Mini Reviews } The Tainted | The Exiled | Dominion of Ash Series by. Frost Kay

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Title: The Tainted (Dominion of Ash, Book 1)

Author: Frost Kay

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages:292

Categories: Dystopian, Urban Fantasy, YA

I never should’ve taken the dare.

In a destroyed world plagued with pestilence, assassins, thieves, and the Tainted–mutated fae-like humans with a penchant for abduction–nothing is easy. It’s brutal, deadly, and most often, short. 

My father has three rules to survive the apocalypse; keep your head down, work hard, and never leave the safety of Harbor. Following his rules isn’t as easy as it seems–especially when tricked into breaking them. 

Blackmailed into attending at party outside of the walls didn’t seem so bad–until all hell broke loose and I was left in the clutches of a dragon lord. I thought I knew who my enemies were: starvation, infection, and the Tainted.  

I was wrong. That’s why I never saw it coming.

The death. The lies. The complete betrayal.

No one said love wouldn’t destroy you.

The Dominion of Ash series takes on a dystopian, urban fantasy theme. Earth has been ravaged bay a virus that has mutated the DNA of humans. Hazel lives in a compound where no one has been “tainted” by the virus but outside of a world is a one where many Tainted consider their mutation a gift. So there is a VERY clear divide between the two human species. We follow Hazel who is thrown, literally, into the world of the tainted and it’s frightening. She fights for her survival as she Noah who is the leader of the tainted compound she is being held at.

I like the world building and the idea of virus mutating our DNA, I mean anything is possible! She comes across animals who are trained as well. There is a lot of action as Hazel is trying to survive the desert and trying to get back home. Hazel is a sheltered girl who gets a big wake up call when she is left to die.

A lone girl in a dangerous world shows how women are prey for predators and she comes across a few from both the Untouched she lives with and the Tainted as well. The books in this series are short, so it is a very quick read, and I found Hazel’s journey from sheltered girl to meeting a whole community of Tainted interesting because she has to self-analyze her prejudices and yet survive.

There are a bunch of triggers in this book: sexual assault and violence being the main ones.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Title: The Exiled (Dominion of Ash, Book #2)

Author: Frost Kay

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 217

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Dystopia, YA/NA

She got caught. Again. 

After a disastrous second escape attempt, Hazel finds herself blood indebted to her savior – Noah – but he’s no saint. 

Desperate to repay her debt, she begrudgingly offers her skills as payment if she’s allowed to visit home one last time. Her wish is granted but at a steep cost. What is supposed to be a saving grace turns out to be a nightmare.

The monsters are right. Ignorance means death and blood ties are worthless.

Be careful what you wish for.

Okay so I read these two books in one night because like I said, they are SO short…this one being only 217 pages!

Hazel is with the Tainted and she is basically wanting to die than live with them. I’ll say one thing about her – she’s a fighter. Frustratingly so…to the point of harming herself. Hazel learns more about the tainted that have gone out of their way to keep her alive but her main goal is to escape and go back home to her family. She fights, she schemes, she get’s under Noah’s skin and finally – finally we get to see more of the attraction between them, because we know it’s gonna be good between them, right?

My favorite part of this series so far is watching Hazel have more women figures in her life, like Noah’s abuela (grandmother), she is awesome. Hazel hasn’t had a mother and was raised by men so this girl really needs a female figure in her life. When Hazel finally gets her wish and leaves the compound she finds out more hard lessons back out in the wilderness and about a new threat and new war about to start between the Untouched and Tainted. Who’s side will she be on? This one ended in a major cliffhanger and I can’t believe I have to wait to see what happens. 😫

More triggers in this one: assault, violence, self harm

Book Review | Emergency Contact

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Emergency Contact

Author: Mary H.K. Choi

Format: Paperback (owned)

Pages: 391

Categories: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Young Adult, Romance

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. 

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Emergency Contact is the first book from Mary H.K. Choi. I read Permanent Record first and then saw Emergency Contact on sale and decided to buy it. Don’t be fooled by this gorgeous pink and gold cover, this story gets deep into issues I wasn’t expecting.

Penny is an antisocial, snarky, judgmental freshman in college but underneath she’s got issues. She was raised in a single parent home, with a mom who is very popular in town – which Penny despises.

Sam has a past too, with an alcoholic mom who didn’t do much mothering. He’s barely making ends me, struggling to take college classes and survive while dealing with ex-girlfriend drama.

Penny and Sam become each other’s Emergency Contact in this coming of age story.

