Book Review: Firstborn Academy series by Isla Frost

I found out about this series through Kindle books suggestions. Intrigued by the concept, I picked them up to read and ended up finishing the entire series.

About the Books:

Book 1: Shadow Trials

Shadow Trials (Firstborn Academy #1)

HARRY POTTER MEETS THE HUNGER GAMES
Ever since magic stormed the world, the price for human survival is surrendering your firstborn to the monsters.

But this year it’s Nova’s turn, and the monsters better watch their backs.

I am the firstborn in my family. The first of three. And today I will pay the price for my siblings’ lives by surrendering control of my own. I will step through the runegate, and I will never see my family again.

What the others do with the firstborn is shrouded in mystery. All anyone knows is they are never heard from again.

I will step through the runegate willingly.

But I can keep secrets too. And I’ll do whatever it takes to bring the others to their knees…

Book 2: Shadow Witch

Firstborn Academy: Shadow Witch

Nova has the magic of the enemy.

No one knows whether it’s the power they’ve been waiting for–or a curse that will destroy the world.

And not everyone at the Firstborn Academy is willing to let Nova live long enough to find out…

Fans of Harry Potter, Shadowspell Academy, Harley Merlin, and The Hunger Games, welcome to a magical new world packed with adventure, intrigue, romance, and characters you’ll fall in love with. 

Book 3: Shadow Reaper

Firstborn Academy: Shadow Reaper

Don’t miss this epic conclusion to the internationally bestselling young adult fantasy series.

Life magic is abundant in Nova’s world.
But it might just take death magic to save it.

Nova has sworn she will use every ounce of her wildcard power to bring down the worlds-destroying enemy that has gone undefeated for one hundred and fifty years.

The only hiccup in this otherwise solid plan is that she has no idea how.

But as she and her friends head to the war front to face this impossible task, they find themselves caught between powerful political forces, an unpopular prophesy, new and daunting revelations about their enemy, and the unstoppable might of the Malus itself.

If victory is possible, how much will it cost?

My Thoughts:

I read this series quite some time back (at the beginning of 2020), but somehow I ended up missing out on reviewing the books. So I have decided to combine the posts and share one complete review post on the entire series.

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of the books, the idea that every firstborn is taken away at a certain age and never seen again. Noone knows what happens to them, but when we step onto the other side, we find out that they are sent to an academy for training. The story focuses on Nova, how she navigates the Academy, friendships, enemies and her brand of magic. Some parts of the story is cliché in the sense that Nova is different from others, and she becomes a target for the bad guys. Working with her friends, she tries to fight evil and help save her fellow students.

As the story progresses, the reader becomes invested in the characters, we get to know more about them. I also like how the world was built up, but some more description and depth to the characters would have helped to connect with them better. The focus on the training of the students and finally evolving into the politics behind everything and how to deal with it are well handled by the author.

I enjoy reading fantasy fiction and throw in some magic and adventure and it is a winner. In that sense, this series had all the right elements for a good story and in spite of some flaws, I did enjoy reading the books.

WWW WEDNESDAY – 10/02/2021

Hey guys!

I missed my WWW – Wednesday post due to travel. I decided to post it today anyway, even though it is a day late!

                  ——————————————————————————————————————

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

 Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 2)

What did you recently finish reading?

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes, #1)  Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes, #2)

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Once again I have a lot of books on my TBR list that look very interesting. I am going to try to catch up on a few books that I missed in January and then focus on those which will be releasing soon in February and onwards!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes #2) by Audrey Grey

About the Book:

Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes, #2)

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black, this enemies-to-lovers adventure romance should come with a book hangover warning.

All magic has a price.

Haven survived the Devourers, but she isn’t any closer to breaking the curse. Meanwhile, her forbidden magic rages brighter and more dangerous every day.

To control her powers and stand a chance against the Shade Queen, Haven made a bargain with two enemy immortals. Now her waking hours are spent fighting alongside the Sun Lord, but her dreams belong to the Shade Lord.

