Book Review: Phoenix Unleashed By Margo Ryerkerk!

Back in March, I reviewed the final book in The Ardere Series by Margo Ryerkerk- Phoenix Unleashed! Since then, this series has been renamed as the Dark Legacy Series, so that might confuse a few people looking for previous books in the series! Anyways, since this was the 5th and final book in the series, I was really looking forward to seeing how everything ended! Here’s the blurb:

Bahadur has awoken.
His touch will enslave everyone.
Only Sierra can stop him.
Bahadur’s ascension shakes the world. Able to kill with one touch, steal supernatural auras, and turn humans into bloodthirsty henchmen, he’s invincible.

The only person who stands a chance to stop his tyranny is Sierra. Prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat him, she throws herself into danger. Unfortunately, her impulsiveness backfires and puts her in a worse position.

Desperate to undo her mistake, Sierra travels across the world to find the one magical object that might give her a fighting chance against Bahadur.

However, Bahadur is two steps ahead of her and makes a move no one expected.

Will Sierra find a way to triumph over him or will Bahadur succeed and drag the whole world into darkness?

Read it now to unlock the conclusion to the Dark Legacy series!

And the cover:

44054813

Totally gorgeous!! Anyway, here’s my review for Phoenix Unleashed:

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review 🙂

The final book in the Ardere (oops, I mean the Dark Legacy) series is Phoenix Unleashed. Everything Sierra, Gavin and the others have been working to accomplish over the past few months has been compromised with the rise of Bahadur. Now, the focus is on training each of the Ardere factions to fight against him effectively.

At first, Sierra’s attitude really sucks. She seems high and mighty and acts like she is some brilliant war strategist who knows everything. Her haste almost gets people killed, so she kind of has to reel in her attitude a little bit. Even Gavin notices the change in Sierra, and he tells her at one point that her “sense of duty extends to everything but our relationship.”

While Sierra continues to tap into her Fluidus powers and gains power, she is taken captive by Bahadur. Again, she thinks she is more brilliant than him, and is constantly attempting to outsmart him. Bahadur said something I was thinking the entire time: “You think that after 18 years of being on this planet you can stop a plan that had been in the making for over 300 years?”

Without spoiling anything, the ending is pretty much what you would expect. Everything wraps up really neat and tidy. I’m glad the series ended on a good note, because I really enjoyed it as a whole. At the beginning of this book, I felt almost as though some of the characters lost a bit of dimension, but everyone kind of got their spark back by the middle of the book. Sierra’s know-it-all attitude annoyed me for most of the book, because I felt like it was such a sharp departure from how she is portrayed in the rest of the series. I don’t see her as much of a leader, though everyone around her seems to think she is.

Anyway, despite my minor gripes, this was a really good series that I enjoyed very much. I’m sad it’s over and I can’t wait to see what Margo Ryerkerk writes next! 🙂

I gave Phoenix Unleashed 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Hansel and Gretel Curse by Margo Ryerkerk!

The Hansel and Gretel Curse is the third and final book in the Cursed Fairy Tale series by Margo Ryerkerk. It wrapped up loose ends from the first two books, and I thought it was a great book to tie everything together!

Here’s the blurb:

A vicious witch.

A dark curse.

A lost kingdom.

After a mysterious woman comes to Gretel’s village, her brother Hansel disappears without a trace. Gretel soon discovers that the traveling beauty wasn’t just any woman, but a wicked witch who steals willpowers, transforming humans into slaves.

Determined to rescue Hansel, Gretel ventures into the lair of the witch, the Black Forest, swearing she’ll either leave with her brother or die trying.

An evil force has befallen General Stefan’s kingdom. The evil witch of the Black Forest is poisoning the royal family and the whole country. She must be brought to justice.

Cloaked in spells, the witch’s forest has consumed countless soldiers and only permits one solider to enter at a time. Unable to bring his army, Stefan must fight this battle alone. Or so he thinks until he meets Gretel. The willful redhead is an unlikely partner and his only ally.

Together, Stefan and Gretel must overcome countless obstacles and trials as well as untangle their terrifying romantic feelings for each other.

Will Stefan and Gretel find a way to outsmart the witch or will they lose their lives and everything they care about?

Buy it now and find out!

Filled with adventure, love, magic, and a strong heroine, this clean YA Fairy Tale is a must-read!

If you liked Kiera Cass, Serena Valentino, and Liz Braswell, you’ll love this!

The Hansel and Gretel Curse is the third book in the Cursed Fairy Tale series. Each book can be read as a standalone. However, for greatest enjoyment, the novels should be read in order.

