ARC Review | The Sound of Stars

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Sound of Stars

Author: Alechia Dow

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: February 25, 2020

Categories: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult

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

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

The Sound of Stars is a very interesting mesh of the sci-fi, dystopian and romance it’s infused with love of music, books and the love of love really. It explores so many subjects like race, and colonization plus it has aliens! There is a lot going on in this surprising book.

Janelle or Ellie, as everyone calls her, lives in New York City but the world has been taken over by aliens called the Ilori and their labmades. Say what? Yes, Earth’s problems have become insignificant with this way bigger threat taking over. Humans have been killed and are now undergoing a process where they will be given vaccines and their bodies will be husks. The Illori will be able to inhabit these husks to vacation on Earth. Yes…Earth is basically being colonized by these powerful aliens who have been colonizing planets all around the universe.

Ellie is just a teenager, who keeps a secret library. If she is found out by the Ilori it would mean a death sentence. But she meets an Illori, a labmade commander named M0Rr1S, or Morris, who wants to trade. He will keep her secret if she can get him some other kind of contraband – music.

This story is a journey of books, music, love and watching two different species find common ground.

  • Love for books and music is at the heart of this book. It reminds us that no matter what’s going on, how as people we can be divided or conquered, the written word in story form or music form transcends hate and can bring people or in this case species together.
  • I was intrigued about this alien race, the Ilori, and their labmades. This story lays out some of the problems on Earth from climate change, to race relations and the corrupt government (hmmm sounds very familiar!). But with the Ilori invasion (which didn’t start out as one really), the humans have pretty much united to fight the aliens. Learning that the Ilori have been colonizing planets for awhile made me want to learn more about their alien race and these planets that they have found in the universe.
  • Labmades are an interesting part of the Ilori. They aren’t true Ilori, they were basically, made in a lab. So in their society, they are looked down upon. So Ellie being black and Morris being a labmade shared the feelings of being inadequate and “less than” everyone else.
  • It’s a unique story all around with the romance between a human and labmade. The way the story unfolded reminded me almost of a space opera (though they are not in space) – but Ellie and Morris travel throughout America to get to their destination and it feels like this epic space journey…but on land. If that makes sense?
  • The romance at first for me…was totally cute. A labmade and human relationship? I was totally for it! And I think a lot of people will find it an amazing part of the story, but at the end it was getting a bit cheesy for me. 🤣 But that’s just totally a “it’s me” thing…Ellie and Morris totally fell for each other and I swear it started to become some space opera musical (yes with singing involved).
  • The first few pages was hard for me to connect to because it’s sci-fi (not my favorite genre) with a lot of technical jargon that just left me scratching my head. I just needed to be patient, because soon I was 40% done with the book without knowing I was reading that fast. I loved learning about this Earth as aliens take over and their plans for humans. The story kinda lost me again 75% in and maybe because of the romance and cheesy/cuteness.
  • I don’t know that I connected to a character most…maybe Morris because I was fascinated with his life as a labmade.

Even though it was sci-fi and dystopian, it had lots of romance and optimism because of the love between Morris and Ellie. They are seriously the sweetest couple. The world-building of the Ilori and Earth after an invasion felt realistic and I wanted to know more about the aliens! There is so much going on in this story. There is adventure, deception, humans on the brink of being hosts to aliens, Earth being made into a vacation destination, music, books and love. For me, The Sound of Stars was a very unexpected yet fun story to read.

ARC Review | Sting

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Sting

Author: Cindy R. Wilson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance

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

They call me the Scorpion because they don’t know who I really am. All they know is that someone is stealing from people with excess to help people with nothing survive another day.

But then a trusted friend reveals who I am—“just” Tessa, “just” a girl—and sends me straight into the arms of the law. All those people I helped…couldn’t help me when I needed it.

In prison, I find an unlikely ally in Pike, who would have been my enemy on the outside. He represents everything I’m against. Luxury. Excess. The world immediately falling for his gorgeous smile. How he ended up in the dirty cell next to mine is a mystery, but he wants out as much as I do. Together, we have a real chance at escape.

With the sting of betrayal still fresh, Pike and I will seek revenge on those who wronged us. But uncovering all their secrets might turn deadly…

Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

And…I read this in one sitting! It’s been awhile since a book held my attention so much that I did not stop reading.

