The Foxglove King by. Hannah Whitten | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Foxglove King (The Nightshade Crown, #1)

Author: Hannah Whitten

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 466

Publication Date: 3/7/23

Categories: Fantasy, New Adult, Magic, Kingdom Politics, LGBT+, Romance

In this lush, romantic new epic fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Hannah Whitten, a young woman’s secret power to raise the dead plunges her into the dangerous and glamorous world of the Sainted King’s royal court.

When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.

Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.

Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne’er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.

But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.

Content Warning: violence

I liked this author’s previous series but didn’t love it. When I heard about this new book I was excited to read it because the synopsis sounded intriguing. Here is what I thought:

+ I love all the political intrigue in this story. The king thinks his son is betraying their kingdom by working with the enemy so they plant a spy, Lore, to find out his secrets. What she finds out is more than what she was led to believe. I enjoyed following Lore and this story to see where it would go, and I can say it wasn’t disappointing.

+ I enjoyed the world building and magic system. Lore can control Mortem – which is basically death. She’s basically a necromancer but that’s the least of her problems. There is a power play happening in court between the King, and the religious body the Presque Mort, and Lore is being played around like a puppet.

+ I was definitely invested in the characters, especially Lore, Gabe, Bastian and Alie. I was not disappointed with how everything unraveled and it makes me eager to read book two.

~ I can’t really call this a romance which was my biggest issue with the book. I wanted all the romantasy I got in her previous series! I was waiting and waiting for it and only got 2 kisses when this is definitely the type of story that calls for more heat. Gabe is basically a monk and he is attracted to Lore – he’s fighting tooth and nail against it, which means, I wanted a little more stolen kisses between them. Also…is this a love triangle? I’m not sure yet…because I don’t feel like Bastian comes off as a love interest. I feel like he and Lore are very good friends instead. So I don’t know but really, these characters are 23+ and I admit I wanted more action between Lore and Gabe at least! There was some angst between them though.

~ The story moved slowly but honestly I am so surprised I read this in two days. Usually a slow moving plot will lost my attention but I think the characters kept me in the story.

~ Lore…I liked her but I also expected more from her being a spy with all these powers? Okay she doesn’t know much about it but she came off confident in the first pages but when she has to spy on the prince – it’s not easy for her and she blows her cover right away. The prince is smart and calculating and I kind of wanted her to match up against him but I guess they were matched in a different way.

Why you should read it:

  • you like kingdom politics
  • it’s not heavy on the romance
  • I enjoyed getting to know the characters

Why you might not want to read it:

  • a love triangle brewing? To be honest, I wanted more romance

My Thoughts:

I like this series much more than the previous one already! It held my attention even though some parts were slow because I was invested in the characters. If you don’t like love triangles, you won’t like this one even though it’s not clear where Lore’s attentions will land. I liked the ending of this book and can’t wait to see what happens in book two!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

For the Throne by. Hannah F. Whitten | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

For the Wolf by. Hannah F. Whitten | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️


The Liar’s Crown by. Abigail Owen | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Liar’s Crown (Dominions, #1)

Author: Abigail Owen

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: 8/30/22

Categories: Fantasy, New Adult, Twins, Romance

Some shadows protect you…others will kill you in this dazzling new fantasy series from award-winning author Abigail Owen.

Everything about my life is a lie. As a hidden twin princess, born second, I have only one purpose—to sacrifice my life for my sister if death comes for her. I’ve been living under the guise of a poor, obscure girl of no standing, slipping into the palace and into the role of the true princess when danger is present.

Now the queen is dead and the ageless King Eidolon has sent my sister a gift—an eerily familiar gift—and a proposal to wed. I don’t trust him, so I do what I was born to do and secretly take her place on the eve of the coronation. Which is why, when a figure made of shadow kidnaps the new queen, he gets me by mistake.

As I try to escape, all the lies start to unravel. And not just my lies. The Shadowraith who took me has secrets of his own. He struggles to contain the shadows he wields—other faces, identities that threaten my very life.

Winter is at the walls. Darkness is looming. And the only way to save my sister and our dominion is to kill Eidolon…and the Shadowraith who has stolen my heart.

