The Damned | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Damned (The Beautiful, #2)

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 456

Categories: Vampires, Young Adult, New Orleans, Romance, Historical Fantasy

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. 

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn. 

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

My Attention: struggled to stay interested

World Building: lovely world building of New Orleans

Writing Style: slow…writing is lovely, but to slow paced for me

Bringing the Heat: 🔥 – I was expecting more 

Crazy in Love: not much of a love triangle because it’s clear who Celine wants

Creativity: I did enjoy the supernaturals and in this book more of the fey world is explained

Mood: mixed feelings 

Triggers: blood, violence

My Takeaway: Family can betray you.

  • The reason I enjoyed the first book in the series was the lush setting of New Orleans. Once again, the setting is enjoyable plus we get to travel to another world, that of the Lady of the Vale (the fey).
  • We learn more about the past – we find out how vampires were made. We are introduced to the fey and we get to know backstories about a few characters.
  • I like knowing more about Celine’s past and makes me wonder about her future.
  • The secondary characters like Odette, Jae and Arjun stand out in this volume more than Bastien and Celine. I really got into Jae’s story.
  • I like the diversity in the book with the characters whether it be their ethnicity or sexual preferences.
  • I was expecting way more from this book (like WAY more action) but was disappointed with the slow pace of the beginning.
  • Bastien and Celine’s relationship was what was enticing about The Beautiful but in this one they are mostly apart…or try to stay apart. It left me with mild feelings and I was expecting a burning longing between them. There were some moments between them…but again, my expectations were high.
  • As much as I did enjoy learning about the fey…I think it took away from the whole vampire element – at least for me. It took off in a direction that was unexpected…and I’m not sure if it was a good surprise, at least to me. Maybe I’m still processing…
  • There are SO many questions still -Emilie for one hasn’t been dealt with at all. Also there is a cliffhanger…one that was shocking but, does it make want to read book three? Right now…I’d say no. But who knows how I will feel next year?

The world building is still lush, the cast of characters is diverse, and it’s a world of supernaturals from vampires, werewolves and fey. The romance is predictable since we obviously can see Michael has no chance in hell with Celine if Bastien’s around. There is a lot here to keep readers entertained but for me it fell short of my expectations.

💕 ~Yolanda

WWW Wednesday | 8/12/20

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 reading next?

I’m trying to get through some NetGalley reads! What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday | 8/11/20

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 topic is:

Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

So many books come under this topic haha – I only started reviewing books last year and I’ve been reading book since I was eleven-ish? 🤔 I’m going to have to go into my Goodreads history for this one!

So I remember buying this book in Barnes & Noble just because it was about vampires and that cover just had me from the start. Black, red and white…yesss…haha. I don’t think I loved it right away because I wasn’t a teen anymore, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I found myself waiting for the sequel…and then it just kind of took over the world huh? I remember buying the whole series and letting friends and family borrow all of them when they finally heard about this book. I didn’t even know some of these people read books, that was the reach of this series. I let someone borrow the series and it never came back to me.

***

More vampires! I was so addicted to this series! There are so many kindle unlimited “academy” fast-release books out there from indie authors but for me it started with this series right here. Bummed the movie flopped but I think it would make a good television show.

***

And my other obsession after Vampire Academy was Bloodlines! Alchemist unite…Sydney and Adrian were my faves.

***

I mean what can I say about it – I’ve read it multiple times because I love the world building and world of the Fae.

***

I love the whole dystopian, sci-fi aspect of this series and I gave the third one high marks because it had the romantic conclusion I wanted but the more I thought about and re-read it…I’m bummed about book three. It’s one of the reviews I have to mark down after reading it again. But the first books in the series had my heart.

***

I’ve read this book multiple times. I love Edie and see what she goes through after a traumatic event.

***

There is something about this contemporary YA book that I love – the whole pop star falls in love with regular girl trope is so much fun! It just made me feel like a teen in love with her favorite star…I mean, haven’t we all had one pop star crush in our lifetime?!

***

Mafia love story – YES. One of my fave’s.