Only the closer she ventures into the wicked Shadow Kingdom the more her magic shows itself—and the more she struggles with whom to trust. The golden but wounded Sun Lord or the darkly charismatic Shade Lord.

Both are off-limits.

And both have the ability to save her . . . or destroy her.

With the Shade Queen closing in and Bell’s time nearly up, Haven will sacrifice everything to break the curse—but will it be enough to stop the mortal realm from falling into darkness forever?

Welcome to the Kingdom of Runes where immortals and humans clash, light and dark magic reign, and mythical creatures lurk in the shadows. If you like fierce heroines, enemies-to-lovers romance, wild plot twists, and endearing characters that stay with you long after you reach the end, you need to discover the book readers are calling dark fantasy at its best. Just make sure to clear out some space on your calendar first!

**Curse Breaker was previously published in the boxed set Shattered Worlds. This is a revised second edition. The Kingdom of Runes series is upper/mature YA and contains mild cursing and adult situations, including romance.**

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Kingdom of Runes series by Audrey Grey. Teeming with both dark and light magic, Haven is struggling to find a way to control her magic, learn to use it and at the same time break the curse to get back her best friend, Prince Bell. In addition to this, she makes deals that she is not sure she can keep up, considering that they are with two enemy immortals.

In this book, Haven is drawn into a love triangle between the Sun Lord and the Shade Lord. She knows that both of them have feelings for her and she is conflicted in her emotions towards each of them. I love how charismatic each character comes off as and it is quite entertaining to read about these budding romances. However, there are some things that irked me during these sections, especially how Archeron’s feelings suddenly changed and then the whole group dynamics.

On the other side, we see some of Prince Bell and what he is going through. A wonderful human being, he brings out different sides of people including the creature who saves him from being ripped apart. This is an interesting dynamic to say the least. A lot of the characters are shrouded in darkness and have a ton of secrets which take a lot of time to actually be revealed.

The pace of this book picked up and was quite gripping. It was better than the first and focused more on the adventure and action. I enjoyed this second book in the series and am looking forward to reading the next one.

Book Review: Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes #1) by Audrey Grey

About the Book:

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes, #1)

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Emily R. King, this first book in a dark and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Light magic is forbidden.
Dark magic spells death.
Haven has both.


After the Prince of Penryth saved her from captivity, seventeen-year-old Haven Ashwood spends her days protecting the kind prince and her nights secretly fighting the monsters outside the castle walls.

When one of those monsters kidnaps Prince Bell, Haven must ally with Archeron Halfbane and his band of immortals to rescue her friend.

Her quest takes her deep into the domain of a warped and vicious queen where the rules are simple: break her curse or die.

Lost in a land of twisted magic and fabled creatures, Haven finds herself unprepared, not just for the feelings she develops for Archeron, but for the warring powers raging inside her.

Her rare and forbidden type of magic may be their only hope . . . but mixing light and dark comes with a steep price.

Haven’s soul.

Faced with impossible love, heartbreaking betrayals, and a queen intent on destroying the realm, only one thing remains certain.

Haven must shatter the curse or it will devour everything she loves.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Runes where immortals and humans clash, light and dark magic reign, and mythical creatures lurk in the shadows. If you like fierce heroines, enemies-to-lovers romance, wild plot twists, and endearing characters that stay with you long after you reach the end, you need to discover the book readers are calling dark fantasy at its best. Just make sure to clear out some space on your calendar first!

My Thoughts:

I came across this book as a suggestion and decided to give it a try. I do enjoy good fantasy fiction with magic and adventure! This first book in the series follows Haven as she sets out to save Prince Bell who has been kidnapped under the assumption that he can do magic.

Haven sets out on a journey reluctantly aligning herself with Archeron Halfbane as a means to an end. All this leads to unlikely alliances, bonds being forged and a fast-paced adventure as they set out to fulfil some quests and break a curse. I enjoyed various aspects of the story and the concept. However, the character development was lacking for some of the characters and this felt like a let down to the overall plot. Even Haven is a little confusing at times and it took me some time to get into the story. Some of the lands were well described and easy to imagine. This was the fun part of the book, trying to put the words into pictures and see how the story unfolds.

