Savage Lands | Book Review

My Review: 4/5 Stars

Title: Savage Lands (Savage Lands, #1)

Author: Stacey Marie Brown

Format: ebook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 308

Categories: Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Almost twenty years after the barrier between Earth and the Otherworld fell in the Fae Wars, Budapest is balancing on the precipice. A battle for dominance is brewing between the elite fae and the privileged humans in Eastern Europe. The prejudice between the sides is bubbling with hate and violence. 

Nineteen-year-old human, Brexley, has grown up in privilege, but not without heartbreak. After being orphaned, she is taken in by General Markos, living in a walled city rife with power grabs and ruthless political games. Then one night the course of her life changes, and Brexley is thrown into the most feared prison in the east. Halalhaz, the House of Death—where you go in but don’t come out. 

She must learn to live with the worst of fae and human criminals. The rule of hierarchy puts humans on the bottom, where the only way to survive each day is to make alliances with the fae.

Here she meets the sexy, vicious legend, Warwick Farkas. A myth among man and fae. He is as brutal, cruel, arrogant, and as lethal as the lore says he is, ruling the prison with unchallenged authority. Brexley can’t deny an intense draw to him, one that might cost her life.
If The Games don’t take her out first—
A fight to the death where only one survives.

  • I haven’t read a paranormal romance in awhile and this hit the spot! There is Brex pining over her childhood love Caden, a normal human guy about to rise in the ranks of his father’s army. And then…there is Warwick, a legend, a myth…nope he’s real, just not fully human.
  • World building ~ I enjoyed this! I love this dystopian/fantasy world of Budapest after the veils come down. Fae and humans hate each other even though the war has ended. I love how dark and gritty it is.
  • Characters ~ The characters are pretty fierce. Brex is a solider, a fighter and she needs that to survive prison time. I’d like to see how her character grows even more. And Warwick? He is lethal and an absolute alpha male. The two of them are intense together. The side characters were great too!
  • Mood ~ so intense. There is prison fighting, and so much sexual tension. It is gritty, raw, dark…and even though it was rough for Brex in this book, she survives it and it makes me wonder what she will endure in book two as they venture into the savage lands.
  • Story ~ very fast paced story and addictive. I want to read book two right now just to get to know these savage lands and find out more about Warwick! And what about Caden? What’s happened to him? So many questions!
  • Triggers: sexual harassment, violence, torture
  • This is the first book I’ve read from this author and now I’m interested in her other books.

This is how I like my paranormal romances, gritty with great world building. I like them intense, with a badass female and an equally deadly alpha male, but the appeal for me is when they can keep up with each other. So far the chemistry between them is off the charts but what about Caden, her childhood love? I don’t know but I’m hooked, give me more savage lands! Glad I gave this book a chance and I look forward to reading more books from this author.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2) | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: Unravel the Dust (The Blood of Stars, #2)

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 354

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of Unravel the Dusk. 

  • Aesthetics ~ both covers for this duology are gorgeous. I love how the first book was bluish tones and this one is red.
  • I appreciate Maia’s battle with the demon inside her because we all have our own demons we fight daily. So I like how motivational the story is.
  • This story is darker than Spin the Stars, which was filled with political intrigue. In Unravel the Dusk, Maia is fighting a demon, Ewan is gone, and war is breaking out. This book is action packed.
  • Great writing and world-building as usual, it’s what I loved about the first book and it continues here, just with a darker tone. The magic is back but now Maia is dealing with the consequences of it from book one.
  • Oh how I wished I loved this more, but I didn’t. I couldn’t even get into the story, it took me two weeks to finish. Mind you one of those weeks were a very stressful election week in the USA and I gave up reading but I was hoping this book would help me escape from that stress and it did not. I didn’t expect Maia’s journey to get so dark and lonely, but it makes sense since she touched the demon.
  • I wanted more of Edan and Maia but that comes late into the book. But I really wanted him beside her helping her in the beginning. 😒
  • This might be a case of me needing to re-read this book when I’m in the right mood. Even though this book fell flat for me personally, I still am excited to read what this author with be writing next!

I didn’t love Unravel the Dusk as much as I did Spin the Stars, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good duology. Overall, it’s a series about a girl who rises up in a man’s world, tries to help her family and then ends up helping her country. It’s action packed, the message is inspirational and the book covers are gorgeous. I look forward to reading more from this author.

💙 ~ Yolanda

A Deal with the Elf King | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: A Deal with the Elf King

Author: Elise Kova

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 338

Categories: Romance, New Adult, Fantasy, Stand Alone

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

  • Luella is a healer, basically what comes close to a doctor back in her hometown. It’s part of her identity that she doesn’t want to lose just because she is chosen as the next Queen. I like that she holds onto that part of her even though it causes some complications.
  • Eldas the Elf King comes off like a jerk at times but we get a glimpse of him right away being himself with his best friend Rinni. I mean the guy has been basically alone in a castle with one friend all his life! There is a physical attraction between Luella and Eldas but their relationship grows with the two of them opening up to one another. It’s a slow burn romance but the heat between them is undeniable by the end of the story!
  • It’s a romance standalone and a quick read at that. It was straight-forward story with a happy ending. I also like that the author says this is a stand alone but more books will be introduced in this world. I’m a sucker for fantasy romances.
  • I enjoyed all the elements in this light romantic fantasy – it had the enemies to lovers trope, a strong female who was flaws, the friends she makes in Midscape like Willow and of course an unconventional magical wolf pet named Hook.
  • I can’t say there was much action, so if you are looking for that kind of book, this isn’t it. It’s more of a romance. There was a point in the book where Luella and Eldas are looking for clues to break the tradition of finding human Queens and they just do research, on their own – reading from journals. I wanted them to interact more even just to get them bickering about something.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was exactly what I was looking for at the moment, a romantic fantasy with a happily ever after. I look forward to reading more books told in this world.

😘 ~ Yolanda

Warmaidens | ARC Review

My Review: 3/5 Stars

Title: Warmaidens (Gravemaidens, #2)

Author: Kelly Coon

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 12/15/20

Publisher: Random House Children’s

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.**

Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.

In the refuge city-state of Manzazu, Kammani has built a thriving healing practice and a life she’s proud of with her siblings, the maidens, and her love, Dagan. 

But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill Arwia, the displaced queen of Alu, they realize they’re not safe in their safe little haven anymore. Uruku, the usurper to Alu’s throne, has found out they escaped the tomb and must kill them to protect his newly acquired power.

Burning for retribution, the ruler of Manzazu wants to unleash her fiercest weapons on Alu–her warmaidens. But when Kammani’s best friend, Iltani, is captured, Kammani must use her intuition and her heart to restore Arwia to the throne before the life she’s built–and a future with Dagan–burn up in the flames of war. 

Thank you to Random House Children’s and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

My Attention: read in five days

World Building: scenery is written wonderfully as in Gravemaidens

Writing Style: easy to read

Crazy in Love: Kammani and Dagan are already in love, Kammani just doesn’t want to be a “wife”

Creativity: Kammani’s life is in danger and they have to get Uruku off the throne

Triggers: violence, grief, misogyny

My Takeaway: You don’t have to give up your dreams when you fall in love with someone.

  • Iltani was my favorite in the first book, Gravemaidens and she comes back again with her sassy, wild self. She has the most personality out of all the characters. The women power vibes of Kammani and her crew were present in this book which is great.
  • Dagan is still trying to get Kammani to marry him but she’s worried about balancing her dreams, life and love. What if she doesn’t want children? What if she doesn’t want marriage? I like that the author let Kammani be happy without these things. The message I got was that it was okay to be independent and in love too.
  • A lot of things go wrong in this book, but I like that no matter what, the friends/families work together to achieve their goal.
  • I liked Gravemaidens more than this one because it was darker and more mysterious than Warmaidens. This is described as a dark story, but it didn’t feel that way at all.
  • Other than Iltani, I felt no connection to anyone else.
  • The way the characters planned out how to take down Uruku felt naive or amateurish, and it was – considering none of them were cold blooded killers, but I lost interest many times when it felt like their plans didn’t feel well thought out.

Though it’s not my favorite book in the duology, I think Warmaidens is a solid conclusion to this series. My favorite character Iltani really came through in personality, and she made the book fun to read. Kammani’s internal questions about how to be in love and not lose her independence really resonated with me and I’m glad to see her make her own choices. If you like stories about family, sisterhood, women power and romance, then you would enjoy this series.

💗 ~ Yolanda

These Violent Delights | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 464

Publication Date: 11/17/20

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Categories: Romeo and Juliet Retelling, Romance, Gangs, Shanghai, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Family

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

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Let’s break it down:

My Attention: I was along for the wild ride!

World Building: retelling of Romeo & Juliet, Shanghai, 1926 – turf wars between two gangs and a communist faction coming into play

Writing Style: fast paced

Bringing the Heat: 🔥

Crazy in Love: star-crossed lovers, it’s Romeo & Juliet – it was always going to be complicated

Creativity: I loved everything about how this is a Romeo & Juliet retelling, but with gangs in Shanghai.

Mood: Excited for sequel

Triggers: violence, gore, bugs, death

My Takeaway: “These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare

  • Where do I start? Aesthetics: from the title to the cover…the darkness, the monster…ALL of it. It is perfection and matches the story to a T. Whoever did the cover design…BRAVO.
  • All the historical content about Shanghai in the 1920’s with foreign powers trying to take a piece of the city was well done. I learned a lot! We also get Juliette’s perspective of being a Chinese young woman being raised in America and the racism she experienced there.
  • Romeo & Juliet always made a good gangster story, two houses that hate each other. The same vibe in the original is alive in this version except for maybe the romance part. Roma and Juliette have a bloody, heartbreaking past – but their lifestyles don’t allow them to dwell on feelings like that. So in that sense it wasn’t as close to the original but I loved it.
  • Speaking of romance…there isn’t much of it. The two lovers have basically been torn apart and are given a second chance at love but wow…there is so much keeping Roma and Juliette apart. There is a lot of heartbreak between them, when they do finally acknowledge the past though, it’s further into the story.
  • The monster or virus that is infecting Shanghai makes this story darker and brings some gore to it. And I enjoyed it a lot. There is a mystery and the two gangs have to find out where this “virus” is coming from and who are the major players.
  • All the characters are great – but Juliette shines like a diamond that can cut glass. And she wouldn’t be afraid to cut anybody! She is hard edges, she is going to rule the Scarlet Gang one day, she can fight, she can kill and she’s smart.
  • This is not a full retelling of Romeo & Juliet because it’s going to be a series, so I really want to know more about Juliette’s cousins Kathleen and Rosalind! It almost felt like the story was going to wrap up like the original and then there is a twist…and made an opening for a sequel!
  • Pacing wise – for me it dragged a little in the middle but it picked up speed right after.

This is how I like my Romeo & Juliet – dark and violent! This had action, mystery, a race against the clock to stop a virus killing people (quite violently) in the city of Shanghai. It has politics, gangster drama and so much heart break. It touches on identity, family bonds and betrayal. This is an amazing retelling of a classic and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

🖤❤️ ~ Yolanda

Cast in Firelight | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Cast in Firelight (Wickery, #1)

Author: Dana Swift

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: 11/17/20

Publisher: Delacorte Press

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.**

The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

My Attention: totally caught

World Building: India inspired with magic – so good

Writing Style: quick, easy read with romance and humor

Bringing the Heat: 🔥

Crazy in Love: slow burn, enemies to lovers

Creativity: I love the India inspired world with different gods that bestow certain magic powers

Mood: happy 

Triggers: violence

My Takeaway: Be honest and keep trying.

