book review, E-book, historical fiction, netgalley, romance, Teen Readers

Sixteen Scandals | ARC Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: Sixteen Scandals

Author: Sophie Jordan

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 256

Publication Date: 5/25/21

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Categories: Historical Romance, Young Adult

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

In this irreverent regency romp by New York Times best-selling author Sophie Jordan, newly minted sixteen-year-old Primrose Ainsworth finds herself on a wayward birthday adventure through London with a mysterious hero—perfect for fans of My Lady Jane.

  • I’ve read Sophie Jordan’s adult historical romances so I really wanted to see how a young adult romance would work out. I thought the Sixteen Candles twist to it was cute, since it’s one of my most favorite movies of the 80’s.
  • Prim definitely takes chances by sneaking out of the house and going to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. I think it’s important to remember in history and historical romances, girls got married at 16+. So Prim sneaking out, really had the risk of being caught in a scandal that could ruin her life.
  • Her family life is drama-filled with her sisters and a mom who is laser focused on getting each girl married, except Prim, of course, it’s like she’s too tired to care about Prim, poor girl. Glad Prim doesn’t let that hold her back though.
  • The romance is sweet and cute. Prim and Jacob get to know each other all in one night, but the sparks are definitely there by the end.
  • It’s a happy ending for Prim, thank goodness because her mom’s plan for her life was pretty harsh.
  • This was a quick read – and it’s meant for teens. As an adult reading it, it wasn’t for me. But this would be definitely perfect for teens – it has a little romance, adventure, and a girl trying to live her young life. I had a hard time trying to stop comparing adult historical romance and this one meant for a younger audience.
  • And being a Sixteen Candles fan, where was Farmer Ted?! Haha, I mean Jacob obviously is Jake (the duke). The story takes place all in one night, just like the movie, but I think because of the amazing supporting cast in the movie, Prim and Jacob’s one night escapade in this book fell so short. It had some action, the kind you would get in a pleasure garden haha.
  • Everything comes to such a predictable and anti-climatic ending.

I do wish there was a little more to the Sixteen Candles retelling like having more of a supporting cast like the movie did. Other than that, the story is quick and the romance is sweet. This one is perfect for teen readers who want to read a historical romance story.

💜 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, E-book, romance, Young Adult

When We Were Infinite by. Kelly Loy Gilbert | Book Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Title: When We Were Infinite

Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 3/9/21

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, Friendship, Romance, Abuse, Mental Health, Identity, Contemporary

All Beth wants is for her tight-knit circle of friends — Grace Nakamura, Brandon Lin, Sunny Chen, and Jason Tsou — to stay together. With her family splintered and her future a question mark, these friends are all she has — even if she sometimes wonders if she truly fits in with them. Besides, she’s certain she’ll never be able to tell Jason how she really feels about him, so friendship will have to be enough.

Then Beth witnesses a private act of violence in Jason’s home, and the whole group is shaken. Beth and her friends make a pact to do whatever it takes to protect Jason, no matter the sacrifice. But when even their fierce loyalty isn’t enough to stop Jason from making a life-altering choice, Beth must decide how far she’s willing to go for him—and how much of herself she’s willing to give up.

  • This story starts off so happy and then it’s a slow descent into heartbreak and then healing. It starts off as this story about a tight knit group of five friends, most of them Taiwanese except for Grace who is Japanese American, and Beth who is half-white and Chinese, who has no deep to connection to either side of her cultures. These kids are smart, goal oriented, talented and have everything going for themselves, their futures are so bright and they all seem so perfect – on the outside. Their friendship is a beautiful thing but even though they are the closest and most supportive of friends, there were things they couldn’t prevent. Through Beth we see that as their time comes to an end in high school, pressures start building, more for Jason the boy she’s in love with, and a series of events happen that shakes their tight knit group.
  • But let’s talk about Beth. We are in her head a lot and I was scared at times being in that head because some things I could really relate to. She’s the most quiet among her friends, and so talented with a violin. She is that type of person ready to appease everyone, at least she is with her friends. Beth lives her life in a way so that she won’t repeat the mistakes of her mother who she blames for the divorce and making her dad leave. As a teen, I would have understood Beth a lot with the anger at her parents. Now that I am a mom and way older, Beth was breaking my heart blaming her mom for everything. She comes off selfish (when it comes to her mother) but so unselfish when it comes to her friends and Jason. The story comes around full circle from Senior year in high school to them being in college which I’m glad about because there were so many things Beth needed to learn about herself, she needed to actually grow without these amazing friends of hers and she does. It’s not easy, but she does it, little by little.
  • Mental health is a big topic in this story. From the very high expectations of immigrant Asian parents (I know how that feels but not to the extent of what Beth and her friends are going through), abuse in a family and is it considered “abuse” and should you tell anyone, dating someone with mental health issues, and seeking help when you do have mental health episodes among other things.
  • I love how music is interwoven into the storyline because of Beth and her friends being in the school symphony club. The place Beth is her true self is with her violin. Music is what brings her back to life that is worth living.
  • This story is written beautifully and I hope to read more of this author’s work. I was really drawn into this story of perfect friends as thing unraveled. By the end of it, I wanted them to all be fixed and the ending made me cry. I think I was just so happy that Beth and Jason were okay despite everything.

Triggers: attempted suicide, anxiety, divorce, abuse, panic attacks

  • This is heavy reading material and so very triggering. Beth’s anxiety chaffed at me, it gave me anxiety. I wanted to shake sense into her because I’m an adult now but I saw some of myself in her. Jason’s withdrawal made me nervous for him. I felt helpless for both of them. I felt quite drained by the end of this book, so read at your own pace if any of these topics are a trigger for you.
  • The romance between Jason and Beth in the end becomes a beautiful thing but the beginning of it is toxic. It’s a bad idea, but Beth is diving into it head first, she is all in without a care for her own well-being. To me their love story wasn’t something comforting to me at all when it began…but by the end of the book, I was tearing up because they both did a lot of work to meet each other half way.

When We Were Infinite is an emotional journey about at a time when the transition from high school to college is full of pressure. It’s a story about Beth, who seems okay at the beginning of the book and we slowly uncover all the layers to see she is not doing okay at all at home, or at life in general. I was invested in the story the whole way through and saw parts of me in it that made me uncomfortable but seen, which I appreciated. This is a powerfully layered story that will stay in my head for awhile.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the Book:

book review, contemporary, E-book, Mystery, romance, thriller, Young Adult

The Cousins | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: The Cousins

Author: Karen M. McManus

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 330

Publication Date: 12/1/20

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Categories: Family, Thriller, Mystery, Young Adult, Romance

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each other, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised… and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything. 

  • This is a fun book and much needed after reading so much fantasy and romance lately. There is a little bit of romance in this one but this one is all about family and the secrets we keep.
  • I liked the three perspectives told by the cousins: Milly, Aubrey and Jonah. They had distinct voices – I love them all. They worked well as a team trying to figure out why their grandmother disinherited their parents and never had an interest to get to know her grandchildren.
  • The setting of an island on the east coast lends it that mystery feel. We know the Story family has money and the kids lived in privilege but what happened to make Mildred Story, the matriarch of the family cut her kids out of their life. Were they that awful? It’s Milly, Aubrey and Jonah’s job to find out and make amends but soon they are surrounded by Story lore, scandals and fame.
  • I was definitely engaged in this story from the moment I met the cousins because I liked learning about their parents and learning what happened. I loved the twist at the end.
  • I loved the three perspectives but I wish Allison’s perspective (Milly’s mom) came in just a bit earlier in the book. We get to know the kids and it builds up as we get to know who they are, their parents and personalities but once they get on the island it’s still a big mystery as to why their grandmother reached out in the first place. There’s a time period where they are getting settled in and nothing really happens except them working. Not even Grandma Mildred makes much of an appearance.
  • The ending is the big reveal where the dots are connected. But for the most part the story keeps it all a mystery.

This was a lot of fun to read and I loved how it kept me in the story by tossing some clues here and there, a little romance, revenge, parents acting badly, family secrets and then the big reveal. i enjoyed the characters and how Milly and Aubrey now have each other. Great read if you are into young adult mystery/thrillers.

📚 ~ Yolanda

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

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire | Book Review

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 637

Publication Date: 9/20/20

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

A Betrayal…

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

A Choice…

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

A Secret…

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

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

Triggers: violence, death

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

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

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, E-book, Mystery, romance, thriller, Young Adult

Firekeeper’s Daughter | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Author: Angeline Boulley

Format: eBook and hard cover (own)

Pages: 496

Publication Date: 3/16/21

Publisher: Henry, Holt and Co.

Categories: Mystery, Young Adult, Romance, Family, Friendship, Drugs, Native American, Suspense, Thriller

Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange. 

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother. 

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation. 

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. 

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

  • What drew me to this book was the cover first, the description second because I love that it was a young adult story about a native teen. I haven’t read many books about Native Americans in all the decades I’ve been reading and it’s about time, or more like overdue. We need more books like these.
  • I’m not a big fan of mysteries and didn’t realize this story was a mystery at first. But I was sucked into Daunis’ history, and her story of owning her identity. We learn Ojibwe tribe history, customs and current issues natives go through in their communities. We get to see them experience discrimination, racism, drugs, the role of the elderly, and just how their communities are so tight. I learned about the casinos on reservations and how enrolled tribal members earn per cap and how someone can even be enrolled as a member ~ I learned so much from this story.
  • Daunis’ life is complicated but she navigates her life using her tribe teachings and it really centers her when things get rough. And things get dark and sinister in this story which I didn’t expect. Another thing about Daunis which I adored was her intellect and scientific mind. Her western science knowledge and tribe healing practices collide in this story to help her with the investigation and I thought that was really cool to see.
  • I love all the family aspects in this book, as complicated and as hurtful as they are, Daunis stays very strong in the face of criticism and hate. I also loved so much how this story features the elderly community because they really should be honored and taken care of. It reminds me of how in my filipino culture the elderly are taken care of by family members, young and old, and I loved that. It made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to grow up with one set of grandparents and help take care of them before they passed. Daunis reveres the elders in her family and community and it is beautiful.
  • I thought the ending was beautiful and bittersweet. ❤️ Daunis is the best of her community, she embodies all the complications that natives and half natives live and feel day in and out. And no matter what challenges come, she deals with them with intellect, grace, strength, bravery, respect and knowledge from her Anishinaabe kwe upbringing.

Triggers: drug use, suicide, homicide, sexual assault, rape, kidnapping

  • Everything about this story is complicated including Daunis’ love life which is a fake relationship with blurred lines. I think it ended realistically since in reality she didn’t even know Jamie’s real name ~ I LOVE how Daunis was so mature enough to know that both of them needed time to grow a but before maybe pursuing something. And I adore the dream prophecy about her future as well.
  • This story is full of trauma. There are family scandals, tribal scandals, drug use/abuse, suicide murder, sexual assault, the history of native kids being taken to boarding schools without their parents consent, stories of women being abused, so much grief and trying to just heal from the injustices native people have endured for so, so long.
  • There is mention about Hawaii (a James Michener book I read in high school), and then UH Hawaii at Manoa and I loved seeing our state college get mentioned!

Everything about Daunis’ story in the Firekeeper’s Daughter drew me in and I cared about her and her family, no matter how complicated it was because the love is real. I love that we get to experience life through Daunis, a half white/half native young adult who wants the best for all the people she loves and the best for her community. I learned a lot about native life, some of the cultural aspects like pow wows and tribal council votes, casinos and per cap payouts. But underneath all that information you feel the struggle native americans feel to try and exist on the land their people had stolen from them with violence and oppression. I hope we get more native stories in books, tv and movies because their stories are important and need to be told. This is an honest and powerful story that is multi-layered, and must be read.

🔥 ~ Yolanda

Book Quotes:

book review, E-book, New adult, urban fantasy

Wild Lands | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Wild Lands (Savage Lands, #2)

Author: Stacey Marie Brown

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 297

Published Date: 2/9/21

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Categories: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Adult, Fae

Brexley has endured starvation and survived torture and even Warwick Farkas, the brutal legend who still haunts her like a ghost, spilling into her thoughts and life. His betrayal made her a prisoner of Killian, the gorgeous Fae Lord of Budapest. 

There her life takes another unforeseen twist, something that will change the fragile alliance between the humans and the fae, and Brexley finds herself in the middle.

As weeks go by, Brexley also discovers Killian isn’t the malicious leader she was told about. As they spend more time together, their relationship begins to shift. However, when an old acquaintance turns up, she is given the chance to escape the sexy fae leader, and her entire world explodes. 

Brexley is thrown into a nefarious web of politics, desire, betrayal, lies, and truths that will shatter her foundation and who she is, what she believes, and who can be trusted. No longer is there a clear line between good and bad.

Hunted by both sides, Brexley is on the run and must untangle all the lies, deceit, and deceptions, before she becomes another victim in the wild lands.

  • Intense. That’s the word that describes this book and series so far. I like that the intensity continued in this second book but I’d say not as much as the first book.
  • We get to meet a bunch of new characters in this book, one of them being Killian, the infamous fae lord. He is the typical gorgeous, deadly male fae but what is it about Brexley that softens him? No one knows what she is or why she draws men to her. When Brex is with Killian she learns more about the fae and the pills she stole off the train from book one. Is she still human enough that she belongs on the other side of the river with Caden and her friends or is she fae? No one knows.
  • Opie and Bitzy are so funny! I’m glad they are there in the story to add some humor! I love them.
  • There is a lot of action as usual in this book and Warwick Farkas brings it with the motorcycle chases and explosions, among other things.
  • Speaking of Warwick and Brex, the chemistry between is undeniable, their interactions get a little kinky with the whole not being together but being able to see one another aspect of their relationship. Honestly I just wished they would just do it already, in person – we know they will end up together, right? Let’s just get the ball rolling! Haha…they can’t even stand each other but we do find out a little more of their beginnings.
  • There are a few twists in this story and I liked it, especially at the end! I look forward to reading book three.
  • Brex gets to kiss a lot of guys in this one, but all I want is a kiss between her and Warwick. Like, come on. I didn’t might the one with Killian, Caden is a big NO, but Warwick is the biggest teaser. Let them give in to one another already! I was wondering at some point if this was a reverse harem kind of story and I hope it’s not, because I’d like Warwick and Brex to be together. I’m not a big fan of reverse harem. A lot of erotic scenes in this one.
  • What is Brex? She has to be fae, right? Brex was bouncing from place to place, seriously this girl is trying to find where she belongs. I hope she does in the end (with Warwick lol).
  • This book was too short and I read it so fast! I’m glad the wait for book three isn’t too long.

Wild Lands took me on a very wild, intense ride and I enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to Dead Lands to see what happens to Brex and if we find out more about her and what she is. And please just have her and Warwick end up together already? They need to stop fighting their connection but I will say it adds to the intensity of the story – they have such a love/hate relationship. Can’t wait for the next book!

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, E-book, fantasy, magical realism, urban fantasy

A Song Below Water | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: A Song Below Water

Author: Bethany C. Morrow

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 288

Publication Date: 6/2/20

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Black Lives Matter, Young Adult, Coming of Age, Identity, Magical Realism

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

  • I love the cover – it is gorgeous!
  • I really liked the concept of this urban fantasy world where sirens, sprites, eloko, mermaids and gargoyles. I’ve always been fascinated with sirens and gargoyles. The fact they are here together in one book is awesome.
  • This book was released in 2020 when the tensions in the USA was at an all time high with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so much more. The pandemic was going on, Black Lives Matters protests, it was volatile, and if you watched the news, Portland, Oregon was the home of many protest stand-offs. So this book being set in Portland with the death of Rhoda Taylor gracing the news – it definitely reflects our current time.
  • I really enjoyed the parts that brought in some creepiness like the sprites and their singing Red Rover…what was up with that? I did enjoy when the story went there towards the fantasy side so I want more of that.
  • Tavia and Effie are tight as can be – their bond is very strong which is beautiful.
  • Triggers: police brutality, racism, suicidal attempt
  • I was sometimes lost reading this book because there was a lot going on. Also at times Tavia and Effie were so tight, I couldn’t remember if I was reading Tavia or Effie’s chapter.
  • As much as I loved the fantastical elements in this book, I was confused a lot and this book is under 300 pages, which means I should have finished this quick. I didn’t, I struggled through it. I was probably expecting more fantasy and explanations about the different creatures living in this world.

I love the concept of this book but the execution didn’t work for me. I wanted more of the magical elements. I wanted the fantasy to blend better with the contemporary world with black lives matter dominating Tavia and Effie’s life because the issues in this book are relevant, important and need to be read. I’m reading the second book next since I have it as an arc from NetGalley so I hope that one is better.

🌊 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, magic, paranormal, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Shadowspell Academy: Year of the Chameleon | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Shadowspell Academy ~ Year of the Chameleon

Author: Shannon Mayer

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 302

Publisher: Hijinks Ink Publishing

Categories: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Academy, Survival, Coming of Age, Cliff Hanger

I’ve made it through the Culling Trials, the test that proved my mettle against every possible challenge.

I assumed that meant things would settle down and I’d start truly learning.

No more danger.

No more death threats.

No more wondering who was out to get me.

Apparently, that was not to be.

I am what this supernatural world calls a Chameleon—a rarity even amongst all these monsters. And rare things are coveted and feared by the most powerful of all—The House Of Wonder.

It’s a good thing I have my crew at my back, because this Academy?

It’s about to get seriously ugly.

Which means this farm girl is ready to play by only one set of rules.

Her own.

  • I didn’t know there was going to be more to this series, but I am happy there is! Wild is back but this time she knows she’s a Chameleon, someone who exhibits all the powers of each House.
  • It starts off right away with something happening to all the Houses so they are holed up at House of Wonder, it’s where the mages rule. There is a mystery to figure out – what is going on with the Houses being attacked except for Wonder? Or are they wrong and something happened to Wonder as well?
  • Wild is always a fun character – she has her own crew of misfits from each House. She’s outspoken and brave. She holds her own even when getting her butt kicked in training but that’s what makes her a cool person, Wild doesn’t give up.
  • Since Wild is a teen surrounded by some hot guys at the moment, yes there are options – and her options are wide open in this one! She can’t seem to figure out her feelings for certain guys, but there are other things to focus on at the moment like the Shadowkiller roaming around somewhere, and the attack on the houses.
  • It’s a very quick read and a great book to just lose yourself in – pure escape!
  • Like I mentioned, Wild can’t seem to figure out her feelings with these cute boys around her. It’s not quite a love triangle – we shall see what happens with that situation.
  • The ending is a cliff hanger but the next book comes out soon, in 3 weeks actually, which is great – I love when the wait isn’t too long!
  • Also the ending switches to Wally’s POV! She is Wild’s best friend and a Necromancer, something happens at the end where it seems that Wally will have to take over the leadership role, which is exciting. Can’t wait to see her shine.

Shannon Mayer does Academy books very well – it has action, a little flirtation and romance here and there, a strong heroine who has all the special powers but she learns them, fails at her gifts too but never gives up. There is drama, humor, heartfelt friendship and in this one, some visits from ghosts in Wild’s life. I look forward to seeing what happens next!

