Send Me Their Souls | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Send Me Their Souls (Bring Me Their Hearts, #3)

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 11/3/20

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Romance

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

The finale to the epic Bring Me Their Hearts series reaches its thrilling conclusion, full of intrigue, emotion, and of course romance.

Reunited with Lucien, Malachite, and Fione, Zera finally has the choice of whether or not to regain her humanity and give up her life as a Heartless. But with war raging and an army of valkerax on the loose, she’s never needed immortality more. Will they be able to stop Varia without sacrificing themselves in the process?

My Attention: read in 2 days

World Building: the same epic setting as the beginning of the series in Bring Me Their Hearts, but our characters travel to various places in this book

Writing Style: snarky characters, fun dialogue as usual

Crazy in Love: so in love 

Creativity: A wonderful fantasy series about a Heartless – who’s life is controlled by her witch (whichever witch holds her heart)

Triggers: violence, mild horror scenes, gore

  • Zera’s snarkiness is back but this time she’s a little more subdued because she and Lucien are finally together. And I think love makes her a tiny bit softer, in a good way. It’s not only the love from Lucien she has, but also with her new friends, Mal and Fione. We also get Yorl, the feline polymath back in this last book, which is great. I adore the characters in this book!
  • There is a choice to be made in this final installment – does Zera and her crew let Varia live? Or do they destroy her, the Valkerax and the Bone Tree? Varia is Lucien’s sister and Fione’s lover, so Zera needs to weigh her options, except all the options are so bleak. The final decision made me tear up a little.
  • We get to travel with Zera and her crew in this book. They visit Nightsinger in the witch-city of Windowhigh and then they board a ship, taking a journey to The Black Archives where the warrior polymaths live. Lastly, we get a little bit of Malachite’s background when the final battle takes place underground in Pala Amna.
  • I love Ev (Evlorasin), the valkerax who has a blood bond with Zera. He reminds me of Falcor from The Neverending Story! He makes a quick appearance in the book, but I always love it when he shows up.
  • The one thing I love about this series is that it isn’t afraid to get dark and gory yet it has a sense of humor also. I mean I guess I’d laugh to if I couldn’t really die from life threatening wounds most people would perish from. But this story is intense and yes I shed a tear at the end, before the epilogue haha…but ugh…my heart.
  • There are some pacing issues with this book and I think it’s because they have to figure out what to do about Varia. They are mostly trying to find out information about the Bone Tree, the Glass Tree and then the Tree of Souls…so there was a lot of info dumping. The first two books were so intense that I thought this one dragged a bit in the beginning. The action comes at the end in the final battle.
  • As for Varia…I did not care about her, at all. I know she’s Lucien’s sister and Fione’s mate but let me just say she gets it easy in the end after all the sacrifices Zera, Lucien, Fione and Malachite had to go through!

What a series! I think this was a solid ending to the series, but it’s not my favorite book in the trilogy. I shed a few tears after that final battle though so it made me feel all kinds of things. There was no good choice to make, but Zera did what she had to do. I loved Zera and her crew, they bring the fun and jokes – in many morbid situations. I’m so happy she got her heart back.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

WWW Wednesday | 10/28/20

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words.

The idea is pretty simple, every week you dedicate a post to the three W’s:

What are you currently reading?

What have you just finished reading?

What are you going to read next?

What are you currently reading?

What have you finished reading?

What are you going to read next?

Have you read any of these titles?

💕 ~ Yolanda

Top Ten Tuesday | 10/27/20

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. Please check out her website for more TTT topics!

This week’s freebie topic is:

Creepy Covers

Just to stay in the Halloween spirit…these covers have that cool, kinda creepy vibe. I don’t have 10, just 5!

And I will say…that Horrid cover – creeps me out so bad! 😅 It’s the eyes! 😑 I was trying to find covers with girl faces that had the creepy/scary vibe to it and that one just tops the list. I’ve only read The Grace Year and Sawkill Girls from this list and The Grace Year still is vivid in my mind. I was disturbed, but it was a good read.

Have you read any of these? I’m a wimp when it comes to horror but just for the season, I occasionally indulge in reading these haha.

I hope all of you have a Happy Halloween week!