  • The cover is so pretty but the story itself has more going on beneath the surface.
  • Penny is an interesting character and even can be described as “unlikable” – but I think that’s what I liked about her! She’s snarky, judgmental about others and herself, and antisocial. But she also judges herself due to life experiences – a few of them traumatic. Penny doesn’t even feel like there is anything about her to like and that made me sad. I LOVE that she had an emergency pack on her at all times! And she is passionate about writing. When she gets into college and lives with a roommate, we see her open up little by little – she’s awkward and fakes it sometimes but that’s real.
  • Sam, on the other hand, I just wanted to reach in the book and help him out. He cries a lot, but it’s because he’s not in good shape, he had a horrible childhood, he’s addicted to his ex-girlfriend and maybe he’s an alcoholic too though he’s quit since he quit her. Sam is barely making it on his own but he doesn’t give up, because he finally is texting someone, his emergency contact, Penny. Sam has panic attacks, he’s depressed, he’s stressed but texting Penny is a lifeline for him.
  • Like her other book, Permanent Record, anxiety is present in Emergency Contact. We see Sam go through a panic attack to the point he thinks he is dying. I love that the author brings up anxiety in young people, especially in college aged students because they are adults but learning how to adult. And for kids like Sam who totally get off track and try to get back on…it’s hard.
  • Penny and Sam’s relationship is a slow burn romance. Clearly she’s crushing over him badly, but he has an ex-girlfriend that he’s trying to cut off ties with so they keep it safe with the texting friendship. I liked seeing how their relationship develops in a safe space and then finally taking the next step at the end.
  • Triggers: Rape, anxiety, panic attacks, toxic relationships, depression
  • I wish Sam could have reached out to Jude more since they are or was, semi-related. But I get it, that’s a complicated relationship too but I definitely felt for Jude. By the end of the book, I kind of want to know more of Jude’s story and hope she gets her own book.
  • The mom/daughter relationship really hit me in this book. Penny comes off like a brat to her mom, but it goes way back for Penny, she has abandonment issues! Mallory of all people gives her insight into moms and the way they act. I’m a mom now, my daughter is only three but that moment Celeste (Penny’s mom) says she was dreading the day her daughter would hate her…😞. Ugh, my fear.

I love this book because I think it’s characters and situations are so real and messy. I felt like I knew these people, and in my life yes I’ve known people just like them in identical situations! It shines a light on the anxiety those eighteen and over can feel as they become “adults” but still need help from their parents and for those who have no help? 😞 It’s a hard road. On top of that dealing with family problems, self-esteem issues, trauma and everything else? We ALL need an emergency contact. I’m so glad Penny and Sam had each other, in their safe spaces on their phones, even if it was just to say hi or just nonsense. Just knowing someone is there on the other side willing to respond sometimes feels like everything at that moment. I’m definitely glad I bought this one.

Book Review | Serpent & Dove

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 519

Categories: Witches, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult/New Adult

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

I heard great things about this book but wow when it actually meets expectations, it’s a glorious feeling.

I started this book at 8pm and finished right before midnight. 😱

Oh the feels! Oh my heart. It was everything I wanted in a book.

Louise le Blanc, or Lou, is a witch hiding from her coven, and now she is living as a thief in Cesarine. Not only does Lou need to hide from her coven, she needs to stay far away from witch hunters called Chasseurs. Chasseurs are devout men of the church, and their main goal is to eradicate witches from this world. Lou runs into Reid and the rest is history.

Lou is so funny, sassy, brave, charming and so full of life. I love her! She has a foul mouth, curses a lot, sings bawdy songs 🤣 but she’s also compassionate. Then there is Reid who is so devout and chivalrous, he doesn’t even swear, and he is the captain of the Chasseurs. It’s a fun enemies to lovers romance relationship. When these two are together it’s just so funny how they get under each other’s skin. I love seeing them drive one another crazy! But when they finally open themselves to one another…

And I categorized this book as new adult…because there is definitely a sex scene and it’s beautiful. 😍😅

But that’s not the only love that gave me the feels in this book, Lou and her best-friend Coco, was friendship goals. These two together are such badass females, but so full of heart! Coco is Lou’s ride or die, sister from another mister, partner in crime, best friend and I LOVE them together. There is a celebration of female, in this book and the Chasseurs are so hellbent on thinking women and witches are evil, or that women had to be chaste and pure.

And the rest of the cast, was amazing as well. There are villains, magic, secrets, betrayals, broken hearts and mended ones too. This story made me laugh, it made me feel giddy and I think I even teared up at some parts. This world of witches and chasseurs just sucked me in, it took me on such an enjoyable, exciting and emotional reading journey. My heart was full at the end!

Then the ending was like a mic drop which made me silently cackle in delight (because everyone was asleep in the house!). YES, please give me more COCO in book two. I can’t wait to meet her coven! I went to sleep SMILING. That’s how good this book made me feel. It was fun in an unexpected way.

It’s one of my favorite reads this year and I have a feeling it’s a book I’ll be rereading a bunch before the sequel comes out next year.

Book Review | Broken Knight

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Broken Knight

Author: L.J. Shen

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 367

Categories: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance, Drug Abuse, Sexual Situations

Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.

Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.
Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Rugged.
Popular.
Liar.

This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.

But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.

Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy. 

Broken Knight is the second book in the All Saints High series by L.J. Shen was actually one I was looking forward to because of Luna. When Luna appeared in book one, Pretty Reckless, I was fascinated with her because she’s mute.

And this book started off cute with childhood memories of Knight Cole and Luna Rexroth and I was feeling all soft about them and my heart was saying “awww“, you know? They are the meant-to-be type of love, come on, you know those. So things looked promising. Then it would go back into present day and I was like…ugh….

It is a new adult novel, because though Knight and his friends are in high school, they live pretty fast when it comes to sex and girls. Knight is the quarterback on the high school football team, the girls love him, but he loves Luna – except…she doesn’t know it since he has girls hanging around him all the time. Luna is a year older than Knight and about to start college, and she’s always loved Knight, but knows about his reputation. She is a selective mute due to some severe anxiety and traumatic experiences in her childhood. She and Knight have been best friends since…forever. So why can’t they figure out how to get together?

Drama. Angst. Lots and lots of it.

Usually, I’m ready for the broken characters from this author, she’s known for them in her books. But I think this book was angst overload. Or am I just too old for this book, or series because these are high school “kids”. I think at one point in my life, I would have gobbled this book up – but I’m in a stage of being over BS. 😂 If the point of the book was the message that LIFE IS SHORT…then damn it, Luna and Knight could have figured out how to be honest with each other since day one, I think.

They both love each other, but they have that back and forth relationship, you know what I’m talking about? They miscommunicate, then Knight takes his revenge on Luna, then Luna does something because she assumes (but do I blame her for thinking Knight is a sleeping around? Hell no.) The characters are young, coming of age and dealing with a lot of things outside of each other. Anyway for two people who are the supposedly the best of friends and communicate without words so well…it was frustrating to see them not be on the same page when it came to one another.

I didn’t read Knight’s parents’ story which is Ruckus. But I felt like I caught up on it by reading the book. That part of the story was sad, but even then I didn’t even shed a tear because the back and forth with Knight and Luna was too much for me. I read past midnight and realized, damn, the story had 10% to go and you know what? I shut my fire tablet down. I was done for the night…I didn’t want more back and forth, I was tired. Usually with 10% to go, I power through…not with this one.

I picked it up the next day and yeah…the ending was bittersweet with a happily ever after but I didn’t feel happy. I’m glad it came to an end. Glad Luna and Knight figured things out – they got the sex figured out for sure. It did make me wonder what will happen with Dixie, Knight’s real mom…her story was sad and the way Knight treated her at times made me want to slap him. I wanted to slap a lot of people in this book. 🤣

If you are a fan of characters that are broken, hot messes (I will admit that guy on the book cover is pretty hot 🤷🏻‍♀️)…with tons of angst, you will definitely like this book. For me it was just okay, I may read Vaughn’s story – it’s kinda interesting already, but I have no interest in Hunter’s story haha. We shall see, this is probably a mood read kind of thing for me, so that will probably determine if I continue the series.

ARC Review | The Weaver

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Weaver

Author: Heather Kindt

Format: eBook (The Parliament House)

Pages: 246

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

Categories: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance

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


Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.


Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.


Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.
THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is an NA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

Thank you to The Parliament House for giving me an opportunity to read and review The Weaver.

First off, the cover is so gorgeous. I wanted to read this book because of the cover alone. But once I started The Weaver, I could not stop. Its premise is very creative.

It starts off with what seems like a romance story between Laney and her childhood best friend, Jason. He’s a good-looking jock that all the girls want to date but he already has a girlfriend. Laney is more of an introvert and loves to write. They couldn’t be more different but they’ve known each other for so long, naturally there are some feelings between them. Laney has been working on one story in particular and the story is set in the 1700’s, in colonial America.

But one day the villain from her book appears in the her world and Laney doesn’t know what to think. Then another character shows up and Laney thinks she’s losing it. How can her characters come to life? She finds out she is a Weaver, someone who has the power to create stories and make characters come to life. When the villain starts making threats towards her and the people she cares about, she starts to take things much more seriously.

I love the creativity of this story. The author did a really good job at explaining how the powers of a weaver work and the magic that is involved with it. There were many times I wanted to yell at Laney to just do the obvious and write something to destroy the villain but I can see how doing it was a dilemma for her. She is the creator of her precious story and the consequences of what could happen if she did change the story was new territory for her. Oh the irony of me wanting to change elements in the story to help the characters out! Don’t we all do that while reading books though?

The book blurb says this is NA (New Adult) but I think it read more like a young adult novel. I expect New Adult stories to have more physical and steamy sexual situations but this book was pretty clean. The romance that blossoms between Laney and her hero is very sweet. They are all in college but to me it felt like they were still in high school. Also, the new friends she makes who are Weavers are high school students, so it just felt like a book for a younger audience.

