Title: Kingdom Of The Cursed Author: Kerri Maniscalco Series: Kingdom Of The Wicked, Book Two Genre: Young Adult Dark Fantasy Romance Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
One sister. Two sinful princes. Infinite deception with a side of revenge . . . Welcome to Hell.
After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.
She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria . . . even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.
The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world . . . or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?
Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves . . . (Amazon)
After Kingdom Of The Wicked, I devoured this book. Once again, this audiobook was narrated by the talented Marisa Calin. When Emilia bound herself to the devil in order to gain access to the Underworld to find the answers she needed about her sister’s killer, she is tested beyond anything she imagined.
Not only does she have to endure the test of sins to show her which vice matches closest with hers, but she has to endure those tests with Wrath as her escort. She feels betrayed, rightfully so. And she doesn’t know if she can trust anything she thought she knew about him.
But as the story unfolds, actions speak louder than words. And though Wrath isn’t exactly nice about some of the things he does to help Emilia, he does prepare her for what awaits her.
Given the ending of this book and Emilia’s ultimate decision, I CANNOT wait until the final book of this series is released to find out how this story ends.
One last thought: While this was a YA fantasy romance, there was actually a lot more steam and descriptions than I anticipated — but this wasn’t by any means a deterrent.
Title: Kingdom Of The Wicked Author: Kerri Maniscalco Series: Kingdom Of The Wicked, Book One Genre: Young Adult Dark Fantasy Romance Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself… And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost–even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked–princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems… (Amazon)
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Marisa Calin and I LOVED it!
I’ve seen a few bad reviews about Emilia not turning to her grandmother for help — but I understood why she didn’t do this.
Their entire lives, Emilia and Vittoria’s grandmother lied to them about their magic — especially the prophecy that they were part of. All they knew was not to trust the Wicked, demons that inhabited the Underworld. Most of all: NEVER trust a prince.
After being kept in the dark, Emilia feels like she can’t rely on her grandmother to help her or to be honest with her when it came to finding her sister’s killer.
This is why she summons the Underworld’s Prince of Wrath — because he represented the sin she most needed in her quest.
I liked how she was careful with her interactions while dealing with the Wicked, and that she didn’t rely on Wrath or any of his six other brothers (named for their sins) to help her. But, when she truly needed the help, even though she never asked for it, Wrath was there. And thus, their unlikely alliance began.
The narrator was fantastic and the story was awesome as well. As soon as I finished listening, I dove into Kingdom of the Cursed, needing to know what came next.
Title: Rogue, Prisoner, Princess Author: Morgan Rice Series: Of Crowns And Glory, Book Two Genre: Epic Fantasy Rating: ⭐️⭐️
Seventeen year old Ceres, a beautiful, poor girl from the Empire city of Delos, finds herself forced, by royal decree, to fight in the Stade, the brutal arena where warriors from all corners of the world come to kill each other. Pitted against ferocious opponents, her chances of survival are slim. Her only chance lies in drawing on her innermost powers, and making the transition, once and for all, from slave to warrior.
Eighteen year old Prince Thanos wakes on the isle of Haylon to discover he has been stabbed in the back by his own people, left for dead on the blood-soaked beach. Captured by the rebels, he must crawl his way back to life, find who tried to assassinate him, and seek his revenge.
Ceres and Thanos, a world apart, have not lost their love for each other; yet the Empire court teems with lies, betrayal and duplicity, and as jealous royals weave intricate lies, they each, in a tragic misunderstanding, are led to believe the other is dead. The choices they make will determine each other’s fate.
Will Ceres survive the Stade and become the warrior she was meant to be? Will Thanos heal and discover the secret being withheld from him? Will the two of them, forced apart, find each other again? (Amazon)
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wayne Farrell. After the events in book one and subsequent cliffhanger, I wanted to know what happened next. I spent a credit on Audible to listen to this book and I regret it.
Perhaps it was some of the characters’ inherent idiocy. But most of all, I spent the entirety of the book waiting for the reunion of Ceres and Prince Thanos. This never happened. Ceres didn’t even realize the prince was still alive.
The prince was all-in for Ceres and wanted to marry her, despite all the political issues, dangers, and duties. When he finally returns to his home, he accepts that Ceres was gone for good and his former dislike and distrust of Princess Stephania suddenly disappears and he decides it’s fine to both trust and love her. I thought the boy was smarter than that.
By the time the end came along, I was done. I could only imagine several more books of Thanos and his infuriating relationship with Stephania growing. Meanwhile, Ceres, with this inexplicable magical power, would continue to not know what to do with herself than fight blindly back against the crown.
Despite the talents of the narrator, this wasn’t enough to overcome the disappointment in the story. It’s not something I want to continue. However, I may try out a different series from Rice.
Title: A Breath Of Sunlight Author: Sydney Winward Series: Sunlight And Shadows, Book One Genre: Fantasy Romance Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
One prince. One Valkyrie. A kingdom to save.
Don’t show compassion for men. Never save a man’s life. And no matter what, never fall in love with someone you must ultimately kill. But some rules are meant to be broken, even if it means risking your life by betraying your valkyrie sisters.
The plan was simple—attack the Pits, kill the men, save the women. But when Skaja runs into a fae man she can’t kill, she instead breaks all the rules to save him.
Prince Calle was sold into slavery by his jealous brother, and he would do anything to taste freedom again, even put his trust in a dangerous valkyrie. To protect his people and gain the throne, he and Skaja must trust each other. But neither of them expected trust to turn into something more, and the cost of love has a much steeper price than either of them anticipated. (Amazon)
After joining a book group of fellow readers and writers on Twitter, this was February’s read and I was happy to dive in and read it. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I very much enjoyed the story, characters, and writing. Often, I found I wanted to slow down, because I didn’t want the world I was experiencing to end.
Calle and Skaja had such great chemistry, and I especially liked how blunt and witty Skaja was as a harpy Valkyrie. Despite being taught to hate and distrust men, she finds that Calle is nothing like the men she was taught about as she grew up.
I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series!
Title: Slave, Warrior, Queen Author: Morgan Rice Series: Of Crowns And Glory, Book One Genre: Epic Fantasy Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Seventeen year old Ceres, a beautiful, poor girl in the Empire city of Delos, lives the harsh and unforgiving life of a commoner. By day she delivers her father’s forged weapons to the palace training grounds, and by night she secretly trains with them, yearning to be a warrior in a land where girls are forbidden to fight. With her pending sale to slavehood, she is desperate.
Eighteen year old Prince Thanos despises everything his royal family stands for. He abhors their harsh treatment of the masses, especially the brutal competition – The Killings – that lies at the heart of the city. He yearns to break free from the restraints of his upbringing, yet he, a fine warrior, sees no way out.
When Ceres stuns the court with her hidden powers, she finds herself wrongfully imprisoned, doomed to an even worse life than she could imagine. Thanos, smitten, must choose if he will risk it all for her. Yet, thrust into a world of duplicity and deadly secrets, Ceres quickly learns there are those who rule, and those who are their pawns. And that sometimes, being chosen is the worst that can happen. (Amazon)
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wayne Farrell. I was in between books and found this at my library’s e-catalogue. Since it was a shorter book, I knew I could listen within a few days.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d even like it, but I was pleasantly surprised at the narrator’s talent for handling all the action and third-person perspective. It didn’t take long for me to get into the story — this is possibly due to the chemistry between Ceres and Prince Thanos. By the time the book ended, I was intrigued and wanted to know what happened next.