Summary: Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose and a princess named Imelda who loved each other… But alas, no more. “What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!” their friends and family warn. They resign themselves to this loveless fate… A year and a day pass. And then their story truly begins… Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire… But first they must remember what that is…
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of Once More Upon a Time in exchange for an honest review. This is a fun and quick fairytale romance novella. I think the novella aspect is what made me not completely love this story. I firmly believe that if this had been a full-length novel, I would have given it five stars. But it was just too short for my liking. I wanted more of everything. This follows one of the sisters from the Twelve Dancing Princesses and a prince that is the middle child of three brothers. They fall in love, but they are cursed before they really even get to be together. Their love is taken from them and because of that, they cannot rule the kingdom they’ve been given by the bride’s father. A year later is when this story takes place. Just as they are about to go their separate ways, the witch that stole their love makes them a deal. They must go on a quest to get a potion and in return, she will give them both what they want. Because this story was so short, I really had a hard time connecting with the characters emotionally. I wanted to know more about them and their relationship. I wished we had gotten to see the two of them falling in love previous to everything that happened in this book. I especially loved the witch acting as the narrator. She was funny and added some humor to the story. She was interesting and a little bit mysterious and I wanted to see more of her. I liked both the main characters too. They both had really distinct personalities and well-developed backstories that explained why they behaved in the ways that they did. Overall, my biggest issue with this book was that I wanted more of it. I felt like it wasn’t long enough for me to really connect and get attached to the characters.
Summary: After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin. Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass. With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay. Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with the final riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.
Review: The Bronzed Beasts is the final installment of The Gilded Wolves trilogy. I absolutely loved the first two books in this series, but this third book was my favorite, I think. The story starts off right after the ending of the second book. I liked this because the ending of that book was wild and I think I would have been a little disappointed if this book started off with a jump in time. I’m not going to go into a detailed summary because I always try to avoid spoilers, plus, there’s the official synopsis above. Enrique, Laila, Hypnos, and Zofia have traveled once again. This time they’re in Venice. I feel like we didn’t get as much of the setting as we got in the previous books. We get a bit of action with the canals and waterways, but I feel like the story was much more character-focused. The dynamic between these four was interesting in this book. They all feel as if they’ve lost their leader for good, that their friend had finally gone too far. There was a hole in the dynamic and each of the characters was trying to figure out how to adapt to that. This was a great emotional aspect for these characters. Severin meant something to each of them. So, his apparent betrayal was handled differently by each of the four. Severin was also in Venice. But he wasn’t with his friends. He had a plan, but things were going wrong. Severin’s emotional development was probably the most interesting because he’s struggling with vague memories of his mother, the potential power of a god, and the things he’s had to do to his closest friends. He’s just not having a good time, but he’s almost reached his goals. Having the outside perspective, I just wanted everyone to love each other again. But Chokshi made it easy to understand why Severin was doing what he was doing. Overall, I loved this book. I love this series. Chokshi’s writing was beautiful and moving, just like all of her other books. I loved the characters so much and this book just added to that love. I am also happy to say that I was really satisfied with the way this story ended. I think it was a fitting ending, even if it wasn’t necessarily a happy ending. I will be recommending this series until the end of time.
Hi, lovelies! There have really been some phenomenal book to movie/tv adaptations in the past few years, so I have a few books that I think would make incredible movies or tv shows. Some recent adaptations I’ve enjoyed are Shadow and Bone (while I have my issues with it, I overall enjoyed watching it), Bridgerton, and Big Little Lies. I haven’t watched many of the newer fantasy adaptations because I haven’t read the books yet. But there are some that have recently been announced that I’m incredibly excited forr (Percy Jackson, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Daisy Jones and the Six, and the Kane Chronicles). So, I thought it would be fun to share some fantasy stories I love that I think would make the jump to the screen well.
Aru Shah and the End of Timeby Roshani Chokshi I love this series with my whole heart. I’m really hoping that is the Disney adaptation of Percy Jackson does well, they might start working on some of the series from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. I love Aru and the other Pandava sisters. I think this series would do so well as a tv show.
