book review, contemporary, fantasy, romance, Young Adult

Book Review | These Witches Don’t Burn

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: These Witches Don’t Burn

Author: Isable Sterling

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 320

Categories: Witchcraft, Young Adult, Romance, LGBTQIA+ , Mystery, Contemporary Fantasy

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.

What better way to get into the fall spirit than by bingeing on witchy themed books! These Witches Don’t Burn, is fun but also filled with mystery and suspense, I mean it can’t be witchy without some darkness to it right?

Hannah is a witch in Salem’s only coven and she’s been good at keeping it a secret among the Regs (non-witches) around her like her best friend, Gemma. Her ex-girlfriend Veronica and fellow coven member is trying to get her back but Hannah is trying her best to resist her.

Enter new girl Morgan, who makes Hannah believe she can like someone again, someone who isn’t Veronica. The two of them getting together is cute but Hannah takes some time in the story to really sort out her feelings about her ex and the new crush. So romance and feelings are present in the story but it is not the focus, nope, there is a Blood Witch – or so Hannah and Veronica thinks – in Salem. Apparently Blood Witches are scary, but Morgan isn’t the only newbie in town. A Detective Archer is also in Salem as well…suspiciously around the time events start happening to Hannah and Veronica. The coven must find who is the Blood Witch before someone gets really hurt. Speaking of covens and witches, I love that this is a contemporary fantasy book with witches because I feel like most of the books I read with witches are historical fantasy, but I really love the modern day witches too! It felt fresh, and fun even with the danger and suspense. I like that the teenagers in this story were being teenagers.

I thought this was going to be a light fluffy read, but no, there is suspense, mystery and so much danger. I’d say about halfway into the book, I suspected who the villain was and sure enough I was right! But that didn’t take away any enjoyment I had reading the book. The ending was sad though and I didn’t expect that. ☹️

Overall this is such a good debut novel and yay to all the queer characters represented in the book! 😍 If you want to get into a witchy mood, this is the book for you.

book review, E-book, fantasy, netgalley, Young Adult

ARC Review | Diamond City

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Diamond City

Author: Francesca Flores

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Categories: Dark Fantasy, Violence, Drug Abuse

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

At twelve years old, Aina Solís was pulled off of the streets she slept on and trained to be one of the most feared assassins in Sumerand, a kingdom founded by immigrants and built by magic―and in recent years transformed by an industrial revolution. When Aina is given the most lucrative and dangerous job of her career―killing a wealthy industrialist named Kouta―she knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave her impoverished roots in her past once-and-for-all: the payout is enough to free her from under her boss Kohl’s thumb. But when the job goes wrong and Kouta escapes, she is left without a penny to her name and in the crosshairs of Kohl, who is eager to show the world what happens to those that fail him.

With Kohl on her heels, Aina is running out of time to find Kouta and finish what she started. But the closer she gets to killing him, the more she begins to ask the questions assassins are never meant to ask: who wants Kouta dead? And why? In a city full of half-constructed subway tunnels, hidden magical dens, secret weapons markets, and wolf-sized spiders, Aina discovers a conspiracy that could rewrite her city’s history and―if it isn’t stopped―sink her country into a catastrophic war.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I am a sucker for female assassins and here we have Aina Solis, a Blade, who works for the Blood King. Aina kills whoever the Blood King tells her to kill and her specialty is with knives. She has a history with the Blood King, Kohl, who runs the city with his motley crew of spies and assassins. Kohl molded Aina into the killer that she is, but is that all she is?

Aina is a survivor in Sumerand, a kingdom torn apart by war, rebuilt with industrialization controlled by the Steels. The world building is interesting. There is conflict between the Steels (industrialists) versus the Inosen, a sect of religious followers that believe in using magic from long ago. But in a kingdom where Steels rule, magic use is outlawed so it creates secret worship places and a black market for raw diamonds used for magic use. So far the book talks mostly about how the magic can be used to track people and also do healing spells.