Content Warning: violence, kidnapping

The ebook for The Liar’s Crown is on sale on Amazon for $1.99 and so I decided to get it. I’ve been seeing the advertisement for book two of this book coming out soon and I love the cover so I thought, why not? Here is what I thought:

+ If you like stories about twin sisters, you will enjoy this one. I’m 50/50 on twin stories – sometimes I think it’s overdone but I was definitely entertained with this story. Only a few people know about the twin princesses, Tabra and Meren, because it was kept quiet at their birth. They did this because King Eidolon of Tyndra always takes the queens…at least that’s what Meren learned from her grandmother. So Tabra will be the Queen, and Meren, her twin and body double will step in when needed to protect Tabra.

+ Reven is an interesting character – he’s a shadow, literally! He’s a Shadowraith and dangerous. But his dangerous side comes in handy when they are dealing with monsters, because when unleashed he’s the scarier monster. He’s a morally gray character – he is supposedly a bad guy but he’s trying to do good by taking down King Eidolon. Meren and Reven have an attraction that goes into new adult territory which I was very surprised about since I thought this was young adult. So expect a steamy scene between them!

+ I liked the political stakes of the story – I thought it helped move the story along. I like the mistaken identity and body double idea though. It will be interesting to see what happens in book two.

~ I didn’t like that Meren was prepared to be Tabra’s body-double but when her grandmother dies, she’s pretty much in the dark about a lot of things. I wish her grandmothers did a better job of telling her about EVERYTHING, like what the amulet was for, and what King Eidolon’s deal was….you know…important stuff!

~ Meren needed to get back to save Tabra, but it was taking her forever to try and get there. I felt like if she told Reven the truth sooner, she could have saved Tabra from King Eidolon.

~ Meren’s best friend Cain is a potential love interest from chapter one but the boy has no chance. So it’s not quite a love triangle, since obviously Meren is going to end up with Reven. But poor Cain is just chasing after her.

Tropes: mistaken identity, enemies to lovers

Why you should read it:

  • you like stories about twin sisters, in this case one is a body double, the other will inherit the throne
  • Meren and Reven’s romance
  • lots of action and kingdom politics

Why you might not want to read it:

  • cliffhanger ending

My Thoughts:

I went into this one with no expectations and was very surprised that it was New Adult, and that I didn’t dislike this twin sisters story (sometimes I feel twin sisters stores are overdone). There were a few things about the story that I had issues with like Meren taking her time getting back to Tabra when she knows the moment Reven isn’t King Eidolon! Your sister is in danger, girl, get back to her! The ending makes me curious enough to want to read the next book and see what happens.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Silver in the Bone by. Alexandra Bracken | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Silver in the Bone (#1)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 480

Publication Date: 4/4/23

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure, Romance

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

Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

A series opener inspired by Arthurian legend and fueled by love, revenge, and pure adrenaline!

Tamsin Lark didn’t ask to be a Hollower. As a mortal with no magical talent, she was never meant to break into ancient crypts, or compete with sorceresses and Cunningfolk for the treasures inside. But after her thieving foster father disappeared without so much as a goodbye, it was the only way to keep herself—and her brother, Cabell—alive.

Ten years later, rumors are swirling that her guardian vanished with a powerful ring from Arthurian legend. A run-in with her rival Emrys ignites Tamsin’s hope that the ring could free Cabell from a curse that threatens both of them. But they aren’t the only ones who covet the ring.

As word spreads, greedy Hollowers start circling, and many would kill to have it for themselves. While Emrys is the last person Tamsin would choose to partner with, she needs all the help she can get to edge out her competitors in the race for the ring. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, exposing a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother. . . .

Content Warning: violence, gore, death

I wasn’t sure what to expect when requesting this book. I enjoyed Lore which is from the same author. So I thought the concept for this one was intriguing. Here is what I thought:

+ Once I got my bearings in the story, and things started to gel a bit better I was really into the action parts of this story. It’s quite an adventure that Tamsin goes through in this book. It’s urban fantasy so it starts off in the modern world and there is magic, portals and yes Avalon. So I enjoyed all the places this book took me, it’s quite a journey.

+ I liked the characters. Tamsin is that girl who has abandonment issues, doesn’t have a traditional family, doesn’t have anyone really except her brother Cabell. She keeps people away with a gruff, pessimistic front which means she’s not the easiest to be around. Cabell is dealing with some things! Neve is this cool and kind hearted girl who is a sorceress and then there is the gorgeous Emrys who is a rich boy but he has his own issues to deal with. And then there are all the characters in Avalon that were fun to get to know.

+ I mentioned the action but can I say I didn’t expect this to get a bit scary/creepy too? There are zombies in this one and they are relentless and vicious. I actually enjoyed the scenes when they were fighting them even if it got bloody and gory.