Gracelingby Kristin Cashore I have some real nostalgia for this series. And since it’s been rebooted with new installments I’ve recently reread it. I think this series would do really great as a movie series. Especially the second book, Fire, with all the stunning colors and creatures. I think the concept of ‘graces’ and the general plot and setting would look great up on a big screen.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia This is another that I think would make a great movie or two. I do think that both books could be made into one movie. I would love to see Daniela and Carmen on screen. This book is queer and Latinx and I would love to see that representation in a movie.
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool This is one of my all time favorite series. So, I would obviously love to see it adapted. I think it would have to be a tv series to really show all of the characters and the paths they each follow. I love these characters so much that I would love to go on a several season journey with them.
Furybornby Claire Legrand I think this would have to be a tv show. There’s just so much that happens between the two different time periods that this story happens in, that there’s no way it could all successfully happen in a movie. I loved Rielle and Eliana, and I really think that it would do will if it were to be adapted.
I think these five books would make excellent movies and/or tv shows. What books would you love to see adapted?
Summary: Aru Shah and her sisters–including one who also claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter–must find their mentors Hanuman and Urvashi in Lanka, the city of gold, before war breaks out between the devas and asuras. Aru has just made a wish on the tree of wishes, but she can’t remember what it was. She’s pretty sure she didn’t wish for a new sister, one who looks strangely familiar and claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter, like her. Aru also isn’t sure she still wants to fight on behalf of the devas in the war against the Sleeper and his demon army. The gods have been too devious up to now. Case in point: Kubera, ruler of the city of gold, promises to give the Pandavas two powerful weapons, but only if they win his trials. If they lose, they won’t stand a chance against the Sleeper’s troops, which will soon march on Lanka to take over the Otherworld. Aru’s biggest question, though, is why every adult she has loved and trusted so far has failed her. Will she come to peace with what they’ve done before she has to wage the battle of her life?
Review: Aru Shah and the City of Gold is the fourth book in the Pandava Quartet. So, I’m going to preface by saying, if you haven’t read the first three books, you shouldn’t read this review. But you can find my spoiler free review for the first book here. I won’t be summarizing this book because so many things happen and also because there is a convenient summary at the beginning of this post. So, when this book starts, we’ve just met Aru’s sister, her biological sister. This huge twist was revealed in the end of the third book. We get to know her sister, Kara, as the book progresses. I think what I love most about this series is the Aru Shah is decidedly imperfect. She is flawed. She makes mistakes. She upsets her Pandava siblings. I loved this aspect of the story. Aru makes mistakes and she learns from them. We follow along as she makes amends for those mistakes and made sure to do better in the future. I also love the found family aspect of this story. We have the Pandava siblings, who all have the reincarnated souls of the original Pandava’s. They are some of my favorite siblings. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of the twins. I feel like because they’re so young, they’re held back from being a part of the quests that the siblings go on. I’m hopeful that we will see them participate more in the final book. There are so many things I love about this series. The characters are the number one, but the mythology that we see in this story is fascinating for me. I didn’t know much about Hindu mythology, so I really enjoyed learning all about the well-known figures. Overall, I loved this book just as much as I’ve loved all the previous books. I think the mythology and the world is so much fun. It’s exciting and full of adventure. The characters are incredibly easy to love and you can’t help but root for them. I also have to say that Chokshi’s writing always stands out and this book is no different. I highly recommend this series.
Hey, lovelies! Last month, I made a post where I recommended series that were completely published for all your binge reading desires. But it got me thinking about what series I love that will be completed soon. So, I have a list for you today of books that are series finales being published in 2021. These are some of my most anticipated releases of 2021.
All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace Publication Date: February 2, 2021 My review for All the Stars and Teeth “Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses. No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul. To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.”
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert Publication Date: March 9, 2021 My review for Get a Life, Chloe Brown& Take a Hint, Dani Brown “Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how… Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.”
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo Publication Date:March 30, 2021 My review for King of Scars “The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology. The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible. The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost. The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart. King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.”