And the cover:

43194189

Here’s the review I wrote on Goodreads back in January:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review 🙂

The final installment of the Cursed Fairy Tale series is based off of the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. I was slightly more familiar with this story than with the previous two tales, and I was pleasantly surprised by the way this story was re-imagined!

Hansel and Gretel are twins who are turning 17. While Hansel is excited to be an adult, Gretel is not excited because for a woman, that means she has more responsibilities. Gretel is a bit of a wallflower and prefers to be left alone working in the library, and I don’t blame her! Hansel is the more outgoing of the twins, and the ladies love him.

The twins have a birthday celebration, and Gretel decides not to attend her own party, because she would rather stay in the library and read! Apparently, Hansel took off with a beautiful blonde and never came home. At first, Gretel and the twins’ adoptive mother, Sabina, think he just partied too hard, but soon they suspect something more sinister is afoot.

Sure enough, Hansel was taken by Roswita, a witch that lives in the Black Forest. Poor Hansel was promised to the witch by his mother, so she claimed him the moment he turned 17. That sucks for him! Anyway, Roswita loves to manipulate and bend people to do her will, so she bakes irresistible sweets for people to eat. Once they do, she takes control.

Gretel decides to go to the queen, who also wants Roswita stopped for her own private reasons. The queen sends Gretel to the Black Forest, and she is soon accompanied by Stefan (of COURSE there is a love interest, haha!). Stefan is kind of shady but Gretel begins to trust him anyway. I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but we find out who the queen and Stefan really are, and that just adds a fun twist to the story that I didn’t see coming at first!

Gretel and Stefan put themselves in a lot of danger, but somehow they manage to blend in and not draw attention to themselves for awhile. Along the way, Gretel makes a couple dumb decisions… again, no spoilers but… the library scene made me roll my eyes!

One last thing… dragons! ❤ ❤ ❤

I really enjoyed this book! This was my favorite entry to the series. Now I’m kind of sad that the series is over, but I’m so excited for whatever Margo writes next!! 🙂

I gave The Hansel and Gretel Curse 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Bluebeard Curse by Margo Ryerkerk!

The Bluebeard Curse is the second book in the Cursed Fairy Tale Series by Margo Ryerkerk. Here’s the blurb for it:

A devastating curse. 

A broken soul. 

A fearless girl. 

After finding his sister crouched over their dead parents’ bodies, Nolan turns her in. To cope with his crippling loss, he seeks to forget his sorrows in revelries. But trying to escape his life only creates more problems when two girls, last seen with him, drown.

Unable to bear the town’s accusations, Nolan flees his home.

Five years later, he’s forced to return to the city that calls him Bluebeard and accept his count title. His welcome is anything but warm, friends treat him with suspicion, and the worst is yet to come…

Jolie knows servants shouldn’t interact with nobility, but there’s something about Nolan Bluebeard that makes it impossible to stay away even if being close to him jeopardizes everything she has worked so hard for.

While Nolan desperately tries to rebuild his reputation with Jolie’s help, a devastating curse has women around him falling dead one by one.

Will Nolan and Jolie break the curse, or will they die trying?

The Bluebeard Curse is the second book in the Cursed Fairy Tales series. Each book can be read as a standalone. However, for greatest enjoyment, the novels should be read in order.

Filled with adventure, love, magic, and a strong heroine, this clean YA Fairy Tale is a must-read!If you liked The Siren and The Selection by Kiera Cass, K.M Shea and Melanie Cellier’s work, you’ll love this!

Buy it now and join Jolie and Nolan on their journey to break the Bluebeard curse!

And here’s the cover!

42979333

This is my review, which I published on Goodreads back in December.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

First of all, I want to say that I am not at all familiar with the fairy tale this book is based off of! I’ve never even heard of it before, so I basically had nothing to compare it to.

Anyway, this book starts off with us meeting Jolie, a young woman who is a maid for a wealthy count. She likes working for him, but she is nervous when she finds out that his nephew, Nolan, is coming back from a 5 year absence to take back over his estate.

Nolan, unsurprisingly, has a bit of a shady past. His parents were killed and his sister was responsible for their deaths. Then two girls die after a night hanging out with him… so he decides to split for awhile. Oh, and he was nicknamed “Bluebeard” because he used to have a thick, black beard that had a blueish tint in certain lights.

Nolan’s sister, Delilah, was briefly featured in the Nutcracker Curse. Let me just say it right out- she is an awful character! There is not one tiny redeemable quality about her AT. ALL. She is self- absorbed and so full of hatred it’s almost unreal. Normally I can find a way to sympathize with most characters, but not her. She literally is willing to give up 15 years of her life to curse her brother because apparently he is the cause of her “suffering,” when SHE was the one who killed their parents.

