book review, fantasy, romance, Young Adult

Book Review | The Bone Houses

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Bone Houses

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 338

Categories: Death, Fantasy, Welsh Mythology, Young Adult, Romance

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

This book made my heart smile! Who knew that a book about bone houses (skeletal zombies basically, not an actual HOUSE), could feel light-hearted?

Ryn is an axe-wielding gravedigger who is trying to keep her family afloat. She has a younger siblings and no parents. The uncle who is supposed to be their caretaker is gone and most people choose to burn bodies instead of bury them, so times are tough in Colbern. If things don’t change for Ryn and her family, they could lose their home and each other.

Magic from long ago has been forgotten over time, but Ryn knows in the forest outside of their town, are bone houses. The bone houses are dead people, come to life and she feels it’s her job to take her axe to them. She is brave, strong and no nonsense, which I love about her. Then one day a young man named Ellis comes to town and he is a mapmaker who is lost. He is searching for clues about his family and needs a guide. Ryn and Ellis set off on a journey to find out more about his history and also to end the curse of the bone houses once and for all.

This book was basically the walking dead and yes it’s kind of creepy but I think because it’s Ryn who’s dealing with them – I feel like her perspective of these bone houses is so refreshing and different because she is a gravedigger. She’s around the dead, cares for the dead and even when she’s destroying the bone houses, she apologizes. ❤️ I liked seeing death through Ryn’s eyes. There is one scene when they come upon a town where the bone houses live with the living and I thought it was heart wrenching. ☹️

Ryn and Ellis’ relationship is a slow burn romance, it’s clean and sweet. For a time I didn’t think there would be a romance between them, I think it could’ve gone either way for them and it would have been fine. But I’m also happy for their happily ever after.

Interwoven in this wonderfully told emotional fantasy story about family, bone houses and mythology, is the theme about grief and pain. Ryn has lost her parents, and Ellis never knew his, so they are both dealing with the pain of their pasts. But Ellis also deals with physical pain and I liked how he described living with it. My heart broke for Ryn and Ellis when they finally confront their ghosts. 💔 But they are there for each other, not just in the romantic sense, but as two caring human beings.

Even though it’s a book about killing “zombies” and grief, the way this story is told warmed my heart and made me smile. 😊 This is the perfect autumn read, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bone Houses.

“And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They’d want you to.”

The Bone Houses by. emily lloyd-jones

Book Tags, bookish

The Sunshine Blogger Award #3

Thank you to Emer at A Little Haze Book Blog for tagging me for this award! It’s my third one and since I just finished #2, I might as well post #3 right away before I forget and procrastinate on it again. 😂 I am in a fog of sinus pressure so please excuse me! Emer has been so awesome at supporting my blog and she’s so friendly and welcoming, please check out her awesome website!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Emer’s Questions:

Do you own more than one copy of any book? If yes then what book/s?

Yes, Pride and Prejudice because you know…I need all versions. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Nah, I only have 2 copies of it, one I bought for myself and the other because my hubby had the foresight (finally) to grab all the Jane Austen books the library at his workplace were giving away for free.

Describe your perfect day.

It would start off with 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then a large cookies n creme ice blended coffee drink from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, half caff/no whip. Then my kids and I would have a fabulous day, and no one would be sick, I would have no sinus headache or allergies, etc…LOL…and I’d have a chance to finish a book in peace while they played together.

What attracts you to a book? The cover? Blurb? Recommendation from others? 

I admit, I judge a book by it’s cover…mostly. LOL

You are having a dinner party and can invite three famous people (either living or dead) to the party. Who do you invite?

Prince, Michelle Obama and Lizzo 🤷🏻‍♀️ my brain is mush, and that’s a really random dinner party guest list 😂 but sounds like a fun party right?!

Who is your favourite superhero?

Batman because at least in the Lego show versions he’s so sarcastic, which is quite funny to me.

Which would you prefer to win: an Oscar or a Grammy?

