Get to Know the Fantasy Reader | Tag

Hello lovely people! Today I have a fun tag that I saw on Sam’s channel on Thoughts on Tomes. The original creator of this tag, Bree of Falling for Romance, created the tag to get to know the romance reader, but the questions here were tailored more toward those who read fantasy (which I do lol). So, let’s jump right into the tag, shall we?

1 . What is your fantasy origin story? (How you came to read your first fantasy novel)

Oh man, I have to think way back. Unlike many people my age (late twenties), my first fantasy read wasn’t Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (both of which I’m reading for the first time now, in my twenties). I think for me it was a collection of some fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, The Old Lady in the Shoe, etc. I can’t for the life of me remember who this particular collection was by, but it should still be at my parents’ house somewhere.

But, in much further memory, the first fantasy/paranormal book that really pulled me into the genre was A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. It was on the reading list for that year’s summer reading and, admittedly, the only time I actually did summer reading and enjoyed it. I mean, it’s hard to get high schoolers to actually read something off of those lists, let me tell you, so to say I’m glad it was on her list is an understatement.

It was the first young adult novel I read where I was actually hooked on the story and the characters and wanted to learn so much more about them. I still have the book and hope to do a reread of it sometime this year or soon to see if I’ll still enjoy it, but it has a special place in my heart as the first fantasy-esque book that sent me off on my current journey today.

2. If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

Oh man, Laini Taylor, hands down. I’d love to be written beautifully into one of her worlds – new or old. She’s an incredibly poetic author and I love her books and worlds so much.

As for a trope I’d insist being written into the story… Ooh, I know: give me that enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope. I love iiiiiiiit~

3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?

I mean, considering at the time of writing this post I’ve only read one fantasy novel so far this year, and that’s Strange the Dreamer (which I loved, spoiler alert), I definitely want more people to read it. It’s beautiful and so complex and intriguing. Go check out my review for more mushy feelings about it.

BUT, I do have a few fantasy-esque webtoons/comics I can definitely recommend!

4. What is your favorite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?

My favorite fantasy subgenre is probably high/epic fantasy. I love to be immersed in new worlds, magic systems, political systems, and just all manner of things. And the books and series are usually super huge, so I can stay with those characters for a lot longer, which is nice.

The subgenre I haven’t read much from is probably grim dark. I’m the kind of person that enjoys reading about happy things and really loves fluff. Not that I mind reading the darker stuff, I just don’t like it when it’s all encapsulating in the novel. But sometimes the darkness of my soul needs to be fed, so.

5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

Laini Taylor

I was just going to move onto the next question, but I guess I’ll elaborate a little lol I just love her worlds and the way she writes. I feel like I can taste and feel and sense what her characters do, and I get so attached and want to know what will happen next. She’s just a fantastic writer and I look forward to her work.

6. How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)

Ah, well, because I pulled back a lot from the book community in the last year, I haven’t actually been getting a lot of recommendations (which is fine, my TBR appreciates it), but typically through YouTube or just browsing sites like Amazon or WEBTOON.

7. What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?

The Stormlight Archives book 4, Rhythm of War, by Brandon Sanderson. I mean, I know I’ve only finished the first book in the series – Way of Kings – but it’s one of my new favorite series of all time, so of COURSE I’m excited for this book, even if it takes another five years to get to it, but by that time, the fifth book will have come out, so it all evens out haha!

8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

Not all GOOD fantasy books are written by white, straight, male authors. There are many female writers who write amazing worlds, stories, characters, scenes, etc.

9. If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Oh man. This is a tough question because 1) every book I ever read would cease to exist in my mind, and 2) I’d need to know their own reading tastes and such before telling them, but these three are ones I think I’d recommend:

10. Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?

I don’t think I have any new ones, but I’ll shoutout some of my favorites:

And that’s it for the tag! If you’d like to do this, please feel free to do so, and let me know if you do!

What’s one fantasy book/series you’d recommend anyone? Let me know!

Water’s Wrath Book Review

waterswrathTitle: Water’s Wrath
Series: Air Awakens #4
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 350
Format: Purchased eBook

Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.

The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.

As this is a sequel, there will most likely be spoilers.

Okay, I’m not going to lie: I can’t remember the beginning of the book. In my defense, I started reading this back in April and I just finished now in December, so… Yeah. I mean, I remember bits and pieces, but not everything.

Anyway, from what I do remember, I was very impressed with Vhalla’s character without Aldrick always by her side. We got to see how strong she was without him and how far she’s come since she was the shy library apprentice a year ago. She definitely showed that she is strong in mind and magic without him, but despite that there was still that aching longing for Aldrik that never went away (for either of them for the other). She showed that she had a lot of knowledge and she didn’t have to rely on her magic all the time, or Aldrik all the time, to make decisions and get things done. I think that’s one of the things I enjoyed most about her in this book.

Aldrik was a very distant character in this book in the beginning, but as the book continued and more went down (so many feels, omg), he became much more open and more raw with Vhalla than we’ve seen him, which was unusual for him. I did, however, think that that vulnerability was healthy to see. Although I do think that his emotions often clouded his judgement in some instances, he was still the Fire Lord we’ve come to know.

