That Dark Infinity by. Kate Pentecost | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: That Dark Infinity

Author: Kate Pentecost

Format: hard cover (own)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 10/18/21

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Lite Horror, Paranormal

By night, the Ankou is a legendary, permanently young mercenary. By day, a witch’s curse leaves him no more than bones. Caught in an unending cycle of death and resurrection, the Ankou wants only to find the death that has been prophesied for him, especially once he begins to rot while he’s still alive….

After the kingdom of Kaer-Ise is sacked, Flora, loyal handmaiden to the princess, is assaulted and left for dead. As the sole survivor of the massacre, Flora wants desperately to find the princess she served. When the Ankou agrees to help her find the princess, and to train her in exchange for her help in breaking his curse, she accepts. But how can she kill an immortal? Especially one whom she is slowly growing to understand—and maybe even to love?

Together, they will solve mysteries, battle monsters, break curses, and race not only against time, but against fate itself.

Content Warning: gory scenes, death, rape, assault, violence

I’ve had this one on my shelf for half the year and wanted to read it during spooky season. Here’s what I thought:

+ My favorite thing about this book was the creative world-building. There are monsters, different kingdoms, an awkward but efficient monster slayer, automatons and even a tiny bit of romance.

+ The characters are great! We have the Ankou, Lazarus, who is cursed to be a monster slayer. I loved how awkward he was outside of monster slaying. Flora has gone through so much – she lost her best friend, her position as a ladies maid and her innocence in one violent event. The friendship she builds with Lazarus is careful – I love how he gives her space and the friendship grows into something more but it’s never the focus of the story. And then there is Antonais who is a lightning mage and helps them on their quest to break Lazarus curse. He is a fun character who is into everything science and engineering.

+ I loved the darkness of the story. I don’t feel like the story itself was dark in a scary way, it just had dark themes but I felt like the writing was light-hearted and lyrical. Lazarus turns into a skeleton every night, which is kinda awesome. A lot of the descriptions got gory but never in a spooky way – hence why I dubbed it lite horror. I also loved all the action of fighting different monsters on their quest, that was fun.

~ Pacing was a bit off at times. For example, Lazarus is going to train Flora to fight and I swear it took one page of training and she was deemed proficient (yes time goes by…but quickly!). Also…there was modern day humor to the dialogue and the characters which was kind of strange but I went with it!

~ Also, Lazarus wants to break his curse, and Flora wants to know what happened to her best friend Beth and if she escaped the massacre. Flora’s goal kind of gets pushed aside – maybe because their goals were intertwined but I felt like we could have gotten more of Flora’s thoughts. She suffered through a lot. I just felt like she forgot she was looking for Beth at times. Maybe I just needed more of her perspective.

~+ There isn’t much to the romance – it’s barely there which is a good thing if you are there for the quest and action scenes. The romance happens basically at the ending and I did love how they went from companions to friends to lovers. It’s very sweet when you think about it.

Tropes: quest, monster slayer, girl who overcomes trauma, found family

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • there is a quest and lots of actions scenes battling monsters
  • Lazarus is the most reluctant monster slayer but he’s so good at it and he’s funny and awkward at times. Love him!
  • great world building, creative and unique

Why you might not want to read it:

  • pacing is a bit off at times – at times rushed, maybe because it’s a standalone?

My Thoughts:

This was the perfect read for spooky season! The story is about a monster slayer who basically hates his job but is so good at it – he wants the curse to be over. Then there is Flora who has been seriously traumatized by a horrific event and has lost everything but she gains back strength, and love. There is a quest, lots of adventure and monster slaying and a happy ending. Only thing that threw me off at times was the pacing but overall and enjoyable story!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The Dead Romantics by. Ashley Poston | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Dead Romantics

Author: Ashley Poston

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 6/28/22

Categories: Romance, Paranormal, Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead… but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Content Warning: death, grief

I went into this one without expectations! I saw the book cover on my Overdrive online library selections and thought the synopsis was intriguing so I borrowed it without reading any reviews on in. I was so pleasantly surprised and touched. Here is what did and didn’t work for me:

+ A ghostwriter who can see ghost and falls for someone who is a ghost?! I love the idea and the story. Florence is a young woman, nursing a broken heart. It’s made it impossible for her to continue writing the romance novel she is working on and on top of that her beloved father dies. So it’s not only a romance, it’s a story about Florence trying to figure out heartbreak, grief and what love really is. It’s a beautiful story.