An Oscar maybe? I can’t act to save my life, but maybe like an Oscar for like costume design sounds cool! And no I can’t design costumes either.

What is the first book that you ever wrote a review for?

The Hidden Witch by Chandelle LaVaun

Coca Cola or Pepsi?

I was a Coca Cola addict for a long time! I’ve been off it for about 6 years now!!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Ugh…BOTH. But mostly early bird if I can help it, because my kids don’t know how to sleep in. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So they wake me up early.

What is your all time favourite quote from a book you loved?

Hard one that I can’t answer at the moment. 🧐

What’s the last book you bought (eBook, audiobook or physical book)?

And those are my answers – so here are my questions:

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. How did you come up with the name for your blog?
  3. Name three of your favorite 2019 books so far?
  4. Name a booktuber that you follow?
  5. Do you write blog posts in advance or do you them on the day you want to post something?
  6. What’s the weirdest thing you have ever used as a bookmark?
  7. What’s your favorite bookish item? (page flags, bookmark, book sleeve, etc…?)
  8. What is your most anticipated book for the rest of 2019?
  9. What is your most anticipated book for 2020?
  10. How many books for you usually read in one week?
  11. Are you the type to read one book at a time or multiple books going on at a time?

I am tagging (and as always you are not obligated to do this at all!):

Kitty Marie

Storme Reads

Floras Musings

The Book Lovers’ Sanctuary

L.M. Durand

book review, E-book, fantasy, romance

ARC Review | An Unholy Magick

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: An Unholy Magick (Vile Sacraments, #1)

Author: Kali Rose Schmidt

Format: eBook (provided by The Parliament House)

Pages: (can’t find this info)🤷🏻‍♀️

Publication Date: October 22, 2019

Categories: Dark Fantasy, New Adult, Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from The Parliament House in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

She’s an assassin with a gift her parents died for.
He’s a reluctant prince content to drink himself into oblivion.
And hiding in plain sight amongst them both, a monster is searching for redemption.

In a kingdom where magick is forbidden and spoken of only in whispers, they must each face their own demons, walking the line between loyalty and betrayal. 

Enter a dark new world full of forbidden love, painful loss, and a growing war between those with power and those who crave it. An Unholy Magick is a bloody and spell-binding fantasy debut, the first from Kali Rose Schmidt’s shadowy series, Vile Sacraments.

Thank you to The Parliament House Press for giving me a chance to review this eARC or An Unholy Magick.

An Unholy Magick is the story of a girl name Elena, she is part witch, part Elf and one hundred percent cold blooded assassin. She’s also beautiful and knows it. She’s defiant, stubborn, sometimes arrogant and ignorant but she learns quickly and cares deeply for her friends. Elena is also very brave. I wasn’t sure if I should categorize this as New or Young Adult but I went with NA because Elena is 18 and her romantics interests are 20 years old and above. There is one steamy scene but it only involves a kiss.

The kingdom of Anglar is just a part of Terra that King Nicolas rules but he wants to expand his domain. And what better way to do that than by using a witch-assassin to infiltrate the neighboring kingdom of Garcari and slay their ruler Queen Raytha. But to get to Garcari, Elena would need to travel and survive the legendary Dark Forest. Will she survive the mission? And will King Nicolas set her free after her task is done?

This book was a pleasant surprise for me! I like the world building of Terra. There is the Dark Forest where legendary monsters like vampires, werewolves and many more beings make their home. The story takes place mostly in Anglar at King Nicolas’ castle where Elena is training with her guards and a sorcerer to be ready to go on her mission. Magick use is forbidden in Anglar and many people who used it were persecuted or fled the kingdom. Elena’s parents were killed when she was young and she harbors hard feelings against the king because of it, but she has no choice but to take on this mission – it’s kill Queen Raytha or die by hanging.

