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If I had to pick a theme for October, it would be dipping my toes into the pool of water that is dark fantasy/dark romance. Some I enjoyed, some I disliked. Some have become new favorites.
In October I read:
- Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco
- The Ever King by LJ Andrews
- Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig
- Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
- Hooked by Emily McIntire
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
*If you prefer to watch instead of read, the YouTube video of this article is at the bottom.*
Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco
What an ending!
This book concludes the 3 book series that makes up the Kingdom of the Wicked series. And it is my absolute favorite of the series. Not just because it wraps up nicely, but also because it was so freaking dirty.
This is why I still believe that this should NOT be considered YA but more so NA or Adult.
I enjoyed getting to know the other Prince’s of hell a bit more and really solidifying this sketchy underworld.
Alongside Emilia and Wrath’s relationship, I also loved Vittoria’s storyline as well. Though I still wish they were fleshed out a bit more.
Maybe add some pillow talk in after the spicy scenes. Give me some depth.
Overall, this book does get 5 out of 5 stars (series) simply because this series only improved with each book. Thinking of the book on its own, it gets 4 out of 5 stars (this book) from me. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wanted a little more plot.
The Ever King by LJ Andrews
I have been curious but scared to get into dark romance.
However, this book exceeded all of my dark romance fantasy expectations and then some.
I also did not think I would like our main love interest, Erik, being a pirate, but damn. Tie me up and throw me on board.
Which Erik would 100% do if necessary. I genuinely considered if I wanted to continue this book after Erik kidnaps Livia and just how he goes about it.
However, these two have become one of my new favorite ships and I need the second book NOW.
January 2024 come sooner. sobs in bookish
This one gets a 5 out of 5 stars because of the chokehold this book had me in.
Two Twist Crowns by Rachel Gillig
I feel so conflicted about this one.
I was so excited to get back to Blunder, Elspeth, and the Nightmare.
However, what we got was multiple POVs which really shed some light on characters we didn’t get too much from in the first book. (One Dark Window)
I also desperately wanted more Eslpeth and Ravyn. Elspeth takes a backseat in her own book and it made me quite sad.
However, trees, riddles, schemes, cards, and happy endings made up this second half of The Shepherd King series.
I’ll leave the rest for the full review.
This book gets a solid 4.5 stars out of 5 stars from me. Primarily because I need a re-read to fill the craving for Elspeth and Ravyn. And I just loved how things ended for The Nightmare.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
This one also comes with a mixed bag of feelings.
Primarily because I think it was me and not necessarily this book.
I loved the beginning and how it pulled me in, I loved how interesting some concepts like Marra’s little bone dog, the goblin market/tooth dancer, the (weird-ish) role of fairy godmothers, and the dust wife.
I primarily picked up this book because I have been eager for older heroines in fantasy romance novels. Marra is 30 years old yet still somehow reads like a 19-year-old heroine.
Which was disappointing. There were a lot of dark themes surrounding partner violence and miscarriage which seemed to go nowhere by the end of the book?
Like I said, this book just wasn’t for me but I can’t knock it too badly because I also just think this whimsical, going on a quest type of story isn’t for me.
This book gets 3 out of 5 stars from me.
Hooked by Emily McIntire
Oh, man. Brace yourselves, this is by far my least favorite read of the year. Perhaps of my life.
This book was the definition of toxic. It is a Peter Pan retelling where Hook is the villain who gets the girl. And that girl is Wendy, Peter’s daughter whose whole personality is that she is rich but works at a coffee shop because she is *humble*.
But the problem is that nothing makes sense. All of the characters make no sense. Nothing works. It’s so freaking gross.
I hated it so much I want to forget I ever read it, but unfortunately, I cannot, so this book gets a very generous 1 star out of 5.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Not gonna lie, I was hesitant to read this series. It’s super hyped online and I am constantly wary of hyped books. But there have been a few hyped books I really enjoyed so I try not to judge too hard.
This book however was a ride.
These are not your ACOTAR fae.
Cardan is MEAN. But I love it because Jude is just as MEAN.
But Jude, my sweet summer child Jude, has decided she will not be pushed around by the fae. And my God. Finally, a YA Fantasy romance where the heroine doesn’t have the personality of a wet rag.
This book had more than I expected, in terms of characters and some of the plot lines.
There were other areas I wanted more. The world-building was a little lackluster and sometimes some of the side characters came across as a little too one-dimensional.
Despite that, I did not see a lot of the twists coming and I cannot wait to read the second book!
A solid 4 out of 5 stars for this banger of a first book in The Folk of Air series.
Overall, I read a lot of books I ended up really liking in October and I am so excited to see what the next few months look like as there are so many new book releases coming out between November and January.
(Looking at you, Iron Flame, Ruthless Vows, and The Ever Queen, to name a few of my most anticipated.)