🎃 ~ Yolanda

Shifter Wars | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Shifter Wars ~ Werewold Dens #1

Author: Kelly St. Clare

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 420

Categories: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Fated Mates, Werewolves

When Mum died, I inherited a lot more than a pack of lies.

I landed a $410,000 debt.
Discovered her previous surname.
And her real place of birth.

Desperate to uncover the truth, I drive to a tiny dot on the map called Deception Valley.

Coincidental name? Nope.

There, I find her secret family—because she had one of those too.

How many lies are we at? Honestly, I’ve lost count, but local gossip captures my attention. Apparently, Mum’s other family play laser tag every Wednesday. Not even joking. Laser tag.

What the hell is this place?

In hindsight, the massive guy with honey irises was my first major clue. Unusual eyes for a human, right?
Perfect eyes for a werewolf.

But sexy supernaturals, thongs, and mounting financial strain aside, Mum’s past is buried somewhere in this valley, and I need to dig up the truth or find a way to live with her lies.

What do you do when neither option will leave you unscathed?

  • World Building ~ if you read Kelly St. Clare’s previous series Vampire Towers, just know this one is similar except with werewolves and Laser Tag. I read these series because it’s so unique to base the plot around a game. It’s creative and holds my interest. The story takes place in Deception Valley but this quaint town isn’t all that it seems. The “laser tag” game between humans and werewolves are action packed.
  • Characters ~ Andie is struggling with her mom’s death and debt, trying to finish college and just found out she has family in Deception Valley. She isn’t quite a badass yet, as she’s learning the ropes about laser tag and the war between the two sides. Alaric/Sascha is a Sigma – he gets what he wants and yes he wants Andie. Their connection is electric but Andie fights it as long as she can, but you can’t do much when you are fated. I liked the supporting cast also in the werewolf clan and the human one.
  • Romance ~ Andie and Sascha are inevitable, fated mates but sort of like Vampire Towers where they had levels to achieve mate status, it happens in Shifter Wars also. But the built-up tension between them is definitely there.
  • Writing ~ I enjoy this author’s writing because of the humor and the stories are fast paced. I read this in one night and am ready to read book two when it publishes. It’s total escapism.
  • Triggers: stalking, toxic relationship, grief
  • It’s got a cliffhanger ending – but book two comes out in December, yay!

Solid start to a new series and I just enjoy how the author keeps things creative with throwing a game into the story. It’s creative, unique and keeps things fresh! I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

💙 ~ Yolanda

Aloha Friday | 10/23/20

Another week almost over and 10 days until election day – let’s do this! 💪🏾

New Books Acquired:

Hardcovers:

This is what I got for the Amazon Prime Day sales – books. Haha, it was buy 3 for the price of 2 so why not?

Kindle Unlimited:

Netflix:

  • Love, Guaranteed (movie) – super cute rom com and Rachel Leigh Cook is in it! Seeing her always takes me back to She’s All That.
  • Unsolved Mysteries (tv show) – I skipped the murder stories because I wasn’t in the mood, but stopped to watch the episode Tsunami Spirits. 💔 The 2011 tsunami footage in Japan brought me back to that night – here in Hawaii we were freaking out waiting to see if a tsunami would hit us. Seeing what happened in Japan was frightening and heartbreaking – it broke my heart all over again. 😭

Adulting:

  • Remote schooling continues – and for the most part this quarter has been smoother! We got our COVID numbers under control but…tourists are now allowed back to visit, and we are starting the next phase of opening up the state – so more people and more movement makes me think we will lock down again in oh…3 months? That seems to be the cycle.
  • I took a break from working on resin pieces because my pieces weren’t curing correctly – I think because it’s been super humid here in the islands. 😦 We have rain, yay…but when the rain stops, it’s humid! But I do have a sale going on until Halloween so check out my Etsy shop: FancifulWish if you want to do some Christmas gift shopping.
  • My kids won’t be trick or treating but they are dressing up regardless – my son will be No Face from Spirited Away and my daughter will be a pink Pikmin. 😄

Have a nice weekend everyone!

🧡 ~ Yolanda

Skyhunter | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Skyhunter

Author: Marie Lu

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 371

Categories: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.

