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.

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.

Queen of the Conquered | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Queen of the Conquered

Author: Kacen Callender

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 400

Categories: Slavery, Historical Fantasy, Magic

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.

Queen of the Conquered reckons with the many layers of power and privilege in a lush fantasy world—perfect for readers of V. E. Schwab, Kiersten White, and Marlon James.

My Reactions:

My Attention: I had to read this book little by little

World Building: the islands of Hans Lollik (islands in the Caribbean), noble lineages with powers called the kraft

Writing Style: first half was slow, but the second half picks up

Bringing the Heat: no heat except the humidity of the islands!

Crazy in Love: no love

Creativity: this story weaves a dark spell

Mood: mixed feelings 

Triggers: violence, mentions of suicide, whipping, slavery, lynching, mind control, abuse, rape

My Takeaway: What happens when an oppressed person becomes the oppressor?

  • All the conflicted feelings this book conjures up made me ask question after question about Sigourney Rose and why she was doing what she was doing. Oh, I wanted to shake her, yet I could understand where she was coming from as well – her trauma, her revenge, her fears, her guilt, her complacency and still, I just wanted her to stop and do the right thing.
  • Sigourney’s kraft allows her to enter people’s minds, read it, and manipulate it as well. She knows how everyone feels about her, sometimes she cares, sometimes she uses it, sometimes she ignores it. She has revenge and power on her mind, she tells herself she needs to rule these islands so she can help free the slaves. She could free the slaves but in this story she does nothing to help them. I don’t like her but she’s a fleshed out, complicated character. I just wish she was using her kraft to take people out. What was she waiting for? She plays the game of the nobles and it’s frustrating.
  • The second half of this book is when things start really happening. The twist was something I was not expecting at all and it makes me wonder what will happen next.
  • This story covers slavery and depicts its brutality without shying away from it. I took a few days to read this book because the visuals just gutted me.
  • The beginning of the story is slow because Sigourney spends a lot of time in people’s heads and it gets repetitive. So we get a story about everyone she encounters and at times I wasn’t patient enough to care about a noble and their thoughts and feelings of hate towards their slaves. 😒 There was a lot of telling and not showing and that also made me put the book down a few times.
  • Sigourney – she’s complicated. I know her background, her stories about her parents and how they were killed. But I just wanted her to free the slaves and walk away. I hated her for seeing the plight of her people and yet, she had them whipped to impress the other families. She uses them. And she has this plot for revenge…but I only saw one people at the receiving end of that revenge. So I didn’t believe her, like Loren, who distrusted her motives.

I definitely have mixed feelings about this book. I think this book has so much potential and it came about in the last part of the story. The beginning was bogged down with Sigourney entering so many minds and telling their stories. Some I cared about, others I didn’t. I think it’s an important story because of the topic of slavery and the thoughts and actions of a black slave owner. The history of the islands and Sigourney’s past lays the groundwork for revenge but she was conflicted about her motivations. The twist in the end makes me wonder what is going to happen in book two and will she eventually join the rebels side? Or will she fight to remain their master? 😞

ARC Review | A Sweet Mess

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Sweet Mess

Author: Jayci Lee

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Foodie, Adult

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

Bake a chance on love. 

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see her gorgeous Korean unicorn again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

My Sweet Mess is a foodie romance – meaning if you like romance and stories with cooking in it, especially baked goods, then this will be up your alley.

Aubrey is a pastry chef and owns a small bakery in a very small town. A one-night stand with Landon, a well known food critic (except not known to Aubrey), ruins her business when he does an article on her bakery.

To make amends Landon has a plan. Now it’s strictly business between them but their attraction between them is undeniable and gets in the way.