  • The world building is lush with the India inspired setting. I love the magic system where gods touch certain people with power, and they are then marked on their arms. There are different levels of power one acquires and they chant words/phrases to conjure up the magic.
  • The story is told between two perspectives, Adraa and Jatin. Their first meeting doesn’t go as planned and it starts off a relationship between them that is competitive. I love these two as individuals and a couple. The enemies to lovers romance is perfect, with the competition between and the deception. I loved watching them befriend one another and ultimately fall in love. They compliment each other so well.
  • Adraa as a soon-to-be Maharani has depth. She’s got magic, she’s has her challenges (she’s got a temper and can be impulsive), she cares about her people, and she’s an inventor. What can this girl not do? Well…she can’t conjure up white magic. Adraa also is an undercover agent and a cage caster (ring fighting but with magic!), she is bad ass This girl is ready to lead and not afraid to lead. She never gives up.
  • I liked the mystery that forces Adraa to go undercover. It introduces so many aspects of the world building from Jatin and Adraa’s home towns to the seedier aspects of the cities where cage casting, drugs and the black markets exists. It gives these two characters on the verge of leading to know more about what’s going with their people.
  • The mystery, action, humor and romances balances out so nicely in this book!
  • The author reveals in her notes this is not an OwnVoices story. She mentions being in an interracial relationship and that the characters will look like her children. I think that’s awesome.

Cast in Firelight is exciting, magical, funny, heartwarming and has wonderful world building. I was craving an enemies to lovers story and this was perfect! It had the right balance of humor, romance, action and magic. I look forward to reading more stories created in this world.

Send Me Their Souls | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Send Me Their Souls (Bring Me Their Hearts, #3)

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 11/3/20

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Romance

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

The finale to the epic Bring Me Their Hearts series reaches its thrilling conclusion, full of intrigue, emotion, and of course romance.

Reunited with Lucien, Malachite, and Fione, Zera finally has the choice of whether or not to regain her humanity and give up her life as a Heartless. But with war raging and an army of valkerax on the loose, she’s never needed immortality more. Will they be able to stop Varia without sacrificing themselves in the process?

My Attention: read in 2 days

World Building: the same epic setting as the beginning of the series in Bring Me Their Hearts, but our characters travel to various places in this book

Writing Style: snarky characters, fun dialogue as usual

Crazy in Love: so in love 

Creativity: A wonderful fantasy series about a Heartless – who’s life is controlled by her witch (whichever witch holds her heart)

Triggers: violence, mild horror scenes, gore

  • Zera’s snarkiness is back but this time she’s a little more subdued because she and Lucien are finally together. And I think love makes her a tiny bit softer, in a good way. It’s not only the love from Lucien she has, but also with her new friends, Mal and Fione. We also get Yorl, the feline polymath back in this last book, which is great. I adore the characters in this book!
  • There is a choice to be made in this final installment – does Zera and her crew let Varia live? Or do they destroy her, the Valkerax and the Bone Tree? Varia is Lucien’s sister and Fione’s lover, so Zera needs to weigh her options, except all the options are so bleak. The final decision made me tear up a little.
  • We get to travel with Zera and her crew in this book. They visit Nightsinger in the witch-city of Windowhigh and then they board a ship, taking a journey to The Black Archives where the warrior polymaths live. Lastly, we get a little bit of Malachite’s background when the final battle takes place underground in Pala Amna.
  • I love Ev (Evlorasin), the valkerax who has a blood bond with Zera. He reminds me of Falcor from The Neverending Story! He makes a quick appearance in the book, but I always love it when he shows up.
  • The one thing I love about this series is that it isn’t afraid to get dark and gory yet it has a sense of humor also. I mean I guess I’d laugh to if I couldn’t really die from life threatening wounds most people would perish from. But this story is intense and yes I shed a tear at the end, before the epilogue haha…but ugh…my heart.
  • There are some pacing issues with this book and I think it’s because they have to figure out what to do about Varia. They are mostly trying to find out information about the Bone Tree, the Glass Tree and then the Tree of Souls…so there was a lot of info dumping. The first two books were so intense that I thought this one dragged a bit in the beginning. The action comes at the end in the final battle.
  • As for Varia…I did not care about her, at all. I know she’s Lucien’s sister and Fione’s mate but let me just say she gets it easy in the end after all the sacrifices Zera, Lucien, Fione and Malachite had to go through!