🥰 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, historical fiction, magic, New adult, paranormal, romance

From Ash and Blood | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: From Blood and Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: ebook (owned)

Pages: 634

Publication Date: 3/30/20

Categories: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

I finally read this book that has been sitting on my ebook shelf since last year! Lately I’ve been seeing it everywhere on blogs and instagram so I finally read it and here are my thoughts:

  • I love me a good paranormal story with vampire/werewolf lore. It’s a classic tale, lots of forbidden love stories can come from it and it’s dark with all the danger and blood sucking. So this was an intriguing concept – a Maiden, that’s Poppy, is waiting to Ascend. To heaven? Nah, nope. For awhile it’s a mystery what these Ascended people are. We just know as a Maiden, Poppy is to be preserved, to be kept worthy of her role as a Maiden, but that life is like being a cloistered nun. So Poppy does what she can and escapes once in awhile to experience life outside the Duke’s home.
  • Poppy has a good crew around her, Tawny her maid/friend who I adore. Vikter her guard/who is like a father to her. And Rylan who dies protecting her. Then the hottest new guard steps in to be her royal guard and things get spicy.
  • The spice? The new guard Hawke is so confident, so charming, so handsome and attractive. He’s also a solid and talented protector who is dedicated to protecting Poppy. The attraction is there and things happen between them, sexy, naughty things. It’s clear they can’t resist each other.
  • I think my favorite part of the book was the fighting scenes! I like the action, it is thrilling. I love that Poppy can kick butt under that veil, thank goodness Vikter taught her well! And when she rages, watch out!
  • Triggers: abuse, kidnapping, violence
  • The author lays down ground work for the world building in the beginning of the story but it felt like a slow build. I remember picking this up in 2020 and putting it down after three chapter. It wasn’t catching my attention but with all the hype about it right now, I decided to give it another shot. There working for me for some reason, maybe due to the info dump?
  • There was a bunch of repetitive use of words…intriguing, inappropriate and Hawke being turned on by Poppy’s violence repeatedly.
  • Now here’s where most of my conflict with the book is ~ it’s with Hawke. And I usually love the alpha bad boys and Hawke in the second half of this book did not do it for me. He went from likable to me wishing Poppy would find a way to escape him 😏. But she is hooked on him and he knows it. It kind of grates on me how he likes to remind her of that fact even when he is the one who has been betraying her all this time. Poppy went from one prison, being the Maiden to falling for Hawke who is controlling her future as well? 🤦🏻‍♀️

I did enjoy Hawke and Poppy’s banter in the beginning, it was actually turning out to be a romance that had potential to be something great. I also found Poppy’s relationship with those she cares about very touching – and I really love that she can fight. I guess I like when she’s violent too, Hawke! Haha! I will be reading the sequel to see what happens and I hope Hawke redeems himself in my eyes. Overall, a fairly entertaining read even though I wasn’t into the male lead.

⚔️ ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Namesake | ARC Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS

Title: Namesake (Fable, #2)

Author: Adrienne Young

Format: ebook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 3/16/21

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

  • The covers for this whole series is gorgeous. The writing is beautiful, the characters are developed, the world building is creative! I love this world of dredging, gems and traders – it just takes pirating to a different place that I enjoy so much.
  • Fable uncovers more secrets about her mother’s past. We meet some new characters not only connected to Fable but from Auster’s past as well. The deceptions are present too – who is Fable to trust?
  • Nothing about Fable’s life is easy, not even when it comes to loving West who has his own complications. But this story shows that Fable is her own hero and yes, she now learns to trust others to help her in the bind she is in – she isn’t alone anymore, she has a new found family.
  • Everything in this story comes full circle yet and it’s a satisfying ending to a wonderful duology.
  • Will we get more of this world in the future? I feel like there could be more written about some new characters that we met in this book. I’d love to return to this world.

I gave this book 4.5 stars because I felt like some of the intensity from book one was missing but it’s not a bad thing because overall, the whole series is a 5 star series for me. This book had danger, deception, secrets to unravel, and it was emotional too when it came to Fable’s relationships: West, her love and Saint, her father. This is a series not to miss – it’s creative, intense action, and emotional. Namesake was the perfect ending to this amazing duology.

💙 ~ Yolanda