Book Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

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Rating: ★★★★.5
RRP Paperback: $16.99 AUD/$18.99 NZ | Hardback: $25.99 AUD/$27.99 NZ
Publication Date: 21st January 2020

A huge thank you to the wonderful people at Bloomsbury Publishing for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads synopsis:

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

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Please note that this review does contain spoilers for the first book in the series!

Ok, where do I start! What an amazing second book to a series! I absolutely loved this! It was a little bit slow to start with, but it really picked up and turned into such an incredible romantic adventure! I absolutely adore Brigid Kemmerer’s knack for blending romance with a brilliant story line! I’m also completely happy with the relationships in this series of books and I’m so glad we weren’t taken down the obvious path!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken picks up a few months after the events of A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Grey is in hiding and carrying the deadly secret that he is the legitimate heir to the Ironrose throne. After being captured and taken back to the castle by force, Prince Rhen will stop at nothing to know Grey’s secret and eliminate any threat to his own claim on the throne. All the while, Grey grows closer to an enemy princess and together they must navigate their way through a world of changing allegiances, forbidden magic and love.

If you’re here, I can only presume you’ve read A Curse So Dark and Lonely (and if you haven’t, what are you doing here? Go read that first and then come back!) The second novel in this series takes a slightly different turn, we no longer get alternating perspectives from Rhen and Harper. Instead we get a story from the perspectives of Grey and a new Character, Lia Mara! Now, I may be totally bias, but because I adored Grey in A Curse So Dark and Lonely I thoroughly enjoyed reading his story, maybe even more than the first!

The world opened up for us in this book! We got to see more of Emberfall and explore different villages and kingdoms! More characters and creatures were introduced and the plot was really engrossing! As I said previously, it did feel like it started out a little bit slow, but the pacing started to pick up after a short while and after that, I couldn’t put it down! The new characters and party dynamic was everything! The banter and begrudging respect that forms between these characters was so much fun to read.

The story comes to a pretty epic conclusion with some rather huge revelations coming to light that already has me itching for the next book! If you haven’t picked these books up already, I would highly recommend you do so! 4.5 stars!

Once again, thank you so much to Bloomsbury Publishing for the opportunity to review A Heart So Fierce and Broken!

Book Review: Call It What You Want By Brigid Kemmerer

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Rating: ★★★★★
Find it on Book Depository

Goodreads Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

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I am in such a Contemporary mood right now and this book was the icing on the cake! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I burned through it in a matter of hours! The writing was easy to read and flowed nicely, the characters were flawed and amazing and the romance was perfection! I want more! Which means I might be heading to the book store to see if I can grab some more of Brigid Kemmerer’s Contemporary Fiction!

Call It What You Want is told from the perspectives of Rob, the once popular high school jock whose life fell apart when his father was caught embezzling half the towns money and Meagan, the perfect overachieving student, who let the pressure get to her and was caught cheating on her SAT’s. Together they navigate their way through an unlikely friendship, love and the blurred line between what is right and what is wrong.

I really did enjoy this! All the characters, even the minor ones, where intriguing in their own right and I really loved the overall tone of mortality and what it looks like for different people. There was a lot of representation in this book, which I also thought was great. It covered a lot of important issues such as suicide attempts (and the devastating aftermath for the family), racism and privilege, teen pregnancy and focused heavily on  individual characters morals and how nothing is every truly just black and white, which really gets you thinking about your own!

There were times when I was actually talking to this book! I wanted to shake some of these characters and tell them “No! Don’t do that!” It was really immersive, I honestly wish I didn’t burn through it as fast as I did because I already miss the characters! The romance was awesome. Although, I am always a little confused as to where these totally ripped, “sexy as hell” teenage boys come from, because… come on? Y’all seem to be skipping the awkward stage these days and I am not down for that!

But overall this was a great read! I will definitely be reading it again at some point and would highly recommend it! Because of this, I am giving Call It What You Want 5 stars!