Review: To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Title: To Kill A Kingdom

Author: Alexandra Christo

Pub. Date: March 6th, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 384

Format: eGalley

*HUGE thanks to Macmillan, Netgalley, and Alexandra Christo for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion


DISCLAIMER: This review will contain much GUSHING & RAVING cause it is worthy of all that & much more!

As per usual, it takes me longer to find the words to adequately describe how I felt about a book when It falls into the category of GAHHH! This was EPIC & everyone will love it & this beautiful jewel of a book needs to be framed on my wall! I had the pleasure of reading To Kill a Kingdom with a group of 4 other bookworms (will be listed at the end of review) & besides this being my first group buddy read, what marks this one as very special was that EVERY single one of the readers LOVED this book to pieces!

We’re introduced to our MC Lira the Siren daughter to the Queen of the Sea while she and her cousin scout out a Prince for the killing. Lira prides herself to be known as the ‘Prince’s Bane’  a reputation she’s worked hard to earn by ripping out the hearts of many Princes. This time however, she was to only oversee her cousin Khalia who was to kill & take her 15th heart. Lira broke tradition by killing & stealing a heart for herself bringing her count to 18 hearts. As heir to the Sea Queen’s throne, she has a limit of 60 hearts she can kill and steal before she must give up the crown. This angered her mother the Sea Queen who handed down her punishment, one aimed at humiliating her as well as cause her pain. When Lira veers from her mothers orders as part of her punishment, the Sea Queen strips her of everything that makes her a Siren and leaves her in human form. Of all the things Lira despises, humans are at the very top of the list. She no longer has her siren song and therefore can’t lure anyone in. The Sea Queen has given her until the Winter Solstice to kill Prince Elian of Midas known as ‘The Siren Hunter’ …

Prince Elian aka The Pirate Prince or The Siren Hunter is on a self assigned mission to eliminate the Sirens as a threat. Aboard The Saad he is loved by his crew for his down to earth humble nature. To the crew he isn’t a Prince, he’s their captain and one of them. Traveling the high seas they hunt sirens, specifically The Prince’s Bane. Elian believes if he can get the Siren Queen’s daughter, he can get to the Siren Queen herself and put an end to all of the killings.

Lira- Our MC isn’t supposed to be someone you end up loving…she’s a cold blooded killer who relishes collecting hearts under her bed. Yet I can’t recall ever loving a villain more than Lira. She’s been raised to kill by her mother the Sea Queen who is by all means Ursula on steroids lol. Love is a foreign word. Humans are disgusting & weak. The hunt for royal blood is what she’s known for. Christo created Lira’s character & gave her so much depth & development, seeing her whole outlook evolve was one of the BEST things about this book. Lira has a toxic abusive relationship with her mother. Many times her mother will lash out verbally & physically yet Lira aims to please the Sea Queen…she seeks out her approval but above all she wants to be seen as a worthy heir to the Sea Queen’s throne. Now, the scenes between Lira and Elian were truly enjoyable to read! the witty banter between these two made me laugh out loud & shake my head with a smile from ear to ear Haha! this is a hate to love that will leave you at the edge of your seat shipping these two for days! 😉

Elian-Many have compared him to Nikolai Lantsov & I can definitely see these two getting along just fine! Elian knows he isn’t suited for the throne, court life just isn’t for him and he’d much rather let his little sister take the crown when the time comes. Travel and freedom is in his blood and if it wasn’t hunting Sirens to protect the kingdoms, he’d still opt for the sails. Elian’s fierce loyalty to his crew keeps him from instantly falling for Lira & I admired how he put them above everything. The fact that he could keep up with Lira’s sharp wit made him instantly a fave in my book.

The Sea Queen- I may have feared Ursula as a child but that never kept me away from watching The Little Mermaid over & over again. There was something about the villainous Queen that command respect & when we meet the Sea Queen it’s really no different. Christo gave us a vivid description of her tentacles & ruby red eyes that will freeze the blood running through your veins with fear whilst reading. The scenes with the Sea Queen were tough because of how abusive she is towards Lira, it’s not your average mother/daughter relationship & she won’t hesitate to kill her daughter if need be. The Sea Queen knows her time on the throne is quickly coming to an end & she’s not going out without a fight.