What a series! I think this was a solid ending to the series, but it’s not my favorite book in the trilogy. I shed a few tears after that final battle though so it made me feel all kinds of things. There was no good choice to make, but Zera did what she had to do. I loved Zera and her crew, they bring the fun and jokes – in many morbid situations. I’m so happy she got her heart back.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

A Curse of Ash and Embers | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Curse of Ash & Embers

Author: Jo Spurrier

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 272

Publication Date: 11/3/20

Publisher: Voyager

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches

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

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.

Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.

When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

Thank you to Voyager and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC!

My Attention: it couldn’t hold my attention

World Building: Black Oak Cottage, witches and a mystery to uncover

Writing Style: atmospheric

Bringing the Heat: none

Crazy in Love: nope – not crazy

Creativity: magic, witches and monsters

Mood: mixed feelings

Triggers: violence

My Takeaway: Elodie is a strong and brave young woman who can take care of herself.

  • I enjoyed the story of Aleida and Gyssha, the witches of Black Oak Cottage. When Elodie meets Aleida, Black Oak Cottage isn’t in good condition. We learn about Gyssha’s demise and then more about the witches’ history but Aleida is pretty fierce.
  • The female characters in this book are strong. Elodie is a great character because she is literally just turned out from her home. Her step-father wants her gone and unfortunately her mother agrees it’s time for her to go. She’s a young woman, away from family and home. Elodie is smart, and isn’t afraid to ask questions. I liked her inquiring mind as she met different people like the wizard.
  • The writing is wonderful and atmospheric. There is action and danger to keep things somewhat exciting.
  • Unfortunately, I found myself bored at times reading this story because it moves slowly like a mystery.
  • Would have liked a little more romance, but that’s a personal thing for me because I love romance in my stories.

This book may have not captured my full attention but many people who read young adult fantasy will enjoy this story very much. It has witches, action, danger and a girl named Elodie who finds a new home in the most unexpected place.

Kingdom of the Wicked | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Kingdom of the Wicked

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: 10/27/20

Publisher: JIMMY Patterson

Categories: Historical Fantasy, Witchcraft, Family, Romance, Young Adult/New Adult, Demons

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

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…

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

My Attention: engrossed

World Building: 19th century Sicily, there are practicing witches, there are hot Princes of Hell, scary demons, a murderer on the loose, and so much FOOD

Writing Style: a quick moving story, great dialogue

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥

Crazy in Love: slow burn in hell…ha!

Creativity: this whole story is dark and delicious

Mood: witchy 

Triggers: violence, gore, rituals, death

My Takeaway: Hooking up with a Prince of Hell might be a bad idea…but it sounds pretty hot.

  • Let’s start with aesthetics – the cover is to die for. A pre-Halloween publication date? A cover like that and this story has witches and demons? Come on! It is perfection.
  • Speaking of witches and demons…whew! Emilia and Vittoria are twins and have been learning witchcraft since they were born. Their Nonna is the one who taught them all the spells they know and how the Malgavi will return to collect on a blood debt. As far as these Princes from Hell, they are exactly as Nonna said they would be: Trouble.
  • The setting of Sicily is fantastic and made me crave all kinds of pasta and cheese ALL week. I felt like I was there, or I wished I was. I wanted to be eating at the Sea & Vine and tasting Nonna’s delicious meals.
  • This story is dark and doesn’t shy away from gore. Someone is murdering girls and ripping their hearts out of their chests! Ugh…but why? There is a mystery. Emilia and a hell prince named Wrath is trying to put the pieces together to find out who it is before another girl dies.
  • Wrath and Emilia’s growing relationship is an enemies to lovers romance- or should I say…we shall see if they ever become lovers? They are enemies but start working together. Their dialogue is fun since they drive each other crazy.
  • At times I thought this book was going into New Adult territory – it totally could with the hotness factor of the Princes and Emilia’s scandalous thoughts about one in particular haha.
  • I wanted this to be fast paced because of the danger at every corner that Emilia was being exposed to but at times, the mystery (and this is a personal thing for me – always happens with mysteries)…made it go a bit too slow for me at times.
  • There is a cliffhanger.