+ The ending is a cliffhanger but wow, how the story leads up to it is pretty exciting. I think the second half of this book was the best part, there were a few plot twists that were unexpected. I need to know what is going to happen with Cabell, what is going on with Emrys and I am rooting for the girls to do what they need to do!

~ It took me awhile to get situated in the beginning of the book because I was thrown into it. I didn’t know what Tamsin was, what a Hollower was, if this was fantasy, if this was contemporary. I kind of wish I was lead into it a bit better.

~ Pacing – at times this book was going really fast, because the action is really great and then once it would get good, it pulled back. I had to check a few times how many more pages was left in the book because I was hoping I was near the finish line. It definitely felt like 480 pages.

~ The zombies or Children of the Night are reminiscent of the Whitewalkers in Game of Thrones. They are afraid of fire, they are freakishly scary and want blood, and come out at night. It’s what I totally pictured in my head when I read the scenes with the Children of the Night. Also the bodycount factor reminded me of GoT also! The author wasn’t afraid to kill off good people in this story – it was a heartbreaking scene but definitely makes me want to read book two. But anyway if you aren’t into zombies – this might not be for you.

Tropes: found family,

Why you should read it:

  • King Arthur legends, adventure, zombies, magic
  • the enemies to lovers romance between Tamsin and Emrys
  • you like urban fantasy

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you get thrown in to the story, pacing is all over the place, it’s kind of chaotic until you get your bearings

My Thoughts:

I found this book very entertaining for the most part! The pacing issues made it feel laggy in some places but the action was really good especially in the later part of the book. I will definitely read book two because I want to know what happens to these amazing characters.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lore by. Alexandra Bracken | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Divine Rivals by. Rebecca Ross | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Divine Rivals (#1)

Author: Rebecca Ross

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 4/4/23

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Historical Fantasy, War, Gods, Romance, Young Adult, Grief

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

Thank you to Wednesday Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.

To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish―into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.

When two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection, they must face the depths of hell, in a war among gods, to seal their fate forever. Shadow and Bone meets Lore in this epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel filled with hope and heartbreak, and the unparalleled power of love.

Content Warning: violence, death, alcoholism, war, wounds, grief

I requested this book because it said Rebecca Ross wrote it and I was not disappointed. Here is what I thought:

+ I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this story and I was so surprised at what I got. This is a historical fantasy, set in a time similar to the 1950’s – the main characters are reporters who use typewriters to write their article for the newspaper. The fascinating thing in this story is the war wasn’t started by humans that we know of, but gods. And the gods have used humans to fight their war. We get a bit of the lore between the gods Dacre and Enva and why they started fighting. There is even magic in this world, magic typewriters, enchanted houses, which I thought was really fun.

+ Because this is basically a war drama – there is sweeping rivals to lovers romance, there is loved ones missing on the front lines, the horrors of war, the strength of love and character and I experienced so many emotions in this one book alone. I think I teared up three times. And I wasn’t expecting this book to do that to me.

+ The romance is a big part of this story and I love it. It’s the type of romance I would expect in a war drama actually and fits so beautifully. I’m a sucker for written letters (I am old enough to have done this back in my day lol), two people who love the written word – falling for one another because of the words they are writing to one another. It grabbed the romantic in me by the heart and I was rooting for their love from beginning to end!

+ There is more to the story especially when it comes to Iris trying to find her brother. My heart felt for both Iris and Roman. Mostly Iris because she was so all alone in the world. But what a tough young lady to keep on going even when it seems she has nothing left. She’s determined to find her brother and know if he was dead or alive. And Roman for overcoming an accident in his past that has ruined his family forever. I commend both of them for trying to love again even when they’ve both been so hurt.

~ There is a cliffhanger at the end and this book is a series. The ending broke my heart for Iris and her crew at the end of this book.

~ I do want more back story about the Gods because other Gods are mentioned besides Dacre and Enva, but I’m hoping that information comes in book two.

