Erotica, New Adult, New Adult Romance

Exodus (The Ravenhood #2): by Kate Stewart

Publish Date: July 31st, 2020
Number of Pages: 450 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Erotica

***Warning! This book contains spoilers from the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Flock – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

Until we meet again. Until we can feel the rain on both our faces. There has to be a time for us in the next life. I don’t want any part of a heaven where I don’t see you.

– Kate Stewart, “Exodus”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Can you live a lie?

It’s a ghost town, this place that haunts me, the one that made me.

It’s clear to me that I’ll never outgrow Triple Falls or outlive the time I spent here.

I can still feel them all, my boys of summer.

Even when I’d sensed the danger, I gave in.

I didn’t heed a single warning. I let my sickness, my love, both rule and ruin me. I played my part, eyes wide open, tempting fate until it delivered.

There was never going to be an escape.

All of us are to blame for what happened. All of us serving our own sentences. We were careless and reckless, thinking our youth made us indestructible, exempt from our sins, and it cost us all.

I’m done pretending I didn’t leave the largest part of me between these hills and valleys, between the sea of trees that hold my secrets.

It’s the reason I’m back. To make peace with my fate.

And if I can’t grieve enough to cure myself in my time here, I’ll remain sick. That will be my curse.

But it’s time to confess, to myself more so than any other, that I’d hindered my chances because of the way I was built, and because of the men who built me.

At this point, I just want to make peace with who I am, no matter what ending I get.

Because I can no longer live a lie.

~~~

dfgdfbh…

…That’s it.

That’s my review of this book.

No I’m totally kidding!

…But in all honesty, I have NEVER needed a cigarette more than after I read this book…or therapy. And lets be clear: I DON’T SMOKE CANCER STICKS, but after this book…… I get it now!

I couldn’t wrap my head around all that happens in this book and the emotions it all brought with it. I started reading these books to hopefully get over this reading slump I’m in, but little did I know I was going to put myself in an even WORSE book hangover after this book! Holy Moly….

The last time I remember feeling this whack after taking in some sort of media (movie, tv show, book, etc) was when I watched the infamous Tiger King documentary series on Netflix and couldn’t help but crazy laugh to myself at how crazy the story got and wonder what could possibly happen next and how things could possibly get worse, but they somehow do!

This book immediately picks up where “Flock” left off where Cecilia and us meet the big head honcho in charge of the operation: The Frenchman. Everything we thought we had figured out from the first book is completely out the window and everything has changed. Like you literally have no idea what to expect if you’re going off just the previous book. It’s so chaotic and mindboggling!

At this point it’s almost needless to say Cecilia’s (and YOUR) lives are flipped upside down.

Kate Stewart really surprised me with this one; the tone was a lot darker and instead of a seemingly normal new adult summer romance, this all of sudden turned into a dark mafia story…that’s all I’m going to say about that. Actually, I’m going to say just a little bit more because honestly, it’s hard to talk about this book without getting spoilery, so really I say go check out what I liked and disliked but beware of spoilers….

~~~

We love rainy days don’t we baby?

