Crush the King by Jennifer Estep
Crown of Shards #3
March 17, 2020 by Harper Voyager
I had started this journey as a gladiator, and I was going to finish it as one.
The finale to the Crown of Shards series was exactly what I hoped it would be. What began as a young, seemingly insignificant, woman witnessing the annihilation of her entire family line ends with a queen avenging their deaths and crushing her enemies. At her side are her friends, family, and consort all ready to support her and do what is necessary to protect her as she sees her plan to its bloody end.
It all takes place at the Regalia Games and we finally get to see more gladiators fighting in the arena. But more importantly, readers will meet the rest of the kings and queens in this world. Maximus makes an appearance and he is just as terrible as we all imagined, maybe more so. Evie hopes to make more alliances against him and now is her chance, but her ultimate goal is to defeat Maximus and end his vicious, cruel reign.
As with any Estep heroine, Evie shines from the moment she first strolls onto the page right up until she bids her kingdom good night after achieving her goals. She’s crafty and strong, willing to do whatever she must to see her mission through and her people are safe and secure, even if it means her life. She’s ruthless when she has to be, but she still shows empathy and kindness.
To my romance peeps, Sullivan and his romance with Evie does take a backseat to the main plot arc. There are touching scenes between the two, but as their relationship was solidified in the last installment I was okay with the small step back on the romance front.
In the end this was a well done fantasy and a great end to the series. I highly recommend this series to fans of the genre.
Final grade- B+
The Earl Not Taken by A.S. Fenichel
The Wallflower of West Lane #1
March 17, 2020 by Kensington Publishing
I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The cover is so pretty and the blurb reads like a historical romance I would normally enjoy.
Left standing on the side while their contemporaries marry into society, four young ladies forge a bond to guard each other from a similar fate . . .
Finishing school failed to make a proper lady of Penelope Arrington. But as a Wallflower of West Lane, Poppy has a far more vital role—she and her three best friends have made a pact to protect each other from the clutches of dangerous, disreputable men. So when one of them is about to be married off to a duke sight unseen, Poppy makes it her mission to divine the prospective husband’s true character. If only she didn’t require the aid of London’s most unsuitable rake.
Rhys Draper, Earl of Marsden, has known the headstrong Poppy since she was a young girl naïve to the ways of men. To her eternal chagrin—and to his vague amusement—they have been at odds over the memory of embarrassing first encounter all these years. Now, with his services in need, Rhys sees a chance to finally clear the air between them. Instead, he is surprised by the heat of their feelings. If the two do not tread carefully, they may end up in a most agreeably compromising position . . .
But I didn’t. I had a thought in the prologue this book might not be for me and it only got worse the further I read. Stilted dialogue, lots of telling not showing, annoyances I had with the heroine and her behavior, and then when after a while I was irritated with the constant references to the four close friends/current and future heroines referring to themselves as ‘The Wallflowers’ or ‘The Wallflowers of West End’ I knew I had to set this book aside.