  • Food! I love a romance story with food in it, most especially when it centers around baked goods – since that is my weakness. So I loved all the cooking references.
  • It’s a light-hearted romance and a very quick read. The story comes with its share of timely drama and resolves easily into a happy ever after. It’s a cute ending.
  • I like that it’s main characters are Asian because it’s nice to see more diversity in the romance genre.
  • The story is very predictable. One-night stand, woman’s life is ruined by a man, man comes into save her business, attraction is still there, conflict, resolution – HEA. So…it’s got all the elements but nothing really stood out to make it wow me.
  • I didn’t connect to the characters. Their attraction happens in an instant, which is fine, but when things become a problem and they are back together, things almost fall easily into place. There is no real tension between them, I think I wanted more tension.
  • And this might be the fault of it being a digital arc but some paragraphs were running into each other and I would get thrown off wondering if it was supposed to be a new chapter. So that might just be formatting because it being a digital copy.

Overall, this was a light hearted romance novel with love of food present throughout the story. For me I wish I could connect to the characters more but ff you like a love story about food and falling in love then you will enjoy this one.

The Kiss Quotient | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 323

Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Adult, Autism, Fake Dating, Asian Rep

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

So I read The Bride Test before this book and I ended up liking The Kiss Quotient much more!

My Reactions:

My Attention: read in one night

World Building: Silicon Valley

Writing Style: flowed really well

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 – lots of sexy moments in this one

Crazy in Love: in a good way

Creativity: I love the Asperger’s representation and how Stella propositions Michael instead of the other way around (Pretty Woman reversal!)

Mood: love 

Triggers: prostitution

My Takeaway: Get yourself a Michael Larsen. 🤗

  • The autistic representation is fantastic, just as it was in The Bride Test. We get to see how a character with Aspergers, Stella, functions in a social, sexual, physical and romantic relationship with Michael. I appreciate the insight because it makes me understand people with autism better. I can feel Stella’s desire and despair to try and be “normal” in a romantic relationship, and yay for Michael being super patient with her. It’s exactly what she needed in a partner.
  • The whole reverse Pretty Woman thing where Michael is the escort is fun. And HOT. I mean some of the scenes where he is trying to help her be comfortable with sex was like…🔥🔥🔥. I mean obviously he has a 5 star rating so he knows what he is doing, but again…his patience is what got me swooning! ❤️
  • I did like how it went into hot territory with the escort services thing in the beginning and sex lessons to HOLD up..let’s do fake dating. It took their relationship in a new direction where she works on the usually things about a relationship: dating, meeting each other’s family, talking to one another and learning about each other. I enjoyed that!
  • As for the characters, I loved them both. Stella is smart but has her challenges with being autistic. Michael’s story is heartbreaking is drowning in debt because of his father’s mistake but you know how much he loves his family. And speaking of family…my favorite guy from The Bride’s Test, Quan, made an appearance and seriously, I am SO ready to read his book. Give me Quan!
  • If the whole escort service thing is not something you like (because it does mean Michael has slept with a LOT of women) then this book may not be for you. But it’s a job to him until Stella comes along.

I enjoyed this book a lot! The chemistry between Stella and Michael is off the charts but also, it’s a sweet love story as well. It left me feeling happy, which is what I expect a romantic novel to do. Now I’m ready for Quan’s book!

ARC Review | In the Dark with the Duke

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: In the Dark with the Duke (Lost Lords of London, #2)

Author: Christi Caldwell

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 365

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

Categories: Historical Romance

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

Eight years ago, Lady Lila March retreated to the safe shadows of her family’s estate after a devastating tragedy. Weary of being a whisper of her former self, she is determined to brave the dangers of the outside world again. No man is better equipped to train her in the art of defense than the Savage Gentleman, East London’s undefeated street fighter.

Hugh Savage reigns as king—of the underworld. Physically invulnerable, emotionally battered, he has his reasons for bare-knuckle brawling. Though Hugh longs to break free of the ring and leave behind the brutal world of violence, he’s intrigued by the challenge Lady Lila poses. A mysterious lady of the peerage willfully descending into the dangerous rookeries? That bespeaks a woman with secrets of her own.

As their unconventional pact progresses, Hugh comes to admire the resolve in Lila’s heart. And beneath his hard surface, she sees a tenderness that touches her to the quick. They’ll soon discover how much they need each other—to face their pasts together, and to fight for a future they deserve.

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

My Reactions:

My Attention: Engaged

World Building: early 1800’s London and I learned about Peterloo (wasn’t aware this happened!)