On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig Publication Date:April 27, 2021 My review for For a Muse of Fire& A Kingdom for a Stage “Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war. Le Trépas—the deadly necromancer—has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos. The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. As in the first two books, the story is partly told in ephemera, including original songs, myths, play scripts, and various forms of communication.”
Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout Publication Date:June 1, 2021 My review forStorm and Fury & Rage and Ruin “Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger. Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options—and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome. As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain—nothing will ever be the same.”
Reign by Cora Carmack Publication Date:July 6, 2021 My review ofRoar& Rage “Aurora Pavan wanted to change her world. She wanted to protect her people, not because they paid taxes, but because they deserved to live without fear. She wanted Pavan to be a home that welcomed everyone–remnants, stormhunters, and witches included. For the first time in her life, she did not dread the duty into which she was born. She wanted it. Then she met him. The Stormlord–the man who wielded the same magic as she, but with the intent to destroy rather than save. The Aurora Pavan who came home from that confrontation was not the same girl that had braved the wildlands and joined a rebellion. She was no longer the girl who was ready to change the world, ready to rule. But she’s the queen now all the same. And her kingdom needs her. If only she can keep the new darkness inside her at bay.”
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi Publication Date:September 21, 2021 My review for The Gilded Wolves& The Silvered Serpents “After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin. Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass. With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself…but at a price they may not be willing to pay.”
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool Publication Date:September 21, 2021 My review for There Will Come a Darkness& As the Shadow Rises “Following the destruction of the City of Mercy, an ancient god has been resurrected and sealed inside Beru’s body. Both are at the mercy of the Prophet Pallas, who wields the god’s powers to subjugate the Six Prophetic Cities. But every day, the god grows stronger, threatening to break free and sow untold destruction. Meanwhile, far away from Pallas Athos, Anton learns to harness his full powers as a Prophet. Armed with the truth about how the original Prophets killed the god, Anton leads Jude, Hassan, and Ephyra on a desperate quest to the edge of the world. With time running out, the group’s tenuous alliance is beset by mounting danger, tumultuous romance, and most of all by a secret that Anton is hiding: a way to destroy the god at the price of an unbearable sacrifice. But the cost of keeping that secret might be their lives—and the lives of everyone in the Six Prophetic Cities.”
Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee Publication Date:November 30, 2021 “Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now known and coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same. The Kauls have been battered by war and tragedy. They are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference that could destroy the Green Bone way of life altogether. As a new generation arises, the clan’s growing empire is in danger of coming apart. The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.”
These are the series finales that I am eagerly awaiting. The Jade Legacy is the only one that might take me a while to read because I haven’t yet read the first two books. But I already know I’m going to love them. What series that are being completed in 2021 are you looking forward to? Any series I should have on my radar?
Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.
Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.
As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.
A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.
Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever in The Silvered Serpents. Review:
Chokshi is easily one of my favorite authors, so it was no surprise that I really loved The Silvered Serpents. I ended up borrowing the audiobook from my library because my preorder hasn’t arrived yet and I couldn’t wait any longer to get more of these characters and their antics.
This book was tough for me because that found family that I so quickly fell in love with in The Gilded Wolves isn’t very recognizable to the characters in this book. I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free, so if you’ve read The Gilded Wolves, you know the big terrible thing that happens which sort of splinters this group. They’re all dealing with the loss and none of them are dealing very well. It was really sad to see this group so split apart.
Severin is pretty much unrecognizable from who he was in the first book. He’s still very focused on his mission, but his goals have become twists and he will pay any cost to reach that goal. It was really sad to see how his grief had affected him. It was especially hard to see all of the others trying so hard to reach out to him with no positive results. Though I did enjoy learning more about his past.
Laila has secrets, she always has. But now this secret has a time limit that is quickly coming. I think her time limit was an interesting way to set the pace for this story. We see how many days until her birthday toward the beginning and it seemed like so much had happened in such a short number of days because by the end of the book, her birthday still hadn’t come. I love Laila, but it was really sad to see her and Severin’s relationship be so different. It was hard to see them both fight what they were feeling. I absolutely love that she shared her secret with Enrique and Zofia and that sharing this made them closer. I loved that they reacted in a way that she didn’t think they would. They’re true friends and I’m glad that at least stayed the same.
