ARC Review | More Than Maybe

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: More Than Maybe

Author: Erin Hahn

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: July 21, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Music

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

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her? 

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

More Than Maybe is a cute young adult romance novel and it has a playlist also, which makes it even more fun to read.

Luke Greenly, is popular because of his dad who used to be a part of a famous band back in the day. Now Luke and how twin Cullen have a podcast that has gained them some fans. But that’s not the only thing, Luke also secretly makes music and he has a big crush on a blogger named Vada.

Vada is a music review blogger and is trying to accomplish all her goals when Luke happens into her life. Music brings these two characters together and helps them stay together when things threaten to tear them apart.

  • I like the cutesy, quirky things Vada and Luke would do like send each other links to their favorite music. They both love music and it’s the way to their hearts, but yes…so cute to watch their crush, turn into friendship, then turn again into something more.
  • The music that is mentioned…at least some of them because a few of them I was like…??🤔 I’m too old for some of these newer bands maybe? But yes I was a freshman in high school when Nirvana made it big, so those bands they mentioned are definitely from my youth. And Colorblind by Counting Crows…ahhh memories! Heartaching, heartbreaking memories and goosebumps. So it was that way this book pulled on my heart strings at times.
  • I really enjoyed their growing friendship while they crushed on each other. They were becoming best friends and music tied them together, which is a beautiful thing. It’s cute how Luke is so crazy about Vada.
  • When Luke describes what love is like…I was like…awwwwww. 😍
  • I had a hard time connecting to the characters and I don’t know why. It took me awhile to get into the story – they did grow on me eventually when Luke and Vada started spending so much time together.
  • It’s a slow burn, maybe too slow at times for me but perfect for people who like a easy going romance story like this. There isn’t much angst (I need some angst haha), and the drama in the end is totally fixable and predictable but again, very grand sweet gesture on Luke’s part.
  • Triggers: active shooter drill – it was an “oh wow moment” to me that I was not expecting but such a real thing kids face today.

Overall, this was a cute read and would be perfect for music lovers out there! The mentions of some songs brought back so many feelings and memories for me but in a good way, it made me feel young again. 😅 If you like a slow burn romance between two teens who love music, then you will definitely enjoy this one.

ARC Review | Mayhem

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Mayhem

Author: Estelle Laure

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 304

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Categories: Paranormal, Young Adult

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

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

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

My Reactions:

My Attention: what is this magic water? 🤔

World Building: Late 80’s California coast inspired – think…Lost Boys. The magic system? Vague.

Writing Style: lyrical

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥

Crazy in Love: insta-Love

Creativity: magic water gives drinker powers (at times confusing)

Mood: dark 🌑 and a little nostalgic

Triggers: domestic abuse, drug use, death, killing, toxic relationship

My Takeaway: there is magic in the water and it can make you see things

  • The cover and title. Love it.
  • I liked the whole Santa Maria, California beach 80’s vibe in this book. You can definitely tell it is inspired by The Lost Boys. I felt some nostalgia and I haven’t watched that movie in awhile so I can’t compare it side by side, but it definitely got the vibe right.
  • Roxy and Mayhem’s relationship is complex. They confront many issues like suicide, the family’s past, domestic abuse and drug addiction. I’m glad that Mayhem and Roxy come to terms with their “roots” and their family history. Roxy had a lot of secrets she kept from Mayhem but she was drowning in a lot of her own pain and misery.
  • This whole story intrigued me because it’s starts off as an abuse story and then…things just get twisted in a strange way that at times worked and then a lot of times that didn’t.
  • This magical, addictive “water” that was being described in the story was aggravating me a little because of how vague it was. It could make the drinker see who was good and evil and that made the Brayburn bloodline powerful. But at times I was almost hoping this was The Lost Boys remake and vampires were gonna jump out somewhere – that didn’t happen.
  • They use this magic power basically at the end to stop a serial killer. But there is a lot going on already with Roxy and Mayhem, this killer is just not a focus of the book or it didn’t seem urgent enough to me until the second half of the book.
  • The insta-love between Jason and Mayhem felt unnecessary. He became her “great love” in a span of days!

