adult fiction, Blog tour, book review, historical fiction, netgalley, romance

BLOG TOUR } The Last Bookshop in London by. Madeline Martin | ARC Review

Welcome to the blog tour for The Last Bookshop in London!

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: The Last Bookshop in London

Author: Madeline Martin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 4/6/21

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Buy Here: Amazon | B & N | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro.fm | Books-A-Million | Target | Kobo | AppleBooks | Google Play | Audible

Categories: Historical Fiction, WWII, London, Romance, Friendship, War, Bookshop

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

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.

  • How can I not enjoy a story about a bookshop? This one is even more inspirational because it’s about a bookshop in London during the Blitz in World War II. London was being bombed and yet this bookshop was there to keep people’s spirits up, keep them hoping, or keep their mind off what was happening.
  • Almost all the characters are wholesome, especially Grace who is a nice girl just wanting to get some work experience in London. She helps turn a bookshop around but other than that she is a very caring person ~ you can see it with the way she is with her friends and the new people she meets in London.
  • There is a minor romance in this story and what is a war story without a love story? Thankfully this one isn’t tragic, but sweet and hopeful. It’s always nice to remember when once upon a time, people did fall for each other through letter writing! It was all about patience back in the day.
  • I learned a lot of historical information from the book. I got a glimpse of all the organization people could volunteer for to help in the war. I thought that moment Grace and Viv go out on the town while bombs were dropping was pretty surreal! Also I enjoyed all of the St. Paul’s Cathedral history because it was one of my favorite places to visit when I did go to London few years ago. London really did survive!

Triggers: war, death, bombing

  • This was a super fast read, almost like the story glossed over the many things about war. I expected depth but it felt like a light historical fiction story. There was death and such but the story never felt heavy, unless I just never connected to the characters to feel their grief. Despite lacking depth, I think it held on to the message of Grace and the bookshop being an inspiration, a candle in the dark to so many suffering in the city during that time.

If you want to read a World War II story about books and hope, you will enjoy this one. Although it lacked the heaviness and depth of typical stories set during war time, I think the message about friendship, and community is a beautiful thing.

📚 ~ Yolanda

About the Author:

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.

Website: http://www.madelinemartin.com/ 

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book review, fantasy, netgalley, New adult, romance, Young Adult

Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores, #3) | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5

Title: Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores, #3)

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 576

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: fantasy, young adult, new adult, romance, politics

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

THEIR BATTLES ENDED IN VICTORY

Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.

His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.

BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN

Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.

Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.

My Attention: read in 2 days

World Building: epic world building and so much more traveling in this one through xenthier stems and a deadly trek through Sibern

Writing Style: kept the intensity throughout

Crazy in Love: slow…angsty, forbidden love stories 

Creativity: I love the Dark Shores series, it has everything

Triggers: violence, killing

  • I love that even though this book is told through 4 perspectives, the chapters are so short, each person has enough book time. BUT…I was worried I’d be attracted to one couple more and for me personally, I was drawn more to Teriana and Marcus. They two of them are just so intense, so strong-headed and Marcus is just stuck in a tight, tight spot. Killian and Lydia are complicated as well, but they have other problems.
  • There is an intense time for Teriana and Marcus and let me tell you it gets so rough for them. All seems lost, they are losing hope but they each carry one another through this difficult time. There is a sex scene between them (honestly it had to happen! haha), so that’s why I thought it was more New Adult than Young Adult. Except for that scene though, they are pretty chaste.
  • Killian and Lydia goes through hardships too but their story seems slower because they are apart. It picks up steam in the ending. Most of the book they are apart with Lydia under Quindon’s tutelage now and Killian making his choice of putting they kingdom before anything else. The angst between these two frustrated me, Killian frustrates me! The good thing about Killian and Lydia’s scenes were learning more about the blight and Rufina’s history.
  • The distrust growing in the Thirty-Seventh adds so much tension and complication to Marcus’ life and it gets even crazier in the end when Cassius thwarts him again. Seriously Marcus gets such a bad deal!
  • I made a big mistake reading this book assuming this was the LAST BOOK in the series…at the midway point of this 500+ book, I was like…wait a minute this book cannot be ending this way, nothing is being wrapped up. Yeah…it’s not the ending of the series at all! 🤦🏻‍♀️
  • These couples cannot be together for so many reasons. Killian and Lydia have a chance, but Marcus and Teriana…what will Marcus do? I just want them all to come out of this happy and ALIVE.
  • The author took the characters in this book and seriously put them through the wringer…😭 this can only mean good things are coming in book four, right? But the ending…is madness!