Enrique made me sad because he was struggling with his passion. He’s a historian and was trying to find a new job when the story started. But he was stood up, and then Severin needed him. He has lots of doubts about himself because his potential new job stood him up. It was really hard to hear his inner thoughts about why he wasn’t good enough for this new organization when it wasn’t his fault at all. I also liked learning more about his past. We learn about stories that show how hard it is for Enrique to be both Filipino and Spanish. I love Enrique and Chokshi really did him dirty in this book.
Zofia, who I think is my favorite, tries so hard to not be a burden on any of her friends. She’s just returned from visiting her sister, who has been very sick. But she doesn’t lean on any of her friends. She doesn’t tell them about her worries. It made me sad that Zofia couldn’t see how much her friends want to be there for her, if only she would let them in. I loved Zofia and really enjoyed reading her chapters. She just tries so hard to be helpful and act like those around her.
Finally, Hypnos. He wasn’t originally a part of this found family, but he’s trying so hard to become a part of it. I mostly liked Hypnos (except for his relationship with a certain someone because he was mean and I didn’t like that). I liked that he tried really hard to get thought to Severin, even though that meant he sort of treated someone else badly. I wanted him to be accepted into this family because he’s certainly shown he wants it and that he’s willing to do what needs to be done for them.
After writing all of this I’ve realized that this book just made me really sad. The found family I grew to love so much in book one, isn’t in this story. We see bits and pieces of it between one or two characters occasionally, but it wasn’t there like it was in the first book. I will say that I absolutely loved the plot. I loved getting to see a different part of this world and the ice creatures were absolutely fascinating. I really loved seeing these characters work together despite not being as close as they used to be. There was so much yearning and I loved it. I love these characters. I loved the magic. I love the diversity. I love the world. Roshani Chokshi can do no wrong. Her writing is incredible and I loved this book even though it made me very sad.
“When the devil waged war in the heavens, even angels had to fall.”
“–perhaps monsters were misunderstood gods; deities with plans too grand for humans; a phantom of evil that drank from the roots of good.”
“Enrique had brought her a cookie and made her laugh, and it felt like sitting beside a fire in one’s own home, knowing exactly where everything was and who would come to the door.”
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive. Review:
How am I supposed to explain how much I loved this book? I wasn’t going to read this because of all of the negative or average reviews. All I have to say is, what is wrong with you people?? This book has been (wrongly) compared to Six of Crows. I slightly understand the comparison, but this story was so different.
We follow several different characters who all have different goals, but they’ve become a family of sorts and I loved every single one of them. I’ll start with Severin. He’s our damaged boy. I adored him. He’s supposed to have inherited his parent’s ring and become the patriarch of his family, but that right was stolen from him. His goal is to change that and reinstate his family, to become the patriarch that he was always supposed to be. After his parents died and his birthright was stolen from him, he was moved from home to home until he came into his monetary inheritance. I really liked the bits and pieces we got about each of his foster fathers. He also has a brother, Tristan.
Tristan is an awkward nerdy kid and I freaking loved him. He has this horrifying pet spider that he loves dearly. I don’t like spiders, but I loved Tristan. He’s like the little brother of everyone in the group. I adored how much everyone loves him. He’s a sweet little bean and I would die for him.
Laila is from India. She’s a dancer and loves to bake. That’s my kind of lady. She has an interesting history that I won’t specify because I thought learning about her was a part of the journey that is this book. She has a really interesting ability that is to be able to see the history of any object. I thought this was really cool, but also, I’m still curious about whether or not she can do the same with living things. Laila’s goal is to find a book that helped create her. I’m very intrigued by this book and I think it has something to do with the events of the next book.
