ARC Review |Echoes Between Us

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Echoes Between Us

Author: Katie McGarry

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication: January 14, 2020

Categories: Grief, Brain Tumor, Addiction, Contemporary, Tuberculosis History, Ghost Hunting, Family, Romance

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

Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…

Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.

A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?

Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this eARC.

After I sped through this book last night, I wondered why they didn’t release for October because it was the perfect fall read for me! Why? Because of the ghosts! The creepiness factor of this book was SO unexpected, I literally had some chills reading this late past midnight. I almost stopped but pushed on and I’m glad I did.

This is more than a story of Sawayer, the popular hot guy, who pairs up with Veronica, the quirky weird girl at school to do a project. I mean that’s the gist of it but no, ohhhh nooooo…their Senior project Veronica or V as her friends call her, want to do is to prove ghosts exists. Okay! I love a good paranormal activity story.

But this was more than just a story about hunting down ghosts as well. V has a brain tumor and she a reason for this project. Sawyer doesn’t believe in ghosts because he feels like his real life is scary and messed up already. He has secrets and these two teenager find a way past their first impressions to understand one another and help each other out in ways unexpected.

  • I love the ghost hunting! I love when they had to research for their project, it even scared me. Yes, I used to binge ghost hunting shows like Paranormal Activity haha and in high school, it was all about going to haunted spots with friends, just to get that thrill of maybe seeing something. But um this book did too good a job at scaring me….🙈👻
  • We get dual POV in this story. Sawyer is a complex character with his role as caretaker, and swim star. The pressure and depression he feels from every aspect in his life and his dangerous coping mechanism was taking a toll on him. I seriously felt for him, so glad he gets help. I liked seeing him attend the AA meetings and basically just trying his best to be better for himself, and his sister.
  • Veronica is special and the ones who realize it protect her. I love that she had a protective circle of friends since others in their community just thought she was super weird. She has these horrible migraines because of her tumor and just seeing her go through it, it’s tough. Her grief over her mother though, broke my heart.
  • Sawyer and Veronica’s love story is beautiful ❤️. At one point I said aloud, “I love you, Sawyer”. 🤣😱 I was like, whoa where did that come from? HAHA…even though Veronica is this shining light and the person who shows him life can be thrilling in a different way…he is the thing that grounds her. They struggle with their relationship and feelings as well…but he was mature enough to make some hard but right decisions and I was like, go Sawyer. I didn’t mind their relationship drama in this, I thought it fit in well and was believable. Their love wasn’t all consuming, it was deep but I liked that family came first too. And V stepped up to the plate too…I love how they decided to be all in. All in.
  • There are heavy topics in this story like addiction. Sawyer’s mom is clearly an addict, and Sawyer is addicting to adrenaline. Veronica is dealing with grief. Heavy topics all around but it works even as it’s interwoven with this ghost hunting project. It’s written so well.
  • There is a historical angle as well to this story with the TB Hospital in Kentucky. I googled it and just looking at the photo of the sanatorium scares me! Haha, I would have not been brave like Veronica and her friends to be hanging out that place. But there is a diary that Sawyer reads, a diary of a girl named Evelyn Bellak who was a patient at the hospital back in 1918. According to the author, the diary is real. Sawyer reads the diary and relates to Evelyn in many ways.
  • Sawyer’s mom… 😔 I know it’s part of Sawyer’s story but wow. It shows his mom spiraling into her addiction and Sawyer cleaning up after her but there is one thing that she does that affects his younger sister and it made me livid. But his mom was hitting rock bottom…and rock bottom is not pretty to see. I was hurting for Sawyer…I mean what’s a kid to do, he was trying so hard.
  • Sylvia his best friend – she was only trying to help him but at times she frustrated me. But she had her own insecurities too so…🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Just a few triggers: grief, cancer, chemo, depression, addiction

This story blended ghost hunting, grief, brain tumor, and addiction so seamlessly. I was getting chills from the ghost hunting scenes and Sawyer’s penchant for jumping. I was scared from both things. I was afraid for both Sawyer and Veronica and hoping both would confront their ghosts and make it out okay. But I also fell in love with with Sawyer and V falling in love. ❤️ Overall, it was an emotional rollercoaster and I enjoyed Echoes Between Us very much. Don’t read it in the dark though (I was on my fire tablet lol), because you won’t only be tingling from the love story but getting chills from the ghost stories too! Or maybe it’s because I scare easily…haha.

ARC Review | The Unwilling

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Title: The Unwilling

Author: Kelly Braffet

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: February 11, 2020

Categories: Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi

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

The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to her survival…and possibly her undoing.

As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah… The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.

An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.

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

My reading experience of The Unwilling was not what I expected. I was intrigued and kept reading it, but halfway in I was getting restless. I kept reading to see why our main characters: Judah, Gavin, Theron and Elly were all suffering so much and I was hoping for somewhat of a happy ending. I didn’t get that.

Judah was born on the same night as the future Lord of the City, Gavin. Being born on the same night created some magical bond between them. They can feel each other’s pain and can communicate in a way no other two people can. Elban, Gavin’s father is a very cruel man who finds pleasure in torturing his children and foster child. He exerts his power through cruelty and Judah, Gavin, Theron (Gavin’s younger brother) and Eleanor (Gavin’s intended) all suffer because of him.

There is also political intrigue in the kingdom and someone is planning Elban’s downfall, but who? Then there is the newcomer Nate, the magus – he’s a healer with a hidden agenda. Everyone wants a piece of Judah and she has no idea why – but will she find out before it’s all too late?

  • Something about this book kept me reading it – and mostly because I needed to know what was so special about Judah. Why did the magus need to get to her so badly?! She had powers obviously but she hardly…and I mean HARDLY uses them in this book because she doesn’t know she has them. 🤦🏻‍♀️
  • This book is depressing so the only shining light about it is the bond and love between Judah, Gavin, Theron, and Elly. They suffered together and became their own family and relied on each other. Their love for each other really came through in this story.
  • There were a few twists in the story within the political environment of the kingdom but…again…the twists benefited everyone else, not the four abused people in this story.
  • Triggers: Almost EVERYTHING. Torture, graphic scene of a deer hunt, graphic scene of feral hounds torturing someone (think Ramsey from Game of Thrones), cutting (it’s blood magic), drug use, physical and mental abuse…so much abuse.
  • I had to reach 75% into the book to find out what Judah’s power was? Ugh…Why couldn’t it be explained earlier? Nate’s relationship with Derie (his abusive mentor)…didn’t even really explain why their people needed Judah until the end! So frustrating. 😑
  • I’ve read books with torture in it, but in the end – someone is usually a hero. Someone turns the tide…this kingdom was ruled by one mad man to another. There was no happy ending in sight for Judah, Gavin, Theron and Elly. There was seriously no HOPE for these four children, now adults, trapped together in misery. They were unwilling to become like their father Elban, I get it…they were unwilling to let their family be broken apart…but it was.
  • When Judah’s power explained by Nate who’s head is scrambled by Derie so he can carry out this mission of ending Elban’s line and unleashing Judah’s power – by then he’s a madman too. This whole story was about people who needed Judah for something. They all preyed on her even Nate who was supposed to “help” her, even Gavin who wasn’t supposed to hurt her.
  • The ending was frustrating. 😒 And this is categorized as Sci-fi on NetGalley…what was sci-fi about it? The part where Theron tinkers as an inventor? Did I miss it?

Despite all the things that turned me off about this book, I read this book in three days! That means something about it kept me interested and I think it was the mystery of Judah’s power. But by the time it is explained I was just so frustrated with this story and the ending left me even more unsatisfied. Judah’s dilemma seemed so impossible to fix, here was a girl who was bound to another, not by choice. Bound to a kingdom not by choice and here were this people, trying to keep her bound. This book wasn’t for me but I did finish at least.

ARC Review | The Night Country

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Night Country ( The Hazel Wood, #2)

Author: Melissa Albert

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

Categories: Dark Fairy Tales, Young Adult, Dark Fantasy

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

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Woodwas just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…

Thank you to Flat Iron Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I rated the first book in this series The Hazel Wood, 3 1/2 stars because though the story goes off on an Alice in Wonderland like mind bend, I was still immersed in the mystery that was the Hinterland and The Hazel Wood. It keep me reading and wanting to find out what was going on.

Alice has escaped the Hinterland, choosing to go back to New York City and live her life as before. You would think things go back to normal but someone is murdering her ex-Story friends in New York City, but who? This story is a murder mystery with more dark fairy tales to tell.

  • I will say this about the series in general, both books have amazing book covers so yay to the artist! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
  • Sophia Snow is a new character in this book and I liked her a lot. I also liked learning about her fairy tale, even though it doesn’t come until later in the book. She was Alice’s only friend now that Finch chose to stay in the Hinterland.
  • The murder mystery kept me interested in this story. It gave me the creepy feeling I had like in the first book, especially the scene on the subway! I liked how the murders was something bigger than just some serial killer on the loose, I liked that twist in the story.
  • Ellery Finch’s letters were sweet! Maybe because I love Jane Austen but I thought it was quite romantic. As for their relationship, I can’t say there was much to grow on with them being separated and only having the one-sided letters but in the end they are finally in the same world.
  • This world of The Hazel Wood series is so unique, I love how it’s different and the fairy tales are so dark and scary. I adore that it’s a world of stories and books coming to life, that books are a door…that just got me thinking, yes, yes, YES. I get that so much. I think the concept of the Spinner making and remaking these worlds is so interesting.
  • Triggers: violence, blood, murder scenes
  • I wanted to know more about what happened with Ellery Finch and he shows up later in the book. So much later that I thought, he wasn’t going to be in this book at all! By the time we see what he’s been up to, I’ve lost interest. Finch comes back strong in the ending, but by then, I just wanted to finish.
  • The middle of this story lost me. I was disinterested. 😒 I put it down so many times and picked it up, just to get a few pages in but it didn’t grab me. I’m amazed I finished.
  • The mysteriousness of the first book is gone in this one. The reason I kept reading the first book was because I wanted to know what the Hazel Wood was and if it was real. The Night Country didn’t captivate me like the Hazel Wood did.
  • I wanted more dark fairy tale stories!

If you loved The Hazel Wood, you will love The Night Country because there is so much more than just the Hinterlands. The darkness is still there as it seems to always surround Alice, and though I enjoyed the first part of the book, I lost interest in the middle but managed to finish the book.

I don’t know if I just needed to be in the mood to read it, but I thought reading The Hazel Wood just recently would have continued my interest in the sequel. That wasn’t the case, but that’s okay, I find this world to be unique, fascinating and dark and I may not love the series, but I like it just enough.

ARC Review | Tweet Cute

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Tweet Cute

Author: Emma Lord

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Categories: Rom-Com, Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance

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

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

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

Pepper is the over achieving good girl from Nashville and her family owns Big League Burgers, a franchise that is basically found all over the world. Jack is the class clown, born and raised New Yorker, who’s family owns a deli. And the two companies are in a war…a twitter war.

And who is coming up with these tweets in this twitter war? The teens, Pepper and Jack who are both attending the same private school and trying to get into Ivy League colleges. They have lives filled with school activities, and so much homework, but they help the family business by attacking one another on social media! And it’s overtaking their lives.

But with this twitter war, Pepper and Jack, actually get to know each other, they actually become friends and maybe even something more.

  • Pepper and Jack are two teens in NYC just trying to survive high school and get into ivy league colleges while both trying to help with their family businesses. Pepper is over-achieving, and Jack is the opposite which makes this an opposites attract story. Jack helps Pepper lighten up and I think Pepper grounds Jack. Their characters are fleshed and we see them deal with expectations from their families. Pepper is dealing with a broken family, Jack is dealing with feeling inadequate and in competition with his twin brother – they have a lot of common but they don’t know that until secrets are revealed. Pepper is also top of her class and a swimmer. Jack is a diver but the class clown.
  • There was a lot going on in this story but it worked. I was never overwhelmed with the drama of school and family life in Pepper and Jack’s life. I was invested in Pepper’s story and was hoping she’d stand up to her mother. As for Jack, I felt for him and wish he didn’t feel like he was disappointing his family because they did seem like cool parents. This story gives us family drama, teenage drama, lots of food and a little romance too!
  • The romance is an opposites-attract, slow burn, which was nice, you could see the growing attraction between Pepper and Jack during their twitter war. When they finally do make a move it’s so sweet an awkward but totally how I’d have imagine their first kiss because of who they are.
  • Pepper’s talent for baking made me hungry for all the desserts she baked in the story. I LOVED all the dessert names she and sister came up with. It felt so much more genuine than Big League Burger and their food empire. Honestly when the book ended, I wished for a sequel about Pepper and her sister Paige opening up their own bakery, because that would make a fun story! Maybe a sequel but this time about Paige? 🤔 I’d read it for sure!
  • Pepper’s mom was a little much. She really expected her daughter to put time and effort helping the social media side of their family business AND keep up her grades and be the best daughter ever? Like give Pepper a break! Her mom also had a secret and one that was a surprise. I wondered how it would be resolved in the end, and like I said it’s happily ever after but it makes me wonder how her mom got over that hurdle of forgiveness because that twitter war got pretty petty quick. The way Pepper’s mom is…well she doesn’t seem like someone who would let that go. She was not my favorite character.