Writing Style: classic Christi Caldwell

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥 – slow burn and there’s only one major scene but it did it’s job!

Crazy in Love: they get to know each other a lot before they declare their love for one another

Creativity: loved that I learned something new, plus I love this lost lords trope

Mood: I’m in the mood for romance😍 but this book was an emotional one. 😟

Triggers: fighting, violence

My Takeaway: Lady Lila fights the demons of her past so she can feel strong and move on with her present. 💪🏾

  • The history of Peterloo was an eye opener and it was horrific. I liked that this book had characters that experienced what happened on that day on both sides of the massacre.
  • Lady Lila is a fighter! She comes off as afraid and fearful of life, because of her past with Peterloo. I thought her story was emotional and heartbreaking.
  • This story is about violence, fighting back against fear, survival instincts, forgiveness and love.
  • Both Lila and Hugh are broken people with so much to gain in knowing and loving each other. I liked how their attraction grew as their stories are linked unknowingly. They have challenges trusting one another and forgiving themselves about things they couldn’t control but seeing them come together was gratifying.
  • This book can be read as a standalone but it does mention characters from another series I love that Christi Caldwell wrote before the Lost Lords of London.
  • Hugh’s “lost lord” story didn’t really come about until the end. One day he’s a brawler teaching Lady Lila survival skills and next he’s a rich duke but the story doesn’t delve into that part of it in depth. For the most part of the story it’s Hugh Savage the brawler or partner of an arena where fighting takes place, not Hugh Savage the duke.
  • Annalee is a side character we barely see but she’s mentioned a few times and was with Lila at Peterloo. Is Annalee going to have her own story, because I want that story!

This story is about strength, perseverance, and forgiveness. Both Lila and Hugh are trying to change things about their lives but first they have to deal with their pasts. I’m enjoying this Lost Lords of London series so far, it’s only getting better. I hope to read more of the lost lords and hope we get more emotional stories like this one.

ARC Review | The Fiery Crown

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Fiery Crown (Forgotten Empires, #2)

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: Not Listed

Publication Date: May 26, 2020

Categories: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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

A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.

Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters. In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?

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

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to The Orchid Throne much better than it’s predecessor.

Lia and Conri are in a marriage of convenience. She needs Conri’s ruthlessness to help keep King Anure off her back but it seems inevitable – the King wants Lia and her orchid ring. As for the newlyweds everything is going well for them…in bed, but out of it, it’s always a fight between them. They are fighting their growing feelings for each other, thinking of the main plan to take down King Anure and exact the revenge Conri has been dreaming of but there is so much at stake. More than they care to admit.

  • The Fiery Crown starts off right after the events of book one. Lia and Conri are married and we learn that they are very compatible in bed but out of it they don’t know how to handle one another. They are constantly arguing and the sparks fly between them which is fun and frustrating at the same time.
  • King Anure is the common enemy they share and Conri and Lia are trying to come up with a good plan, with a low body count, to take the king out. We have a chance to see Conri and Lia question their main goals – Conri’s is vengeance and Lia lives her life for her island home, Callanthe. But this is the first time the both have started to question if there was something else they could value more…each other.
  • This book is much more fast pace than book one, thank goodness! There is plotting, arguing, action, a battle and then then ending when Lia goes through some very challenging moments. The story kept me on my toes and I like the twist in the second half of the book.
  • I loved learning more about Lia and her power as an elemental and her connection to the land. Also, I like seeing her come unravel because of Conri. She has been in a position of power and always putting on a mask that it’s refreshing when Conri strips her of control little by little.
  • Triggers: torture
  • Conri was a little infuriating at times but I understood his frustrations with Lia and his position in her court. I mean, how do you a tame a wolf? He is trying to do his job but Lia does a lot of things different. I’m glad his eyes are opened in the end and things are pretty much resolved between him and Lia but at times I was like…Conri…smh…🙄😝.