Overall, The Weaver is a story that weaves elements of romance, history and fantasy to give us a book that is creative and engaging. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

Get it here: Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!


Book Review: Oberon Academy

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Oberon Academy – Book One: The Orphan

Author: Wendi L. Wilson

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 252

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Faeries

Sometimes the ones who save us are the ones we need to fear the most.

In a world where dark faeries have stepped in to save the planet from humanity’s mistakes, seventeen-year-old December Thorne is nothing but a shadow. Shunned by her peers, bullied at school, and paid a little too much attention by her sleazy foster father, she lives in constant fear and perpetual solitude.

Until the day everything changes.

Offered a scholarship to the prestigious Oberon Academy, December finds herself living in a whole new world. Boundless food, clean clothes, a safe place to sleep, and the potential for true friendship make her new life seem almost too good to be true—but the school has a secret.

The truth is, Oberon Academy isn’t just a prep school for society’s elite. It’s a training ground for a secret race of magical beings no one knows exists. And they’re preparing for war.

Filled with fear and denial, December has a choice to make. She can either return to her pathetic life with her dangerous foster parents, try to survive on her own, or make Oberon Academy her home and discover the truth about who, and what she really is.

And that truth could save the world.

If you know me by now, through my blog that is, you know I’m a sucker for “Academy” books. There are a bit way too much of it showing up on my Kindle Unlimited “recommended for you” list and the covers all look alike. 😩So I was drawn to this one because the cover looked a tad bit different

I just read it this morning, past midnight for sure…more like, I woke up at 4:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep so I grabbed my Kindle and was done with this by 7am! Haha, then my kids woke up.

It’s a quick read and only 252 pages. What I liked about it? I like that it’s a take on Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare because when I was in middle grade, I was kind of obsessed with this story. King Oberon, Queen Titania and Puck, I love them all! Mind you I thought the word Oberon in the title was just coincidence but when other familiar names started popping up I was like…😯. The Sylphs at Oberon Academy are like the good fairies who like to have fun, and most of them are blond. At that part, I was like, really? 🤔 Whereas the Zephyrs who helped Earth when humans were on the verge of world destruction have black eyes, black hair and black wings. Which December Thorne an enigma.

December, has had a rough childhood, bouncing from one foster home to another. But she gets a chance to escape her current situation when she is accepted into Oberon Academy. She has black hair, blue eyes and she has black wings. From then on it’s the predictable tropes that happen in this genre – popular boy falls for different, new girl, and then she finds she has more powers than anyone else and there is a villain to defeat.

But I eat this stuff up like ice cream. I can’t stop (well I am lactose intolerant now, so I do know I can’t consume ice cream like before 😩) – and the stories in these academy series by indie authors on Kindle Unlimited are usually so short, it’s easy to consume so fast.

I liked December and watching her grow from invisible girl to the girl dating the Oberon heir, hottie faerie Easton. The attraction between them is definitely bordering on New Adult status. Haha…there isn’t any sex though if you are wondering. I also enjoyed seeing her find a best friend in Shaela, because friendship is important. I think all of the characters could use a bit more depth maybe – it seemed too easy that she meets Easton and that’s it. I don’t even think she met another teenage boy at this academy. Not even Easton had friends!

Since this was only book one, I wonder if December will be driven to the dark side of the Zephyrs at all in future books, because that would be interesting! Anyway, this book was light reading, predictable, yes, but I enjoyed it and hopefully it can only get better from here on.

Get it here: Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

ARC Review: No Judgments

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: No Judgments

Author: Meg Cabot

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: September 24, 2019

Categories: Romance, Adult Fiction, Contemporary

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eArc.

No Judgments is a lighthearted, sweet, romance revolving around Bree, her love of pets, a hurricane and a love interest, Drew Hartwell.

It took me a few days to finish this one – it’s a perfect summer beach read, but for some reason the story didn’t hook me in immediately and I kept putting it down to read something else. I finished it today though and I thought the latter half of the book was better than the first, only because as a romance, I thought it was going too slowly for my taste.

Sabrina Beckham, Bree, as she’s known in the story is from New York City, fleeing her life there to find her her place on an island in Florida called Little Bridge Island. She loves animals, particularly an old cat she’s adopted. Bree and a few of her friends, decide to weather out the hurricane headed their way.

The story follows Bree before the storm and after it, the actual hurricane hitting the island is glossed over, but the romance picks up as the hurricane is about to hit. For awhile I had to ask myself if this was a romance, because I felt like it was more of a hurricane animal rescue story! I wanted more romance.

I thought the story was cute but I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, except maybe the animals featured in the book. This is definitely a beach read kind of book, perfect for a lazy summer day.

Get it here: Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost for you. Thanks!