Book Review Royal Spy

by Heather Frost

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  (5/5)

If you like princesses, palaces, handsome guards, slow-burning love, and suspenseful fights, then this book is definitely for you!

Royal Spy, by Heather Frost will be released on May 20 (2021) and I had the privilege of receiving an ARC of Royal Spy in exchange for an honest review! Thank you Heather for sharing it with me!

Royal Spy is the second book in the Fate of Eyrinthia series! If you haven’t heard of this series yet, make sure to check out my reviews on it and the blurb below.

Review of Royal Spy

I absolutely loved Royal Decoy (you can check my review on it here) so I couldn’t wait to read Royal Spy! Royal Spy is a great next installment in the Fate of Eyrinthia series. Royal Spy follows the journey of Clare and Grayson to Mortise and we get a look into Desfan’s life, the Serjah of Mortise.

First of all, I would like to compliment Heather Frost’s ability to make you root for relationships that you know ‘shouldn’t’ be, for fighting scenes that are described so clearly that it feels like you’re there, and for making you feel the terror of certain events! I love all the twists and turns and things I didn’t see coming. The suspense is high at times! And, I enjoy the wit that the author uses throughout the book. I have repeatedly laughed at the thoughts or actions of some characters.

I like how the book doesn’t make major jumps in time, so you really get a feel for what is happening in all the different storylines! It allows you to get to know the characters better and form a picture of the different settings.

Also, I love the characters! I feel for Clare who has to go through so much while being the decoy of the Princess. She’s strong and her love for those she loves is unbreakable. If you would like to learn more about Clare, you can read an interview with her character here.

I admire Grayson’s love for his special person. I like where his character is going in this book, I can’t wait to find out how his life will unfold in the next installment.

I love Desfan’s thoroughness in finding justice. He’s a funny guy at times, but when he needs to, he is serious.

And I can’t wait for all of these characters to hopefully meet later on in the series!

It’s safe to safe I’m super excited about these series and I cannot wait until the next book is released! If you’d like to know more about the plot (I have kept this review quite spoiler free!) don’t hesitate to contact me via email or on Instagram (@booksreadbytracy).

Thanks again to Heather Frost for sharing her amazing book with me 🙂
You can buy the book in the following links:
Kindle
Amazon Hardcover
B&N Hardcover

To learn more about Heather Frost visit her website here.

Blurb of Royal Spy

A DECOY recruited to be a spy.
A PRINCE compelled to become an assassin.
A SERJAH pressured by an unwanted crown.
A WORLD covered in shadows
.

Mere months ago, Clare was just a kitchen maid. Now, she is a decoy for Princess Serene and a novice spy, caught in the royal family’s web of secrets. While journeying to Mortise to finalize the princess’s betrothal to Serjah Desfan, Clare lives for the stolen moments she has with Bennick, the bodyguard who is quickly claiming her heart. But when a notorious assassin is hired to kill her, Clare’s life and the alliance hang in the balance.

In Ryden, Grayson prepares to leave for Mortise with his brother, Liam. Their orders are to ignite a war between their enemies, and Grayson has been tasked with assassinating Princess Serene. It may cost his soul, but he is ready to comply, as long as he gets something in return: freedom for Mia, the girl he loves. But the more time he spends with his brother, the more he begins to wonder if Liam is what Grayson wishes he had the courage to be . . . a traitor. 

Desfan feels trapped. By his disapproving council, his impending marriage to a stranger, and the imminent arrival of enemy princes who may not want the peace they profess. When a dangerous drug threatens his people, Desfan jumps at the chance to rely on his swords instead of politics. But his investigation uncovers more than he bargained for—a plot that may destroy Mortise from within.

Eyrinthia hovers on the edge of war. Spies. Rebels. Traitors. All must choose a side.

Book review of Royal Decoy by Heather Frost

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

A major page-turner! Heather Frost has delivered well-developed characters and an amazing new world.

