Blogmas Book Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Summary:
A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.
The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.
Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

Book Cover

Review:
After absolutely loving Jensen’s Dark Shores series, I knew I wanted to try some of her other books as well. Antonia bought me The Bridge Kingdom and its sequel for my birthday. Now that it’s cold and I’m in the mood for fantasy again, I thought it would be the perfect time for some new fantasy to love.
The Bridge Kingdom follows Lara and Aren in alternating perspectives. Lara is a princess that’s been sent to marry Aren, a King, as a part of an alliance treaty that was agreed upon fifteen years ago. What Aren doesn’t know, is that for the last 10 years, Lara has been trained in every area possible so that she can spy and infiltrate his kingdom and spill its secrets to her father. But Lara is learning that she wasn’t raised in isolation in the desert just to keep others from learning things about her and her sisters, but also so that she wouldn’t know the truth of her own kingdom. She finds herself torn between the truth of Aren’s kingdom and its people and destroying them for the sake of her own people.
Lara was a great main character. She’s fierce and cunning, clever and ruthless. It was really compelling to follow her indecision once she starts to really spend time with Aren and his people. When she sees their struggles and imagines what would happen if she were to fulfill her father’s plan, she’s torn between her mission and her heart. I thought that this was a really interesting inner conflict for her.
Aren was also a great main character. I liked that we got his point of view alongside Lara’s. He’s a really good king and he just genuinely wants the best for his people. He worries that his choices aren’t the right ones, but he also tries new things to see how he can improve the lives of his subjects. I loved seeing him take charge and flex his authority when he needed to. But I also loved seeing his softer side, giving in when Lara is panicking on the water for example. He was a really well-developed character.
The plot of the story was a little predictable, but I honestly didn’t mind that. I definitely guessed most of the things that were hinted at right from the get go. I still had a good time following the story as the chaos unfolded. I think the next book will have a lot more opportunities to surprise me with the plot. The world was interesting, but I’d like to have seen more of it. There was a lot of emphasis on the histories that these countries have, but I don’t really remember it being explained why all of these kingdoms were always at war with each other. It very well might have all just been because of the bridge. I wanted to know more about the bridge too. Was it always there? Did someone build it? I would have loved to have even heard some folklore or myths about the bridge.
Overall, this was an interesting and well-told story. I really liked the main character as well as their supporting characters. I think the world was interesting enough and easy to learn about. I will definitely be continuing this series and reading Jensen’s other backlist books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Whole New Me Blog Tour

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Hello, lovelies! I don’t usually do blog tours here, but I’m beyond excited to hype this book that a good friend of mine wrote! A Whole New Me by Adrianna Schuh is a new adult romance that follows the main character, Tessa.

Synopsis

Tessa has something to prove and she wants to use Ricky to do it.
She’s not surprised when he agrees to her friends with benefits plan, but she is surprised when it seems like Ricky wants more than she’s willing to give.
Can she keep Ricky without giving him hope for something more?
Because Tessa won’t let this be love.

If that sounds interesting to you, then continue reading friend! I am here to share with you an excerpt of this book which I will be adding below (along with some links to preorder if you’re loving what you’re reading like I did.)

Excerpt

It’s clear we’re not the only ones headed to a party tonight. As the bus is packed full of groups of students, dressed in their best casual party attire. We all try to stick together and when our stop comes up we all take a minute to make sure everyone in the group has arrived in one piece. 

Bronte has hung onto my hand the entire time so we don’t get separated. I’ve never really had a friend like her, I’m pretty sure of that even though we just met. We just kind of click. 

The house is just down the street from the bus stop so it only takes a minute to arrive. Somehow I end up being the one to get to the door first. I raise my hand to knock, even though I’m sure no one will hear it, but before I can get there the door swings open. And standing on the other side is the one person I’d planned to avoid here tonight, and he’s giving me that damn smile. Crap.

“Hey Diner Girl,” he says with a smirk. I’m beginning to believe that’s his signature look, it’s how he gets the girls. 

“You’re looking especially gorgeous.” 

Of course he had to be the one opening the door, had to be the first person I see tonight.  And he’s staring at me, so I say the first thing that pops into my head. 

“Hey loser.” And I have absolutely no idea why I said that. I’m cringing inside as Ricky lets out a barking laugh, clutching his chest in mock pain. I hear Bronte openly laughing behind me so I push past Ricky and make my way into the house, anything to escape this painful encounter.

I walk further into the entryway that’s filled to the brim with partygoers, and glance back to see that Ricky still has his eyes on me.

I actually like the way he’s looking at me. Like he really does think I’m gorgeous. Usually when guys say that to me, accompanied with a look, it makes my skin crawl. Because I know they don’t have good intentions, they usually just want in my pants. But Ricky is looking at me like he appreciates all of what he sees, not just my body. 

He’s looking at me like he actually wants to get to know me in every way. I’m not sure how I can tell, but I’m confident I’m right. And unfortunately that actually makes Ricky more appealing to me. I like the way the look on his face makes me feel.

If this sounds like some you’re interested in reading (I’m currently reading the ARC because I’ve been devouring nothing but romance and I’m so excited to love Adrianna’s debut novel), please preorder using this link! Also, add it to GoodReads here!

Now, I will leave you all with a little bit of information about Adrianna so you can find her on all the social medias!

Author Bio

Adrianna is a 27-year-old wife, mommy, book lover, and librarian. She has a deep love for romance books and an unhealthy obsession with iced tea. She can quote almost any Disney movie, she’s in love with Kylo Ren, and she lives for Harry Potter. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves spending time at home with her son, husband, 5 cats, and one tiny dog.

Find her here:

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Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.