Monday, May 2, 2022

Review: The Lord of Population by Elizabeth Stephens


*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher
 Elizabeth Stephens
Release Date: March 3, 2022 
Pages: 550
Source: Paperback 

THE STORY:

Dark and action-packed, Lord of Population is a steamy, end of days romance ripe with unexpected twists and epic battles, perfect for fans of JR Ward or Laura Thalassa.

She thinks she can steal from me, the little human. Adorable. I can't decide what will be more fun – the hunt, or what I will do to her when I catch her. And I will catch her. There is nowhere she can run.

Abel was of perfectly sound body and mind when she looted the Other's corpse. He looked dead. Wait. Did he just smirk up at her? No. Definitely not... 

Hiding out in an abandoned townhouse, Abel doesn't expect to hear that same bloodsucking alien come knocking on her door or that, when trouble finds them, he might stand at her back, rather than stab her through it.

But when he offers to help her cross the ruined world of Population, Abel knows better than to believe him. Because when he looks at her, it's with a hunger that seems to go beyond the taste of her blood and, when he asks for payment, he requires the one thing she can't give up. 

Her trust. 

Run all you like, little human. The sword you carry won't be enough to stop me from coming for you. You're mine. Blood. Body. Heart.
BUY LINKS: Goodreads


RATING:

ONE-WORD REVIEW: [EMOTIONAL] ROLLERCOASTER

OPENING LINE:

I lay there at the edge of the bed, closest to the door knowing that it's also the closest spot to danger.



REVIEW:
*TW: SA, dubious consent, PA

LORD OF POPULATION takes place in post-apocalyptic America and follows Abel who fights to survive gangs and Others. The Others are vampire aliens who have come to Earth to escape their destroyed planet. After losing everything and everyone from her world before, Abel gives all she can to keep her best friend and her daughter alive. Abel is a survivor, a higher who runs on instinct and loyalty to keep her two people alive. When what little meaning o her life remains is snatched from her, is desperate for revenge she enlists her worst enemy. An Other.

"𝐼'𝓂 π’Ώπ“Šπ“ˆπ“‰ 𝒢 𝒽𝒢𝓁𝒻-𝒹𝑒𝒢𝒻 π‘”π’½π‘œπ“ˆπ“‰ π’Έπ’½π’Άπ“ˆπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” 𝒢𝒻𝓉𝑒𝓇 π’Έπ‘œπ“‡π“…π“ˆπ‘’π“ˆ. π’œ 𝓇𝒢𝓉 𝒸𝓁𝒾𝓃𝑔𝒾𝓃𝑔 π“‰π‘œ π“ˆπ“Šπ“‡π“‹π’Ύπ“‹π’Άπ“. π’œ 𝓇𝒢𝓉, π’·π“Šπ“‰ 𝒷𝒾𝑔𝑔𝑒𝓇."

The first half was 4 enchanted roses—not 5 because of the pacing and editing issues—then came the disaster of the second half. 

Had I known there was going to be cheating and an almost faux love triangle in this book, I would not have read it.

Mikael. Mikael and Abel. 

After everything with Kane, Abel cheats on him with his asshole, out of his head (not in the fun way) younger brother who is crazy jealous of him while he was held captive and tortured.

Mikael who had major anger issues was an alcoholic, and physically assaulted her with his fist—not to mention his words time and again. I feel no sympathy for Abel. When she came to After he punched her in the face, she did nothing but brush it off. When my guy Kane took her to his estate to get help and figure out a plan to save her sister, she went berserk and attacked him. 

Some argue Abel was assaulted Mikael. I can definitely see why. I know this is a touchy subject and I am in no way trying to make light of the situation in the slightest. From my persepective, Abel was a grown woman with the sound of mind who was assaulted before and not young and naive enough not to know the difference. Not only that, but she enjoyed what she's done with Mikeal. But what actually sealed the deal for Abel's guilt was: the ONLY reason why she pushed Mikael off was that she started feeling painthe cheating pains took away the pleasure. The heffer had TWO whole ass orgasms for Christ's sake before she gathered the sense to push Mikael off (again, only because of the pain)! She would've carried on with Mikael if the cheating pains had not surfaced. That’s cheating. At the very least this is dubious consent. I’m sorry, but I don’t see this as only Mikeal’s fault. And Kane deserves better than the both of them. After reading that scene, followed by her not punishing him for what he did but also sticking up for him time and time again as well as going out of her way to be kind to him made me burn with rage.  Mikeal can have Abel, they belong together in their disloyal fuckery.

