Thursday, July 18, 2019

Book Review: Kill The Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Kill The Queen
   * Series: Crown of Shards #1
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: Paperback; 416
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Publisher
------------------------------------------
Genre: Fantasy

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love vivid characters, who actually grow during a story, and fast paced action!

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.
This was pretty much a perfect book for me, dear friends. In fact, it was perfect to the point that my headphones died with only 3 minutes left to go in the audio version, and I audibly yelled at them. You know those endings that make you feel just a little more powerful, and all but push you into buying the next book in the series? That's Kill The Queen. Consider yourself warned that is one addictive read.

I can't praise Estep enough for the character that she's created in Evie. My favorite characters are always the ones who rise up from the ashes, reluctantly, and claim what is rightfully theirs. Friends, this is Evie through and through. Her persona at the beginning of the book was so much different from the one presented at the end of the book. However, at her core, she was still Evie. She was still kind, still always thinking of others, still full of quiet strength. I adored that she didn't completely morph but, instead, became the most powerful version of herself possible. I cheered for her. I cried for her. I was so in love with her character that I couldn't stand it. Remember how I said that I needed the next book in the series, stat? This is why.

That's not to say that the plot isn't absolutely excellent as well. In fact, the amount of tension that is slowly ramped up in this story is breathtaking. From the first line, I was hooked. Court intrigue, bloody coups, and the perfect amount of simmering possible romance touch each and everyone one of these pages. Between reading a print copy, and listening to the audio book, there were so many times that my hands were clenched and I was breathless with anticipation. Readers, you will find yourself so immersed in Evie's world, so a part of the little family that she finds for herself, that I promise you'll be reluctant to let go at the end. Thank goodness that there is another book, because I'm already missing my new friends.

Outstanding female relationships, realistic self growth, and perfectly tempered romances are just some of the wonderful things that you'll find within these pages. If you love Fantasy, and are looking for something new to get lost in that already has a sequel out, Kill The Queen needs to be next on your list. I loved this book so very much. Time to see what happens next!





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Summer Bucket List by T.K. Rapp

Happy Tuesday friends. What could be better than a sweet summer romance to kick off the week? This new release is sure to spark your teenage angst and swoon worthy feelings. Don't forget to enter the giveaway! You won't want to miss this. Review coming soon! 


Summer Bucket List
T.K. Rapp
Publication date: July 15th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Recently graduated from high school, Holland Monroe had no expectations for her last summer before heading off to college to be anything but ordinary.
Until she got a job as a waitress at the local country club to make extra money for school.
Milo Davis was smart, cute, and absolutely not interested in Holland. At least that was what she believed. But the day she started working at the restaurant, everything changed.
Finally together, they were left with only three months to spend time together before she moved away.
Good thing they decided to make their time as memorable as possible.
But will they remain friends? Or will checking off items on their summer bucket list lead them to something they didn’t expect — Falling in love.

“Have you ever gone swimming at night?” he asked.

Slowly I shook my head and looked over at him. All my fears, real and completely irrational, were beginning to choke me.

“No.” It was the only thing I was able to eke out.

“You don’t like it,” he questioned, but it was more of an observation.

“I’m terrified,” I admitted.

“But you can swim, right?”

I laughed, thankful he had lightened the mood. I nodded and turned my attention toward the dark abyss in front of me.

“What scares you?”

“Whatever might be in the water. Like the Loch Ness Monster.”

Milo laughed and reached for my hand. “Not real.”

“I know that,” I scoffed. “Doesn’t make me any less scared.”

“I’ll protect you.”

Milo opened his door, and reluctantly I opened my own. As I stepped out of the car I felt the fear travel up my spine, but I wanted to overcome it. He stood at the front of his car and waited for me to join him. Every step I took toward Milo felt heavier than the last until I finally reached him. He took my hand in his and carried a large backpack over his other shoulder.

“What’s the bag for? Are you going to kill me?”

Milo threw his head back and laughed hard. “You’re awesome. And no. It’s towels and some snacks.”

“Why night swimming? Isn’t it dangerous?”

“Well yeah…that’s why it’s the perfect date,” he answered.

My stomach flipped, and not because he was holding my hand. I found my nerves were working overtime and a flood of possibilities came to mind.

“Doesn’t sound so perfect.”

“Trust me,” he said as we continued to walk.

When we got to the shore, the water looked like glass, barely a breeze to make the surface move. Milo spread out a large blanket and set the backpack on top of it while I looked out at the horizon. In the distance, I could see the lights shining from homes across the way. The lake had few public spots that were accessible, and the park always closed at ten. I glanced at my watch and sighed because it was only eight. We had plenty of time to drown before anyone found us.

Milo pulled off his T-shirt and tossed it to the side by the bag. I tried not to look, but when I was caught staring at his stomach, I was thankful for the moonlit darkness.

“Are you going to get in?” he asked.

“I’m not sure.”

I figured he would be frustrated or that he would sulk because I didn’t jump at the chance to go with him. Instead, he walked over and kissed my cheek before walking toward the water.

As he took his first steps into the inky darkness, I watched his figure, admiring the way the moon illuminated his physique. Milo was not one to show off the muscles that he wore beneath his clothing, but they were on full display for me. I wanted so badly to follow him and let go of my fears, but all I could think of were the wild creatures that I saw in movies.

“It’s a little chilly,” he said as he stood waist deep, looking back at me.

“Not helping,” I laughed.

“Not trying to,” he answered with a chuckle.

I grabbed one of the towels that he had set out and opened it up so I could sit down. The warm air covered my body and I started to sweat. Maybe I was sweating because I was nervous, but whatever the reason I began to grow increasingly warm. Milo was still walking deeper into the water when I took off my cover-up, revealing my black bikini.

“Grow up,” I muttered to myself, hoping to gain some courage.

“How you doin’ over there?” Milo asked from the water.

“Great,” I said unconvincingly before laughing softly. “How ‘bout you?”

“Not too bad.”

His body disappeared beneath the water and I watched, waiting for him to come to the surface. When he didn’t come up right away, I sat up a little taller to see if there were any ripples in the water. Panic began to course through my veins and I started to get up as I searched for him in the darkness.

“Milo?” I called out, trying to contain my fear.



I walked toward the shoreline, the water lapping at my feet. Just as I started to take a step in, he surfaced with a loud splash.



T.K. Rapp is a Texas girl born and raised. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M and it was there that she met the love of her life. He had a contract with the U.S. Navy that would take them across both coasts, and ultimately land them back home in Texas.
Upon finally settling in Texas, T.K. worked as a graphic designer and photographer for the family business that her mom started years earlier. She was able to infuse her creativity and passion, into something she enjoyed, but something was still missing. There was a voice in the back of her head that told her to write, so write, she did. And, somewhere on an external hard drive, are several stories she started and never finished.
Now at home, raising her two daughters, T.K. has more time to do the things she loves, which includes photography and writing. When she's not doing one of those, she can be found with her family, which keeps her busy, hanging with family and friends, and mostly relaxing. She is a lover of raunchy humor, gossip blogs and a good books.
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