Tag Archives: Jennifer Estep

Book Review: Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep

Harper Voyager
TBP: July 2nd, 2019
488 Pages

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…- Goodreads

If you haven’t read Kill the Queen or my review, you need to check it out now. Because there will be a slight spoiler in this review.

At the bottom line, this was a fantastic read from beginning to end. Evie kicks ass and makes sure that everyone knows about it. Although she internally feels like she may not be cut out for the job, she does what is best for the kingdom and for those that she loves.

Evie goes through a lot of emotional turmoil because at the same time she is trying to protect her kingdom and her loved ones, people are actively trying to kill her. What I loved is how the book is broken up into assassination attempts, so you know the attempts only gets progressively worst as the book goes on. And they are good; each more emotionally damaging and intense than the other.

So here is the spoiler, if you read the first book then you would know about Sullivan (Sully) and his complicated relationship with Evie. Here is what chocked me up about this relationship. Evie is all for it. But just like in the first book Sully turns her down and then proceeds to turn her down til about 70% of the book. But here is what sums up the turn about.

Sully: I don’t want you.

Eve: But we can be together. I want you.

Sully: No, we cannot.

Sully: Seriously stop looking at me like that because we can’t.

Eve: Makes an agreement for her country that may mean her marrying someone


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That literally is what happens. And I laughed so hard because that was his reaction. It was hilarious. Beyond this, I actually really adored their relationship and was rooting for them all the way.

I loved this book but let’s say what it is. There was predictability. But it was one of those cases where I wasn’t sure if the author was going that route because it was left open to different things. Although she choose the obvious route, I didn’t have an exact problem with this. I didn’t because the writing was fantastic. I was still sitting on the edge of my bed reading this book.

Actually I stayed up until a littler before 2 a.m. to finish this read.

Overall, for a second book to a series, this was way better than expected. The intensity was there, the emotional investment was there, the character development was there and most importantly a powerful woman reminding everyone how truly powerful she is was there.

Too bad book three doesn’t come out until 2020 *sigh*

5 Pickles



Book Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

Harper Voyager
October 2nd, 2018
480 Pages

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.- Goodreads

Jumping right into this, I didn’t think I would like this book. For the first 4 chapters, I wasn’t into it. I was having a hard time figuring out how gladiator connected with Evie’s story. But not too long after I mentally said, this isn’t going to work, everything started to work.

Such a great read. What pleased me the most about this book was Evie is a grown woman. 28 years old and not some 17 year old girl trying to get by and have a better life. I loved the fact that this was centered around an adult. But most importantly, I loved Evie.

She was such a likable character; sassy, strong, knowledgeable and not whinny. She did what she had to do to not only to survive but to help those as she can. She was honest with herself and with those, as need be.

Man, she was great and I rooted for her throughout the entire book.

Let’s talk about the gladiator aspect of this book. The author made this an important part of the book but it wasn’t exactly the center. What I mean by this is Evie didn’t jump in being a fighter, therefore, it wasn’t always about blood, swords and fight. This was more of a behind the scenes with fighting that transitions into something more. It was well done and the fighting scenes came you exactly what you want and expect when you think of gladiator. The only thing missing was someone shouting “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”

Another high point of this book was the romance and the lack thereof. It was great to not have to see two people trying to save the world but also trying to fall in love. Evie knows what she wants; especially after being denied so many things after so many years. However, with this been said, I do suspect that the author will add romance within the next novel. It would honestly make sense after some things not happen.

Once I got through my reading hump in the beginning of the book, I couldn’t put it down and didn’t. I was kept at the edge of my seat as Evie kept growing and kicking butt. Were there twists and turns? After the explosion, not really but that is perfectly okay because you don’t leave this book wanting any other than the second book. I was sucked into this story; between the surrounding characters, the fighting and just genuinely good writing I throughly enjoyed myself.

As much as I love history, this is one of this rare cases, I am glad the author did not spend a lot of time dipping into the past.


4 Pickles

Book Review: Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3) by Jennifer Estep

Kensington To Be Published April 26, 2016 368 Pages
To Be Published April 26, 2016
368 Pages

Lila wants Victor Draconi, the man that killed her mother and wants to destroy every Sinclair, dead. And although being a thief has helped her thus far, killing the most dangerous man in her world will be a lot harder than smart talking Lila may be able to handle.

This series is one of those series magic lovers should read.  If you haven’t read the series, check out my review for book one here and then check out book two.