– Kate Stewart, “Exodus”

~~~

What I Liked:

  1. The Tone Got More Urgent & Dark! The tone in this sequel got a lot darker and things are moving at a much faster speed and overall just so much more is happening…so much so that it’s actually a lot to take in. More than I was honestly expecting. All of a sudden I’m reading a dark mafia romance and there’s worry of people getting shot! It was chaotic, but I liked it! I was definitely hooked!
  2. More Spice! Awwwwwww yeahhhhhh just what the dick-tor ordered! (I’ll see myself out for that one)
  3. The Story Goes So Deep and EVERYTHING is Connected! I was majorly impressed with how well Kate Stewart connected everything within the story and how literally ALL the characters had a specific role in how things played out. I love it when you discover that every character served a purpose like that, even if it doesn’t happen in present time within the book.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Weird How Dominic and Sean get Shafted…I liked Sean, and I was a sucker for Dom, but wow did I feel like they got the biggest brush-off in this book! The Frenchman, Tobias, swoops in and shakes things up even bigger than Rhysand did in A Court of Thorns and Roses, but luckily the two guys didn’t get reduced to being two Tamlins…still, I was hoping they’d play a bigger part in this book than what we actually got.
  2. That Death…It was definitely one of those scenes where I had to triple check I’d just read what I actually read…this reminded me of when I first read Finnick Odair’s death in Mockingjay and part of me was inwardly panicking as to what just happened and if it was somehow not true….but it was, and wow did it hurt right in the chest.
  3. I’m VERY Torn on Tobias…I’m just gonna start this one off and say that Tobias isn’t a good guy. And his relationship that develops with Cecilia is definitely toxic. I’m not sure if they’re actually meant to be, but damn does Kate Stewart write them to convince me that they are! Honestly, both of them are complete messes, but they certainly did have a unique kind of dynamic that I don’t see a whole lot of in books, so that was really refreshing! I loved the whole “hating you-to-loving you” dynamic with lots of spice. It was dark, but I was here for it. Tobias just was also a very unlikable character which is also interesting, and I was torn on whether I liked him or not. I both liked it and didn’t like it, but again, I did like how it kept me guessing on his motives and what his true feelings were. The romance genre is unfortunately a fairly predictable genre to read, so the fact that this book and this character were anything but did make me appreciate it more!

Conclusion:

Overall, I was not prepared for how much this book was going to sweep the rug out from underneath me! I was warned by my #bookstagram friends that it will tear me apart, to which I was cynical about, but I will say this book really took more out of me than I was expecting. I wasn’t a weeping ball of emotions on the floor, but I started these books to try and cure a reading slump I feel like I’ve been in this whole year, and little did I know that this one was going to put me into a whole other book hangover…But I can say I did really enjoy these and absolutely plowed through them like they were a fresh meal placed right in front of me and I hadn’t eaten in about a week!

It’s really hard to say “If you liked _________, then you’ll like these books too!” I can’t say I’ve ever read romance books quite like these before. I guess I should say if you’re not afraid of darker themes and the relationships somewhat–putting that mildly–toxic, and the characters VERY morally grey and not entirely likable, then this will be right up your alley! Good luck with therapy….

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult Romance

My Review: Glint (The Plated Prisoner #2): by Raven Kennedy

Publish Date: January 3rd, 2021
Number of Pages: 470 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers for the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!***

To see my review of book #1 – Gild – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

‘Sometimes,’ he murmurs, ‘things need first to be ruined in order to then be remade.’

– Raven Kennedy, “Glint”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

For ten years, I’ve lived in a gilded cage inside King Midas’s golden castle. But one night changed everything.

Now I’m here, a prisoner of Fourth Kingdom’s army, and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it out of this in one piece. They’re marching to battle, and I’m the bargaining chip that will either douse the fire or spark a war.

At the heart of my fear, my worry, there’s him—Commander Rip.

Known for his brutality on the battlefield, his viciousness is unsurpassed. But I know the truth about what he is.

Fae.

The betrayers. The murderers. The ones who nearly destroyed Orea, wiping out Seventh Kingdom in the process. Rip has power sizzling beneath this skin and glinting spikes down his spine. But his eyes—his eyes are the most compelling of all.

When he turns those black eyes on me, I feel captive for an entirely different reason.

I may be out of my cage, but I’m not free, not even close. In the game of kings and armies, I’m the gilded pawn. The question is, can I out maneuver them?

This is the captivating second book of The Plated Prisoner series. It’s an adult epic fantasy story blending romance, intrigue, and beautiful imagery. Return to the seductive story of magic inspired by the myth of King Midas, and get caught up in the world of Orea.

Please note: There is explicit language and romance in this book, not suitable for those under the age of 18.

~~~

Well folks, I can definitely say that Glint is a definite improvement from its predecessor for multiple reasons: the momentum of the story has really picked up from where you were last left off with the ending of book #1, the character development with Auren is finally happening, and there’s finally some hints to some actual romance and not some powdered over Stockholm syndrome-esque love that the character Auren believes is true…it’s something that is actually real—thank god…

The story picks up almost immediately with how Gild ended: Auren, along with the small chunk of Midas’s soldiers and the saddles, have been taken in by Commander Rip, general to King Ravinger’s army. They’re traveling across the land back to where Midas is also traveling to in order to make a trade or make some sort of deal while political intrigue is well under way outside of what you glimpse in the actual story.

Auren faces multiple journeys, one of course being physical with the army traveling across the frozen tundra of the land, the journey of gaining her sense of confidence and freedom, her slowly developing feelings for Commander Rip as he shows her respect and allows her to grow at her own pace and slowly reveals to her the manipulation that Midas had infected her mind with over the last decade she’s been the golden kings beloved.

