The Kinder Poison | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Kinder Poison (#1)

Author: Natalie Mae

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 416

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Politics

Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

I read this book in one night. And look at that cover! It might be my favorite cover of 2020 releases so far – it’s simple yet oh so vibrant with all that purple. Brilliant!

My Reactions:

My Attention: read this in one sitting

World Building: amazing world building

Writing Style: flowed from beginning to end

Bringing the Heat: 🔥 there is maybe one scene with some heat

Crazy in Love: argh….Zahru and two brothers…a love triangle

Creativity: I love everything about this world, it’s magic, kingdom, the people in it

Mood: amazed 

Triggers: violence

My Takeaway: Be your own hero!

  • Where do I start? I love Zahru – she’s fun, she’s daring, and kind-hearted. She thinks on her feet and is a good listener (she is a Whisperer who can communicate with animals). She loves her family, her friends and her home. I love her heart.
  • The characters from Hen, her best friend, to the Princes and the Princess – it’s an array of personalities and it was fun getting to know everyone!
  • The action – and there is plenty! There is politics involved with three royal sibling vying for the throne by way of a trial. But the drama between these siblings, my goodness – I love how different they were, how they had different goals and motivations and how confused I was about who would make the best ruler. But there is action to the very end!
  • Zahru is the hero of her story. This is such an inspirational story. Throughout the book people look down on her and though it hurts, she doesn’t let it get her down, she keeps moving forward because the race to the finish never lets up. But she digs deep within her to do the right things no matter what obstacle she is faced with. Her power, being a Whisperer seems weak and everyone tells her so – but her strength is kindness, listening and caring. I like that her strength isn’t magic…it’s connecting with people.
  • The world building is lush and vibrant. I love the magic system and the politics. I enjoyed learning about the history of Orkena and wonder what will happen in the next book.
  • The only thing that bugged me was the love triangle. It reminded me a bit of The Red Queen series and I was hoping it wasn’t going to go there…but there it is. It sets off in motion some events that make me want book two in my hands. But I do hope this triangle is nipped in the bud…we shall see.

This is a fun read with an exciting new world. Zahru comes off as the weakest link but her power and strength gets her through many dangers in this story. This is an amazing debut novel and I look forward to book two!

BLOG TOUR} Mayhem by. Estelle Laure

Mayhem by. Estelle Laure

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

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. 

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

Excerpt:

three Santa Maria

“Trouble,” Roxy says. She arches a brow at the kids by the van through the bug-spattered windshield, the ghost of a half-smile rippling across her face.

“You would know,” I shoot. “So would you,” she snaps.

Maybe we’re a little on edge. We’ve been in the car so long the pattern on the vinyl seats is tattooed on the back of my thighs.

The kids my mother is talking about, the ones sitting on the white picket fence, look like they slithered up the hill out of the ocean, covered in seaweed, like the carnival music we heard coming from the boardwalk as we were driving into town plays in the air around them at all times. Two crows are on the posts beside them like they’re standing guard, and they caw at each other loudly as we come to a stop. I love every- thing about this place immediately and I think, ridiculously, that I am no longer alone.

The older girl, white but tan, curvaceous, and lean, has her arms around the boy and is lovely with her smudged eye makeup and her ripped clothes. The younger one pops some- thing made of bright colors into her mouth and watches us come up the drive. She is in a military-style jacket with a ton of buttons, her frizzy blond hair reaching in all directions, freckles slapped across her cheeks. And the boy? Thin, brown,

hungry-looking. Not hungry in his stomach. Hungry with his eyes. He has a green bandana tied across his forehead and holes in the knees of his jeans. There’s an A in a circle drawn in marker across the front of his T-shirt.

Anarchy.

“Look!” Roxy points to the gas gauge. It’s just above the E. “You owe me five bucks, Cookie. I told you to trust we would make it, and see what happened? You should listen to your mama every once in a while.”

“Yeah, well, can I borrow the five bucks to pay you for the bet? I’m fresh out of cash at the moment.”

“Very funny.”

Roxy cranes out the window and wipes the sweat off her upper lip, careful not to smudge her red lipstick. She’s been having real bad aches the last two days, even aside from her bruises, and her appetite’s been worse than ever. The only thing she ever wants is sugar. After having been in the car for so long, you’d think we’d be falling all over each other to get out, but we’re still sitting in the car. In here we’re still us.