Without the magic elements of this book, I found Mayhem’s story gripping as she and her mother try to start over their lives in Santa Maria. The magic water introduction felt a bit weak to me and confusing but I did like the nostalgia of The Lost Boys. Mayhem standing up to her abuser and learning about her family and the magic they have is a powerful message that everyone can learn from.

ARC Review | A Sweet Mess

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Sweet Mess

Author: Jayci Lee

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Foodie, Adult

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

Bake a chance on love. 

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see her gorgeous Korean unicorn again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

My Sweet Mess is a foodie romance – meaning if you like romance and stories with cooking in it, especially baked goods, then this will be up your alley.

Aubrey is a pastry chef and owns a small bakery in a very small town. A one-night stand with Landon, a well known food critic (except not known to Aubrey), ruins her business when he does an article on her bakery.

To make amends Landon has a plan. Now it’s strictly business between them but their attraction between them is undeniable and gets in the way.

  • Food! I love a romance story with food in it, most especially when it centers around baked goods – since that is my weakness. So I loved all the cooking references.
  • It’s a light-hearted romance and a very quick read. The story comes with its share of timely drama and resolves easily into a happy ever after. It’s a cute ending.
  • I like that it’s main characters are Asian because it’s nice to see more diversity in the romance genre.
  • The story is very predictable. One-night stand, woman’s life is ruined by a man, man comes into save her business, attraction is still there, conflict, resolution – HEA. So…it’s got all the elements but nothing really stood out to make it wow me.
  • I didn’t connect to the characters. Their attraction happens in an instant, which is fine, but when things become a problem and they are back together, things almost fall easily into place. There is no real tension between them, I think I wanted more tension.
  • And this might be the fault of it being a digital arc but some paragraphs were running into each other and I would get thrown off wondering if it was supposed to be a new chapter. So that might just be formatting because it being a digital copy.

Overall, this was a light hearted romance novel with love of food present throughout the story. For me I wish I could connect to the characters more but ff you like a love story about food and falling in love then you will enjoy this one.

Burn Our Bodies Down | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Burn Our Bodies Down

Author: Rory Power

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery

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

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

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

My Reactions:

My Attention: the mysteriousness of the story pulled me along but I got frustrated at some points

World Building: story takes place on a farm

Writing Style: definitely felt all of Margot’s despair, distrust, and her neglect

Bringing the Heat: it brings literal HEAT, and I mean from a fire 😟

Crazy in Love: nope none

Creativity: okay the truth that is revealed in this story is creative and…strange

Mood: unsettled

Triggers: toxic family relationship, death

My Takeaway: I think I’m still processing this – but my takeaway? Family secrets suck. 🤷🏻‍♀️ And the truth needs to come out before healing can take place.

  • This story was different and I didn’t expect the direction it was taking at all. There is an interesting twist in the story that surprised me. The author did such a great job really keeping me guessing until the end.
  • It definitely had a creepy factor to the story and it kept me on my toes trying to guess what was going on. Grandma was creepy but the horror emerges at the ending of the story. It was more like a mystery/thriller than horror.
  • Margot is a complicated character. She’s a teenager that has been absolutely neglected by her mother. So when Margot leaves to find out more about her “family”, she realizes there are so many secrets to uncover about her mom’s past. Margot makes many hard decisions in the end, but she had to – the secrets were getting out of hand.
  • The first half of the book holds all the mystery and it was slow going. I kept wondering what could be happening on this farm? Why is the community so secretive about the Nielsen family? I had many questions. It was frustrating because no one would talk and I felt like the story wasn’t getting anywhere.
  • Margot’s grandmother…she made me go hmmm all throughout the book!

This story explores the dysfunctional family and secrets that can tear a family apart. I enjoyed it because it was different, strange and the truth that was revealed was horrifying. But I also thought it was just okay and maybe I spent more time trying to make sense of some things that happened in the story? I have mixed feelings about this one but I think many people who enjoy a young adult thriller will enjoy it.

ARC Review | Cinderella is Dead

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Cinderella Is Dead

Author: Kalynn Bayron

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling

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

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

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

Now this is an imaginative and creative retelling of the infamous Cinderella story. Cinderella is Dead is a big twist on the happily ever after story we’ve been fed since Disney created the Cinderella movie. Poor Cinderella loses her father, is raised by her wicked stepmother, meets a fairy godmother, a Prince and all is well in the kingdom.