Lia and Conri are opposites in the way they rule, they buttheads a lot, but the spark and heat between them is undeniable. I love watching them go one step forward and two steps back in their relationship until finally – finally, they give in! 🥰 They are both leaders in their own right and Conri was infuriating trying not to love Lia yet still doing what he can to protect her. In this sequel Lia goes through some very painful moments but they both learn at the end of the book that there is hope and most importantly…love. And with that I am very much looking forward to the next book in this series!

Mini Reviews | Institute of the Shadow Fae Series (Books #1-4) by. C.N. Crawford

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Court of Shadows (Institute of the Shadow Fae, #1)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited – borrowed)

Pages: 224

Categories: Urban Fantasy

A girls’ night out means three things to me: drinking whiskey with my best friend, keeping my magic hidden, and trying not to kill anyone. A supernatural gladiator like me isn’t supposed to exist anymore. 

But my Friday night takes a bad turn when a lethally gorgeous fae–Ruadan–tries to assassinate me. He’s taken a vow of silence until he’s slaughtered the outlaws on his kill list. Outlaws like me. 

Ruadan lets me live on one condition: I have to earn my place at the Institute of the Shadow Fae. As a powerful demi-fae, I can take the competition. 

But things fall apart when I’m given an impossible choice: betray my mentor Ruadan, or my best friend dies. Now, I face a quandary my gladiatorial past did not prepare me for.

I think I was supposed to read this series before the Sea Fae series but here we are. Arianna is a demi-fae who was once a gladiator and slave to Baleros. She’s a whiskey drinking, kicking ass fae who has a secret past. Ruadan is a shadow fae with a vow of silence and Ariana becomes paired with him when she is recruited into the Institute of the Shadow Fae.

  • Arianna can seriously kick some ass. And I love reading the scenes when she is fighting! Noble fae call her a gutter fae and seriously, this girl is starving and struggling on the street! She has a human friend named Ciara (does this sound familiar?! If you read my review of the Sea Fae trilogy by this author duo then you know this is familiar). Arianna’s last “master” is coming for her and she needs to do a mission for him to keep Ciara safe.
  • Ruadan is a silent assassin with all this swirly dark shadow magic around him. I like how they learn to communicate and something is brewing between them of course. Of course he’s a quiet, gorgeous (aren’t they all?!) demi-fae as well.
  • We learn about the Shadow Fae who seem to be big with this author duo. We learn about their beginnings and who rules them. Plus I’m a sucker for books about institutes or academies and trials to pass. We meet some interesting novices and yay another female! The male novices are alpha…of course and treat Arianna like dirt.😒
  • This book is a very quick read (224 pages?!)…so quick I downloaded book two right away. So far…I’m interested in the story. And…cliffhangers, ugh…

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Title: Court of Darkness (Shadow Fae, #2)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: eBook (KU-borrowed)

Pages: 236

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Romance

I would not say things are going well, exactly. I live in a burnt-out car under a bridge, surrounded by rubbish. When Ruadan shows up to bring me back to the Institute, I leap at the chance. 

That is, until he throws me into the dungeons. I’m on the naughty list, and the mentor who once trained me is cold as ice. Now, I must pass every single trial, or the Institute’s executioners will rip me to pieces. Good thing I can handle it. I was the queen of the gladiator ring, and I do not go down easily.

  • The trials to become a Shadow Fae goes on but Arianna needs to kill Baleros and he can’t seem to die! I’m still enjoying the fight scenes a lot.
  • Ruadan can speak, thank goodness and he’s half incubi, a sex demon…well, well…which means there will be some hotness from here on out right? Right. 🔥🧯 lol
  • Ruadan and Arianna team up because he obviously has a soft spot for her. But what are these memories Arianna conjures up – what IS she? I mean everyone keeps asking and I am too – this better be good! 🤔
  • Another short one at 236 pages…like can we stop with the cliffhangers and maybe combine books one and two? lol

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Court of Night (Shadow Fae, #3)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: eBook (KU)

Pages: 238

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Romance

As a Knight of the Shadow Fae, I’m tasked with defending the Institute. I’m deep into a world of dark magic, orgiastic death cults, and demon roller discos. 

But my new life begins with an impossible choice: turn over Ruadan within twenty-four hours, or my nemesis will unleash the Black Death. 