She sighs for the thousandth time and clutches at her belly. “I don’t know about this, May.”

California can’t be that different from West Texas.

I watch TV. I know how to say gag me with a spoon and

grody to the max.

I fling open the door.

Roxy gathers her cigarettes and lighter, and drops them in- side her purse with a snap.

“Goddammit, Elle,” she mutters to herself, eyes flickering toward the kids again. Roxy looks at me over the rims of her sunglasses before shoving them back on her nose. “Mayhem, I’m counting on you to keep your head together here. Those kids are not the usual—”

“I know! You told me they’re foster kids.”

“No, not that,” she says, but doesn’t clarify. “Okay, I guess.”

“I mean it. No more of that wild-child business.”

“I will keep my head together!” I’m so tired of her saying this. I never had any friends, never a boyfriend—all I have is what Grandmother calls my nasty mouth and the hair Lyle always said was ugly and whorish. And once or twice I might’ve got drunk on the roof, but it’s not like I ever did anything. Besides, no kid my age has ever liked me even once. I’m not the wild child in the family.

“Well, all right then.” Roxy messes with her hair in the rear- view mirror, then sprays herself with a cloud of Chanel No. 5 and runs her fingers over her gold necklace. It’s of a bird, not unlike the ones making a fuss by the house. She’s had it as long as I can remember, and over time it’s been worn smooth by her worrying fingers. It’s like she uses it to calm herself when she’s upset about something, and she’s been upset the whole way here, practically. Usually, she’d be good and buzzed by this time of day, but since she’s had to drive some, she’s only nipped from the tiny bottle of wine in her purse a few times and only taken a couple pills since we left Taylor. The with- drawal has turned her into a bit of a she-demon.

I try to look through her eyes, to see what she sees. Roxy hasn’t been back here since I was three years old, and in that time, her mother has died, her father has died, and like she said when she got the card with the picture enclosed that her twin sister, Elle, sent last Christmas, Everybody got old. After that, she spent a lot of time staring in the mirror, pinching at her neck skin. When I was younger, she passed long nights telling me about Santa Maria and the Brayburn Farm, about how it was good and evil in equal measure, about how it had desires that had to be satisfied.

Brayburns, she would say. In my town, we were the legends.

These were the mumbled stories of my childhood, and they made everything about this place loom large. Now that we’re here, I realize I expected the house to have a gaping maw filled with spitty, frothy teeth, as much as I figured there would be fairies flitting around with wands granting wishes. I don’t want to take her vision away from her, but this place looks pretty normal to me, if run-down compared to our new house in Taylor, where there’s no dust anywhere, ever, and Lyle prac- tically keeps the cans of soup in alphabetical order. Maybe what’s not so normal is that this place was built by Brayburns, and here Brayburns matter. I know because the whole road is named after us and because flowers and ribbons and baskets of fruit sat at the entrance, gifts from the people in town, Roxy said. They leave offerings. She said it like it’s normal to be treated like some kind of low-rent goddess.

Other than the van and the kids, there are trees here, rose- bushes, an old black Mercedes, and some bikes leaning against the porch that’s attached to the house. It’s splashed with fresh white paint that doesn’t quite cover up its wrinkles and scars. It’s three stories, so it cuts the sunset when I look up, and plants drape down to touch the dirt.

The front door swings open and a woman in bare feet races past the rosebushes toward us. It is those feet and the reckless way they pound against the earth that tells me this is my aunt Elle before her face does. My stomach gallops and there are bumps all over my arms, and I am more awake than I’ve been since.

I thought Roxy might do a lot of things when she saw her twin sister. Like she might get super quiet or chain-smoke, or maybe even get biting like she can when she’s feeling wrong about something. The last thing I would have ever imagined was them running toward each other and colliding in the driveway, Roxy wrapping her legs around Elle’s waist, and them twirling like that.

This seems like something I shouldn’t be seeing, some- thing wounded and private that fills up my throat. I flip my- self around in my seat and start picking through the things we brought and chide myself yet again for the miserable packing job I did. Since I was basically out of my mind trying to get out of the house, I took a whole package of toothbrushes, an armful of books, my River Phoenix poster, plus I emptied out my underwear drawer, but totally forgot to pack any shoes, so all I have are some flip-flops I bought at the truck stop outside of Las Cruces after that man came to the window, slurring, You got nice legs. Tap, tap tap. You got such nice legs.