+ Her family is one of my newest favorite fictional families. They own a funeral home and even though Florence doesn’t totally get along with her younger sister, you can tell the bonds between this loving family is tight even when their father dies. I also love the people from her home town and her best friend in New York. We get both the small town romance and big city one too in this one book.

+ The romance between Florence and Ben is so cute and honestly I did figure out how things were going to end up but I was going to be so upset if it wasn’t that way. I love how they get to know one another – realistic? No, but that’s why I love how this is a paranormal romance. The two of them melted my heart.

+ Florence and her family are grieving but I so love how they celebrate her father’s life. Did I cry in a few spots? Definitely did.

~ My only issue with the story was the beginning where I thought I was getting a straight romance and then the story took a left turn with the death of Florence’s father and the whole situation with Ben which I won’t spoil. But the story smoothed out right after that.

Tropes: seeing ghosts, small town and big city romance, editor/writer romance

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • heartwarming story about family, grief, heartbreak and love
  • a ghostwriter falling in love with a ghost
  • the Day family is my new favorite fictional family

Why you might not want to read it:

  • beginning of the story was just a little bit jarring with the romance and sudden death but it worked out after that

My Thoughts:

I loved this one. I was all for the ghostwriting and ghost-seeing! It was unexpected and I went in with no expectations and maybe because my trauma with grief, I resonated with stories about grief. But even though there is death and loss in this book, I love that it still was a story about celebrating life, love, and those who have gone but linger. A wonderful story that melted my heart and made me shed a few tears as well.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Love was putting up with someone for fifty years so you’d have someone to bury you when you died. I would know; my family was in the business of death.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

He was a bullet journal guy, and I was a sticky note kind of girl.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

Love was a high for a moment that left you hollow when it left, and you spent the rest of your life chasing that feeling.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

Grief was the exact opposite. It was full and heavy and drowning because it wasn’t the absence of everything you lost—it was the culmination of it all, your love, your happiness, your bittersweets, wound tight like a knotted ball of yarn.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

It’s never easy. It’s also never really goodbye—and trust me, we’re in the business of goodbyes. The people who pass through here live on in you and me and everyone they touched. There is no happy ending, there’s just . . . happily living. As best you can.

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

A River Enchanted by. Rebecca Ross | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence, #1)

Author: Rebecca Ross

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 480

Publication Date: 2/15/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Adult Fiction, Mystery

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

Content Warning: violence, kidnapping, raids

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it was published and I heard so many great things about it. I can see why there was hype about it. Here’s what I thought about the book:

+ The writing is beautiful and the story is magical. Cadence is Jack’s home and it’s a place where they still revere the island and its spirits. I love how music is magic in Jack’s skill with the harp and how Torin and Sidra can call to one another. It’s a story that you can get swept up in.

+ The romance, and relationships was great to explore. Jack and Adaira are a childhood enemies to lovers story that melted my heart. Their relationship I feel would appeal to the young adult crowd but Torin and Sidra are older. I loved Jack and Adaira and how their history together made their bond stronger in their older age. And I love Torin and Sidra’s story too. Torin’s a widower, and Sidra married him and gained a step-daughter. There is so much love in their family but insecurities too. It’s wonderful how the story explores the relationships between these couples.

+ The theme of family and community is strong in this book. It’s also a story about people finding their place in the world and figuring out what the meaning of “home” is. The ending was a surprising twist.

+ I like the mysterious air that is present from beginning to end of the book. There are girls going missing in the east and they think the it’s the spirits who are causing this so Jack and Adaira do their best to connect to the spirits through music and enchantment. But there is more to the story than just the spirits. I like the twist in the end.

~ Pacing is a little slow. It starts off strong but the story is set like a mystery so it’s definitely a story where you can take your time and not rush through. Definite cozy story, raining outside kinda vibes!