After being so emotionally invested only to be betrayed by the second half, I am furious. What a waste of time. There should be a content warning for the cheating or something. Readers beware.

"𝐼 π’Ώπ“ˆπ“Šπ“‰ π“Œπ’Άπ“ƒπ“‰ 𝒽𝒾𝓂 π“‰π‘œ π“€π’Ύπ“ˆπ“ˆ 𝓂𝑒. 
𝐼 π’Ώπ“Šπ“ˆπ“‰ π“Œπ’Άπ“ƒπ“‰ 𝒽𝒾𝓂 π“‰π‘œ π“ˆπ“‰π’Άπ“Ž π’Άπ“Œπ’Άπ“Ž π’»π“‡π‘œπ“‚ 𝓂𝑒." 

*le sigh* I really needed to get that out of my system. I was NOT prepared for that scene when it happened and it took me a lot longer to process the betrayal of it for longer than I want to admit. Nevertheless, the book isn't bad. This may be shocking based on the first half of my review but I actually really quiet enjoyed LORD OF POPULATION.

Luckily, there is redemption for Abel in the second half as well which makes me a smidgen less pissed out about what happened between Abel and Mikael. My baby Kane was able to get his HEA with Abel even if I have to be mad at her on his behalf. He also go retribution against his brother for what he did to and with Abel.

"'...π’―π’½π‘’π“Ž'𝓁𝓁 𝒷𝑒 π“Œπ’Άπ’Ύπ“‰π’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π’»π‘œπ“‡ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝒾𝓃 π‘œπ“Šπ“‡ π“‡π‘œπ‘œπ“‚ π“Œπ’½π‘’π“ƒ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝑔𝑒𝓉 𝒷𝒢𝒸𝓀.' 
'π’Ÿπ‘œπ“ƒ'𝓉 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝓂𝑒𝒢𝓃 π“‚π“Ž π“‡π‘œπ‘œπ“‚?' 
'π’©π‘œ. π’΄π‘œπ“Š'𝓇𝑒 π“ˆπ“π‘’π‘’π“…π’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π“Œπ’Ύπ“‰π’½ 𝓂𝑒 π‘’π“‹π‘’π“‡π“Ž 𝓃𝒾𝑔𝒽𝓉 π“Šπ“ƒπ“‰π’Ύπ“ π‘œπ“π’Ή 𝒢𝑔𝑒 π“€π’Ύπ“π“π“ˆ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š.' 
'π’ͺπ“€π’Άπ“Ž. 𝒯𝒽𝒢𝓉'π“ˆ 𝒢𝓃 π“Šπ’½π’½...π“π‘œπ“‹π‘’π“π“Ž π“ˆπ‘’π“ƒπ“‰π’Ύπ“‚π‘’π“ƒπ“‰. 𝐼 𝓀𝒾𝓃𝒹 π‘œπ’» π“‰π’½π‘œπ“Šπ‘”π’½π“‰ 𝐼'𝒹 𝒽𝒢𝓋𝑒 π“‚π“Ž π‘œπ“Œπ“ƒ π“ˆπ“…π’Άπ’Έπ‘’ π“‰π’½π‘œπ“Šπ‘”π’½.' 
'π’ͺπ“Šπ“‰ π‘œπ’» 𝓉𝒽𝑒 π“†π“Šπ‘’π“ˆπ“‰π’Ύπ‘œπ“ƒ.' 
'π’Ÿπ’Ύπ’Ήπ“ƒ'𝓉 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π“ˆπ’Άπ“Ž 𝒾𝓉'π“ˆ π“‚π“Ž π’½π‘œπ“Šπ“ˆπ‘’, π“‰π‘œπ‘œ?' 
'π’Ÿπ’Ύπ’Ήπ“ƒ'𝓉 𝐼 𝓉𝑒𝓁𝓁 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝓉𝒽𝒢𝓉 𝐼 𝒢𝓂 𝒢 π“ˆπ‘’π“π’»π’Ύπ“ˆπ’½, π“…π‘œπ“ˆπ“ˆπ‘’π“ˆπ“ˆπ’Ύπ“‹π‘’ 𝓂𝒢𝓁𝑒? π’ͺ𝓇 𝒽𝒢𝓋𝑒 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π’»π‘œπ“‡π‘”π‘œπ“‰π“‰π‘’π“ƒ 𝓉𝒽𝒢𝓉 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π’·π‘’π“π‘œπ“ƒπ‘” π“‰π‘œ 𝓂𝑒, π’œπ’·π‘’π“?' 
'𝒲𝑒𝓁𝓁, π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π’·π‘’π“π‘œπ“ƒπ‘” π“‰π‘œ 𝓂𝑒, π“‰π‘œπ‘œ.' 
'π’΄π‘’π“ˆ,...'"