The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.

Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.

When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?

  • Aesthetics ~ check out that cover, it looks simple, but oh the colors and that font. 😍😭Then if you had the hardcover edition like I do, the title is sprayed against the pages…and then….and THEN when you take off the jacket, you get more of that purple pink title and that title in that font again. I think it’s right now my favorite cover of 2020 and I didn’t think it would be at first glance.
  • World Building ~ Marie Lu knows how to build a fictional world. This story is set in a dystopian world, Mara is the last area standing against the Karensa Federation who wants to take over every inch of land in their country. This story is set way after our current civilization. There are ruins of our cities made of steel and people have learned to use the materials they found to survive. There are evolved humans, more like humans that were experimented on, that turned them into killing creatures called Ghosts. So the sci-fi aspect is very present in this story.
  • Characters ~ interesting and diverse characters. My favorite so far is Jeran, one of Talin’s friends. Talin is a solid main character – she’s strong and we shall see what happens in the next book.
  • Writing ~ engaging from the start. The story is intense with lots of action, and characters dealing with their own personal traumas. There is a great message of being brave and strong no matter what life throws at you.
  • As engaging as the writing is, the middle of the book started to lose my attention. I might have been expecting more from the story or maybe I wanted it to go deeper. Maybe I wanted more romance and I got some of it with Jeran’s storyline at least, yay! I can’t pinpoint it just yet, maybe it was too predictable? Was I not connecting to any of the characters? But I started to get bored, until the last few pages happened, which was a total cliffhanger.
  • I had a lot of questions that weren’t answered and maybe will be answered in book two – but the whole mind link thing between Red and Talin, why did it happen so quickly?
  • Triggers: violence, killing, experiments on humans, abuse, grief, trauma

The physical book is gorgeous, the writing is wonderful but I might have been expecting more because it’s a Marie Lu book. As a dystopian, sci-fi novel I think it has a lot of action and the ending makes you want to read the next book. I think I’m looking for more of a connection to the characters but maybe that will happen in book two when we find out what happens next to Talin and Red.

💕 ~ Yolanda

WWW Wednesday | 10/21/20

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words.

The idea is pretty simple, every week you dedicate a post to the three W’s:

What are you currently reading?

What have you just finished reading?

What are you going to read next?

What are you currently reading?

What have you just finished reading?

What are you going to read next?

That’s all I got! What are you reading next?

Heart Bones | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5

Title: Heart Bones

Author: Colleen Hoover

Format: eBook (KU)

Pages: 338

Categories: contemporary, romance, new adult, poverty, drug abuse

Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah Grim’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself.

With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim. Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan.

Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface.

She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. Which means they’re drawn to each other. With an almost immediate connection too intense for them to continue denying, Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn’t realize is that a rip current is coming, and it’s about to drag her heart out to sea.

My Attention: read in one night

World Building: Kentucky to Texas

Writing Style: easy to read, good character development, emotional

Crazy in Love: yes

Triggers: drug abuse, child neglect, broken family, death, overdose, poverty

  • Beyah goes from her mom over-dosing to living with a father she hardly knows. Beyah is a strong character for someone who has been broken and damaged all her life. Her story is heart-breaking. I just wanted good things for her.
  • Samson is mysterious and handsome. I liked how Beyah judges and we as the readers start doing it too because we only know what they know of him. He’s hiding a lot of secrets which come out in a shocking way.
  • It’s all about Beyah and Samson. Beyah finds all her guards giving way the more she spends time with Samson. They are both damaged and that’s why they are drawn to each other. From the moment they met it was intense between them.
  • The twist in the end was heartbreaking. But I’m glad Beyah did what she did.
  • Some tough topics are covered in this book: poverty, drug abuse, sexual assault – this book is about survival and the kids that fall through the cracks in society. What happens to them? How does someone like Beyah who had an addict mother, take another path in life – talk about strength and determination.
  • The way how Beyah didn’t tell her dad that her mom died, bugged me! Like…that would be the first thing I’d say, I think. But I understand her secrecy, she was trying to protect herself the only way she knew how. But seriously…the way she tells him – I guess I wanted more of a conversation on that between her and her dad.