There are a few interesting characters that I enjoyed. Matvey, the vampyre disguised as a sorcerer, is helping Elena access her powers. I don’t know why but I totally wanted Elena and him to hook up. 😅 His true self under the glamour is a monster, a “bloated corpse” as Elena describes him but why did I so approve of their attraction to one another? 🤷🏻‍♀️ Except Elena is very much into Prince Zoran. And he may be charming and besotted with Elena but he just seemed too weak for my taste. Seems like the two of them may end up together though, or…who knows, maybe the book will surprise me? So it seems like a love triangle but I don’t think it really is – I think Elena’s choice is made.

Elena makes friends easily which is a part of her personality that I liked. Her friendship with prison guard, Aranka, was a fun aspect of the book. I also loved that she had Tabitha, her maid who really took care of her. And then there is Jaime, her friend who grew up with her like a brother. They are close, but are apart for most of the book until the end…where things get a little crazy in the Dark Forest and Garcari. I like Elena’s character growth and in the end she realizes her position as an assassin can be used to help make some changes in Anglar, like helping witches regain the freedom to use magick again. She has power, more than she knows.

Most of the book is about Elena training, building relationships and learning about the history of Queen Raytha, Saint Ragnhild, the Death King, witches and elves but I enjoyed it immensely. A lot more of the action comes in the second half of the book and it kept me quite engaged! There was even one scene as I read in the dark that creeped me out for a quick minute! 😆

An Unholy Magick is the first book in a series and it is entertaining, bloody, dark and full of witches and monsters. I look forward to the sequel!

bookish, Young Adult

Blogtober Challenge | October 11, 2019 {Witchy YA}

This Blogtober challenge is created by The Library Looter and Anniek’s Library – check out their awesome blog sites to find more Blogtober challenge prompts!

Today’s blogtober challenge post is Witchy YA reads so here are some witchy stories!

I just read this eARC called An Unholy Magick by Kali Rose Schmidt. It releases on October 22, 2019 and it has a witch assassin! Yup, you heard right.

Book blurb from Goodreads:

She’s an assassin with a gift her parents died for.
He’s a reluctant prince content to drink himself into oblivion.
And hiding in plain sight amongst them both, a monster is searching for redemption.

In a kingdom where magick is forbidden and spoken of only in whispers, they must each face their own demons, walking the line between loyalty and betrayal. 

Enter a dark new world full of forbidden love, painful loss, and a growing war between those with power and those who crave it. An Unholy Magick is a bloody and spell-binding fantasy debut, the first from Kali Rose Schmidt’s shadowy series, Vile Sacraments.

I just started this eARC and it’s quite witchy already! Looking forward to finish this one.

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

A breakup and a car accident are no way to start your seventeenth birthday. 

For Theo Montgomery, that is exactly how it began. Her bad luck turns worse when she returns home from a school dance to find her house on fire–with her parents still inside. Following their deaths, Theo is sent to live with her estranged aunt in Salem, Massachusetts. If a new home and a new school aren’t enough to deal with, Theo discovers her aunt has a secret: she is a witch. And so is Theo. 

Theo must learn to keep her magic in check, lest the village’s notorious witch hunters discover that magic has returned to the world after more than three hundred years. But how can she navigate a new school, new magical powers, and avoid the witch hunters, when she finds herself enjoying the company of one? 

Trystan de Lancre is a dangerous witch hunter, but that doesn’t keep Theo from wanting to discover more about him. Harboring secrets of his own, Trystan isn’t the only perilous force in Salem. Something has returned to the village; something the witches believed to have been dead and buried long ago. 

Salem’s dark past rises to haunt Theo and the present-day witches, unraveling a shocking revelation: the real cause of the Salem Witch Trials.

I read this a month or so ago and it’s a fun, mystery witchy read! Check out my review HERE.

Book Blurb on Goodreads:

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. 

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

A witchy graphic novel! This is another fun read, check out my review HERE.