Worse, my old gladiator master is threatening to reveal my identity. If the truth gets out, I’ll be out of the Institute faster than you can say “wrath of an incubus.” 

If I can’t find and kill my oldest enemy in time, then it’s the Black Death for everyone, and I’ll be back on the run once more.

  • Love finding out what Arianna’s parentage is. It’s so bad ass and really fits her kick ass personality. She is a fighter but with such a lineage also very feared and it could come between her and Ruadan.
  • Speaking of the love-birds, I think they are sweet together(as a killing, kick-ass couple LOL). But I love them as a couple.
  • Some things were becoming redundant like Arianna always fighting herself aroused in wet clothing but can’t say I blame her – she’s hanging out with an incubus. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But I felt myself wanting to move on from her always wet clothing, these darn portals filled with water haha.
  • Also another short book with a cliffhanger, it was driving me a bit crazy…

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Court of Dreams (Shadow Fae, #4)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: eBook (KU)

Pages: 235

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Romance

Exiled from the Shadow Fae, I’m left out on London’s streets. The Knights of the Institute are dying of the plague, and they’re sure I’m to blame. 

Desperate to speak to Ruadan, I invade the Institue. Then, things take a turn for the worse. Like, “tortured in a tiny prison cell” worse. Seems like Ruadan has completely betrayed me. But when I finally reunite with my dark demigod, it turns out I’d totally misunderstood his actions. 

Once I’m out of jail, Ruadan and I have to fix this mess, and we’re thrown together once again. That means finding my father, and killing Baleros before the monster gets what he’s after: the skin off Ruadan’s corpse. If Baleros gets what he wants, then he’ll control the world, and I’ll lose Ruadan forever. 

  • Arianna/Liora is trying to help the Shadow Fae again and yet…she’s banished again. Redundant yes, but I like how she keeps fighting to do the right thing. She may be death incarnate but she’s still a good person but she’s afraid Ruadan hates her.
  • Everything comes full circle for Liora – she has accepted everything about herself and she’s found parts of her past.
  • I’m so happy for Liora and Ruadan.
  • Aenor from the Sea Fae trilogy makes a cameo which makes me wish I read this series first!
  • Yes I read 4 books in one night because of the short installments and cliffhangers and that drove me crazy.

** Triggers: violence, abuse

I could’ve done without the short lengths of the books and the cliffhangers! But it was another urban fantasy series that made me escape from the real world and had a little bit of everything. I especially love the fight scenes because Arianna/Liora is great at kicking ass. And then there is the romance which was hot and sweet at the same time. I think I’m a new fan of this author duo.

Mini Reviews | Court of the Sea Fae Trilogy by. C.N. Crawford

My Rating for the whole series: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Dark King ; Fallen King ; Rising Queen

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: eBook (borrowed – KU)

Pages: Book #1 – 296 ; Book #2 – 272 ; Book #3 – 308

Catergories: Mythology, Urban Fantasy, Romance

A snarky fae, a sexy king, and forbidden desire deep as the sea. The first book in a three-book series.

Once, I was a fae princess with sea-magic at my fingertips. Now? I’m a hunted supernatural in a squalid shop, stripped of my power. My only comforts are stale cookies, Elvis records, and my hula-hoop. Until a lethally sexy fae king arrives and rips even those away. 

After the brutal king throws me in prison, I strike a bargain with him: my freedom in exchange for helping him find a magic blade. What Lyr doesn’t know is that the blade might restore my stolen magic. 

But as we journey, the gorgeous jerk is starting to make me feel things I’ve never felt. When Lyr touches me, desire ignites. I see raging passion in his eyes, too. If I give in, I risk losing my chance at reclaiming my power. Even worse… I could be forfeiting my life.

I started this series so I could make use of my Kindle Unlimited membership and I needed a light, quick urban fantasy read. I read this whole series in two days, that’s how quick it was. This is the first book I read from this author duo and this is how it went:

Dark King – Book #1: should be called Dark Queen because it introduces us to Aenor who is a thief struggling to survive in the street with her human Gina. Aenor once was a Morgan sea fae set to inherit a kingdom but those dreams are dashed when her home is destroyed. This means Aenor has great powers and Now all she has on her mind is revenge, to take down the being that destroyed her world, but who did it?