Kohl presents Aina with a big contract hit, to take out one of the most untouchable and wealthiest Steel in Sumerand. The money she can make from the hit can bring her dreams to fruition – but what happens when everything goes wrong? Here is when I kept on reading, because Aina’s world starts to crumble and she’s trying to survive again. I wonder if she could do it and if she could get out of this book alive! Seriously at some parts, I was like, oh she’s dead – she’s so going to die! 🤭

There is an interesting relationship brewing in this story between Aina and the brother of the man she’s supposed to kill. I wasn’t sure this would work out for either of them and it was even somewhat sort of unbelievable how Ryuu handles the events that take place. I don’t think I’d be as forgiving as he is! Like…really?! 🤔 She also has a best friend in this story, Teo, who’s luck is as bad as Aina’s but he’s a really good friend. And around these men she finally makes some female friends too – because seriously, she needed that too.

The story is violent with lots of action, blood spilling, body counts and fighting, which I enjoyed because I love female assassins kicking butt. But there is also the issue of Aina’s past drug use and her unhealthy relationship with Kohl. I think it’s believable that it’s hard for her to break away from Kohl, because he manipulated her to get what he could from her. It was frustrating to see her waver though, stay strong Aina! But Aina, poor girl, she just seriously needs a break! I want to see her just take back herself and her power!

Overall, this story sucked me in and it’s a fantastic debut. I look forward to reading the sequel just to see if Aina can redeem herself and kick more butt.

book review, contemporary, romance, Young Adult

Book Review | Fake It Till You Break It

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Fake It Till You Break It

Author: Jenna R. Nguyen

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 304

Categories: Young Adult, Romance

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

Sometimes I just need a light read and this was it!

Enemies to fake dating to lovers. I think the fake dating trope is so much fun especially when the two characters can’t stand each other, like Mia and Jake in Fake It Till You Break It. They are neighbors, their moms are best friend, they’ve known each other since kids and are best friends without knowing it. It doesn’t help that their moms are trying their hardest to make them fall in love.

Of course they conjure up a plan to give their moms what they want and then break up so they will stop throwing them together. What ends up happening is pretty predictable as with most fake dating tropes, there is a happy ending. But I loved seeing them eventually get there.

What I liked most about this book was Mia and Jake’s interaction with one another. I love how Mia tells Jake things straight up and she can be her messy self around him. And as much as Jake antagonizes her, he knows everything about her. They are just too cute and funny together, I was happy for their eventually happily ever after!

I read this book in a few hours. It is light-reading, adorable, and it left me smiling at the end. ☺️

bookish, First Lines Friday, What I'm Reading Next

First Lines Friday (09/12/19)

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! 🌕 Isn’t it also a full moon tonight?

My son was down with a cold for half the week, so that’s what I was dealing with. But it gave me time to read since he finally rested a little.

So I’ve been on a weird spectrum with the books I’m reading. It’s either ya dark fantasy or light contemporary ya books lately. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m trying to finish up the contemporary stuff so I can just be all in with the darker themed books. It’s getting me in the mood for Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays. Here are some lines from a book I am dying to read:

“There’s something haunting about a body touched by magic. Most people first noticed the smell: not the rot of decay, but a cloying sweetness in their noses, a sharp taste on their tongues.”

🤔

🤔

🤔

🤔

🤔

I’ve heard amazing things about this book and yes I have the physical copy on my shelf! Have you read it? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful weekend fellow readers and bloggers!

book review, fantasy, romance, Young Adult

Book Review | House of Salt and Sorrows

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: House of Salt and Sorrows

Author: Erin A. Craig

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 416

Categories: 12 Dancing Princesses Retelling, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Horror

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next. 

In a Top Ten Tuesday topic about childhood favorites, I listed the Twelve Dancing Princesses as one of mine. House of Salt and Sorrows was exactly everything I wanted in a retelling of one of my favorite childhood stories.

