Fable | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Fable

Author: Adrienne Young

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 9/01/20

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Pirates, Young Adult, Adventure, Romance, Family, Survival, Fantasy

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

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

WOW.

My Reactions:

My Attention: absolutely swept away – read this in one sitting

World Building: epic – the setting is in the islands I’m sure inspired by the Caribbean but I could feel the humid air, see the school of fish in the reef, feel the pressure of the water as Fable dove deep….SO good.

Writing Style: flowed beautifully

Bringing the Heat: 🔥 – barely any but it didn’t need it

Crazy in Love: slow burn love story

Creativity: I loved everything about Fable and her gem mage powers, I want to learn more about it

Mood: Excited 

Triggers: violence, thieving

My Takeaway: Fable is abandoned by the only parent she has but makes a promise to herself to survive and take what is hers.

  • First off – that COVER. It is to die for! Absolutely beautiful.
  • Fable’s story is pretty amazing – she is surviving on her own, trying to get back to the father that left her to die (or survive). She has grit, brains and courage! It also helps she’s a gem mage, it helps her skills as a dredger (a diver). She does what she has to do to survive. My heart broke for her when it came to her relationship with her father.
  • In any pirate story, it’s ALL about the crew and the crew of the Marigold is great. We have a gay couple, siblings and lots and lots of secrets. West is the helmsman who commandeers the ship and he is as mysterious as they come but we learn about his background.
  • Fable’s dad, Saint, tells Fable she doesn’t belong in this world. She feels like he means in the world in general…but he means HIS world, this rough, dangerous, cold trading world of the Narrows. It’s cutthroat and he meant for her to be safe. I like the complicated feelings and history between them.
  • Danger is everywhere in this story and the author captures the setting so well. I was rooting for Fable and nervous for her from the moment I started the book and I could not STOP reading. And when the book came to an end, I wanted the next book.
  • I’ve read this author’s previous series but this one to me takes her writing to a whole new level. I was so immersed in this story.
  • The magic Fable has is as a gem mage and though she uses it while doing her work as a dredger – I think there is more to learn about her skill and her mother’s history. I want to definitely learn more about her mom’s family!
  • The romance doesn’t overtake this story, it’s slowly building and you wonder if it will turn into something and when it does…wow. We shall see what this means for the sequel!

I love a good pirate story, there is danger, high stakes, traders trying to be or stay the top dog and keeping their territories under their rule. This story hooked me right away! I loved everything about this book and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Book Review | Sawkill Girls

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Sawkill Girls

Author: Claire Legrand

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 447

Categories: Horror, Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

I read this book last night and got halfway through before going to bed. I woke up with a nightmare because of a scene in the book that kinda grossed me out and took on an even more disgusting form in my dreams. 😫 I didn’t think this book would be creepy but the more I read I got sucked into this place called Sawkill Rock and the events happening there.

Girls have gone missing on Sawkill Rock and three girls share an interesting fate there. Marion is new to the island, she and her family are grieving the death of her father so this is a new start. Zoey moved there awhile ago to live with her father but things haven’t going so well there. And Val is queen bee of the island, gorgeous and popular with a hidden agenda.

Surrounding this place is an urban legend about the Collector. Is he real or just an urban legend with no substance to the stories? Will they figure out what is going before more girls disappear?

  • Creepy! The atmosphere of Sawkill was perfect for a chilling story. There things that definitely go bump in the night on Sawkill Rock, especially in the Mortimer household. There is a lot of mystery about Val and her family but we ultimately find out what their purpose is.
  • So much LGBTQIA+ representation! The asexual relationship between Zoey and Grayson was really well done for someone like me who is trying to learn more about people who identify as asexual. I don’t find a lot of books with asexual relationships.
  • This is a superhero story – that was surprising! There was woman power all over this book, mostly at the end. At first the girls are struggling, Val is abused/controlled, Zoey is bullied – Val does the bullying, Marion comes off as strange but they have powers within them and that was cool to see them work together.
  • The Collector was creepy as hell and disgusting. He is a killer, manipulator, abuser, he’s gross and at times I felt uncomfortable about the things he did. Like am I the only who thought it was sketchy that at times he was in the form of a “boy child” and then meet he was a doctor seducing Val…like…what was I reading?! Eww, I mean he was straight evil.
  • It’s quite atmospheric so if you don’t like that type of story, this one might not be for you. I mean at times moths would speak to the girls and I couldn’t tell if that was a good or bad thing haha. The beginning was a bit slow going as we try to figure out what in hell is happening on this crazy island with Marion hearing things, Zoey seeing things and Val…doing things. 😒
  • Though the story starts off like a mysterious paranormal story, the second half is like a superhero movie, maybe more like X-Men. It was an interesting turn and direction that worked for the most part – but it also threw me off at times. I just went with the flow. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • There is insta-love. More like…insta-lust?
  • Triggers: abuse, murder