***

Another book I’ve read multiple times but never reviewed and now it’s everywhere because of the Netflix movies.

***

I’m not a big fan of pirate stories but this series totally got me into the whole trope!

In conclusion, there are a LOT of books I haven’t reviewed on this blog or Goodreads. I left star ratings but never bothered to input a written review. Maybe I should challenge myself to reread some of these. Except my TBR is long as it is…anyway what was on your TTT?

Leave me your link in the comments! 😘

Chosen Ones |ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Chosen Ones (The Chosen One, #1)

Author: Veronica Roth

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 419

Categories: Adult Fiction, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons–and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Thank you to John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

My Attention: struggled

World Building: urban fantasy, Chicago

Writing Style: writing flows well, I just thought the beginning was hard to get into because it takes the form of an investigation/reports and that usually kills my interest

Bringing the Heat: 🔥

Crazy in Love: nope

Creativity: ten years ago, there were 5 chosen ones who fought of the Dark One…here they are on the anniversary still dealing with the PTSD of what took place in that fight

Mood: not feeling it

Triggers: violence, PTSD, suicide

My Takeaway: Heroes can come out scarred.

  • Sloane is an interesting, morally grey, character – she is spunky, blunt and angry. She’s dealing with a lot of stuff and mostly because she was one of the chosen ones 10 years who fought the Dark One. And it messed her up. She knows it messed her up even though her boyfriend Matt says this side of her, is “not” her. I’m glad we got into her head and thoughts.
  • The premise about what happens to the heroes after they defeat the bad guy, is an awesome topic to explore. Some of them move on, some of them suffer from PTSD and don’t know how to accept who they are after what happened. I really liked how mental health issues were on display in this story.
  • On top of the PTSD, these chosen ones became “celebrities” whether they wanted to be or not. They saved the world and was thrown into the spotlight. Matt navigated fame expertly, but Sloane despises it. I like how the author brought to light the issues heroes would have to deal with after saving the world.
  • This story is imaginative and different. I appreciate that the story is thought-provoking.
  • This is an adult fiction book but for me it reads like NA (New Adult) or even could pass for YA at times.
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy is a challenging genre for me to delve into especially when there are a lot of flashbacks. It didn’t help me that the story unraveled slowly. The writing is good but it just didn’t hook me with the flashbacks.
  • I couldn’t connect with any of the characters.
  • Definitely a mood read kind of book for me – and I think I was in the wrong mood for this.

Overall, this wasn’t for me. I’m a fan of the author’s previous work but this one was too slow for me and the flashbacks didn’t engage me. I did enjoy how the story explored how heroes deal with the aftermath of saving the world. I think fans of sci-fi will enjoy this one a lot.

Monthly Wrap-Up | July 2020

Here we are in the second half of the year and I’m exhausted but school starts up again for my son, so here we go…the challenge of August because, every month is something different, right? 2020…we need to like do a full on sage, cleansing, purge…I don’t know what…haha. Anyway, here is what I read and/or reviewed in July:

I’m usually so lazy about posting links to my reviews but I’m trying to be less lazy about that haha…so here are the ratings and links:

The Black Kids by. Christina Hammonds Reed – 4 STARS

Today Tonight Tomorrow by. Rachel Lynn Solomon – 4 1/2 STARS

Black Girl Unlimited by. Echo Brown – 5 STARS

Into the Crooked Place by. Alexandra Christo – 3 STARS

I’ll Be the One by. Lyla Lee – 4 1/2 STARS

Dark Skies by. Danielle L. Jensen – 4 1/2 STARS

More Than Maybe by. Erin Harn – 3 1/2 STARS

In the Neighborhood of True by. Susan Kaplan Carlton – 4 STARS

Daring and the Duke by. Sarah MacLEAN – 4 STARS

The Kinder Poison by. Natalie Mae – 4 1/2 STARS

The Dark Tide by. Alicia Jasinska – 3 STARS

Queen of the Conquered by. Kacen Callender – 3 STARS

Mayhem by. Estelle Laure – 3 1/2 STARS

The Lost City by. Amanda Hocking – 3 STARS

I think July was a good month until the hurricane came our way haha – then my anxiety levels went up and I was struggling to read but that was at the end of the month.