Speaking of the curse, this is where the name “The Bluebeard Curse” comes in. It looks like any woman getting close to Nolan a.k.a. Bluebeard better watch themselves, because ladies have a habit of dropping dead around him.

Naturally, Nolan is attracted to Jolie even though she’s of a lower social status. Which… uggh. I find that intolerable. Even though this story was set centuries ago, it still makes me roll my eyes to know that some people care so much about that. Anyway. Jolie becomes a target because she falls in love with Nolan, and she decides that she needs to be the one to break the curse. No one likes to mind their own business I guess! I won’t spoil how the story ends, but ya know… they all live happily ever after and all that jazz.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Margo Ryerkerk’s books very much. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Her writing is excellent, but the story of The Bluebeard Curse is not one of my favorites. I did become a little more invested in the characters (except Delilah) by the end of the book, but I didn’t really connect with any of them like I usually do. Nevertheless, I cannot wait for the 3rd book in the series!!

I gave The Bluebeard Curse 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Nutcracker Curse!

My God, I SUCK at posting and keeping up with everyone’s posts! My main problem is this horrendous fatigue that doesn’t seem to improve with sleep/rest. Oh, and having to participate in other soul-sucking activities such as going to work, etc. Well, eventually I’ll be caught up on everything, so that’s all the bitching I’ll do. I can only do what I can do! 😉 Anyways…

Before finishing up The Ardere Series that I have been reading and reviewing, author Margo Ryerkerk wrote and released a fun little series called The Cursed Fairy Tale series! She wrote three books, each one based off of a fairy tale that she put her own twist on. Each book kind of tied into one another, which I thought was nice. Though I am not big on fairy tales and am for the most part largely unfamiliar with the stories/plots, I was willing to give them a try! I reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Nutcracker Curse, back in December. Here’s the blurb for the book:

12 days.

4 realms.

Break the curse.

Or turn into a nutcracker.

Princess Clara thought she knew the main threat to her freedom.

She was wrong.

At seventeen years old, Clara isn’t ready to marry, and yet that’s what she must do as the crown princess of Austria.

However, getting to know the foreign princes visiting her kingdom becomes the least of Clara’s worries when she picks up a bespelled nutcracker and unleashes a deadly curse. She has twelve days to find and feed the nutcracker the magical nut Crackatook. If she fails, her soul will be trapped inside the toy for all eternity and her body will turn to wood.

Instead of relying on her suitors or the king’s men to find the cure, Clara saddles her unicorn and sneaks out of the palace. Her childhood friend Philip notices her leaving and makes her choose between returning to the castle or allowing him to come along.

Reluctantly, Clara agrees to him joining her, and soon, they are off to lands filled with mythical creatures.

Will they survive all trials and find the Crackatook in time? Or will Clara’s soul become trapped in the nutcracker and her body turn to wood?

Filled with adventure, love, magic, and a strong heroine, this clean YA Fairy Tale is the perfect festive read!

The Nutcracker Curse is the first book in the Cursed Fairy Tales series. Each book can be read as a standalone. However, for greatest enjoyment, the novels should be read in order.

If you like K.M Shea, Melanie Cellier, and Kiera Cass, you’ll love this!

And the gorgeous cover:

42857937

Here’s what I wrote about the book on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

Let me preface this review by saying this: I am not really a fan of fairy tales. I don’t even know anything about the Nutcracker fairy tale that this book is based off of. Despite this, I wanted to read this book because I am a huge fan of Margo Ryerkerk’s other books! 🙂

This book switches between the points of view of two characters, Griselda and Clara. They are stepsisters who have been separated from each other for 10 years because Griselda has been imprisoned. Naturally, Griselda can’t stand Clara and wants to seek revenge on her, so she decides to release the Nutcracker Curse on Clara.

Meanwhile, Clara is a princess, and she’s not exactly thrilled with being one. She is restless and wants to do her own thing, but her father wants her to get married and become prepared to be a ruler someday.

When the curse is released on Clara, she is told she has 12 days to break the curse. If she fails, her body will turn into a wooden figurine, and her soul will become trapped inside the nutcracker forever. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?! Anyway, the only way to break the curse is to find a magical nut called the Crackatook and feed it to the nutcracker. Instead of sitting idly by, Princess Clara decides to take her life into her own hands and find the Crackatook herself.