This story was atmospheric, creepy and at times strange – the Collector is a vile villain. The message of women empowerment came through hard and the LGBTQIA+ reps were awesome. Overall, this one definitely caught my curiosity, I could’ve done without some of the horror aspects but that’s just me, since I don’t read much horror.

Book Review | Of Rioters & Royals

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Of Rioters & Royals (Swift Shadows, #1)

Author: M.L.Greye

Format: eBook (borrowed, Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 421

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Disclaimer: **The author requested I read and review her book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Emry is a Royal – a princess of Enlennd. As is tradition, she must have a knight at her side as her protector. The only way to appoint one is through The Trials. Her Challengers from the five regions of Enlennd must compete for the infamous title of Princess’s Knight. The problem, though, is that the people of Enlennd are split into two categories: Rioters and Royals. Finding the perfect knight may be the last of her worries. War is coming to Enlennd. 

Declan is a Rioter. An upriser. An anarchist. He mistrusts the Jewels – the sovereign family of Enlennd. Yet, he is offering himself up as a Challenger in The Trials. The Mistress, leader of the Rioters, has a mission for him. The first step is for him to become the Princess’s Knight. He is ready for the task, until he actually meets Emry and discovers that betraying her would be much more difficult than he’d thought. 

Thank you to author, M.L. Greye for reaching out to me and asking I read and review her book. All opinions of the book are my own.

What stood out right away to me is this book has a very interesting magic system involving a person’s eye color. Each eye color defines what types of powers a person has. And I don’t think I’ve read a book with that kind of magic, so that was pretty cool.

Princess Emry is about to be assigned a knight and to find one the challengers must go through a trial. One of those challengers is Declan, who is there for other reasons. Will he win the trials and be her knight? Or something more?

  • I liked the different magic system in this book where everyone’s eye color determines their powers. I don’t think I’ve read a book with that magic before, so I thought that was very creative and unique.
  • If you like romance in a YA fantasy, this one has a sweet romance. It’s not insta love but Emry and Declan have a past that we don’t know about until he comes to court as a challenger. Then we learn how they met before. I love how they are a Pair, no love triangles here!
  • There is action, secrets revealed and twists I wasn’t expecting. It’s a story between good and evil which is always inspiring.
  • I like Emry’s sisterly bond with Citrine, they were fun together. They are best friends and I’m glad they have each other.
  • The beginning with the prologue almost made me dread reading this story. But that’s just me, I’ve learned I have a hard time getting into books with long prologue giving the history about a kingdom, because it feels like a textbook. I would rather learn history throughout the story.
  • The prologue threw me a bit off so I didn’t really get into the story until halfway through and once I did, it’s a very quick read.
  • Character wise – Emry is obviously the main character who will have more powers than anyone and is a leader, I expected that. But I was drawn more to Declan because he is the one affected when some secrets are revealed.

I enjoyed the twists in the story and kudos to the magic system being unique and refreshing. There is romance, action and a fight between good and evil. I think this was a solid first book for a series!

Book Review | Bring Me Their Hearts

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Bring Us Their Hearts

Author: Sara Wolf

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 370

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

It was a crazy week of negative news all over the world and I decided to pick up this book and read it. I read it one night, finally reading past midnight (it’s been awhile since a book kept me up!).

A Heartless, Zera wants her heart back but her witch won’t give it back until she completes a mission to prevent another war between witches and humans. The mission? Take the heart of the Crown Prince, Lucien d’Malvane. And I mean, TAKE THE HEART, not win his heart…she has to pull it out of his chest. 😳 By the end of the book, can she do it?