Honorable Mentions: Khalia aka Lira’s cousin, this side character is the definition of Ride or Die! she’s the one I’d want in my corner facing any opponent. Khalia took some hits from the Sea Queen to protect Lira & this is why Lira feels protective over her. Lira may not know what love is but Khalia comes close to what can defined as a loved one for her. The Saad Crew also goes hard for their Captain & Elian is very lucky to have a newfound group of people he can call family when he’s away from home. I love this above everything being that I am someone who has had to make family from friends, sometimes these bonds run deeper than blood.

 I can go on for days about the writing & world building in TKAK and never tire! In the buddy read I participated in, it was mentioned that the battle scenes were so vivid they are practically made for the screen & couldn’t have agreed more with that statement. This story played out seamlessly in my mind & was a real treat & feast for my imagination. Filled with complex multi-faceted characters, there really was no hero to this story. In fact this book made me think a whole lot of the age old debate on nature vs. nurture…and I loved reading Lira’s stream of consciousness as she asked herself what if she’d been raised to love & not to kill. Could she ever be a different kind of ruler? could she ever love someone? Or is killing a part of who she is? These characters were so well fleshed out that it would be impossible to forget them. I was pleasantly surprised to see Christo weave in the King Midas mythology when creating the City Of Gold Prince Elian and his family rule over. Again, vivid imagery when it came to the kingdoms amplified my reading experience and left me enamored with this world as a whole. It’s safe to say I will be reading EVERYTHING Alexandra Christo writes! be it short stories, Novellas, full length novels! encyclopedias! the backs of cereal boxes YOU NAME IT! To Kill a Kingdom hits shelves tomorrow March 6th & this is one you won’t want to miss 😉

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a FAB weekend, I was able to get a lot of reading in thanks to my wonderful hubby which means I was in BOOKWORM HEAVEN! HAHA!  To Kill a Kingdom was a buddy read with some awesome bookworms…Melanie @Meltotheany, Destiny@HowlingLibraries, Jules @ Ja Ironside, and Wren @FablesandWren they made my first group buddy read such a wonderful experience, thank you <‘s! 


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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1): Spoiler Free Review Feat. Gretchen @ChicNerdReads

Title: The Cruel prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

Author: Holly Black

Pub. Date: January 2nd, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Format: Physical ARC

Content warning: Suicide and Graphic Violence

Buddy Read: w/my Twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads (Q & A at the end of this review)

*Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Holly Black for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly

Where to begin?….well maybe with the fact that up until now I hadn’t come across a fae character that I liked in any of the books that I’ve read. This all has changed of course now that I’ve read this magnificently twisted book by Holly Black. I get it now! I get why you all call her the Queen of the Fae! The Cruel Prince was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed & now I simply cannot get enough of this world.

The opening scene is one of the most cold blooded I’ve ever read, we meet our MC Jude in her home with her two sisters Taryn & Vivi. A knock on the door brings a stranger into their home changing the course of their lives. Jude’s sister Vivi is half Fae & her father Madoc has come to take her back to Elfhame, the home her mother took her away from when she left him. Murdering both their parents, Madoc is now responsible for his daughter Vivi and her two human siblings. We fast forward 10 years from the date he stole them away to find them all grown up into teenagers with very different personalities and feelings towards their new home & Madoc himself. Elfhame is no easy place to live in especially if you’re a human which is why our MC Jude has given it her all to try & fit in by earning a place in the royal guard. Always having to look over her shoulder, Jude knows the fae world is a treacherous place to live in & the only way to survive is to always be ten steps ahead.

Our antagonists are Prince Cardan and his fae friends who look down on all humans which make Jude & Taryn easy targets. For the most part, the bullying is directed towards Jude for wanting to be in the royal guard so badly that she is actively competing in the tournament. Taryn on the other hand tries to lay low & encourages a non-yielding Jude to do the same. Jude however, is not the type to stay down for long & pushes back each & every single time. She manages to capture the attention of Prince Dain who is rumored to be chosen by the king as heir to the throne. Dain offers her a position with his royal spies & Jude begins to unravel court secrets one by one. She soon realizes that nothing is at it seems & the kingdom of Elfhame is in danger. The Cruel Prince is filled with political intrigue, ruthless double-crossings, and tons of twists & turns that will leave you second guessing all of your theories. If you enjoy watching pieces on a Chess board move Game of Thrones Style, then chances are you’re going to LOVE this book!