Book Blurb on Goodreads:

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

And lastly is The Wicked Deep, I mean look at that cover, is that not witchy or what? Click HERE for my review!

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

What are some Witchy YA reads you can recommend? Leave me a comment below! Happy Reading!

Book Tags

The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

I’m FINALLY getting around to posting this one but Thank you so much to Lindsay at Paw-Some Reads for tagging me with my second Sunshine Blogger award. Check out her awesome blog for great book reviews and other fun book content!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Lindsay’s Questions:

What is your favorite genre to read?

It used to be romance but I think I have to admit now that it’s fantasy. Fantasy that has romance in it is my most favorite.

Would you rather read a great plot with average characters or a boring plot with amazing characters?

Ah! What a question…I’ll go with boring plot with amazing characters because maybe the characters can somewhat salvage the story! Haha

Do you have any pets?

Does a bat decoration from the Target store count? My son insists it’s his pet and he’s named it Miko, it even comes with his own cage! HAHA…on a serious note, I lost my sweet baby girl, Sky last year. I don’t think I’ve recovered yet – we miss her dearly. The kids want another pet but I don’t think I’m ready.

What has been your favorite read of 2019?

There have been SO many good ones!! But I’ll say Serpent & Dove because it’s my most recent favorite.

What was the last movie you watched, and did you like it?

I watched Moana couple days ago with my kids since it was on the tv and I LOVE the movie. As for new movies? i don’t get out much. 😩

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

My brain is drawing a BLANK but I say it’s due to the sinus pressure in my face (ugh HATE being sick)…so let’s go with my fave from the tv series Game of Thrones, the Night King. Even Cersi was pretty bad-ass, I hated her and loved her villainous ways!

How do you feel about audiobooks?

Don’t like them. I have no focus and patience for them.

What’s your dream job?

An author? At least that used to be my dream job. Right now a travel writer would be nice too…been stuck in Hawaii since I gave birth to my son seven years ago! I have the travel bug…BADLY.

Do you watch booktube/who are some of your favorite booktubers?

I only know one booktube duo so far and learned of them through Instagram – they are called AudioShelf!

Do you review books that you DNF?

Nope – and if it’s an arc on NetGalley, I think I DNF’ed one and reviewed it on NetGalley but not on my blog.

Would you rather read outside by the pool on a sunny day or inside curled up with blankets on a rainy day?

Blankets on a rainy day! A sunny day by the pool would probably mean I am IN the pool because it’s so dang hot in Hawaii. I overheat too quick haha.

And that’s my answers! So here are my question and yes some are inspired by Halloween:

  1. What are your plans for Halloween?
  2. What’s the spookiest book you’ve ever read?
  3. What is your favorite Halloween movie?
  4. What’s your favorite candy?
  5. Where was the last place you went to on vacation/holiday?
  6. What is your favorite romance trope? (Enemies to lovers? Friends to lovers?)
  7. Do you dress up for Halloween? If yes, what will be your costume this year?
  8. How many books have you read so far this year?
  9. Do you keep a reading journal?
  10. Name one thing that is challenging about blogging?
  11. Do you buy books online or in a physical store?

I’m tagging:

Chelsie @ My Reading Escape

Sarah June

Nadya @ Pop of Geek

Nicole – The Anatomy of a Bookworm

BiCoastal Confessions

And remember you are not obligated to do this tag at all! It’s just for fun and only if you feel like it. Would love to see your answers. ☺️

book review, fantasy, magic, romance, Young Adult

ARC Review | A River of Royal Blood

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A River of Royal Blood

Author: Amanda Joy

Format: paperback (Bookishfirst winner)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Adventure, Sibling Rivalry, Blood Magic

Disclaimer: **I won this book from Bookishfirst in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Thank you to Putnam and Bookishfirst for giving me a chance to win this ARC of A River of Royal Blood.

A young adult fantasy book about sisters dueling to the death for a crown? It sounds reminiscent of other sibling rivalry books out there but this one definitely stands out!

