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, kindle unlimited, paranormal, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Year of the Chameleon | Shadowspell Academy 5 | Book Review

My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Title: Year of the Chameleon (Shadowspell Academy, #5)

Author: Shannon Mayer

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 314

Publication Date: 3/30/21

Publisher: Hijinks Ink Publishing

Categories: Series, Young Adult, Academy, Romance, Urban Fantasy

You Don’t Choose The Academy. The Academy Chooses You.

The Shadowkiller is back. 

And he is hunting me down like a dog in the streets of New York City using every tool and ally he has—including people I once trusted.

I have never been so alone in my life, and yet if I turn to my friends that puts a target on their backs too. Which means I have to keep running.

So, I do what I know, and I set myself to finding the trail of breadcrumbs that will lead me to the one who is still pulling the strings.

Frost. A Chameleon just like me. Just like the Shadowkiller. Worse, she’s seeking out my friends to pick them off, one by one. To drain their lives in order to feed hers.

To stop her, I have to find her—a task easier said than done in a city this size. 

What I don’t expect to find is a truth that this world and its secrets run far deeper, and far darker than I could have ever suspected. 

But is any of that going to stop me?

Not a chance.

  • It’s a quick read and continues right where book #4 left off. Wild is now with Nicholas and Ash but she’s trying to get away from them.
  • This time, we get different perspectives from her crew, especially Wally the Necromancer. I love that Wally is part of Wild’s crew because she needs more girls around her. Yay for the positive women friendships. The rest of the guys are awesome as well.
  • We get to learn more about the Shadowkiller and the few Chameleons that exists.
  • I feel like this could’ve been added to book number 4 because it was such a quick read and there were some things I thought was a bit repetitive, like when it came to Ethan. Will there be enough time in the next book to tie up all the loose ends about the Shadowkiller? I don’t know.
  • Also, does Wild really need to think about her feelings about Rory, Ethan and Colt right now when so much things are going down? Haha…I know she put it behind her, and put the mission first but still, it came up way too much for me.
  • Something feels missing and I just realized that the first three books in the series was co-written with another author, K.F. Breene. No wonder these last two books felt like something was missing, and that makes a lot of sense.

This one feels rushed and the next book is the last to the series, so it makes me wonder if every loose end will be tied up? I’ll read the next one because I’m already this far invested and they are really short books anyway so we shall see what happens next but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series.

📚~ 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, kindle unlimited, New adult, paranormal, romance, urban fantasy

Blood Casino | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Blood Casino (Vampires & Vices, #1)

Author: Nina Walker

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 324

Publication Date: 1/28/21

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Supernaturals, Romance, Vampires

Keep your cards close and your enemies closer.

At least that’s what my mom always told me. Becoming a vampire hunter was never in my cards, but it is now that she needs my help. A decade ago vampires seized control of the bars, casinos, and the dark underbelly of society. Now they deal in addiction and bargain with blood, and humans over twenty-five can’t fight back against their compulsion. It’s made my mother vulnerable––the only family I have left.

To save her, I’m forced to make a deal with the devil––one who lives above a casino, wears a crown, and wants to drink my blood. Adrianos Teresi may be dangerous and alluring but I’ve got a stake hidden up my sleeve. I’ll go all in and play his game, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

What I don’t expect? The heart that needs guarding is my own.

  • Vampires and gambling definitely go together. In Blood Casino, the stakes are high ~ Evangeline is trying to save her mother from a gambling addiction, and who runs the casinos? Vampires. A vampire prince in this case, named Adrian. He is centuries old, deadly but looks 25, uh huh ~ you know that vampire genes don’t age haha. The hate is mutual between but they keep running into each other.
  • Love the setting of New Orleans. I went there once as a teen and I still remember the French Quarter vividly, it’s definitely a place you can’t forget. But the whole seedy, dark vibe makes New Orleans the perfect place for supernaturals to thrive.
  • Adrian is not a nice guy ~ he’s a vampire who’s been a live a long, long time. He kills in front of Eva, threatens her with violence, is violent, and scheming. Exactly what my image of vampires were like before Twilight lol…no hate on Twilight, I love Twilight, but before that…the vampires I knew burned in the sun, they did not sparkle.
  • I like action. Eva’s friends are vampire hunters but all is not what it seems with their leader Leslie Tate. We don’t learn much about Tate but I think more will come in the sequel. I like the vampire hunter action and the twist in the end as well.
  • The enemies relationship between Adrian and Eva is not quite to the “lovers” yet…and will it ever get there? We shall see, Eva’s got options, is all I’m saying.
  • Love triangle in the making? We shall see, but Eva has crushed on her best friend’s brother for awhile and now they are training as hunters, they get to spend more time together. The only thing that happens in this book is kissing. And very few kissing scenes at that, so there is a lot of room to grow with the romance angle.
  • Eva is 18 years old. I love how she tries so hard to survive and take care of her mom..but she is just 18, making mistakes, acts like a teenager especially around a very old vampire ~ she really is lucky she hasn’t been killed by chapter one! I hope we see more growth in her.

