book review, E-book, fantasy, magic, romance, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Wings of Ebony | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Wings of Ebony

Author: J. Elle

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 1/26/21

Categories: Racism, Identity, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Family

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

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

  • Aesthetics ~ Love the cover and the colors are just such a good combination. It perfectly matches the story of Rue and the urban fantasy setting of Wings of Ebony.
  • World Building ~ the story is set in the urban city of Houston but Rue now lives in Ghizon which is this Wakanda-inspired a fantasy hidden island. Ghizon is fascinating because the people there have gray skin and magic. But the mystery is how they were gifted these magic powers. The truth is shocking but the knowledge helps Rue step into her power. As for what happens in Houston, crime is rampant and someone is behind it, when it ties into Ghizon, Rue does everything she can to help stop what is happening. The story is action-packed which moves the story quickly.
  • Family ~ Rue loves her half-sister Tasha, she’s basically all she has left (beside her dad that she hardly knows) . Everything Rue does stems from protecting Tasha. Also, even though Rue’s mom is gone, you can say that how she raised her daughters has made them strong enough to deal with anything that was being thrown at them. I love that they had Ms. Leola though. Also her relationship with her father was strained due to all the secrets,
  • Characters ~ Rue has a strong voice. She is flawed, but brave and unapologetic and wants to do the right thing. I love when she calls out her best friend Bri, when the truth about Ghizon is revealed. Rue is like a superhero queen! I enjoyed the other characters like Bri, Tasha, and Ms. Leola also.
  • There is an insta-love moment in this book, but honestly, I think it’s going to carry on into book two and it works. It comes later in the book and I don’t blame her for the attraction!

This is a fantastic start to an exciting new series. I enjoyed learning about this secret island of Ghizon with it’s magic, technology and gray skinned people. I think Rue is a strong, black female lead who is protective of those she loves, willing to fight hard for what she believes in and is confident in who she is. She is truly a Queen. If you like fast paced urban fantasy that confronts race and social justice themes, then you will definitely like this one!

💜 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, magic, netgalley, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

The Stolen Kingdom | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: The Stolen Kingdom

Author: Jillian Boehme

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Teen Readers, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Court Intrigue

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

For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.

  • World Building ~ Mara lives on a vineyard that produces the best wine in Perin Faye. That all changes when she discovers she is from a royal bloodline, and she is maybe the true heir to the throne. The Thungraves have ruled Perin Faye since they stole the magic and throne from the Dallowyn line. There is dark magic, good magic and politics at play here which makes it an intriguing story.
  • Characters ~ I thought Mara was pretty level headed even if she was thrust into a high pressure situation. She also knew she didn’t want to just be a winemaker all her life and I liked that she accepted her role as Queen. There were two sides to this story, and two perspectives being told which I appreciated. Prince Alac didn’t want to be royal but he is tied to this dark magic his father has entrusted upon him. What will he do when someone comes to take the crown from them? Will he fight or surrender? I think he was the perfect spare, kind of aloof, didn’t care for the royal duties and out of sync with his father and brother.
  • Romance ~ slow burn, enemies to lovers – I think it was perfect. Mara had her goals and really did good sticking to them until she came to care for Alac. Alac had his own dreams too until something major comes between them. I was fascinated to see how it would work out for them after the major scene that took place to throw all Mara’s plans off but in the end it worked out well. And this story is very PG rated, basically only kissing happens and not a lot of it.
  • The story is written well. I read it in one sitting which was unexpected but I was drawn to Mara and Alac’s story.
  • Triggers: death
  • A little bit of insta love? Maybe – Mara and Alac only knew each other for like…2 weeks? I didn’t mind it and this is a standalone so I think it fit because they did fight their feelings for one another and the ending left me satisfied.

I really enjoyed The Stolen Kingdom. I found Mara to be a strong main character and Alac equally intriguing, they made an interesting pair who in the end had a common goal to save their kingdom. I think this is more for teen readers than young adult but can be enjoyed by both.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, historical fiction, romance, Young Adult

Dark of the West | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Dark of the West

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 480

Publication Date: 2/5/19

Categories: Young Adult, WWII Inspired World, Historical Fantasy, Romance, Family

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

  • My favorite part of this book is the intensity in brings. Athan is the youngest son of a General who is ruthless and has a reputation for fighting and winning wars. The General is a hard man who is always scheming. Aurelia is a Princess raised with rules but her mother is a Southern with a past that threatens their monarchy rule. There is a lot of political intrigue in this story and it brings the tension between all sides involved.
  • I was very invested in Athan and his struggles with wanting his dad’s approval, competing with his older brothers and wanting to be with his mother. I felt awful for him and what he had to deal with just to survive his family. His brothers all want to be the apple of their father’s eye and will do anything for his praise. Athan wants to disappear but he can’t because of his loyalty to his family and his mom’s memory. So what will he do?
  • Aurelia’s mother, the Queen of Etania is an intriguing character. She’s from Resyna but we don’t know much about the country because the story doesn’t travel there yet. All we know is what the characters tell us, and Sinora, the Queen has past that is entangled with Athan’s father. What happened exactly? We don’t know, but I hope I find out more about it in the sequel.
  • Having grown up in the 80’s, I was a big fan of the movie Top Gun and watched it a lot. This story is inspired by World War II but the plane fights reminded me of Top Gun and Athan is definitely Maverick. And Cyar is Goose ~ except I hope Cyar has a better storyline than Goose did in the movie! I enjoyed the flying and stunts in this book a lot though.
  • The political intrigue and scheming is very good and just like chess. Everyone is making moves and we aren’t sure who is going to win at this stage of the series. It’s a back and forth match but winner will take all. Unfortunately Athan and Aurelia are caught in the cross-fire.
  • The romance between Athan and Aurelia is sweet and very slow. They are both young, both have secrets but enjoy each other’s company. Will their bond continue to stay strong when the truth lets out?
  • Triggers: murder, violence, war
  • Aurelia at times comes off as naive but there was a moment in the end where she shows that she really isn’t just a useless princess. I’m curious to see what happens to her in the sequel.
  • Athan is said to be brilliant and smart but his character doesn’t seem to show it at all. He’s a good pilot, maybe shows off and disregards the rules too much, but brilliant strategist or something? I don’t see that yet. Maybe in the sequel?

I am glad I finally picked up this book. I was thoroughly entertained and was invested in the story because the tension between the warring countries was really good. The General seems to be a step ahead of everyone, or is he? I’ll need to find out more in the sequel but so far I’m enjoying this WWII inspired fantasy world with intriguing characters and a lot of political intrigue.

✈︎ ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, fantasy, New adult, romance

A Court of Silver Flames | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: A Court of Silver Flames

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Format: eBook (owned)

Pages: 768

Publication Date: 2/16/21

Categories: Fantasy, New Adult, Adult, Romance, Family, Friendship, Mature Audience

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

  • Off the bat I want to say if you were uncomfortable with Rhys and Feyre’s sex scenes – then you will be more so with Nesta and Cassian. Because let me tell ya…it’s hot, it’s intense, and Nesta and Cassian enjoy it that way. Some will think it’s too much but I was a romance reader before I was a young adult reader so this is nothing new. More power to them! I expected nothing less especially from Nesta and Cassian. I’m actually glad this book is for more mature audiences because it was starting to get that way with Rhys and Feyre but was still being touted as Young Adult. Nesta and Cassian in the sheets or out of it lol…is 🧨. But because this series went from young adult to new adult/adult, I think there should be warnings to prepare a young adult reader haha.
  • I always loved Nesta because she was fierce, not likable, but I could admire her protectiveness over Elaine even though I despised her for treating Feyre the way she did – but everyone has a past. Someone isn’t hard and bitter and cruel as a child, they are made that way. And we learn just how Nesta’s upbringing shaped her into this woman with very sharp edges and walls, so many walls. Her story is important. I cried for Nesta multiple times in this story. I resonated with her – her story triggered a lot of things in me. She is at rock bottom but she rises to the top, claws her way to the top of the mental pit she’s in.
  • Friendship. This book and the women in it and the FRIENDSHIP. Even with Cassian, it’s her friendship with him that makes them so perfect for one another. Cassian doesn’t give up on her, doesn’t pity her. It’s why Cassian is her perfect mate. But the new women we meet that come into Nesta’s life are a force to reckon with. These women have been traumatized, scarred, broken, like Nesta – but they help each other up. Ugh…what it did to my heart seeing women uplift women. It’s beautiful.
  • Family ~ this one is tricky and messy and so complicated. But even I understood how she needed to break from them and choose her own family (her friends). There is so much hurt between Nesta and her sisters, I mean look what they all went through in the previous books. Trauma. Feyre and Elaine weathered it better but Nesta did not. Nesta has to learn to make amends, and she has to forgive herself. So easy to say, so hard to do but she gets there. It’s heartbreaking but she gets there.
  • Romance ~ Cassian gives Nesta the tools to save herself and when she breaks, he is there to tell her she got this. THIS MAN. UGH….give him to me. 😅 I love how he wasn’t afraid of her sharp edges. I liked how he called her out on his bs, and I liked how he gave her space even though he wanted to consume her. She was always so safe with him, from day one.
  • Triggers: story of rape, story of abuse, violence, death, grief, depression, self-loathing
  • Because I’ve read so many romance novels in my lifetime and sex is always in it ~ I get that SJM’s sex scene can be go from dirty talk to stars are exploding and the world is ending or made new when they orgasm. 😅 I’m like, okay…chill with the universe coming apart already. Fae sex is good, I get it! lol…but that’s just her writing style.
  • This is a long book but I read it in one day (throughout the day because I have kids and a puppy to care for) ~ it didn’t feel long to me though. The story is very character driven but yes there is actually something going on other than Nesta falling apart haha, the human Queen that was turned into a crone in the Cauldron wants to be made young again and she needs three artifacts to do it. War between courts/kingdoms are also threatening to erupt again. But for me ~ Nesta took the spotlight. It is her story.
  • Did I mentioned I cried? Multiple times, because I could relate to Nesta’s personal journey on so many levels.
  • Now give me Azriel’s story. Also, Morrigan and Elaine’s please. ☺️

This book went above and beyond my expectations, especially with care to Nesta’s character development. Also, with Nesta and Cassian’s love story. This is for my new adult/adult romance lovers, young adult readers beware if you aren’t here for the sex because Nesta and Cassian deserve their adult sexy times. 😅 I think it’s funny how Cassian is an alpha male but hello, Nesta is an alpha female, so when those two collide? It’s not fire, it’s dynamite. What I loved the most in this story has to be the friendships that Nesta builds, as the story kept reiterating “like calls to like“. Nesta called to me from the moment I met her because she had some darkness in her, some trauma and grief we didn’t know about that shaped her and made her lash out and angry. She needed to break so many walls and fears inside her to rebuild herself into someone she doesn’t hate. Nesta had to face her past and make amends. She had to forgive herself, she had to not give up, she had to just try. That’s inspiring and brave. It’s courageous, and that’s Nesta. This story broke me in so many ways but it will be the one that stays in my head for a long time ~ when I feel low, I’ll just remember Nesta’s climb to the top. ♥️ One step at a time. 💪🏾

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, fantasy, historical fiction, magic, Mystery, netgalley

The Conductors | ARC Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: The Conductors

Author: Nicole Glover

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Publisher: John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books

Categories: Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Magic, Adult Fiction

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

A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

  • I love how the underground railroad and slavery history are part of this story. Hetty helped many people escape the South after the Civil War by using her magic and bravery. Now that she is in Philadelphia she plays a role in figuring out murders taking place around them, some of the victims being her friends.
  • The celestial magic in the story was very interesting. I liked how it was based off of constellations and they used sigils to conjure up the magic.
  • Hetty is a strong character – she is smart, caring and so brave.
  • Hetty and Benjy’s relationship was a marriage of convenience but it grew into something more which was so nice to see. They really were partners in solving the mystery and taking care of the people around them.
  • Triggers: slavery, abuse, murder
  • This is definitely a mystery, not quite a cozy mystery, and mysteries and I have a strained relationship – meaning if it’s too slow, I will not be invested in the story. This was slow for me. If you like mysteries though, this might be up your alley.
  • It would have been nice to learn more about the magic system because it sounded so fascinating. I love the idea of using the constellation sigils as magic. I just needed a little more information about the magic.