A River of Royal Blood took me two days to finish, because it’s one of those books that set the backdrop for what’s to come in this series. It may seem like a lot of info dump but I think in this case it is needed because this imagined world is intricate and detailed. If you don’t like slow building fantasy then this book might put you off. The plot of the two sisters fighting for the crown also takes a bit of a back seat until the end.

The strength of this book is the world building because my goodness it is rich, colorful and so diverse. There are humans, fey, bloodkin, khimaer and more lands we will discover in book two I’m sure. The queendom of Myre finds it’s ruler with the Rival Heir tradition, where two sisters who are of age (17+) will find to the death and winner takes the crown. What a cruel tradition.

There is a magick system in place in this world and everyone who has magick seems to have their own different strengths. A few characters show mind controlling powers, where as Princess Eva has marrow and blood magick. But what is it? Because Princess Eva has the magick but can’t access it. Omens that were witnessed before her birth said her power would be great and terrible. Her older sister Princess Isadore already wields her persuasion magick so expertly. The sisters were once close, the scenes that portray them in memory as children show them in happier times, but those days are over with Eva’s 17th birthday approaching.

Most of the book is about Princess Eva learning about her magick and how to access it. We meet a lot of different characters in the book some fey, bloodkin, human and khimaer. I think the khimaer is the most fascinating, because they take on parts of animals with their human form also. They sound magnificent! There is a lot of history being told in the story which people might find to be boring info dump, and sometimes I’m in that category but this book kept me engaged. I wanted to know the history of Queen Riana and Baccha, the Lord of the Hunt. I loved learning about the Sorceryn and Auguries (who studied Omens/cosmos) and wanted to know about the khimaer and the Dracolan – by the end of the book, I was like, give me more! Oh also, I want more bloodkin! 🧛‍♂️

There are assassination attempts on Eva that seems to take more precedence than the sisters fighting. And there is a bit of a romance as well between Eva and a certain Prince who has fangs and scales like a snake – that’s kinda hot right? 😅 I always like a little romance in my fantasy novels but even if it wasn’t there, I think I would still be invested in Eva’s journey.

As for Princess Eva she’s definitely got family issues, I mean she grew up knowing she will either kill her sister or be killed by her! It’s cutthroat to be a royal, right? Her mom doesn’t show her affection, and she’s definitely daddy’s girl but he’s been gone from court for awhile. She has lots of conflicted emotions about her magick, her identity, the history of their queendom, her family and knowing who to trust and trying to figure out who loves her. ☹️ Her mom and sister are like ice queens whereas Eva is emotional. But what I love about Eva is that she learns…she wants to know the history of their kingdom and if she ruled, she has plans on how she could fix the injustices that took place on the khimaer people.

A River of Royal Blood is a stellar and solid debut, full of world building, magick, political intrigue, sibling rivalry, some romance, some killing, and lots of blood and secrets. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series!

bookish

Blogtober Challenge | October 8 {Five Perfect Autumn Reads}

This Blogtober challenge is created by The Library Looter and Anniek’s Library – check out their awesome blog sites to find more Blogtober challenge prompts!

Oh the thing I wish we had in Hawaii is a true Autumn with leaves turning and temperatures dropping…but we don’t. It will stay hot out here until about late December, early January and the lowest it will get is in the low 70’s. But reading helps me get into an autumn mood and all things pumpkin spice haha.

So here are my picks for 5 Perfect Autumn Reads:

It’s so good and so witchy and perfect to get you in the mood for Halloween!

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

I haven’t read this one yet but look at that cover! I have this on my October TBR.

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves. 

Another title I haven’t read yet but it’s called Pumpkin Heads! I mean…enough said. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Because it’s a vampire book and look at that dark, beautiful cover! Still waiting on my copy from the YA Book of the Month. 😕

Book Blurb on Goodreads:

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

Another one on my TBR! Look at that cover – I love it and it sounds perfect for this season.