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It’s rare that I end up loving the MC of a Fantasy so hardcore & yet even more impossible…that I end up loving the MC as much as the antagonist haha! I’m still not sure that any of the characters in this book can be described as wholly good or bad, they’re all so complex & deeply layered. Starting with our MC Jude who can be seen as a outcast & a bit of a anti-hero, she is going to put the kingdom and its people above all else. Jude was unpredictable & resilient to the very end, very much a product of her environment. Her twin sister Taryn who is also human has a very different mindset although ultimately she’d also like to just fit in. Unlike Jude, Taryn has no interest in training for battle & instead plans to marry a fae of the royal court. We find these two siblings at odds throughout the book as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a strange land that doesn’t want them.

Madoc is also an interesting character, described as blood lustful and a winner of wars. He also is the person who murdered their parents & then gave them a new home with everything they could’ve possibly ever wanted/needed. Each of the girls has a difficult relationship with Madoc who is the only father figure they’ve known since the age of 7. Vivi who is his legitimate daughter by blood has never accepted Madoc or Elfhame. We see her often steal away in the human world where she hides her true identity. Vivi has held onto a lot of her anger & resentment towards Madoc & we see her rebel against him at every turn.

Prince Carden & his crew of friends who go out of their way to make Jude’s life all the more difficult, are just as complex as our three siblings. There’s definitely a lot more underneath the malice & I ended up really enjoying this character’s development.

There are plenty more characters in this book the I truly enjoyed, the cast is large & I could talk about each one for days but then that would take the fun away from meeting them for yourselves. Besides the main characters and group of antagonists we also have another set of players in the background who are just as crucial to the story. When we first start this story, it’s on the heels of a coronation where the King would choose his heir. You can bet on there being tons of moves being made between his heirs for the highly coveted seat. With so many players on the board I found myself HOOKED! with many theories that ultimately didn’t even come close to the final play for the throne 😉

 Never have I ever entered a Fantasy world & felt the need to watch my own back! Such was the case with this book & I can’t even begin to explain just how deeply fleshed out this story, it’s characters, and world really are. The plot alone is FLAWLESS!!! well executed & guaranteed to leave you holding your theories with a big Oh So You Thought That’s What’s Happening Here? HA! Think Again! I am in awe of how Black brought all the pieces together, she thought of its all! past, present, and future. As if that weren’t enough, the characters were morally gray & really hard to turn away from. There isn’t a heroine in this Fantasy, this isn’t that type of book & I found this to be ingenious! EVERYONE is effed up at some point or another & EVERYONE is flawed. The world building is A+ bookworms! yet again in awe of how Holly Black managed to give us so much in under 400 pgs. Elfhame comes to life with its many different races of fae, their customs, food to tempt any human, and a high court filled dangerous characters. I couldn’t get enough & every time I opened this book, I found myself sucked into the land of the fae very easily. I didn’t see the ending coming and had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the very end. The good news is that Black leaves us with an amazing epilogue to hold us over & I’m going to need the sequel like yesterday! *sobs* It’s not too early to place this book on my Top 2018 reads,   already have. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do not hesitate! the hype is well deserved with this one & I just know you won’t regret it 😉

 It’s been a while since my BFF & I buddy read a book so when she suggested it I wasn’t going to say no! LOL. I cleared all of my planned TBR books because buddy reads with my twin are always fun & I knew this would be no different. I’m so glad it was a book we both really enjoyed & are now totally OBSESSED with! Check out her full spoiler free review here!

When I asked Gretchen how her experience reading Holly Black for the first time went, she immediately gushed on how AMAZING It was! “I loved the world building, characters, and how they took me by surprise. I loved how dark the characters were because the match my soul!” *she LOL’d when she said this* Gretchen LOVED Carden who plays the antagonist, she admits not liking him at first but then realized he had reasons for being the way he is.