Tropes: magical correspondence, rival journalists

Why you should read it:

  • fan of Rebecca Ross
  • it’s got a little bit of everything: war, drama, gods, romance
  • I love Iris and Roman

Why you might not want to read it:

  • some readers might the story lacking in world-building especially in the mythology department but I’m hoping there is more of it in book two – the Dacre/Enva story kind of reminds me of Hades and Persephone but different

My Thoughts:

Where does Rebecca Ross come up with these stories? She is becoming my new must-read author only because she tries different things, different time periods, different settings and I always enjoy what she creates. I went with 5 stars for this book because the way this story took me for a ride, an emotional one at that, it even though it made me cry. I was caught up in the heartbreak for Iris, the horrors of war and the sweeping love story between Iris and Roman. I am so excited for book two, I’m just sad I have to wait awhile for it.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sisters of Sword and Song by. Rebecca Ross | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

A River Enchanted by. Rebecca Ross | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Review: The Queen’s Rising ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by. Amélie Wen Zhao | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night (Song of the Last Kingdom, #1)

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 512

Publication Date: 1/17/23

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology, Dragons, Demons, Romance

In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past–and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China.

Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and spends her days scavenging for remnants of the past. For anything that might help her understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother, in her last act before she died.

No one can see the mysterious mark–an untranslatable Hin character–except Lan. Until the night a boy appears at the teahouse and saves her life.

Zen is a practitioner–one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom, whose abilities were rumored to be drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Magic to be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.

When Zen comes across Lan’s unusual qi, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it–but he knows: if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.

Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world.

Content Warning: violence, death

I got this book on my online library and really haven’t read many reviews for it or wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it. Here is what I thought:

+ I like the other series this author wrote, so I was definitely interested to see how this book would pan out. I love the writing because it’s full of action, secrets, a fallen kingdom, a people trying to hold on to their culture and heritage and passing on their knowledge. There is magic, there are demons, and even a tiny bit of a romance.

+ I thought Lan was a intriguing character – she’s a song girl, but she has a mysterious seal on her arm and I was invested in her story to want to desperately find out what that seal on her contained! This book is about power and the consequences of power when there is no balance – and Zen’s character really exhibits the fight inside himself, trying to control a demon, trying to contain his anger against the Elantians and wanting to not be helpless against them anymore. I sympathized with both characters and the rest of the Hin who was trying to preserve their culture and family name.

+ The magic system is really cool and uses the power of qi. I love how the practioners (magic masters) have these amazing skills to fight and write magic seals. It made me wish I could see this book on the screen, just to witness these battles in action. There were really cool scenes in this book, especially the one where Zen and Lan are at the Guarded Mountain and the climax, big fight at the school was amazing as well.

+ The romance is so slight, barely there and with the way things end. It’s not looking hopeful at the moment, but I can’t wait to read book to see where the story goes.

~ The villain is so villainous, I hated him and was rooting for Lan to somehow take him down but it didn’t happen. They need more to take him and the Elantians down and it’s one of those books that makes me want to read the next and the next just to see them taken down.

~ The only thing that took me awhile to grasp at times was the magic because it had to deal with yin and yang and qi. Lan does grasp everything fairly quick even though she’s only training for about 2 weeks – but it’s due to her bloodline.

Why you should read it:

  • great world building, action scenes and characters fighting for their communities
  • Lan and Zen’s internally battle with the demons and wanting power
  • cool magic system

Why you might not want to read it:

My Thoughts:

I went into this one not really knowing what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I love the action and the whole story was just pure entertainment. There were moments I just was protective of Lan and Zen and I really, really want that villain to be taken down. I’ll be eagerly waiting to see where this story takes these characters in book two!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review | Blood Heir ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Red Tigress by. Amélie Wen Zhao | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Misfit by. Elle Kennedy | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Misfit (The Prep Series)

Author: Elle Kennedy

Format: ebook (KU)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 11/29/22

Categories: New Adult, Prep School, Romance

Finding out your mom is marrying some rich guy you’ve never met is enough to make any eighteen-year-old’s head spin. And for RJ Shaw, it gets worse: he’s being sent to Sandover Prep for senior year. If there’s one place a misfit hacker like RJ doesn’t belong, it’s an ivy-covered all-boys boarding school for rich delinquents. There’s no point trying to get along with anyone. That is, until he meets Sloane Tresscott in the woods on the outskirts of campus. Gorgeous and sharp-tongued, Sloane is pure temptation. Except Sloane is the one girl he’s forbidden from touching. The headmaster’s daughter. Good thing RJ doesn’t believe in rules. Sure, Sloane insists she’s swearing off boys this year, but he wants her bad, and he’s going to win her over if it kills him—unless her ex-boyfriend, the ruling king of Sandover, kills him first. Luckily, RJ’s unwittingly made some friends. His new stepbrother Fenn, a pretty boy with a self-destructive streak. Lawson, self-proclaimed agent of chaos. And Silas, the All-American good guy who can’t actually be as nice as he seems. If RJ wants to survive prep school and win Sloane’s heart, he’ll need to figure out a way to use all the secrets hidden in the walls of Sandover.