You know, I think I would have been happy for a book of only Marcus and Teriana again because they are my favorite. I think Killian and Lydia’s story is about to get more intriguing because of the reveal at the end but they could have had their own book also. I assumed in this book the four would meet up together, but I was wrong. I’m glad the series isn’t over yet, because I love everything Danielle L. Jensen writes. Give me more romance, angst, political intrigue and action. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

💛 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, E-book, Mystery, romance, thriller, Young Adult

Firekeeper’s Daughter | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Author: Angeline Boulley

Format: eBook and hard cover (own)

Pages: 496

Publication Date: 3/16/21

Publisher: Henry, Holt and Co.

Categories: Mystery, Young Adult, Romance, Family, Friendship, Drugs, Native American, Suspense, Thriller

Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange. 

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother. 

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation. 

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. 

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

  • What drew me to this book was the cover first, the description second because I love that it was a young adult story about a native teen. I haven’t read many books about Native Americans in all the decades I’ve been reading and it’s about time, or more like overdue. We need more books like these.
  • I’m not a big fan of mysteries and didn’t realize this story was a mystery at first. But I was sucked into Daunis’ history, and her story of owning her identity. We learn Ojibwe tribe history, customs and current issues natives go through in their communities. We get to see them experience discrimination, racism, drugs, the role of the elderly, and just how their communities are so tight. I learned about the casinos on reservations and how enrolled tribal members earn per cap and how someone can even be enrolled as a member ~ I learned so much from this story.
  • Daunis’ life is complicated but she navigates her life using her tribe teachings and it really centers her when things get rough. And things get dark and sinister in this story which I didn’t expect. Another thing about Daunis which I adored was her intellect and scientific mind. Her western science knowledge and tribe healing practices collide in this story to help her with the investigation and I thought that was really cool to see.
  • I love all the family aspects in this book, as complicated and as hurtful as they are, Daunis stays very strong in the face of criticism and hate. I also loved so much how this story features the elderly community because they really should be honored and taken care of. It reminds me of how in my filipino culture the elderly are taken care of by family members, young and old, and I loved that. It made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to grow up with one set of grandparents and help take care of them before they passed. Daunis reveres the elders in her family and community and it is beautiful.
  • I thought the ending was beautiful and bittersweet. ❤️ Daunis is the best of her community, she embodies all the complications that natives and half natives live and feel day in and out. And no matter what challenges come, she deals with them with intellect, grace, strength, bravery, respect and knowledge from her Anishinaabe kwe upbringing.

Triggers: drug use, suicide, homicide, sexual assault, rape, kidnapping

  • Everything about this story is complicated including Daunis’ love life which is a fake relationship with blurred lines. I think it ended realistically since in reality she didn’t even know Jamie’s real name ~ I LOVE how Daunis was so mature enough to know that both of them needed time to grow a but before maybe pursuing something. And I adore the dream prophecy about her future as well.
  • This story is full of trauma. There are family scandals, tribal scandals, drug use/abuse, suicide murder, sexual assault, the history of native kids being taken to boarding schools without their parents consent, stories of women being abused, so much grief and trying to just heal from the injustices native people have endured for so, so long.
  • There is mention about Hawaii (a James Michener book I read in high school), and then UH Hawaii at Manoa and I loved seeing our state college get mentioned!

Everything about Daunis’ story in the Firekeeper’s Daughter drew me in and I cared about her and her family, no matter how complicated it was because the love is real. I love that we get to experience life through Daunis, a half white/half native young adult who wants the best for all the people she loves and the best for her community. I learned a lot about native life, some of the cultural aspects like pow wows and tribal council votes, casinos and per cap payouts. But underneath all that information you feel the struggle native americans feel to try and exist on the land their people had stolen from them with violence and oppression. I hope we get more native stories in books, tv and movies because their stories are important and need to be told. This is an honest and powerful story that is multi-layered, and must be read.