We shall see how August goes but I hope it’s a good month. I read a lot of arcs that are releasing in September and they are SO good. Anyway, some of those reviews will be posted this month.

How did your July reading go?

WWW Wednesday | 8/5/20

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?

That’s what I got for today – what are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday | 8/4/20

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 topic is:

Books with Colors In the Titles

The ones I’ve read in this list are:

  • The Indigo Spell by. Richelle Mead
  • Vision in Silver by. Anne Bishop
  • Red Queen by. Victoria Aveyard
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by.Jasmine Wanga
  • Black Girl Unlimited by. Echo Brown
  • The Black Kids by. Christina Hammonds Reed
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by. Samantha Shannon

What titles did you have in your TTT?

Fable | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Fable

Author: Adrienne Young

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 9/01/20

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Pirates, Young Adult, Adventure, Romance, Family, Survival, Fantasy

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

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

WOW.

My Reactions:

My Attention: absolutely swept away – read this in one sitting

World Building: epic – the setting is in the islands I’m sure inspired by the Caribbean but I could feel the humid air, see the school of fish in the reef, feel the pressure of the water as Fable dove deep….SO good.

Writing Style: flowed beautifully

Bringing the Heat: 🔥 – barely any but it didn’t need it

Crazy in Love: slow burn love story

Creativity: I loved everything about Fable and her gem mage powers, I want to learn more about it

Mood: Excited 

Triggers: violence, thieving

My Takeaway: Fable is abandoned by the only parent she has but makes a promise to herself to survive and take what is hers.

  • First off – that COVER. It is to die for! Absolutely beautiful.
  • Fable’s story is pretty amazing – she is surviving on her own, trying to get back to the father that left her to die (or survive). She has grit, brains and courage! It also helps she’s a gem mage, it helps her skills as a dredger (a diver). She does what she has to do to survive. My heart broke for her when it came to her relationship with her father.
  • In any pirate story, it’s ALL about the crew and the crew of the Marigold is great. We have a gay couple, siblings and lots and lots of secrets. West is the helmsman who commandeers the ship and he is as mysterious as they come but we learn about his background.
  • Fable’s dad, Saint, tells Fable she doesn’t belong in this world. She feels like he means in the world in general…but he means HIS world, this rough, dangerous, cold trading world of the Narrows. It’s cutthroat and he meant for her to be safe. I like the complicated feelings and history between them.
  • Danger is everywhere in this story and the author captures the setting so well. I was rooting for Fable and nervous for her from the moment I started the book and I could not STOP reading. And when the book came to an end, I wanted the next book.
  • I’ve read this author’s previous series but this one to me takes her writing to a whole new level. I was so immersed in this story.
  • The magic Fable has is as a gem mage and though she uses it while doing her work as a dredger – I think there is more to learn about her skill and her mother’s history. I want to definitely learn more about her mom’s family!
  • The romance doesn’t overtake this story, it’s slowly building and you wonder if it will turn into something and when it does…wow. We shall see what this means for the sequel!

I love a good pirate story, there is danger, high stakes, traders trying to be or stay the top dog and keeping their territories under their rule. This story hooked me right away! I loved everything about this book and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

BLOG TOUR | Secret Crush Seduction by. Jayci Lee

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Secret Crush Seduction by. Jayci Lee!