But let me talk about the cover first! I got the OwlCrate version and it’s lovely. I love how the inside cover is black with a octopus and masquerade mask design in gray. It’s gorgeous. This totally spoke to the island girl in me with the tidepools and the tentacles on the cover.

Quick personal story: My dad had a boat when I was young, I mean it’s Hawaii so he loved to fish, many people do. He’d be out with our neighbor fishing in the early morning and he’d come back with so many kinds of fish, limu (seaweed), crab, and octopus. He sold some to our neighbors, gave some away to relatives and freeze the rest. One of the chores my sister and I had to do was help clean…everything. I hated cleaning octopus because some of them were huge and still alive and my dad would hold it as I would watch it wrap its large tentacles around his arm. Then my dad would show me its teeth, which looks like a little black whole. As a child I was so afraid it would eat my finger! 😩 So instead he let us clean the baby octopus, and we cleaned it with….SALT. I’ve come to respect octopus and love how beautiful they are, tasty to a lot of people, but they are just awesome, smart creatures. Slimy though. The octopus is the crest for the Thaumus family in this book – which I adore!

House of Salt and Sorrows was the perfect book to get me into the fall season with Halloween around the corner. I am a wimp and when this book went into creepy and horror territory, I vowed to only read it in the day time! Yes…I did start off reading it at night until a few scenes in the book gave me the spooky tingling feeling. 😅 And one sister’s name is Lenore?! A name I love because of Edgar Allan Poe. I LOVE IT. I am trash for Poe. This whole book was a vibe that I was looking for!

Annaleigh is one of twelve sisters, but four sisters have lost their lives, leaving her, Camille, the three Graces, and the triplets. These sisters are close and have a special bond which I love. I would want them to be my sisters! They live on an island surrounded by the sea. When someone dies they return them to the Sal, to the sea. I enjoyed learning about the rituals of the Salann Islands.

I wish this book had a map because the other parts of this world sound fascinating! The world building was intriguing with its own mythology, similar to Greek but except Poseidon ruling the seas, the god of the sea in House of Salt and Sorrows is named Pontus. We learn about a few other gods and goddesses in the book, but I want more. I want to learn about all the other parts of this world that was mentioned in this book: People of the Bones in the Cardanian Mountains, People of the Stars in Versia and so much more.

Now let’s talk about the mystery, just like in Twelve Dancing Princesses, Annaleigh’s father asks that someone uncover the truth about the princesses ruined slippers. I loved the mention of it and I loved the twist! I seriously thought I was losing my mind along with Annaleigh at one point, but the reveal at the end was good!

And the horror? One scene involving a bathtub scared me, which was why I decided to read it in the day time. Yes, I’m so weak! 🤣 Horror is not my favorite genre. But I could totally see this story as a horror movie! There were other scenes in the book that gave me even more nightmarish vibes but it’s so fun. Scary fun!

Of course, because there is a little bit of everything in this book, there is romance! It’s not one that the book centers on, but I loved it because it was a little shining light in Annaleigh’s life which up to that point was just mired in death, curses, nightmares and….madness. It was sweet!

This has to be one of my top favorite books this year! I really hope we get to visit this world again, even if it’s just to follow where the surviving sisters go. I want more mystery/horror/romance stories set in this world! Basically I want to read whatever this author writes next. House of Salt and Sorrows is a fantastic debut novel that surpassed my expectations. 😍

adult fiction, book review, E-book, netgalley, romance

ARC Review | The Particular Charms of Miss Jane Austen

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen

Author: Ada Bright & Cass Grafton

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 313

Publication Date: September 12, 2019

Categories: Time Travel, Romance, Jane Austen, Friendship, Mystery

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

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists! 

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

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

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was a light-hearted and cute read about a time traveling Jane Austen but it focuses a lot on a character named Rose Wallace.

