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

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

adult fiction, book review, contemporary, E-book, magic, paranormal, romance

Fables & Other Lies | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Fables & Other Lies

Author: Claire Contreras

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 224

Publication Date: 12/20/20

Categories: Gothic Romance, Adult Fiction, Paranormal

Do you believe in curses? 

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true. 

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy. 

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill. 

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away. 

  • I love the whole mysterious, haunted house that is always covered in fog. There is a whole legend about the curse between the Guzman and Caliban families and it draws you in. The mood of this book was perfectly dark, somewhat creepy and yet sexy all at the same time.
  • Penny is a normal young lady, but a Guzman with a past she’s running from. She comes back home to take photos of the “house” which is about to be listed for sale. Coming back home brings back all kinds of memories that she has to deal with.
  • I enjoyed Penny’s friends Dee, Jose and Martin. They were lively, fun and had her back. I’m glad Penny had them since it doesn’t seem like she had much family.
  • The attraction between River and Penny is instant but nothing much happens until near the end of the book.
  • River is a fascinating character, very vague and mysterious but we do find out more about him in the end.
  • Triggers: sexual assault
  • I wish the story was longer..I think there was room to expand on River and Penny’s growing attraction. There was definitely sexual attraction but it would be nice to see them bond on another level and get to know River’s personality more. I was expecting much more emotions from them.
  • At the ending of the book, with the twist, at first read, I don’t know if it worked for me. I was confused for a moment, had to reread to make sense of it. After I thought about it, I realized I just had to keep my reality suspended.

I love the whole vibe of this book. It is dark, sexy, and mysterious. It drew me in, making me question the curse, the house, and made me wonder how will River and Penny come together. I do wish the story was longer so we could see their relationship grow, also the ending felt rushed. I definitely would like to read more from this author in the future though.

📚 ~ Yolanda

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, coming of age, contemporary, E-book, magic, New adult, paranormal, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

Love Spells and Other Disasters | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Love Spells and Other Disasters

Author: Angie Barrett

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 2/1/21

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, Witchcraft, Friendship, Family, Contemporary

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

I didn’t know when I wrote the first love spell that it would actually make things happen. Like, actually make people fall in love with each other… 

How could I have known something like that? I mean, magic isn’t real, right? 

But here’s the thing—the spell does work and so does the next one and the next one…and suddenly I’m getting a whole lot of attention from everyone at my high school. Me, Blend-into-the-Walls, Please-Let-Me-Introvert-in-Peace Rowan Marshall. And not only that, but I’ve also caught the attention of Luca Russo, a godlike, football-playing hottie who claims he likes me just the way I am. Ummm…

But as I’m about to learn, playing around with things you don’t understand means when things go wrong—like really, very awfully wrong—you don’t know how to fix them.

  • Rowan has an interesting mom who is famous for being a parapsychologist, someone who studies the mystical and unexplainable. Ro feels like people at school thinks she is weird because of it. She has one best friend, Ethan who’s been friends with her since childhood and that pretty much consists of her social life, or lack there of…until a project at school makes her realizes she has the power to cast spells.
  • The romance is cute with a touch of heat. There are some sexy scenes but it stays PG-13 for the most part. Luca is the hot jock who is actually a nice guy. The romance comes of as insta-love but he did confess he was into her way before he talked to her. I mean, there are love spells involved so it gets complicated.
  • I did like how Rowan and her project partner, Abby, innocently start making these love spells for a project without thinking of the consequences but when it all hits the fan…the consequences are bad. Rowan does the right thing and takes responsibility. She tries her best to fix broken relationships by doing acts of kindness, which I thought was awesome.
  • I think this story had a good blend of romance, drama, and witchcraft.
  • Rowan isn’t your typical strong girl who can stand up for herself, Ethan helps her do that. Abby pushes her around when it came to doing the spells, but I guess Rowan felt guilty also for her part in ruining Abby’s science project years ago. I think Rowan is strong in her own way, not loudly, but in telling the truth and acts of kindness.
  • We don’t learn much about Rowan’s magic lineage in the story until her mom starts finally talking about her dad which is near the end of the book. It would have been nice to get some idea of how she could do the spells earlier in the book.
  • Ethan was her best friend until that spell really took a turn for the worst and he turned on her. That sucked to see since yes Ro cast the spells, but Ethan asked for the spell. I’m just glad they made up.
  • I read an arc copy so there were some errors near the end of the book which probably will be cleaned up by publication.