Overall, as much as I protested in my review, I'm actually really glad I read LORD OF POPULATION! In fact, I even recommend the book. I wish there were more books that follow Kane's and Abel's story but there are two more stories that follow two other male characters we meet in LORD OF POPULATION.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Stephens writes romance of the SciFi, paranormal and suspenseful varieties. Her favorite trope is enemies-to-lovers and she loves to world-build so much so that she sometimes gets lost in places that don't exist.

One year into her author journey, she's been shocked to see her books listed among Amazon's bestsellers in their categories. Still, her favorite pieces of fanmail are from BIPOC women expressing surprise and gratitude that they've found an author who looks like them and (does her very best!) to write books that make them feel included.

When she isn't tip-tap-typing away, you might find her getting her hands dirty on a pottery wheel, traveling as much as she can, or learning a new language. A Seattle native, after over 15 years spent in Johannesburg, Cairo, Beirut, Geneva, Addis Ababa, and Berlin, she's made her way back home with her loving husband and doggo, King Louis.

To find out more about her projects and upcoming releases visit her website at booksbyelizabeth.com.

Happy Reading!

 
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Wishlist Wednesday


*Wishlist Wednesday is where you show a book that is on your bookish wishlist*

MONSTERS BORN & MADE by Tanvi Berwah

PublisherSourcebooks Fire
Release Date: September 6, 2022 
Pages: 352

THE STORY:

She grew up battling the monsters that live in the black seas, but it couldn't prepare her to face the cunning cruelty of the ruling elite.
Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Fable, this South Asian-inspired fantasy is a gripping debut about the power of the elite, the price of glory, and one girl's chance to change it all.
Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.
In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers―the ruling elite, have indentured Koral's family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others―if they're lucky―survive.
When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family's financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can't afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral's only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.
But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders―including her ex-boyfriend―who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When a rebellion rises and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose―her life or her sister's―before the whole island burns.
Praise for Tanvi Berwah:
"An exhilarating race of willpower and defiance, set on an utterly unique world filled with glorious monsters." ― Xiran Jay Zhao, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Iron Widow
"Monsters Born and Made takes well-beloved YA tropes and turns them on their heads, creating an action-packed rallying cry against oppression and a riveting tale of one girl's desperation to survive no matter the odds." ― Roseanne A. Brown, New York Times bestselling author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin 
LINK: Goodreads


MEET THE AUTHOR


Tanvi Berwah is a South Asian writer who grew up wanting to touch the stars and reach back in time. MONSTERS BORN AND MADE, her debut YA novel, is forthcoming from Sourcebooks Fire. Her short story, Escape, is out now in Foreshadow anthology from Algonquin Young Readers. She graduated from the University of Delhi with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Literature of English, and always found ways to fit in The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones in her academic life. A history and space enthusiast, she would’ve loved to be an astronomer, had her lack of mathematical skills allowed it. When she’s not writing, you can find her stressing over pop culture and the state of the world, often simultaneously, on Twitter and Instagram.



Want to see my entire Wishlist? Check it out on Amazon: Bookish Wishlist

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Review: River of Shadows by Karina Halle

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher Karina Halle
Release Date: January 27th 2022 
Pages: 354
Source: Paperback 

THE STORY:

River of Shadows is an adult dark fantasy romance based on Finnish mythology and the underworld of Tuonela.