Not so in this retelling. Prince Charming has left a legacy of oppression against women in the kingdom of Mersailles. Girls are paired up to be married to eligible men (doesn’t matter their age) and if they are abused, people don’t blink an eye. Everyone think it’s a man’s right to treat women however they want, but Sophia is not having it. Plus, she wants to be with another girl, and that’s not allowed in Mersailles so she flees. Sophia uncovers the horrible truth about Prince Charming and Mersailles, but can she help turn the tide and take down the king?

  • Talk about a twist! I love the way the Cinderella story is upended in this retelling. By the way, I do love the happily ever after Cinderella story I grew up with but this particular take is definitely reflective of our women empowerment times today. The girls in Mersailles have this legacy – to “be happy” and in love like the original Cinderella story, they have to follow the rules set out by King Manford. But it’s all a lie. Women are being abused, killed, mistreated and no one can do a thing about it – until Sophia tries.
  • Sophia knows she likes girls, and she tries to flee Mersailles the night of her pairing, where she is supposed to find her future husband. Sophia is a rebel and tries her best to uncover the truth about Mersailles and their king.
  • There is a lot of diversity in this book, which is always nice. We have the f/f relationships going on and Sophia is a queer black girl. And let me say, it was awesome to see the girls in this book take this Cinderella story, expose it for what it is (a lie) and then take down the king. DO IT. They did. Haha.
  • The fairy godmother’s role in this story is very interesting. When she tells the story of the true Cinderella it’s an eye opening tale. But there are ore surprises in store.
  • I thought Sophia was so in love with Erin at first, to the point she begged her to run away with her. That ends quick in the beginning. Eventually something grows between Sophia and Constance but it may seem like insta-lust right after things with Erin have ended. Anyway it just made me go..🤔. The friendship between Sophia and Constance is strong though, so that was a plus.
  • I did find parts of the book that lagged, especially during the explanations and the back story of the real Cinderella. Also I read an e-arc that was just formatted in a way that made reading not enjoyable. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So that is not something against the book at all.
  • Triggers: violence, abuse

I really enjoyed this dark retelling of Cinderella! The concept is creative and entertaining. The message is empowering. Not everyone wants Cinderella’s life and I’m glad this book tells girls they have plenty of other options out there. Everyone’s personal happily ever after is going to be different and that’s perfectly fine.

ARC Review | The Shadow Wand (The Black Witch, #3)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Shadow Wand (The Black Witch, #3)

Author: Laurie Frost

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 608

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

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

Elloren Gardner hides the most powerful secret in all Erthia—she is the Black Witch of Prophecy, and destined to triumph…or be used as the ultimate weapon of destruction.

Separated from everyone she loves, isolated and hunted, Elloren must turn to the last person she can trust—her fastmate, Commander Lukas Grey. With the Mage forces of Gardneria poised to conquer all of Erthia, Elloren has no choice but to ally with Lukas and combine their power to keep herself out of the hands of Gardnerian leader Marcus Vogel…the holder of the all-consuming Shadow Wand.

With just weeks to train to become a warrior, and no control over her magic, Elloren finds unexpected allies among those under orders to kill her. It’s time to step up. To fight back. And to forge onward through the most devastating loss yet. 

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

My Reactions:

My Attention: wavered sometimes (mostly in the first half)

World Building: epic world building but sometimes too much going on

Writing Style: pacing was a bit off

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 – was not expecting this…😬

Crazy in Love: …love triangle…😣

Creativity: love the world of The Black Witch

Mood: mixed feelings

Triggers: sexual harassment, violence

My Takeaway: I thought this was the last book of the series…and I think it should’ve been.

  • Elloren finding her courage – but damn it took so much and so long for her to do it. We are in book three girl, you gotta unleash that power and learn to control it! Be the Black Witch already!
  • Lukas Grey is so knowledgeable and such a leader, sometimes I wish he was the Black Witch 😅. He is battle honed, politically savvy, smart and just an all around leader. I liked getting to know him better in this book.
  • Epic world building is still there and you just get a sense this world the author built is so vast.
  • There is so much action in the last third of the book, it really picks up pace and then it’s a irritating cliffhanger!
  • The beginning of this book could have been whittled down some. It took me awhile to get into the story. I wanted things to be tied up in this one but I felt like it added more things, new names, and just too much.
  • All I wanted was for Elloren to just become the Black Witch stop saying she is and just BE. Let’s get on with taking down Vogel and freeing all the people! She annoyed me because this is book three.
  • There has always been a love triangle and okay I get the appeal of Lukas and Elloren, their affinity lines match, and like I said, he’s a leader, he’s super smart/knowledgable, sexy and lethal. He is someone you want at your back or side…but she loves/loved Yvan who is dead, supposedly. So her getting together with Lukas in this book chaffed at me because I just KNEW something would happen to mess them up as well. How many books are in this series?…because I can’t take this swinging back and forth on who she loves and who’s alive or dead. Maybe we just need her to love herself and wield that power to help all these oppressed people like she’s supposed to. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Basically this installment is about Elloren embracing her power instead of fearing it. She learns to hone fighting skills so she isn’t helpless but honestly, this all takes place in the second half of the book! Elloren and Lukas definitely have an attraction and I am team Yvan but I definitely see Lukas’ appeal – the two of them smolder around each other (more than once in this book). And then there is that cliffhanger which made me groan out loud haha, because as much as I love this series, I don’t want it to drag on either. This so far is my least favorite book of the series but I hope the next gets us to the major battle and ties up loose ends.

ARC Review | The Mall

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Mall

Author: Megan McCafferty

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

Categories: 90’s Nostalgia, Young Adult, Romance

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

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall. 

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

Talk about taking me back to the 90’s and basically my childhood! This story which is mostly set in a mall, is all nostalgia and fun. Cassie Worthy, is actually dealing with a few things in her life like breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, not having a place to work and then dealing with her parents divorce. But she finds herself a new job and getting through this disastrous summer by going on a treasure hunt. A treasure hunt in a mall you say? This story is a fun homage to “the mall”, which was our social hub once upon a time, a long, long time ago…in the 1990’s.

  • The cover and it’s neon pink color just captures the feel of the book. Love it.
  • I may be a little biased, but I was a pre-teen/teen in the 90’s! So everything in this book, like the Sam Goody music store 😂 (cassette tapes and cd’s – wow), the food court, ALL of it just took me down memory lane. The mall was the place to be!
  • I really enjoyed the characters like: Drea Bellarosa, Cassie’s not-so-new summer friend, is pretty awesome. She pops off the page, I could see her in her fashions and hear her honking laugh. They made unlikely friends but they were good for each other. “Sam Goody”, who’s name we don’t know until the end was so reminiscent of my love of all things music back in the 90’s and discovering bands – etc. Love that Cassie had a summer fling with him and Gia’s mom was fantastic too, she had such personality!
  • The treasure hunt in the book is such an 80’s/90’s adventure – like the movie Goonies. But it added a fun element to the story, and it helped Cassie concentrate on something other than her life seeming to fall apart. It brought Cassie and Drea close together and I’m glad Cassie earned a friend through it all.
  • Cassie transforms during the summer with Drea’s friendship, the treasure hunt and hooking up with boys. I’m glad she found her backbone when it came to her douche of an ex-boyfriend Troy and the plan. Cassie’s a smart girl and was definitely not someone who was going to sit back and take Troy’s treatment of her, but from a lot of nudging from Drea, she learned to love her true self.
  • This is a really light-hearted quick read – at times I thought maybe too light hearted but I think the focus on Cassie and Drea’s friendship was the right call. I was more interested in their relationship than Cassie finding a new boy to be a rebound. I like that though she had all these changes during the summer, it never changed her plans for college and her future.

The Mall is a nostalgia filled read for us who grew up in the 90’s. I think for readers today who are fascinated with that decade, this book would definitely give them an insight to our days gravitating to the mall. The book is a fun, quick read and will make the perfect summer read. I could definitely see this as a tv show and I’d totally watch it.

ARC Review | In the Dark with the Duke

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: In the Dark with the Duke (Lost Lords of London, #2)

Author: Christi Caldwell

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 365

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

Categories: Historical Romance

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

Eight years ago, Lady Lila March retreated to the safe shadows of her family’s estate after a devastating tragedy. Weary of being a whisper of her former self, she is determined to brave the dangers of the outside world again. No man is better equipped to train her in the art of defense than the Savage Gentleman, East London’s undefeated street fighter.