My Thoughts:

  • I don’t read a lot about the sea fae so I liked that I got to learn about sea creatures from mythology. Another thing is that Aenor is from the kingdom of Ys. I only heard about that legend in another book so seeing it here in depth was pretty cool!
  • Lyr, the demi-god is of course a hot alpha fae and there is an attraction between them but…what is up with his friends? 🙄 Anyway Lyr needs Aenor to find something and he seems into her…but is he really?
  • Aenor as a character is ballsy, can kick ass, hates men (because her mom was this crazy Queen who killed her husband and wore the blood stained dress for ages and told Aenor to never trust men – okay…lol 😳). Aenor is soft when it comes to her human Gina and also she is a defender of abused women – she kills dangerous men.
  • It’s a quick read, pure escapism, with hot gorgeous fae.

Life in a fae castle should be pretty sweet. Except, my lover wants to take my magic from me, and I made a deal with the devil. Literally. 

Salem is the light-bringer, gorgeous as sin and just as evil. Some call him Lucifer. What do I call him? Whatever he tells me to, because he’s cast a mind-control spell over me. He hates me, but I have a plan. I’ll lead him to a sorcerer who can kill him. 

But as I journey with the fallen god, I see him watching me, wanting me. And it’s mutual. Turns out fate has a sick sense of humor, because my destiny ties me to Salem. Still, I have to stop him before he gets what he wants. Because if I fail, he will unleash hell on earth.

Fallen King – Book #2: we find out the person who destroyed Aenor’s kingdom is Lucifer himself! He’s smooth, has more of a personality than Lyr does haha…and he has a backstory that isn’t the same stuff we here about him falling from the sky, he’s evil…la la la. Also, his name is Salem.

My Thoughts:

  • The chemistry between Salem and Aenor is much better than with her and Lyr. But prophecy said she has to kill him to protect the world and for him, he has to kill her to ascend back to heaven so….what to do?
  • We learn about Lucifer’s past when we ruled the kingdom of Mag Mel. Seriously, this guy has a past and I appreciate that he has a story. And he’s trying to find someone he cared about that Aenor supposedly killed so…there’s a lot these two have to work out huh?
  • I like Aenor’s battles so far in this series with mythological monsters. The series so far has a lot of action to keep it moving and much more sexual tension in this one. I mean…it is the devil Aenor’s dealing with.

My mate lies in a rotting cage at the bottom of the sea, and I’ll do anything to get him back. Maybe he’s the devil himself, but he made the ultimate sacrifice for me.

When my plan backfires, I’m left with a lethal hex surging in my veins. Now, I only have a few days to live. And Salem? He’s wrestling with a dark curse of his own, one that he says makes him burn.. 

He keeps saying this ends with one of us dead, that our story is a tragedy. But I’m determined to rewrite the tale fate has penned for us. If I can’t, he warns I could die at his hands.

Rising Queen – Book #3: Aenor and Salem can’t seem to let one another go. They fight more creatures, have more sexy times and they still have to decide who dies and gets their happily ever after. Can they find a way to be together and both get what they want?

My Thoughts:

  • Love Aenor and Salem together – he may be Lucifer but she can definitely keep up with him. And he keeps up with her also, I’m so glad they have their happy ending.
  • I loved Ossian who is Salem’s servant but becomes a good friend to Aenor.
  • I enjoyed the witches that were featured in this series alongside the sea fae, fallen angles, Shadow Fae and the legend of Ys. Having them leap into portals and different worlds kept the story moving at a fast pace.
  • All the books in this series were 300 pages and under which means…this could have easily been condensed into one book but I know Kindle Unlimited book series don’t work that way and that’s fine! All the cliffhangers in this series made me want to read the next volume.

**Triggers: violence

This series was pure fun urban fantasy about the sea fae and then some. It had everything from humor, adventure, fights, monsters, devils, gods, lust, and love. Overall, the whole series was entertaining and let me escape a bit.

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.