Enrique is biracial (Filipino and Spanish). He’s a historian that loves to learn about the past. I thought his internal struggle with appearing more Spanish than Filipino was really interesting. I really thought he brought an interesting point of view to the story. He’s also bisexual, though the word is never used he says that he’s interested in both men and women. I really liked Enrique. He was the comedic relief of this friend group and I’m always a sucker for the funny guy. I also totally ship him with Zofia.
Zofia was a little science nerd and I love her. She’s Jewish which I thought was nice because I don’t see all that much representation for Jewish people out there. She’s also Polish and moved away from her sister to go to school. I believe that Zofia is somewhere on the Autism spectrum but I don’t know whether that’s been confirmed anywhere. She has issues with certain social cues, clothing materials, and I loved her so much. She’s incredibly smart and is the mad scientist and mathematician of the bunch. She loves to create but was not treated well when she tried to go to traditional schools.
Then there’s Hypnos, who isn’t a part of this found family at the beginning of the story. He manages to worm his way in though. I didn’t know whether or not we could trust him, but I grew to love him. He’s the patriarch of one of the last two recognized Houses. He hires the group to steal something from the other House. Obviously shit hits the fan and nothing goes as planned. I liked Hypnos. He was flirty and fun, but never quite trustworthy for most of the story. I’m definitely interested to see where his story goes in the next book.
Overall, I adored this book. I love Roshani’s writing. It’s just absolutely beautiful. She built a fascinating world with characters I would die for. Please read this book right now.
“Nothing but a symbol? People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.”
“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”
“Her mother’s voice rang in her ears: ‘Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.”
“I don’t want to be their equal. I don’t want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, as if they’d stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”
War between the devas and the demons is imminent, and the Otherworld is on high alert. When intelligence from the human world reveals that the Sleeper is holding a powerful clairvoyant and her sister captive, 14-year-old Aru and her friends launch a search-and-rescue mission. The captives, a pair of twins, turn out to be the newest Pandava sisters, though, according to a prophecy, one sister is not true.
During the celebration of Holi, the heavenly attendants stage a massage PR rebranding campaign to convince everyone that the Pandavas are to be trusted. As much as Aru relishes the attention, she fears that she is destined to bring destruction to her sisters, as the Sleeper has predicted. Aru believes that the only way to prove her reputation is to find the Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree that came out of the Ocean of Milk when it was churned. If she can reach it before the Sleeper, perhaps she can turn everything around with one wish.
Careful what you wish for, Aru… Review:
I have a fierce love for this series. I love Aru Shah with my whole heart. So, I’m not sure how I’m going to explain my feelings for this book. I might just keep this short and tell you to read it a hundred times and then end it. Just kidding.
We’re following Aru, Mini, and Brynn as their trying to save the world from the Sleeper. There’s also Aidan and Rudy that tag along with the girls. I love this found family so much. We find two new Pandava sisters at the start of this story. Twins named Sheela and Nikita, who have very interesting abilities. I loved how quickly the three pull Sheela and Nikita into their loving arms. I love that even though most of them have families to go back to that are loving and supportive, these sisters (and Aidan and Rudy) have made a family of their own. The found family aspect of this story was so wonderful.
The stakes have never been higher for this group. They’ve failed a few minor missions and are feeling lower than low. So, they take off on their own without permission from the higher-ups. I loved the nonstop action of the story, even while they were just traveling from one task to the next, they were met with challenges that they faced bravely and always together.
Overall, I adored this story just like all the previous books. I am already dying for the next installment to know what happens next. The friendships are wonderful, the writing is amazing. I adore the world and the mythology that this story centers around. I love everything about this book and the rest of the series. If you haven’t read it yet you’re really missing out.
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire. Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, though they are companion novels and not truly a series. I loved this second book much more than the first. All of the things that made me not totally adore the first book were resolved in this book. I’ll stop being vague and get right into it.
First of all, it’s an enemies to lovers trope which is always a good time for me. Gauri is the princess of her kingdom and Vikram the prince of his. They are at war. When Vikram gets invited to the magical Tournament of Wishes, but is told he must find and bring his partner. The moment he sees Gauri, he knows she is the one he was told about.