🔥 ~ Yolanda

Book Quotes:

book review, coming of age, contemporary, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Kisses and Croissants | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Kisses and Croissants

Author: Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 4/6/21

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Categories: Romance, Ballet, Young Adult, Paris, Contemporary

As sweet as a macaron from Laduree, with writing as crisp as a freshly baked baguette, this romantic novel set in Paris about an American ballerina and a charming French boy is parfait for fans of American Royals and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Sixteen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

  • Aesthetics ~ Paris, ballet and a romance? What’s not to like? And that cover too? It screams cuteness!
  • It’s set in Paris, I’ve been there once and it was way too short, but Mia’s romantic ideas about Paris is what I felt too when I was there. It’s a beautiful city and I was jealous at how many croissants she was eating in the book. Even Mia’s insta-romance with Louis was perfect because come on, it’s Paris.
  • I love ballet stories ever since I saw the movie Center Stage (remember that oldie but goodie?). And then there was Black Swan which was pretty wild. So my love for ballet started with movies and I could see this book turned into a movie or tv series. Ballet is so intense with competition between dancers but mostly the competition within oneself to be the best, it’s drama and always makes a great story.
  • Speaking of drama? I love Audrey and Mia’s relationship the best. When they finally get to know one another, they make realize they have made each other better dancers. I like seeing two top girls supporting one another! I really enjoyed their friendship journey.
  • As for the romance, Mia and Louis fall in love after 6 weeks. Quick? Oh for sure, but it fits Mia’s character, she feels about everything strongly, love and heartbreak equally. I enjoyed her adventure with Louis as they looked for Mia’s ancestors who maybe was in a painting by Degas.
  • This is a super quick, light and fluffy read which charmed me the moment Mia touched down in Paris. There were some issues Mia had to deal with like her mother not being supportive of her passion for ballet, but other than that Mia pushes forward because she knows what she wants.
  • I did like that Mia pointed out to Louis just because she knew what she wanted she had to remember some people are still trying to find out what theirs is. So true.

I really enjoyed this sweet story about a girl with a dream and chasing after it in Paris! Mia makes new friends, she improves her craft and her french. She even finds family and love. What more could you ask for? I felt as light as this book by the end and wish I could hop on a plane to Paris to eat some amazing croissants.

💘 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Southern Sun, Northern Star | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance, #3)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/20/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Historical Fantasy, Romance, War

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

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired Southern Sun, Northern Star

Reeling from the tragedy that beset her family, Princess Aurelia has joined the resistance in Havenspur, spying on the Northern leaders who were once her allies and determined to stop her uncle’s machinations for war. Meanwhile, her beloved pilot Athan leads his squadron into battle as the Safire wage a losing war abroad and combat growing unrest back home.

When Athan is sent on leave to Havenspur following the death of a comrade, the pair reunite and rekindle their romance until Aurelia uncovers one of Athan’s secrets, a secret that could save countless lives. But exposing it to the right people will cost her Athan’s trust, and this time, their shared memories of love might not be enough to stop the fateful path of destruction that threatens all they’ve fought to defend.

As history unfolds around them, every move they make drives them one step closer to either recreating their parents’ shadowed past or redeeming the alliance that could bring peace.

The breathtaking finale to a legendary series. Part war drama, part romance, Southern Sun, Northern Star is the epic conclusion to the Glass Alliance series.

  • War is horrible and it affects everyone on both sides or every side, in awful ways. This book is the culmination of the war Safire is waging, the precipice where we find out which way the ending will unfold. And it comes with fire, death, and the sheer will to keep going, fighting and surviving. We are at the front lines, we are in the trenches with these characters and it’s grueling.
  • We see Aurelia make the most drastic change of all the characters, she becomes the thing she never thought she could be. The reason I love this series is in most fantasies where a girl turns into a killing machine, there is an evil she is fighting. In this series, it is not so black and white ~ there is so much gray and the killing here is realistic. It is people killing people, not people killing fantastical creatures/people. So Aurelia changing from a sheltered Princess into a killer, saddened me. I was hoping someone would keep their innocence in this war but that’s what war does – it robs the young of their innocence.
  • Athan’s change comes with being a fighter pilot for way too many campaigns. He has killed, shot planes down, it’s become automatic but something has got to give. What gives is his family breaking apart. Athan’s childhood and young adult life has been tragic, but in this final book it takes his tragedy to a new level. Athan could have broken so many times…but he stays strong as best he can, it’s all he can do.
  • All the loose ends are tied up nicely in this conclusion. Secrets are revealed and very hard choices are made. The writing is beautiful consistent from the start to the finish of this trilogy.