My flip-flops are covered in Cheeto dust from a bag that got upended. I slip them on anyway, watching Roxy take her sunglasses off and prop them on her head.

“Son of a bitch!” my aunt says, her voice tinny as she catches sight of Roxy’s eye. “Oh my God, that’s really bad, Rox. You made it sound like nothing. That’s not nothing.”

“Ellie,” Roxy says, trying to put laughter in her voice. “I’m here now. We’re here now.”

There’s a pause.

“You look the same,” Elle says. “Except the hair. You went full Marilyn Monroe.”

“What about you?” Roxy says, fussing at her platinum waves with her palm. “You go full granola warrior? When’s the last time you ate a burger?”

“You know I don’t do that. It’s no good for us. Definitely no good for the poor cows.”

“It’s fine for me.” Roxy lifts Elle’s arm and puckers her nose. “What’s going on with your armpits? May not eat meat but you got animals under there, looks like.”

“Shaving is subjugation.”

“Shaving is a mercy for all mankind.”

They erupt into laughter and hug each other again.

“Well, where is she, my little baby niece?” Elle swings the car door open. “Oh, Mayhem.” She scoops me out with two strong arms. Right then I realize just how truly tired I am. She seems to know, squeezes extra hard for a second before letting me go. She smells like the sandalwood soap Roxy buys sometimes. “My baby girl,” Elle says, “you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to see you. How much I’ve missed you.”

Roxy circles her ear with a finger where Elle can’t see her.

Crazy, she mouths. I almost giggle.

About the AUTHOR:

Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world.

Note From the AUTHOR:

Dear Reader,
Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life
was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to
be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch
the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never
know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to
run. I always wanted to run.
I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although
girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The
Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the
night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got
me through it.
I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel
powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And
yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without
thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think
great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.
Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my
heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time
I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the
pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands
on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the
shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made
me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also
terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary
childhood, and
I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to
smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being
hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying
to access forgiveness.
Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate,
I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure

BLOG TOUR } Day Zero by. Kelly deVos

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Day Zero

Author: Kelly deVos

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: November 12, 2019

Category: Dystopian, Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense

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

Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for giving me a chance to read this eARC and inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

Jinx is living during the New Depression. An election recently took place and The Opposition leader, Ammon Carver, won the vote for president. It doesn’t seem like many people in Jinx’s life and in society approved of this choice, most were vying for the leader of The Spark, David Rosenthal, and there are rumors that the election was rigged – does that sound strangely familiar? 🤔 But not only that, they say Jinx’s dad is a major part of the chaos taking place. Jinx’s dad is Dr. Doomsday, a computer science professor and hacker who at one time created a worm that took down servers around the world. Her dad is also known for writing a survival guide book, which people laughed it, but maybe he knew something was coming.

When that “something coming” actually happens, and Jinx’s step-dad is accused of being the person behind it she and her family have to use Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival to actually survive life on the run. Will they succeed?

  • Everything I liked in this book was mostly in the beginning and the end. I liked the build-up of the story. We get a history lesson about this war brewing between The Opposition and The Spark, which sounds way too familiar to our current events right now. The tension between these two sides is very believable. A bombing event occurs and Jinx’s step-dad is the main suspect so Jinx and her family go on the run.
  • Jinx as a character really interesting. She’s a coder and loves video games and that’s all she really wants to do is play her video games. Her family is a bit broken. She has step-siblings, and she’s never on the same page with her step-sister. Jinx’s mother seems…cold. And her dad is nowhere around or not easily found So she is the main caretaker of her diabetic younger brother Charles. She has to do things in this story to keep her whole family alive by using the drills her father made her do from his survival guide. Jinx is a tough, smart girl and she is pushed to do things in this story to survive.
  • If you like dystopian stories, you will definitely like this one. It involves technology and coding. Jinx’s dad, Dr. Marshall, is well known for his computer theories, but he was very mysterious and elusive in this book. Jinx is trying to find him and I was like, what is with this guy? Help your kids! But of course, there’s more to it than that. There are some twists in this story that was really good and kept me on my toes.
  • The world building was good because it’s so close to our own, it’s something I can see happening with the collapse of banks, or how there is a sugar sale permit waiting list…that scares me. 😂 I was like, oh no, how would I get my sugary coffee drink if that happened?! But the whole world hasn’t collapse yet, there are still stores, it was supposed to be a booming town until the New Depression hit, so this world seems like something that could happen to us in the near future! 😱
  • I don’t know why but I lost interest in the middle of the story. Maybe it was moving too fast for me? It was definitely my mood though – it was a tiring week for me, so it was just a personal mood of mine and not anything against the story.
  • There is a relationship growing between Jinx and Navarro (the guy who was sent by Jinx’s dad to keep an eye on her) but I don’t know if it was needed. It’s not something I would miss if it wasn’t in the story.
  • Triggers: violence, bombing

