Book Review | The Unfairfolk (Valenbound, #1)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Unfairfolk (Valenbound, #1)

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: eBook (KU)

Pages: 446

Categories: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

A promise made is a promise kept, until the very end of all death. 

Sixteen year old Lilith Pierce’s mom is getting remarried. Which, sucks. To one of the richest men in Europe. Which, honestly? Sucks a little less. 

Lilith’s warily stoked – after Dad disappeared, it’s been all tears and police visits and sleeping pills for Mom. So, yeah. She’ll suck it up for seven months and get shipped off to the ultra-luxe, ultra-selective Institut Le Silvere – a prestigious boarding school in the Swiss Alps – while they honeymoon. How hard can it really be? It’s not like she’s got maybe-permanent hypervigilance, or anything.

It’s not like the woods around the school are maybe-alive. 

It’s not like she’s being stalked by a man with glowing red eyes. 

It’s not like the neighboring village whispers that all the students are cursed.

It’s not like resident model Ciel Lautrec is the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen, or anything. Too beautiful to be human. So beautiful the hypervigilance shuts right up. It’s not like she can’t handle Silvere’s self-appointed, self-conceited lawkeeper slash bully Alistair Strickland. Because she can. She can handle it all.

She’s always handled it all. Because she’s Lilith-fucking-Pierce.

And the forest knows that best of all.

After bingeing both books from the Bring Me Their Hearts series, I went in search for more Sara Wolf books and found this one called The Unfairfolk. It sounded interesting and it was on Kindle Unlimited, so I downloaded it right away.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it was a definitely a wild ride. We get a front row seat into Lilith’s thoughts, a she is a teenager with many, many thoughts – sometimes it’s maddening! She gets sent to a boarding school in Europe where dignitaries from all over the world, send their kids. The only connection to money she has, is her new step-father, so she doesn’t quite belong in this school.

Lilith does manage to make friends and an enemy as well. But school social hierarchies are not the only thing that poses a challenge to Lilith – there is something going on at the Institut de Silvere, something dark and sinister. Will Lilith uncover what is going on or will it be too late?

  • I love Sara Wolf’s snarky characters! And it’s the same in The Unfairfolk where Lilith is just full of comebacks and humor to shield herself. She is a complicated teen. She is fearful from something traumatizing that happened in the past but that doesn’t stop her from seeming tough on the outside. There is an array of interesting and diverse characters in this story – I look forward to learning more about them!
  • Most of the story takes place at the boarding school with hints of something sinister in the woods. There was a dark tone to this story and I tend to love stories that go there, but also it’s vague which was frustrating.
  • Lilith has a past and this book touches on some dark topics like domestic abuse and there is also a part about someone who is a cutter. It’s definite triggers, but also – I remember being a teenager and knowing people in my circle dealing with those problems…so it definitely brings up real feelings about this issues. I liked Lilith’s teenage voice, being a victim of abuse herself and witnessing it. I felt her fears when it came to people grabbing her out of the blue or just people touching her in general. That was eye-opening and a good reminder, some people don’t want to be hugged or touched for reasons we don’t know about.
  • Coming off reading Bring Me Their Hearts series, I did start comparing this to that and this story is way different and not what I was expecting. The Unfairfolk is urban fantasy…but the fantasy or magic is mostly hinted at in this volume. Nothing really happens until the very end where we are thrown into another world! It’s wild, and I was hoping we’d get there sooner in the story but most of the book is about Lilith and being at boarding school.
  • If you don’t want to be stuck in a teenager’s head who curses a lot and has crude humor then you might not enjoy this book. I don’t mind and thought a lot of it was funny as well. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • What is up with the ending and cliffhanger! Ugh…just when we were being introduced to the Fair Folk of Valen! 😏
  • Triggers: abuse, cutting

Am I going to read the next book in the series, YES. Was I entertained? Yes. Were we in Lilith’s head a bit too much – maybe. Do I want to know what the heck Valen is and who we will meet there?….Heck yes. This story was funny, at times dark and mysterious. Strange? For sure, at times I wasn’t sure what I was reading but it definitely kept me intrigued. Solid first book for a young adult urban fantasy with lots of room to grow!