Book Blurb on Goodreads:

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side. 

And there you have my 5 picks! What are some autumn reads you’d like to recommend? Leave me a comment below and Happy Reading!

Book Crates Unboxing, bookish, What I'm Reading Next

Unboxing | LitJoy Crate | September Box 2019

Hello fellow book lovers and bloggers, here we have another unboxing, but this time it’s for the LitJoy Crate September box. Let’s see what goodies were inside my box!

My daughter calls my book boxes the “treasure box”. She loves unboxing it with me and yes she plays with the box and shredded paper in it afterwards. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But look at this box! The theme is called Haunted Manor and I’m loving the purple color scheme. Very Halloween, don’t you think? I know most people do the orange and black for Halloween but I love the purple decorations too!

I love when my box has wearable items like these scrunches! Super cute!

This scarf is my favorite item in the box – look at that ombre purple color and the print! It celebrates the 50th anniversary of Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride! I’m definitely keeping this one for myself, even though it’s blazing hot in Hawaii during Halloween. 😂 Maybe one day when I make my way over to Disneyland for October I can wear it there!

Here we have the smaller items in the box: a ghostbusters patch, a Nightmare Before Christmas bookmark with Zero on the back of it (@brianamoraart), two collector’s cards (artwork by Niru Sky @niru.sky) and the cutest page flag set of the Addam’s Family!

And last but not least is this gorgeous signed copy of A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth. The card has a note from the author on the back and the inside jacket cover, like most LitJoy Crate book versions, is gorgeous. See below…

Gorgeous right? And I love these drawstring book bags LitJoy Crate puts their books in. This month it’s an aqua color but I think the first box I got from them it was blue like the LitJoy Crate box. Super useful and cute!

What do you think of this box? I thought it was a great box, and definitely love the scarf. I hope the book is good as well – review will be up for it as soon as I can get to it (life’s been crazy busy lately!). I look forward to next month’s box!

book review, contemporary, fantasy, romance, Young Adult

ARC Review | Cupid’s Match

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Cupid’s Match

Author: Lauren Palphreyman

Format: Paperback (owned)

Pages: 367

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

He’s mythologically hot, a little bit wicked, and almost 100% immortal. And he’ll hit you right in the heart . . . 

“Miss Black, we have a big problem.”

Lila Black doesn’t believe in matchmaking, let alone soul mates. So then why is she constantly being hassled by the Cupids Matchmaking Service? But this gilded, cherub-bedecked dating agency isn’t exactly what it seems . . . and it’s about to turn Lila’s entire world upside down. 

It turns out that Cupids Matchmaking is the real deal. As in, it’s run by actual cupids—who don’t look at all like they do in the paintings—and they have a serious problem with Lila’s “match.” Because this guy shouldn’t be in the system. He shouldn’t have a match. And while he’s irresistibly hot, he’s also incredibly dangerous. Because Lila’s true love match is Cupid. The original bad boy of love. And he wants her. 

Now Lila’s once-normal teenaged world has exploded into a mythological nightmare overrun by crime-lord sirens, wrathful cupid hit men, magic arrows that cause no end of trouble, and a mischievous, not-so-angelic love god she can’t seem to stop herself from falling for . . . 

Thank you BookishFirst for giving me a chance to win this arc!

Cupid’s Match is a fun new take on the original mythological Cupid. In this young adult urban fantasy Lila is contacted by The Cupid’s Matchmaking Service and she finds out her match is Cupid. The one and ONLY Cupid.

But this book isn’t only about if and how Lila and Cupid actually fall in love, nope, it’s much more than that. The first part of the book takes on a twist and this match between Lila and Cupid MUST NOT happen, as everyone around Lila keeps alluding too. But she doesn’t know why…I don’t know why either and I was almost at the end of my patience with trying to find out. And because of that, the second half of the book is way much faster and action packed than the first part.