Hugh Savage reigns as king—of the underworld. Physically invulnerable, emotionally battered, he has his reasons for bare-knuckle brawling. Though Hugh longs to break free of the ring and leave behind the brutal world of violence, he’s intrigued by the challenge Lady Lila poses. A mysterious lady of the peerage willfully descending into the dangerous rookeries? That bespeaks a woman with secrets of her own.

As their unconventional pact progresses, Hugh comes to admire the resolve in Lila’s heart. And beneath his hard surface, she sees a tenderness that touches her to the quick. They’ll soon discover how much they need each other—to face their pasts together, and to fight for a future they deserve.

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

My Reactions:

My Attention: Engaged

World Building: early 1800’s London and I learned about Peterloo (wasn’t aware this happened!)

Writing Style: classic Christi Caldwell

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥 – slow burn and there’s only one major scene but it did it’s job!

Crazy in Love: they get to know each other a lot before they declare their love for one another

Creativity: loved that I learned something new, plus I love this lost lords trope

Mood: I’m in the mood for romance😍 but this book was an emotional one. 😟

Triggers: fighting, violence

My Takeaway: Lady Lila fights the demons of her past so she can feel strong and move on with her present. 💪🏾

  • The history of Peterloo was an eye opener and it was horrific. I liked that this book had characters that experienced what happened on that day on both sides of the massacre.
  • Lady Lila is a fighter! She comes off as afraid and fearful of life, because of her past with Peterloo. I thought her story was emotional and heartbreaking.
  • This story is about violence, fighting back against fear, survival instincts, forgiveness and love.
  • Both Lila and Hugh are broken people with so much to gain in knowing and loving each other. I liked how their attraction grew as their stories are linked unknowingly. They have challenges trusting one another and forgiving themselves about things they couldn’t control but seeing them come together was gratifying.
  • This book can be read as a standalone but it does mention characters from another series I love that Christi Caldwell wrote before the Lost Lords of London.
  • Hugh’s “lost lord” story didn’t really come about until the end. One day he’s a brawler teaching Lady Lila survival skills and next he’s a rich duke but the story doesn’t delve into that part of it in depth. For the most part of the story it’s Hugh Savage the brawler or partner of an arena where fighting takes place, not Hugh Savage the duke.
  • Annalee is a side character we barely see but she’s mentioned a few times and was with Lila at Peterloo. Is Annalee going to have her own story, because I want that story!

This story is about strength, perseverance, and forgiveness. Both Lila and Hugh are trying to change things about their lives but first they have to deal with their pasts. I’m enjoying this Lost Lords of London series so far, it’s only getting better. I hope to read more of the lost lords and hope we get more emotional stories like this one.

ARC Review | Where There Be Humans

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Where There Be Humans

Author: Rebekah L. Purdy

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 1488 KB (digital file size)

Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

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

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Archer is arguably the best warrior-in-training Gob Hollow has ever seen. Yet everyone—except her best friend she suddenly has other feelings for—looks down on her because she’s only half goblin, with no idea what the other half is. She’s always suspected it might be human.

But humans, she’s been told, aren’t real. They’re only creatures of myth.

When the prince of their kingdom is taken for ransom, it’s Ivy’s big chance to prove her worth. And when she learns his captors are human, the rescue mission becomes personal. The stories were clearly wrong, and now she has a chance to find the truth about her lineage, as well. If she survives…

With a small band of warriors at her command, including her best friend turned crush that’s getting harder to hide, Ivy sets out to find the prince and her human family. But the answers lie within secrets and conspiracies that run far deeper than she ever imagined.

