adult fiction, book review, E-book, fantasy, romance

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.

adult fiction, book review, E-book, romance, urban fantasy

Mini Reviews | Vampire Towers Series by. Kelly St. Clare

Hi Everyone! So I read this one back to back and book three comes out in March, so these will be a mini review.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Blood Trial (Vampire Towers #1)

Author: Kelly St. Clare

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 475

Categories: Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Adult Fiction

The dice are rolled at midnight.

As the twenty-one-year-old heiress to the Le Spyre fortune, my life should consist of strawberry mojitos and golf carts. Right?

But I’m determined to forge my own path.

Desperate to escape the meaningless games of the rich, I flee my family’s estate.

Secret alias—check.
Place to sleep—uh, kind of?
Job—crap!

I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but that’s the least of my worries.

My city is a giant board game. The players are supernatural— freakin’ vampires—including an overbearing crown prince whose unwanted attention could spell my demise.

Now, I must play their deadly game, or my grandmother and best friend will pay the ultimate price.

This is another Kindle Unlimited title by indie author Kelly St. Clare and I have to say I was in the mood for some vampire urban fantasy novel.

What I Liked:

  • It’s a different take on a vampire novel…there are two old, wealthy vampire families competing and playing a game, think Monopoly. Yes, they roll dice when it is their turn and buy property. Sound confusing? Oh I’m still a little confused, two books in, but I’m rolling with it because it’s different! The winner gets to live, the losing family…DIES. The city they are playing for IS real…and human and heiress Basilia, or Basil to some, and Bas to others…lives in. She gets caught in the middle of this crazy game.
  • The vampire prince, Kyros, is a hottie of course with major alpha male tendencies. And yes they are attracted to one another but Bas and Kyros go through blood exchange that has a consequences, three days of a thrall, which makes them lust for each other on a crazy level. It’s hot…but also…kinda weird because his vampire siblings has seen Bas naked…A LOT. 🤣 But she doesn’t care.
  • Bas is…young, so she can be naive due to how she was brought up – filthy rich. I mean she’s twenty one, she’s just been really sheltered. And thank goodness for her best friend Tommy. Love her! Tommy is real with Bas and Bas doesn’t have many people in her life. I love how close they are.
  • Super fast read and entertaining if you like urban fantasy stories. Hot, slow burn attraction between Kyron and Bas. And it’s a cliff-hanger ending but book two is published so that’s good!

Things That Made Me Go Hmm:

  • Kyros’ alpha male can be a but much at times – but he’s a vampire…so you kinda gotta let the guy be.
  • The dice game is a bit confusing, it supposed to be high stakes and I get that. But as long as I remember it is like Monopoly, then I just go with the flow.
  • What is up with Kyros’ family always seeing Bas naked during a thrall? LOL…vampires! 🤦🏻‍♀️
  • I didn’t get some of the lingo in the book, only because I thought it was British or Aussie slang, but I see the author is from New Zealand, so it’s probably slang from there? Which I am clueless about.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Vampire Debt (Vampire Towers, #2)

Author: Kelly St. Clare

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 412

Categories: Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Adult Fiction

Vampire royals strategise at 2 a.m.

Last week, I inherited every cent of the multi-billion-dollar Le Spyre estate.

But tequila is far easier to swallow than the coincidence of my beloved grandmother’s death.

I’m over this supernatural game, yet walking away from Kyros isn’t simple with the damn mate thing on the cards.

The Indebted need my help. My grandmother deserves justice. And, uhm, the third blood exchange did something to me.

It’s official. I’m done playing by paranormal rules. I’m making my own–and playing to win. Because if I enter Ingenium on my terms, there’s no turning back.

Winning is the only option.

What I Liked:

  • Bas and Kyros finally hook up – I mean, I’m all for the slow burn but their moments in thrall was putting them over the edge and when they finally have sex I was like, okay, glad THAT’S out of the way now. 😅
  • We learn more about Bas’ grandmother and we move into her former life as an heiress. We get insight into where Bas grew up and how she grew up.
  • Kyros’ siblings are interesting characters. It was funny to see how they try and do matchmaking between Kryos and Bas by irritating Kyros.
  • Bas shows she has more power now that she is back in charge of the Le Spyre wealth and out from under Kyros’ thumb. She has an ulterior motive but it’s nice to see her in charge for a change. I like that she is the championed of the Indebted (basically vampire slaves).

