A fantasy set in a world of rebellion and distrust, Amani is isolated as punishment for her rebel activity. Torn from the boy she loves, having angered her princess, Amani is unsure if she’ll survive another day. She’s surprised when the princess Maram asks her to stand in as proctor during her wedding ceremony to Amani’s love, Idris. This sets in motion a chain of events that gives Amani hope that she may have a future, her rebels could take back their planet, and she could be joined with the boy she loves. Court of Lions is the sequel to Mirage an epic fantasy that has hints of Middle Eastern flavor that colors this world in a vibrant brocade of texture and life.
After Amani’s political schemes almost cause her end in Mirage, we see a more subtle Amani in Court of Lions. When standing in as Maram, Amani developed relationships for her princess that Maram did not have the skills to do herself. At the same time she skillfully gave Maram courage to lead with strength and empathy, something her people hadn’t seen since being almost demolished by the conquering Vath. I liked the strength of these two characters. These were women who held power with empathy, not with threat. It was an interesting dichotomy as they were also preparing to go to war.
Once again, I felt the love story between Amani and Idris was underwhelming. She was such an interesting character and Idris? He was just a nice guy. More interestingly, In Court of Lions, Maram is given her own love interest in the mysterious Aghraas ( I hope I spelled that correctly!). Aghraas, another strong woman, this time in warrior form, brought out a softer side of the kind of haughty princess. I thought their relationship more interesting than Amani and Idris’ and looked forward to their scenes because they gave Maram the depth her character needed to finally shine.
Even though Court of Lions had some great characters, this world they lived in was even more fascinating. You can tell by the cover of this novel, but the author definitely gave this story an Arabian Nights flare with bejeweled clothing, bright colors, and the transport on horseback. I loved it. The contrast between a conquering people who were technologically advanced in spaceships and a people who got around via horseback was kind of cool. I tried not to get caught up in a thought of ‘could this really happen’ because that would’ve spoiled the mood. Instead I let the tea steep, laid back on my silken pillows and read this fun novel and, well, enjoyed the ride. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
I know, it’s so cliché to say this but wow, is it approaching August already? I feel like I just did this post for July. I haven’t even read all of those books yet. Oh well, let’s add to the TBR. LOL. Let’s get to it!
#5 MOST ANTICIPATED
Well, I always so there just aren’t enough gladiator novels out there to read, don’t I? I don’t? Well, I should! This book by the always fabulous Sara Raasch sounds fabulous! Why didn’t I know this one was coming out?
Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games, throwing Madoc in Ash’s path. She realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.
I read the first book in this series, Mirage, and found it to be a really interesting mix of fantasy and fairy tale. I can’t wait to see where Somaiya Daud takes this second novel.
On a planet on the brink of revolution, Amani has been forced into isolation. She’s been torn from the boy she loves and has given up contact with her fellow rebels to protect her family. In taking risks for the rebel cause, Amani may have lost Maram’s trust forever. But the princess is more complex than she seems, and now Amani is once more at her capricious nature. One wrong move could see her executed for high treason.
On the eve of Maram’s marriage to Idris comes an unexpected proposal: in exchange for taking her place in the festivities, Maram will keep Amani’s rebel associations a secret. Alone and desperate, Amani is thrust into the center of the court, navigating the dangerous factions on the princess’s behalf. But the court is not what she expects. As a risky plan grows in her mind, and with the rebels poised to make their stand, Amani begins to believe her world might have a future. But every choice she makes comes with a cost. Can Amani risk the ones she loves the most for a war she’s not sure she can win?
I admit, I’m a sucker for YA contemporary novels. This synopsis sounds like the perfect mix of romance and old hollywood glamour. I mean, what are we going to find out about her famous grandmother?
Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .
Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.
With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself.
Ummm, Hunger Games meets Caravale? Sounds kind of cool! I was lucky to get an ARC for this one.
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
Another Hidden Legacy novel continuing Catalina’s story. Ilona Andrews is always a must buy for me, and I’ve done that with this novel, the audiobook, and even got an ARC this last week! I’m feeling extreme amounts of joy about this one. Really!
As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.
The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.
I know we all have different tastes in books and seriously there are a TON of great books coming out in August if you haven’t take a look at the list. Here’s the link where I usually find mine.
Amani, our 16 year old heroine receives facial tattoo’s that tell a story about her family’s history as well as attributes of her personality. When some robot type soldiers scan her face and take her hostage, I was intrigued. OK, this is a Moorish/Sci-fi book. Interesting! When Amani finds out why she has been taken, because she has features close enough to be their princesses body double I thought hmmm again. I’m not sure how this is all going to fit together. Even though at times I stopped to hmmm at the plot, I did think Samaiya Daud crafted a really interesting world.
As I read further the interesting bits seemed to fade away until I felt like I was reading another Alwyn Hamilton novel though not as exciting. A young woman finds herself in unfortunate circumstances and rises above her situation to take a stand against the evil empire and fall in love. Don’t get me wrong, it was an enjoyable story! It just felt kind of familiar. What wasn’t familiar was the science fiction aspect of it and I really wish that the feeling was more sci-fi than Moroccan? It was that that made this novel original, although I suppose a mash-up of the two hasn’t been done before.
Amani was a nice solid heroine. Once she got past her circumstance she was determined to make a difference. I always like a heroine who doesn’t turn to mush when things get difficult. The Vathek is a conquering race who has subjugated the natives, slowly killing them off (sounds familiar to us Americans, doesn’t it?) and Amani wants to do her part to help stop them.
The evil Princess Maram, who’d had Amani kidnapped to be her stand in was the most interesting character. She was evil, anxious, and confused and her flaws made her interesting. As the story went on and we learned how sad her life was, she went from black and white 2D to full 3D technicolor. I wished that this book had been written from her POV instead of Amani’s.
Yes, there was also a love interest. Idris? Ilbis? I’ll be truthful, I couldn’t get Idris Elba out of my head and have smashed his name together in my head. Anyway, he was from one of the subjugated tribes, fated to be the sole survivor and marry the evil princess. Instead he hangs with her body double. You can guess what happens to that love triangle.
Did I love this book? No. Did I hate it? Definitely not! I just couldn’t get past some similarities to other novels I’d read and that kind of ruined it for me. If the pace had been a bit quicker, I might’ve enjoyed it a bit more. However, other readers have absolutely LOVED this novel. I say, read it and you be the judge!
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.