Content Warning: bullying, violence, toxic relationships, teacher/student relationship

Continuing on with my prep school book craving, I picked this one up Kindle Unlimited and this is what I thought:

+ I already knew this one would be a bit raunchy but whoa – okay are prep school kids really having this much sex? Because I hope they are getting tested and staying protected. I liked that the MC is a guy who doesn’t fit in – he’s a hacker and his mom married into money but usually I read these stories from girl POV’s and it was nice to get it with a male lead.

+ There is a whole cast of characters in this one and different POV’s – a lot of them are supposed to have done something bad to end up at this prep school but it’s definitely white collar crime stuff. And I find it interesting that Fenn and his friends aren’t the baddest kids at this school. There’s a guy name Duke who is the biggest bully on campus and Fenn and his friends are basically the party boys who try and stay on Duke’s good side.

+ I liked RJ and Sloane. She’s a man-eater with a really bad, douchey ex-boyfriend. RJ is on the quiet side, but still confident even if he’s not the physical and macho type. He’s a hacker so this is definitely the hacker-hero trope which I hardly get to read but always am eager to read. I think they balanced each other!

+ There is a mystery in the story too and I hope there is more progress in book two since it does concern Cassie.

~ It’s new adult but yes these kids (some are 18) are already having hot, steamy sex – some having it at a marathon pace (Looking at you Lawson 😆). Speaking of Lawson, he even has teacher relations – just a warning. And he is an equal opportunity kinda guy so he likes the girls and guys. But I always feel like these stories should be set in college – but I guess that’s expected in college. With Seniors in high school it comes off a bit rebellious which is the appeal.

~ There are multiple POVS in this one and I think it worked out okay for the most part but I think it slowed down the story a bit. I do wish it was just RJ and Sloane’s POVS. But the multiple POVS gives an intro to all the major players, I just wish it was a bit less. It gives a bit of a background into Cassie and Fenn who are the main characters for the next book. Silas’ perspective is not very exciting yet and well Lawson is Lawson.

Why you should read it:

  • you like the bad, rich boys who are up to no good – and there are the girls who want to tame them
  • entertaining if you like lots of drama and angst
  • RJ and Sloane make a cute couple once they get past some trust issues

Why you might not want to read it:

  • toxic relationships

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for these toxic drama stories and this definitely brought it! I’m definitely going to read book two because I want to know about Cassie’s situation plus book two is about Cassie and Fenn, so I want to see just what she does to tame this wild party boy.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Good Girl Complex by. Elle Kennedy | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bad Girl Reputation by. Elle Kennedy | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️

Thornwood Academy: Never Say Die by. L.J. Swallow | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Thornwood Academy: Never Say Die #1

Author: L.J. Swallow

Format: ebook (KU)

Pages: 212

Publication Date: 2/8/23

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Prep Academy, Mystery, Supernatural

I’m a vampire-witch hybrid with a fondness for necromancy.
Excuse me if I’m a little dead inside.

I tried to attend a human school, but they didn’t appreciate my behavior. Personally, I found biology class more interesting when the dissected animals fought back. The school didn’t.

My parents searched for somewhere new to send their deviant daughter, and doors open when your father is Dorian Blackwood. Then they close firmly behind once he dumps you inside an exclusive supernatural academy, along with instructions to become ‘a touch more amiable’.

Says the guy who spent his teen years tearing throats out. Luckily, I’ve inherited my father’s sociopathic tendencies and my mother’s magical skills, a lethal yet useful combination when navigating academy life.

Thornwood Academy. Home to the elite who strive to excel—and now me, who strives to leave. Since the supernaturals revealed themselves to the world, the unluckiest human kids join the vampires and witches at Thornwood. Hopefully, the humans aren’t dissected in this biology class.

I don’t care that nobody trusts me, but when the headmaster’s son is found unalived, fingers point at Dorian’s darkling daughter. Ridiculous. I would’ve reanimated the bullying asshole and demanded he perform tricks. Such a wasted opportunity.

If I want help clearing my name, I need to become ‘a touch more amiable’ to the three guys who seem oddly fascinated by me. Somebody doesn’t want the accords between humans and supes to last, and I’m not taking the blame just because I’m a Blackwood.

Looking for an academy read with Wednesday vibes? Meet Violet Blackwood: half-vampire, half-witch, smart, sarcastic, and slightly unhinged.

Never Say Die is the first in a new supernatural academy series from LJ Swallow,author of the Nightworld Academy books. The Thornwood Academy series features a girl who isn’t afraid to use her dark side, a magic school where humans mix with vampires and witches, and three guys with secrets in a town stalked by a serial killer.
Thornwood Academy is also a slow-burn romance… almost as glacial as our slightly psychotic heroine.

Content Warning: bullying, violence, death

I was in the mood for a prep school, bingeable book and picked this one up on Kindle Unlimited and this is what I thought:

+ I was reading the story and realized right away that Violet, our MC, is a dead ringer for Wednesday Adams from the show Wednesday on Netflix. And I LOVE that show. So I was enjoying Violet also since they are basically the same person, even though they look different. Violet has blue eyes I believe. Anyway so this reads like a Wednesday fanfic.

+ This is a SUPER short book, at only 212 pages – so it’s definitely bingeable, and clearly it’s a series but yeah I read this one quick.

+ I like the mystery and investigation – it keeps the story moving and once again, reminiscent of Wednesday.

~ I don’t mind Wednesday being an inspiration because I am obsessed with that show but there are too many similar things to the show. Violet investigates a murder and she sees a therapist in town – sound familiar? She even goes to the morgue just like Wednesday did and then the love triangles with the boys. Violet has a few more boys on her list but it still felt so similar to Wednesday. Violet’s whole personality is Wednesday Adams. Even her roommate – okay she’s not a werewolf, she’s a bubbly, optimistic personality though which is also reminiscent of Wednesday’s roommate in the show.

~ This is a spin-off to another series, I believe because I’m pretty sure Violet’s parents had their own series. I never read it though and I don’t think you need to read it to be able to read this one.

Why you should read it:

  • you love Wednesday (on Netflix) because basically this is the book version with very few differences
  • it’s quick and bingeable, entertaining

Why you might not want to read it:

  • its too similar to Wednesday

My Thoughts:

Am I going to continue the series? Yes because I need more of Wednesday and can’t get any more until they release Season 2 lol…so this series will have to suffice. Do I feel like the story could have been inspired and used less of what was in the show? Definitely yes. I love a character like Wednesday, but maybe not copy the scenes from the show and the secondary characters? I’m giving it a three because I still read it in one sitting and will definitely see how this reverse harem will work out. I mean, will it? She doesn’t even like being touched! So I’m curious to see what happens in book two and I hope it’s a little more original and not follow the Wednesday show.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Ambrosia by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Ambrosia (The Frost and Nectar, #2)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: ebook (KU)

Pages: 350

Publication Date: 2/20/23

Categories: Romance, Fantasy, Series, Duology, Faerie, Urban Fantasy

After the Seelie king Torin nearly froze me to death, I plunged through a portal into my true home. Turns out, my hometown is a wild Unseelie kingdom known as the Court of Sorrows. When Torin follows me and sees my new horns, he quickly realizes that his intended bride is an enemy of his realm. In fact, his name for my kind is “demon.”

But even if I have the horns of an Unseelie, I’m not welcome here, either. Queen Mab and her monstrous soldiers are delighted to torment us, accusing me of being a traitor. If we want to get out of the Court of Sorrows with our lives, the only hope we have is to stay as close to each other as possible–even if it means fleeing in horseback and sharing a bed. Every moment is bittersweet, since it could be our last–and Torin is condemned to kill anyone he loves.

Content Warning: violence

This was one of my most anticipated reads for February and I finally got a chance to read it. Here is what I thought:

+ A lot happens in this story because the series is only a duology. Ava has fallen into the world of the Unseelie and she is not herself. She learns more about herself and that she has powers and why.

+ Torin and Ava finally get to have a steamy scene together which is what I’ve been waiting for.

+ There is a lot of action in this one, especially at the end.

~ Unfortunately I was less connected to the characters in this one and I think it’s because everything was so fast paced and it felt rushed. I think the whole series altogether feels rushed.

~ I actually wanted to learn more about the villains but again, everything came so rushed at the end.

~ Shalini, Ava’s best friend, actually gets more of a part in this book but I wasn’t expecting her POV and was thrown off and I didn’t even remember who she was only because the book focuses on Ava and Torin. I’m glad she has a happy ending also but it was unexpected.

Why you should read it:

  • you read book one
  • into Faeries
  • Ava and Torin finally get a steamy scene

Why you might not want to read it:

  • the whole series feels rushed

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed book one and was interested in seeing where the story would go and even though it was rushed, there were entertaining moments. I think this story had so much potential, I just needed more from it like maybe a third book. Even though I didn’t really love it, I know others will enjoy this book.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Frost by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Garden of Serpents by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review ⭐️⭐️💫

Lord of Embers by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

City of Thorns (The Demon Queen Trials, #1) by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Mini Reviews | Hades Castle Trilogy by. C.N. Crawford ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mini Reviews | Institute of the Shadow Fae Series (Books #1-4) by. C.N. Crawford ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Mini Reviews | Court of the Sea Fae Trilogy by. C.N. Crawford ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Blood & Steel by. Helen Scheuerer | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Blood & Steel (The Legends of Thezmarr #1)

Author: Helen Scheuerer

Format: ebook (kindle unlimited)

Pages: 504

Publication Date: 2/16/23

Categories: Fantasy, Romance

With her death foretold, Althea Zoltaire only has three years to become what she’s always dreamed of being: a warrior legend.

Women are forbidden to wield blades, so she has trained in secret her entire life. Now racing against the clock, she fights to secure her place in the elite guild charged with the protection of the five kingdoms.

The sparring and hazing of the new trainees border on deadly, but even more dangerous is her growing attraction to Wilder Hawthorne, her unwilling warrior chaperone.

All around them, schemes are afoot and darkness looms.

Will Althea pass the perilous initiation test and take her place as a champion of Thezmarr – or will the invading evil snatch away her dream before it starts?

If you like fierce sword-wielding heroines and brooding, tortured heroes, you will devour this sexy, addictive fantasy adventure.

Perfect for fans of The Bridge Kingdom, From Blood and Ash and The Witcher, BLOOD & STEEL is an epic romantic fantasy with enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn spice, found family, and a sprawling world of magic and monsters. Blood & Steel is the gripping first book in the heart-pounding, epic romantic fantasy series, The Legends of Thezmarr.

Content Warning: violence, bullying, hazing

I was in the mood for a romantic fantasy and saw that one of my must-read authors Helen Scheuerer came out with a new book series. So I borrowed it on KU and this is what I thought:

+ I enjoyed this author’s past series, but I still have to finish book 4 from the last one. I always enjoy the world-building and it’s no different with this one. Set in a world where kingdoms are trying to combat evil monsters coming through a rift in the Veil, there is action, legendary warriors, monsters and romance.

+ I like my romantic fantasy with all the tropes and this one has a few: enemies to lovers romance, girl with a secret past/power, sibling bond, found family, a young woman training among young men, mentor/mentee romance and I think it all fits nicely together. It’s what I look for and when I get it in one book, it’s wonderful. It may be predictable but that’s why I like it.

+ Speaking of romance. Althea or Thea is the young woman who wants to be a warrior but there is a rule that women are not supposed to carry weapons because of a prophecy. But she breaks the rules and who’s there to teach her how to fight – but reluctantly? The grouchy, cold hearted Wilder Hawthorne, one of 3 legendary Warswords, a menacing warrior who has no time to be Thea’s babysitter but can’t seem to stay away. It’s a slow burn, but it’s clear they are attracted to one another and they have one steamy moment.

+ I love the found family Thea has with Kipp and Cal, two guys she befriends in training. And I love that she also has her sister to help keep her on track at times even though they butt heads a lot.

+ Story-wise I am intrigued to see what happens after that cliffhanger ending. Will Thea learn more about her past and powers and learn to use it for good? I did love all the action and fighting scenes in this book, I think it is very entertaining.

~ Thea is a bit impulsive but I understand because of her fate stone and what it means. I can see why she wants all she can get out of life even if that means being reckless at times. But she does learn, especially because a lot of this book is about her training and honing her skills – she eventually learns some sense of control, which is good.

~ The romance is a bit of back and forth, push and pull plus it’s a slow burn, but Wilder keeps fighting it so we shall see what happens in the next book.

Tropes: enemies to lovers, special girl with past/undiscovered powers, found family

Why you should read it:

  • Thea’s goals of becoming a female warrior even if it is against the law
  • found family, sibling bond, lots of action fighting monsters
  • romantic fantasy, slow burn, enemies to lovers

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it feels young adult even though the MC is 24? Especially when she is training with everyone.
  • special girl trope

My Thoughts:

This one has everything I want in a romantic fantasy that is bingeable. It has found family, action, monsters, magic, fighting, a sister bond, and a special girl who now is finding out how special she really is to the kingdom. Now only if the other books were already published, that would’ve been much better for me lol. I enjoyed this one a lot and look forward to book two.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

A Lair of Bones (Curse of the Cyren Queen #1) by. Helen Scheuerer | Book Review⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💫

With Dagger and Song by. Helen Scheuerer | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Fabric of Chaos by. Helen Scheuerer | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💫

The Sweetest Betrayal by. Natalie Mae | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Sweetest Betrayal (#3)

Author: Natalie Mae

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 394

Publication Date: 2/14/23

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Series, Magic, Adventure, Romance

In this heart-pounding conclusion to The Kinder Poison trilogy—which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”—war looms over Orkena, but can Zahru save her people without losing herself?

War has come to Orkena.

Zahru has risen as Mestrah, and she is determined to peacefully end the escalating tensions with Wyrim, her country’s long-time enemy. Yet diplomacy proves to be futile, and when Zahru turns to Orkena’s allies for help, she finds that none are willing to come to her aid—not without Kasta ruling at her side.

As Wyrim advances on the capital, Zahru is desperate to protect her people, even if that means accepting Kasta’s help. But her enemy is merciless. And as ambushes and betrayals push Zahru to increasingly dark tactics, she wonders if perhaps Kasta had it right all along: maybe peace was never an option … and maybe she was never meant to do this alone.

Can Zahru spare her enemy without sacrificing her kingdom? Or will Orkena’s salvation only come if Zahru becomes the monster her people need?

Content Warning: violence, kidnapping

This is one of my most anticipated reads for 2023 and it did NOT disappoint. And the covers for these series – absolutely stunning. Simple and stunning and I will be adding this to my bookshelf for sure. Here’s what I thought:

+ Things carry on right away from the ending of book two and boy does Zahru have a lot to answer for and face in this last book of the series. She goes through some things! But she has to in order to grow. She has major trust issues especially when it comes to Kasta. But also she doesn’t know if she can even trust herself with this god-like power. Is she a good person? Is she bad? Is she a good leader? She has a lot of growing up to do if she wants to prove she can be Mestrah.

+ One reason I love this series? The characters! From our main ones like Zahru and Kasta to all her friends her found family of sorts, they are all different, complex and amazing. They fight, argue, have fun together, support one another – intervene if need be. I love this group of characters. Hen is my favorite! I want her as my bestie.

+ Zahru and Kasta are off the charts and I didn’t even know if they would make it in the end! I didn’t even trust him for most of the story. 😅They had me anxious, eyes wide, palm over my mouth when some things happen. But wow the tension between them is so good and then also wondering as a reader if they are even good for one another made me question a lot of things but honestly and I don’t know if it’s my hormones but I teared up in some places of this book. I love them so much. They are the perfect couple in all their imperfections and I love that ultimately it was about them finding their way to trust one another and forgive. I can go on but yeah…I found a new favorite couple. They have a few steamy moments but what I love about it is it’s quick, not super detailed but you still feel the heat, maybe because it’s a long time coming and it comes as a relief that they finally stop fighting one another.

+ Wonderful story telling! It has humor, romance (and not only between Zahru and Kasta), friendship, battles, danger, adventure and more. I read this in one day without expecting to! And I wrote this review after I finished because I was feeling so much things about this book.

+ A perfect ending to a great series!

~ Some of the young characters sounded like the spoke in modern day speech which sometimes threw me off but I went with it and laughed a lot when it happened because it was mostly between Zahru and her friends. I didn’t mind it at all but I don’t remember if the previous books had the characters talking this way. I’ll have to re-read the whole series and I most definitely WILL since I loved this conclusion so much.

Tropes: enemies to lovers

Why you should read it:

  • Zahru and Kasta 🥰 – angst, bickering, tension, enemies to lovers and a very happy ending
  • great cast of characters – Hen is amazing
  • great story-telling, action, adventure, politics, romance

Why you might not want to read it:

My Thoughts:

I loved this conclusion – it had everything I wanted and really exceeded any expectations I had. I just wanted it to be as amazing as the cover and I can say it did it’s job in making me happy and satisfied at the end. Great series that I will be re-reading again hopefully soon! I want Natalie Mae to be working on her next series now with more enemies to lovers please 😅. I look forward to reading more from this author!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Kinder Poison | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

The Cruelest Mercy by. Natalie Mae | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️