She goes through a lot of trouble to do so! I won’t give any spoilers away, but she encounters many trials to get to the Mouse King, who is guarding the Crackatook in the Inverse Kingdom. The Mouse King is… terrible, to say the least.

I really did enjoy this book, despite being unfamiliar with the original tale. The book ended in such a way that there is an opening for a sequel, so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I rated The Nutcracker Curse 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Phoenix Call by Margo Ryerkerk!

As I’ve done previously, I’m sharing this book review as a courtesy for Margo Ryerkerk, a really great author who so graciously gives me copies of her books in exchange for an honest review! I reviewed this book back in July on Goodreads, so sorry I’m just getting around to posting this now!

Phoenix Call is the fourth book in the Ardere series. Here’s the blurb for it:

A dark artifact.
A run against time.
A deadly demonic power.

Sierra has decimated her uncle’s generals but not his will. Her uncle will go to any lengths to gain power, even if it means the annihilation of the planet.

The Phoenix emblem broke into two pieces three hundred years ago when the dark lord was defeated.

Now, one half of the emblem has surfaced, and Sierra must find a way to destroy it before her uncle steals it.

If she fails and the two emblem parts are united, a great evil will be unleashed and everything she holds dear will be obliterated.

And the cover, which is beautiful as always:

Phoenix Call (The Ardere Series, Book 4)

This was another wonderful, exciting book by the very talented Margo Ryerkerk! I have loved the Ardere series so far and couldn’t wait to read the latest installment. Here are a few of my thoughts on this book- minor spoilers may follow if you are new to the series!

Right off the bat, I thought it was pretty cool that Sierra and Gavin have become so proficient at using the lapis pendant to communicate. It came in handy several times throughout this book, too, as it seems that Sierra has way too many near- death experiences to count. That girl is a beacon for trouble, though I don’t really fault her- she can’t help that she a Fluidus and her insane uncle is out to get her!

Can we talk about how the Elite Ardere just need to go away already? The snobbiness of these people is totally unreal- but not unrealistic, as I assume there are probably people in high society who act this way. Nevertheless, several betrayals occur throughout the book, and it makes me wonder whose side everyone is really on.

Throughout Phoenix Call, Sierra and her friends are trying to find the other half of the Phoenix pendant before her uncle Cormac does. They seem to be just a step behind him the entire time, which is frustrating! Of course, Cormac does manage to get the pieces together, resulting in dire consequences. I cannot even imagine how this series is going to wrap up with the next book. Dark days are ahead for the world, that is for sure!

I give Phoenix Call 5/5 stars, and am anxiously awaiting the final book in the series!

Book Review: Spirit Snatcher by Margo Ryerkerk!

As I’ve done previously, I’m sharing this book review as a courtesy for Margo Ryerkerk, a really great author who so graciously gives me copies of her books in exchange for an honest review! I reviewed this book back in April on Goodreads, so sorry I’m just getting around to posting this now!

Spirit Snatcher is the third book in the Ardere series. Here’s the blurb for it:

She will venture into the enemy’s lair to save the ones she loves.

Sierra is trying to come to terms with the discovery of her family’s dark secrets and master the elements when the Culpatus begins to abduct Guardians from London’s streets.

To find out what the Culpatus has planned and where they’re taking the Guardians, Sierra has to team up with Gavin and confront the reality that her heart still longs for him, even though she’s dating Cooper.

The mission to rescue the Guardians will test Sierra, Gavin, and Cooper like nothing has ever before and take them deep into the lair of the Culpatus.

Will they manage to free their people, or will they end up prisoners themselves?

Filled with plot-twists, secrets, and romance, Spirit Snatcher will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more!

And of course, the gorgeous cover:

Image result for spirit snatcher by margo ryerkerk

Spirit Snatcher was another excellent entry in the Ardere series! The book was exciting and entertaining right from the beginning. In Spirit Snatcher, we see Sierra continue to become a warrior as she works hard to master the elements. She learns everything so quickly, which I find somewhat surprising considering a few short months ago, she had no idea she was a supernatural! Then again, maybe because she is a Fluidus, everything comes easier to her.

One thing that made me kind of cringe a little was Sierra having to “choose” between Cooper and Gavin. While Cooper seems like the sweeter choice, Gavin seems like her destiny. I can’t fault her for being a little confused- and after all, she is only 18.

By the time the final battle was taking place, I couldn’t put this book down. There is one character in particular that managed to get away, and she is a horrible person that I hope eventually gets what is coming to her! I also felt very sorry for the Umbra, because the fact that the Ardere generally look down on them as a lesser species is unwarranted.