The city of Victor is divided into two sectors, the Darkside and Lightside. The “lightsiders” live in a world of light and glow in the dark fashion, they have enough to eat and have jobs to live a comfortable life. The “darksiders” live on the outskirts of the light, in the dark, with no food, jobs, and barely surviving. The Scorpion is known as a hero, somewhat like a female Robin Hood, stealing from the Lightside warehouses to bring supplies and food back to her people in the Darkside. But when she gets caught her world is turned upside down. Revenge is on her mind as she plans to take down the city’s leader, Campbell, without losing herself and the people she learns to love along the way.

  • The pacing of this story flowed so well it took me from beginning to end without stopping and kept me engaged in the story.
  • The world is set in a place where the poor and wealthy is clearly divided. Tessa, is known as The Scorpion because she builds little bots with scrap pieces and she uses these bots to get information on warehouses she will steal from. But she steals items to give to the poor in the dark side. She is their hero, but to the lightsiders, she is their enemy.
  • I liked seeing Tessa grow from this anonymous hero hiding under her ball cap, to becoming strong in prison and then changing again when she gets out. She has to transform to achieve her ultimate goal of revenge and exposing Campbell to take him down – and I did wish the scar on her stayed but I think it shows even when that was taken away from her, deep down she was still Tessa, one that was learning about who she was or who she was going to choose to be…but still Tessa.
  • Tessa and Pike… I loved their relationship. I love how he was level headed where she wanted to rush in with guns blazing. He kept her centered and was a shoulder to cry on. Their relationship grew from friendship and that made me so happy.
  • I like that everything tied up nicely! It’s been awhile since I read a standalone that just ends on a good note without me questioning so much or leaving an open ending.
  • I think the biggest thing about the book that might bum readers out…it has a love triangle! I know, I know…a love triangle. 😩 And I don’t mind love triangles, but if you do mind…well…this one has it. Tessa is immediately drawn to her best friend, River in the beginning of the book, like it starts off right away – you know they have history, it’s becoming a friends to lovers thing…and then bam. Things happen. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But then she meets Pike in prison and it isn’t insta-love…she’s confused, she’s dealing with some major emotions and events…she’s definitely allowed to be confused. But there were some parts I was like, no, please, don’t do the back and forth…PLEASE. 😅😩 Thankfully it IS resolved in the end.

I enjoyed this book a lot. From the beginning to the end, it hooked me and I was loving Tessa and Pike’s growing relationship through their hardships, challenges and fears. They made an awesome team and I was so happy for Tessa in the end. There was a lot for me to take away from this story – the importance of hope for people in despair, helping those in need, keeping people you love safe and knowing when enough is enough. Tessa risked a lot to help the darksiders but in the end she also learned there was more to life she wanted than just being a hero. I look forward to reading more from this author.

ARC Review | We Are Blood and Thunder

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: We Are Blood and Thunder

Author: Kesia Lupo

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy

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

On the edges of a sealed-off city, a chance encounter between two girls in the misty woods is about to change the course of everything. . .

Lena is on the run from her home, the Duke’s Forest, after being convicted as a mage and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, Constance escaped the Forest years before, after her own magical powers were discovered–but now, she will do anything to get back inside and reclaim her place as the duke’s daughter. The girls cross paths for only a moment, but that’s long enough to set them down paths that will change the dukedom forever.

As Lena reaches a safe haven where she can study and develop her powers alongside handsome but mysterious mage Emris, Constance maneuvers her way back into the home she left behind, unsure whether she trust the people she once considered her family and friends. All the while, the girls are connected by the dark, terrifying storm clouds that hang over the land and devastate everything in their wakes. 

Only Lena and Constance hold the keys to dispelling the storm and keeping their home safe–if they can uncover who cast the spell that generated the clouds to begin with. But the truth is far more sinister than anyone could imagine, and it could mean that one of the girls will lose everything.

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

We are Blood and Thunder follows two main female characters, Lena, who has a mark on her face, no family and was raised as a cryptling in Duke’s Forest. She was assistant to the city mortician. Then there is Constance, a mage who comes back home to Duke’s Forest to help get rid of the toxic storm cloud that has been circling above Duke’s Forest for years.

Nothing is what it seems with either women. We follow their journeys and find out if the storm cloud can be defeated at all.

  • The world building is fascinating with different mage factions. We only get a glimpse of a few of them but I think there is so much potential to learn more about this fantasy world. The people in Duke’s Forest don’t use magic, they worship their Ancestors – the dead that are buried below their city in crypts. Their way of life is to serve them. Outside of Duke’s Forest is where magic thrives.
  • Lena interested me more than Constance. Lena is an orphan raised as a cryptling, assisting the city’s mortician. She is without family, raised basically with dead bodies but then things start happening to her, she has power. More power than she ever had in her life.
  • Emris, a huntsman mage, is Lena’s introduction into life outside of Duke’s Forest. He teaches her about her magic and power. Theirs is a friendship that grows and I was glad Lena had someone.
  • This story was gory and dark at times! There was dark magic, necromancy and dead bodies coming to life. I thought that was fun, haha, morbid yes but I liked that it went there.
  • I needed MORE from this story – I felt like there was so much potential with the world building and I didn’t get enough. Also I felt like the characters, or maybe mostly Constance, was superficial. Even her supposed romance with Xander was so quick and strange, I was like…??…am I supposed to feel something about these two? Because I feel…nothing.
  • I didn’t vibe with Constance but by the end, my feeling about her was right. So maybe there was a reason why something about felt off! There were some parts of this book that felt a bit melodramatic and it was mostly to do with Constance. 🤨
  • The story did drag a bit, especially with this problem of this toxic storm cloud hovering over Duke’s Forest. Like…what is it? Why is it there? Why Duke’s Forest? It ties in all at the end, but it took awhile to get there – to the point I didn’t know why Constance’s story mattered. It matters…but in the beginning I wanted to skip her parts to read about Lena.
  • The twist at the end was surprising but, Constance again, to me…ruined it. I just did not like her!
  • Triggers: death, being around dead bodies

I enjoyed the world building, Lena and the necromancy in this book but I really needed more. Overall, this book fell short for me in so many areas, but it did keep my interest enough to want to know what was the whole deal with the toxic storm cloud! It was just an okay read for me.

ARC Review | Saint X

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Saint X

Author: Alexis Schaitkin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Categories: Murder Mystery, Adult, Contemporary

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

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I went into this thinking it was a murder mystery where we find the clues to who murdered Alison, but I got something else.

Claire is an adult now but the death of her sister years ago still affects her and the people that were involved with the investigation. Instead of a real murder mystery, we are treated more to a look at the people that were affected by her death. There are news articles, witness statements, statements even from people who weren’t there but knew Alison. Claire runs into one of the people who was a suspect in Alison’s and she gets obsessed with wanting to find out what happened that night. What she comes away with is insight about her sister and man accused of committing the crime.

  • This was not the murder mystery I expected, but reading Alison’s journals and hearing accounts from people she came into contact was keeping me interested in this story! I did have to put this book down for a few days because I was bummed it was reading like a usual murder mystery but I’m glad I stuck it through.
  • I liked that we get to meet Clive, who was one of the last people to see Alison alive and we get to see his back story. Through him we get to know the island Saint X and the local lifestyle as we watch him and his best friend Edgar grow up. Clive hasn’t had an easy life, compared to Claire who grew up wealthy and privileged. But they both experience pain in their lives.
  • Alison is such an interesting character and we get to know her through her journals, videos, and personal accounts but in reality she was still so young and was finding herself.
  • I’m glad Claire got closure in a way – she had tried to avoid everything about Alison and her murder all her life, understandably since she was so young when it happened. What a traumatic event to go through and try to process. When she bumps into Clive out of the blue, it hashes up all the memories of what happened and the sister she thought she knew.
  • I think of all the characters in this book, Clive’s story was the strongest. His childhood, how he grew up on the island, how his mom abandoned him, meeting Alison and the night of the murder. Then there is the aftermath where he is living in NYC.
  • The ending was definitely unexpected! It’s sad how know one really knew the real Alison, she was still learning about herself too when she died.
  • There were times in the book I was slugging through and like I said, I even put it down for a few weeks. There are a lot of different accounts being told, sometimes randomly from a teacher of Alison’s or someone who barely knew her. The beginning is slow if you are expecting a usual murder mystery, and I seriously wanted to DNF this book but I didn’t. When we finally get to Clive’s story about what happened the night Alison died is when I was fully immersed in the story. This comes past the halfway mark!
  • Triggers: death

I almost gave up on this one but I’m glad I didn’t because in the end I did enjoy it. Don’t go into reading this thinking it’s a fast paced thriller murder mystery. It is more of a character study of Alison, the murder victim, and the people that are left behind with the aftermath of a traumatic event.