Tropes: childhood friends, enemies to lovers, widower

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • beautiful writing, magical setting
  • themes of love, family and belonging
  • romance between Jack and Adaira (young love) and Torin and Sidra (adult love)

Why you might not want to read it:

  • might be a little slow but I think it fits with the pace of a mystery- it did take me 3 days to read.

My Thoughts:

I love how magical this story felt as I was reading it. I felt swept away in the story of Cadence, the warring sides and the spirits all around them. Although at times the romance felt like a young adult story, it was balanced with Torin and Sidra’s story which was an adult love story filled with challenges. This is a story to take your time with and not rush through.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Review: The Queen’s Rising ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“The days may be dark,” Sidra said. “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel joy.”

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

Their differences could be enough to break their vows, despite her feelings for him.”

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

From your life came mine. I would not exist if you had been born in the east. I am but a verse inspired by your chorus, and I will follow you until the end, when the isle takes my bones and my name is nothing more than a remembrance on a headstone, next to yours.”

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

House of Beating Wings by. Olivia Wildenstein | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: House of Beating Wings (Kingdom of Crows #1)

Author: Olivia Wildenstein

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 490

Publication Date: 9/27/22

Categories: New Adult, Fantasy, Fae, Romantasy, Magic

Free the crows, Fallon, and they will make you queen.

Until an oracle predicted my regal future, I’d never imagined myself rising above the curve of my round ears. After all, I was the magicless halfling loved by beasts but loathed by every pure-blooded faerie at court. Well . . . by all but one.

Dante Regio, prince of Luce, had owned my heart since he gave me my first kiss. If gathering a slew of iron relics could help me overthrow the current monarch and crown his brother to rule at my side, then treasure hunting I’d go.

If only the oracle had warned me what winged demon I was releasing into the world.

And that I’d become this demon’s obsession.

Content Warning:

I was in the mood for a romantasy so I picked this one up on Kindle Unlimited because I was curious about the crow storyline. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ I wanted a romantasy and I got it for sure. Seems like everyone in this kingdom wants to be with Fallon. There are a few guys she kisses in this book but we will see what happens in book two.

+ Fallon works at a tavern, which is cool that she helps her family out that way. She also has the power to bond with a water serpent animal. Her bond with the serpent is why the King wants her in the first place but apparently Fallon’s fate is tied to something else – waking up crows. I did like the secondary characters, especially Fallon’s best friends, they are fun.

+ The crows are fascinating, they seem to speak to Fallon through her mind. And the leader of the crows, Lore, is intriguing.

~ I think there may be a love triangle brewing? Fallon is in love with Dante, the prince and her old friend, but I do not like him at all. He’s the worst. She also spends some time with Antoni who’s slept with all her friends it seems, but she breaks his heart. And now Lore? Who knows what is going to happen there.

~ I felt like there were two separate stories going on. The first part was purely Fallon and her love-life. The second was her waking up the crows. So to me it felt a bit disjointed.

~ Fallon was not someone I connected with – actually she started to annoy me, maybe because she acted young and naive for her age. It could be because the story is disjointed or the writing isn’t my style?

Tropes: girl with secret powers, love triangle, family with secrets,

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • looking for a romantasy read which includes crows
  • interesting world-building

Why you might not want to read it:

  • annoying main character

My Thoughts:

My favorite thing about this book is probably Fallon’s best friends who brought humor into the story. I think the world building is interesting and it has so much potential but Fallon was annoying at times and I felt like the crows needed to be introduced a bit earlier into the story. For me the story didn’t flow well and I found myself skipping some parts to the end. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the second book, if I do it’s mostly to find out all about this crow kingdom.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Weight of Blood by. Tiffany D. Jackson | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Weight of Blood

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 9/6/22

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Categories: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, Carrie Reimagined, Racism

When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation… Maddy did it.

An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.

After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.

But some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet. And what they don’t know is that Maddy still has another secret… one that will cost them all their lives.