Heart Bones is heartbreaking. We have Beyah and Samson who has been beaten by life at such a young age, they have both done everything to survive (good and bad). They find each other in all their damaged state and fall in love. I honestly still feel bad thinking about Samson after the story – but glad it had a happy ending.

💙 ~ Yolanda

A Curse of Ash and Embers | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Curse of Ash & Embers

Author: Jo Spurrier

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 272

Publication Date: 11/3/20

Publisher: Voyager

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches

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

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.

Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.

When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

Thank you to Voyager and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC!

My Attention: it couldn’t hold my attention

World Building: Black Oak Cottage, witches and a mystery to uncover

Writing Style: atmospheric

Bringing the Heat: none

Crazy in Love: nope – not crazy

Creativity: magic, witches and monsters

Mood: mixed feelings

Triggers: violence

My Takeaway: Elodie is a strong and brave young woman who can take care of herself.

  • I enjoyed the story of Aleida and Gyssha, the witches of Black Oak Cottage. When Elodie meets Aleida, Black Oak Cottage isn’t in good condition. We learn about Gyssha’s demise and then more about the witches’ history but Aleida is pretty fierce.
  • The female characters in this book are strong. Elodie is a great character because she is literally just turned out from her home. Her step-father wants her gone and unfortunately her mother agrees it’s time for her to go. She’s a young woman, away from family and home. Elodie is smart, and isn’t afraid to ask questions. I liked her inquiring mind as she met different people like the wizard.
  • The writing is wonderful and atmospheric. There is action and danger to keep things somewhat exciting.
  • Unfortunately, I found myself bored at times reading this story because it moves slowly like a mystery.
  • Would have liked a little more romance, but that’s a personal thing for me because I love romance in my stories.

This book may have not captured my full attention but many people who read young adult fantasy will enjoy this story very much. It has witches, action, danger and a girl named Elodie who finds a new home in the most unexpected place.

The Whisper Man | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5

Title: The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Format: paperback (owned)

Pages: 355

Categories: crime, thriller, adult fiction, contemporary, mystery

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

My Attention: read in 3 days

World Building: village of Featherbank

Writing Style: easy to read, direct

Crazy in Love: none of that

Creativity: a crime mystery that touches on grief, and facing things from the past

Triggers: crime against children, murder, alcoholism, troubled home, abuse, kidnapping, grief

  • I’m one of those people who likes watching documentaries on serial killers – it freaks me out, but I like learning about the psychology and motivation of these killers. So if you are like me, and liked stories like Silence of the Lambs, then you will like The Whisper Man. There is a spooky children’s rhyme in the village about the Whisper Man. There is a creepy house that Jake and his father move into and of course…whispering heard in the house and Jake talking to himself (or so people think) – everything that will give you some chills and thrills while reading the story.
  • The characters are all pretty fleshed out and have mystery to them as well. Jake has lost his mother and finds himself talking to a little girl only he can see. Tom, Jake’s father, is barely holding it together. We see how parenting and grieving is hard for him. Then there is Pete Willis, the detective on the case that has haunted him for years. He is now a recovering alcoholic with a few regrets in his life. I could feel all their struggles. I love the emotional connections that were made in this story.
  • The case of The Whisper Man is mostly solved except for one body that has never been recovered. And now there is a copycat on the loose, so the mystery reveal was something I didn’t expect and then the ending was…wow.
  • It’s disturbing – as any story about harming children should be disturbing. So when we finally meet the killer…I was scared for all parties involved. I’m a parent so it definitely made me want to grab my kids and not make them leave my house ever!
  • There wasn’t anything mind-blowing about this story but I did enjoy how all the elements came together.
  • The rhyming song creeped me out (because children singing songs about serial killers usually creep me out) – but the story didn’t give me that scary factor, so if you are wanting a book to scare you – this won’t be it. It’s more thrilling mystery than scary.

This book had a little bit of everything: crime, mystery, thrills and creepiness. It also delves into the challenges of dealing with grief, addiction, and forgiveness. Overall, an enjoyable read that makes you follow the trail of clues and gives you a little thrill here and there.

🖤 ~ Yolanda