I love that it was set in Bath – I visited on my honeymoon and I absolutely loved it. I wish I had more time to spend there, but it was only a quick afternoon stop. 😕 The book is set during the Jane Austen festival which sounds like something I’d love to partake in one day! 😍

Rose Wallace lives in Bath and is a Janeite (Jane Austen fan) who has an American friend named Morgan. The history of their friendship is very cute and it resonated with me more than the romantic storyline of Rose and Dr. Aiden Trevellyan. I think I wanted more romance in the story but I didn’t get much of it until the time travel occurs. Even then the mystery of Jane Austen was the focus of the story.

I’m sure everyone has speculated how Jane Austen would be in real life and we all have our own ideas. In this book I thought she was what a time traveling Jane Austen would be like, she stays in character, adapting a bit here and there but pretty much knows her person and does what she wants. The mystery about the time travel was interesting and it does make you think, what if Jane Austen never existed. Oh the horror! I can’t imagine a world without Pride and Prejudice in it, can you? 🥺

It took awhile for me to get into this book, not sure why, maybe I was waiting for Jane Austen to show up right away but the story focused more on Rose. If you are a fan of Jane Austen, I think you will enjoy this charming story about Jane Austen and the cast of characters that help her get back to her time so that we can always have Jane Austen in our lives.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

(maybe you’re scared of it, worried it won’t live up to the hype, etc.) (submitted by Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea)

I just picked it up at the library this week, but I put it at the bottom of the library haul stack I got, which consists of 7 books. The cover is gorgeous and I even read the first few pages on Bookishfirst. I thought it was interesting but I’ve seen either hyped up reviews for it or lukewarm. So…has the hype died down yet? Because I rather read books when the hype is gone.

Bought this purely because of the over and it was on Bookoutlet for a steal! I’m saving it for when we get into October.

Apparently this has been on my Goodreads TBR since 2015! And I still see this title floating around, that’s some awesome staying power and I really should get to it SOON.

I read the Kushiel’s Dart series back in high school! That’s the last time I read her books and when I saw this book, I added to my TBR. I’m afraid to read it because I really don’t know what to expect from this book.

I’ve read every Kristin Hannah book except this one because at it’s release my mother-in-law read it first and told me it dealt with heavy subjects and I should at least get in the right mindset to read it. So I’ve put it off for too long. Will read it soon!

Another hyped title! I’ve read Colleen Hoover books before but everyone was raving about this one and yup…haven’t gotten to it yet. Maybe I’ll read it this fall.

Been waiting for this to show up at my library but it’s taking awhile and I enjoyed the first book but I feel like I’m forgetting what it’s about. So I definitely need to get to this one soon.

The Arcana Chronicles 🙃…I think I read books 1-5…yeah I think and I was seriously getting tired of Evie doing the back and forth dance between Arik and Jack! Don’t know if I will read this one – but I did enjoy the whole tarot card theme of the book.

Found this on my Goodreads TBR list and I remember the movie made me cry. So I would think the book will make me cry too. Which means I don’t know if I will ever read this one lol.

Well this TTT made me go ahead and clean up some of my Goodreads lists so that’s a good thing! 😅 I had so many books I wanted to read on there that I didn’t remember adding. If you have a list, leave a link in my comments below! Would love to see what is on your TBR list…I may just add it to mine.

Book Tags

Lover – Book Tag

I found this super fun book tag from Sara @ The Bibliophagist . She created it and it is inspired by Taylor Swift’s new album Lover, which I was playing all of last week. Check out Sara’s blog for more amazing book content!

Rules:

  • Link back to the creator, Sara @ The Bibliophagist!
  • Answer the questions!
  • Tag whoever you want and link back to the person who tagged you!

I Forgot That You Existed: a book from your childhood that you don’t remember anything about

♪ it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference ♪

Required reading – I forget at what age, 5th grade? Something like that, but all I remember is the cover because of the dogs and that’s it.