Content Warning: racism, bullying, child abuse

I haven’t read Carrie by Stephen King in years…and when I say years, I mean like 20 years ago! I also haven’t watched the original movie in so long. But it’s one of those iconic, memorable stories and movies because of that ending. When I saw this book cover I knew it would be a retelling or a reimagined Carrie, and by Tiffany D. Jackson, who is one of my favorite authors – I had to read it. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ Maddy has been passing off as white until one fateful day at school, it rains, and her hair puffs up into an afro. And they hate her for hiding that she is half black. She gets bullied by the white kids which starts the ball rolling onto the events that lead up to prom night. But no one knows Maddy’s home life – she is abused by her dad who believes in keeping her pure, hiding her hair, and having her watch shows from the 50’s- which made me remember the days in the 80’s as a child when I watched those shows like Leave it to Beaver! Talk about blast from the past.

+ This story is told from a podcast show as they review the events that happen and try to figure out why it happened. It is also told during when things are leading up to the prom. For the most part it worked out – because we get an insight into telekinesis and Maddy’s powers.

+ What I love about Tiffany D. Jackson’s books are that they are always thought provoking and talk about racism. In this story is Maddy and her being bi-racial and the way people react to her is telling in itself. She tackles issues about colorism and segregation. There is the white kids who bully Maddy, there is Kendrick’s sister who is mad that Maddy never claimed her blackness, and there is Wendy and Kendrick who try to make the whole situation right but it doesn’t turn out the way they planned. We learn about the town they live in and how they have segregated proms and after I did a quick google search because I was so curious, and apparently some towns in Georgia still have segregated proms! The article I read was printed in 2014, which kind of makes sense why The Weight of Blood takes place in 2014. I wondered about that year being used in the story!

+ I found all the characters so interesting. Maddy and her powers, Wendy and her goals to be with Kendrick (does she really love him or what he represents for her future?), Kendrick and the pressures he has to live up to, Kali who is proud to be black and is a fighter.

+ I love the lead up to prom and I think the author did such a great job with how it ends. There is carnage, there is chaos, and there is a whole town that is changed forever.

~ For the most part the podcast worked for me but I also wished the story was told without it because I felt like it interrupted the flow of the story. I understand that people were trying to analyze what happened though.

Tropes: girl with secret powers

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • great reimagining of Carrie but with a twist, including racial issues that we can relate to today
  • it’s got a great blend of psychology horror: with Maddy’s home life, her powers and the racism in town
  • compelling characters, great story-telling, thought provoking

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into Carrie

My Thoughts:

I say this over and over but I am such a big fan of Tiffany D. Jackson’s work. Her books are always thought provoking. The fact that racism in itself is part of the horror in this story makes a big impact. I love how the story leads up to the classic ending that is similar to Carrie. Only thing I wish was different was the whole podcast element because I think the story would have been great without it. Other than that, this was an entertaining book with that classic Carrie ending.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

I’m the Girl by. Courtney Summers | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: I’m the Girl

Author: Courtney Summers

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 9/12/22

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Categories: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary

The new groundbreaking queer thriller from New York Times bestselling and Edgar-award Winning author Courtney Summers.

When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty—but who is guiltiest.

A spiritual successor to the 2018 breakout hit, SadieI’m the Girl is a masterfully written, bold, and unflinching account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?

Content Warning: sexual assault, rape, murder, grooming

There are some books I have no clue how to rate because I hated every part of the subject matter of this book and yet the writing is so captivating that I read it in one sitting. I want to call this book something like realistic horror because all of it happens in our world way too much. This is what did and didn’t work for me:

+ I read Sadie and loved it because it’s an important read, it broke my heart. I cheered Sadie on. This book is a different beast altogether and asks the question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it? The one time Georgia is told she is beautiful by a rich and powerful man she is obsessed with this idea to belong in his world. The world of Aspera, a resort that caters to the elite, the very rich, the very famous. But even though her mom told her it’s not the kind of place Georgia should aspire to, she defiantly reaches for the dream her mom tells her to gorget. Beauty is her power and she wants to belong. Georgia finds out a few things when she starts working at Aspera…and its horrific.