The concept of blending magic, black history tied to slavery, post civil war and the underground railroad is fantastic. I just wished the story held my attention more and that we got to see more of the magic system. In the end, Hetty and Benjy make a good partnership as they figure out the mysteries and investigates murders happening around them. Even though this book wasn’t for me, I think mystery lovers will really enjoy this book because of it’s uniqueness.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, magic, New adult, romance, Young Adult

A Twist of the Blade | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: A Twist of the Blade (Shadows and Crowns, #2)

Author: S.M. Gaither

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages:

Publication Date: 1/28/21

Categories: Young Adult, New Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Friendship

Mercenary. Survivor. Queen. 

Who is Casia Greythorne?


Still reeling from an unimaginable loss and the revelation of an identity she isn’t sure she wants to embrace, Casia has one plan: Try to control something. Something like the strange magic awakening inside of her. Mastering that magic will take her and her friends on a quest through cursed lands, into the dwellings of old gods, and deep into a southern empire filled with deadly foes and unlikely allies.

Meanwhile, the foundations of the Kethran Empire continue to crumble. The king-emperor clings to his crown with increasingly bloodied hands. Monsters and soldiers alike stalk Casia’s every step, determined not to let her return to claim a throne that is rightfully hers. Still, the greatest threat to her possible rule may not lie in the king-emperor, but in a former captain of his army—a man that she came dangerously close to falling in love with.

Elander Revenmar thought he knew who he was. He had a mission, a plan, a god he was content to serve. Then came Casia. A woman as mysterious as she is dangerous. One he should have stayed away from, and whose life he never should have saved.

Because salvation always comes with a cost. 

And some debts can only be paid for in blood. 
  • World Building ~ I really enjoy the story about the Gods and their revenge on humans. Cas was in Oblivion at the ending of book one but she doesn’t stay long. She needs to find her friends and stop her brother Varen from world domination. So Cas picks herself up, her broken-hearted, weakened, lost self and puts one foot in front of the other and keeps moving forward. We get to visit a different kingdom in this book which is great because Cas needs help, so she goes and seeks it out.
  • Characters ~ Cas is resilient, even when she thinks of giving up, she tries again and again and that’s so inspiring. And I love her friends, her support group that sticks by her no matter what. There were many times when the story was emotional because of what was happening to her friends.
  • Romance ~ or what is left of it…it is “complicated” as Elander likes to say. This is a story of past and present, reincarnation, a second chance, but it gets more complicated for Elander and Cas the more the truths are revealed.
  • Storytelling ~ this just flowed so easily, I read it in one night. I like how nothing is easy in this story between Cas and Elander with their romance or with Cas and Varen and their family ties. But for sure I love when Cas has her friends around her.
  • Not gonna lie, I wanted more of Elander and Cas together ~ I love them. But he kept having to disappear, he had his reasons though.

This story had action, good story telling, great world building, an inspiring main character and a complicated romance that just makes me hope so hard that Cas and Elander have a happily ever after. I look forward to reading book three which can’t come soon enough!

⚔️ ~ Yolanda

Blog tour, book review, bookish, fantasy, Young Adult

BLOG TOUR } This Golden Flame by. Emily Victoria

Welcome to the blog tour for This Golden Flame by. Emily Victoria!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: This Golden Flame

Author: Emily Victoria

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | Kobo |IndieBound | Powell’s | Bookshop.org