I am actually glad this book has ended but not in the ‘Oh thank goodness it is done’ but in the what spin off is the author going to do. I thought this was a well written and entertaining final book but I did have my issues.

My issue was Lila. She was annoying and it felt like she was trying to hard. Not the author, which is weird because the author is the one that wrote Lila but still. Lila was trying to keep that hard ass girl with a soft heart routine too much and throughout the story it just got too much to not roll my eyes at.

The thing about this book is a lot happens really fast to the point where you are scratching your head wondering where the story is going? Estep didn’t disappoint but despite the fast moving/constant issues, the book in a whole was a slow read. At one point I felt the author was doing too much; not that the book was complicated, because it wasn’t, but there was so much going on that kept making Lila the end all be all and it was unbelievable, I guess. It felt like a stretch.

I do wish there was more mythology in this book and the series overall.

What I did like about this book was the surrounding characters, even though they proved to be weak. *Kanye Shrug* I loved the plot, although I wish this was more of group effort and not a one woman show. I also loved the fact that the romance didn’t take over the story and ruin the lives of the characters.

Despite it all this was a good series and I recommend it. I also hope there is a spin-off . . . it feels like there will be a spin-off.

3 Pickles



NetGalley Review: Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2) by Jennifer Estep

Kensington To Be Published Oct. 27, 2015 368 Pages
Kensington Books
To Be Published Oct. 27, 2015
368 Pages

If you haven’t read the first book or need a refresher check out my review here.

Lila is a thief but standing to the shadows becomes an impossible task when the Sinclair family make their new guard (Lila) compete in the Tournament of Blades. 

Now Lila is up against Devon and others she care about while also trying to figure out the plot mobster Victor Draconi is creating to take down the Sinclair family. 

Is he the one killing murdering monsters around Cloudburst Falls or is it someone more sinister?

Book two was way better than book one and I applaud the author for that.

In book one my biggest issue was being able to spot the influence of three different books. I got over that because you really don’t notice it after the first book. However, I do get tired of teenagers fighting each other for the affection, love, protection or whatever for their parents or some kind of adult. This scene is extremely over used. But the author used it well to keep the story going and it was done well.

I still didn’t like Devon although he did grow up from the first book. He wasn’t as wide eyed innocent but it also wasn’t the best love interest either. I still feel that their romance is a bit forced even when Lila decided to take it to another level.

Lila grew as well and I felt that she has a better handle of her abilities and also of who she is. A lot of questions were answered and no it didn’t explain who Lila was but they were nice to know. Interestingly enough in the first book there wasn’t a need to have anything answered; even in book two there isn’t a need for it so it was a lovely bonus for me to find out somethings about her mom.

I did really enjoy the twist in the book. There was some predictability, but it wasn’t too much that I couldn’t enjoy the book. The author did a good job tying a bunch issues together into one bigger picture. It wasn’t too complicated in which someone can get lost but it was complicated enough to keep things exciting.

Despite the goods in this book the author lost points for the crappy ending. Oddly, enough I saw it coming and that was extremely disappointing.

I look forward to the last book.

3.5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep

K-Teen To Be Published April 28, 2015 368 Pages
To Be Published April 28, 2015
368 Pages

Lila has been living on her own since her mother died. In a world where monsters truly exist, magic defines who you are and elite families are constantly trying to kill each other to control the city, Lila has a lot to hide from.

Add in the fact that she possesses talents that can make her extremely powerful, Lila has reason to stay under the radar but when she jumps into a fight that she really needs to stay out of her once hidden identity comes to light in the worst way possible.

Let’s jump right into this . . .

Although this was a good read it is extremely easy to tell what influenced this writer.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass and The Falconer by Elizabeth May.

Literally in that order. It is not to say that Estep didn’t bring something new to the table or create her own story but some of the aspects from these other books really came through in Cold Burn of Magic.

I liked Lila she was very blunt and honest with herself and the situations she was in. I really loved her thought process and how she paid really close attention to detail. In most YA book the blunt girl that isn’t blunt because she is naive but because she doesn’t have time for games is rare.

Oddly enough the person that was naive was the love interest. I really didn’t like him. He was too innocent and noble. It made him unrealistic. I really couldn’t and still can’t see a romance between the two but the author does a decent job of expressing a mutual attraction between the two.

I enjoyed the pace of the book, I enjoyed the mythology and how easy it fit into the world. What I didn’t like was how I was able to spot three books into this novel. It bothers me because it shows a lack of originality. Even though the author was able to create its own and keep me interested, it still sucked.

Overall I look forward to the second book and some more original thought.

3 Pickles