+ This is not an easy read. It’s uncomfortable and I was disgusted throughout the whole thing but it’s compelling too. I was looking over at my daughter wondering how I can protect her from being prey. There is lots of triggering topics in this book: sexual assault, rape, murder, sex trafficking, a boys club who can do whatever they want and get away with it. Think Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s of the world….this is the world Georgia has made herself covet without really knowing. She doesn’t see what is behind the glitz and glamour…and only sees when it’s too late. And she’s a teenager! That’s the crazy thing about this whole story, she’s a kid!

+ There is a murder that needs to be solved that Georgia is tied to because she found the body. But there are things that the murderer has taken from Georgia that night when he hit her bike with his car. So does that mean he is out there and coming back for her? There were some moments when the mystery of the killer is out there where the story had some suspenseful moments. But the really scary parts of this books is plain to see and in vivid detail.

+ There is two bright spots in Georgia’s life. Her half brother Tyler who is trying his best to keep her safe as best he can. And Nora, the murdered victim’s sister who because a rock for Georgia to lean on, no matter what.

~ There were so many times….so many times I wanted to shake Georgia. She seems naive but it’s mostly because she doesn’t want to see that all the glitter isn’t gold. But the danger she is in…the things she does to accept her Aspera goals. I kept wanting to tell her it is NOT worth it. None of it is and how didn’t she know she was in danger when a way older man is doing things to her…but that’s what grooming is. Still – I was just so mad.

~ And why wouldn’t her mom and brother just tell her what happened to her mom at Aspera. Like tell the girl so she would stop wanting to be an Aspera girl. At least tell the truth. So much kept happening to Georgia and she just kept jumping back into the fire because she was obsessed with Aspera. Did I say I wanted to shake her?

~ The ending didn’t feel as impactful as I was hoping. But when I did sit and think about it, I can see why it ended like that. Georgia isn’t the type of girl who fights back, as we can see throughout the whole story, her whole world was banking on being an Aspera girl. But on the other hand, Nora is the girl who is a fighter. We have a Georgia and Nora in all of us.

Tropes: girl who let’s things happen until it’s almost too late

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • important story about balance of power in society: class and gender. It brings up sexual assault and violence.
  • the question is the thing to keep in mind while you read this: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?

Why you might not want to read it:

  • triggering story – triggers EVERYWHERE. Rape, sexual assault, murder, grooming…such a hard and uncomfortable story to read.

My Thoughts:

Read it for the issues it brings up, but don’t expect to feel good after this story. I think it’s safe to say this author tackles some hard subjects in her books. I like the question the book poses to the reader and I hope as the book hopes by the end…that the answer is NO, we won’t accept the world this way.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

  • Book Review | Sadie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • The Project – Audiobook – DNF, only because I really suck at paying attention to audiobooks. I’ll have to go back and finish it by reading a copy of it. I got 50% through though and still remember what the story is about.

The Witch Collector by. Charissa Weaks | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Witch Collector (#1)

Author: Charissa Weaks

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 343

Publication Date: 11/01/21

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult, Magic, Witches

Every harvest moon, the Witch Collector rides into our valley and leads one of us to the home of the immortal Frost King, to remain forever.

Today is that day—Collecting Day.

But he will not come for me. I, Raina Bloodgood, have lived in this village for twenty-four years, and for twenty-four years he has passed me by.

His mistake.

Raina Bloodgood has one desire: kill the Frost King and the Witch Collector who stole her sister. On Collecting Day, she means to exact murderous revenge, but a more sinister threat sets fire to her world. Rising from the ashes is the Collector, Alexus Thibault, the man she vowed to slay and the only person who can help save her sister.

Thrust into an age-old story of ice, fire, and ancient gods, Raina must abandon vengeance and aid the Witch Collector in saving the Frost King or let their empire—and her sister—fall into enemy hands. But the lines between good and evil blur, and Raina has more to lose than she imagined. What is she to do when the Witch Collector is no longer the villain who stole her sister, but the hero who’s stealing her heart?

Content Warning: violence

I have been eyeing this one for awhile and finally got it when it was $0.99 on Kindle! This is what did and didn’t work for me:

+ The cover is so pretty, it gives me winter vibes.