We got more of Fritz and Jax in this novel and oh man, Jax just makes me smile. He’s so full of himself and so charming that it’s funny, and I love how Fritz reacts when they’re around his sisters and Jax keeps flirting with them. Too good. I liked that there was humor sprinkled in because there was a lot of sadness and hard times going on that it was nice to have that bit of humor. I also think that the friendship between Fritz and Vhalla really shone in this book and I was really thankful that Vhalla had such a close friend.

So there were several major plot points that happened in this book that CRUSHED ME. I won’t mention either because of major spoilers, but just know that I am 1) heartbroken that both happened, and 2) and I’m being hopeful that things will happen in the last book that will remedy at least one of them. P.S. One of said major plot points did actually have me shedding actual tears and Ican’tevenwhydidithappen.

Also, I knew that Victor couldn’t be trusted but DAMN. I wasn’t expecting him to go to such an extreme and to learn more about his past a little with Aldrik and just… wow. So much happened toward the end that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it.

This book hasn’t been my favorite of the series and I think it’s because of the feeling I get when Vhalla didn’t really… react to the major plot points. I mean, she did with one really well, but the other? Not so much. And then there were just a few things I found very convenient and just… I don’t know, I’m having a hard time placing my finger on it. But I did enjoy the book, don’t get me wrong. I just think the focus was kind of all over the place and not super centralized.

Overall, I did enjoy the book (what I remember of it, haha…ha…), and I’m anticipating the last book. I can’t wait to see how it’s all wrapped up and how the conclusion unfurls in this beautiful fantasy series.

I rated this book 4/5 stars.

Earth’s End Book Review

earthsendTitle: Earth’s End
Series: Air Awakens #3
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: February 11, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 348
Format: Purchased eBook for Kindle

A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

This sequel was unexpected in its intensity, especially toward the end, and it shows just how far Vhalla has come as not only a sorceress, but as a woman: brave, strong, and unrelenting.

As this is a sequel, there may be spoilers.

This book destroyed me. My emotions felt like they were just on a roller coaster that wouldn’t stick on a straight path most of the way through. Oh man.

As far as the plot went, I really enjoy how it keeps advancing to a common goal and a main purpose of Vhalla having to fight for the crown and to hopefully win her freedom. Throughout the events that happen in this book, that never changed, but it was always met with one challenging opposition or another. I’m rooting for Aldrik and Vhalla, and to see their love grow and blossom, only to be torn down, hurts. Challenge after challenge got in their way, and even though they both fought for each other in their own ways to strive toward an end together, things became so rocky in the end that I could feel my heart pounding as I read it all unfolding before me.

I found that there were secrets and many twists and turns in this novel. Vhalla is becoming a much stronger individual even in the face of death surrounding her. She doesn’t give up and she strives to protect the prince she loves. I think that although that is her primary driving force, she does so with so much passion that it’s hard not to root for her and to hopefully see her through to the end. She’s much more bold in the presence of the Emperor (whom I wouldn’t mind seeing NOT in a place of power, thanks), never backing down and asserting her intelligence among people who would otherwise belittle her.

I thought that Vhalla was a force to be reckoned with in this book as we saw her use her magic many, many times than in the previous two books, and how far her training has brought her. She’s unafraid to hurt and kill if the need be, which is extremely useful in a solider. I loved being able to see her use her strength and power to her advantage because it really shows how far she’s grown from a meek library apprentice, to a stubborn, strong headed, Windwalker.

Aldrik was also someone that I worried about at the beginning, but once he recovered from injuries at the beginning, I was glad to see his protective and loving nature over Vhalla come back right away. At times I thought he was too overprotective, much in the same way he was in the previous books, but I saw that his love came from somewhere deep inside of him and he wanted to express that. We also got to see more of his epic fire wielding skills as he fought alongside Vhalla and WOW, those two are incredible together. I thought that mentioning how they fight stronger and better together was an important aspect of the book, for sure, because they bounced off of each other so naturally.

As for some of the other characters and side things going on, I thought that Daniel was a good constant companion, though I could see something brewing between them momentarily, Vhalla seemed to quickly shut it down. Elecia and Fritz are in this as much as I would have wanted, but still seeing their presence there, and the interactions they have with Vhalla, really comforted me that friendships weren’t just cast to the side in way of the romance.

Speaking of the romance, OH MAN. Things got hot and heavy up in here and I was just like, “YES. FINALLY.” Yup, no shame.

But let me just say: that ending, man. I am a ball of angry emotions because WHY CAN’T THEY CATCH A BREAK. WHY. I mean, I knew the Emperor would find some way to twist and turn everything around and make things miserable for them, but ARGH. I’m so mad. I mean, that’s not an entirely bad thing, but wow, so many emotions. I need the fourth book now, thanks.

There were a few problems I did have with the novel, though, and they mainly had to do with the formatting of the book. I don’t know what happened, but on the Kindle it read weirdly and didn’t separate paragraphs at times or separated them in chunks. It was strange and distracted from reading because I oftentimes didn’t know who was speaking when sentences would run into each other in the same paragraph.

