Dark Hunter Universe
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: April 12th, 2022
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
For centuries, Ariel has fought the forces of evil. Her task was to protect the souls of innocent mortals when they die. Captured by a powerful sorceress, she is transformed into a human who has no memory of her real life or calling.
And is plunked into the middle of the Norman invasion of England.
Cursed the moment he was born with a "demonic deformity," Valteri wants nothing of this earth except to depart it and will do his duty to his king until then. When a strange noblewoman is brought before him, Valteri realizes he has met her before…in his dreams. When others come for her, bringing with them preternatural predators, he is faced with a destiny he had no idea was waiting. One he wants no part of.
The truth is that Valteri isn’t just a knight of William the Conqueror. He is the son of one of the deadliest powers in existence, and if he doesn’t restore Ariel to her place, she is not the only one who will be in peril. The world itself hangs in the balance, and he is the necessary key to hold back the powers of evil. But only if he can find a way to work with the woman who stands for everything in the universe he hates.
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I've been so excited for 'Shadows Fallen,' the new release by Sherrilyn Kenyon in the Dark Hunter universe.. more specifically a Dream Hunter novel. It's been such a long time coming and the road has been a rough one for her, but she remains one of my favorite novelists and I couldn't be happier with her latest book.
As this is just the first in the trilogy leading up to Jaden's book, I'm already heavily invested. Jaden was one of my favorites already.. and though I did get one glimpse of my absolute #1 Dark Hunter here, I'm hoping for a lot more of that too.
Valteri is wonderful. If anyone wondered if Kenyon would still be able to tug at their heart strings with ease, let me assure you.. she can. Only a handful of pages into the first chapter, I knew he was going to have a horrible backstory and probably an unpleasant immediate future as well. He's gruff on the outside (though not as much as Zarek.. who I also adore) and a squishy soft marshmallow man on the inside. In other words, he's easy to love.
Since life caused me to fall behind on a few books in the latter part of the series, there were some revelations here for me regarding some of the other characters that we'd met earlier on. Though, that has only spurred my need to go back and catch up.
Ariel is a really sweet character and she means well, but man.. if there is something she could have done to make his journey unintentionally any more difficult.. I have no idea what it would have been. In addition to all the scheming from the enemies, she just makes bad decision after bad decision when it comes to Valteri.
I did enjoy my return to the Dark Hunter universe though and I can't wait to see what lies ahead on this path to the Broker we all know and love.
Emily J. Taylor
Publisher: Razorbill Books (Penguin Teen)
Publication date: April 5th, 2022
Genres: YA Fantasy
Decadent and darkly enchanting, this lavish YA fantasy debut follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.
All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.
The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel—appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.
With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4 / 5 stars)
Over the last year or so I've come to realize I have a fondness for fantasy novels that deal with performative magic in some way. So, it came as no surprise when I got my first glimpse at the synopsis for 'Hotel Magnifique' by Emily J. Taylor, that I felt immediately drawn to the story.
Swelling with enchantments, nothing is what it seems to be beyond the threshold of the hotel. Often, even the simplest of tasks are complex spells at work, but for those things deemed too unimportant to waste magic on.. there are employees to handle the details. Though, I hesitate to call anything that goes on behind the hotel's black lacquered door.. regular, they're as close as it comes.
Jani is our main character, a feisty.. devoted sister to young Zosa who is hired as a singer. While I appreciate her loyalty and desire to right wrongs, her inner monologues and dialogue border on annoying for me. Luckily, that's not even really a complaint, however.
Bel is probably the gem of the story in my eyes, though of course I often tend to connect better with a side character and this is no exception. Mysterious and playful from the beginning, the more we get to know him, the more likable he is. Likewise for Beatrice and Hellas, though sometimes interactions between the characters feel a little clunky.
The book does feature an interesting trinket-based magic system, which allows the author room to be creative and results in numerous different abilities, which I love. In addition to the threat posed by the antagonist, the hotel is constantly changing and traveling to a new location every day.. not only keeping the setting fresh and interesting, but also creating some more challenges along the way.
Though there are moments where the story feels a little choppy, I honestly think it's just because Taylor is keeping so many proverbial plates spinning at the same time. There's a lot going on at all times within the hotel, layers of mystery and I really enjoyed the journey the author took us on.
While there is plenty of beauty and whimsical magic at play, there's also plenty of darkness. Gruesome, cruel acts take place that actually kind of surprised me a little. So.. if you're squeamish, keep that in mind.
If you're a fan of Caraval, Where Dreams Descend, or Night Circus.. you'll probably enjoy this book as well.
Continue below to read my review of the book and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on the 'A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON' blog tour brought to you by TBR & BEYOND TOURS, FEIWEL & FRIENDS, and JUDY I. LIN!
A Magic Steeped in Poison
(The Book of Tea, #1)
Judy I. Lin
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: March 29th, 2022
Genres: YA Fantasy
Judy I. Lin’s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
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