This story was a pure escape for me and a fresh take on vampires in urban fantasy. I enjoyed it so much I read it in one night and I’m here scouring this author’s backlist so I can binge read this week. I’ll be waiting impatiently for the sequel.

🧛‍♀️ ~ Yolanda

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

Light Singer | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Light Singer (Kingdom of Runes, #4)

Author: Audrey Grey

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 476

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Haven escaped the clutches of the new Sun Sovereign and found solace in Shadoria, but for how long? 

Now that the extent of her powers is known, Solis, Noctis, and mortals all hunt her. Meanwhile, chaos reigns across the land. The immortal realm is ruled by a depraved King who will stop at nothing to reclaim Haven as a weapon, while the mortal lands must choose between serving a tyrant or following Prince Bell, the Kinslayer. 

And below, in the Netherworld, a great evil awaits, amassing an army of untold powers. 

Hunted, plagued by doubt, and torn between duty and love, Haven must find a way to broker peace between the nations before it’s too late. 

  • World Building ~ we are back in the world of A Kingdom of Runes, and Haven is trying to assert her role as the Goddess born. She is trying to win allies but has to prove herself along the way.
  • Stolas ~ the thing I loved about this book was Stolas and Haven trying to figure out where they stand with one another. Plus things are always so heated between them, in a steamy way. For the most part, their friendship grows as he helps her control her shadow “beast”. Stolas has a vulnerable moment in the book on his mother’s death anniversary and it was so emotional. For me their relationship was the best part of the book! Give me more of Stolas and Haven.
  • I liked how the ending brought Stolas and Haven into a new adventure – a darker one, and yes I love that he’s this vampire, shifter, fae character – he’s pretty much everything haha. But their new adventure to make her immortal…will it happen? I’m eager to read the next book to find out.
  • Archeron is so evil ugh…glad Haven is finally over him!
  • It was nice to see Bell and the rest of Haven’s friends.

If you like fantasy romance books like ACOTAR, then you may enjoy this one because it has so many similar vibes. This is my favorite book of the series so far and I can’t wait to read the next one ~ I hope we get it soon!

🖤 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

Shadow Knights (Knights of the Realm #2) | Book Review

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Title: Shadow Knights (Knights of the Realm, #2)

Author: Jennifer Anne Davis

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 301

Categories: Teen Readers, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

With Prince Henrick dead, a foreign army in league with the king, and the palace taken, Reid must find a way to right the wrongs for the people of Marsden.

Reid never expected to find love, friendship, or her mother in the kingdom of Axian. She also never expected to become a leader for her people. With the king threatening to overthrow the dukes and take complete control of the kingdom, Reid realizes she may be the only one in a position to stop him. With the ring her father gave her, the commanders of the army at her side, and a master schemer in league with her, Reid just might be able to pull off the greatest upset in Marsden history—all she has to do in step into the role she was born for.

To protect her kingdom, Reid must outsmart them all. Luckily, she’s spent the last eighteen year learning the art of manipulation, and she isn’t above putting those skills to the test.

  • I read the arc of the first book in the series through NetGalley then saw the final books in these series are on Kindle Unlimited so I decided to finish the series. The first book didn’t was flat – but I did like the girl growing up as a boy, Mulan thing going on. So I wanted to see what happened. Reid is now living as a full on girl, but trying to adjust to it.
  • I do like Prince Dexter and his brother. They seem to have a close bond and are very different from each other.
  • The political intrigue between kingdoms is solid. I thought it kept the story moving.
  • I think this series is for a teen reader yet I was expecting young adult story levels. So this sequel fell even shorter for me than the first did! Reid just feels so weak for someone who grew up as a boy. She is so boring and doesn’t inspire me at all. What was her role as a knight really? She’s supposedly undercover but it seems like everyone knew why she was in Axian, there was nothing shadow like about it! That frustrated me the most.
  • Reid and Dexter lack chemistry. They didn’t do it for me. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • The writing was more telling than showing at times.

