Shadow Knights (Knights of the Realm #2) | Book Review

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Title: Shadow Knights (Knights of the Realm, #2)

Author: Jennifer Anne Davis

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 301

Categories: Teen Readers, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

With Prince Henrick dead, a foreign army in league with the king, and the palace taken, Reid must find a way to right the wrongs for the people of Marsden.

Reid never expected to find love, friendship, or her mother in the kingdom of Axian. She also never expected to become a leader for her people. With the king threatening to overthrow the dukes and take complete control of the kingdom, Reid realizes she may be the only one in a position to stop him. With the ring her father gave her, the commanders of the army at her side, and a master schemer in league with her, Reid just might be able to pull off the greatest upset in Marsden history—all she has to do in step into the role she was born for.

To protect her kingdom, Reid must outsmart them all. Luckily, she’s spent the last eighteen year learning the art of manipulation, and she isn’t above putting those skills to the test.

  • I read the arc of the first book in the series through NetGalley then saw the final books in these series are on Kindle Unlimited so I decided to finish the series. The first book didn’t was flat – but I did like the girl growing up as a boy, Mulan thing going on. So I wanted to see what happened. Reid is now living as a full on girl, but trying to adjust to it.
  • I do like Prince Dexter and his brother. They seem to have a close bond and are very different from each other.
  • The political intrigue between kingdoms is solid. I thought it kept the story moving.
  • I think this series is for a teen reader yet I was expecting young adult story levels. So this sequel fell even shorter for me than the first did! Reid just feels so weak for someone who grew up as a boy. She is so boring and doesn’t inspire me at all. What was her role as a knight really? She’s supposedly undercover but it seems like everyone knew why she was in Axian, there was nothing shadow like about it! That frustrated me the most.
  • Reid and Dexter lack chemistry. They didn’t do it for me. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • The writing was more telling than showing at times.

I will say this, if you want a simplistic, light, young adult fantasy story, you will enjoy this one. It’s a quick read. For me, I don’t think I’ll read the next book because I just want a bit more from Reid since she is the main character.

😘 ~ Yolanda

Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2) | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: Unravel the Dust (The Blood of Stars, #2)

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 354

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of Unravel the Dusk. 

  • Aesthetics ~ both covers for this duology are gorgeous. I love how the first book was bluish tones and this one is red.
  • I appreciate Maia’s battle with the demon inside her because we all have our own demons we fight daily. So I like how motivational the story is.
  • This story is darker than Spin the Stars, which was filled with political intrigue. In Unravel the Dusk, Maia is fighting a demon, Ewan is gone, and war is breaking out. This book is action packed.
  • Great writing and world-building as usual, it’s what I loved about the first book and it continues here, just with a darker tone. The magic is back but now Maia is dealing with the consequences of it from book one.
  • Oh how I wished I loved this more, but I didn’t. I couldn’t even get into the story, it took me two weeks to finish. Mind you one of those weeks were a very stressful election week in the USA and I gave up reading but I was hoping this book would help me escape from that stress and it did not. I didn’t expect Maia’s journey to get so dark and lonely, but it makes sense since she touched the demon.
  • I wanted more of Edan and Maia but that comes late into the book. But I really wanted him beside her helping her in the beginning. 😒
  • This might be a case of me needing to re-read this book when I’m in the right mood. Even though this book fell flat for me personally, I still am excited to read what this author with be writing next!

I didn’t love Unravel the Dusk as much as I did Spin the Stars, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good duology. Overall, it’s a series about a girl who rises up in a man’s world, tries to help her family and then ends up helping her country. It’s action packed, the message is inspirational and the book covers are gorgeous. I look forward to reading more from this author.

💙 ~ Yolanda

Grown | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Grown

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Categories: Contemporary, Young Adult, Sexual Assault, Rape, Mystery, Thriller

Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

  • Aesthetics ~ the cover is gorgeous! I love that mustard yellow and brown combination with the earring carrying the title of the book.
  • This is a murder mystery that really got me hooked on the first page. I didn’t know it would be inspired by R. Kelly’s story and yes, I did watch that docuseries Surviving R. Kelly which aired last year. The author did such a great job following Enchanted and how she is groomed by Korey. She thinks it’s love but it becomes something more dark and sinister the longer she is trapped with him. I was afraid for her and the other girls in his life. I felt the same way as when I watched that docuseries.
  • The story brings up so many issues such as parenting ~ was it Enchanted’s parents to blame for what happened? The artist himself, Korey, obviously had a pattern of this behavior ~ how could people let him do this in front of the whole world? The police ~ why didn’t they believe Enchanted or her parents when they reported something was wrong? Enchanted ~ should she have known better, she knew he was 28? Bottom line, Korey was the adult and the monster.
  • Enchanted is filled with so many dreams of being a singer in the beginning and she gets part of her dream – with a huge cost. She loses herself, her family, her power, and the little control she had over life. Korey was scary because he came off so perfect at the start, in the end he was the boogie man in the closet.
  • Triggers: physical, emotional and sexual abuse, being drugged, grooming, kidnapping
  • There was a point in the book when Enchanted’s sanity is questioned – especially when it comes to her friend Gab. Even I thought I was losing my mind as it confused me for a moment as to what the author was trying to do with that moment.

Whether you know the R. Kelly story or not, this book is a powerful read. Enchanted’s story is scary and heartbreaking, I felt scared and trapped with her. How do we let these predators get away with so much? If you can handle the heavy issues in this book, read it.

💛 ~ Yolanda

Warmaidens | ARC Review

My Review: 3/5 Stars

Title: Warmaidens (Gravemaidens, #2)

Author: Kelly Coon

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 12/15/20

Publisher: Random House Children’s

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.**

Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.

In the refuge city-state of Manzazu, Kammani has built a thriving healing practice and a life she’s proud of with her siblings, the maidens, and her love, Dagan. 

But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill Arwia, the displaced queen of Alu, they realize they’re not safe in their safe little haven anymore. Uruku, the usurper to Alu’s throne, has found out they escaped the tomb and must kill them to protect his newly acquired power.

Burning for retribution, the ruler of Manzazu wants to unleash her fiercest weapons on Alu–her warmaidens. But when Kammani’s best friend, Iltani, is captured, Kammani must use her intuition and her heart to restore Arwia to the throne before the life she’s built–and a future with Dagan–burn up in the flames of war. 

Thank you to Random House Children’s and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

My Attention: read in five days

World Building: scenery is written wonderfully as in Gravemaidens

Writing Style: easy to read

Crazy in Love: Kammani and Dagan are already in love, Kammani just doesn’t want to be a “wife”

Creativity: Kammani’s life is in danger and they have to get Uruku off the throne

Triggers: violence, grief, misogyny

My Takeaway: You don’t have to give up your dreams when you fall in love with someone.

  • Iltani was my favorite in the first book, Gravemaidens and she comes back again with her sassy, wild self. She has the most personality out of all the characters. The women power vibes of Kammani and her crew were present in this book which is great.
  • Dagan is still trying to get Kammani to marry him but she’s worried about balancing her dreams, life and love. What if she doesn’t want children? What if she doesn’t want marriage? I like that the author let Kammani be happy without these things. The message I got was that it was okay to be independent and in love too.
  • A lot of things go wrong in this book, but I like that no matter what, the friends/families work together to achieve their goal.
  • I liked Gravemaidens more than this one because it was darker and more mysterious than Warmaidens. This is described as a dark story, but it didn’t feel that way at all.
  • Other than Iltani, I felt no connection to anyone else.
  • The way the characters planned out how to take down Uruku felt naive or amateurish, and it was – considering none of them were cold blooded killers, but I lost interest many times when it felt like their plans didn’t feel well thought out.

Though it’s not my favorite book in the duology, I think Warmaidens is a solid conclusion to this series. My favorite character Iltani really came through in personality, and she made the book fun to read. Kammani’s internal questions about how to be in love and not lose her independence really resonated with me and I’m glad to see her make her own choices. If you like stories about family, sisterhood, women power and romance, then you would enjoy this series.

💗 ~ Yolanda

Parachutes | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Parachutes

Author: Kelly Yang

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 496

Categories: Contemporary, Young Adult, Sexual Assault, Racism, Classism

They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the US while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California. Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.

Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate-team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. When her debate coach starts working with her privately, Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course.

Desperately trying to avoid each other under the same roof, Dani and Claire find themselves on a collision course, intertwining in deeper and more complicated ways, as they grapple with life-altering experiences. Award-winning author Kelly Yang weaves together an unforgettable modern immigrant story about love, trauma, family, corruption, and the power of speaking out.

  • I was really clueless about this term of parachute kids. This book was a learning experience for me on the whole subject of Chinese kids coming to American to live with host families to go to school here. I used to work in a college library and many of my student workers were female Chinese students, but graduate students, so they did their high school years in China. I do remember them telling me about how hard they studied and the pressures they had to deal with.
  • The wealth disparity in this story shows such a big gap between the kind of wealth Claire (parachute kid) has and Dani, her Filipina roommate, lacks. Dani’s mom is a cleaning maid and Dani herself works part-time as one too. They are Claire’s host family because they need the money. Claire is basically filthy rich by most people’s standard – but not rich enough to have their own private jet kind of rich.
  • Sexual Assault is a BIG theme in this book and a major trigger so please be aware of that. There is a situation with Dani’s debate coach, and then Claire experiences one with her boyfriend but throughout the whole story the boys and men (minus Zach) were really trash. There are some events that happen that help the two girls bond, but for a good time in the book, they aren’t very close.
  • The girls learn to find their voices to tell their truths and that’s the inspirational part of the book.
  • Triggers: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, grooming, cheating, stalking
  • I understand Dani and Claire barely know each other and it stays that way throughout most of the book. I was hoping for a little more connection between them but then again, Claire does make friends with the other Parachutes.
  • I wasn’t feeling the Zach romance storyline – I didn’t think it was needed. Also, I think I got it that Claire and her friends were super rich, there was a lot of brand names and labels being dropped. Those parts definitely reminded me of Crazy Rich Asians.

This book was eye-opening to me because of the parachute kids in American schools. I have no experience with that, so it was good to learn. There are a lot of important issues covered in this book, especially when it comes to racism, classism and sexual assault. Though both Claire and Dani experience some traumatizing moments in this book, I liked that the ending was hopeful as they found their voices and told their truths. Overall, an important story to read about two different girls, who are strong in their own ways.

🪂~Yolanda

These Violent Delights | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 464

Publication Date: 11/17/20

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Categories: Romeo and Juliet Retelling, Romance, Gangs, Shanghai, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Family

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

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Let’s break it down:

My Attention: I was along for the wild ride!

World Building: retelling of Romeo & Juliet, Shanghai, 1926 – turf wars between two gangs and a communist faction coming into play

Writing Style: fast paced

Bringing the Heat: 🔥

Crazy in Love: star-crossed lovers, it’s Romeo & Juliet – it was always going to be complicated

Creativity: I loved everything about how this is a Romeo & Juliet retelling, but with gangs in Shanghai.

Mood: Excited for sequel

Triggers: violence, gore, bugs, death

My Takeaway: “These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare

  • Where do I start? Aesthetics: from the title to the cover…the darkness, the monster…ALL of it. It is perfection and matches the story to a T. Whoever did the cover design…BRAVO.
  • All the historical content about Shanghai in the 1920’s with foreign powers trying to take a piece of the city was well done. I learned a lot! We also get Juliette’s perspective of being a Chinese young woman being raised in America and the racism she experienced there.
  • Romeo & Juliet always made a good gangster story, two houses that hate each other. The same vibe in the original is alive in this version except for maybe the romance part. Roma and Juliette have a bloody, heartbreaking past – but their lifestyles don’t allow them to dwell on feelings like that. So in that sense it wasn’t as close to the original but I loved it.
  • Speaking of romance…there isn’t much of it. The two lovers have basically been torn apart and are given a second chance at love but wow…there is so much keeping Roma and Juliette apart. There is a lot of heartbreak between them, when they do finally acknowledge the past though, it’s further into the story.
  • The monster or virus that is infecting Shanghai makes this story darker and brings some gore to it. And I enjoyed it a lot. There is a mystery and the two gangs have to find out where this “virus” is coming from and who are the major players.
  • All the characters are great – but Juliette shines like a diamond that can cut glass. And she wouldn’t be afraid to cut anybody! She is hard edges, she is going to rule the Scarlet Gang one day, she can fight, she can kill and she’s smart.
  • This is not a full retelling of Romeo & Juliet because it’s going to be a series, so I really want to know more about Juliette’s cousins Kathleen and Rosalind! It almost felt like the story was going to wrap up like the original and then there is a twist…and made an opening for a sequel!
  • Pacing wise – for me it dragged a little in the middle but it picked up speed right after.

This is how I like my Romeo & Juliet – dark and violent! This had action, mystery, a race against the clock to stop a virus killing people (quite violently) in the city of Shanghai. It has politics, gangster drama and so much heart break. It touches on identity, family bonds and betrayal. This is an amazing retelling of a classic and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

🖤❤️ ~ Yolanda

Cast in Firelight | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Cast in Firelight (Wickery, #1)

Author: Dana Swift

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: 11/17/20

Publisher: Delacorte Press

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.**

The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

My Attention: totally caught

World Building: India inspired with magic – so good

Writing Style: quick, easy read with romance and humor

Bringing the Heat: 🔥

Crazy in Love: slow burn, enemies to lovers

Creativity: I love the India inspired world with different gods that bestow certain magic powers

Mood: happy 

Triggers: violence

My Takeaway: Be honest and keep trying.

  • The world building is lush with the India inspired setting. I love the magic system where gods touch certain people with power, and they are then marked on their arms. There are different levels of power one acquires and they chant words/phrases to conjure up the magic.
  • The story is told between two perspectives, Adraa and Jatin. Their first meeting doesn’t go as planned and it starts off a relationship between them that is competitive. I love these two as individuals and a couple. The enemies to lovers romance is perfect, with the competition between and the deception. I loved watching them befriend one another and ultimately fall in love. They compliment each other so well.
  • Adraa as a soon-to-be Maharani has depth. She’s got magic, she’s has her challenges (she’s got a temper and can be impulsive), she cares about her people, and she’s an inventor. What can this girl not do? Well…she can’t conjure up white magic. Adraa also is an undercover agent and a cage caster (ring fighting but with magic!), she is bad ass This girl is ready to lead and not afraid to lead. She never gives up.
  • I liked the mystery that forces Adraa to go undercover. It introduces so many aspects of the world building from Jatin and Adraa’s home towns to the seedier aspects of the cities where cage casting, drugs and the black markets exists. It gives these two characters on the verge of leading to know more about what’s going with their people.
  • The mystery, action, humor and romances balances out so nicely in this book!
  • The author reveals in her notes this is not an OwnVoices story. She mentions being in an interracial relationship and that the characters will look like her children. I think that’s awesome.

Cast in Firelight is exciting, magical, funny, heartwarming and has wonderful world building. I was craving an enemies to lovers story and this was perfect! It had the right balance of humor, romance, action and magic. I look forward to reading more stories created in this world.

The Inheritance Games | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: The Inheritance Games

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 376

Categories: Mystery, Young Adult, Suspense, Contemporary

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. 

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

  • Aesthetics ~ that cover is so awesome in all it’s greenery! Confession – it’s the main reason I bought the book.
  • World Building ~ a mansion or compound more like in Texas. A billionaire who is fond of puzzles and games dies, leaving his fortune to a stranger. But why did he leave it to Avery and not to his four grandsons? This book is FUN. I loved the puzzles, the secrets, the tragic love triangle, the mystery of the Hawthornes. It did not disappoint.
  • Characters ~ Avery is a girl trying to survive after her mother’s death. She’s trying to find a way out when she comes into a mysterious inheritance with lots of strings attached. She is smart, has such a brain on her for statistics, I love it. Then there are the Hawthornes: Nash, Grayson, Jameson and Xander. All different, with their own motivations. My favorite? It’s a toss between Grayson and Xander haha.
  • Romance ~ there is a tragic romance history…is it about to repeat itself? We don’t know yet, it almost did but it stopped short of it.
  • Writing ~ fast paced, which I love because slow mysteries bore me but I read this in four hours. I could not put it down and I want book two NOW.
  • The ending is a cliffhanger but I love that this game isn’t over even though we thought it was!

I picked this up because of the cover and it didn’t disappoint at all. It was exactly what I was needing to read right now and I look forward to reading the next book in the series! If you like mystery, puzzles, riddles and handsome brothers, the you will like this one.

💚 ~ Yolanda

Send Me Their Souls | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Send Me Their Souls (Bring Me Their Hearts, #3)

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 11/3/20

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Romance

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

The finale to the epic Bring Me Their Hearts series reaches its thrilling conclusion, full of intrigue, emotion, and of course romance.

Reunited with Lucien, Malachite, and Fione, Zera finally has the choice of whether or not to regain her humanity and give up her life as a Heartless. But with war raging and an army of valkerax on the loose, she’s never needed immortality more. Will they be able to stop Varia without sacrificing themselves in the process?

My Attention: read in 2 days

World Building: the same epic setting as the beginning of the series in Bring Me Their Hearts, but our characters travel to various places in this book

Writing Style: snarky characters, fun dialogue as usual

Crazy in Love: so in love 

Creativity: A wonderful fantasy series about a Heartless – who’s life is controlled by her witch (whichever witch holds her heart)

Triggers: violence, mild horror scenes, gore

  • Zera’s snarkiness is back but this time she’s a little more subdued because she and Lucien are finally together. And I think love makes her a tiny bit softer, in a good way. It’s not only the love from Lucien she has, but also with her new friends, Mal and Fione. We also get Yorl, the feline polymath back in this last book, which is great. I adore the characters in this book!
  • There is a choice to be made in this final installment – does Zera and her crew let Varia live? Or do they destroy her, the Valkerax and the Bone Tree? Varia is Lucien’s sister and Fione’s lover, so Zera needs to weigh her options, except all the options are so bleak. The final decision made me tear up a little.
  • We get to travel with Zera and her crew in this book. They visit Nightsinger in the witch-city of Windowhigh and then they board a ship, taking a journey to The Black Archives where the warrior polymaths live. Lastly, we get a little bit of Malachite’s background when the final battle takes place underground in Pala Amna.
  • I love Ev (Evlorasin), the valkerax who has a blood bond with Zera. He reminds me of Falcor from The Neverending Story! He makes a quick appearance in the book, but I always love it when he shows up.
  • The one thing I love about this series is that it isn’t afraid to get dark and gory yet it has a sense of humor also. I mean I guess I’d laugh to if I couldn’t really die from life threatening wounds most people would perish from. But this story is intense and yes I shed a tear at the end, before the epilogue haha…but ugh…my heart.
  • There are some pacing issues with this book and I think it’s because they have to figure out what to do about Varia. They are mostly trying to find out information about the Bone Tree, the Glass Tree and then the Tree of Souls…so there was a lot of info dumping. The first two books were so intense that I thought this one dragged a bit in the beginning. The action comes at the end in the final battle.
  • As for Varia…I did not care about her, at all. I know she’s Lucien’s sister and Fione’s mate but let me just say she gets it easy in the end after all the sacrifices Zera, Lucien, Fione and Malachite had to go through!

What a series! I think this was a solid ending to the series, but it’s not my favorite book in the trilogy. I shed a few tears after that final battle though so it made me feel all kinds of things. There was no good choice to make, but Zera did what she had to do. I loved Zera and her crew, they bring the fun and jokes – in many morbid situations. I’m so happy she got her heart back.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

Skyhunter | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Skyhunter

Author: Marie Lu

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 371

Categories: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.

The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.

Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.

When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?

  • Aesthetics ~ check out that cover, it looks simple, but oh the colors and that font. 😍😭Then if you had the hardcover edition like I do, the title is sprayed against the pages…and then….and THEN when you take off the jacket, you get more of that purple pink title and that title in that font again. I think it’s right now my favorite cover of 2020 and I didn’t think it would be at first glance.
  • World Building ~ Marie Lu knows how to build a fictional world. This story is set in a dystopian world, Mara is the last area standing against the Karensa Federation who wants to take over every inch of land in their country. This story is set way after our current civilization. There are ruins of our cities made of steel and people have learned to use the materials they found to survive. There are evolved humans, more like humans that were experimented on, that turned them into killing creatures called Ghosts. So the sci-fi aspect is very present in this story.
  • Characters ~ interesting and diverse characters. My favorite so far is Jeran, one of Talin’s friends. Talin is a solid main character – she’s strong and we shall see what happens in the next book.
  • Writing ~ engaging from the start. The story is intense with lots of action, and characters dealing with their own personal traumas. There is a great message of being brave and strong no matter what life throws at you.
  • As engaging as the writing is, the middle of the book started to lose my attention. I might have been expecting more from the story or maybe I wanted it to go deeper. Maybe I wanted more romance and I got some of it with Jeran’s storyline at least, yay! I can’t pinpoint it just yet, maybe it was too predictable? Was I not connecting to any of the characters? But I started to get bored, until the last few pages happened, which was a total cliffhanger.
  • I had a lot of questions that weren’t answered and maybe will be answered in book two – but the whole mind link thing between Red and Talin, why did it happen so quickly?
  • Triggers: violence, killing, experiments on humans, abuse, grief, trauma

The physical book is gorgeous, the writing is wonderful but I might have been expecting more because it’s a Marie Lu book. As a dystopian, sci-fi novel I think it has a lot of action and the ending makes you want to read the next book. I think I’m looking for more of a connection to the characters but maybe that will happen in book two when we find out what happens next to Talin and Red.

💕 ~ Yolanda