But, putting this aside, I enjoyed the overall adventure, the plot twists, the magic and the strength and togetherness that some of the characters show. This is definitely an entertaining read that once I got into, kept me hooked until the end.

Books to Read (TBR list) – February 2021

Hello All,

In this post, I have made a tentative list of books that I plan to read in February. This is just an initial list, I am not sure how many more I might end up reading!

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, feedback or recommendations!


  • The Sigil by Shakail Kanish

The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

 

Genre: LGBTQ+ Dark Urban Fantasy

Release date: 4th March 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by the concept of the book and am looking forward to reading it!

 

 

  • Pawns Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

Pawn's Gambit (A Mortal Techniques novel)

 

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Release date: 26th Jan 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

  • Chaturanga (Baahubali before the beginning #2) by Anand Neelakantan

Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 2)

 

 

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Being a huge fan of the Baahubali movie franchise and having read book 1 in this series, I have finally got around to buying Book 2. I am looking forward to it!

 

 

 

  • Beautiful Façade by Kathryn S Rose

Beautiful Facade

 

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse

An Ordinary Life

 

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

I requested for and received a copy of the book via NetGalley. I have read a few books by the author and have enjoyed them so far! This book sounds interesting and I would love to see what I think.

 

 

 

  • The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

The Paris Dressmaker

 

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

I have been reading a lot of books in this genre and am enjoying the reads and discovering new authors! I am excited to read this book!

Book Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Vow So Bold and Deadly (The Cursebreaker Series)

Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

 

My Thoughts:

Finally! The final book in the Cursebreaker series is available and it is a worthy emotional conclusion.

The book picks up where the second leaves with Grey aligned with Lia Maria on one side and Rhen on the other side with Harper. Each try to find a way to handle their kingdoms and win favor with their people. The story as always is divided into point of view chapters and is handled very well by the author. With Lilith back and working her master plan in the background, it takes a lot for Harper and Rhen to trust each other again and work through their anger.

On the other hand, Grey is trying to learn how to wield his magic as well as get the soldiers of Syhl Shallow to work with him and not against. Lia Mara, a queen who is looking for peace instead of violence in how things are handled faces pushback at every turn and is trying to find her footing.

As everyone works together on their own side, Harper works to bring Rhen on a path to peace. Grey and Rhen have too much history to move against each other. The story is well-written and is a fitting conclusion. The relationships between the characters grow, but bonds of family are the strongest in the end. It is beautiful to see how everyone fights for something or someone they love and in the end they all realize what they are fighting for. This is a story of courage in the face of adversity and the courage to stand up for what you believe in. The choices to stand up for the ones you love and support them!

I read this book in almost one sitting and am glad for it. The story evokes strong emotions in the reader as they traverse the kingdoms with the characters. It is good to be back with our favourites and to join them in this final journey!

I thoroughly enjoyed this final book and love the series! It is indeed a must read!

Top Ten Tuesday – 26/01/2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

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This is quite an interesting prompt. I did read a lot of New-to-Me authors in 2020! I think most of the books on my list would fit the criteria, so I will mention some of the authors whose books left a lasting impression! I have also included tidbits about the books I read by the author and why I liked them.

I have not provided any direct links to connect with the author, but have included review links to the books I have read by the authors. Here goes…..

  • Smita Bhattacharya – I was introduced to the books by the author through her latest cozy-mystery Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? This book follows Darya Nandkarni, an amateur detective who seems to stumble into the middle of a mystery everywhere she goes! I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s style of writing and loved connecting with her whether it was about the books she wrote, the ones she is reading or the places she has visited!

 

  • Shatrujeet Nath – author of the amazing Vikramaditya Veergatha series. A four book mythological fiction series that will take the reader on a magical journey filled with so many twists and a some strong messages woven in. This series is truly worth the read and I highly recommend it.

 

  • Ben Gartner – author of the children’s book The Eye of Ra and the upcoming book Sol Invictus, Ben takes the readers on a journey through history filled with adventure and wonder! A truly magnificent way of engaging children and adults alike!