I will say this, if you want a simplistic, light, young adult fantasy story, you will enjoy this one. It’s a quick read. For me, I don’t think I’ll read the next book because I just want a bit more from Reid since she is the main character.

😘 ~ Yolanda

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

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

book review, contemporary, E-book, kindle unlimited, New adult, romance

Heart Bones | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5

Title: Heart Bones

Author: Colleen Hoover

Format: eBook (KU)

Pages: 338

Categories: contemporary, romance, new adult, poverty, drug abuse

Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah Grim’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself.

With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim. Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan.

Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface.

She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. Which means they’re drawn to each other. With an almost immediate connection too intense for them to continue denying, Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn’t realize is that a rip current is coming, and it’s about to drag her heart out to sea.

My Attention: read in one night

World Building: Kentucky to Texas

Writing Style: easy to read, good character development, emotional

Crazy in Love: yes

Triggers: drug abuse, child neglect, broken family, death, overdose, poverty

  • Beyah goes from her mom over-dosing to living with a father she hardly knows. Beyah is a strong character for someone who has been broken and damaged all her life. Her story is heart-breaking. I just wanted good things for her.
  • Samson is mysterious and handsome. I liked how Beyah judges and we as the readers start doing it too because we only know what they know of him. He’s hiding a lot of secrets which come out in a shocking way.
  • It’s all about Beyah and Samson. Beyah finds all her guards giving way the more she spends time with Samson. They are both damaged and that’s why they are drawn to each other. From the moment they met it was intense between them.
  • The twist in the end was heartbreaking. But I’m glad Beyah did what she did.
  • Some tough topics are covered in this book: poverty, drug abuse, sexual assault – this book is about survival and the kids that fall through the cracks in society. What happens to them? How does someone like Beyah who had an addict mother, take another path in life – talk about strength and determination.
  • The way how Beyah didn’t tell her dad that her mom died, bugged me! Like…that would be the first thing I’d say, I think. But I understand her secrecy, she was trying to protect herself the only way she knew how. But seriously…the way she tells him – I guess I wanted more of a conversation on that between her and her dad.

Heart Bones is heartbreaking. We have Beyah and Samson who has been beaten by life at such a young age, they have both done everything to survive (good and bad). They find each other in all their damaged state and fall in love. I honestly still feel bad thinking about Samson after the story – but glad it had a happy ending.

💙 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, magic, New adult, romance

The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns, #1)| Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns, #1)

Author: S.M. Gaither

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 512

Categories: Fantasy, New Adult, Magic, Gods, Enemies to Lovers

A Devastating Sickness 

For decades, the Kethran Empire has been plagued by a strange illness that leaches the very life and soul from its victims.

The Girl Who Survived 

Casia is one of the Fade-Marked—one of the few people who caught this sickness and lived. Why she lived is a mystery even to her and the outcast crew of mercenaries she calls her family. It also makes her an intriguing target for the young, enigmatic king-emperor, who claims he wants to work alongside her to find a cure. 

Unfortunately, working alongside him also means working with the handsome but infuriating captain of one of the most prestigious branches of the Kethran Army.

A Soldier With No Past 

This infuriating Captain Elander also has secrets: A past that Cas can’t seem to uncover, a powerful but strange brand of magic, and a deep distrust of the very monarch that he’s sworn to serve. She feels oddly drawn to him in spite of these things…

But can she really trust him?

The Fate of an Empire 

As the bodies pile up and strange monsters begin to wreak havoc throughout the realms, Cas and Elander will have to work together to protect their world whether they trust one another or not. Because one thing is clear: Something ancient and evil is stirring in the shadows of Kethra.

And the empire will not survive its full unleashing. 

But how can they save a world where nothing and no one is what they seem to be— including Cas herself? 

My Attention: read in one day

World Building: epic – the Kethran Empire is ruled by a King-Emperor who wants to eradicate people with magic, and there is a Fading Sickness infecting the kingdom and they have to find out the source of the illness

Writing Style: flowed very well

Crazy in Love: enemies to lovers 

Creativity: I enjoyed this world of magic and Gods

Triggers: violence, thieving, anxiety

My Takeaway: Definite Sarah J. Maas vibes and I’m here for it!