Kingdom of the Wicked is the perfect book to read for fall! It has danger, gore, hot Princes and food…so much good food. I loved the family and community bond Emilia has in her home town. I could feel the warmth of her Nonna’s love and glares! We get a little bit of everything in this story and it is quite entertaining. This book will put you in a very witchy mood.

💕 ~ Yolanda

The Midnight Lie | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Title: The Midnight Lie

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 358

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Gods, F/F Romance

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

My Attention: read in 2 days

World Building: interesting world or Ethin – there is a caste system, there is a wall that separates the wealthy and poor, but there is a mystery also…why is there no history about Ethin, Nirrim and Sid tries to find out.

Writing Style: beautiful, lyrical, delicious

Crazy in Love: slow burn 

Creativity: a place that doesn’t know it’s history? How is that possible – well the Gods are involved, that’s why

Triggers: violence, physical and emotional abuse, oppression

  • The writing is so delicious, I felt like I was eating this book up, word for word! It’s what kept me reading even though there are so many mysterious elements to this story – like the Elysium bird, Nirrim’s past, and Sid. The world of Ethin alone is mysterious.
  • The world-building was like peeling an onion layer by layer, very slowly. We are introduced to Ethin, a beautiful city but split into castes. There is the High Kith who live behind a wall in decadence, then the Middling and Half-Kith. The only thing about this is that we are limited to Ethin, though Sid is from beyond the sea…it made me want to learn more about the places around Ethin – but if Nirrim doesn’t know it’s history, then no one else does either – hence the limitation.
  • Nirrim is a complicated character. She is abused by her foster mom, Raven but she believes it’s love even when so many people tell her it isn’t. Also she has a male lover, not that she loves him – but she gives into him because she thinks it’s what she’s supposed to do. But when Sid comes along, everything about her life comes into question.
  • There is a running theme in this story, “It is as it is.” But when Sid asks Nirrim questions about Ethin, about it’s rules, or why there is no history, Nirrim starts becoming unsatisfied with the saying “It is as it is.” That’s when secrets about Nirrim’s life and Ethin are revealed.
  • Now the slow burn between Nirrim and Sid was so good because the flirtation, on Sid’s part was packing heat. From the moment they met, Sid in all her flirtatiousness, mystery and wild reputation was so enticing, how could Nirrim stay away?
  • A lot of the mystery gets revealed at the very end of the book – so finding out information was a bit frustrating because we get bits and pieces. Who is Sid and where is she from? Is she telling the truth? Who is Nirrim’s mother? What is Ethin’s secret? So many questions…some were answered, a few others I hope will be revealed in book two.
  • Raven, Nirrim’s foster mom abuses her and it’s awful when Nirrim believes it’s love. But is it realistic? Very. It’s the only “mom” she’s ever known, but wow – Raven was something else. Glad Nirrim stood up to her eventually.
  • I didn’t know this was somehow connected to the author’s previous work The Winner’s Trilogy which I read so long ago – I did not recognize any names at all if they were in The Midnight Lie haha. But I don’t think you need to read that trilogy to enjoy this book.

I devoured the lyrical writing of this story, though sometimes it was frustrating because I wanted more information about Nirrim, Sid and Ethin. I get it all by the end and then some! The story covers some hard topics like abusive relationships but Nirrim goes through quite a transformation from the start to the end of the book. I look forward to reading the next book in this series if just to enjoy the way this author puts sentences together.

💕 ~ Yolanda