Book Review: Radiance

Radiance by Grace Draven

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An arranged marriage is made to the most unconventional couple: Ildiko, a noblewoman, and Brishen, a creature of the night. With their marriage comes a stronger union between their nations. Although they come from different worlds, love has a way of bringing people together in the most unlikely of ways.

Radiance is the first of the Wraith Kings series and I looked forward to reading this for quite some time. When I finally got to it, I was not disappointed. Although slow at times, I enjoyed how unique this arranged marriage trope was. It was the first time that I had read a story where both parties found each other quite ugly and practically unbearable to look at. While she looks like a pale, gross shellfish to him, he looks like a thing of Ildiko’s nightmares. Glowing yellow eyes would be a little disconcerting at first, not gonna lie.

It was a refreshing take that I found myself eating up the whole way.

Despite their differences, I loved how their strengths and personalities were highlighted the most. Since both of them saw each other as physically unattractive, their focus was then honed in on their character. So, if you are looking for some insta-pining of looks, you will not find it here. Instead, you will find a slow-burn that gradually turns into love.

It is quite a sweet friends to lovers tale.

However, I did wish there was a little more tension between them. I prefer those “almost” moments but this was a more realistic take on two people coming together and learning to admire each other through their marriage. I respect it for that but still found some parts of the book to be a little lacking.

Regardless, I enjoyed reading this book immensely and gave it a 4.5. If you are looking for a unique arranged marriage between a human and a mysterious humanoid-like creature, then this is the book for you! I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Book Information

  • #1 in the Wraith Kings Series
  • Heat level: A little spicy (expect some sex scenes)
  • Content Warning: Mentions of child death/murder, torture
  • Audience: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance, Paranormal

Favorite Quote

“You make a very handsome dead eel, my husband,”

“For a boiled mollusk, you wear black quite well, my wife,”

Grace Draven, Radiance

Book Blurb

The Prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

Book Review: Legendary

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The game continues and Legendary (the second book of the Caraval series) follows the younger, carefree sister, Donatella. There are promises to fulfill and more mysteries to solve. But the answers she is looking for will require the greatest sacrifice.

The magic keeps getting better. There was so much revealed in this book that added to the complexity of the world. Everything that I thought I knew about the game was turned upside down again. I love how the author was able to keep the game just as interesting and magical as the first time around.

Tella was a wonderful character to follow. She is brave if not reckless and keeps secrets of her own. I was very pleased by how complex she was as a character and wanted to see her succeed. Even though she is very different from her sister, I loved that they compliment each other and help one another grow in ways that they would not have otherwise.

And did I mention the romance yet? No? Well, there is more of that waiting for you in this sequel. Despite Tella’s aversion to the idea of falling in love, her journey to romance swept me off my feet. I enjoyed all of her interactions with a certain someone I shall not name but let’s just say they were… legendary.

Ha, see what I did there?

Ha… ha…. okay, I’ll stop.

Overall, I loved this book and I have already bought and started reading the last installment of this series. I cannot wait!

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Content

  • Heat Level: Clean
  • YA
  • Fantasy Romance
  • #2 in the Caraval series

Favorite Quote

“Not everyone gets a true ending. There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

Stephanie Garber

Book Blurb

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun. 

Book Review: The Unseen Heir

The Unseen Heir by Kenley Davidson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Against all odds, Leisa has returned to her kingdom, bent on warning those she loves of the dangers beyond their borders. She carries a promise to return to the man who once guarded over her but unforeseen obstacles keep them apart… but for how long?

As soon as I finished the first book, The Faceless Mage, I downloaded the sequel and devoured it in one day. I was hooked.

I loved the first book for its slow-burn story filled with political intrigue but the sequel is packed with twists and turns and exciting action. I could not put the book down and I was excited to read what our lovable characters would do next.

Leisa is a great character who is determined to do her part. She does not back down even when she could be in danger. Her fierce bravery and loyalty were admirable characteristics and I wanted to see her succeed. Kyrion on the other hand is just a big, lovable hunk. I love his character arc and was pleased that he learned something valuable at the end as well.

One of my favorite things about this book is how intense the chemistry between the characters are. Even though it is a clean read, the author does a fantastic job at building these electric “almost” moments that reduced me into an internally squealing middle-schooler.