When 24-year old Hanna Heikkinen's estranged father dies, she reluctantly makes the trip to Northern Finland for his funeral. Being in the enchanting land of ice and snow feels miles away from Hanna's busy life back in Los Angeles, especially under the complicated circumstances.

But when Hanna discovers that her father's body is missing, that's when things really get weird. A mysterious man, Rasmus, tells Hanna the truth: her father was a powerful shaman who went into Tuonela, the Realm of the Dead, in order to barter for more life, and has been held captive by Tuoni, the God of Death. The only way her father can be freed is if she travels with Rasmus into the mythical underworld to rescue him.

Willing to do anything to have a second-chance with her father, Hanna accompanies Rasmus into the dark and bloody realm, traveling via the River of Shadows, stalked by dangerous creatures, monsters, and the living dead, until they finally come into the haunted kingdom ruled by Death and his family.

Only for her to be captured and held prisoner by the God of Death himself.

Turns out Death is intrigued by Hanna's beauty and fierceness and makes a bargain with her. If she marries him, and spends an eternity in the Realm of the Dead as his wife, he'll set her father free.

But even the most noble sacrifices come with hidden costs, and Hanna's might involve the most unexpected of all things: her heart. 
BUY LINKS: Goodreads


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEWINTRIGUING

OPENING LINE:

"We come from the land of ice and snow, where the midnight sun and the hot springs flow," Robert Plant sings through my noise-canceling headphones as the plane begins its descent.



REVIEW:

This was my first read by Karina Hale. Although I’ve been following her for years on Instagram and always wanted to read a book written by her this one finally caught my attention because it has Hades and Persephone vibes and if you know anything about me I love Hades and Persephone retellings. Moreover, the premise sounded really interesting.

π’«π“‡π‘’π“‚π’Ύπ“ˆπ‘’:

The story centers around Hanna, a young social media manager whose father suddenly dies. On the first plane to his home in northern Finland, she discovers her father was more than what he led her to be. He was a powerful shaman who was dying of cancer. Wanting more time to spend with his daughter he descends into the Underworld to make a bargain with the God of Death in order to cure his cancer. Trouble is: he never returned. And there were two other evil shamans who didn't want Hanna to save him. But that didn't stop Hanna because she would do and give anything to save her father's life.

Including selling herself to the God of Death to do whatever she so pleased with her.

π’«π“π‘œπ“‰: 

However, fair warning, the beginning was pretty slow for me and it was a little boring. Some plot points were random I thought but I still wanted to know how it was going to turn out. I wanted to meet the God of Death and see what the dynamic between him and Hanna would be like. When we finally met the God of Death, to be honest, he is a huge dick not just literally but figuratively speaking. He was a jerk and based on how feisty and strong Hanna is at the beginning of the book I honestly thought she would’ve given more of a fight against him. I thought it would be a little spicier between them in the power struggle sense. More Death being like do this and Hanna like no! That was definitely a missed opportunity there but the sex? The sex scenes were chef's kiss and I honestly wish there were more of them. And maybe kinkier because it seems like the God of Death depicted in RIVER OF SHADOWS would have his kind.

𝐸𝓃𝒹𝒾𝓃𝑔 & 𝒫𝒢𝓇𝓉𝒾𝓃𝑔 π’―π’½π‘œπ“Šπ‘”π’½π“‰π“ˆ:

The ending? Prepare. It was a cliffhanger ending. I can't wait to see what’s gonna go on in the next book the sequel CROWN OF CRIMSON. I love that at the end of RIVER OF SHADOWS we had a chapter from Death’s point of view it was interesting to see things from his perspective


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karina Halle is a screenwriter, a former music & travel journalist, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact, A Nordic King, and Sins & Needles, as well as sixty other wild and romantic reads.

She, her musician husband, and their adopted pit bull, Bruce, live in a rainforest on an island off the coast of British Columbia during the summer, and in Los Angeles in the winter. For more information, visit www.authorkarinahalle.com/books.

Halle is represented by Root Literary and is both self-published, and published by Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, and Montlake. Her books have been published in numerous languages around the world.

Karina isn't on Goodreads and does NOT check her messages here - please contact her via Instagram (@authorhalle) instead :)

Happy Reading!

 
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