If you like a fast-paced survival, dystopian story, you will like this one! It has lots of action, adventure, a family on the run, and twists that will surprise you.

Book Review | The Echoing Green and Other Stories

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Echoing Green and Other Stories

Author: David Jordan

Format: eBook (provided by author for an honest review)

Pages: 113

Categories: Short Stories, Irish Mythology, Adult Fiction

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


From a quest to find the Starbucks mermaid, to a god’s dream of saving the planet, this collection of short stories has an abundance of imagination as well as ingenuity and style. In serene and sparkling prose, David Jordan will introduce you to places and people that you have never encountered before, with a unique voice and vision that will satisfy story lovers everywhere.

Thank you to David Jordan, for providing me a copy of his new book, The Echoing Green and Other Stories.

I don’t read or feature many short story collections on my blog but I am always open to reading works by indie authors. And who would have thought that this book, The Echoing Green and Other Stories would pique my growing interest in Irish mythology. I’ve read a few books set in Ireland and featured Irish mythology lately, so what a coincidence that these short stories fit in with what I’ve been reading lately.

In this short story collection the stories are contemporary yet mixed with fantasy, psychology and mythology elements. In whole it felt like I was I was sucked into a dreamscape atmosphere, which I enjoyed!

  • The infusion of Irish mythology in a modern day setting is fantastic because I’m from somewhere so far away from Ireland, I don’t know a lot about Irish mythology. In this collection I learned new words and names like Fomorian and Goibhniu. I definitely googled a few of these names and words. I did recognize a few names so I wasn’t totally lost.
  • The writing is wonderful, it drew me in right away. I got a sense of the setting, and the characters which just a few lines.
  • My favorites of the collection are The Echoing Green and Dreamer’s Eve because it’s fluid and strange like how real dreams are. I mean, searching for the Starbucks mermaid? It’s clever and why not? I’m always searching for the Starbucks mermaid myself, almost daily haha! Gods and Monsters was another story I enjoyed for it’s psychological twist.
  • Nothing really…maybe that a few of these would make really good full stories? 🙂

The Echoing Green and Other Stories is a really quick read as it’s just only a little over hundred pages. I enjoyed the Irish mythology that is infused in the contemporary settings of each story. Overall this is a wonderful, creative collection of short stories and I’m glad I had a chance to read it. If you like short stories and mythology, definitely get a copy of this book!

Get your eBook copy here: Amazon

Get your hardcover copy here: Shadow of the Glen

Author Bio: David Jordan lives in Cork Ireland, where he was born and bred. He has an MA in English. He loves music, coffee and peace. 

{TAKEOVER Tour} Spotlight | Marrow Charm by. Kristin Jacques

Title: Marrow Charm

Author: Kristin Jacques

Publisher: The Parliament House

Book Synopsis:

‘In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but They were already in our world and They were hungry.’

-The Lost History, Library of Avergard

Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.

Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.

The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.

And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more.   

Get your copy HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Marrow-Charm-Kristin-Jacques-ebook/dp/B07W58XSV4

It’s one of my favorite reads this year! If you want to read my review for it, click HERE.

BLOG TOUR | ARC Review | Unspoken

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Unspoken

Author: Celia McMahon

Format: eBook

Pages: 402

Publisher: The Parliament House

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

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

Princess Isabelle of The New Kingdom has lived her entire life in the confines of her palace. She spends her time hunting for the poverty-stricken Voiceless-people of the Old Kingdom who warred with her kingdom and ultimately lost-and dreaming of a world beyond the walls of her home. As the only remaining child of the king and queen, she is to be married off by her eighteenth birthday.