I loved Vikram. He seems like he doesn’t take anything seriously, but he does. He just has that positive personality that means he makes jokes at the wrong times and is just generally an upbeat person. I really loved him. I think the contrast of Gauri’s character was so well done. She’s a warrior and all she wants is to be the leader to her people she knows she can be. I really enjoyed both characters accepting their desires and facing their fears.
Their banter had me cackling. I really loved their constant teasing and shots at one another. It was definitely my favorite part of this story. We really got to see their relationship for and develop together as we also got to see them grow individually. This was something I missed in the last book because the characters already had a past together. Also, the timeline wasn’t at all confusing like it was in the first book which I appreciated. I also really loved that we get to see bits and pieces of the previous book. The characters didn’t play a huge part, but we saw them and I enjoyed that.
I loved this world that we were in. The magical and the mythical were well explained and honestly so fascinating. I was completely captivated by this world and all of the characters in it. I adored the romance, especially the ending. I have loved everything I’ve read by this author and I’m not really excited to pick up the first book in her newest series.
“A story had no owner ship. A story could break its bones, grow wings, soar out of reach and dive out of sight in the time it took just to draw breath. It meant we weren’t walking a cut path. We carved it into existence with
“It felt silly to say that he couldn’t bear to lose her. He never had her. She was not a thing to be possessed. But her entrance in his life had conjured light. And losing the light of her would plunge him into a darkness he’d never find his way out of.”
“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash. Sometimes it means taking what ever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving out your life with the pieces you’re given.”
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself. Review:
After reading Roshani’s middle-grade books, I was interested in picking up one of her YA releases. I loved her writing in her other books and short stories that I’ve read so I was excited about this one.
I did really enjoy The Star-Touched Queen, despite the few points that had me wildly confused. I liked our main character, Maya. She was the outcast daughter because of the horoscope she was born with. Most of the others avoided her and blamed bad things on her. Regardless of this, she’s trying to work on skills and learn. She spies on her father’s meetings and keeps up with the local politics. So, she already knows when her father comes to tell her that she must choose a husband. I really liked Maya. She’s swept up into an unfamiliar place and does her best to stay positive and figure out what she’s gotten herself into.
I also really liked Amar. I liked that we didn’t really know what he was hiding either, but that we were given hints to try and figure it out. I wish there had been an easier way for this pair. At first, I thought their relationship was sort of insta-love, but after learning the memories that Maya had lost, I really loved them together.
My biggest complaint about this book was that sometimes I found myself just wildly confused. I felt like the timeline was never very clear and that made bits and pieces of the story really confusing. It got better in the second half of the book.
I love the world and the mythology involved in this story. I really enjoyed all of the mythical beasts that were talked about and introduced. I also really love Kamala.
Finally, Roshani’s writing is absolutely stunning. I could have highlighted half of this book if I had gone into the story intending to annotate. I didn’t, but I love the writing. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it would have been a five-star read had I not been so confused in the first half of the story.
“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.”
“The truth,” said Amar, taking a step closer to me, “is that you look neither lovely nor demure. You look like edges and thunderstorms. And I would not have you any other way.”
“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”
“The worms do not take heed of caste and rank when they feast on our ashes,” the Raja said. “Your subjects will not remember you. They will not remember the shade of your eyes, the colors you favored, or the beauty of your wives. They will only remember your impression upon their hearts and whether you filled them with glee or grief. That is your immortality.”
Aru Shah is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing, when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, the culprit is turning people into heartless, fighting-machine zombies. And, if that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the weapon within ten days, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. Forever.
For better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her Pandava sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.
But Aru’s biggest challenge may be in her own mind, where the words of the sleeper resonate: You were never meant to be a hero…Will she be able to prove him wrong this time?
This second installment in the Pandava series has all the humor, action, and imagination that made Aru Shah and the End of Time sparkle. So tear open that packet of Oreos and pull up a chair. Review:
Roshani Chokshi she has done it again and created a middle grade book that I just could not put down. I read this in two sittings. I borrowed the audiobook from my library and waited until I was driving back home from visiting my parents (which is an eight-hour drive) so I could listen to the whole thing in the one car ride. But I couldn’t wait. So, I listened to an hour or two and then the next day listened to the rest. There’s something about this series that I just really love.