+ Raina is mute, so I love that she uses sign language and others around her (only a few) know how to sign with her too. Raina is also really brave and is a fighter even though her true skill as a witch is healing and scrying.

+ It’s an enemies to lovers romance but it’s one-sided. Raina’s plan is actually kill the Witch Collector, Alexus, but things don’t go as planned. Instead she reluctantly has to cooperate with him if they are going to save her sister and the Frost King. Alexus has been into her for a long time now, so it’s Raina who is fighting the attraction she is starting to feel with him. There are some sexy scenes between them and even one epic sex scene that was not just hot physically but emotionally (the thing that happened with the life threads). The two of them really grew on me.

+ World building is great! There is some back story about Alexus that shows the bigger picture of what they are dealing with. There are gods, evil princes and witches! The magic system is intriguing as well.

~ We get thrown into the story – we meet Raina and she wants to kill Alexus because he took her eldest sister years ago. But there is some backstory we are missing about Nephele (her sister) and the Frost King. I kind of wish maybe we knew their story first, because it seems very important to everything going on. That was my main issue. I felt like I was catching up to the story. And Alexus had to do a lot of explaining to Raina.

~ Raina does go from obsessing over killing Alexus to then sleeping with him. So…I thought it was a quick turn around. I think it was her sister at the end of the book that said Alexus knew Raina for only 2 weeks and he was ready to burn the world down for her! TWO WEEKS! 😅 He got through her defenses super fast but I guess all he really needed to do was explain the Nephele/Frost King situation.

Tropes: one-sided enemies to lovers, hiding great powers

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • a good romantasy read – it’s got equal parts romance and the fantasy world building is great
  • Raina is mute, great representation
  • entertaining – it has action and a fight with an evil prince

Why you might not want to read it:

  • slight pacing issues, a little slower in the middle
  • the romance happens in the span of 2 weeks, even though Alexus has been wanting her for longer than that

My Thoughts:

I think this was pretty enjoyable if you are looking for a romantasy to read. It’s got an enemies to lovers romance, a steamy scene or two, lots of magic and fighting against an evil prince, and I’m looking forward to reading book two, City of Ruin.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Frost by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Frost (Frost and Nectar, #1)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: ebook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 10/3/22

Categories: Fantasy, Fae, Romance, New Adult

On the worst birthday of my life, I come home to find my boyfriend in bed with another woman. Within hours, I’m drunk, homeless, and pledging to stay single forever. And that is when the dangerously sexy Seelie King rolls through town, looking for fae like me.

Every generation, the king holds a competition for Seelie queen. But for reasons he won’t explain, Torin is looking for a charade, not a real marriage. So when I drunkenly sling insults his way, I have his attention.

When Torin offers me fifty million to participate, I think, “What have I got to lose?” The answer turns out to be “my life,” because my competition will literally kill for the crown.

And the more time I spend with the seductive king, the harder it becomes to remember it’s all supposed to be fake. Now, my life—and my heart—are one the line.

Content Warning: violence

I am trash for fae books and this one has lots of tropes that are so much fun in a romantasy.

+ The tropes are many in this one: a girl who doesn’t know her past-she’s Fae but lived in the human world since she was a child and she was exiled from Faerie but don’t know why, a competition for the Seelie king’s hand, faerie is dying unless the king marries, and the king can’t fall in love because his love will kill. Oh and to top it off, the competition is like a reality dating show.

+ I like Ava a lot. She’s strong, she’s independent, and she’s not afraid of Torin and Faerie. She also has a fun friend Shalini by her side. I like Torin too! He seems like a good guy, just stuck with king responsibilities and a curse, of course!

+ I like the sexual tension between Ava and Torin and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

~ It’s short and moves quickly, a little rushed in the competition parts but that’s okay – I expect it with these series that drop releases more quickly than the bigger publishers.

~ I love Shalini and hopes she gets to do more in Faerie than just sitting in the room and reading books. What kind of an adventure is that?