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Secret Crush Seduction (The Heirs of Hansol, #2)

Author: Jayci Lee

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 224

Publication Date: 9/01/20

Publisher: Harlequin Desire

Categories: Contemporary Romance, Brother’s Best Friend, Interracial Relationship, Friends to Lovers, Billionaire, dynasty, Office Romance, Reunion

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

She’s done waiting for what she really wants…

“If I don’t have you after that kiss,

I’ll burn to dust from the inside out…”

Aspiring fashion designer Adelaide Song wants to prove she’s more than just a pampered heiress. All she needs is a little courage—and the help of deliciously sexy Michael Reynolds, her childhood crush and her brother’s best friend. But when her secret crush turns into an illicit liaison, Adelaide realizes mixing business with pleasure spells trouble for all her plans…

Thank you to Harlequin Desire and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

This is book two in The Heirs of Hansol series and we get to have Adelaide’s love story. Let’s break it down:

My Attention: it’s a really quick read so it had my full attention

World Building: the multi-billion Hansol fashion empire

Writing Style: flowed nicely

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥 

Crazy in Love: crush turned into lovers

Creativity: fun to see the Hansol family again

Mood: happy

Triggers: assault

My Takeaway: A crush on the boy Adelaide wanted forever turns into so much more.

  • I wanted Adelaide’s story since book one and I wasn’t disappointed. She’s beautiful, smart, can cook and comes up with an idea to design clothing for people with autism – I mean, she’s awesome! All she wants to do is have a part of the Hansol empire, but her grandmother doesn’t trust her because of her wild, partying past. Adelaide proves this time around she deserves a place in the family business.
  • Michael is older than Adelaide by like 10 years and he’s already divorced. He has some personal issues that makes it difficult for him to commit to Adelaide but love wins out. He knows how special she is. I like how they good they are together as a team.
  • I love the family dynamics in this series. We see Adelaide brother, Garrett and her cousin, Colin make appearances. But once again, Mrs. Song, her grandmother is boss!
  • The sex is steamy, the history between Adelaide and Michael is there, and their banter is fun. You can feel how they know each other so well, plus he’s basically part of the family, which was nice. This story hits all the checkmarks.
  • I think the books in this series are supposed to be short, but I enjoyed this couple so much I felt like the ending was so rushed, especially when it came to Michael’s “secret”.

This might be my favorite of the series so far mostly because I adore Adelaide! I’m glad she and Michael get a happy ending and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I’ll Be the One | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: I’ll Be the One

Author: Lyla Lee

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Categories: Contemporary, Young Adult, K Pop, Entertainment Industry, Body Image, LGBT+, Romance, Parent Relationships, Celebrity, Singing Competition Shows

The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself. 

My Attention: full attention

World Building: SoCal

Writing Style: light hearted, humor

Bringing the Heat: 🔥

Crazy in Love: not so crazy, it’s a slow burn and love is love

Creativity: love how a girl who is not the right “size” for the entertainment industry inspires people around her

Mood: happy

Triggers: emotional abuse, bullying, body image shaming, parental issues

My Takeaway: Love yourself and wear your crown! And love is love.

  • Skye Shin is awesome! She’s confident (but she had to work for that confidence), she stands up for what she believes in and she keeps going even when things get hard. I couldn’t help but cheer her on from start to finish. I love how Skye tackles body shaming straight on, even when it makes her cry (because people are trolls), but she knows she’s talented and it’s what should matter in this competition.
  • Yes to all the diversity – Skye herself is bi. There is also a f/f relationship with Skye’s new friends in the competition. The characters themselves are diverse since this is a Korean tv talent show so that was great.
  • Skye’s relationship with her mom is…typical, I feel, because I related SO MUCH. I’m Filipino American but all that body shaming and ideals is the same in my culture. It was sad to see Skye and her mom’s relationship because of the emotional abuse and Skye not knowing that it was emotional abuse. I kept thing, SAME. SAME. SAME.
  • I love the humor in the book! I found myself trying not to laugh out loud because it was late at night but this book made me feel happy.
  • Skye and Henry’s relationship is super cute. It’s a slow burn, and their flirting was fun. Henry is a hottie Korean model and she’s talented and overweight but really, they were just good people. Glad they had a happy ending!
  • Snowball made me miss my fur baby who was a husky also 😭, she’s been gone two years now and her name was Sky. I loved that Snowball was in this story it was just perfect for the whole mood of the book.

I read this book so quick and it left me feeling happy so it did it’s job! From the vibrant book cover to Skye with her confidence, she’s living her best life. This story is heartwarming, funny, sweet, a little sad and plenty inspiring.