ARC Review | Foul is Fair

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Foul is Fair

Author: Hannah Capin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: February 18, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary Sexual Assault, Rape Culture, Revenge, MacBeth Retelling, Murder

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

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target. 

They picked the wrong girl. 

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly. 

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes


Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Golden boys beware, for real! Here we have a crew of four mean girls, but on one special night when Jade (Elle before the party, Jade is what she is after…) is celebrating her sweet sixteen they crash a St. Andrew’s prep party and their lives are changed forever.

After the party we are in Jade’s head as she plots and plans the demise of the golden boys of St. Andrew’s prep that hurt her. Jade’s got a kill list and she’s crossing out names: Duncan, Banks, Duffy, Conner, Porter, Malcom, Mack and one girl, Piper. It is time for revenge, and these girls don’t play, their claws are out and they are ready to draw blood.

  • I learned this was a MacBeth retelling but I knew as I was reading the line “foul is fair, fair is foul” that it felt familiar. Jade’s best friends, Mads, Summer and Jenny are like the witches in MacBeth. Jade refers to them as her coven. They’ve had things done to them when they were younger and these girls learned to fight back and rule the school. They refuse to be victims and they take what they want. They make things happen, they ruin lives if anyone tries to come for them. Not only was MacBeth all over this story, I got Heathers vibes too (which I grew up with and love) and it also made me think of the new tv series Euphoria (I’m kind of obsessed). It’s like Euphoria, in the sense of how the story flows from Jade’s thoughts, memories of the party, and other events that take place.
  • This girl squad is tight, they are honest, they are all in and got each other’s backs. But I also loved that the revenge wasn’t only for Jade, but for all the girls who came before her. I know it was kind of sick with the murders but damn was I cheering them on.
  • I loved how the “house of cards” fell and how Jade plotted the downfall. I was scared for her and scared of her – but she and her friends took those St. Andrews boys and one girl down like bosses! How are these high school kids so vicious? It helps they are all the rich kids and have power, fast cars, big houses and parents that are hardly around it seems. And lawyers, they have lawyers on hand! So important!
  • The story is a powerful message about rape culture. Here we have these golden boys who, in real life, would probably get away with this behavior for the rest of their lives. There was no remorse in these boys, they took what they wanted…but here comes Jade who comes to take what is hers, reclaim the power that they stole from her. Jade plays them like puppets on a string! I was like, damnnnnn girl…I think a lot of us females have had enough so we resonate with her rage. And Jade wouldn’t have have been able to do all of this without the support of her friends who believed her. They didn’t see the rape happen, but they believed her 100%.
  • This story is in your face, and unapologetic. The writing is poetic, but sometimes just a few words left an impact. Jade is not a sweet girl – she is hell bent on her plans of revenge. She gives no F’s, she is ruthless, she’s scheming and ready to spill blood. The story is violent, and at times bloody. Jade manipulates Mack to get what she wants.
  • I think the author did a great job showcasing each character, especially Jade and the boys at St. Andrew’s prep that was involved and their strength and weaknesses.
  • There are so many triggers in this books: sexual assault, rape, rape culture, attempted suicide, murder for the sake of revenge, violence.
  • Because this book is so dark, it may not appeal to some readers, especially because Jade comes off as a psychopath, she’s getting high off these murders! Also I enjoyed the poetic writing but I can see how some readers would get confused with the metaphorical writing.
  • The way Jade uses Mack to take down the golden boys was at times, for me, not believable. He fell for her so fast and was willing, just because she smiled a certain way, whispered the right words, kissed him a lot, now he’s about to murder his friends? She was doing a lot of emotional manipulation on him, but it didn’t seem like she needed to try very hard. I definitely had to suspend my belief there and go with it.
  • What happens next to Jade?! I need to know.

Some books capture the sign of the times so perfectly and this book does it well. It’s the rage we feel these days with the MeToo movement, unleashed through Jade and her coven. Women are fighting back the powerful golden boys that have ruled for what seems like eons and it’s about time.

If you can handle the triggers in this book, I think it’s an intense, bold story that dares you not to look away from the damage rape culture can cause. I believe this is the first book in a series or duology, I’m not quite sure, but I am VERY curious to see what happens next after the ending of this book. I think this book could have stood strongly as a standalone already, but maybe we get to see how society paints Jade when they find out what happened to her and what she’s done in retaliation. Things could get intense, I look forward to reading the sequel.