I really enjoyed Tweet Cute. The romance is slow building and super cute. By the end of the story I was cheering Pepper and Jack on! It’s also a story about family, loving them (with all their flaws) and trying so hard not to disappoint them. Pepper and Jack are juggling so much and I was impressed at how they pretty much kept it together, with a breakdown here and there. It’s a feel good story that made me laugh and filled my heart with happiness at the end. This is great debut from Emma Lord and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Book Review | The Delinquent Crown

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Delinquent Crown (Olexia Legends #1)

Purchase Link: Amazon

Author: Sydney Faith

Format: eBook (from author)

Pages: 263

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure, Family

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from the author, Sydney Faith, in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Olexia is a wild and dangerous world filled with magic.

Miri and Nick find Olexia by chance but choose their fate when they step through the portal. A shard of glass and a hastily-written letter from their mother are all they have to solve their puzzling past.

In Olexia Miri and Nick find danger and unlikely allies, and with their help, they learn to wield their newfound powers and find out the truth about Olexia’s buried secrets.

When the ruthless Council leader learns the siblings harbor a powerful artifact, he sends his bloodthirsty LaKaio soldiers to hunt them down at any cost.

With time running out and secrets about their past being revealed around every corner, Miri and Nick must decide if they’re going to hide away or rise up against the sinister leaders of Olexia.

Thank you to Sydney Faith for giving me a copy of her book to review.

Miri and Nick are siblings living somewhat normal lives on Earth. I say somewhat because Miri, experiences painful episodes that the doctors diagnosed as epilepsy. But her episodes are more than just a medical condition. When they find out about a new magical world called Olexia everything strange about their lives makes so much more sense.

Once these siblings are in Olexia the adventure never ends as Miri and Nick learn about this world full of magic, a different language and way of life.

  • This is the first book of the series and already I am immersed in this world of Olexia. When Miri and Nick steps through portal it reminds me of Narnia, where everything is just so different from Earth. In Olexia they know about “Earth” and call it Terra. But the world building is great, there are different types of people with their owl languages and customs. Also I feel like this book only scratched the surface of Olexia and there is more to learn.
  • There are some strong side characters like Kayta and Siymin who stumbles into Nick and Miri right away. I like Kayta and her attitude, she’s feisty. Siymin is calm, clever and smart. Siymin and Miri’s relationship grows throughout the story and there is a hint of a romance coming between them but I’m sure that will be explored more as the series goes on.
  • The magic system was explained really well too. Not only Miri and Nick both have their own unique powers. Where Miri thought it was a hindrance on Earth, her powers to see the future in Olexia is super useful as well as Nick’s power as a jumper. And I like that they take the time to learn their craft with Tuko also. Being new to this world and magic, it was nice that they didn’t know how to use their powers right away and had to do some actual training.
  • The sibling bond between Miri and Nick is tight and it has to be, for years it has only been the two of them. They were raised in foster care but they always wondered about their past and parents, more so with Miri. Nick has been Miri’s caretaker and he’s done a fine job at it, he’s an awesome big brother. When secrets are revealed in Olexia, it’s a lot for the siblings to take in but I’m sure we’ll see them deal with the information they have more in the next book.
  • The action keeps going in this book which kept it fun. There is a quest for Miri and Nick to find pieces of a magic mirror and they are also trying to find their parents. They encounter LaKaio (basically the bad guys) and have to get out of many dicey situations.
  • I’ve learned that in YA, there can be such an age spectrum when thinking about what audience would love this book. I’m an older adult reading YA and this book felt a little younger compared to some of the YA I’ve been reading lately…seriously, some YA at times can be considered adult reading…or at least New Adult. But this one is definitely for teens and I’d even say middle grade could enjoy this!
  • There are a lot of characters we meet when Miri and Nick jump into Olexia – especially when they meet Siymin’s large family and you would think because their names are so unique, I could follow – but at times I got a little lost. Maybe because I was getting used to the different sounding names.
  • It has a cliffhanger ending! That’s a warning if you don’t like cliffhangers haha…but yeah I read that last sentence and I was like…ohhhh. 🤭

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know Miri and Nick and this new imaginative world of Olexia. As the series continues I’m sure there will be so much more to learn about Olexia and the people that populate such a magical world. Also the cliffhanger ending makes me want to find out what other secrets will be revealed in the sequel! This is a very solid first book for the start of a young adult fantasy series.

About the Author:

SYDNEY FAITH is a YA author who, after a lifetime of living in her make-believe worlds, decided to start sharing them at 17 in the form of books.
When she’s not writing, Sydney enjoys creating YouTube videos, baking and eating chocolate chip cookies, and thinking about writing.
As a Midwesterner, you’ll find Sydney pointing out cows on road trips, enjoying the state fair, and complaining about the snow.

You can find her at:
Instagram: @sydfaithauthor

ARC Review | The Wickerlight

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt, #2)

Author: Mary Watson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Categories: Dark Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Druids

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

It’s been two months since Zara’s sister Laila was found lifeless on the village green of the small Irish town Kilshamble, not a mark on her. Vicious rumors circle that she died of an overdose or committed suicide–but an autopsy finds no evidence.

Zara believes somebody must know what happened, and she throws herself headfirst into an investigation. But retracing her sister’s footsteps takes her to David, a member of an ancient magical faction called the judges. The judges are in the midst of an ancient feud with another faction called the augurs, and Zara quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous, twisted game. And if she isn’t careful on the path she’s treading, she could end up with the same fate as Laila.

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

FYI: I did not read The Wren Hunt and I should have. Luckily, The Wickerlight is so good as a standalone I didn’t get totally lost. I wasn’t sure what to expect and when I first started the book, I admit I put it down for a few weeks because I had to let it permeate in my head. I picked it up again recently and I finished it in one night. That was totally unexpected.

In The Wickerlight, we get to know this Irish town of Kilshamble, and wow, it is dark, mystery, mystical and magical but not in a happy glittery way. This story is told in dual POV. We meet Zara who’s sister Laila is dead and Zara wants to know how and why. Then there is David, who is a judge (no not the kind with a gavel), he is part of this magical world where augurs and judges are enemies, and there is a silent war between them. I missed a big chunk of David’s background by not reading The Wren Hunt, so read that first. Zara doesn’t know what she’s stumbled into when she digs for clues about Laila’s death, but soon it’s too late to turn back. Zara is learning that maybe Laila was right about magic.