Cruel Summer: the worst book you’ve read this summer

♪ it’s blue, the feeling I’ve got and it’s… it’s a cruel summer ♪

It’s not horrible, I just couldn’t get into this one! 😒


Lover: a bookish relationship that’s perfect exactly the way it is

♪ can we always be this close forever and ever ♪

Because I just love Lara Jean and Peter K. together. They just make sense. 🤷🏻‍♀️💕


The Man: a book with a badass female main character

♪ if I was a man, then I’d be the man ♪

Lara from The Bridge Kingdom – I’m scared of her and ready to see how much she kicks ass in book 2. 😅 I’m actually reading at eArc of Diamond City right now and the protagonist, Aina, actually is more scary badass than Lara, but I’m going with what is published.


The Archer: a book with great character development

♪ I see right through me ♪

A lot of characters in this book show growth, it’s an awesome book. I read it as an arc but I now need a physical copy to re-read it.


I Think He Knows: your fictional crush

♪ he got my heartbeat skipping down 16th Avenue ♪

Rhysand – High Lord of the Night Court. 🖤


Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince: a book set in high school

♪ waving homecoming queens, marching band playing, I’m lost in the lights ♪

A high school enemies to lovers, next door neighbors, love story.


Paper Rings: a book with a happy ending

♪ I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings ♪

I’ll go with THE classic happily ever after, no not Cinderella….Pride and Prejudice. A thousand times, yes.


Cornelia Street: a setting you’ll never forget

♪ “I rent a place on Cornelia Street,” I say casually in the car ♪

I just finished this book recently and I won’t forget it for sure. It’s a retelling of one of my favorite childhood stories Twelve Dancing Princesses. I love the setting, the whole vibe, a house by the sea, with a creepy curse, a mystery, and horror. 😱


Death by a Thousand Cuts: a book that broke your heart

♪ I can’t pretend that it’s okay when it’s not ♪

I was not okay at the end of The Shadow Glass. Was there no other way? 😭


London Boy: a setting that plays a big role in the story

♪ show me a gray sky, a rainy cab ride ♪

The setting in We Hunt the Flame is vital to the story – the Arz, a cursed forest is what prompts the protagonist to go on a treasure hunt. I loved the setting in this book!


Soon You’ll Get Better: a book that made you cry

♪ what am I supposed to do if there’s no you? ♪

I went into this book laughing and contemplative, then it hit me in the end with a sad event. It was kind of out of the blue and I was like…what? 😢


False God: a book with a well-written sexy scene

♪ I know heaven’s a thing, I go there when you touch me, honey ♪

I read two books in August with sex in it (I swear I used to read more books with sex in them 😂🤷🏻‍♀️) – I’ve been in YA bookland for awhile I think…so I’ll go with The Spitfire, an adult historical romance.


You Need to Calm Down: a book featuring an LGBT romance

♪ shade never made anybody less gay ♪

The most recent LGBT book I read and reviewed recently is Mooncakes. It’s a super cute graphic novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Review to come.


Afterglow: a great second chance romance

♪ why’d I have to break what I love so much? ♪

In The Lady Rogue, Theo and Huck are so cute especially when they are bickering. 😂 But they are totally meant to be together, despite what happened in the past.


ME!: your all-time favorite book

♪ I promise that you’ll never find another like me ♪

Going off the books I’ve re-read a lot the past few years – it has to be this series, for now…😬


It’s Nice to Have a Friend: your favorite friends-to-lovers book

♪ something gave you the nerve to touch my hand ♪

I feel like every Sarah Dessen novel could be a Taylor Swift song! What do you think? I can’t say this is my favorite, but the most recent friends to lovers I’ve read all year.


Daylight: a book with a positive message

♪ you gotta step into the daylight and let it go ♪

Okay I looked at my list of books I’ve read and geez…do I need more upbeat, happier reads! I mean most of what I read has a positive message whether the characters go through some crazy obstacles in life. But Vow of Thieves…had it all for me, it was an emotional rollercoaster, yes, it made me cry more than once. I love the characters, main ones, secondary ones…the message of strength, keep fighting, don’t give up. Kazi is MY hero. I’m glad she got her daylight in the end.