Things That Made Me Go Hmm:

  • Bas is in charge but she was also kind of whiny and irritating. I get that her relationship with Kyros is mostly because of the thrall and he’s done some shady things but it’s a lot of back and forth between them. I kind of want her to make up her mind already.
  • The story lagged for me in the middle – but maybe because I read the books back to back so I felt like I was reading 800 pages instead of just 400? LOL…maybe I just needed a break from Kyros and Bas’ crazy relationship.
  • I’m pretty sure Bas is going to fall in love with Kyros and turned into a vampire. I mean…it’s heading there right?! As for who wins this Monopoly game (which at times seems silly to me haha), we shall see in the next book.

Triggers:

  • Blood, violence, alpha male losing his temper.

So far, I liked the first book better than the second, yet I liked seeing Bas get some control back in the second book. It’s an entertaining take on vampires playing Monopoly (I know that sounds weird) but just go with it. We shall see what happens in the third book!

book review, contemporary, E-book, romance

Book Review | Faking Ms. Right

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Faking Ms. Right (Dirty Martini Running Club #1)

Author: Claire Kingsley

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 303

Categories: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary

“When I kissed you last night, I wasn’t pretending.”

Everly Dalton is a walking, talking, martini-drinking dating disaster. Forget kissing frogs. She can’t even get past the first date. But at work, she’s a badass—the longest-running assistant billionaire Shepherd Calloway has ever had. Her coworkers wonder how she handles the big bad wolf—and never gets bit. 

Shepherd Calloway isn’t interested in being anyone’s sugar daddy. Tired of women who only want him for his money, he swears off dating, determined to focus on running his empire. Until his gold-digging ex hits him where it hurts, putting him in a difficult position.

His solution—to have Everly pose as his live-in girlfriend—is obviously crazy. But the timing is uncanny. It just so happens Everly needs a favor from her boss—a big and awkward one—and this could ensure everyone gets what they want.

Besides, Everly can totally survive a few months of faux romance. 

Except there’s a problem. Shepherd is supposed to be a single-minded, unemotional robot boss. Not an actual human with a heart and morning wood. Between the awkward bed-sharing and tingly fake dates, lines are blurring. And as Everly gets to know the real Shepherd, she discovers there’s more to the man behind the bank account.

And faking it gets all too real.

Faking Ms. Right is a hot, STAND-ALONE romantic comedy.

It’s been awhile since I went into my Kindle Unlimited subscription to find an eBook. I was in the mood for a fake-relationship trope and I got it with Faking Ms. Right!

Everly comes off as perfect, perky, and nothing can dull her shine, but underneath she is made of steel…with a smile.

Her boss Shepherd is hard to get to know, Everly is there as his assistant and runs his daily work schedule competently. Until one night, Shepherd needs her to go beyond her assistant duties and fake being his girlfriend to save face in front of his ex-girlfriend.

Everly does her “job” perfectly but she’s also falling for her boss, and he is falling for her. This can’t turn out good…or can it? It definitely can.

  • Everly is Miss Positive, a ray of sunshine that was refreshing to me! She’s charming, and sweet but can stand her ground if need be. I like that she can make the best out of a bad situation.
  • Everly’s best friends, Nora and Hazel are hilarious, mostly Nora who is that girlfriend who is outspoken. They were so fun and it showed a side to Everly that did enjoy letting loose and having fun. But having those girlfriends get her through her tough times or them knowing she was going to fall for Shepherd and was going to be for her anyway, that’s friendship goals!
  • Diversity was present with Everly’s sister who had a wife and Shepherd’s brother had a husband. That was nice to see and why was I so emotional at the end when Shepherd’s brother and Everly’s sister had a “moment”? Ugh! It was a good moment and it made my heart happy.
  • Everly and Shepherd’s relationship I thought evolved nicely, from fake to an attraction they couldn’t deny. I mean, I can’t blame her after he lets her in. The thing I liked about Shepherd was that he wasn’t arrogant, even if he was a “billionaire”, his money status wasn’t a focus of this book. He was private and closed off yes (due to some past parental stuff) – but you could tell he cared about his brother and dad a lot.
  • There are steamy sex scenes in this one with a touch of kinky. Haha…not too much, but hey it’s definitely a fun time between Everly and Shepherd!
  • Of course it IS a fake-relationship trope and you already know they will get together so it was predictable but I loved it anyway.
  • Now Shepherd moves Everly into his home to make their relationship more believable and I thought wow…they are really going all in with this. I mean, couldn’t he just say he was dating her without the whole moving in thing? But I understood why it happened. Plus it made the tension and attraction between them grow much faster!

This was exactly what I needed to get me out of a fantasy slump. It’s always refreshing to switch genres and this one has a happily ever after, definitely what I was looking for! I love all the characters in this book except Svetlana of course. I want Nora and Hazel’s stories to be written too – it would be interesting to see what kind of guy they would end up with. (Actually, I see that Hazel’s story was just published!! So I will be reading that very soon.) 😍 I’m very excited to continue reading about these fun characters.

adult fiction, book review, E-book, romance

Book Review | The Bridge Kingdom

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Bridge Kingdom

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Format: eBook (owned)

Pages: 354

Categories: Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Romance, Enemies to Lovers

What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy? 

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom. 

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. 

Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

When I saw this book as an Audible on Amazon, it made me look twice. I thought, didn’t Danielle L. Jensen just release a young adult book this year? I love her books, so I was pretty sure I would have known she was releasing another novel. I didn’t even know about The Bridge Kingdom! It was just by coincidence that I saw it released the ebooks and physical copies on Tuesday. I bought the ebook without a second thought because I didn’t have the patience to wait for the hard copy.

It was everything I’ve been craving lately in a book! It’s like this author just knew I was needing this book. And just to reiterate because she writes young adult novels – this one is an adult novel, so yes there is a sex scene and thank goodness because the tension between Lara and Aren was building up so much. I was going to be irritated if they didn’t hook up. 🤷🏻‍♀️😅

At the end of chapter one, I was like this…😳 and I think I gasped and said, “what is this?!” Maybe because it described Lara with eleven half-sisters, I was like oooo, is this a Twelve Dancing Princesses re-telling? 😂 This goes to show I knew NOTHING about what this book would be about, I didn’t even really read the blurb, I saw the author on this and bought it without thought. So NO this is not about dancing princesses at all, unless you count spy and assassin skills as “dancing”.

Lara and her half-sisters are daughters of the Rat King, Silas Veliant, the King of Maridrina. Maridrina is a desert country where the people are starving and the king blames the kingdom of Ithicana for all its woes. Ithicana is the hub of trade but it is called The Bridge Kingdom because they have a bridge that is central to this successful trade business and no one has been able to capture it. A peace treaty between the two kingdoms promises a Maridrina bride to the King of Ithicana. This is how Silas wants to bring down Ithicana, by marrying King Aren to one of his trained daughters.

The world building is fascinating and I wish the eBook had a map of the kingdoms. Maridrina like I said is a dry, desert country. Ithicana is in the middle of the sea with high cliffs, a bridge, and islands all around. Because it is a bunch of islands, the foliage is lush, the air is humid and they deal with venomous snakes that populate the island and also sharks that thrive in the waters. There is mention of other kingdoms and maybe we will learn more about them in the sequels.

This book has political intrigue, a steamy slow burn romance, action, bloody battles, and betrayal! By the time I got to the end, and yes I read this in one day, I was kicking myself for not reading this nearer to it’s sequel release date.

I was begging silently for Lara to open her eyes to her father’s scheming ways – ugh because I knew it would only end in heartbreak! I mean, all of it was kind of predictable after the first chapter but it was still so good. I don’t mind if something is predictable as long as it’s still entertaining.

Lara, has been raised in the most awful way. She has been conditioned and tortured to believe Ithicana is their enemy and nothing else matters but taking them down. She’s not sweet, she’s an assassin, a spy, a liar and she’s so good at what she does. We see her plans unravel slowly as she learns about King Aren and Ithicana. Though she has all these skills to deceive, Lara also finds she has weaknesses, like the fear of the ocean that surrounds Ithicana and caring for her sisters. King Aren, on the other hand was raised with the love of the Ithicana people. He is smart, a fierce fighter and strong leader who loves his people. In the end he has a weakness too, Lara. 😭

And then that ending. 😩 It’s a cliffhanger and the way it ends makes me want the second book in my hands right now. I need Lara to use her badass skills for good. I need to see how she can fix things and I need her and Aren to be together – though I don’t know how that will happen right now. 😢 Lara has a tough road ahead but I believe in her. I will count down the days until the sequel is released!

adult fiction, book review, E-book

Book Review | In the Teeth of It: A Gingerbread Hag Mystery

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: In the Teeth of It (A Gingerbread Hag Mystery, Book 2)

Author: K.A. Miltimore

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 217

Categories: Paranormal, Supernatural, Mystery, Adult Fiction

It’s been two months since the fiery events of Burned to a Crisp, and it’s Christmas in Enumclaw. Hedy is back to hosting visitors in her waystation, while Mel and Darro are decking the halls and telling tales of Krampus in between batches of cannibal Gingerbread Men cookies—just another Christmas at The Gingerbread Hag bakery.

But the holiday spirit isn’t the only thing making its way through Enumclaw. Something definitely from the naughty list is attacking the local farms and the children are possessed with mischief. Hedy’s worries increase when the Concierge sends someone to investigate her house and possibly shut the waystation down for good.

Who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice? Not every gift under the tree is one she’ll want to open, but Hedy better hurry, before all of Enumclaw gets caught In the Teeth of It.

Here we are back at The Gingerbread Hag bakery, a fictional bakery that I want to visit in real life. Hedy is dealing with the aftermath of the events in book one, when Lyssa, a demi-goddess brought chaos to the small town of Enumclaw. Now it’s Christmas time and Hedy has new visitors staying at her waystation but the threat of Lyssa is still real, though no one knows where she is.

This story is a Christmas in July treat! Reading this book made me yearn for cooler weather, Christmas decorations, a cup of hot tea and maybe a sweet delight from The Gingerbread Hag bakery. 😋

In the Teeth of It, the second book of the The Gingerbread Hag Mystery series, introduces us to some new characters. The menagerie from book one makes an appearance as well, though it seemed a lot more brief this time around. I do wish we had more time with my favorite talking animals and ghost in this book, hopefully they are featured more in book three.

I love how this series takes place in a small town, but it’s filled with diverse characters of different ethnicities and supernatural powers. I really enjoyed the new characters, Yami – a kitsune (fox) and Raluca – a Moroi (vampire). I’ve always loved the Moroi and Strogoi legends so I really enjoyed Raluca’s character a lot.

Hedy is a great main character with her signature style: beehive hair and a 1960’s style wardrobe. She’s always a gracious host and storekeeper making friends wherever she goes. But this time around we also get a glimpse of Hedy’s past and I can’t wait to find out more of her time in New Orleans! It sounds intriguing! There was less havoc caused in this book compared to book one, but I think that was okay because it got me into such a cozy holiday mood.

Author, K.A. Miltimore always infuses her stories with the strange, different and interesting whether it comes to baked goods, supernatural creatures, mythology or legends. I look forward to the next book in the series. If you like quick reads and mystery stories with supernatural elements, then definitely give this series a try!

Get it here: Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

About the Author of the book:

K. A. Miltimore is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest who has followed the advice of her 5th grade teacher, Miss Hammond, and become a writer. She loves mid-century fashion, 80s music and nachos (not necessarily in that order). With her husband and son, she loves exploring quirky local towns, and dreams of dragging them both to Iceland for a tour someday. Her tombstone will likely read “Always Creating”. In addition to writing, she enjoys making jewel spiders, looking for great Washington red wines, and re-watching the movies that she has forgotten over the years.

book review, contemporary, E-book, romance, Young Adult

Book Review: The Lovely War

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Author: Julie Berry

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 480

Categories: War, Gods, Romance, World War I

Book Blurb:

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

MY REVIEW

The Lovely War, is amazingly written and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when Aphrodite starts narrating this love story. I was afraid the narration would take me out of the story and maybe sometime near the ending, it did just a smidge – because it was wrapping up the story lines and felt a little rushed. But other than that, this book is really fantastic.

“Let them start their dreadful wars, let destruction rain down, and let plague sweep through, but I will still be here, doing my work, holding humankind together with love like this.” – Aphrodite

The Lovely War by. Julie Berry

The story is a combination of mythology, history, music history and romance. Romance is what drives the story but it also explored prejudice and racial divides of the American troops especially when the black regiment is sent to fight in World War I. I will admit this, I know so much more about World War II because there are many movies, tv series and books about it that World War I is sort of lost on me. I know it happened, I learned about it in history class twenty plus years ago, but no one continues to talk about it as much as WWII. So this book was engaging and I kept highlighting passages in the book to make sure I do some research on it later. But the author goes into more depth with historical notes after the story ends and also added a selected bibliography list. Thank you to the author, Julie Berry, for that!

Aphrodite’s purpose for telling this particular story is due to the fact she is being put on “trial” by her husband Hephaestus for infidelity. The story of Hazel and James, and Colette and Aubrey is her evidence of some of her greatest work as the goddess of love. Their beginning is sweet and appropriate as it was in that era but I was afraid of a sad ending for all them. I love Colette, she is so strong. I adore how she and Aubrey come together through their trials in life and love of music.

Aubrey’s story portrayed the prejudices he and his regiment experiences being an American soldier, well not quite soldier, he’s a musician. Aubrey, being from progressive New York City has much more opportunities there but as he points out, it was still segregated. Racism was everywhere in America and it shows us how far we’ve come and how much more we have to go. Another interesting aspect of his story is the introduction of rag-time and jazz music in Europe! I learned so many things in this book.

When James goes to war, I know it’s inevitable but it still broke my heart. I thought the war scenes were intense but it really moved the story along. And it gave me a sad feeling in his happily ever after with Hazel, just knowing their children will come to experience WWII. We also get a glimpse of James suffering from PTSD and how he deals with it. And I learned a lot about the roles of women back in WWI, since they weren’t allowed to fight. Hazel and Colette worked with the YMCA and the Red Cross. Because I was raised on stories of WWII, the iconic image of women helping in the war was Rosie the Riveter. So shining a light on the women of WWI was a nice change.

Now the gods were great characters in the story as well, Hades being my favorite. We see death as something depressing and scary, but Hades’ narration was a lovely way of showing how even though our loved ones are gone, they are watching us from beyond.

“I am so often moved by souls whose first concern is not for their own lost years, but for the grief their passing will cause to those they love.” -Hades

The Lovely War by. Julie Berry

With all the love stories being told, you’d think I would have been attached to the main characters. And the gods have their own love story too. But the story that finally got me was the moment James talks to Frank Mason’s wife. That’s the moment this book almost brought me to tears. 😢 The Masons scenes were brief but so impactful. I think all the sorrow, stress, fears and anxiety culminated it in that point for James and the whole story. That moment was a big exhale, a very pivotal moment for the characters to choose to go on living.

After everything these characters go through with this war and how it brings them together, tears them apart and for some together again, there is still love. There is hope and forgiveness also. This story moved me in so many ways. It is an emotional and beautiful homage to part of our history and the people that lived through it. It also reminds us that love is always worth fighting for.

Get it here: Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost for you. Thanks!

book review, E-book, netgalley

Book Review: Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer, #1)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author: Maxym M. Martineau

Format: E-book

Pages: 400

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Beasts, Romance, Magic, Assassins

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

Book Blurb:

Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-an offense punishable by death-and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own. 

In a game of trust and half-lies, only one thing can be certain: traps capture more than beasts and ensnared hearts are impossible to untangle.

MY REVIEW

Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this e-arc for an honest review.

Magic beasts! Undead assassins and a curse! This blurb had me at magical beasts. It was not hard for me to dive into this lush fantasy world. Leena is a beast charmer, and she reminded me of a Pokemon trainer! Yes, I said Pokemon. 😅 She had to find these beasts, tame them and put them in a special realm where they waited to be summoned. I wanted to be Leena and have a collection of beasts.

Leena is exiled from her home and there is a bounty on her head. The Cruor is a group of undead assassins, lead by Noc. Their powers are really interesting. They can control shadows and Noc can raise more assassins with his blood, like a vampire. Noc is powerful and in essence a “beast” as well. They are attracted to one another right away but Noc can’t get close, he is cursed. Noc finds her irresistible and Leena is a beast charmer so…why not try to tame his beast? 😉 They are meant to be .

Instead of carrying out the bounty, Noc and Leena negotiate on terms that may help both of them get out of the binds they are in. They are both trying to survive.

I love Leena. She’s strong, caring but vulnerable and she’s comfortable in her charmer skin. The magical beasts in the story are all amazing. They have different characteristics and powers. Noc is a typical strong male character, handsome, powerful and I love how he valued his friends even if he had to keep his distance. He has a sad past with lots of death involved and I hope we learn more about it in the next book.

I enjoyed Noc’s assassins: Calem, Oz and Kost – well not so much Kost, but he eventually grew on me. Their job is to escort Leena and make sure she stays in line but for the most part these guys come off friendly and funny (except Kost of course) and protect her. Leena seemed to soften these assassins up.

I didn’t think I’d read it through the night since I started it so late in the evening, but I could not put it down! This book was lots of fun, full of adventure, a delicious romance and those fantastic magical beasts. I look forward to the sequel.

Uncategorized

Book Review: In Bloom (The Brightside Book 1)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author: Katie Delahanty

Format: E-book

Pages: 428

Categories: Romance, Celebrity, New Adult

Book Blurb:

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it’s all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all… 

MY REVIEW

This was a fun romance story and a very quick read. I’m a sucker for the celebrity romance trope and this had everything I was looking for: romance and humor.

Olivia Bloom is a young woman from Pittsburgh who tries to make a living in L.A. and finds it challenging. Luck would have it she runs into the lead singer of her favorite band, Berkeley and the Brightside. It’s a fluke first meeting but then her new friends who are Hollywood insiders, turn her into project “It girl”. They teach her the rules of surviving life in L.A and see if they can turn a nobody into a somebody. This leads her to another chance meeting with Berkeley and soon things take off, in her career and love life.

I adored Olivia’s friends, especially Parker, who reminded me of some of my own friends. He kept making me laugh throughout the book. The author captured the feeding frenzy of the celebrity lifestyle really well from dealing with tabloids and faking it until you make it in Hollywood.

The romance is sweet and tender as Olivia and Berkeley get to know each other and try to make it work in the crazy world of fame. With rumors flying everywhere, Olivia has to figure out if Berkeley’s attentions are real or fake, like everyone else in Hollywood. I enjoyed Olivia’s adventures in Hollywood. I wanted a light-hearted story with a happily ever after and I was not disappointed.

book review, E-book

Book Review: Voice of Dominion (The Spoken Mage 3)

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Author: Melanie Cellier

Format: E-book

Pages: 316

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Book Blurb:

Elena may be the only Spoken Mage in history, but she struggles with limitations. Unable to stockpile written workings as her mageborn year mates do, she runs the constant risk of burning out. But when the Armed Forces draw the third years to the front lines of their war, Elena’s strength and flexibility may be necessary to keep them all alive.

As Elena wrestles with how much she will sacrifice for the war, Lucas must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice for her. Faced with a greater threat than even they realize, Elena and Lucas must work together and either fight or be consumed by their enemies.

MY REVIEW

Elena is a Spoken Mage, whereas other mages write a composition of magic on paper and then tear it up in order for the magic to happen, all she needs to do is speak the words. In the first two books Elena is at an academy learning how to harness and expand her powers. Their kingdom, Ardann has been at war with neighboring kingdom, Kallorway. This time Elena and her classmates are sent to the front lines to observe the battle but gets caught in some skirmishes.

One reason I like this series is how the magic is created with the written compositions. It’s different! It would definitely be easier to speak out a command than spend time composing it but the author shows how writing could be beneficial in certain aspects as well.

There was a lot more action in this book now that they are at the front lines. Elena’s best friends are with her and still awesome. I’m glad she has good people around her. The romance has been a clean slow burn throughout three books now. It’s a back and forth thing between Prince Lucas and Elena. But I just wish they would just stay together. The twist in the ending, made me pause hard. It threw me off and made me wonder why that needed to take place. I’m not sure that I like it. I guess we will see how it works out in the next book – but it definitely surprised me!

All the books in this series are quick, easy, fun reads – this one wasn’t my favorite though.

book review, E-book, netgalley

Book Review: The Thirteenth Guardian

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Author: KM Lewis

Format: E-book

Pages: 295

Categories: Apocalypse, Secret Societies, Suspense

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

Book Blurb:

Da Vinci’s secret pales. Michelangelo concealed an explosive truth in his famous Creation of Man fresco in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Everything we have been taught about Eve is wrong—she didn’t cause the fall of man. Instead, Eve carried a far more devastating secret for millennia; one that will change the world forever.

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt”, Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation. Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.

MY REVIEW

Thank you NetGalley for an e-arc of this book for an honest review.

I was curious about this book because it mentioned the Plagues of Egypt. Usually apocalyptic stories go the way of a comet headed straight for Earth or the most obvious, climate change. When the story revealed that the Plagues of Egypt didn’t only happen in Egypt but around the world at the same time, I thought that was a fascinating take on it.

Though the plagues in this story is exciting, the whole story itself didn’t work for me. The book introduces us to these main characters who are scattered all over the world and each of them has a special trait. These special people need to survive the days of the plague. The story lost me because it kept adding more characters and locations. Throw in all this information from various religious texts, secret societies, plus the scientific aspects of these unusual events taking place, and geographical data, there was a lot going on.

Maybe with more focus on giving the main characters depth, and less on adding side characters this would have worked better for me. That way I could have actually connected to a character. Although I did enjoy some of the geographical information given (especially when the events happen) I felt like the writing became mechanical in these areas. Overall, it wasn’t a book for me but I appreciated the ideas in this book and it has a lot of potential.