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

My Reactions:

Had My Attention: for the most part

World Building: fairly solid on the goblin world, but some holes with the human being fairy tales bit 🤔

Writing Style: Easy to follow, quick read 🙂, more young teen than young adult

Bringing the Heat: a sweet kiss 🔥

Crazy in LOVE: 💚💚 (mild, best-friend crush)

Creativity: Goblins 👍🏼

Mood: adventurous

Triggers: mild violence

My Takeaway: half goblin girl shows her goblin family and friends that she’s better than the boys and worthy

  • Goblin stories always entertain me because not a lot of books are written about them. They are not as gorgeous as their fae or elf counterparts so I like how we have a handsome goblin prince with razor sharp teeth and green skin in this book.
  • Ivy can hold her own against the bullies and she trains with the guys so that’s always fun to see a girl who can fight.
  • I thought her crush on her best friend Pudge is cute and sweet. Their relationship is solid, not much challenges there except how they both don’t know how the other feels.
  • Love the book cover!
  • The twist with Ivy and Dorian (goblin prince) – ha! Didn’t see that coming and it was a bit awkward but it worked out in the end.
  • It’s a quick read and though Ivy encounters some challenges, she meets them pretty easily. Personally I wanted more, even the betrayal felt a bit weak, it felt like a light fantasy – which is fine for some. For me, I just wanted more.

I like stories about goblins because they have a rich culture even though they don’t seem the most glamorous of creatures. This story held my attention for the most part with a goblin kingdom, adventure, a girl trying to prove herself and a happy ending.

ARC Review | Of the Blood

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Title: Of the Blood (Heir of Blood and Fire, #1)

Author: Cameo Renae

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: ?

Publication Date: May 14, 2020

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

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

One malicious prince. Two rival kingdoms. And an innocent girl caught in the crossfire.

Raised in a war-ravaged continent, temptation comes to Calla Caldwell in the form of a charming and mysterious stranger. Giving in to his intimate seduction, her world is forever changed by a single bite.

Calla quickly learns the handsome stranger is vampire prince, Trystan Vladu. His bite was an attempt to claim and save her from a plot of vengeance generations in the making. However, the claws of that ancient vendetta are scraping ever closer.
Thrust into a new nightmare by the Prince of the corrupt kingdom of Morbeth, Calla is captured, tortured, and starved in the dank confines of his dungeon. While in captivity, she takes part in a séance with a witch of light where she contacts a departed relative—a Princess of Incendia—who bequeaths a gift to Calla that will tip the scales of good and evil . . . if she can learn to harness it.

With a dark tapestry of secrets, lies, and murder unraveling around her, Calla must learn to embrace the power roiling through her veins, or be snuffed out by the strangling fist of a malevolent darkness. 

Thank you to Victory Editing and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Vampires, damphyrs, witches and even a pirate! This book pretty much had it all. Calla is bitten by a vampire prince and that leads her on a journey filled with danger and discovery.

  • I like the people Calla meets along the way like Kylan, Melaina and Markus. I thought these side characters brought a lot to the storyline because we learn a lot about vampires and the world they live in through their explanations to Calla.
  • The world building is interesting and I was curious about these different kingdoms of Morbeth and Incendia. We have vampires, witches, elementals, and even aquarians. Calla spends most of her time though with evil Prince Roehl in Morbeth but she does have some adventures after escaping Morbeth.
  • The cover of the book was what made me request this book, I like it a lot!
  • I like fast paced books that hit you with action in the first few pages but this book did that way too fast for me. One moment Calla is at a party, then she’s bitten by a vampire prince, Trystan, who was drawn to her because he felt a connection to her name on paper. Not going to lie, that made me wary of the story. I just didn’t believe it! 🤦🏻‍♀️ It’s too much of a major insta-connection, I won’t say insta-love because she meets other guys along the way.
  • Calla is made a vampire super quick but Trystan is barely in the book and she’s yet to complete a blood bond with him. But evil Prince Roehl, also wants her to have a blood bond with him. YET…when she finally escapes Roehl and hops aboard a pirate ship -she falls in lust with Sebastian Calloway. Go Calla…but I wasn’t feeling any of it. Apparently every man wants her because she’s special – she’s an elemental vampire royal but I wasn’t connecting to her at all. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • This reads like a story for teens but it does have heated moments between Calla and some of the men she meets along the way.

This story wasn’t for me only because I felt no connection to Calla. I think the world building is great because it had a variety of supernaturals like witches, vampires, elementals and aquarians. I’m sure the love story will develop more in the next book and maybe Trystan will get more of a spotlight because I’m assuming she ends up bonding with him sometime down the series, at least he’d be my first choice for Calla. I’m not sure if I will continue with the series only but though it didn’t work out for me, I think this will book will appeal to many fantasy fans.