Tropes: touch kills, love kills, a girl with a secret past, competition to marry king, reality dating show

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • super quick read
  • lots of fun tropes and it’s a Fae story
  • Ava and Torin

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it’s a quick read but also scenes are rushed
  • the next book releases in a few months so maybe wait to binge the whole series

My Thoughts:

I was in the mood for a book set in Faerie and this author is definitely one I go to for a book with all the tropes I’m looking for and it’s New Adult. Also the wait for sequels won’t be long which also satisfies my craving. Overall a fun start to a new series, hopefully we get a little more depth to the story in the sequel.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Atlas Six by. Olivie Blake | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Atlas Six

Author: Olivie Blake

Format: hardcover (own)

Pages: 383

Publication Date: 1/30/20

Publisher: Tor Books

Categories: Dark Academia, Mystery, Fantasy, LGBT+

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

Content Warning: violence

I have finally read The Atlas Six even though it was sitting on my shelf for the past 3 months or so. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get to it before the sequel came out but I did! Yay! So I can see why this book had so much hype. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ This story is told between six POV’s. We have:

  • Libby – she’s a physicist who loves science and is a bit awkward, has a hard time making friends.
  • Nick (Varona) – Libby’s rival and reluctant partner in crime. They hate one another are better together.
  • Reina – lots of natural power involving plants. She DGAF a lot of times.
  • Tristan – son of a witch crime lord, he feels he is never enough for anyone. Power to do with time.
  • Parisa – dangerous, gorgeous, a telepath.
  • Callum – another dangerous telepath who really DGAF.

Throughout the story I realized none of them are actually likable – all their flaws are on display and their hunger for power and knowledge (whatever The Society is offering) is pretty much their biggest flaw. The one who grew on me the most I think is Nick. Especially because he has this friend Gideon who maybe he feels something for? I’m not even sure…I was even thinking Nick and Libby would make a great enemies to lovers kind of storyline. But now I don’t know!

+ World building is fascinating. There is a secret society, with access to the Library of Alexandria, who is offering a place for 6 potential recruits. These recruits are the best of the best and have certain abilities the Society is looking for. Their task? To protect the Library and basically learn and study until they are initiated. Learning about their abilities is interesting. I don’t know that I understand a lot about the time traveling – it always takes me awhile for me to grasp things like that – but Libby and Nico’s powers are cool and very useful. Reina’s is cool because come on…plants! The telepaths of course are good but scary. But there is so much more to learn about this world.

+ During their time at the library, these people get more powerful and then they learn only 5 of them will be chosen. One person must die and they basically have to work it among themselves. This is where alliances are created and broken. There is a lot of distrust among them – even I didn’t really know who would be the best to kill off except Callum was on my list as person #1. Parisa being number 2…lol I just would hate having someone be in my head manipulating me! But the tension between all of them is good.

+ The ending was a good twist and makes me want to read book two as soon as it comes out.

~ Some parts of the book was slow and I think because there are six POV’s and I knew I was going to become more interested in certain ones over others and that’s what happened. At least each chapter is fairly short but for a time while they are at the library and just basically learning more about science and their skill…I was wondering what else was going to happen at the library because all they were doing was learning. But I was kinda there and reading it for the personal dramas 😅. Libby hates Nick, Libby wants friends, everyone hates Libby, Reina hates everyone but tolerates Nick, Callum thinks he’s better than everyone, Parisa knows she’s better than everyone, and Tristan just wants to be used.

~ There is a little bit of romance, but I can’t get a feel for what’s going to happen. Like is Libby and Nick a potential thing? I love that they are reluctant hateful besties in a way lol. What about Nick and Gideon though? I definitely want to see that develop! And then Libby and Tristan? I mean it could work…maybe? I don’t know. There were not really any romantics feelings being talked about except for Tristan and how he was feeling about Libby.