Our main character, Aru, is flawed but learning. She acknowledges that she has flaws and maybe she isn’t doing the right thing. She’s clever and thoughtful and tries her best to make sure she’s doing the right thing. She’s learning about herself and learning to accept the new things she’s learning. I just adore her inner dialogue. She had a lot of insecurities that she tries to work through in this book and I appreciated that because it’s something that many struggle with.
Mini was missing for most of this story but the parts she was around for were great. She’s still nerdy. She’s still smart. She’s besties with Aru and I just think they’re the cutest friends.
Then there’s our new Pandava’s. Brynne is kick ass and doesn’t let anyone push her around. I thought Brynne’s fiery attitude was an interesting addition to this friend group. I think she really challenged Aru and that made for some good lessons. I thought Brynne was really interesting because she was a great example of a person that puts on a scary face and lots of attitude to hide her own fears and insecurities. She really brought attention to the conversation of making an effort to get to know someone before you just say their mean and leave it at that.
Finally, Aiden. The mysterious boy across the street. Aiden is dealing with a lot in his personal life, but still puts on a brave face and does his part to help the girls. He’s really the bridge between Brynne and the girls. He’s her best friend and I really enjoyed their friendship. He has his camera wherever he goes and I loved that. I think the twist that involves him was interesting. It definitely made me laugh.
There were a few things that I didn’t totally love about this book. But these things really didn’t detract from the book at all. The beginning had me a bit confused. The story jumps right into the action. The cast is battling some of the heartless and it was just chaotic and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. Aside from that, there were so many pop culture references. This is something that I actually enjoy. It makes sense to have these things mentioned in a current story. But I think it’s really going to date the book in a few years. But I still liked it. The giant crab talking about Moana and The Little Mermaid really was my favorite.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the characters. They were interesting and complex. The interactions they had with one another were the best and kept me laughing. I just love this friend group and I cannot wait to see who else we meet in the next book. I think the world that’s shown to us was incredible. The Otherworld was intricate and completely fascinating. I adored the mythological aspects of the story. I felt like I was reading and learning so much. I just adore this series, this world, these characters. Go read them asap. Find my review for the first book, Aru Shah and the End of Time, here.
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.
The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that? Review:
I adored this book. I’ve recently tried out reading some middle-grade books because I’ve heard so many people raving about a handful of books that are in this age range. I picked Aru Shah up specifically because I’m trying to read all the books for the SFF Awards (more information on those here). I’ve always loved mythology and superheroes and things like that so it wasn’t a huge surprise that I enjoyed this book. But it surprised me just how much I loved it.
I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. The short chapters made it seem like the story was flying by. I felt like I was getting through the story so quickly, probably because I was just genuinely enjoying the story. I was laughing and just all around having a good time listening.
Aru Shah was funny and entertaining. But she was flawed and made mistakes. I loved her. She was silly and curious, passionate and fun. She made mistakes but never let those mistakes define her. She recognized what she was doing wrong and made a point to do better and try to make up for her mistakes.
I also adored Mini. She was nerdy and smart and exactly what Aru needed in her life. I think she was a great addition to the story. I loved the relationship that they developed in this story.
I don’t want to just go on and on about the relationships because those were my favorite things. (Yes, I’m thinking of our girl’s favorite pigeon.) Also, the way that the story ended let the perfect amount of wanting more; wanting to know what adventure the girls will go on next and how they will find their other brothers and sisters.
Finally, the mythology. I adored the parts of the story surrounding the Indian mythology because it’s not something I’m particularly familiar with. So, after finishing this story I feel as if I’ve learned a lot, but also had a great time while doing so. I can’t wait to learn more about the Pandava brothers and the other various gods mentioned.
Overall, I just enjoyed every minute of this audiobook and I cannot wait to spend some more time with these characters and go on more adventures with them.