ARC Review | The Raven and The Dove

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Raven and The Dove

Author: Kaitlyn Davis

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: Unknown for digital copy \ 506 for hardcover (according to Amazon.com)

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Magic

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

A princess longing to be free…

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong… 

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart… 

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

Thank you to Kaitlyn Davis and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Princess Lyana loves her home, the crystal city of Sepharia, where the House of Peace resides. Her people are doves and she is vivacious, beautiful, mischievous and knows how to get her way. She is undeniably magnetic to everyone around her. The courtship trials is about to take place and she will be wed to prince from another House. She’s prepared for this all her life despite that deep longing inside her to explore the world beyond her home.

Rafe is a raven and the bastard brother to Prince Lysander (Xander) of the House of Whispers. Rafe is standing in for his brother to win the hand of a princess for their house, but something happens and the plan backfires on Rafe and Xander in the most unexpected way.

But besides this courtship drama something bigger is happening to the land below the Sea of Mists. There is a prophecy and a King who needs Lyana for his Queen to save the world.

  • The world building is creative and unique. Here we an aviary kind of people, humans with bird wings living above the clouds on floating islands. There are seven houses, who’s mythology is based on seven Gods giving them their unique wings and Godstones. It’s an intricate world and in this first book we learn more about their world instead of the one below on land. I was engrossed with learning about each house. In this world above the clouds, magic is forbidden, if you have it, you are punished. And then there is the issue about the dragons which is very mysterious, but I think we learn more about them in book two. For now, dragons are these creatures wreaking havoc but we don’t know why.
  • There are secrets and betrayals in this book and some were frustrating yet kept me hooked to the story. The secrets with the romance story arc were pretty predictable and I was fine with that but the betrayal…oh the betrayal at the end got me like…😱, oh my heart. I was squeamish, shocked, and trying to understand why this was happening.
  • Lyana and Rafe are electric together and seem meant to be….BUT…there are two other people in Lyana’s life that will have an impact on their relationship. This is the first book and it seems like a love triangle is happening…but I can’t say it is for certain. We shall see what happens in the next book.
  • I care about the characters! Lyana comes off as a princess who knows how to get her way, but when she does get her way and it doesn’t turn out as she had hoped, she bounces back. Rafe is someone I feel for – the feeling of not belonging anywhere, not being allowed to want things or have the things he wants. 💔 What was done to him…gah, I can’t even think of it. Xander (Lysander) and his feelings of inadequacy because of his deformity. He’s a good guy, and he loves his brother but holds resentment too. And Cassi…..ohhhhhhhh Cassi.
  • Cassi gets her own bullet point because although Lyana is a big part of the story, Cassi’s role as Lyana’s best friend seems innocent at first but we learn Cassi is not who she says she is. Another secret, another betrayal but maybe the biggest of them all so far. I was lulled into thinking this was a princess choosing a mate story, but no…it got dark. It took a twist I wasn’t expecting at all.
  • There are four perspectives we get in this book and each of them were done very well. I felt all their angst, hopes, dreams and fears. I get a good feel for these four characters through their story telling.
  • The courtship of Lyana is what this book is mostly about, including the forbidden love with Rafe. But we are fed morsels about a prophecy and someone who will save the world, but save it from what? We meet a vague, mysterious character Malek and I can’t tell if he is good or bad yet. He is a king apparently, on land or at this moment, on the ocean. So much more to learn about him and this world on land.
  • The dragons are also vague in this story but they seem like the enemy. They wreak havoc on land and have been seen above the Sea of Mists, so we don’t know much about them.
  • Because we are mostly immersed in the aviary world in the sky, we don’t get a real sense of the magic use on land. It is elemental magic but the history and use of it is something I hope the next book will expand on.
  • Once again, because this is loosely based on Tristan & Isolde, there is forbidden love and I hope to goodness it ends well. Can it end well? After that ending, I don’t know. 😰
  • Triggers: violence

I did not expect to read this book in one sitting, but I did. I was engrossed in this unique world of bird people who knew nothing of the land below. This first book is mostly a set up for the rest of the series so if the plot seems thin I think it’s because there is much more to be revealed and a land world to build on. If you like forbidden love, courtship trials, dragons, magic, secrets and betrayal, you may want to check this title out. I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to the next one!