There were many moments where I was like Jake from Adventure Time:

You know it’s good when you’re anticipating that kiss scene. But, I applaud the author for making those “will they?” scenes into a swoon fest that I’ll treasure forever.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed by this author and this series and will be looking forward to the third book that will be coming out later this year.


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Favorite Quote

How did you know it was me?” For a split second, a tiny smile curved Kyrion’s lips, and it almost stopped Leisa’s heart. He was gorgeous even when he frowned, but when he smiled? He was irresistible. “I told you before,” he said. “I will always recognize you. No matter what face you wear.” “But—” “Always.” His eyes held hers firmly, allowing no room for doubt. No room for anything but her quickening pulse and the rush of blood to her cheeks. Oh, heaven help her, but he was dangerous. And not just with a blade.

Book Blurb

Against all odds, Leisa has returned home to Farhall with news of Garimore’s treachery.

But her reception is far from the hero’s welcome she imagined. Instead, she finds herself a prisoner—to the growing fears and suspicions of a man she once considered a father.

To escape, she must forsake everything she once believed in, and leave behind all hope of answers about her past. But if she stays, it means betraying the fragile trust of the man who saved her life in Garimore.

Torn between her duty and her debt, Leisa is forced to flee with Kyrion, leaving behind the only home she can remember for the uncertain sanctuary of Dunmaren—Kingdom of Shadows, home of the night elves. There Leisa must confront her growing feelings for Kyrion, her fear of her own power, and the hostility of a people on the brink of war.

When dire news arrives from Farhall, both Leisa and Kyrion must decide where their ultimate loyalties lie. Can Kyrion find a path to peace that does not require him to give up the only woman he has ever loved? Or will Leisa have no choice but to save the kingdom she still loves at the cost of her own heart?

If you love adventure, mystery, and slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance, discover the Legends of Abreia, a new romantic fantasy series for fans of Sylvia Mercedes, Miranda Honfleur and Shari L. Tapscott!

Book Review: The Faceless Mage

The Faceless Mage by Kenley Davidson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When a bodyguard is tasked to masquerade as a Princess, she is given her own bodyguard–a brooding, silent, and dangerous force to be reckoned with. 

The Faceless Mage is the slow-burn fantasy romance that has every one of my boxes ticked. 

Large, stoic bodyguard?

Strong lead protagonist?

Slow-burn to the Gods?

Oh. And Magic?

I had added this book to my “to be read” list for a while after seeing it in my advertisements on Facebook. I pushed it off for other books in my never-ending TBR list but I wish I hadn’t put it off. 

This book just clicked with me. It is the kind of romance that pulled me in and I couldn’t stop until I reached the end. It was so fulfilling that I had to buy the sequel immediately. 

Was the book perfect? No. But, what it might have lacked, it made up for with interesting characters with crazy chemistry and swoon-worthy interactions. Even more importantly, this story delved into themes of choosing your own path and self-discovery.

To put it simply, I loved this book. I would recommend it 100% and cannot give it enough praise. 


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Favorite Quote

But courage was a language they could both understand, and hers never faltered. Neither did her compassion, and that was perhaps the most difficult thing of all. Because amid the darkness of his desire for revenge, he, too, felt compassion— for this lonely human with nothing to cling to but her duty to a kingdom that had been so blithely willing to risk her life.

Book Blurb

Leisa’s ambitions used to be simple. Guard the princess. Hide her magic. Wait for her family to return.

But all of that changes when her king demands that she use her unique abilities to spy on the rival kingdom of Garimore.

Alone, far from home, and living a lie that grows more perilous by the day, Leisa’s task is complicated by her most dangerous enemy yet—the masked assassin known only as the Raven.

Everyone in the Five Thrones knows to fear him, but the Raven is not what Leisa expected. As silent as he is lethal, he provokes her curiosity as much as her fear, and hides secrets she’s determined to learn.

When her already precarious mission takes a deadly turn, Leisa must evade the Raven himself if she is to succeed. It’s never been done before, but Leisa is nothing if not stubborn. And if she doesn’t become the first to escape his blade, her entire kingdom will pay the price—in blood.