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Book Reviews

Book Review: Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Mental Health
Series: Bladesmith #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.

Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.

 

My Review: I liked Blade of Secrets, but not as much as I thought I would. The cover is gorgeous, I felt connected to its main character, and the plot was original. I liked the amusing banter, the beautiful sisterly love, cute-as-can-be romance, and the loads of action.

Ziva I could empathize with her social anxiety, which was authentically portrayed. People-ing is hard for some, easier for others. Ziva’s awkwardness, her inability to converse, and that her sister, Temra, often has to do the talking for her, tends to be misunderstood.

I liked Ziva’s magical abilities, how she imbues anything she makes with magic. Ziva stands out as unique among other overpowered MCs I know of. However, I’m unable to suspend my disbelief towards some of her naivety about the weapons she makes. She understands the impact the commissioned sword would have on the world in the wrong hands, but she still seems…surprised? I don’t know. I can’t help questioning her hopes/goal for past weapons made.

Fortunately, this does make for a suspenseful conflict with a seemingly low success rate. The threat level was significantly high throughout the book. The warlord, Kymora Avedin, is rich, powerful, well-known, and a superior fighter. How will Ziva and company succeed in keeping the sword from the warlord’s clutches? It’s a conundrum that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat.

Ziva and Temra’s sisterly bond is so strong. They have each other’s back and love deeply. Ziva is extremely protective of her little sister who is all she has left in the world. Everything Ziva does is for Temra. Their close bond was my favorite part of the book.

I am all for Ziva’s budding romance with Kellyn. There were just too many setbacks on Ziva’s end. I get why but I just wanted them to move forward. They belong together, I just know it!

Kellyn gets Ziva and her anxiety when no one else but her sister ever did. He’s kind, patient, but real. His backstory was really nice and I like what his presence does to the plot. His quips with Petrik, another charming member of the group, livened things up during super tense situations. Kellyn is very underrated by the other characters that I don’t blame him one bit for feeling annoyed and angry when all he’s been is fair and generous, keeping up his end of the deal as a hired sword.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. After a tough, hard-fought battle, I didn’t expect things to take another drastic turn. I guess it’s fine and leaves things on an emotional and uncertain high.

Blade of Secrets is full of surprises, secrets, betrayals, and revelations. Despite my misgivings, Ziva, Temra, Kellyn, and Petrik are an interesting squad whose story-line I want to see through. I want to read more of whatever Levenseller writes next.


More by Tricia Levenseller

Warrior of the Wild

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Bookish Memes Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 10/21/20

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

If the main character of a book is a blacksmith or a book involves blacksmiths, I am immediately interested, which is the case for Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller.

Levenseller is a great story telling so this book was an insta-add to my tbr. Also, like me, the MC has social anxiety. And the cover is so pretty and yellow bordering on gold and absolutely stunning! Definitely wall art worthy.

Blade of Secrets is set to be published May 4, 2021 from Feiwel Friends. May the 4th be with me as I eagerly wait for this book’s release.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made.

Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.

Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Categories
ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Ten Rules For Faking It goes on sale January 5, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUTWhat happens when your love life becomes the talk of the town?

As birthdays go, this year’s for radio producer Everly Dean hit rock-bottom.

Worse than the “tonsillectomy birthday.” Worse than the birthday her parents decided to split (the first time). But catching your boyfriend cheating on you with his assistant?

Even clichés sting.

But this is Everly’s year! She won’t let her anxiety hold her back. She’ll pitch her podcast idea to her boss.

There’s just one problem.

Her boss, Chris, is very cute. (Of course). Also, he’s extremely distant (which means he hates her, right? Or is that the anxiety talking)?

And, Stacey the DJ didn’t mute the mic during Everly’s rant about Simon the Snake (syn: Cheating Ex).

That’s three problems.

Suddenly, people are lining up to date her, Bachelorette-style, fans are voting (Reminder: never leave house again), and her interest in Chris might be a two-way street. It’s a lot for a woman who could gold medal in people-avoidance. She’s going to have to fake it ‘till she makes it to get through all of this.

Perhaps she’ll make a list: The Ten Rules for Faking It.

Because sometimes making the rules can find you happiness when you least expect it.

 

My Review: Ten Rules For Faking It is a light but sweet office contemporary romance I enjoyed reading more than I thought I would.

The book opens with a unique punch that is at first cliché but then makes you feel secondhand embarrassment for Everly. But I was hooked from then on hoping beyond hope that something good would come out of this for her.

I liked how the story suddenly becomes a smaller scale version of The Bachelorette. It’s an interesting turn of events in opposition to Everly’s “Ten Rules For Faking It” list to turn her life around. It was a well balanced internal and external conflict.

What I loved most about this book is the apt representation of social anxiety disorder. Anxiety – from what it looks like on the outside versus how it actually looks/feels on the inside – is translated so well through great writing. The author really understands intricacies and subtle nuances anxiety has on the mind and body.

Everly is an empowering character. There’s a lot to love about Everly once you get to know her, such as how she loves her job as a radio producer.  I related to Everly so much and understood from experience why she is the way she is. Nobody wants to feel anxious or afraid all the time. Nobody wants to be mentally exhausted after socializing. It’s hard to appear “normal” out of fear of being judged. And having anxiety isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Chris is a great character who’s been fighting demons of his own since childhood. I liked getting to know his character during the chapters in his POV. He has a wonderful, close relationship with his two older brothers, which was nice to see.

Ten Rules For Faking It is very much a character driven story where all the characters seem to have something about themselves to overcome. I was wholly invested and wanted to read more afterwards. There are two characters in particular I would love to read a story about.

It’s still a good, slow burn story that was told well. I would read more books by Sophie Sullivan. I think this story will help a lot of people who are indecisive about who they are and what they want from life.