Tagging:

A Little Haze Book Blog

Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner

nen & jen

….and if you like doing book tags like I do, and I didn’t tag you, go ahead and try this one out! 😘

book review, fantasy, magic, Young Adult

Book Review | Nocturna

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Nocturna

Author: Maya Motayne

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 480

Categories: Latinx, Fantasy, Young Adult

Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

I finally read Nocturna! It’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months. I got it in my first book crate box subscription with LitJoyCrate and I just had to many other books ahead of it to read. But I finally picked it up.

First off, the cover is gorgeous. It’s a reversible dust jacket with a design on the inside but the front cover is just my favorite part. The colors are so vibrant. 🔥 I also love that it is a Latinx fantasy novel. Latin culture is so rich, it’s the perfect setting for a fantasy novel.

As for the story, we meet Prince Alfehr, who is returning home to Castallan. The seat of their kingdom is in the city of San Cristobal. He has been reluctant to take his place after the death of his older brother Dez, but he does. We learn about the magic of this world, which seems pretty on par with other books of this genre. There didn’t seem to be a difference in it that stands out.

My favorite character is Finn Voy who is a very talented thief and I loved her magic to change her appearance. Her character just comes alive from the get go, she likes to say maldito…a lot. 😂 Prince Alfie, on the other hand is the opposite. It was kind of fun watching Finn go toe to toe with Prince Alfie because she is just so vibrant which is opposite to Alfie’s control on his emotions. I just wanted him to open up a bit more though.

There is a hint of maybe a romance to come between them but that is it. There is no romance in this book at all, so if you expect one – don’t. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Honestly I was hoping for a little more heat between them because this book cover is so fire! 😅

The pacing did make me pause the book a few times, there were some parts action – and yes, I loved the gruesome parts, it just added to the evil they were trying to fight and contain. Other than those parts and the ending, the story was kind of lackluster and I found myself skipping a few parts.

Overall, I wish the book matched it’s cover, but it fell short for me. I’m not sure if I will be picking up the sequel, I might do it, just to see if I can learn more about Prince Alfie and if Finn can get under his skin more. But we shall see…

book review, E-book, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

ARC Review | Mooncakes

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Mooncakes

Authors: Suzanne Walker

Artist: Wendy Xu

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 256

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Categories: Romance, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, Witchcraft, Graphic Novel, Young Adult

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

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.

Thank you to Lion Forge and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this eArc.

I read my first graphic novel…as an adult, that is, because I was obsessed with Elf Quest and Archie back in my middle school days! Haha…and my son just got a graphic novel set from his aunt for his birthday so I’ll be helping him read that one.

Mooncakes is about Nova, a young witch that wears a hearing aid, being raised by her grandmothers who are also witches and have a bookshop. That’s my dream right there, to be a witch who owns a book store! 😍 Nova reunites with a friend from long ago, Tam Lang who is a shape-shifter and becomes a love interest. There is a mysterious dark force in town and Nova and Tam have to figure out how to defeat it.

Graphic novels just read fast because the art just moves it along. I love the color palette used by artist Wendy Xu, it gives it a retro feel.

There is a nice representation of so much diversity. There were different cultural celebrations, Sukkot (Jewish holiday) and eating mooncakes at during the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival. I thought it was nice to see a blend of the cultures because my own children have a blended culture as well and we celebrate a lot of things!

The romance between Nova and Tam was so cute! Tam uses “they” pronouns and they have a past together but it was so sweet to watch their relationship grow. And the witchcraft in the book was wonderful since we are in the month of September and I am in the mood for all things witchy!

Overall Mooncakes is a wonderful read full of diversity, action, love, villains and heroes! If you are into graphic novels or starting to get into them again, like I am, Mooncakes is the perfect graphic novel to start with!