  • I loved learning about the druids and Irish folklore in this story. We learn about the Augurs and Judges who basically hate each other – they have a complicated history.
  • This story is set in a modern world but the magic is so subtle that it fits so well, I love how it came together seamlessly. We are Zara, learning about the secrets of this town. Most of the magic is not as powerful as it was long ago but it works in the modern day world of this story. It’s nature, earth magic. Also the folklore stories about monsters in the forest – gives us a creepy background for this setting. 😳 I enjoyed the dark, eerie tone in this story!
  • The mystery of Laila’s death really kept me in this story. We stumble into this strange magical world that exists in Kilshamble. I love how Zara peels a layer slowly to find out something else about Laila. Laila’s words at the beginning of each chapter adds to the mystery as well! I wanted to find out what happened to Laila for Zara and her family’s sake. Their grief is palatable and this family has crumbled, it wasn’t tight to begin with but Laila’s death has basically broken their family apart. I felt for Zara and her mother. 🥺
  • Zara and Laila’s stories of the Horribles. I freaking loved it because it was their thing together and the stories made it perfectly okay to not be good and perfect all the time as long as you are not cruel, mean or hurtful. The Horribles were their shadow family and a coping mechanism I think because of their family situation.
  • David and Zara. David sounds like he was a jerk in The Wren Hunt and in The Wickerlight his character is fleshed out. He’s not a saint, his life is about pain, and feeling pressure from his dad. As for Zara she feels out of place in this new town, her family life wasn’t perfect to begin with and she carries guilt from Laila’s death. Her choice in the end was unexpected! And I really like their slow burn romance.
  • Obviously if you didn’t read The Wren Hunt like me…I was a little lost in the beginning and thank goodness for the glossary in the back of the book. I had to learn about the Augurs and Judges and once I did get settled in, it was smooth sailing from there.
  • There is a scene where David gets tortured – so trigger warnings: cutting. It’s not a trigger for me but even I got squeamish at the visuals of the scene. But this book IS dark, the judges do not mess around when it comes to discipline. 👀 The augurs have their own form of torture, but it didn’t involve cutting, just mind bending/mind control.
  • The business about hoarding words to make a law (like a spell) at times confused me, especially when it is introduced into the story. I think the idea is so poetic and the story is so lyrical that it went over my head at first. But then the practice grew on me, the way words are precious and how different words call to a person. I especially loved when David was hoarding words, haha, I mean that boy felt it!

The Wickerlight is an intriguing, lyrical, deliciously, darkly magical, unique story. It starts with grief and pulls you into the mystery of a death and this world of old magic. Definitely read The Wren Hunt first and then come lose yourself in The Wickerlight like I did.

BLOG TOUR } The Princess Plan by. Julia London

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Princess Plan

Author: Julia London

Format: eBook (NetGalley/Harlequin)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: November 19, 2019

Categories: Historical Romance, Adult Fiction

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

Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.

Thank you to NetGalley and to HQN Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC and inviting me to join this blog tour!

The Princess Plan is not quite the Cinderella story. A spinster named Eliza Tricklebank meets Prince Sebastian of Alucia and things happen. And when I say things, I mean…murder and well, falling in love while investigating the murder.

Eliza is a fun character who says what’s on her mind. She’s smart, capable and wishes society didn’t put her on the shelf just because of a scandal (barely a scandal) a long time ago. There is no future of a husband for her now, but she’s come to accept her fate as her father’s caretaker.

Prince Sebastian of Alucia is a typical royal who is used to people doing his bidding, women falling into bed with him and is under the constant pressures of being a future king. He is in England to arrange a trade agreement and find a wife but someone murders one of the people he trust the most, his personal secretary. Sebastian intends to find out who has done it, and enlists the help of Eliza, which is very unconventional.

What I love most about this story is the female friendships between Eliza, her sister Hollis, their best friend Caro and even the maid, Poppy. The girls have a grand time finding content (gossip) for Holli’s women’s gazette. Eliza, Hollis and Caro are the best of friends, and the warmth between them comes through in this story. I also adored the eccentric life of Judge Trickleback’s home. He is blind and Eliza is his main caretaker but I loved the descriptions of the home they live it with the book piles, rope tied from room to room, the scratched table – everything is lived in and cozy, much like their family.

The murder mystery in the story did sometimes make me lose interest because it was a bit predictable. Also I felt like the trade agreement didn’t seem very important to Prince Sebastian because of the murder mystery and him falling for Eliza. Sebastian seems like a man who is strictly bound to duty and the way he chooses Eliza to be his wife seemed a bit easy and a little far-fetched, but by then I was just ready to ready the happily ever after.

The banter between Eliza and Sebastian was fun mostly because Eliza is so quirky and doesn’t fawn over the Prince like everyone else. Sebastian is practiced at controlling his emotions and giving practiced answers. I don’t know that I felt the urgency of their love like I hoped I would and at one point I thought, okay, he’s definitely going to marry a high ranking debutant instead of Eliza because he’d never break the rules. Maybe I wanted him to say to hell with everything and break the rules for her. At least the two of them do share a few steamy scenes together!

Overall, I mostly enjoyed Eliza and her friendship bonds, and seeing her and the Prince fall for one another.

Purchase Links: Harlequin * Amazon * Apple Books *Barnes & Noble * Books-A-Million * Google Play * IndieBound * Kobo


Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub’s Best Historical Novel.