Triggers: death, violence, war, PTSD

  • Arrin was the one who I wanted to know more about as the books went on and we do find out more about him which I’m happy for but his story is sad. Everyone’s story broke my heart but I was hoping something could turn around for Arrin.
  • I’m not sure if it was just me, but there were some spots I had to reread because I felt like I missed something, for example, the General’s secret being revealed. It took me awhile to realize how Athan found out, but minor things like that where I should have been paying more close attention, I think it was because I was so emotionally exhausted (the war scenes are gritty), I just missed a few things because I was trying to look for a happy moment and in this book it is rarely there.

This book is the perfect conclusion to the whole Glass Alliance series. What could I expect of a story of two families mired in war? Heartbreak. Despair. But it was so realistic, I was always hoping so hard for the war in the story to end. I love how this series delves into the changes that happen to the characters and shows how war affects everyone involved in it from the front lines, the masterminds and the people bothering not getting their hands dirty. From start to finish this series was written beautifully. It’s definitely a must read if you are into historical fantasy.

✈︎ ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, historical fiction, romance, Young Adult

Storm from the East | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Storm from the East (Glass Alliance, #2)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 496

Published Date: 2/11/20

Categories: Historical Fantasy, War, Family, Romance

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West

Part war drama, part romance, Storm from the East is the second novel in Joanna Hathaway’s immersive, upmarket YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye.

War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.

When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.

  • We return to this intriguing historical fantasy world, the second novel in the Glass Alliance series and the stakes are higher. The plane fights are more thrilling as Athan tries to advance in his career as a fighter pilot and impress his father (who is barely impressed by anything he does). Aurelia is trying to stop a war but making more of a mess of things. There are secrets, there are truth bombs, and real bombs, there is romance. There is so much I feel like this should be a movie.
  • The family dynamics of the Dakar’s is fascinating, toxic, riveting and I really need to know what Sinora has on the General! But the siblings in this family has been raised in an unconventional way, all they have known it seems is war – they grew up with a manipulative father and they are left hungry for his love and praise. I feel like we get snippets here and there about each boy, of course we know more about Athan, but Arrin and Kalt, are intriguing – mostly Arrin at this point. Their sister doesn’t get a lot of scenes but she seems interesting as well.
  • Aurelia travels to Resya and learns more about her mother’s background and some shocking truths are revealed. I kept feeling like she means well and thinks she’s a step ahead when really sometimes her involvement just messes things up more. She has a good heart and wants the war to be over because she knows how evil it is, all these lives dead for what? But she’s torn because of her family secrets as well. How does she stop a war and keep her family safe at the same time? It seems impossible.
  • I love how this series is written. Each chapter gets to the point quickly and it moves the story quickly. I really like how this story questions all sides fighting a war, is it ever worth it, who is the more evil one, who will benefit in the end, and will it ever end when vengeance is the motivation? And what is the true cause each side is fighting for?
  • PTSD gets a spotlight in this series and we see Athan really start to go through it. We already know Arrin’s affected by it, but Kalt not so much maybe because he’s on a ship? And then there are the people caught in the crossfire of war who suffer greatly as well.
  • The ending was a shocker and I am definitely going to be reading the arc to book three, ASAP.

Triggers: violence, war atrocities, suicide, PTSD

  • Athan and Aurelia have a few scenes together in this series but for the most part they are not together. There are letters written between them that aren’t sent but we feel the yearning between them.
  • Will war ever end? When will it be enough for General Dakar?

This sequel really keeps the story moving at a clipped pace, almost like we are the ones marching into battle along with everyone else. I felt the tension between the Dakar boys and Athan’s thrills in the plane and fears. I was shocked with Aurelia’s discoveries and Sinora’s actions, and Athan and Aurelia’s love is so bittersweet but will it stand a chance? Can peace be achieved between all sides? I’ll be reading the third book right away to find out!

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, historical fiction, magic, New adult, paranormal, romance

From Ash and Blood | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: From Blood and Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: ebook (owned)

Pages: 634

Publication Date: 3/30/20

Categories: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

I finally read this book that has been sitting on my ebook shelf since last year! Lately I’ve been seeing it everywhere on blogs and instagram so I finally read it and here are my thoughts:

  • I love me a good paranormal story with vampire/werewolf lore. It’s a classic tale, lots of forbidden love stories can come from it and it’s dark with all the danger and blood sucking. So this was an intriguing concept – a Maiden, that’s Poppy, is waiting to Ascend. To heaven? Nah, nope. For awhile it’s a mystery what these Ascended people are. We just know as a Maiden, Poppy is to be preserved, to be kept worthy of her role as a Maiden, but that life is like being a cloistered nun. So Poppy does what she can and escapes once in awhile to experience life outside the Duke’s home.
  • Poppy has a good crew around her, Tawny her maid/friend who I adore. Vikter her guard/who is like a father to her. And Rylan who dies protecting her. Then the hottest new guard steps in to be her royal guard and things get spicy.
  • The spice? The new guard Hawke is so confident, so charming, so handsome and attractive. He’s also a solid and talented protector who is dedicated to protecting Poppy. The attraction is there and things happen between them, sexy, naughty things. It’s clear they can’t resist each other.
  • I think my favorite part of the book was the fighting scenes! I like the action, it is thrilling. I love that Poppy can kick butt under that veil, thank goodness Vikter taught her well! And when she rages, watch out!
  • Triggers: abuse, kidnapping, violence
  • The author lays down ground work for the world building in the beginning of the story but it felt like a slow build. I remember picking this up in 2020 and putting it down after three chapter. It wasn’t catching my attention but with all the hype about it right now, I decided to give it another shot. There working for me for some reason, maybe due to the info dump?
  • There was a bunch of repetitive use of words…intriguing, inappropriate and Hawke being turned on by Poppy’s violence repeatedly.
  • Now here’s where most of my conflict with the book is ~ it’s with Hawke. And I usually love the alpha bad boys and Hawke in the second half of this book did not do it for me. He went from likable to me wishing Poppy would find a way to escape him 😏. But she is hooked on him and he knows it. It kind of grates on me how he likes to remind her of that fact even when he is the one who has been betraying her all this time. Poppy went from one prison, being the Maiden to falling for Hawke who is controlling her future as well? 🤦🏻‍♀️

I did enjoy Hawke and Poppy’s banter in the beginning, it was actually turning out to be a romance that had potential to be something great. I also found Poppy’s relationship with those she cares about very touching – and I really love that she can fight. I guess I like when she’s violent too, Hawke! Haha! I will be reading the sequel to see what happens and I hope Hawke redeems himself in my eyes. Overall, a fairly entertaining read even though I wasn’t into the male lead.

⚔️ ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Namesake | ARC Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS

Title: Namesake (Fable, #2)

Author: Adrienne Young

Format: ebook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 3/16/21

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

  • The covers for this whole series is gorgeous. The writing is beautiful, the characters are developed, the world building is creative! I love this world of dredging, gems and traders – it just takes pirating to a different place that I enjoy so much.
  • Fable uncovers more secrets about her mother’s past. We meet some new characters not only connected to Fable but from Auster’s past as well. The deceptions are present too – who is Fable to trust?
  • Nothing about Fable’s life is easy, not even when it comes to loving West who has his own complications. But this story shows that Fable is her own hero and yes, she now learns to trust others to help her in the bind she is in – she isn’t alone anymore, she has a new found family.
  • Everything in this story comes full circle yet and it’s a satisfying ending to a wonderful duology.
  • Will we get more of this world in the future? I feel like there could be more written about some new characters that we met in this book. I’d love to return to this world.

I gave this book 4.5 stars because I felt like some of the intensity from book one was missing but it’s not a bad thing because overall, the whole series is a 5 star series for me. This book had danger, deception, secrets to unravel, and it was emotional too when it came to Fable’s relationships: West, her love and Saint, her father. This is a series not to miss – it’s creative, intense action, and emotional. Namesake was the perfect ending to this amazing duology.

💙 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, magic, romance, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Wings of Ebony | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Wings of Ebony

Author: J. Elle

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 1/26/21

Categories: Racism, Identity, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Family

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

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

  • Aesthetics ~ Love the cover and the colors are just such a good combination. It perfectly matches the story of Rue and the urban fantasy setting of Wings of Ebony.
  • World Building ~ the story is set in the urban city of Houston but Rue now lives in Ghizon which is this Wakanda-inspired a fantasy hidden island. Ghizon is fascinating because the people there have gray skin and magic. But the mystery is how they were gifted these magic powers. The truth is shocking but the knowledge helps Rue step into her power. As for what happens in Houston, crime is rampant and someone is behind it, when it ties into Ghizon, Rue does everything she can to help stop what is happening. The story is action-packed which moves the story quickly.
  • Family ~ Rue loves her half-sister Tasha, she’s basically all she has left (beside her dad that she hardly knows) . Everything Rue does stems from protecting Tasha. Also, even though Rue’s mom is gone, you can say that how she raised her daughters has made them strong enough to deal with anything that was being thrown at them. I love that they had Ms. Leola though. Also her relationship with her father was strained due to all the secrets,
  • Characters ~ Rue has a strong voice. She is flawed, but brave and unapologetic and wants to do the right thing. I love when she calls out her best friend Bri, when the truth about Ghizon is revealed. Rue is like a superhero queen! I enjoyed the other characters like Bri, Tasha, and Ms. Leola also.
  • There is an insta-love moment in this book, but honestly, I think it’s going to carry on into book two and it works. It comes later in the book and I don’t blame her for the attraction!

This is a fantastic start to an exciting new series. I enjoyed learning about this secret island of Ghizon with it’s magic, technology and gray skinned people. I think Rue is a strong, black female lead who is protective of those she loves, willing to fight hard for what she believes in and is confident in who she is. She is truly a Queen. If you like fast paced urban fantasy that confronts race and social justice themes, then you will definitely like this one!

💜 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, magic, netgalley, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

The Stolen Kingdom | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: The Stolen Kingdom

Author: Jillian Boehme

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Teen Readers, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Court Intrigue

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

For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.

  • World Building ~ Mara lives on a vineyard that produces the best wine in Perin Faye. That all changes when she discovers she is from a royal bloodline, and she is maybe the true heir to the throne. The Thungraves have ruled Perin Faye since they stole the magic and throne from the Dallowyn line. There is dark magic, good magic and politics at play here which makes it an intriguing story.
  • Characters ~ I thought Mara was pretty level headed even if she was thrust into a high pressure situation. She also knew she didn’t want to just be a winemaker all her life and I liked that she accepted her role as Queen. There were two sides to this story, and two perspectives being told which I appreciated. Prince Alac didn’t want to be royal but he is tied to this dark magic his father has entrusted upon him. What will he do when someone comes to take the crown from them? Will he fight or surrender? I think he was the perfect spare, kind of aloof, didn’t care for the royal duties and out of sync with his father and brother.
  • Romance ~ slow burn, enemies to lovers – I think it was perfect. Mara had her goals and really did good sticking to them until she came to care for Alac. Alac had his own dreams too until something major comes between them. I was fascinated to see how it would work out for them after the major scene that took place to throw all Mara’s plans off but in the end it worked out well. And this story is very PG rated, basically only kissing happens and not a lot of it.
  • The story is written well. I read it in one sitting which was unexpected but I was drawn to Mara and Alac’s story.
  • Triggers: death
  • A little bit of insta love? Maybe – Mara and Alac only knew each other for like…2 weeks? I didn’t mind it and this is a standalone so I think it fit because they did fight their feelings for one another and the ending left me satisfied.

I really enjoyed The Stolen Kingdom. I found Mara to be a strong main character and Alac equally intriguing, they made an interesting pair who in the end had a common goal to save their kingdom. I think this is more for teen readers than young adult but can be enjoyed by both.

📚 ~ Yolanda