While the stakes have been risen and more and more happens in terms of the conflict ascending, the pace of the story continues its rather slow pace which can make it a harder book to stay focused on! You just want more to happen, you want more answers, and for the love of god, you just want Auren and Commander Rip to tear each other to threads and bang each other’s brains out while they’re in the same tent together! The anticipation is truly what keeps you going.

Much like the last book, the last bit of Glint is where all the tension reaches its boiling point and the excitement finally makes its appearance! The final scene is that special moment where you could be like “Holy shit…..now this story is getting good!” The reveal was something I truly didn’t see coming, so the fact that the author continues to throw twists into her story that truly surprise me is also a nice treat to make me see why so many of my bookish friends keep recommending these books to me…

He shakes his head. ‘No, Auren. You’re the one that needs to burn. You need to spark to life and fight. Stop letting him dull you, stop letting the whole fucking world trample you,’ he shouts, making me flinch from the vehement demand. ‘If you tried, you could shine brighter than the fucking sun. Instead, you’ve chosen to sit back and wither.’

– Raven Kennedy, “Glint”

What I Liked:

  1. Auren Finally Sees The Truth! As Auren and the saddles are taken by Commander Rip and his army, she slowly starts to see how bad her situation with Midas truly was…like seriously, it’s like she’s woken up from a trance and finally see what a douche-canoe the king with the golden touch really is! That’s the other thing too: it’s not actually him with the power, and Auren realizes how much he needs her so much more than vice versa.
  2. Queen Malina Strikes Back! While Midas is away and the saddles are commandeered, Queen Malina is taking some action of her own! Obviously she despises her husband, King Midas, and hates what he’s done to her kingdom during his reign. She wants to take it back over while their land is vulnerable, and while she’s a detestable character, I could get behind her not just laying around and isn’t afraid to be the change.
  3. The Shocking Ending! Let’s just say when you meet King Ravinger finally face-to-face, you’re going to be shown something you definitely did not see coming, honestly the moment was when I whispered “holy shit” out loud to myself and seriously get excited about where these books were going!
  4. There’s More Romance! The sexual tension between Rip and Auren is so spectacularly done, it’s such a big improvement to finally see some actual romantic promise in this series because there was absolutely NOTHING romantic about King Midas and his relationship with Auren…Rip is ready for something to happen, but it’s still clear that Auren has a ways to go in terms of growth before anything happens there, but let’s definitely agree when I say that some seeds are planted!
  5. I’m Not Sure Who’s Really An Ally! The story by this point really branches off and becomes it’s own thing from the original tale of Midas and his power, and with that comes a more interesting and unpredictable story to keep you guessing as to what could possibly happen next! Like “Game of Thrones” more people in positions of power rise up and become major players on the chess board, more characters become involved and of course, more and more tension rises to make everything eventually come to even bigger blows when the big confrontation and battle inevitably takes place!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Pacing Is Still Very Slow…While there are some major high points in the story that really add some excitement and unpredictability in the story, it takes you a bit longer than you’d maybe like to admit….almost like a journey across a harsh and cold tundra in itself. Sorry if that seems mean, but with how character driven this story is, the pacing is definitely on the longer and slower and more methodical side.
  2. King Midas Is Still A Threat…King Midas in this story is actually worse than Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses series, like seriously, this dude doesn’t even try to hide how awful he is at this point…I thought the story was going to go a different direction and that Midas was going to be stopped by now, but he’s still very much at large and also very much trying to take over all the kingdoms. Part of me wishes he had some redeeming qualities in order to give him more depth as a villain, but so far I haven’t seen it.

Conclusion:

Overall, Glint by Raven Kennedy was a major step up from the previous book in The Plated Prisoner series! It was a little more of the same we saw in the first book, but enhanced and improved upon everything like the danger, the romance, and the surprises that the author comes up with to throw you off your tracks! Maybe some of you readers may catch them better than I did, but I was personally surprised at how the author snuck those past me…

The next book in this series is Gleam, and all my bookish friends who’ve read these books all say this one is the best; its like The Court of Mist and Fury of the popular series by Sarah J. Maas. I’m definitely going to read on with these books, because even though the pacing of this story is much slower than I’d like, I’m going to say it’s more on the slow but methodical path, because that final scene in the book really had me going “Oh shit….this is about to get good!”

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell