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!

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 | Find Me Their Bones (Bring Me Their Hearts, #2)

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Find Me Their Bones (Bring Me Their Hearts, #2)

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 400

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

No one can save her.

In order to protect Prince Lucien d’Malvane’s heart, Zera had to betray him. Now, he hates the sight of her. Trapped in Cavanos as a prisoner of the king, she awaits the inevitable moment her witch severs their magical connection and finally ends her life.

But fate isn’t ready to give her up just yet.

With freedom coming from the most unlikely of sources, Zera is given a second chance at life as a Heartless. But it comes with a terrible price. As the king mobilizes his army to march against the witches, Zera must tame an elusive and deadly valkerax trapped in the tunnels underneath the city if she wants to regain her humanity.

Winning over a bloodthirsty valkerax? Hard. Winning back her friends before war breaks out? A little harder.

But a Heartless winning back Prince Lucien’s heart?

The hardest thing she’s ever done.

I’m addicted to this series. I started reading the sequel after I read the first book and the only regret I have is I have to wait for the third book. 🥺

Book two takes off right after Bring Me Their Hearts and that cliffhanger. Zera still doesn’t have her heart but she’s lost the friends she made when they didn’t know she was a Heartless. Now they know and they don’t trust her and she doesn’t trust herself around them either, especially Lucien. So why does he keep trying to see her still?

Zera is on a new mission to get her heart back from her new witch and this time she won’t let her feelings for Lucien come between her and her real heart.

  • I love how Zera has to pick up the pieces from shattering her “unheart” and face the people who now hate or are afraid of her. She resolved to focus on getting her heart back and not fall over Lucien like before. And I really loved her new dangerous mission because we get to meet Yorl, a celeon and see Zera antagonize her. Plus it is NOT a love triangle, yay! She just makes a new friend and she needs one after she lost her old friends. She’s as sassy as ever, wearing a smile as her armor, I kept thinking, “Chin up! That’s my girl!” lol.
  • This mission involves getting very close to a dangerous creature the valkerax, which is a giant wyrm with serrated teeth and sounds crazy frightening. But Zera wants her heart back so bad…she needs to do this, even if she dies each time she’s with it!
  • The introduction of a new villain…Lucien’s sister, Varia and I really hate her. UGH. I don’t like her but I like that this story has a villain that isn’t so clear cut evil. People love her, adore her and Zera is bound to her now. So how does Zera not hurt Lucien again and yet break free from Varia somehow. Varia also has grand plans of peace between witches and humans but to others it sounds like dominant control over everyone.
  • The story never lags, it moves on hurtling towards the end and ANOTHER cliff-hanger. We watch Zera deal with her conflicted feelings about Lucien, her heart, her fears, her humor, her many deaths dealing with the valkerax. She’s so freaking brave and I love her. I want her to have a happy ending somehow.
  • Hmmm? Another cliffhanger…😭 and I need book three. TODAY.
  • This book is killing me with Zera and Lucien being apart – like…I need them to just come together and let bygones be bygones. ☹️ I want them both happy!
  • Triggers: violence, blood, self-harm (I really hate Varia)

I’m so glad I decided to read this series and I am going to scour NetGalley daily hoping the third book is available for request because I need to know what happens to Zera and the whole crew. Even Varia…is there a chance for her to redeem herself? I am a new fan of this author and I hope to read more of her work. I need the third book – that is all. 😍

Book Review | Bring Me Their Hearts

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Bring Us Their Hearts

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 370

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

It was a crazy week of negative news all over the world and I decided to pick up this book and read it. I read it one night, finally reading past midnight (it’s been awhile since a book kept me up!).

A Heartless, Zera wants her heart back but her witch won’t give it back until she completes a mission to prevent another war between witches and humans. The mission? Take the heart of the Crown Prince, Lucien d’Malvane. And I mean, TAKE THE HEART, not win his heart…she has to pull it out of his chest. 😳 By the end of the book, can she do it?

  • This was pure escapism and so fun for me to read! Yes, a bit morbid and dark at times, but Zera is on a mission to take the heart of someone. Like she literally has to put her hand into his chest and rip it out. 😳
  • Zera is a Heartless, she “died” when she was 16 but now she’s immortal just as long her witch has her heart. I love Zera, she’s kind of all over the place, but her humor is her armor and she cracked me up a lot. I felt for her so much, she just wants her heart back and her memories of her past life with her mom and dad. For the most part she can pass off as human, but when the hunger in her takes over she turns into a monster and kills. 😥 I am rooting so hard for Zera and I hate her tough choices but it makes this story so addicting.
  • Malachite – Prince Lucien’s bodyguard is awesome and I love how he and Zera tease each other. He has Prince Lucien’s back and I like learning about him being a Beneather or Bene-Thar. As I said, I love the humor!
  • The world building is rich with witchlore, a war between witches and humans and different kinds of beings in this world like celeons (like cat people) and of course the Heartless. I was immersed into the world right in the beginning.
  • There was action, humor, a romance budding between a cold prince and a funny Heartless – of course she’s supposed to take his heart though, which makes things complicated. I loved the angst.
  • Then ending is killer! It’s crazy and wild and a cliff-hanger. Thank goodness I had the foresight to borrow the sequel at the same time!
  • Lucien comes off arrogant and irritating but that doesn’t deter Zera. She gets under his skin and it’s so good that I wanted MORE of them.
  • Triggers: death, violence

This was the perfect series to start during this crazy time with the everything shutting down around us in the real world. I loved learning what it means to be Heartless and reading quickly to the end to see if Zera could really take Lucien’s heart. I liked the court intrigue and the world building. Zera was made a Heartless without a choice…and now she has a chance to get her heart back. Will she? I’m addicted to this series and cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Book Review | Circle of Shadows

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Circle of Shadows

Author: Evelyn Skye

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 451

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

I really, really wanted to love this one but sadly it felt so short of my expectations.

Sora and her gemina, Daemon are Taiga warriors – think ninjas. They are sent on a mission and instead get caught up in a bigger problem when they spy Prince Gin – the Empress’ brother – alive and with a new magic.

This story has fighting, secrets, betrayals and more.

  • I loved the world building. It seems inspired by Japan but don’t quote me on that. The kingdom of Kichona came to life when it was described. When Sora and Daemon travel from town to town, I could envision myself in that town eating the foods and watching the celebrations.
  • There is action, mostly in the latter half of the book and let me just tell you…it’s pretty ruthless. Story wise when it came to Prince Gin’s mission, it was brutal and I’m actually glad it went there – because he is quite a villain.
  • I liked the short chapters because it moved the story along faster because I was getting bored with the story in the middle. So yay for the short chapters.
  • Not gonna lie, I skimmed this book starting from almost midway into the book because I couldn’t get into it. I think my biggest issue was the names. Fairy. Broomstick. Glass Lady. Like…give me a name like Sora and Daemon! Sora is also Spirit and Daemon is Wolf and it interchanged and at times I was like…who? What?….so it bugged me a lot. Now if this was a graphic novel (because I think this would make an awesome graphic novel…)…I wouldn’t mind names like Broomstick.
  • And with the names being that way…this very detailed world building and complicated story felt at times…simple or it never went deep when I wanted it to. It literally felt flat to me.
  • Then there is the love triangle which appeared almost at the end! 🤨 Why?
  • Triggers: violence, sacrificial scene

This story fell flat for me but I think it has so much potential! I love the world building, and I think the characters are fun except I disliked their not having names except for a few main people. There is a message of loyalty and family in this story and the ending was pretty shocking. 😳 Overall I’m sure it’s a story that will find it’s audience, I’m not sure if I will pick up the sequel – we shall see.