  • Love the cover and usually I’m wary about KU Fantasy ebooks because I find them way too short, I mean yes I love that the next installment usually comes out in 3 months but THIS one, is a nice lengthy 500+ which surprised me. I was reading it without knowing the page count and was wondering why it was taking me so long to read (not long…but usually I can devour these short book series in a few hours and usually can binge the whole series in one night). So I am impressed with this one!
  • There is Throne of Glass vibes all over this book BUT there are enough difference to make it exciting. Cas reminds me of Celaena (badass heroine, etc…) but I like that Cas is different enough with her bouts of severe anxiety and needing to take care of her foster mom, Asra. Cas has a fun crew of magic wielders around her, all with different personalities.
  • The world building is addictive: there is a Fading Sickness in the empire, and Cas is one of the few who has survived it. Why? I love the process of finding out why and that plot twist in the end. Total cliffhanger!
  • Enemies to lovers, which is my fave – Elander is dark, blessed by a Death God, and their banter was fun. He was mysterious and she is reckless which makes them a hot combo. And yes there is a sex scene, they need more haha but…we shall see what happens between them!
  • This story was a fun ride, with villains, secrets, fights, danger, Gods – so much to digest but it’s an exciting start to the series.
  • There are a lot of things to discover yet, like Darkhand’s role in the beginning and then he disappeared. I’m sure the story will come back to that but he kind of was introduced and then forgotten.
  • Varen the king-emperor…oh boy, so what will happen now that the truth has been revealed?
  • And Elander…just give me more of him and Cas, and I’ll be happy!

This is the first book I’ve read from S.M. Gaither and I know it won’t be the last. I’ll have to binge her previous series! If you like stories like the Throne of Glass series, you will enjoy The Song of the Marked. I know I’m ready for book two to arrive but I have to wait until January! I was craving a fantasy with an enemies to lovers romance, lots of action and detailed world building and this totally hit the spot.

😍 ~ Yolanda

book review, contemporary, E-book, kindle unlimited, romance

Red, White & Royal Blue | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

Format: eBook (KU)

Pages: 421

Categories: M/M Romance, American Politics, LGBTQIA+, Family, Royalty, Adult, Contemporary

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

My Attention: read in 3 days

World Building: the political First Family world of the USA and the Royal family of England

Writing Style: dialogue was great, moved fast

Crazy in Love: so crazy, the first son and a royal prince 

Creativity: Love how we get a fictitious peek at the American political life, on the verge of a re-election campaign, and what being a royal in England would be like if one was a gay prince

Triggers: homophobia, anxiety, depression, grief

My Takeaway: Love is love and sometimes you have to fight for the one you love.

  • This is an enemies to lovers queer romance that had a lot of spark to it. I can’t say they are true enemies since the hate was one sided and misunderstood. I loved the dialogue between Alex and Henry, there were some pretty funny scenes. Alex is the loud, confident one and Henry is the quiet, mysterious guy. There is a lot of love making, a lot of it were booty calls at first but things change between them with romantic emails and confessions.
  • I love Nora and June who rounds out the White House Trio with Alex. They are young, ambitious, smart, and a force to be reckoned with! Alex’s parents are divorced but they work together to help each other out the best they can, so they have a modern family. Alex and June are also half white and half Mexican which adds to the diversity of this story.
  • Alex is on a road to self-discovery in this story. Henry is gay and always knew he was. Alex has been with girls, but has fooled around with guys too and just never thought he was bi, until Henry. I liked that we got into Alex’s thought process when he felt confused about his past and actions.
  • There are some mental health issues touched on in this story as well. Henry’s dad passed when he was a child, and he has his moments of depression, a wall that at times Alex can’t understand or get through. But he wants to know and understand. Alex on the other hand keeps moving, jumping from project to project so he doesn’t have to stay still and deal with life issues like his parents divorce.
  • I went into this thinking it was a young adult book, but with how many times they have sexy scenes, I’d say it’s more like a new adult/adult book. It didn’t get super detailed though, but you know what happens. Thing is Alex and Henry are apart most of the time, because they live in different countries, so the romance grew mostly through texts, phone calls, emails and the occasional hook-ups.
  • Alex was the main character…but he wasn’t my favorite. Like I said, he’s a firecracker or a tornado, he was busy and overwhelming. I related more to Henry who was quieter haha. I guess that’s why they work, opposites attract. But Henry has a great scene where he finally explodes and it was quite emotional.
  • Since Alex is the First Son and his mom is the first female President of the USA, and from Texas – I thought the take on White House life was fascinating and optimistic. In current reality? I’d say it’s volatile haha, but yes there is American politics in this book.

Overall, I had fun reading this one, and I think it’s the first true M/M romance I’ve read. I’ve read books in the fantasy genre where there are M/M relationships. Red, White & Royal Blue is an enjoyable queer romance that has fun dialogue, sexy scenes, a great cast of secondary characters, and a happily ever after.

💕 ~ Yolanda