The world building as I mentioned in my review, is one of my favorite aspects of this book. Although this was my first Holly Black, it isn’t my first book with Fae & I found myself wondering why this time I ended up LOVING them so much. I asked Gretchen, compared to other Fae books she’s read, what made the world of Elfhame in The Cruel prince stand out? “The many different races of not just Fae, the inclusion of termites, Goblins, and pixies”…we both agreed that this book had so much detail in the best of ways & we soaked it all up.

The main characters in this book also battled internally with whether they were given a choice, would they stay in Elfhame or return to the human world. Vivi who is the Fae sibling, hasn’t accepted Madoc as her father or her new home. She can be seen often sneaking away to the human world & clinging on to human things. We also see Jude struggle with the desire to be one of the Fae. I asked Gretchen if she were give the choice would she live in the human world as a Fae? or would she continue to live in the Fae world as a human? I’d prefer to be a Fae living in the the human world, living undercover with modifications to keep people from finding out my true identity”…for those that are wondering, it’s totally possible with the help of some contacts & our wonderful author herself has surgically re-shaped her ears to those of the fae 😉

Lastly, I asked Gretchen whether she plans on picking up any of Holly Black’s other books that have already been published & she said ABSOLUTELY! Gretchen is interested in reading Tithe 🙂

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, possibly even a snow day for some like myself *fingers crossed* Sound off in the comments if you plan on reading The Cruel Prince? & if you’ve already devoured it like we did, how was it for you?


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WWW Wednesday 11/22/17

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

I am 75% into BOEC & OBSESSED with the writing style! perfect for this time of year, I’m so glad I picked it up the week before the holidays because whenever I am reading it, I get sucked into the strange & atmospheric world Lang has created. Told in multiple POV’s we follow several characters that have crossed paths with our MC Wylen who is a boy/man wrapped in mystery & magic. Tons of nature, animals, and stars this is one I’ll hold near & dear to my heart. Oh & our MC has a special connection with animals but that’s all I’ll say cuz I’m trying to be mysterious LOL!

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

This was not on my November TBR but the mood hit for a darker read & I went with it. I am buddy reading this collection of short stories with Melanie over at Meltotheany who is pretty awesome & I highly recommend visiting /following for EPIC reviews, tags, & awesome Bookish posts. Mel suggested we do one story each night starting this week which I’ve never done & found it would be easier to juggle with my other book. Well! I may just read all my short story collections his way! THANKS Mel! the first story The Husband Stitch is still haunting me. Fantastic writing & imagery, this collection blends many genres into its stories about the violence on women’s bodies.

The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Earlier this week I finished reading this book & posted my review on Monday (here). I haven’t come across another book to tackle socioeconomic diversity in YA since reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas & so I was happy to have been approved for a galley on Edelweiss.  Our MC is well fleshed out & his character growth is the strongest part of this book. There are trigger warnings for Violence, Alcoholism, and Racism. I gave this book 4 stars for all of the hard issues it tackled & handled well, I only wish some of the supporting characters were a bit more fleshed out.

Artemis by Andy Weir

I finished this book this past weekend & sadly it wasn’t the hit I so badly wanted it to be. I rated it 3 stars because I really enjoyed the MC Jazz Bashara to an extent lol. My main issue with this book can be summed up to 2 things: 1) the awkward sexual dialogue that didn’t come off as natural…I love a sarcastic MC Female or Male & sexual jokes don’t really bug me but it was almost overkill. 2) the overly descriptive ramblings on the science of welding -_- I just couldn’t do it bookworms! sometimes pages long before returning to the main story line, I struggled getting through these parts. Also, there is one other thing that did get a deep frown from me but I am saving that for my review. I have a feeling this was missed by many other reviewers but after bouncing it off others, I can safely say that it’s not just me. I’d like to promise my review will go up this Friday but well you know, Holidays & stuff so we shall see 🙂

Ok, so out of the 8 books I posted on my November TBR I have completed 4 & will finish the 5th book tonight. I will be reading Her body and Other Parties along with my next main book which I’ve decided will be…

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather

I’ve been enjoying the darker reads lately & this one I’ve heard delivers on that end. I’m looking forward to returning to Mather’s atmospheric writing & the TITANIC! 🙂