 

  • Ellie Midwood – I discovered her books through NetGalley and read the latest one, The Violinist of Auschwitz. I was blown away by the depth in the story and writing. Ellie truly has a gift of taking the reader to a different world and bringing historical events to life.

 

  • Natasha Murray – Her latest book, 58 Farm End is a romantic suspense novel that will keep the reader hooked until the very end. I truly enjoyed this book and how Natasha brought her characters to life.

 

  • Verity Bright – I found her books through NetGalley and enjoyed the investigative journey with Lady Eleanor in Murder in the Snow. It is another cozy mystery that I read last year and am happy to add Verity to my list of authors read and to read!

 

  • Karen M. McManus – I read her book, Two Can Keep a Secret and found it to be quite different and engaging. I truly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by her. (Note: This is one book I read in 2020 but am yet to post a review for. I have included the Goodreads link to the book)

 

  • Kiersten White – I heard a lot about author Kiersten White and decided to give her books a read! The first one I read was The Guinevere Deception, Book 1 in The Camelot Rising series. I really liked the author’s take on the story and the fact that the book is told from Guinevere’s perspective. This brings a rather neat spin to a well-known tale and makes it all the more engaging while reading it!

 

  • Nina Walker – I had been following the author on Instagram for some time before I discovered her books. I started off reading Prism, Book 1 in The Color Alchemist series and progressed from there. As a fan of fantasy fiction and anything related to magic in general, I really enjoyed reading about the world she created and how the author brought this world to life!

 

  • Daniela Sacerdoti – Once again I discovered the author through NetGalley while looking for books in the historical fiction genre. I read quite a lot of books in this genre last year. I enjoyed The Lost Village, a brilliant tale of love, loss, betrayal and the effect of secrets.

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I think I will stop this list here. Feel free to share your thoughts on these authors, their books or just your recommendations in general! I would love to discover more authors and support them in any way that I can!

Book Review: Blood Casino by Nina Walker

About the Book:

Keep your cards close and your enemies closer.

At least that’s what my mom always told me. Becoming a vampire hunter was never in my cards, but it is now that she needs my help. A decade ago vampires seized control of the bars, casinos, and the dark underbelly of society. Now they deal in addiction and bargain with blood, and humans over twenty-five can’t fight back against their compulsion. It’s made my mother vulnerable––the only family I have left.

To save her, I’m forced to make a deal with the devil––one who lives above a casino, wears a crown, and wants to drink my blood. Andrianos Teresi may be dangerous and alluring but I’ve got a stake hidden up my sleeve. I’ll go all in and play his game, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

What I don’t expect? The heart that needs guarding is my own.

My Thoughts:

Blood Casino is the first book in a new series by Nina Walker. With a focus on vampires and humans alike, this book bring to us a fresh new take on the supernatural. The story focuses on Evangeline, a human who is dealing with her mother’s gambling addiction. In the city of New Orleans, we are introduced to a world where Vampires live in the open and there are rules to ensure harmony. The vampires own businesses, some which deal with gambling and such in the form of Casinos. When Eva’s mother ends up spending more time in the Casino owned by Adrianos Teresi, it is inevitable that Eva has a run-in with one of the most powerful vampires.

While trying to lead a normal life, take care of her mother and protect her, Eva is torn between the world of vampires and her own. Forced to make a deal to save her mother and at the same time trying to work against the vampires is not easy and this puts Eva in a very difficult position. The author also brings to us slowly developing romances which leads to a lot of intrigue. A love triangle is definitely interesting and one where there is the option between a human and a vampire is even more alluring.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and how the characters are developed. The author does a great job in describing the various relationships in the book and giving us the background of each character. This book is worth the read and ends with a twist, giving an opening for the next book! I am totally looking forward to this!

Book Review: The Wrath of the Hellfires (Vikramaditya Veergatha #4) by Shatrujeet Nath

About the Book:

PATIENCE IS A DRAWN BOW. RAGE, ITS RELENTLESS ARROW.