First Impression Friday | 3-27-20

How is everyone holding up so far? It’s raining today and supposedly for the rest of the week, so that will help everyone with social distancing and staying at home. I’ve pretty much been home except for going to the grocery store and this morning I had to pick up schoolwork for my son. It leaves a lot of time to read though and I’ve even let my sister borrow a bunch of books from my personal library! Yay 😍 – she hasn’t read in some time but I think this shutdown is directing people to activities they haven’t done in awhile like reading or crafting. Now we actually have the time and not rush.

First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W. Martin.

It’s where you give the first impression of the book you are currently reading, no matter how far along you are in the book, even if it’s just a few pages. Then you are going to try and predict how you will feel about the book once you are done.

It is definitely a book I borrowed from the library mostly because the cover is so pretty. But the book blurb sounds intriguing too:

Across the Aramtesh Empire, scent is everything. Prayers only reach heaven on sacred incense, and perfumes are prized status symbols. 17-year-old Rakel has an uncanny ability with fragrances, but her skills aren’t enough to buy her dying father more time.

Ash bears the tattoos of an imperial bodyguard. When his prince, Nisai, insists on a diplomatic mission to an outer province, Ash is duty-bound to join the caravan. It’s a nightmare protecting Nisai on the road. But it’s even harder for Ash to conceal a secret that could see him exiled or executed.

Rakel and Ash have nothing in common until smoke draws them to a field of the Empire’s rarest flower. Nisai’s been poisoned, flames devour the priceless blooms, and the pair have “suspect” clinging to them like a bad stench. Their futures depend on them working together to decipher clues, defy dangers and defeat their own demons in a race to source an antidote . . . before the imperial army hunts them down.

My First Impression:

  • Love the cover!
  • The book blurb sounds interesting. I’m wondering how this scent magic will work.

That’s as far as I got with the book. 🤷🏻‍♀️ So stay tuned for a review!

WWW Wednesday | 3/25/20

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?

I spied this title first on Bookishfirst but didn’t win a copy in the raffle. That’s okay because I found it on my online library. So far it’s a quick read and I’m enjoying it!

I’m also trying to make a dent on the Bookoutlet haul I got back in December! So I’m finally reading this book – I love cover!

What have you just finished reading?

Ehhh – it was okay, more for Grey lovers (whom I really did love in book one!)…but this one didn’t hold my attention like book one.

What are you going to read next?

I have this one up next on my NetGalley to read and review, so I better get to it. A little space opera, if I can get in the mood for it.

Updates:

How is everyone doing? I hope you all are finding ways to cope with the worrisome news that is bombarding us daily. I read, I craft, I play Just Dance 2020 edition with my son so we can dance and laugh our worries away.

Speaking of my son…he is officially off from school until April 30th – SO that means homeschooling and look even before COVID-19 I knew I’d never make a good teacher. HAHA, I have only so much patience and ugh does he test me like how he doesn’t test his teacher. He’s an angel in school…at home, it’s a way different matter. He is in first grade and is learning parts of a whole, reading a clock and among other things for math. So I thought, okay I need to make breakfast this week so we shall turning home economics (baking) – into a study session.

We researched our ingredients like salt, sugar, cinnamon and learned some history about it. I explained measuring cups and spoons…hahaha, and then we made cinnamon rolls from scratch with our ingredients. It turned out delicious. So I was happy to hear from his teacher today that we get to pick up their distance learning packets on Saturday. Hooray!

Now my littlest one, she’s three and because I’m a stay at home mom, we always got up early to drop her brother off to school then ran errands to Target, or the grocery store. Hawaii is officially on a “lockdown” yet essential activities are still allowed like grocery shopping, even exercise (but practice social distancing). People who are essential workers go to work, my husband has been working from home this week, but they are taking turns so next week he will go to the office. Other than that we are at home, trying to stay healthy and safe.

To all of you – please take care of yourself and I wish you well.

Best Wishes! 😘

Book Review | A Heart So Fierce and Broken

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 450

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Book Series, Romance

Find the heir, win the crown. 

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom. 

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

What happened?!

The sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lovely, takes place right after the events of the first book. Grey is on the run, there is a search for the missing heir, and there is a new character thrown into the mix – Lia Mara, Karis Luran’s eldest daughter. The story is told through their perspectives.