Also, there were a lot of typos that I noticed, too, as with the other books. That became distracting, too, but I easily chugged forward.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this sequel. It was heart pounding, action based, very romantic, and a whirlwind of emotions (see what I did there?). I’m definitely excited for the next book and I can’t wait to read it.

Overall, I thought this was a solid sequel and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s read the first two novels.

I rate this book 4.5/5 stars.

Fire Falling Book Review

firefallingTitle: Fire Falling
Series: Air Awakening #2
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: November 19, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 378
Format: Purchased eBook

Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?

This book was a fantastic sequel and it furthered the progression of Vhalla and how she has become the crown’s property.

As this is the second book, this review may contain spoilers.

In this book the plot became much more intricate not only in how the war itself would progress, but it also showed the progression of romance and love – of multiple kinds of love – as well as bloodshed, loss, and heartbreak. I had so many emotions reading this book from excitement to anger to sadness. Honestly, I think this was better than the first.

Vhalla has become a bit stronger in this book physically and emotionally, learning not only from Aldrik, but also from Larel, Fritz, and others. She makes deep connections with Larel and a soldier, Daniel, who is from the East like she is, and I think that those relationships really helped to shape and mold her more as this book progressed. She relied heavily on Larel for emotional support, even when she felt ashamed for it, but I think that how Larel loved Vhalla unconditionally like a sister was so important and so beautiful. Not only that, but she learned more about her friends and who they are as people, and I think most important was that she learned a lot more about Aldrik and his past and thoughts.

Though at times I was confused by her emotions, I understood the rawness of them in the moments that they happened: when she felt sad or heartbroken or confused or lost. It was hard for her to overcome a lot of those harder emotions, but when she did is when I think she shined the most.

Also, when she trained she showed that not only is she definitely the Windwalker, but she’s also a solider and I know that’s definitely because of Aldrik. The Bond they have with one another really fuels Vhalla’s magic and I think that didn’t take away from her as a character, but enhances her because she didn’t understand magic and didn’t want to at one point, and now she’s able to draw from a very strong source.

As time progressed through the book I really felt that Vhalla grew more as a character, slowly but surely. She understands her place in the world, even if she’s down about it a lot. I’m really interested to see where she is in the next book.

Aldrik was ever an enigma at the beginning and such a toddler with his temper tantrums. I didn’t understand why he’d storm off sometimes or ignore Vhalla other times or be sweet to her even other times. No sense! But I think as he opened up more to Vhalla and we got to see more of his past that I understood why he was the way he was. I was very skeptical of his feelings toward her throughout large portions of this book because of that, but once a certain scene happened I was like, “Well, never mind then!” I think that his protectiveness over Vhalla didn’t come from a place of greed but rather from a place of love, and I think that that’s a strong attribute for him to have given his characteristics of a stoic, brooding, very-easy-to-piss-off self.

I think that Aldrik really proved himself to Vhalla as someone who does care, but he also proved himself as a soldier and wielder of fire because wow, I really enjoyed reading about the magic powers in this one.

As for the plot there was so much that happened from start to finish that I don’t even know where to begin! There was bloodshed, nightmares, backstory, romance, feelings, fighting – so much! I think that the story progressed in a natural way and it had me wanting to turn the page over and over again. We got more of a look into the political side of this world through dreams that Vhalla had, which I think were key parts to remember. Not only that, but there were also times where I was unsure of what would happen next. I think it was executed well.

The romance! Oh man, the romance set my heart all pitter-pattering and I loved it. It was sweet and beautiful and it gave just enough to be enough, but to also want more. I think that this was handled greatly and that it was well worth the tension, for sure.

I thought that there were going to be triangles forming, or quadrangles, or something, but I’m not entirely sure that they will. It honestly didn’t bother me too much because I saw the natural progression of it and the fact that no one really acted upon it.

Oh! One thing I highly enjoyed when it came to any form of romance or something along those lines: there were consensual questions asked every time. No one forced anything upon anyone and I think that that was SO important in this book. Thank you, Elise Kova, for not forcing something upon a character because wow, I found myself loving that so much.

There were so many feels and heartbreaking moments in this book in particular I almost cried at the end. I feel like I’m becoming more attached to these characters as I go and I need to know what happens next. I’m untrusting of the Emperor, I’m confused as to where I stand with Prince Bladair, and I want to see more of Daniel and Craig and Fritz, for sure. Even Elicia, who was a mystery for a lot of the book before we were told her identity.

My only gripe with this book was that there were A LOT more typos than the last. I don’t get how so much was missed, but it didn’t really take away from the story; it was a minor distraction that I was able to quickly remedy in my mind to continue forward. Other than that, I highly enjoyed this book.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you’ve read the first.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Water’s Wrath Cover Reveal

Hey guys! I got something fun for today! I’m going to be part of the people who do a cover reveal for the fourth book in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova. I’ve read the first book and loved it, and I’m currently reading the second book and enjoying it, so I’m honored to be part of the cover reveal for the next book in the series!
And OMG GUYS. It’s gorgeous~ All of these covers are, to be honest.
So, without further ado, here is the cover:

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