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Pirates

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

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

  • World Building ~ I thought this world of Scriptorium and scribes was very creative and fascinating. I also enjoyed the history of the automatons. Runes are used as their magic system in this story and I thought it was interesting how it was used to control the deadly automatons in the past.
  • Characters ~ This story is told between Karis and Alix but Alix really stood out for me more than Karis. Karis has walls, understandably so after being orphaned and separated away from her only family. Alix is also in a tough situation but for someone who should be untrusting of everyone around him, he was willing to help strangers. There was growth for Karis though and that was nice to see. The secondary characters are great, I think they were all varied and added something to the story.
  • Representation ~ I knew Karis was asexual but this is the first time I’ve heard of Aro which stands for aromantic. But I’m learning! So aromantic would be people who experience little to no romantic attraction. According to what the author said in reply to a question on Goodreads, Karis is both Ace and Aro. Yay for learning something new and for more of these representations in books so I can learn. Also there is a m/m relationship.
  • Themes ~ story explored what family and friendship is (biological & chosen) and how far you would go to protect the ones you care about. Another subject that is explored is that of being controlled by others, enslaved by others by use of magic runes. Whoever had Alix’s tome could control him and I felt for him even though he was just an automaton.
  • If you love romance in your story – this may not be for you. I usually NEED romance in a story to enjoy it. This one didn’t have any and I still enjoyed it, so you may want to give it a shot.
  • Karis’ goal in life was to find her brother, but I felt when she found him…he wasn’t as focused on finding her. I was a little bummed about that. I was hoping for this amazing reunion but, Matthias had his own life going on – I know he probably did that to cope with being torn away from Karis but I guess I was hoping for more.

This story starts off with Karis, but in the end Alix’s journey won me over. This is a wonderful story about an unconventional friendship set in a fascinating world of magic runes, a history of automatons and the Scriptorium who wields a lot of power. Oh and there are pirates too…did I mention that?

🧡 ~ Yolanda

About the Author:

Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: https://www.avictoriantale.com/

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale

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

Greythorne | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: Greythorne (Bloodleaf, #2)

Author: Crystal Smith

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 352

Published Date: 9/1/20

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic

Princess Aurelia’s life is turned upside down when the kingdom she thought she saved turns to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country refuses to respect her brother’s legitimate claim to the throne. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor—her best friend’s family mansion—only to get swept up in a coup d’état on the night of her brother’s coronation. 

With everyone turned against her and enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia has nothing left to lose in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left—her family. But in her darkest moments when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?

  • I’ve been wanting to read this since it came out, even though I vaguely remember book one. All I know is that I enjoyed Bloodleaf and had to find out what would happen next. I was not disappointed! Fascinating to see in my Bloodleaf review, Princess Aurelia wasn’t a favorite of mine. But jumping into Greythorne without rereading Bloodleaf, I forgot about those things I didn’t enjoy about her. In Greythorne, she’s loved and lost and is dealing with grief and trying to move on. She’s grown a lot.
  • We learn more about the magic in Greythorne and so much history about Aurelia’s family. It was eye-opening and made the book much more emotional than I expected it to be! I loved learning more about Onal and Rosetta and how their past contributed to what was occurring now.
  • Zan and Aurelia’s relationship is complicated and deadly. But Aurelia wants him to live…yet he wants her to live…it was breaking my heart because they couldn’t be together. Their love story doesn’t take over though and they are hardly ever together.
  • This story was always moving and I read it in what would have been one day (but I have a new puppy…so I read it in 2 days). It had enough action, and plot twist were so great, I love how everything was connecting. It was an emotional roller-coaster. 💔
  • Kellan will do anything to protect Aurelia…even die with her. But she doesn’t want that to happen to her best friend so she finds another way instead. I’m not sure how this decision will play out in book three. I do hope Kellan gets a happy ending somehow, he seriously deserves it for his devotion to Aurelia. 🥺
  • There are some time jumps that can get confusing if you don’t pay attention but because Aurelia can walk in the Gray, she gets to witness things that have happen or will happen. I’ll leave it at that.

I didn’t even like Aurelia in book one and now here I am in Greythorne cheering her on! This was beautifully written, the story flowed so well and what surprised me most was that it hit me emotionally. I also really enjoy the magic system. I loved learning more about blood magic, feral magic and how Aurelia could walk into the Gray. Usually, middle books in a series tend to disappoint me but this one actually was so good and makes me very eager to read book three.

📖 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, magic, netgalley, Young Adult

Shadow City | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Shadow City (The City of Diamond and Steel, #2)

Author: Francesca Flores

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 1/26/21

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Young Adult, Duology, Action, Crime, Fantasy

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

The stunning action-packed conclusion to The City of Diamond and Steel duology. 

Aina Solís has fought her way to the top of criminal ranks in the city of Kosín by wresting control of an assassin empire owned by her old boss, Kohl. She never has to fear losing her home and returning to life on the streets again—except Kohl, the man who tried to ruin her life, will do anything to get his empire back. Aina sets out to kill him before he can kill her.

