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review 2020-04-18 18:13
Crush the King - Jennifer Estep

A sincere thank you to this book for being exactly what I needed to pull me out of this quarantine slump. I thoroughly enjoyed being back with this crew and the setting taking place at another gladiator event was perfection. It was like coming full circle. The Regalia Games did not disappoint. Evie was really in her element, I loved seeing how far she has come and what a confident leader and warrior she has grown to be.



The showdown between Evie and the Mortan king was exactly what I was hoping for, but I think the long game she had been playing with Maeven exceeded any expectations. I definitely had a feeling what direction that was heading in, but Evie took it to another level by the end and I couldn't help cheering her on the whole way.




While I was totally fine with the romance being pretty low key in this one, the action kept me plenty satisfied, I do wish Sully would have had a stronger role in everything. Although I super LOVE how strong and fierce the leading ladies are, I think with the concern he had in the second book of just being a downlow consort it would have been nice to see him really flourishing in that role rather than fading more into the background.


All in all Crush the King was pretty much everything I was hoping for as a conclusion to this story. It was a fitting ending but as always with the worlds I've come to love, I am sad to say goodbye. I would definitely be psyched to see a spinoff series set in this world. Just throwing that out there into the ether.



Many thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Goodreads for this first reads book!

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review 2020-01-29 04:28
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) - Jennifer Estep

I am so glad that this sequel was nearly as fun as the first book. Admittedly I was a little like Paloma in that I missed the gladiator life a bit in this one, but it was understandably absent and it had more than enough court drama and assassination attempts to keep you flying through the pages. There were some surprises along the way and some things that were fairly easy to see coming but were entertaining none the less. I'm really glad there isn't much wait for the next book to come out because I'm super excited to see what happens next! Also, kinda hoping Estep was setting some groundwork here for a potential spinoff later with a certain young girl and her loyal gargoyle. Seriously I'm down for more Grimley and Gemma down the line! 

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review 2020-01-23 22:48
Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep

I read this one in day. It pretty much sucked me right in and I didn't want to put it down once I got going. I wish they'd be more careful with tag lines for books sometimes, 'Gladiator meets Game of Thrones' was very ambitious and while I can see some elements here, basically court politics and gladiator fighting, it puts a lot of pressure on a story to be a lot more intricate than it is, or has to be, I think.


I liked pretty much all of the characters, Evie's journey was interesting and entertaining and I love that this was only the beginning of it really. I was quite surprised to find out Evie was 28 years old. This felt much more like a YA coming of age journey to me than an adult story. Which was totally fine by me, I love that type of thing. I'm thinking the next book might kick it up a few notches from occasional swearing and one frank sex thought lol. The scenery changes were perfect, I loved discovering each new place, even if it was just different sects within the kingdom and out of the palace. I extra loved the idea of the ultimate people pleaser finally getting to find a kind of freedom and ultimately a better version of herself in doing things for her own pleasure for a change.


Honestly this felt like a lighter fun fantasy that had some heavier more complex stuff going on for sure but it never felt heavy to me. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the story progresses in the next book!

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review 2019-07-03 12:58
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) - Jennifer Estep

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

What a wonderful book! I found myself really being swept away by the story and was completely invested in what would happen to this group of characters. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Kill the Queen, so I was looking forward to this one and hoping that it would be just as good as the first book. I ended up liking this installment even a bit more than the first. This really was a wonderful reading experience.

This is the second book in the Crown of Shards series which really should be read in order. The first book is great so you really don't want to miss it anyway. Trust me on this. This book picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Evie is now Queen but that doesn't mean that she is no longer being tested. The nobles at court are not her biggest fans and seem to enjoy making her life difficult. There is also the little issue of the occasional assassination attempts that she has to deal with. 

Evie knows that she needs to secure a treaty with the nearby kingdom, Andvari. She travels there along with her group of guards and advisors. Part of her group is Sully, who happens to be the bastard prince of Andvari. She doesn't expect or get a warm welcome. Andvari suffered losses during the Bellona massacre and they hold Evie partially responsible. She must find a way to win the king over to get the treaty she needs.

We learn a lot of things in this installment. The flashbacks into Evie's past were really enlightening. We also learn a lot about how things were for Sully growing up as an illegitimate prince and always taking a backseat to his legitimate brothers. Evie discovers a lot about herself and her magic over the course of this installment. It was nice to see a different kingdom and I really liked the gargoyles that played a role in the story.

I love these characters! Evie is such a strong character. She is tough and willing to make sacrifices when necessary for her kingdom. She is really smart and I enjoyed watching her assert her authority and make necessary political moves. Sully seems to always be there when Evie needs him but he holds himself back just a bit. It was nice to see all of the key characters play a part in this tale. 

This was an exciting book! There are plenty of action scenes to keep things hopping and the use of magic in this world always seems to keep things interesting. There were several real surprises in this story which I really appreciated. I really liked that there was a bit of romance in the story and I thought that it was really well done.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that this was an exciting story, filled with wonderful characters, that was almost impossible to put down. I wasn't sure if this would be a 4 or 5-star rating but the way this book ended really was fantastic and earned the fifth star. I cannot wait to read more of this amazing series!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Harper Voyager via Edelweiss.

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review 2019-03-19 05:31
Review of "Kill the Queen" (A Crown of Shards, #1) by Jennifer Estep
Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep

This reader's personal opinion, ©2019, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


Damn, who wrote this?


Seriously, I have enjoyed other books and series by Jennifer Estep.  Gave them good ratings, devoured series in their entirety and was a fan.  But there were always things to pick on, some pacing, some repetitiveness, various other things that didn't stop my enjoying her books.


This book was extremely well written.  Start to finish.  Fast paced.  So fast paced that surprisingly this first book has a very complete story arc, an absolute opposite of a cliffhanger.


The main character -- oh, sheesh.  Not perfect but perfectly written.  Not in the least perfect, but a fully developed, believable, character to root for.


The story unfolds believably and logically even with the twists.


Boy, I'm not writing good reviews.  But I've had these books languishing waiting on a review so for now this is the best I can do.


Definitely continuing the series when more are published.  Ms. Estep has gotten really good as an author.

*©2019.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  


Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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