I enjoyed reading this witchy romance story because it was a nice blend of sweetness and drama. I liked seeing Rowan blossom as she starts dating Luca and also it was good to see her tackle the consequences of the love spells going bad by helping the ones she hurt. Even though Rowan and Luca seems like an insta-love kind of deal, he actually was into her way before the spells and I loved their relationship. We get a happy ending and it gave me all the feels in the end, that’s all I wanted, so goal accomplished.

♡ ~ Yolanda

book review, contemporary, E-book, magic, netgalley, paranormal, romance, Young Adult

Of Wicked Blood | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Of Wicked Blood (The Quartrefoil Chronicles, #1)

Authors: Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 424

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Publisher: Twig Publishing

Categories: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult/New Adult

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

No rest for the wicked… or the cursed.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt. 
Scratch that, I did mean to steal it. 
Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses.
If any of us fail, I’m dead.
I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.
The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.
Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?
Wrong.
The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster.
But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.
Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.
Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).

  • World-Building: I like how different this is! It takes the Merlin lore but connects it to witchcraft and magic. The town of Brume, France is ripe with magical lore, but is it real? There are four founding families in Brume, and the lore of the Quartrefoil (resembles a four leaf clover) that is everywhere in the town. So magic, founding families, and a race against the clock to find the foils equals a very exciting story!
  • Characters: Slate ~ Bad boy, troubling past, and a foul mouth (he curses a lot). Cadence ~ good girl, family secrets and beautiful. There are four family reps, but Slate and Cadence are the stronger characters. I love Cadence’s bestie Alma and Slate’s foster brother, Bastian – glad he got more book time in the end. As for deception, I’m looking at you, Cadence’s dad…we shall see what other things we learn about him and the past!
  • Romance: slow burn deliciousness between Slate and Cadence. I mean he’s the bad boy, she’s the good girl and together they are dynamite.
  • Writing: love the banter between Slate and Cadence. I thought the beginning was slow to build but from the half-way point on, I could not put this book down. There is a lot of action when the four family reps have to find their piece of the quatrefoil. I love the mystery, the puzzle piecing, and the secrets.
  • The second half is way more engaging than the first. It took me two days to read, when I picked it up on the second day I couldn’t put it down. Slate uses the F word a lot but I love it, it totally fits him.
  • I had to research the authors after I read this because I enjoyed the story so much and was surprised to see I read Olivia Wildenstein’s The Lost Clan Trilogy few years ago. I remember how unique and enjoyable it was. Now I want to read everything she’s written. I’m not familiar with Katie Hayoz’s work but I’m going to check out her books as well!

This story has all the things I love in a paranormal story: lore, slow burn romance, adventure, a mystery and family secrets to uncover! This was a fun read and I look forward to the next book in the series.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

book review, contemporary, E-book, magic, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

Instant Karma | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Instant Karma

Author: Marissa Meyer

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 400

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

In this young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her—both good and bad.

Chronic overachiever Prudence Barnett is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate. 

  • I enjoyed the slow burn of Prudence and Quint’s relationship. Their partnership during the school project was quite intense. They do not like each other and honestly…I can see Quint’s point because being micro-managed is the worst! Yet I relate to Prudence where you know you will pick up the slack of the other team member if need be for a good grade. I like that we see them get to be friends first though.
  • Love the theme of environmentalism and this story set in a coastal town. Who doesn’t love a story about trying to save wildlife?
  • Prudence isn’t perfect, she’s just Type A controlling at times and super ambitious – which is a good thing, because she is determined to reach her goals. I’m glad Quint was there to call her out on some things though because she was super judgmental when it came to Quint. I just wanted to shake some sense into her sometimes.
  • Prudence got on my nerves a lot. Poor Quint! I like that she learns a lot of things in the end, like how it’s not all about business and making money, that causes have to actually mean something if you want other people to care about it too.
  • The instant karma..”magic” for me didn’t work at times…especially when it kind of disappears in the middle of the book? Haha…I guess everyone was on good behavior or something? It was an interesting idea though, and Prudence learned from it in the end.

Overall, this was a quick read and I enjoyed the enemies to lovers vibe with Prudence and Quint. I’m not a fan of Prudence though, she seriously needed to let go of control but I’m sure my husband says the same about me. 🤣 Basically no one is perfect but if you can listen to the other person and let them help out, good things can actually happen.

📚 ~ 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