ARC REVIEW: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves – Meg Long

ARC provided by Wednesday Books.

Sled racing, a frozen planet, and wolves? I don’t believe there’s another book out there as perfectly tailored to my wants and needs as Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves. I’ve made it very clear in the past that if the title says “wolves” or “wolf” there is a one hundred percent chance of me reading it and this was no exception. I was so excited for a story about the bond between a wolf and girl, especially one that features sled racing (I mean, I named my husky Balto for crying out loud).

The worldbuilding is definitely the book’s strong point. The author did an amazing job creating a setting that was both believable and imaginative. The vivid descriptions easily bring to mind images of an inhospitable frozen planet and the feel of the sharp sting of cold winds on your face. It was so easy to feel transported into the story while reading. The entirety of the setting of Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves was detailed, well thought out, and excellently written.

I was truly expecting to love everything and anything about this book, but the pacing of the story needed some work. The actual sled race doesn’t happen until well past the halfway mark. The beginning half of the story spent way too long setting up for the events of the second half and I was getting frustrated. I felt like the same plot line was reused multiple times: Sena angers her boss, Sena runs away from her boss, Sena has to go back because she needs something–rinse and repeat until the race begins. My expectations of the story were hoping for a book that spent a majority of time following Sena and Iska during the sled race as they fought for survival in the deadly elements of their world.

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves is a debut that I still highly recommend, despite my personal shortcomings. The worldbuilding and atmosphere of the novel is phenomenally written and who can resist a book about the bond between a wolf and girl and a deadly sled race?

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

ARC REVIEW: Isn’t It Bromantic? – Lyssa Kay Adams ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Isn’t It Bromantic? (The Bromance Book Club #4)
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

Isn’t It Bromantic is the lastest in the Bromance Book Club series but it is by no means the least. Like many other fans of the series, I was super excited to learn that we would be getting a book featuring the Russian, Vlad. I was even more excited when I found out his story would be centered around a marriage of convenience and childhood friends-to-lovers romance. Lyssa Kay Adams definitely delivered the goods with this one!

In the first book, Vlad is written as the butt of most jokes and the comedic relief. I’m so happy that his character has fleshed out as the series continued and in Isn’t It Bromantic we really get to explore him, his personality, and his character growth. There is so much more to him under the surface and I’m glad readers are able to finally see it.

I love a good romance story and this book was filled to the brim with some of the best tropes. Childhood friends-to-lovers, marriage of convenience, forced proximity; it’s all here and written splendidly! I really enjoyed watching Vlad and Elena work through their problems and finally find the love between them. Vlad is so deserving of a good love story and a happy ending and I could not be more thrilled for how it all worked out!

Isn’t It Bromantic is a wonderful addition to an already fantastic series of books. I highly recommend these to any fan of rom-coms. I haven’t heard any word yet, but I hope there are more to come in the Bromance Book Club!

ARC REVIEW: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman
Author: Ava Reid
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by Harper Voyager through NetGalley.

The Wolf and the Woodsman has been one of my much anticipated releases for 2021 and I’m so thankful and excited to report it stood up to every expectation–and then some–that I had for it. A dark, woodsy adult fantasy filled to the brim with atmospheric writing, angsty enemies-to-lovers romance, and Jewish folklore.

My hand curls around the hilt of my knife. “Would you let me destroy you, then?”
“It would be just as well,” Gáspár says miserably. “I should be struck dead, for wanting you the way I do.”

The writing in this book is absolutely spectacular. This is Ava Reid’s debut novel and it is very obvious how talented of a writer she is. Vivid descriptions. flesh out characters, and faultless pacing come together to create the perfect story. Her words effortlessly conjure an atmospheric setting and easily captivate the reader’s attention.

“There is another world in which we might have stayed in the cradle of tree roots forever, our words rising in cold whispers but our hands and mouths warm.”

The enemies-to-lovers romance is the stuff of dreams. I could not have asked for the relationship between Évike and Gáspár to be written any better. The angst, the yearning, the tension; all of it was brilliantly constructed.

“What a foolish thing for a prince to do.”
A breath comes out of him. “You’ve made me a fool many times over.”

The Wolf and the Woodsman also focuses on important issues as well. The themes of oppression, ethnic cleansing, and genocide are explored throughout the book. The story borrows heavily from Jewish folklore and Hungarian history. I was compelled by Évike’s journey of survival and identity.

Given the title of the book (I’ll read anything that has the word “wolf” in the title) and the synopsis, there was no much convincing needed to add this to my TBR. The Wolf and the Woodsman bewitched me from beginning to end. The atmospheric setting, phenomenal writing, and angsty slow-burn romance provided a lethal combination that had me flying through the chapters. I highly recommend checking out this dark, woodsy adult fantasy and I look forward to more stories from Ava Reid in the future!

ARC REVIEW: Down Comes the Night – Allison Saft ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Down Comes the Night
Author: Allison Saft
Rating: ★★★

ARC provided by Wednesday Books through NetGalley.

My first disappointment of the year is unfortunately one of the books I had most been looking forward to reading. Down Comes the Night sounded promising with a synopsis indicating a darkly gothic story and an atmospheric fantasy. However other than the romance, many of the elements I had been hoping for were sadly missing.

The first issue I encountered was from early on there was lack of connection between myself and the book. The story wasn’t as captivating as I had been hoping. This was attributed to both the writing, which I found lacking, and my dislike of the main character. Wren acted childish and rashly at times, and there was a lack of critical thinking with some of her decisions which failed to endear her to me.

The romance was the book’s saving grace. I’m always a sucker for hate-to-romance and I thought the author did a really good job with this one. I found the romance to be really sweet and beautifully written. Another aspect of the book that I thought worked well was the ending. The ending was the perfect conclusion for a standalone novel: it wrapped the plot points nicely, while also giving a slight open-ending feeling.

Down Comes the Night promised a story full of gothic vibes, dark fantasy, and magic. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver on those promises which left me feeling disconnected to the story and disappointed.

ARC REVIEW: Lore – Alexandra Bracken ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: Lore
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Rating: ★★★★½

Thank you to Disney books for sending me an ARC!

Alexandra Bracken’s newest standalone fantasy has seriously impressed me. From the Greek mythology to the deadly competition giving off Hunger Games vibes to the dark urban fantasy setting, there was so much about Lore that thrilled me.

The premise almost sounded too good to be true, but the writing and execution of the plot were excellent. The way Greek mythology was woven into a modern world was so clever and impressive. I was hooked from the first few chapters and completely intrigued by both the world created and Lore, our protagonist. Lore was an absolute fantastic heroine. She was resourceful, spirited, and resilient. It was so easy to root for her as she worked towards saving those she loved while seeking revenge for her slain family.

The pacing was another aspect of the story that Alexandra Bracken nailed. This book is long, and when books are this length there are usually spots where the plot begins to slow down. However, I found no such issue here! The pacing was perfect throughout the novel, and just when you think it’s about to slow down, another element is thrown in to build the suspense again. My attention was easily held throughout the entire book and it made reading this that much more enjoyable.

Lore reminds me of a darker, more mature Percy Jackson perfect for fans of a good urban fantasy or stories featuring Greek mythology. I have nothing but praise for this book!