I’d like to mention something else I’ve noticed in this book, as well as the other books in this series: the descriptive language used is so beautiful! For instance: when Sierra was getting dressed up, she had on “titian eye shadow.” Titian means bright, golden auburn (I will admit I had to look it up to see what it meant).

I rate Spirit Snatcher 5 out of 5! Since I’ve read and reviewed this book, I’ve also read and reviewed the 4th book in the series, so I’ll be posting that at some point as well!

Book Review: Fluidus Rising by Margo Ryerkerk.

Happy New Year everyone! We made it to 2018. I’m thankful for that, because 2017 wasn’t exactly my favorite year and I was ready to start fresh!

Now, I know I predominately write about video games on this blog, and that’s always going to be my focus. As some of you may or may not know, I love to read as well, and I have a Goodreads account where I list a lot of the books I’ve read as well as a short blurb about why I did or didn’t like the book. Not really a review- I leave that to the experts. 😉

However, I was recently contacted on Goodreads by a super nice lady named Margo Ryerkerk who wanted to know if I would like to receive a copy of her book in exchange for a review! I know this happens to people quite often, but I was honored to be contacted because like I said, I typically don’t put reviews out. I really wanted to help her out, though, so I agreed to review her book and post it on a few sites as well as on my own blog! So here is my (unqualified) review! I’ll keep it short and sweet, and I’ll try not to reveal any spoilers!

Fluidus Rising by Margo Ryerkerk

The blurb for the book is as follows:

Magic. Romance. And a fight to the death.

The Secret Circle meets Sookie Stackhouse in this pulse-pounding, fast-paced YA fantasy read.

Torn away from her high school graduation, Sierra Reeves discovers that everything she thought she knew is a lie.

In a flash, she’s no longer a normal girl preparing for college, but a Fluidus—a rare supernatural with telekinetic powers. Her new abilities attract the attention of both the Ardere regency and the Culpatus, a group that wants to overthrow the supernatural government. Fearful for Sierra’s future, her grandmother decides to leave their home state Vermont and hide out in Savannah, Georgia.

In Savannah, Sierra forms an alliance with the overprotective and handsome Ardere marshal Gavin McLoughlin. With his help, she slowly accepts her new powers and that she’s a part of the supernatural community.

Just when Sierra begins to settle into her new life, her world is rocked again. In addition to the Culpatus discovering her location, a serial killer is on the loose in Savannah.

Fighting to control her developing power, and facing danger on multiple fronts, Sierra will have to use all her resources to stay alive.

This blurb caught my attention right away, because I enjoy reading about supernaturals, and this seemed like a fresh take on typical supernatural beings. The second item that caught my attention was the gorgeous cover:

Image result for fluidus rising

Something about this is so beautiful to me! The main character, Sierra, is featured on the cover. As I learned while reading this book, her confident pose and small smirk fit her personality very well- Sierra is definitely a girl who takes no shit!

Fluidus Rising jumps into the action right away. As the reader, you are immediately thrust into the world of Arderes at the same time as Sierra. Sierra grew up thinking she was a normal human girl instead of a powerful supernatural being. She knew nothing about different Ardere factions or what any of them could do. The reader is going on a journey with Sierra, learning as she learns. It’s a unique perspective that I haven’t seen very often in books I’ve read recently.

Pretty quickly into the story, Sierra discovers she is a Fluidus, which is the most rare form of Ardere. Fluidus have powerful telekinetic abilities, among other strengths. One quote about being a Fluidus really stood out to me:

“Most Fluidus don’t survive the awakening. Their bodies are unable to contain the power.”

Of course, such rare powers are highly sought after, so naturally anyone and everyone wants a piece of Sierra! Her grandmother goes to great lengths and makes great sacrifices to keep her safe, but Sierra really has to grow up fast and learn quickly. I almost felt sorry for her at times because so much was thrown at her at once!

Sierra is no weak damsel in distress, though. She has a balls-to-the-walls attitude and isn’t afraid to make decisions. There were a couple times she slightly frustrated me, as I felt that she was jumping in too quickly without fully thinking things through, but then I reminded myself: She is only 18. Her whole life has been turned upside down. She is a powerful supernatural being. She’s learning. 

I really, really loved this book. The writing was fast-paced, the story kept me interested, and (most of) the characters in the book were likable and relatable. Except for Louis, the ruler of the Southeast. Just… ick. In any case, I’m glad this is the first book in a series, because I can’t wait to see what happens to Sierra next!

I rate Fluidus Rising 5 out of 5. Thanks for reading my review!