Clare and Grayson, a kingdom away, but both under the rule of ruthless leaders, struggle to keep the ones they love safe while being sucked into their leader’s plans. Will they survive the dangers that their positions bring into their lives?

Royal Decoy is a fast-paced story, with well-developed characters and an amazing new world of the kingdoms of Eyrinthia! The characters are created well and develop a lot throughout the book.

There are many twists and turns, which made me want to continue reading at every end of a chapter. The way the story is written is pleasant to read and there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming, both with events that happened and character reveals.

The multiple POV’s were really enjoyable. They gave an insight into different people’s lives in different parts of the world, which also helped to form a picture of what was going on politically.

And finally, I’m a sucker for maps and new worlds in stories! The map really helped me visualize where the story took place. The individual scenes that described where the characters, walked, talked, slept, ate etc. were so well written that I felt like I was actually there.

I am excited to have read this book and can’t wait to read the next installment; Royal Spy!

Heather Frost sent me a copy of Royal Decoy for an honest review. The opinions formed above are my own. Thank you Heather for sending me a copy, I can’t wait to start reading Royal Spy!

The Places I’ve Cried in Public

by Holly Bourne

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

Trigger warning – Emotional Abuse

Synopsis
Amelie has moved to a new town, away from her friends and boyfriend, promising to pick up where they left off after finishing college. Soon she meets Reese though and falls head over heels for him. Unfortunately, the happy times don’t last, and later Amelie finds herself retracing all the places where he’s made her cry in public. 

Review
The Places I’ve cried in public, by Holly Bourne, holds a powerful message about love and learning that sometimes what might seem like love isn’t love at all. Holly Bourne has instantly become one of my favorite authors! Her writing style is amazing. The past and present seamlessly merge together into a heartbreaking story. It made me want to be able to intervene in Amelie’s life and tell her when she’s making a mistake, trying to save her from what happens to her. At one point I couldn’t stop reading, as I had to know how it ended. Even though this story is full of triggers, I hope that young people that are, or have been, in a similar situation to Amelie, will draw strength from this story and gain the courage to choose for themselves. 

Trigger warnings: there are more trigger warnings than just for emotional abuse, but to avoid spoilers I’ve left them out of this review. If you want more information on this please contact me, or search online yourself.

The Giver of Stars

by Jojo Moyes

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

A story of strong women in difficult times 

Synopsis
The English Alice marries Bennet, a man from Kentucky, on a whim, and finds herself in an unknown society where nothing is the same as in the England she came from. But then she joins the packhorse librarians to bring books to the most remote homes in the mountains. Soon Alice feels much at home with her new friends, more than at her own home where she lives with her husband and her father-in-law. The plot is full of twists and turns, but it never fails to show the strength of the women.

Review
I loved this book! From the get-go I was so involved in Alice’s life and I cheered for her and the other women throughout the entire book. It’s a story of love, hate, shame and victory. Every turn of events led me to want to read more! I loved how the characters came to life in my head through Moyes’ description of them. The same goes for the scenery described in the book. What I liked most about this story are the women that never gave up. Whether people tried to take down the library, or the women themselves, they always stood their ground and came up for their own rights. The women made me feel hope. On the other hand, some of the men made me feel really annoyed. It was a rollercoaster ride of thoughts and feelings and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it! I have set my mind on reading more of Jojo’s books for sure.

An Imperfect Christmas

by Tanya Russell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

I loved this cozy Christmas story!

Synopsis
Maggie’s life is perfect until in a short amount of time everything falls apart. With the help of her family, whom she’s visiting for Christmas this year, she slowly tries to put her life back together.
She hasn’t been home for 2 years, and the reason why she hasn’t will be there too…

Review
I absolutely adored this cozy, love, winter town Christmas story!