When Izzy witnesses the use of forbidden magic in the woods outside the palace, she is attacked, and saved by an unknown man. Soon after she discovers her rescuer is a Voiceless servant in the castle named Fray, she befriends him to seek out the magic users who tried to kill her. Fray agrees to help, but not before Isabelle discovers the servant boy harbors a secret the king has tried to bury-that he is a Gwylis, people of the old Kingdom who made a pact with the demons of the underworld for the power to transform into giant ferocious wolves. But to shift into a beast, Fray must be able to speak the words to do so. If he is to thwart the attackers from killing her entire family, Izzy needs to cure the ailment that took away his voice.

But curing Fray holds more danger than she ever thought possible. The lies of her parents and the risk of putting her own life on the line deems as destructive as falling for the servant boy. If Isabelle is to save herself and Fray, she’ll need to face enemy Gwylis, cross paths with usurper kings and princes, and decide what side she is on-human or wolf-or lose her kingdom forever.  

Thank you to The Parliament House for giving me a chance to read an eARC of Unspoken.

Princess Isabelle, or Izzy, is not your conventional princess. Yes, she has to do her duty by making a promising marriage when she turns eighteen but thing young lady has a mind of her own. She was my favorite character in this book because she is spunky, sassy and lively. Her relationship with her best friend was so fun to see until some events take place to change that. But there was a lot of conflict Izzy had to sort out in this story as lies and truths are revealed bit by bit.

Now a very fascinating and intriguing part of the story was the Voiceless. The Voiceless cannot speak because of a curse. They communicate with sign language which Izzy picked up by hanging out in their community. We find out more about that curse and her family’s role in it. The world building seems comparable to other worlds that usually involve a rebellious princess and hidden magic. The New Kingdom opposes the presence of magic that was used in the Old Kingdom. So basically magic was taken away, or just repressed, by the rulers of the New Kingdom. The one aspect of the world building that stood out though was the shape-shifting in this story. It is different because words have to be spoken in order for someone to shift into a wolf. It is creative and it made sense then that people from the Old Kingdom had to be silenced.

There is a hint of a love triangle happening in this book but it was quickly obvious who Izzy was attracted to. I mean who are you going to go for, the seemingly perfect prince, Ashe, from a neighboring kingdom or the servant, Fray, who turns into a wolf? 😅🤷🏻‍♀️

I truly enjoyed watching Izzy coming to terms and dealing with the truth of her family and trying to undo the wrongs of the past. She remains vibrant throughout even her most conflicted times, she is a warrior. If you like a strong female lead, a creative story with shape shifters, magic and warring kingdoms then you will definitely enjoy Unspoken.

You can get your copy of Unspoken here: http://www.parliamenthousepress.com/unspoken

Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Format: Hardcover (Owned)

Pages: 456

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Welcome to the magical world of libraries and grimoires! The dedication in the book alone gave me feels. I am that girl who lost herself in books at a young age and it’s a love that has never disappointed me!

The beauty of Sorcery of Thorns is how it weaves this mystery story in one of the most loved places for a book lover, a library or libraries I should say. Libraries are places of magic for us who love books. It’s why I once upon a time debated on becoming a librarian. It was a librarian at my elementary school that made me fall in love with books. I’ve worked in only college libraries but just being around books academic or fiction, it feels like home to me. Just as Elisabeth feels at home in the Great Library at Summershall in the Sorcery of Thorns.

I was swept up in this story of libraries and the directors, wardens, apprentices and the grimoires. Oh those amazing grimoires which have such different personalities! Books speak to us, in this story and in real life. Come on, have you ever told a book it’s beautiful? 😅🥰 I do it all the time.

And what’s a library story without sorcerers, the users of dark magic and grimoires? Nathanial Thorn is a very mysterious young man and he has a demon by his side named Silas. Elisabeth is deathly afraid of them in the first half of the book because she has had no interaction with the outside world. She’s been in the library so long, she was taught to fear sorcerers. I find the relationship between Silas and Nathanial so interesting, especially since demons are…well demons. They don’t feel the way humans do.

We find out there is someone out there trying to sabotage the great libraries in Austermeer and Elisabeth needs to find out who it is and stop them. It is a murder mystery, wrapped in sorcery and demon lore.

It is rare these days to read a young adult fantasy novel that is a stand-alone. But I’ve read this author’s other book and I have to say she does so well in balancing a story and giving us everything in one book. Her stories feel light also, even dealing with topics like demons. This story reads like a fairy tale, so effortless. Sorcery of Thorns has everything: humor, action, romance, friendship, and mystery.

This book wove it’s spell on me for sure. I thought the sorcery and demons in the book added a lot of excitement and action. The characters stood out on their own, but my favorite might have been Katrien – our resident bookworm apprentice who is Elisabeth’s best friend. The romance between Nathanial and Elisabeth is a slow burn and doesn’t take precedence. Nathanial has reasons to keep Elisabeth at arms length but eventually they grow on each other. And of course, I was in love with all the library scenes as well.

This story is a well written, enjoyable, enchanting homage to the mystery and wonderment of libraries and a girl who will help defend it from evil. I’d love to see this as a movie or tv series – with more adventures in the world of libraries, grimoires, sorcerers and demons! As a library lover, this book was definitely for me!

Get it here: Amazon

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer 2019 TBR

Finally trying one of these hosted book memes! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl – definitely check out her awesome website.

So Top Ten Books On My Summer 2019 TBR list? I have SO MANY guys and girls! So I shall pick the ones I’m most excited to read…

Book Blurb:

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

Summer and Sarah Dessen go hand in hand, doesn’t it? I used to read Sarah Dessen books in the summer and I’m not going to stop now!

Book Blurb:

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book and I’m reading this one right now! I love it so far.

Book Blurb:

Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

I got this from my LitJoy Crate in May and haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one, but I’ll give it a try. If anything the colors on the book cover is summer vibes for real, right? 😀

Book Blurb:

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Another book which I heard mixed reviews on. I love the cover and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from this author yet and have been wanting to.

Book Blurb:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

Finished this book on the first day of summer! It was so good – love the Phoenixes. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Book Blurb:

After the death of her boyfriend, sixteen-year old Valentine stops going to school, quits seeing her friends, and, finally, won’t leave her bed. Desperate for her daughter to recover, Valentine’s mother takes her on a trek in Thailand. In the mountains north of Chiang Mai, Valentine finds a world she didn’t know existed, where houses are on stilts and elephants still roam wild. She learns about the Burmese civil war and the relentless violence against the Karen and Rohingya peoples.

Then she meets Lin, a mysterious young elephant keeper tormented by his hidden past, and an orphaned elephant calf, pursued by violent poachers. Together, the three flee deep into the jungle, looking for refuge and redemption.

One of my NetGalley reads that I’m super excited to get to. Does this book blurb sound like an adventure or what? Perfect summer reading!

Book Blurb:

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

This is another book on my NetGalley shelf. Another adventure story to get me into the summer reading mood!

Book Blurb:

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. 

And what’s a summer reading list without some romance? Another NetGalley book on my shelf. I haven’t read a Meg Cabot book in years! This cover is cute and the book blurb sounds fun too. 😉

Book Blurb:

Mansfield, Massachusetts, is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college.  It’s the home of wealthy suburban mothers and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. She’s got her own plans, and they don’t include any prince charming.

But as she dives into schoolwork and getting a scholarship for college, Edie finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys strumming for her attention: First, there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love, who’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player who’s totally off limits—even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help herself from being caught between them. Now, she just has to make sure it isn’t her heart that breaks in the process.

How did I not know this was a Jane Austen retelling of Mansfield Park? I finished this one over the weekend and LOVED it. There is a certain scene that brings the heat. So good! 🥰

Book Blurb:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between. 

Sometimes I need something gritty to read and this book sounds like it will be. Another NetGalley book on my shelf waiting to be read.

Whew! I hope I can get through all these books – my TBR list keeps growing and every time I think I’ve gotten it down, it grows. Book Lover problems! 😅

What titles are on your summer TBR list? Have you read any of these yet? Happy Reading fellow book lovers! 😘

Friday Five: 5 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Book Series – I Read On Kindle Unlimited

I’ve been meaning to do some fun Top 5 or Top 10 list post and sometimes I just don’t have the time! How do you awesome bloggers do it? 😘

So Kindle Unlimited – let’s talk about it. For a monthly subscription you get to read unlimited books in the Kindle library. When I had no kids, I bought books like crazy! When we moved into a small house, I had to donate my books, keeping only a few. When I had kids, and a bigger mortgage – I had to be on a budget! Thank goodness for libraries!

I tried out Kindle Unlimited because of one author, Christi Caldwell. I was looking for new romance authors because it was my favorite genre but I was having a hard time finding ones that appealed to me. I read one of her books and wanted more so I got a subscription. But because it’s a monthly subscription, there were times I was in a reading rut trying to find something good there – and cancelled. I joined again, cancelled and joined again! 😅 Then I tried some of the fantasy ebooks…and I’ve had a steady subscription since. So here are my 5 fantasy/sci fi (mostly fantasy) book series I’ve found on Kindle Unlimited that I’ve enjoyed so far!

The Spoken Mage Series by. Melanie Cellier

This series is pretty good. I enjoyed seeing Elena, the spoken mage, learn, grow and fall in love. My favorite thing though is the friendships she’s made along the way. I’m going to be finishing up the series soon, so hopefully it ends on a good note.

The Tainted Accords Series by. Kelly St. Clare

I read this series last year and really enjoyed it! I was transported to a fascinating fantasy world. Princess Olina has worn a veil over her face since her infancy and watching her transform from a girl with a veil to one without is pretty awesome.

Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles by. Elise Kova

I should feature the Air Awakens series but honestly it’s been four years since I’ve read it. So instead I’ll talk about Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, the re-entry into Elise Kova’s fantasy world filled with magic and political intrigue. I’ve only read book one, and will get to book two eventually when I get this TBR list down a little. 😅

The Culling Trials by. K.F. Breene & Shannon Mayer

These academy books always get me! I’m serious! Haha – but this series is very addicting. I’m in the middle of book three right now and can’t wait to see how it ends. Sometimes these indie book are so short, they could have mashed these three books to make one book! But I don’t mind the short wait between the books. In this series we have a very strong female character who is surrounded by vampires, necromancer, goblins, magic users and assassins. It’s so fast pace and fun! It’s a wild adventure throughout the whole series. Speaking of “Wild” that’s our character’s nickname and I can see why! Loving this series so far!

Secondborn Series by Amy A. Bartol

I am not a big sci-fi fan. Actually this was the series that got me saying, oh, okay maybe I like sci-fi, maybe… I love Amy A. Bartol’s stories because they are creative even if they go off a bit tangent and wild, there is something about them that is addictive. Secondborn is cool, Traitor Born is my favorite and Rebel Born – though I gave it 4 1/2 stars because the romance part came together the way I wanted and I’m obsessed with Reykin haha, this book goes almost into another dimension diving into sci-fi/mythology/fantasy it made my head spin. It works for some people and others hated. I actually understood what the author was trying to do – but there was a lot of info dump about parallel universes, mind control and then add the mythology…it’s a whirlwind. It would have played out better if we had hints of these things in book one and two for sure! I still love it though. 😬

Have you read any of these books? Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading! 😘

Happy Book Birthdays! – June 11, 2019

I’ve read already read one of these and looking forward to reading the other books in this post – so happy book birthday to all these new releases! 🥳

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1) by. Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publish Date: June 11, 2019

My Review: Click Here

Links: Goodreads * Amazon

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

Rise (Rule, #2) by. Ellen Goodlett

Publish Date: June 11, 2019

Links: Goodreads * Amazon

Sisters Akeylah, Ren, and Zofi are all a step closer to their dying father’s throne, a step closer to the crown that will allow one of them to rule over Kolonya. But the sisters’ pasts continue to haunt them. Each hides a secret marked with blood and betrayal, and now their blackmailer is holding nothing back. When King Andros discovers the sisters’ traitorous pasts, the consequences will shake the entire kingdom to its core.

As Kolonya’s greatest threat stalks closer and closer, weaving a web of fear and deceit around Ren, Zofi, and Akeylah, even the people they love are under suspicion. If the sisters are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust each other above all else and work together, not only to save themselves, but to protect everyone and everything they hold dear.

Shadowspell Academy: Culling Trials (Book 3) by. K.F. Breene & Shannon Mayer

Publish Date: June 11, 2019

Links: Goodreads * Amazon

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

The last of the Culling Trials is here. I foolishly thought I’d survived the worst. 

My team is falling to pieces around me and my heart is shattered for the losses I’ve endured. But I can’t stop when I’m so close to the end. There are too many people depending on me. 

I foolishly thought there wasn’t much more I could lose…until the nature of my bloodline comes to light. 

I’m not what I thought I was. Not what anyone thought I was. 
But to tell people the truth would be to kill us all. 

To fail the trials will mean death, but to succeed might damn me for life.