I don’t know why this book didn’t hold my attention, maybe I wanted too see more of Rhen and Harper, but not in the way they appeared in this book. Anyway let’s get to my likes and hmmm’s:

  • I loved Grey in the first book, so it was nice to have this be his story and perspective. I’m even happy he found someone to fall for.
  • Lia Mara is an intriguing new character because she is the eldest daughter of Karis Luran but not the heir, that title belongs to her sister. But she wants to help bring peace to the warring sides and tries to do it on her own and gets into some trouble. I like how she never gives up.
  • By the end of this book there is such a conflict between Rhen and Grey…I can’t imagine how book three is going to pan out.
  • I was bored in the beginning. I loved Grey in book one so why did his story, THIS story – not keep me interested? Not even with Lia Mara in the picture made this story move any faster for me. I skimmed a lot from the halfway point until the end. Maybe I was just waiting for more Rhen and Harper appearances.
  • Rhen turned into like…evil Rhen! I thought he was cold in book one, but wow…he really wanted to find out who the heir was huh? And at any cost AND Harper couldn’t even stop him. 🤭 Like, what happened Rhen? SMH. Rhen is still trapped it seems even though the curse was broken. 😒
  • I had no expectations for this book – I remember the first one because Harper stood out a lot, and I may be in the minority but I liked her with Grey haha, not Rhen. Rhen was just a bit cold to me and he is definitely cold in this one!

Overall, I think if you wanted a book from Grey’s perspective then here you have it! I guess I was expecting to see Rhen and Harper in it but when they did appear…it was definitely different from what I imagined. The two kingdoms are definitely now on the brink of war and I will definitely read the next book to see who wins but I’m also kind of sad for Rhen and Harper. We shall see what happens…

ARC Review | An Heiress to Remember

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: An Heiress to Remember (The Gilded Age Girls Club, #3)

Author: Maya Rodale

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Categories: Historical Romance

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


Uptown Heiress

Once a society darling, Beatrice Goodwin has returned to Manhattan in a cloud of scandal. She is determined to save the bankrupt family business—Goodwin’s Department Store—and transform it into the shopping destination for Manhattan’s women. She will certainly never, ever sell it to Wes Dalton.

Downtown Rogue

Wes Dalton came from nowhere to possess one of the great fortunes of the Gilded Age, thanks to his premier department store located opposite Goodwin’s. This “Merchant Prince” never forgot the girl who got away—or her parents who made it clear that he’d never be rich, powerful or respectable enough. He has sworn revenge—until Beatrice’s return complicates everything.

Happy ever after at last . . . ?

Now Goodwin’s and Dalton’s are dueling to be the best department store in Manhattan. Beatrice and Wes will stop at nothing to impress, and not even the sparks flying between them will get in the way of their fierce rivalry. They’re competitors by day and lovers by night, until they’re forced to choose what is sweeter: revenge, success or happy ever after at last.

Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for giving me a chance to this eARC.

Here we have book three in The Gilded Age Girls Club series and what a fun book it is! In An Heiress to Remember, Beatrice Goodwin is young and in love with poor, Irish imigrant, Dalton. But as a girl raised in high society her path is already made by her parents, and she marries a Duke. She comes back to Manhattan, sixteen years later, divorced and ready to start living for herself.

Dalton has made himself one of the richest men in the world with his own store to rival Goodwin’s. He remembers the pain of losing Beatrice and revenge is on his mind. He has lived the past sixteen years with one goal in mind, to buy Goodwin’s. Dalton didn’t anticipate Beatrice’s return though and she’s in fighting form too.

Will Beatrice and Dalton have a second chance at romance or will their ambition and desires for fortune get in the way of their path to love?

  • The Gilded Age series is so much fun to read. I usually love reading historical romance fiction set in the regency era in Europe but this series has opened my eyes to the Gilded Age in America and it is pretty fantastic! I love how we see women coming to recognize and own their power in a time when women’s voices weren’t heard. And the setting of Manhattan, New York is perfect for showing the changes going on in this time.
  • Beatrice is vibrant and a force to be reckoned with yet she is also has her vulnerable moments. She followed the path her parents set her on, stayed in a loveless marriage until she finally got divorced. Divorce was looked down upon in her social circles so she braved the scandal of it all, just to be free. I admire her for that. And then taking on her family’s store and restoring it to glory was awesome, I was cheering her on!
  • The second chance romance storyline and enemies to lovers scenario between Beatrice and Dalton was nice because they are older and wiser. They are both adults, Beatrice at thirty-six years old wants more than love, which was refreshing. I totally understood that about her. As for Dalton, everything he’s done in life was to prove something to Beatrice. It was nice to see him let go of revenge to accept the love he’s always felt for her. Their competitive nature in business kept it exciting, also them reliving their youth in the store kept it sexy! 😉
  • The woman power in this book is great. I love that Beatrice found a community of woman to help her realize her dreams. 💪🏾
  • I was pretty fascinated with the retail war between Dalton and Beatrice and learned a lot about the power of shopping, or just the world of shopping. I mean…Target is to me what Dalton’s is to those Manhattanites. 😂 I would love to have a Goodwin’s though with a salon and a reading room, but I guess shopping malls have spas now, minus the reading room, unless you like to read at a Starbucks. Anyway, I loved that this book was about the department stores in Manhattan during the Gilded Age.
  • Dalton’s had a mantra and because this is an arc, I won’t put the quote, but his mantra reminded me of the movie, The Princess Bride and the words of Inigo Montoya! That line when he says, “I am Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!” Anyway that’s what I kept thinking of when Dalton would repeat his own mantra to remind himself of what he lost when Beatrice broke his heart. 😂🤷🏻‍♀️
  • There are some events that occur with Beatrice’s store where it seems like someone is trying to sabotage her progress. But I think when the villain is revealed it felt rushed.

I love the Gilded Age Series just for the time period alone! I really enjoyed the retail war between Beatrice and Dalton as they try to concentrate on the business side of things, but their attraction is too great. It was nice to see Dalton attracted to Beatrice’s intelligence and boss moves as the new president of her family’s company. He underestimated her but she sure showed him! 😅 This was a delightful, quick read where I was cheering the women on and I look forward to reading more in this series.

Book Review | Of Rioters & Royals

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Of Rioters & Royals (Swift Shadows, #1)

Author: M.L.Greye

Format: eBook (borrowed, Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 421

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Disclaimer: **The author requested I read and review her book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Emry is a Royal – a princess of Enlennd. As is tradition, she must have a knight at her side as her protector. The only way to appoint one is through The Trials. Her Challengers from the five regions of Enlennd must compete for the infamous title of Princess’s Knight. The problem, though, is that the people of Enlennd are split into two categories: Rioters and Royals. Finding the perfect knight may be the last of her worries. War is coming to Enlennd. 

Declan is a Rioter. An upriser. An anarchist. He mistrusts the Jewels – the sovereign family of Enlennd. Yet, he is offering himself up as a Challenger in The Trials. The Mistress, leader of the Rioters, has a mission for him. The first step is for him to become the Princess’s Knight. He is ready for the task, until he actually meets Emry and discovers that betraying her would be much more difficult than he’d thought. 

Thank you to author, M.L. Greye for reaching out to me and asking I read and review her book. All opinions of the book are my own.

What stood out right away to me is this book has a very interesting magic system involving a person’s eye color. Each eye color defines what types of powers a person has. And I don’t think I’ve read a book with that kind of magic, so that was pretty cool.

Princess Emry is about to be assigned a knight and to find one the challengers must go through a trial. One of those challengers is Declan, who is there for other reasons. Will he win the trials and be her knight? Or something more?

  • I liked the different magic system in this book where everyone’s eye color determines their powers. I don’t think I’ve read a book with that magic before, so I thought that was very creative and unique.
  • If you like romance in a YA fantasy, this one has a sweet romance. It’s not insta love but Emry and Declan have a past that we don’t know about until he comes to court as a challenger. Then we learn how they met before. I love how they are a Pair, no love triangles here!
  • There is action, secrets revealed and twists I wasn’t expecting. It’s a story between good and evil which is always inspiring.
  • I like Emry’s sisterly bond with Citrine, they were fun together. They are best friends and I’m glad they have each other.
  • The beginning with the prologue almost made me dread reading this story. But that’s just me, I’ve learned I have a hard time getting into books with long prologue giving the history about a kingdom, because it feels like a textbook. I would rather learn history throughout the story.
  • The prologue threw me a bit off so I didn’t really get into the story until halfway through and once I did, it’s a very quick read.
  • Character wise – Emry is obviously the main character who will have more powers than anyone and is a leader, I expected that. But I was drawn more to Declan because he is the one affected when some secrets are revealed.

I enjoyed the twists in the story and kudos to the magic system being unique and refreshing. There is romance, action and a fight between good and evil. I think this was a solid first book for a series!

Book Review | House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Format: Hardcover/ebook (both owned)

Pages: 803

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Romance, Adult Fiction

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

I started this book over the weekend and I was reading the hard cover version but it’s an 800 page book! More like 799 pages and the acknowledgements are what takes it to 803 but my hand was getting tired holding the book at 20% into the story so to be able to read it at nightie the dark, I went ahead and bought the eBook as well! 😅 That allowed me to finish the book last night, finally.

But I think reading it slow helped me immerse myself into this very layered world building. We have a world filled with angels, wolves, fae, witches and everything in the fantasy realm. There are different classes of them, there is a war between the oppressors and the oppressed. It’s a story about rebellion, family, friendship, and so much more. It was a lot and I absolutely enjoyed it!

  • I’ve been a fan of SJM since Throne of Glass, but admittedly I didn’t fall in love with ToG in the first book, but by the second one I was hooked. For her ACOTAR series, I was addicted right away and I think what I truly love about SJM’s books are her characters. And not only her main characters, it’s the side characters sometimes that grab my attention even more than the main ones! Here’s the ones I loved in this book:
    • I enjoyed our MC – Bryce, she’s seen as a party girl but she’s hiding a few secrets. But the best thing about her? Her love and loyalty to people she cares about. She’s imperfect but her heart is big.
    • Hunt Athalar – hot fallen angel, Bryce assumes he is an alphahole (you know the usually urban fantasy type male LOL), and he does come off that way but we learn more about him and his tragic past.
    • Danika. 😭 Oh Danika. And then there is Ruhn, Lehabah, Fury (so intrigued about her), Juniper, and such a wide cast of players in this first book.
  • Bryce and Hunt – I liked that it wasn’t love at first sight, they become friends, thank goodness. Their relationship is tested too…yes there are some hot moments, actually less than I expected though.
  • Bryce and Danika. Yay for Bryce and Hunt but honestly…my favorite love story in this book is Bryce and her best-friend Danika. It made me cry in the end. 🥺😢❤️
  • The first half of this book is world building AND it reads like a mystery. So the beginning goes slowly as we dig into murders happening in the city, it’s a mystery to be solved. The action comes in full force at the end and that ending, is pretty epic. It left my heart full and overflowing. Reading this book I felt like I was expecting more fantasy because it’s like a reflex reading SJM books haha…but I do read a lot of urban fantasy as well from well known and indie authors. I think SJM did a pretty good job with her first urban fantasy book and definitely put her style on it.
  • Loved the twists and turns for sure, it kept my reading until the end with no skipping. The personal dramas tired in really nice with the murder investigations and then ending as I said, was crazy.
  • Did we need 799 pages? Maybe not, especially when Bryce and Hunt kept hitting dead ends in their investigation. But I understand the world building with all these governors in charge of a sect of the city, all the different supernaturals and the class differences, etc… There are MANY characters to know in this book, characters outside the city, and there are many worlds to discover. There is a lot going.
  • Is it me? Or are the titles of each powerful person overused in this story? Probably in other SJM books too but yes everyone in this city is powerful and have some ominous title attached to their name! 🤦🏻‍♀️ It was getting a bit overdone.
  • One aspect of the story or world building I found interesting is where it starts to mix technology along with ancient lore and mythology. I think it mentioned the year this takes place is like…15035 or something of that nature.
  • I don’t know if it’s me but I was expecting this book to be “hotter” because of all the urban fantasy books I’ve read. I mean it had it’s moments but I felt like this was pretty tamed compared to the ones I’ve read. And am I the only wary of Bryce and Hunt being together forever? I mean…look at TOG and ACOTAR lol…so…I’m not going to say this relationship is set in stone because you know how SJM is with her romance storylines.
  • Triggers: drug use, graphic violence, sexual harassment, death, grief

I was sucked into this intricate new world created by SJM and I loved it! It pulled at my heartstrings especially when it came to Bryce and Danika. 💕 I loved the twists and turns, the epic fight and battle at the end. I was hooked on Bryce and her story, watching her climb through grief and finally embracing who and what she is with Hunt at her side. This book transported me into another world (because our own world news has been pretty horrible) and it’s exactly what I needed to take my mind of things! It’s not perfect by any means but in the end it accomplished it’s goal – it made my heart feel, my eyes tear and make me want the next book…today. It’s another series I’ll be addicted too I’m sure, I loved it and and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book.