Lila as a character seems like a cool girl but kind of bland. We don’t find out much about her in the beginning except that she’s tagging along with Cal and Cupid (brothers) who are trying to keep her safe. And of course they keep her in the dark so…🤷🏻‍♀️

Cupid is the bad boy but he doesn’t come off that bad at all. Then there is Cal who seems like the more responsible brother and there is a hint of a love triangle between them brewing which I’m not into. I was going for a Cal and Lila romance but it’s not what happens.

What I did like about Cupid’s Match was the unique world of the cupids. They had a group called the Arrows who are like cupid law enforcement. Venus, the goddess of love, is Cal and Cupid’s mother and basically ruler of them all. They use different arrows with different degrees of ardor in can infect someone with. So I really enjoy that part of the world-building.

Overall, this book was okay for me. It is a fast, light-hearted read with lots of potential.

book review, contemporary, netgalley, Young Adult

ARC Review | A Thousand Fires

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Thousand Fires

Author: Shannon Price

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 304

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Categories: Self Harm, Mental Health, Gangs, Suspense, Young Adult

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

An extraordinary debut set in an alternate San Francisco and inspired by The Iliad…

Valerie Simons knows the Wars are dangerous—her own brother was killed by the Boars two years ago. But nothing will sway her from joining the elite and beautiful Herons to avenge his death—a death she feels responsible for.

But when Valerie is recruited by the mysterious Stags, their charismatic and volatile leader Jax promises to help her get revenge. Torn between old love and new loyalty, Valerie fights to stay alive as she races across the streets of San Francisco to finish the mission that got her into the gangs.

Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eArc.

The blurb for this book sounded so intriguing, I mean, it is inspired by The Iliad and The Outsiders. Because of that description I expected this book to be intense and epic. Yes, there were some intense parts and but also lots of parts where they are just chillin’ and waiting around.

The story is set in present day San Francisco, and there is something called the Wars happening in this city. There are three gangs who fight in the Wars. The Boars, Herons and Stags. The Herons are the rich kids, the Boars are everyone else and the Stags are like the middle-man who tries to turn the tide of the war.

Valerie Simons is a girl on a mission and to complete that mission she desperately hopes the Herons recruit her. Also if she is a Heron, she and her ex-boyfriend, Matthew (Heron royalty) can do their one year, in the Wars together. Now not everyone gets recruited to be in any of these gangs, I’m not even sure what the criteria is to be a Heron. 🤔

So how does this whole story play out? The gangs have lots of beef with one another because of events in the past. It grew from there and became something bigger, The Stags want to help make the world a better place by taking down the bigger corporations that are run by The Herons.

Valerie is an interesting character, I was pleasantly surprised to learn she’s half Filipino and I recognized some Tagalog words. She comes from a nice family, dad has a good job, she and her mom are tight, but she did lose a little brother and she’s riddled by guilt about it. Losing her brother sets her on a path of revenge. Also, Valerie is a cutter. Depression is definitely a theme in this story, it is present in various characters.

As for the romance in this story – clearly Matthew, her ex and a Heron, is the perfect guy. Whereas the Stag she’s attracted to, Jax, is so hot and cold. I can’t say their relationships interested me in this story, Valerie was going back and forth a lot, confused about her feelings. I didn’t like either of the boys. 🤷🏻‍♀️

There is a diverse cast of characters in this story which is nice. My favorite character was Micah because we actually learn a lot about him and his history, unlike Jax who remains mysterious. I felt like there was a lot of vague spots in this book. For awhile I kept wondering, what is the deal with these “Wars”? It didn’t seem important at times. Was anyone else confused by it? Or was that just me?

Overall, I felt the story was choppy. There were lulls and then action and though I enjoyed the diversity of the cast and Valerie being half-filipino, the story just fell short of what I was expecting from the blurb. I’d say the ending had most of the action so at least it finished off with a bang, but sadly I wish I liked this more than I did.