What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, sound off in the comments down below! & to those who celebrate the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!❤ ❤ ❤


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Spoilery Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdomCrooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo 

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Publication Date: September 27th 2016

Format: Hardcover

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 536 pgs

Rating: ★★★★ (3.75)




Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

Crooked Kingdom is the 2nd installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows Duology, the conclusion we’ve all been waiting for following the huge success of Six Of Crows. This time around I participated in a buddy read with some awesome bloggers you all have probably seen around. If not allow me to introduce to you the Bookish Dregs starting with Jill @Rantandraveaboutbooks who came up with the name for our little group, Melissa @Booknerdmomo and Megan @BookSlayerReads. Now, we all went into Crooked Kingdom with high expectations since Six Of Crows absolutely delivered on Plot, Characters, Writing, and last but not least Pacing. I think it’s safe to say by now lol, that the ladies (including myself) struggled with the pacing and plot this time around. I’m the type of reader who loves character driven stories so this actually worked in my favor & I finished Crooked Kingdom sometime last week. The Bookish Dregs have not given up on this book but they are taking some time off from it.


Unlike many other readers, my wait for Crooked Kingdom was a very brief one…1 hour to be exact lol. I finished Six Of Crows on a train ride to the Leigh Bardugo book signing for Crooked Kingdom & was legit riding a high off the book when I finally met her in person. I was looking forward to bringing home this beautiful book with red deckled edges and having it sit next to its counterpart Six Of Crows with its black deckled edges. The story picks up after Inej’s kidnapping with the crew planning her rescue. Without Inej, Kaz is much more darker than usual & much more harsh to those around him. I must confess, I wasn’t a fan of this side of Kaz and was really hoping that Inej was rescued sooner rather than later cuz DAMN! the man can brood. We get to see the crew doing what they do best, carrying out the crazy schemes Kaz comes up with. We also get to see Inej in captivity where Van Eck is attempting to break her down mentally. If you’ve read Six Of Crows (hope you have if you’re reading this review lol), you know that Kaz & Inej have unspoken feelings for each other. This weighed heavy on Inej’s mind who knows Kaz Brekker a bit better than anyone. She questions whether he will chuck her off as a loss since he is driven by money & power OR whether he and the team will come to her rescue. Here is where character development comes into play, we get to learn about Inej’s time as an indentured sex slave and its after effects. As a matter of fact, this is a multiple POV story each chapter told by one of the 6 Dregs and they all seem to be reaching into their pasts to tell you their stories and how they came to cross paths with Kaz Brekker. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each of these characters but agree that it made up the majority of this book which took a toll on the pacing & most importantly the plot.


Leigh Bardugo once again made these characters come to life & gave them so much depth & complexities that I honestly think i’ll have a hard time coming across another cast of characters I’ll love as much as them. That being said, I felt that she wanted to gives us the readers/fanbase, as much of them as possible since this is the 2nd book in a duology. In doing so, the pacing of the book is dramatically slowed down because we are spending quite a bit of time in each characters mind. The plot itself didn’t really kick into high gear until past the halfway point. If i’m being completely honest (My Dark Queen YOU know I LOVE you So LOL!) this book could’ve easily been split into two seeing as there were technically 2 jobs/heists. We have the plot & rescue of IneJ and then we have the take down of Van Eck. If you’ve read Crooked Kingdom, you know that taking Van Eck down was really a two attempt job since the unthinkable happened to our fave bad boy Kaz. Splitting  this book up some time after the 1st failed attempt would’ve ended in a cliff hanger BUT the 3rd & final installment would have us all wondering what state of mind they are all in & what if anything do they do now that they’ve met their match & have been outsmarted. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with the journey, characters, and world Leigh gifted us and I will miss the crew more than I can express. I do wish Matthias Helvar had made it to the very end, I really loved that Fjerdan lol. I did find that the way he was taken out was super ironic considering his change of heart towards Grisha & how the world views them. There’s something magical that happens to a reader when they connect with a character, but to come across a crew of 6 that you’ve come to know & love dearly is as rare as finding all 7 Horcruxes 😉


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