  • This was pure escapism and so fun for me to read! Yes, a bit morbid and dark at times, but Zera is on a mission to take the heart of someone. Like she literally has to put her hand into his chest and rip it out. 😳
  • Zera is a Heartless, she “died” when she was 16 but now she’s immortal just as long her witch has her heart. I love Zera, she’s kind of all over the place, but her humor is her armor and she cracked me up a lot. I felt for her so much, she just wants her heart back and her memories of her past life with her mom and dad. For the most part she can pass off as human, but when the hunger in her takes over she turns into a monster and kills. 😥 I am rooting so hard for Zera and I hate her tough choices but it makes this story so addicting.
  • Malachite – Prince Lucien’s bodyguard is awesome and I love how he and Zera tease each other. He has Prince Lucien’s back and I like learning about him being a Beneather or Bene-Thar. As I said, I love the humor!
  • The world building is rich with witchlore, a war between witches and humans and different kinds of beings in this world like celeons (like cat people) and of course the Heartless. I was immersed into the world right in the beginning.
  • There was action, humor, a romance budding between a cold prince and a funny Heartless – of course she’s supposed to take his heart though, which makes things complicated. I loved the angst.
  • Then ending is killer! It’s crazy and wild and a cliff-hanger. Thank goodness I had the foresight to borrow the sequel at the same time!
  • Lucien comes off arrogant and irritating but that doesn’t deter Zera. She gets under his skin and it’s so good that I wanted MORE of them.
  • Triggers: death, violence

This was the perfect series to start during this crazy time with the everything shutting down around us in the real world. I loved learning what it means to be Heartless and reading quickly to the end to see if Zera could really take Lucien’s heart. I liked the court intrigue and the world building. Zera was made a Heartless without a choice…and now she has a chance to get her heart back. Will she? I’m addicted to this series and cannot wait to find out what happens next.

BLOG TOUR} The Grace Kelly Dress by. Brenda Janowitz | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Title: The Grace Kelly Dress

Author: Brenda Janowitz

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Categories: Family, Historical, Contemporary, Romance

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

Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love in this beguiling new novel from Brenda Janowitz.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly-lookalike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice—one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security, and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

Thank you to Graydon House Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

The Grace Kelly Dress weaves a story about the lives of three women in the same family tied to a single dress. We meet a talented dressmaker Rose, who is working at an atelier in Paris. The story of her daughter Joan takes place in the 80’s, growing up in a different time with different dreams. Then to round it off is Rocky, Joan’s daughter, who is about to get married but can’t see herself in this heirloom dress.

We see how three women in one family try to express and find themselves through their connection with a dress, The Grace Kelly Dress.

  • The history of Grace Kelly’s dress is not something I am aware of. I knew she was an American actress turned princess – her life seemed like a fairy tale. I knew she was beautiful and iconic but learning some things about the making of her dress through Rose’s story was really interesting.
  • I love how each woman in this family had such a unique story. Rose is an orphan, and finds herself working at an atelier and then of course falling in love. Joan’s story and coming of age in the 80’s was the most interesting to me. She had a perfect plan set out for her – but she’s dealing with her sister’s death, and not really knowing who she is. I liked that her love story seems conventional but turns out different than expected. As for Rocky, she knows who she is but she’s dealing with grief as well and strong feelings when it comes to her mom and sister. I really loved the insights into each woman and how this wedding dress invoked different emotions in them.
  • I adore how things came together in time for Rocky’s wedding to go off successfully. There were so many emotions that came into play with Rocky’s wedding but I get it…weddings bring out some crazy feelings in people. And it’s overwhelming for everyone involved at times. Sometimes a wedding isn’t only about the two people getting married.
  • The importance of family and family heirlooms and traditions is the main part of this story. It’s why we see Rose and Joan’s past with the dress and how it affects Rocky in a different way.
  • There are three stories being told and at times I feel like it didn’t flow smoothly. Was it because the copy I read was a digital arc? I’m not sure, but I think at times some chapters felt abrupt and rushed.
  • I was so involved with Joan’s story – I wish we met the man she ends up with, Rocky’s father, but we don’t get much of that story. I think the important part of her story was finding herself and having her parents love her no matter what happened.

Setting aside some of the pacing issues I had with the story, in the end I really enjoyed The Grace Kelly Dress. I had a feeling of happiness for Rocky, Joan and Rose by the time I read the last page. I resonated with each of their stories because each woman had their own strength. No one had the same experience with love also which I appreciated. This story took a wedding dress, and showed us how something made with love could endure time and change with each woman that wore it. It’s a story about family and the importance of traditions yet respecting your own self expression. Overall it is an enjoyable read.

About the Author:

Brenda Janowitz is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party and Recipe for a Happy Life. She is the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Brenda’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, and the New York Post. She lives in New York.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: http://www.brendajanowitz.com/

Facebook: @BrendaJanowitz | Twitter: @BrendaJanowitz

Instagram: @brendajanowitzwriter

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/241404.Brenda_Janowitz

BUY LINKS:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Review | The Hunt (The Twisted Kingdoms, Book #1)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Hunt (Twisted Kingdoms, #1)

Author: Frost Kay

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 326

Categories: Fantasy, Romance

Death marked her from her very first breath.

Being sired by a Madrid is supposed to be a blessing, but for Tempest, it’s a curse that leaves her orphaned, penniless, and enslaved to a blood thirsty crown on the brink of war.

Found too unruly to become a ward of the court, she’s thrust into the care of the King’s Hounds – the assassins and warriors responsible for protecting the kingdom. Driven by rage and an oath to avenge her mother’s memory, Tempest throws herself into training.

But becoming the first ever female assassin isn’t enough. Now, she must obtain the heart of her kingdom’s most feared enemy – the jester – a deadly shapeshifter hidden in a land twisted by myth and darkness.

Revenge is never easy or cheap. Tempest is willing to sacrifice everything to see justice served. Even her own soul and freedom.

I don’t recall the story of the Fox and the Hound – I’m sure I read it a long time ago, but despite that, I thought the premise for this book sounded pretty interesting.

Tempest is an orphan, raised by the King of Dotae’s ruthless guards, the King’s Hounds. When she becomes of age, she takes part in the trials to become the first ever female Hound. Tempest also is trying to thwart the King’s advances so she makes a deal with him. If she finds the infamous shapeshifter and leader of the rebels, the Jester, and brings his heart to the king – Tempest gets a seat on the War Council. But if she doesn’t succeed, she will belong to the king. Will Tempest complete her mission or will she be entrapped by the king forever?

  • I like stories about female assassins and Tempest is definitely a worthy adversary. We don’t see her much being a Hound in the story but on her mission to find the Jester, she shows the skills she’s known for back in Dotae. As a character I found her at times naive but willing to look at the evidence if things feel wrong, so I think there will be a lot of growth in the sequel with her, at least I hope there is.
  • Gotta love a sexy, flirty shapeshifter and we definitely have that with Pyre. He is a kitsune or fox shapeshifter. I like seeing how he cares for his people and yet knowing he is dangerous under the wily smile. I’m loving the attraction that is growing between him and Tempest. It’s a slow burn too, which is nice!
  • I enjoyed the world building in The Hunt. This book focused mostly on the kingdom of Dotae and the Talagans (shapeshifter community). But in the beginning of the book it explains in the prologue how this world came to be, a world filled with dragons, fae, shapeshifter, humans, etc…until the peace between them broke.
  • I did like Tempest’s bond with the men she grew up with, her uncles, the Hounds…of course she comes to question what they stand for later on but I think it will be interesting to see how Tempest deals with the information she has about the men she loves.
  • I think King Destin is a bit cringey especially how he preys on Tempest who is only eighteen years old. He is in his 40’s! 🙄 He is definitely the villain in this story.
  • And though I do like Pyre, why is Tempest getting caged in by these men?! 😕 I guess it’s trying to show how powerless she is as a woman in this world where the men are the leaders but I hope to goodness somewhere in the sequel or down the line in the series she gets her power back and kick some major ass, especially King Destin’s. By the way, these two men are not the only ones interested in her…🤷🏻‍♀️ but I hope that storyline doesn’t go anywhere. I don’t want a love triangle in this one, please!
  • Triggers: fighting, death, physical wounds

I really enjoyed Pyre and Tempest’s interactions with each other in this first book. It looks to be a long series according to the information on Amazon, so there is a lot more story to unravel here and I hope a juicy romance between the two eventually. I think the position Tempest is put in made me weary about the story a bit but I have hope she will overcome these traps these men put her in! 💁🏻‍♀️ I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

ARC Review | Sting

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Sting

Author: Cindy R. Wilson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance

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

They call me the Scorpion because they don’t know who I really am. All they know is that someone is stealing from people with excess to help people with nothing survive another day.

But then a trusted friend reveals who I am—“just” Tessa, “just” a girl—and sends me straight into the arms of the law. All those people I helped…couldn’t help me when I needed it.

In prison, I find an unlikely ally in Pike, who would have been my enemy on the outside. He represents everything I’m against. Luxury. Excess. The world immediately falling for his gorgeous smile. How he ended up in the dirty cell next to mine is a mystery, but he wants out as much as I do. Together, we have a real chance at escape.

With the sting of betrayal still fresh, Pike and I will seek revenge on those who wronged us. But uncovering all their secrets might turn deadly…

Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

And…I read this in one sitting! It’s been awhile since a book held my attention so much that I did not stop reading.

The city of Victor is divided into two sectors, the Darkside and Lightside. The “lightsiders” live in a world of light and glow in the dark fashion, they have enough to eat and have jobs to live a comfortable life. The “darksiders” live on the outskirts of the light, in the dark, with no food, jobs, and barely surviving. The Scorpion is known as a hero, somewhat like a female Robin Hood, stealing from the Lightside warehouses to bring supplies and food back to her people in the Darkside. But when she gets caught her world is turned upside down. Revenge is on her mind as she plans to take down the city’s leader, Campbell, without losing herself and the people she learns to love along the way.

  • The pacing of this story flowed so well it took me from beginning to end without stopping and kept me engaged in the story.
  • The world is set in a place where the poor and wealthy is clearly divided. Tessa, is known as The Scorpion because she builds little bots with scrap pieces and she uses these bots to get information on warehouses she will steal from. But she steals items to give to the poor in the dark side. She is their hero, but to the lightsiders, she is their enemy.
  • I liked seeing Tessa grow from this anonymous hero hiding under her ball cap, to becoming strong in prison and then changing again when she gets out. She has to transform to achieve her ultimate goal of revenge and exposing Campbell to take him down – and I did wish the scar on her stayed but I think it shows even when that was taken away from her, deep down she was still Tessa, one that was learning about who she was or who she was going to choose to be…but still Tessa.
  • Tessa and Pike… I loved their relationship. I love how he was level headed where she wanted to rush in with guns blazing. He kept her centered and was a shoulder to cry on. Their relationship grew from friendship and that made me so happy.
  • I like that everything tied up nicely! It’s been awhile since I read a standalone that just ends on a good note without me questioning so much or leaving an open ending.
  • I think the biggest thing about the book that might bum readers out…it has a love triangle! I know, I know…a love triangle. 😩 And I don’t mind love triangles, but if you do mind…well…this one has it. Tessa is immediately drawn to her best friend, River in the beginning of the book, like it starts off right away – you know they have history, it’s becoming a friends to lovers thing…and then bam. Things happen. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But then she meets Pike in prison and it isn’t insta-love…she’s confused, she’s dealing with some major emotions and events…she’s definitely allowed to be confused. But there were some parts I was like, no, please, don’t do the back and forth…PLEASE. 😅😩 Thankfully it IS resolved in the end.

I enjoyed this book a lot. From the beginning to the end, it hooked me and I was loving Tessa and Pike’s growing relationship through their hardships, challenges and fears. They made an awesome team and I was so happy for Tessa in the end. There was a lot for me to take away from this story – the importance of hope for people in despair, helping those in need, keeping people you love safe and knowing when enough is enough. Tessa risked a lot to help the darksiders but in the end she also learned there was more to life she wanted than just being a hero. I look forward to reading more from this author.

ARC Review | Foul is Fair

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Foul is Fair

Author: Hannah Capin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: February 18, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary Sexual Assault, Rape Culture, Revenge, MacBeth Retelling, Murder

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

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target. 

They picked the wrong girl. 

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly. 

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes


Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Golden boys beware, for real! Here we have a crew of four mean girls, but on one special night when Jade (Elle before the party, Jade is what she is after…) is celebrating her sweet sixteen they crash a St. Andrew’s prep party and their lives are changed forever.

After the party we are in Jade’s head as she plots and plans the demise of the golden boys of St. Andrew’s prep that hurt her. Jade’s got a kill list and she’s crossing out names: Duncan, Banks, Duffy, Conner, Porter, Malcom, Mack and one girl, Piper. It is time for revenge, and these girls don’t play, their claws are out and they are ready to draw blood.

  • I learned this was a MacBeth retelling but I knew as I was reading the line “foul is fair, fair is foul” that it felt familiar. Jade’s best friends, Mads, Summer and Jenny are like the witches in MacBeth. Jade refers to them as her coven. They’ve had things done to them when they were younger and these girls learned to fight back and rule the school. They refuse to be victims and they take what they want. They make things happen, they ruin lives if anyone tries to come for them. Not only was MacBeth all over this story, I got Heathers vibes too (which I grew up with and love) and it also made me think of the new tv series Euphoria (I’m kind of obsessed). It’s like Euphoria, in the sense of how the story flows from Jade’s thoughts, memories of the party, and other events that take place.
  • This girl squad is tight, they are honest, they are all in and got each other’s backs. But I also loved that the revenge wasn’t only for Jade, but for all the girls who came before her. I know it was kind of sick with the murders but damn was I cheering them on.
  • I loved how the “house of cards” fell and how Jade plotted the downfall. I was scared for her and scared of her – but she and her friends took those St. Andrews boys and one girl down like bosses! How are these high school kids so vicious? It helps they are all the rich kids and have power, fast cars, big houses and parents that are hardly around it seems. And lawyers, they have lawyers on hand! So important!
  • The story is a powerful message about rape culture. Here we have these golden boys who, in real life, would probably get away with this behavior for the rest of their lives. There was no remorse in these boys, they took what they wanted…but here comes Jade who comes to take what is hers, reclaim the power that they stole from her. Jade plays them like puppets on a string! I was like, damnnnnn girl…I think a lot of us females have had enough so we resonate with her rage. And Jade wouldn’t have have been able to do all of this without the support of her friends who believed her. They didn’t see the rape happen, but they believed her 100%.
  • This story is in your face, and unapologetic. The writing is poetic, but sometimes just a few words left an impact. Jade is not a sweet girl – she is hell bent on her plans of revenge. She gives no F’s, she is ruthless, she’s scheming and ready to spill blood. The story is violent, and at times bloody. Jade manipulates Mack to get what she wants.
  • I think the author did a great job showcasing each character, especially Jade and the boys at St. Andrew’s prep that was involved and their strength and weaknesses.
  • There are so many triggers in this books: sexual assault, rape, rape culture, attempted suicide, murder for the sake of revenge, violence.
  • Because this book is so dark, it may not appeal to some readers, especially because Jade comes off as a psychopath, she’s getting high off these murders! Also I enjoyed the poetic writing but I can see how some readers would get confused with the metaphorical writing.
  • The way Jade uses Mack to take down the golden boys was at times, for me, not believable. He fell for her so fast and was willing, just because she smiled a certain way, whispered the right words, kissed him a lot, now he’s about to murder his friends? She was doing a lot of emotional manipulation on him, but it didn’t seem like she needed to try very hard. I definitely had to suspend my belief there and go with it.
  • What happens next to Jade?! I need to know.

Some books capture the sign of the times so perfectly and this book does it well. It’s the rage we feel these days with the MeToo movement, unleashed through Jade and her coven. Women are fighting back the powerful golden boys that have ruled for what seems like eons and it’s about time.

If you can handle the triggers in this book, I think it’s an intense, bold story that dares you not to look away from the damage rape culture can cause. I believe this is the first book in a series or duology, I’m not quite sure, but I am VERY curious to see what happens next after the ending of this book. I think this book could have stood strongly as a standalone already, but maybe we get to see how society paints Jade when they find out what happened to her and what she’s done in retaliation. Things could get intense, I look forward to reading the sequel.

ARC Review | Heart of Flames

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers, #2)

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 640

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.**

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”

You are a daughter of queens. 

The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire. 

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin. 

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.

I pray you are able to pass through the flames. 

Thank you to Simon Pulse and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Crown of Feathers, but for some reason, I could not get into this second book, Heart of Flames. Maybe it’s a mood read kind of thing, maybe I’ll reread in the future and enjoy it more.

Things pick up where it leaves off in book one. Val’s identity is revealed and the tension between the empire and the Phoenix Riders have grown. There is a spy, Sev, who is taking a very big risk. Tristan and Veronyka’s relationship grow further and my favorite characters, the phoenixes are back! This sequel is more in depth but for some reason failed to hold my attention.

  • I love the covers so far in this series, all that fire and flames. It’s gorgeous!
  • The phoenixes of course! They are my favorite part of the story because they are awesome beings who can communicate. Reading this series makes me want to be a phoenix rider too!
  • The world building is so detailed and vivid, the author does a good job at making it all come to life.
  • Veronyka and Tristan’s relationship is growing but it has it’s frustrating moments. The romance doesn’t overtake the story which is nice because they have a bigger mission at hand but it was nice to get more acknowledgement between them about their feelings. Also the other relationship that I enjoy a lot is Sev and Kade. Sev is taking a big risk being a spy and the two of them have gone through some tough events together. Love that they are together again in this book.
  • I was just bored reading this story. 😕 I was slugging through the beginning and started not to care about Veronyka and Val’s history. And for me this felt like too long a read, especially when my interest started to wane. I read the first book in one sitting, but this installment I picked up and put down so many times. 😞
  • There are many characters in this book and they are all pretty fleshed out which is great, but because it jumped from one perspective to the other, I lost interest. Usually, I enjoy different perspectives but for some reason this one didn’t cut it for me.

I skimmed a lot of the ending of this book unfortunately because I just wanted to finish but my interest was gone by the halfway mark. I might pick this up later again when I’m in the mood to read about phoenixes because that is my favorite part about this series, the magical creatures and their bond with their riders! But I know a lot of people will enjoy this sequel but for me, it fell flat.

BLOG TOUR} Temporary Wife Temptation by. Jayci Lee

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Temporary Wife Temptation

Author: Jayci Lee

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 224

Publication Date: February 4, 2020

Categories: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Fake Marriage

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

Much more than he bargained for…
“You want me to find you a wife?”
“No. I want you to be my wife.”
Garrett Song is this close to taking the reins of his family’s LA fashion empire…until the Song matriarch insists he marry her handpicked bride first. To block her matchmaking, he recruits Natalie Sobol to pose
as his wife. She needs a fake spouse as badly as he does. But when passion burns down their chaste agreement, the flames could destroy them all…

Thank you to Harlequin Desire and NetGalley for a chance to be on this blog tour and providing me a copy of this eARC to read.

Temporary Wife Temptation is a fake marriage romance as an employee, Natalie, ends up married to her boss, Garrett, to help him out. The situation also helps Natalie who is trying to adopt her late sister’s daughter. What starts off fake becomes something real as Natalie and Garrett learn to navigate their agreement and their feelings before things come to an end for good.

  • This is a korean drama in the form of a book, but k-drama lite! My mom loves k-dramas and I used to watch them when I had more time on my hands but this book has all the drama on a light romance level, but heavy on the seduction!
  • I love the explanation about Korean family hierarchies and how grandparents are regarded. Garrett tries to buck convention when his grandma and the woman who helped start the family empire wants to arrange his marriage. Garrett and Natalie both have strong ties to their families, though Natalie has sadly lost her sister and now is trying to adopt her niece. It’s a sad situation but I love how family is important in this story.
  • Garrett and Natalie’s attraction grows right away, so fast actually, but this is a VERY short book, at 224 pages! So I can see why the sparks were happening so quick, though the actual sex in the story only happens after they get married and near the end of the book.
  • It’s a happily ever after, with not too many obstacles in the way. If there were any, the solutions were easily implemented.
  • It’s a quick story and everything seemed to fall into place when they should but at times it felt rushed.
  • The story focused on the attraction growing between Garrett and Natalie, so though there was some underhanded corporate espionage happening in the background, it was never a focus. When the fake couple who is turning into a real one becomes…FEELINGS are growing between them, the mini break-up they have didn’t seem major to me at all. It’s predictable – he will apologize and they will get back together. So there are no surprises in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this fake marriage story. It was a fast read, with some sizzle and there was a focus on family which I loved. This is the first book I’ve read from this author but I would definitely read more from her.

About the author JAYCI LEE: Jayci Lee writes poignant, funny, and sexy romance. She lives in sunny California with her tall-dark-and-handsome husband, two amazing boys with boundless energy, and a fluffy rescue whose cuteness is a major distraction. She is semi-retired from her 15-year career as a defense litigator, and writes full-time now. She loves food, wine, and travelling, just like her characters. Books have always helped her grow, dream, and heal. She hopes her books will do the same for you.