Shukracharya’s plan to break the unity of Vikramaditya’s Council has borne bitter fruit. Friends have become sworn enemies, and brother has turned against brother, setting Avanti on the path to self-destruction.

Even as Vikramaditya prepares to counter a Huna invasion, a rebellion brews within Ujjayini, while a devious conspiracy is hatched to humiliate him. With Indra’s spies swarming the palace and Shukracharya making a bold bid to take the Halahala, the king is dangerously close to the brink of defeat.

Alone and abandoned by those dear to him, fighting to protect his wife and his people, trying his best to keep his promise to Shiva, will the samrat rise one last time to defend his love, his city and his honour?

As the asura and deva forces muster in a final, desperate gamble to claim the Halahala, The Wrath of the Hellfires brings an explosive conclusion to Vikramaditya’s epic tale of action and adventure.

My Thoughts:

The Wrath of the Hellfires is a very fitting conclusion to the Vikramaditya Veergatha series! The story takes us where Book 3 left off with everyone going in their own path. The Devas and Asuras are each planning to wreck havoc and Vikramaditya is left to take a stand and defend not only his kingdom and people, but also to fulfil his oath to protect the dagger containing the Halahala!

This plot flows steadily, a little slower than the previous two books, but with enough speed as to keep the reader hooked from page one. Each and every sub plot which came up until book 3 is addressed and the story comes a full circle to reach the conclusion. In the end, Vikramaditya not only lives up to his oath, but also to his personality, being someone who leads by example, putting himself in the line of fire to protect everyone and everything that he loves.

With the Asuras, Devas, nagas, kinnaras and so on descending on Earth, all hell breaks loose and the Kingdom is under heavy attack. The author takes us on a wonderful journey throughout this series and I thoroughly enjoyed it! To avoid talking about the plot, I would like to stress a little on the character sketches! The author once again sticks to each character sketch and brings out the best and worst in the characters. There are twists and turns that add flavour and flourish to the story with some unexpected things that will surprise the reader! The focus is also on the war that is brimming everywhere and how our beloved characters fight in it. This is really wonderful to read with explanations that are vivid and help us to imagine very easily!

In conclusion, this book is worth the read as is the entire series! The Vikramaditya Veergatha proves to be a treasure trove of mystery keeping the reader guessing until the very end! The readers are in for a treat and eventually arrive at a conclusion that will satisfy everyone with strong characters fighting to save humanity against all odds!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 13/01/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

The NewlywedsAbout the Book:

One marriage. One lie. Two sides to the story.

The moment Vivien meets Ashton, she knows she will be his wife and absolutely nothing will stop her.

Powerful, rich and from a good family, Ashton is everything Vivien is not. So, she molds herself into Ashton’s perfect soulmate.

Pouring his favorite vintage wine, whispering ‘I love you’ over dinner in front of friends and biting her tongue when she disagrees with him are simple sacrifices for the perfect marriage she has always craved.

When people begin to notice the bruises on her cheek, she holds their stares. There is no cry for help from Vivien. She simply keeps her mouth shut and lets the gossip continue.

If you saw Vivien nursing a black eye, you might be forgiven for thinking what everyone else does – that she is the victim in her marriage, but you’d be wrong. Vivien and Ashton’s life together is much more complicated than that. You will never guess the true story behind Vivien’s undying devotion to her husband. Nor could you possibly predict what she does next…

Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Behind Closed Doors and The Perfect Couple. If you enjoy reading twisted psychological thrillers with bags of suspense, then you’ll love The Newlyweds from USA TODAY bestselling author Arianne Richmonde.

What did you recently finish reading?

 

The Vengeance of Indra is Book 3 in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series and is absolutely mind-blowing! The book is so well-written and filled with so many twists and turns!

This series is indeed a must read for fans of Indian Mythology and mythology in general!

 

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Wrath of the Hellfires (Vikramaditya Veergatha, #4)

 

Well, as usual my TBR pile is high and there are many upcoming Book releases and blog tours!

In spite of all this, my main target is to read The Wrath of the Hellfires, Book 4 in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. This is the final book and will bring the entire story to conclusion.