving guy who, having been bred at court, really gets how everything works and helps Camille navigate court life. I would have liked more exploration into her court friends and female interactions, especially with Aurelie- need more female friendships! Her younger sister Sophie has a talent for making hats and her creations sounded fascinating. Not gonna lie I did find Sophie a tad annoying at times - Camille had tried to shelter her as much as possible and its like as a result she doesn’t see Camille’s sacrifices and could be ungrateful at times.

Then there’s Lazard from reality. With his hot air balloon and dreams of exploration, Lazare represented Camille’s desires to be free. Their relationship did start off as a “like” at first sight because of his looks *eye roll* but I did feel the chemistry between them as Camille showed her brains and understanding of what the balloon represented for them all. Lazare is actually the perfect boy and it was kind of unbelievable? The guy is actually so wholesome - sweet, kind, smart, handsome, good at everything he does like wow boy slow down. The romance is hella cute though and there’s these little things he does that has me swooning.

In terms of plot, things didn’t start picking up until midway. Up until then, it’s a lot of Camille back and forthing from Paris to Versailles, turning cards, gambling and glutting herself on the lavish lifestyle then returning to Paris, the magic having spent her physically. But hey it turns out Versailles isn’t all the opulence it’s facade presents - there are evil people at court who are hurting others, revolution is on the horizon as the population’s unrest becomes evident with their dissatisfaction of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s exorbitant spending. And through all this Versailles drinks and parties, thinking it will hide everything.

I loved the way Versailles was described. Opulent, lavish, luxurious - everything I imagined the court of Marie Antoinette to be, it was. Macarons, champagne, frills, pastels, strawberries, trimmed hedges and magnificent gardens, silk and everything imaginable... whilst underneath it’s all actually fading. If you looked closely, unused corridors were dusty, the stunning ceilings would show signs of leaking and carpets chewed up with nobody to care enough to fix it. Honestly though I lived for the silk dresses and suits, the haze of champagne and adrenaline from a win - like hells yeh I too would live that life if I had unlimited resources LOL.

The underlying themes of this story were very important though. Trelease has done a fine job of weaving darker themes into the magic - addiction is hands down the biggest problem addressed, but there’s also domestic violence and social-economic class/financial stability. Many key characters in the book were fuelled by addiction - Camille’s brother Alain has a gambling addiction, he’s addicted to the gambling itself. Camille, at first looks like she has a gambling addiction but she knows when to stop - her addiction was deeper. It was an addiction to the magic, the more she used it the more it drew on her. She also became addicted to the thrill of the lifestyle and what it offered. Addictions were the catalysts of so many people’s actions throughout and highlighted how dangerous it could be. Alain being a domestic abuser was pivotal in driving Camille’s decisions but I thought it was important to note that domestic abusers could be the brothers we looked up to as children and loved. We can try to make excuses for them but at the end of the day, one’s own safety is the most important. Socio-economic class was an obvious topic - on hand the general populace are basically living in slums, bread prices see through the roof and everybody is starving. On the other hand, the rich are throwing down money like its Monopoly money, drinking expensive champagne and gorging themselves until dawn, hidden away in the golden glow of Versailles. Camille being on both sides gave us perspective into both lives and the importance of financial stability. She would always want more money - how much was enough? I could understand why she didn’t want to stop, as a commoner with no wealth she needed a steady income to pay rent, buy food etc. no matter how much she won from gambling, if she stopped gambling, at some point the money would run. And it’s that fear that drove her. And it’s this distinction that marked the difference between who she really was and the baroness she pretended to be.

Overall, Enchantée was a magical adventure into the lavish court of Marie Antoinette and its vices. I loved living the Gossip Girl life of 18th century France. The story was fun and cute and hopeful. More importantly, I found the themes of Enchantée to be relevant and transcending time.


Don't forget to drop by the other tour stops: