book review, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, New adult, paranormal, romance

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire | Book Review

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 637

Publication Date: 9/20/20

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

  • Glad that Casteel has redeemed himself after book one. He seems sorry about lying to Poppy and motivated to help his people so it’s just getting those two things on the same page which is a challenge for him. At least the truth is out there now (most of it) and Poppy can do what she wants with it.
  • Kieran and Poppy have a growing friendship and…something else? Are they a threesome? I don’t know but there were some scenes that made me think it might eventually be that way? We shall see – no judgment here (at least on that aspect haha), but I like Kieran, I say he deserves his own loves story.
  • Since Poppy and Cas/Hawke went backwards in their relationship at least by the end of this book there is forward movement again.

Triggers: violence, death

  • I am not connected to any of these characters (Kieran is probably my favorite) and unfortunately this was a chore to get through. I skimmed a lot because I didn’t care what they were doing or what they were talking about. It is over 600 pages long…and not much happened. I was bored but pushed through, which made me realize…I won’t be reading book three.
  • Nothing about Poppy and Casteel gets me excited to read about their relationship struggle. There are a lot of trust issues on Poppy’s part, understandably. As for Cas, he is trying to make amends which involves a lot of sexy time because that’s what they are good for…”pretending” the bad stuff between them didn’t happen. I was annoyed with the pretending – why pretend? I wanted Poppy to just deal with it and see Cas for who he really is. Also, he likes when she’s violent and points it out constantly – I love a good enemies to lovers romance but the characters never usually have to tell each other they are violent and love it, repeatedly. Can Cas just give her heated looks because I’m sure we’ll know what that means when she starts stabbing people. 😂
  • Poppy’s gift…what is so amazing about her knowing everyone’s feelings? The healing part is great but the feelings? What is the point, how does it help anyone, she won’t even use it to gauge Cas’ feelings! I think her healing and fighting skills alone is a good balance and show of strength.

I usually crave an enemies to lovers romance fantasy novel and I’m in the minority here but this one is not it for me. I think the first book was way more enjoyable because of Hawke’s undercover persona and Poppy’s too (she was literally under cover!). In this second book, the both them are pretty much unveiled and honestly…they were both more sexy undercover.😅 So I understand how it’s the middle book, and Poppy is struggling to come to terms with the truths being revealed, but I have no patience for it. The steamy scenes were probably the best parts because at least there was some kind of action going on! I think this would have been less of a struggle to read if the slow and repetitive parts were edited out. It needed to move faster, especially since these characters love violence, okay then let them fight and keep fighting, press the gas, not the breaks. Needless to say, I’m not going to finish the series – the next book is 625 pages and I can’t deal with Cas telling Poppy again that she turns him on when she’s violent. We know, Cas, we know. I do want to find out about Kieran, but I’ll read the spoiler reviews for that. 😜

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Author: Crystal Maldonado

Format: eBook – borrowed (Overdrive Library)

Pages: 308

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Publisher: Holiday House

Categories: Teen/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Body Image, Family, Friendship, Dating, Coming of Age

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. 
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though. 

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. 

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

  • Love the message for girls and guys in here about body image and loving yourself no matter what size you are, no matter what skin color you are, no matter who you love. Charlie has to live with a mom who has chosen a fitness lifestyle and is trying to get Charlie to do the same. It causes Charlie’s self-esteem to take a beating and her relationship with her mom is strained. It was very relatable. It’s hard growing up in a family that points out every time you gain weight, I can definitely relate!
  • Charlie deals with a lot of body issues but the one thing she excels at is her writing, which is fantastic. I love that she has that outlet for her creative ideas and she’s good at it.
  • Charlie and her best-friend Amelia have an amazing relationship until Charlie finds a boyfriend. But they have a long hard talk about what came between them and I love that they had this moment. Charlie needed to speak her truth and Amelia as well. I love that even though they took some time apart, the came back together, maturely and talked it out. That’s what makes a friendship grow, when you can get through the rough parts.
  • Charlie’s romance with Brian is sweet because it starts as a friendship and I love that for her. Even the drama that came with it was realistic, especially because Charlie has some emotional issues to deal with that have nothing to do with Brian.
  • The cast of characters are quite diverse in this story, Charlie is half white/puerto rican. Brian is Korean with two mothers, and Amelia is black and pansexual.
  • Triggers: grief, fatphobia
  • Charlie’s mom really gets on Charlie to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight. It comes between them a lot. At times her mom seems to understand where Charlie is coming from and then the next scene it’s back to normal, shoving diet drinks in Charlie’s face. Even after Charlie lets her know how she feels, I felt like her mom didn’t truly get it.
  • The beginning was slow for me, it was turning out to be just an okay read for me because it seemed liked a story that was only about Charlie’s self-image but the second half of the book is where it gets really good and emotional.

Charlie Vega, despite her weight and self-image issues comes out shining in this story. She goes through some challenges with her mother, her first attempt at dating and best friend drama but she gets her happy ending. This book is great for teens and young adults because it’s totally relatable. I enjoyed this one, even though I thought it had a slow start, the second half came through with lots of emotion.

💛 ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the book:

book review, kindle unlimited, paranormal, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Year of the Chameleon | Shadowspell Academy 5 | Book Review

My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Title: Year of the Chameleon (Shadowspell Academy, #5)

Author: Shannon Mayer

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 314

Publication Date: 3/30/21

Publisher: Hijinks Ink Publishing

Categories: Series, Young Adult, Academy, Romance, Urban Fantasy

You Don’t Choose The Academy. The Academy Chooses You.

The Shadowkiller is back. 

And he is hunting me down like a dog in the streets of New York City using every tool and ally he has—including people I once trusted.

I have never been so alone in my life, and yet if I turn to my friends that puts a target on their backs too. Which means I have to keep running.

So, I do what I know, and I set myself to finding the trail of breadcrumbs that will lead me to the one who is still pulling the strings.

Frost. A Chameleon just like me. Just like the Shadowkiller. Worse, she’s seeking out my friends to pick them off, one by one. To drain their lives in order to feed hers.

To stop her, I have to find her—a task easier said than done in a city this size. 

What I don’t expect to find is a truth that this world and its secrets run far deeper, and far darker than I could have ever suspected. 

But is any of that going to stop me?

Not a chance.

  • It’s a quick read and continues right where book #4 left off. Wild is now with Nicholas and Ash but she’s trying to get away from them.
  • This time, we get different perspectives from her crew, especially Wally the Necromancer. I love that Wally is part of Wild’s crew because she needs more girls around her. Yay for the positive women friendships. The rest of the guys are awesome as well.
  • We get to learn more about the Shadowkiller and the few Chameleons that exists.
  • I feel like this could’ve been added to book number 4 because it was such a quick read and there were some things I thought was a bit repetitive, like when it came to Ethan. Will there be enough time in the next book to tie up all the loose ends about the Shadowkiller? I don’t know.
  • Also, does Wild really need to think about her feelings about Rory, Ethan and Colt right now when so much things are going down? Haha…I know she put it behind her, and put the mission first but still, it came up way too much for me.
  • Something feels missing and I just realized that the first three books in the series was co-written with another author, K.F. Breene. No wonder these last two books felt like something was missing, and that makes a lot of sense.

This one feels rushed and the next book is the last to the series, so it makes me wonder if every loose end will be tied up? I’ll read the next one because I’m already this far invested and they are really short books anyway so we shall see what happens next but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series.

📚~ Yolanda

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday | 4/7/21

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?

I feel like I’ve read a reading slump – I’ve been reading books but lately nothing that’s blown me away. I think I’m craving an enemies to lovers romance, but something different. Maybe I need to change it up and read some historical romance? Not sure…hopefully I figure it out!

What are you reading right now?

happy book birthday, new releases

Happy Book Birthday | New Releases | 4/6/21

Happy book birthday to these new releases today! What are you excited to read or buy this week?

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

*****

eventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats. 

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind. 

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children. 

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years. 

*****

After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is travelling and revelling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio.

That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime families. Now one of the four Thief Lords of Castallan, she’s forced to preside over the illegal underground Oculta competition, which coincides with the summit and boasts a legendary prize.

Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. Los Toros, the mysterious syndicate responsible for his brother’s murder, has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events all unexpectedly converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass. 

But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?

*****

Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.

It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.

And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.

*****

Seventeen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love. 

*****

I’ve read Kisses & Croissants and it was super cute! I definitely want to read The Infinity Courts, hopefully soon. ☺️

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday | 4/6/21

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’d Gladly Throw Into the Ocean (submitted by Beauty & Her Books)

I’d throw these books into the ocean because they have an Ocean theme either with their cover or storyline 🌊🐋🐙🐚🦑🐡🦀🐳.

Let’s check them out:

A Song Below Water by. Bethany C. Morrow ~ nothing takes place near the ocean at all, but Sirens are creatures of water and song.

The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom, #2) by. Danielle L. Jensen ~ the setting of this world involves the sea that divides kingdoms, one in particular who relies on it for it’s defenses.

Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl, #2) by. Mara Rutherford ~ not so much in this book, but the first one introduces us to sisters born on a village situated on the ocean.

All the Stars and Teeth by. Adalyn Grace ~ from the cover, to the storyline, a total ocean adventure.

The Dark Tide by. Alicia Jasinska ~ something lives in this dark sea…and it’s sinking an island.

Starfish by. Akemi Dawn Bowman ~ this is nothing about the ocean, but check out that cover!

House of Salt and Sorrows by. Erin A. Craig ~ about a manor by the sea, wonderful story.

Daughter of the Pirate King by. Tricia Levenseller ~ I’m not a big pirate fan but I loved this duology.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by. Nina Moreno ~ the women in her family are cursed by the sea, supposedly…but Rosa overcomes her fear of it by crossing it.

Dark Shores by. Danielle L. Jensen ~ talk about treacherous oceans, Teriana has traveled them all! Love this series.

That’s my TTT for this week ~ can’t wait to see what you have on your list!

😘 ~ Yolanda

book review, Dystopian, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Dustborn | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Dustborn

Author: Erin Bowman

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/20/21

Categories: Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Survival, Young Adult

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

Delta of Dead River has always been told to hide her back, where a map is branded on her skin to a rumored paradise called the Verdant. In a wasteland plagued by dust squalls, geomagnetic storms, and solar flares, many would kill for it—even if no one can read it. So when raiders sent by a man known as the General attack her village, Delta suspects he is searching for her. 

Delta sets out to rescue her family but quickly learns that in the Wastes no one can be trusted—perhaps not even her childhood friend, Asher, who has been missing for nearly a decade. If Delta can trust Asher, she just might decode the map and trade evidence of the Verdant to the General for her family. What Delta doesn’t count on is what waits at the Verdant: a long-forgotten secret that will shake the foundation of her entire world.

  • When it takes me days to read a book it usually means I’m not into it. This isn’t the case with Dustborn ~ I think I’ve been so immersed in fantasy worlds that coming back to dystopian takes some getting used to, but really I enjoyed how cutthroat and no F’s given is this world that Delta lives in. I would not survive…at all.
  • Aesthetic ~ the cover made me request the book! Love how fiery it looks.
  • World Building ~ you get a sense right away, life is tough in this world where water is scarce, and dust storms rage often. Think Mad Max, where people live in small groups or packs. I could really feel Delta’s despair from the first chapter when she needs to get her sister some help. From there everything went downhill for Delta. I think it was unique, especially parts where they described how to make water in desperate times and vehicles they use with old tech/parts that they find.
  • Characters ~ Delta is strong because she’s had to be in able to survive. The Wastes coddle to no one. Asher is Delta’s friend from long ago and when they meet again, she’s not sure if she can trust him. We meet other characters like the General who runs Bedrock and his people are loyal to him. The General has something Delta has and will do anything to get the information he seeks. Then there is the Prime who runs Powder Town, Delta gets caught in between trying to figure out who to trust in order to free her pack.
  • Romance ~ yes…I mean how can romance bloom in a world like this? But something grows between Delta and Asher, not that it takes over the story at all, this one is all about survival and truth.
  • I didn’t totally connect to Delta and Asher, but that’s not a bad thing, it gave the book more of a desperate vibe, and seriously…reading this made me feel like I would die on day one without barely any water! Haha, you know how in reality we always say to hydrate? How do you do that when you have to turn your pee into water and you are dehydrated?! Ugh…I’m so grateful to have water right now haha. I was really intrigued by the characters in Powder Town though. Loved that they had a female ruler and soldiers.
  • The twist in the end was good, we get to find out more history and what really happened in the early days.
  • Triggers: violence, death

If you like dystopian stories set in basically a desert world, then you will enjoy this one. Delta is practically alone in the world and has to save her pack. She has to do the impossible to do it. But when people come along can she trust them to help her reach her goal? Dustborn is a gritty dystopian story filled with adventure, desperation and even a little romance in the desert.

🧡 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Slingshot | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Slingshot

Author: Mercedes Helnwein

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Categories: Young Adult, Mature Situations, Romance, Family, Abuse, Boarding School, Coming of Age, Contemporary

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

An exciting debut contemporary young adult novel perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Mary H. K. Choi 

Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield.

With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts. 

So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?

Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.

  • Grace is a MESS. She’s 15, at a boarding school, unlikable, mean, a jerk, lacking social skills, says whatever she wants to say usual not caring about the consequences and she doesn’t believe in love. In a way she’s courageous, for not giving a crap but in lots of ways she’s afraid (of love) but wouldn’t admit it out loud until Wade and even Beth comes into her life. Also, she and her mom are her dad’s secret family so it’s no wonder she doesn’t believe in love. The blurb says “acidly funny” and all that acid comes from Grace haha!
  • Watching Grace navigate all her emotions was riveting and I could not put the book down. She’s all over the place. This girl is in love with her teacher then hates him when she finds out she was basically delusional about it. She pretty much scars a guy she hates, then sleeps with him and then unknowingly breaks his heart. If she went to my high school, this girl would have been getting into a lot of fights – she’s that girl. Despite her psychotic tendencies – I related to her thoughts about relationships, falling in love and sex because the relationships I saw growing up were totally dysfunctional too.
  • As for the romance with Wade ~ they start off as unlikely friends. Then best of friends into the possibility of something more and then into love. So it wasn’t instant which was nice, because Grace has a lot of issues but it was a sweet spot in the book. Wade is a good guy but we don’t know much about him until almost the ending. His life is complicated too.
  • Bittersweet ending – in true fashion, Grace falls for Wade, has this amazing time with him and it all comes crashing down. One thing is for sure with Grace, who basically hates everyone…she doesn’t hate Wade. And because Wade is so good, she learns to open up a bit…even make some friends and let some in. It’s not a total happy ending but realistic? I think so.
  • Triggers: student/teacher crush (one-sided), abuse, bullying
  • Grace crushes on her Bio teacher – hard. She thinks he reciprocates her feelings but ugh…he surely does not. And she basically does crazy stuff to him because she’s angry at him (breaks his pencils, writes him notes, tells him off) ~ this is how we are introduced to Grace and honestly from then on, I knew she needed therapy! This might turn people off to this book right away but seriously, it’s all one-sided.
  • Kind of bummed that Grace let all her grades go because of that whole teacher crush heartbreak – obviously this girl is SMART just lacking so much social skills and is almost hungrily studying others around her, hating them, judging them, needing praise (even it’s from some random guy like Derek who she hates) – dooming herself to loneliness because in the essence of it all she thinks her father never wanted her. Doesn’t love her.
  • I felt called out when Grace says she was into older music like 80’s/90’s and starts jamming to Smashing Pumpkins and Rage Against the Machine. 🤣 Talk about nostalgia – that was the music of MY high school years! Yes I’m old, but damn it the music was good!
  • This book totally could be a tv series, it’s quirky and dark enough, and Grace is so problematic.