But Alsane Bautix, the old army general who was banned from his seat in the government after Aina revealed his corruption, is working to take back power by destroying anyone who stands in his way. With a new civil war on the horizon and all their lives at risk, the only way for Aina to protect her home is to join up with the only other criminal more notorious than her: Kohl himself.

As Bautix’s attacks increase, Aina and Kohl work together to stop his incoming weapons shipments and his plans to take back the Tower of Steel. To defeat them both, Aina will resort to betrayal, poison, and a deadly type of magic that hasn’t been used in years.

Through narrow alleys, across train rooftops, and deep in the city’s tunnels, Aina and Kohl will test each other’s strengths and limits, each of them knowing that once Bautix is dead, they’ll still have to face each other. If she manages to kill him, she’ll finally have the freedom she wants—but it might forever mark her as his shadow in a city where only the strongest survive.

  • World building ~ We are back in the city of Kosin. It is a city run by gangs. Aina finally has broken free of Kohl, The Blood King. and is running her own gang. But is she really free of him? We return to the gritty streets of Kosin and it’s rough as ever.
  • Aina and Kohl, it’s the two of them that really pull the story along because they are complicated. Kohl knows how to get under her skin and I was just hoping Aina doesn’t fall for his lies again. It’s a back and forth between them and you wonder how it ends between them.
  • The crew is back and we see Ryuu, Teo, Tannis and Lil. I think they keep Aina level headed and I like that she has them around her.
  • It’s a dark story because there emotional abuse and a whole lot of action. There is a lot of killing, daggers in throats, throats being sliced but I like that Aina doesn’t hesitate…except when it comes to Kohl. But she works through all those emotions in this book.
  • The magic aspect seemed to take sort of a backseat in this one. There is a few chapters in the middle of the book that deals with learning the magic and it comes in handy in the final battle, but other than that – I wondered if it was even needed in the story. They barely knew how to use the magic so it would have been nice to the magic being explored and used much more.
  • I would have liked more about the side characters because they were such a big part of book one. They help her in this book, but I felt like I was just drawn to Kohl and Aina so much more than her friends.
  • Triggers: violence, killing, abuse

I enjoyed this duology because it was dark and had lots of action. Aina is a girl who had to overcome grief, glue addiction, and being under Kohl’s thumb for years. Seeing her break free and find her power was great. If you like young adult crime fantasy, you may enjoy this series.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

book review, Dystopian, E-book, fantasy, New adult, romance

The Fallout | Book Review

My Review: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: The Fallout (Dominion of Ash, #3)

Author: Frost Kay

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 277

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

An ENEMIES TO LOVERS post-apocalyptic fantasy perfect for fans of Cruel Prince, Skyward, and Hunger Games.

She should’ve died. She didn’t.

Reborn into a damaged, depraved world is nothing short of a nightmare. In an instant, every hope Hazel harbors for the future disappears along with her humanity, leaving her with overprotective guarding and a useless mutation.

With war brewing between Humans, the Tainted, and a new unknown enemy, she’s forced to pick a side before the world implodes once more and she loses everyone she loves.

Sacrifice is never painless. 

  • It’s been awhile since I read the last book, so I liked how easily I got into this one. Hazel was bit in book two and in this book she is trying to survive the change her body is going through. Looks like she isn’t going to make it but she’s a fighter.
  • This book is about Hazel’s struggle to accept the new changes happening to her body and her life as a Tainted. I love that she has Noah’s grandmother, Matt and the kitsune to help her with it.
  • Noah ‘s POV was nice to have! He wants Hazel but he doesn’t push it which is nice. He gives her the space he needs.
  • World Building ~ We learn more about the Chosen’s plans to go to war with the Tainted. I always found this world in Dominion of Ash very fascinating because of the virus that changes people.
  • This book is too short, it’s under 300 pages! I wish there was more…

I enjoy this series a lot, I kind of wish this one was a few pages longer. But I’ll definitely be continuing with the series when the next books come out. If you aren’t the patient kind, then I suggest you wait before starting this series because they are quick reads.

💛 ~Yolanda