With so many things going wrong in Maggie’s life, I think the author has connected the way in which Maggie acts and her past experiences really well. It makes you feel for her, knowing what she’s been through and allows you to understand why she does the things she does. The narrative changes between Maggie and the other main character, which I really liked because you get a more in-depth picture of their thoughts. The other characters in the story are also written really well. Some of whom you may come to love… others not so much.

This book is full of Christmas, love and family (and a snowy town – who doesn’t love that!). I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a great book to read during Christmas time (or any time of year if you love Christmas as much as I do! 🙂 ).

Thank you to Tanya Russell, Sapere Books and NetGalley for letting me review this book.

Winter Pasture

by Li Juan

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4/5)

Having been to China myself, although not to the area around Ulungur, I was curious to read about the nomadic way of life. This biographic story gives the reader a view into some of the most lonely months in the lives of some of the most lonely people.

Synopsis
Li Juan tells her story, with humor, of traveling south with the camels, sheep, cows and horses where she and the family she has joined, will live throughout the winter. The story is divided into different sections, each highlighting a different part of life in the Winter Pasture. You get to know the people she lives with, but also the visitors that come over during the winter months. You learn about their ways of herding the animals, creating the sheep pen, maintenance work on their home and the lovely food they eat, and the beautiful embroideries they make in their free time. Overall it captures life on the winter pasture really well.

Review
What I liked about the book is that it was divided in different sections, in which Li Juan highlights different experiences or bundles of information. For example, the first part focuses on the journey to the winter pasture and what life is like once they arrive there. Another part focuses solely on getting to know the characters more – which makes you love them, and find them annoying at other times. A great feature in the book were the pictures from life on the pasture. I would have loved to see even more of them!

The reason why I gave Winter Pasture 4 stars is that it does a good job of describing the life of nomads and the loneliness that comes with the lifestyle. But, throughout the story some scenes are repeated, in a slightly different way than before, but nonetheless it’s repetition. I came to find this a bit annoying at times. Also, I have noticed several spelling mistakes in the translation, such as words missing. Keeping this in mind, I decided to give 4 out of 5 stars.

If you are interested in books about China, and want to learn more about the Kazakh herders, I would definitely recommend this book. It doesn’t have a major plottwist, since it is non-fiction, but nonetheless a very interesting read!

Thank you Li Juan, the publisher and NetGalley for this read! 

The Chronicles of Narnia

by C.S. Lewis

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4/5)

I bought this book in a secondhand bookstore I think around a year ago.
It has taken me months and months to get through it, as I would often stop and read another book. But, yesterday I finished it and here is some information about it and what I thought of it.

Synopsis
The Chronicles of Narnia is actually a bundle of seven Narnian stories, some titles might sound really familiar if you, like me, saw the movies before you read the books. The seven stories are: The Magician’s Nephew, The lion, the witch and the wardrobe, The horse and his boy, Prince Caspian, The voyage of the Dawn Treader, The silver chair and The last battle.

Time doesn’t work the same in Narnia as it does in our world. A second in our world can be a month or even years of life in Narnia. The stories have different main characters throughout, but the characters that keep returning are the Pevensie children: Peter, Susan, Edward and Lucy. They, and the other kids that enter the world of Narnia experience all kinds of adventures from fighting a war to sailing the seas to find the end of the world. Each story is very different from the next, but in the end they all come together.

Review
The author, C.S. Lewis, has done a great job of describing the characters and the world of Narnia. I liked how almost every story seemed to discover a new part of the Narnian world, which in the end gave you a good understanding of what it looks like. What I liked about the writing style is that the books could be read as stand alones and you would still be able to follow the storyline, as the most important information was repeated in every story. I enjoyed the “The lion, the witch and the wardrobe” story the most as it extensively introduced the characters that would keep coming back throughout the stories. There were some annoying repetitions in the books, but that might have been mostly because I read them all one after the other. Overall I liked the created world and characters and rate this book 4/5, as I found some of the stories a bit slow-paced.