Do not be fooled by this pink, happy book cover…this is not a fluffy, cutesy love story. Grace is a mean, cold, hurt, lost teenager trying to navigate all these feelings of love, sex, and friendship. She takes it out on everyone around her, and then Wade comes along and she tries to be better, for him. This story will not be for everyone, Grace has no filter ~ but she reminds me of someone I befriended in my younger years and things turned out okay for my friend. Moral of the story, we are all flawed, the teenage years are angsty and emotional, but we can still turn out okay.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

#SixForSunday

#SixforSunday | 4/4/21

#SixforSunday is… it’s really just that. You choose 6 books (normally) that you’d choose to fit whatever the prompt is that week. This meme is hosted by A Little but a Lot and you can follow the link to find the prompts for January to March.

This week’s topic:

Books with snakes on the cover/in the title

In this sequel to The Kinder Poison–which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”–the magical kingdom of Orkena is on the brink of war, and the only person who can save it is Zahru, the girl they once doomed for death.

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

*****

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

*****

From bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen comes a thrilling new novel in the Dark Shores world, a series that Sarah J. Maas called “everything I look for in a fantasy novel.”

THEIR BATTLES ENDED IN VICTORY

Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.

His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.

BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN

Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.

Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.

*****

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe—witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked Princes of Hell that she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

*****

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

*****

An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression. 

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

Snakes on covers are always amazing!!

🐍 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, romance, series, Young Adult

We Free the Stars | Book Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Title: We Free the Stars (Sands of Arawiya, #2)

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 592

Publication Date: 1/19/21

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Catalog: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Duology

The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.

As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.

Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.

  • The adventure continues in the conclusion of the Sands of Awariya duology and our beloved characters go through hell and back to save their people. I love the action, the heartache, the longing, the twists, and the victories!
  • Talk about the slowest burn ever between Altair and Zafira ~ obviously they want to be together but there are so many obstacles between them, mainly their ability to say what they feel or the fact they both seem to feel they deserve one another. It was frustrating to watch their back and forth but I loved it all the same. I loved the yearning between them.
  • The writing – this author writes so beautifully! I kept noting quotes I had to save because it gave me all the feels. The writing is fluid, effortless and such a pleasure to read.
  • I love the characters: they are diverse, each has their own strength and weaknesses, but they are there for each other. I love their bond, and thank goodness for Kifah and Altair bringing the humor.
  • Zafira goes through a tough personal journey because of what the Jarawat is unleashing in her. Can she retain who she is when she is filled with such dark power? Will her loved ones be afraid of her? And what is Zafira when her reputation as the Huntress is over? Who is she now?

Trigger: grief, violence, emotional and physical abuse

  • I didn’t realize this book was long until I got it. At almost 600 pages it took me a few days to finish, but I’m not complaining. I just wished I read it as an ebook instead to keep from holding a heavy book haha.
  • The personal journeys the characters go through are rough, especially for Altair, Nasir and Zafira. For a time it feels like the despair for all of them is too much, everyone had suffer and hope was fleeting at one point – even I felt like they had no chance at beating the Lion.

We Free the Stars is a great conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology. It is written beautifully with lush world building, action, betrayal, a slow burn romance, a fight against evil and characters fighting for each other and the ones they love. In the end the message of yearning and hope prevails.

♥️ ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the Book ~