Tropes: chosen ones, rivals, alliances, dark academia, time travel, unlikable/morally gray characters, sentient library

Spice Level: 🌶 (one scene in particular but it is not graphic)

Why you should read it:

  • dark academia vibes – mysterious, so much learning, and characters who are kind of full of themselves (at least some of them are)
  • a group that needs to eliminate one person, flawed characters, a magical library, can’t trust anyone
  • entertaining and cool world building

Why you might not want to read it:

  • pacing was off, slow at times, especially getting to know 6 people and their motivations while trying to keep things mysterious
  • I felt like it was a contest to see who was the most loathsome character lol

My Thoughts:

I can see the hype about this book and I can also see why people didn’t like it. It definitely seems like the type of book that you either love or hate. I enjoyed it but maybe because I went in with lowered expectations and waited for the hype to die down. I found the six characters very flawed and yet fascinating. I was trying to figure out who I would kill off if I was in the group. Now as for their pursuit of knowledge – it’s slow and you really have to get to the end to find out why these people were chosen. I found the world building fascinating but I also want to know more so I’m definitely reading the second book when it comes out in two weeks.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Getaway by. Lamar Giles | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Getaway

Author: Lamar Giles

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 9/19/22

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Categories: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Dystopia, Suspense

Welcome to the funnest spot around . . .

Jay is living his best life at Karloff Country, one of the world’s most famous resorts. He’s got his family, his crew, and an incredible after-school job at the property’s main theme park. Life isn’t so great for the rest of the world, but when people come here to vacation, it’s to get away from all that.

As things outside get worse, trouble starts seeping into Karloff. First, Jay’s friend Connie and her family disappear in the middle of the night and no one will talk about it. Then the richest and most powerful families start arriving, only… they aren’t leaving. Unknown to the employees, the resort has been selling shares in an end-of-the-world oasis. The best of the best at the end of days. And in order to deliver the top-notch customer service the wealthy clientele paid for, the employees will be at their total beck and call.

Whether they like it or not.

Yet Karloff Country didn’t count on Jay and his crew–and just how far they’ll go to find out the truth and save themselves. But what’s more dangerous: the monster you know in your home or the unknown nightmare outside the walls?

Content Warning: gore, violence, racism

I went into this blind! I like the creepy cover and since it’s October, I wanted something to set the spooky season mood. This wasn’t as spooky as I wanted it to be but horrifying…absolutely. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ The cover sets the tone. The concept for this story is great! Karloff County is a famous resort – think amusement park, high quality service, someplace people go to be entertained. I kept thinking of Disneyland when I read this book and how nothing is “perfect”. So this pretend utopia living is not all what it seems – there is something wrong and throughout the story it just gets worse!

+ World building was interesting. We get a really good glimpse of how people Karloff County is run and who lives there to make it function. They rely on workers called Helpers to make people who visit get the full, happy experience. This is set in a dystopian society though so apparently everything outside the walls of the county is chaos. Jay, one of our main characters, mentions world hunger, riots, and protests outside of the county so it sounds dire. We eventually learn the real goals of the Karloff family and investors and it is quite sinister.

+ I think the story did a good job of keeping me engaged to get me to the big reveal. And the reveal is pretty horrifying. Karloff County is supposed to be this refuge that Jay and his family and others have found as a blessing, but when things change – the place they love starts to turn on them. The story did a good job of addressing race and classism in this story especially since it is set in such a place as Karloff County.

~ It’s told through four perspectives so although I liked getting to know each of the four friends: Jay, Zeke, Connie and Chelle – I felt like we didn’t get to know them very well. I think I connected to Jay more than anyway and Chelle, I didn’t trust. There is a little romance that gets addressed in the beginning but it’s not something that is sustained throughout the book. It’s not a focus but I thought maybe because it was discussed right away, it would have made a bigger impact down the line.

Tropes: amusement park horror, suburban-utopia creepiness

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • to see what is really going on in Karloff County
  • I love how Karloff County was known as this paradise to all the world, but it’s a fake/bought paradise – all an illusion and the author let us know how scary that can be
  • you like the kind of thrillers that builds slowly but really horrifies you at the end of it

Why you might not want to read it:

  • definitely be in the mood for a dystopian, mystery-thriller with the payoff at the end

My Thoughts:

I found this to be a quick read and one that wasn’t super and blatant horror until the last pages. I love the concept of the story and how the story brings in racism and classism into the story. The setting of Karloff County is perfect and made me realize how creepy an amusement park type of utopia can be! I’m glad I read this one and look forward to reading more from this author!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble