The Poison Season by. Mara Rutherford | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Title: The Poison Season

Author: Mara Rutherford

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 12/6/22

Publisher: Inkyard 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.**

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

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake. Either way, they’re never heard from again.

Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself.

Content Warning:

This one is a DNF for me. I love the cover and I enjoyed some other books from this author but this one just wasn’t doing it for me. Here’s what I thought:

+ Interesting concept, was intrigued about the Forest and mysterious island.

~ I felt no connection to the characters and kept wondering what is happening and wishing the story would move faster.

~ I think it would appeal to teen readers. For me, I just wanted more. I was bored and didn’t want to struggle to finish it.

Tropes: secret island

Why you should read it:

  • you like the author’s other works
  • interesting concept – mysterious island, a poison lake, magic through singing

Why you might not want to read it:

  • too slow and wasn’t keeping my attention

My Thoughts:

I tried many times to finish this book but I think it was clear I was just not interested and it wasn’t for me. I think this will still appeal to young adult fantasy fans though.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BLOG TOUR} Silver in the Mist by. Emily Victoria | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Silver in the Mist

Author: Emily Victoria

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 11/1/22

BUY HERE: | IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Categories: Young Adult, Asexual, LGBT+, Fantasy, Teen Readers

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

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

Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria is a YA fantasy featuring asexual representation that follows a palace spy sent to infiltrate a neighboring kingdom in hopes of returning magic to her dying land.

Eight years ago, everything changed for Devlin: Her country was attacked. Her father was killed. And her mother became the Whisperer of Aris, the head of the spies, retreating into her position away from everyone… even her daughter.

Joining the spy ranks herself, Dev sees her mother only when receiving assignments. She wants more, but she understands the peril their country, Aris, is in. The malevolent magic force of The Mists is swallowing Aris’s edges, their country is vulnerable to another attack from their wealthier neighbor, and the magic casters who protect them from both are burning out.

Dev has known strength and survival her whole life, but with a dangerous new assignment of infiltrating the royal court of their neighbor country Cerena to steal the magic they need, she learns that not all that glitters is weak. And not all stories are true.

Content Warning: violence, strained relationship

I read Emily Victoria’s This Golden Flame and really thought it was creative and had a great asexual main character. Silver in the Mists sounded totally different so I was curious to read it. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ The world building is once again, unique and creative. Two kingdoms are kept apart by a phenomenon called the Mists- in Aris, but called the Hush in Cerena. There is a phenomenon that separates the kingdoms called the Mists (in Aris), and the Hush (in Cerena) – and in these mists are monsters. The magic system is different too, magic casters work with filigree.

+ Devlin is the main character and she is asexual. She’s a spy who is sent to Cerena on a mission to kidnap their most powerful magic caster, Alyse. So she spends more time in Cerena than in her home of Aris but we learn about the conflict and history between the two kingdoms while she is there. I enjoyed all the secondary characters too, especially Milla who helps Devlin complete her mission. Dev does have issues to deal with in regards to her mother, The Whisperer – who is basically her boss. They have a very strained relationship but all Dev wants is her mother’s love and approval and she hopes this mission will bring her both.

+ I like that this book was fast paced and it kept me engaged from beginning to end! I do feel like this will appeal to teen readers more than young adult.

~ Although the world-building is very unique I did wish we had a little more information about the magic system. I just went with everything because the story was moving quickly and I was invested in Dev’s undercover mission. But it would be nice to learn more about the filigrees. Also there was one thing in the story that kept throwing me off and it was the word Layde. Is it pronounced “lady” or “laid”? And it was applied to upperclass citizens I believe but I kept stumbling over how to say it.

Tropes: spy, asexual main character, strained Mother/Daughter relationship

Why you should read it:

  • fast paced story
  • unique world building
  • a spy/undercover story that is entertaining

Why you might not want to read it:

  • more geared towards teen readers

My Thoughts:

It’s rare to find stand alone fantasy books these days but I like what this author is doing with the ones she’s written so far. She has her signature unique world-building and a main character who is asexual. I found Silver in the Mist quite entertaining and feel like it would appeal to teen readers.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BLOG TOUR } This Golden Flame by. Emily Victoria ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author:

Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not wordsmithing, she likes walking her overexcitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store. Her librarian degree has allowed her to work at a library and take home far too many books.

Author Website:

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale

That Dark Infinity by. Kate Pentecost | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: That Dark Infinity

Author: Kate Pentecost

Format: hard cover (own)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 10/18/21

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Lite Horror, Paranormal

By night, the Ankou is a legendary, permanently young mercenary. By day, a witch’s curse leaves him no more than bones. Caught in an unending cycle of death and resurrection, the Ankou wants only to find the death that has been prophesied for him, especially once he begins to rot while he’s still alive….

After the kingdom of Kaer-Ise is sacked, Flora, loyal handmaiden to the princess, is assaulted and left for dead. As the sole survivor of the massacre, Flora wants desperately to find the princess she served. When the Ankou agrees to help her find the princess, and to train her in exchange for her help in breaking his curse, she accepts. But how can she kill an immortal? Especially one whom she is slowly growing to understand—and maybe even to love?

Together, they will solve mysteries, battle monsters, break curses, and race not only against time, but against fate itself.

Content Warning: gory scenes, death, rape, assault, violence

I’ve had this one on my shelf for half the year and wanted to read it during spooky season. Here’s what I thought:

+ My favorite thing about this book was the creative world-building. There are monsters, different kingdoms, an awkward but efficient monster slayer, automatons and even a tiny bit of romance.

+ The characters are great! We have the Ankou, Lazarus, who is cursed to be a monster slayer. I loved how awkward he was outside of monster slaying. Flora has gone through so much – she lost her best friend, her position as a ladies maid and her innocence in one violent event. The friendship she builds with Lazarus is careful – I love how he gives her space and the friendship grows into something more but it’s never the focus of the story. And then there is Antonais who is a lightning mage and helps them on their quest to break Lazarus curse. He is a fun character who is into everything science and engineering.

+ I loved the darkness of the story. I don’t feel like the story itself was dark in a scary way, it just had dark themes but I felt like the writing was light-hearted and lyrical. Lazarus turns into a skeleton every night, which is kinda awesome. A lot of the descriptions got gory but never in a spooky way – hence why I dubbed it lite horror. I also loved all the action of fighting different monsters on their quest, that was fun.

~ Pacing was a bit off at times. For example, Lazarus is going to train Flora to fight and I swear it took one page of training and she was deemed proficient (yes time goes by…but quickly!). Also…there was modern day humor to the dialogue and the characters which was kind of strange but I went with it!

~ Also, Lazarus wants to break his curse, and Flora wants to know what happened to her best friend Beth and if she escaped the massacre. Flora’s goal kind of gets pushed aside – maybe because their goals were intertwined but I felt like we could have gotten more of Flora’s thoughts. She suffered through a lot. I just felt like she forgot she was looking for Beth at times. Maybe I just needed more of her perspective.

~+ There isn’t much to the romance – it’s barely there which is a good thing if you are there for the quest and action scenes. The romance happens basically at the ending and I did love how they went from companions to friends to lovers. It’s very sweet when you think about it.

Tropes: quest, monster slayer, girl who overcomes trauma, found family

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • there is a quest and lots of actions scenes battling monsters
  • Lazarus is the most reluctant monster slayer but he’s so good at it and he’s funny and awkward at times. Love him!
  • great world building, creative and unique

Why you might not want to read it:

  • pacing is a bit off at times – at times rushed, maybe because it’s a standalone?

My Thoughts:

This was the perfect read for spooky season! The story is about a monster slayer who basically hates his job but is so good at it – he wants the curse to be over. Then there is Flora who has been seriously traumatized by a horrific event and has lost everything but she gains back strength, and love. There is a quest, lots of adventure and monster slaying and a happy ending. Only thing that threw me off at times was the pacing but overall and enjoyable story!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A River Enchanted by. Rebecca Ross | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence, #1)

Author: Rebecca Ross

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 480

Publication Date: 2/15/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Adult Fiction, Mystery

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

Content Warning: violence, kidnapping, raids

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it was published and I heard so many great things about it. I can see why there was hype about it. Here’s what I thought about the book:

+ The writing is beautiful and the story is magical. Cadence is Jack’s home and it’s a place where they still revere the island and its spirits. I love how music is magic in Jack’s skill with the harp and how Torin and Sidra can call to one another. It’s a story that you can get swept up in.

+ The romance, and relationships was great to explore. Jack and Adaira are a childhood enemies to lovers story that melted my heart. Their relationship I feel would appeal to the young adult crowd but Torin and Sidra are older. I loved Jack and Adaira and how their history together made their bond stronger in their older age. And I love Torin and Sidra’s story too. Torin’s a widower, and Sidra married him and gained a step-daughter. There is so much love in their family but insecurities too. It’s wonderful how the story explores the relationships between these couples.

+ The theme of family and community is strong in this book. It’s also a story about people finding their place in the world and figuring out what the meaning of “home” is. The ending was a surprising twist.

+ I like the mysterious air that is present from beginning to end of the book. There are girls going missing in the east and they think the it’s the spirits who are causing this so Jack and Adaira do their best to connect to the spirits through music and enchantment. But there is more to the story than just the spirits. I like the twist in the end.

~ Pacing is a little slow. It starts off strong but the story is set like a mystery so it’s definitely a story where you can take your time and not rush through. Definite cozy story, raining outside kinda vibes!

Tropes: childhood friends, enemies to lovers, widower

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • beautiful writing, magical setting
  • themes of love, family and belonging
  • romance between Jack and Adaira (young love) and Torin and Sidra (adult love)

Why you might not want to read it:

  • might be a little slow but I think it fits with the pace of a mystery- it did take me 3 days to read.

My Thoughts:

I love how magical this story felt as I was reading it. I felt swept away in the story of Cadence, the warring sides and the spirits all around them. Although at times the romance felt like a young adult story, it was balanced with Torin and Sidra’s story which was an adult love story filled with challenges. This is a story to take your time with and not rush through.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

“The days may be dark,” Sidra said. “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel joy.”

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

Their differences could be enough to break their vows, despite her feelings for him.”

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

From your life came mine. I would not exist if you had been born in the east. I am but a verse inspired by your chorus, and I will follow you until the end, when the isle takes my bones and my name is nothing more than a remembrance on a headstone, next to yours.”

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

House of Beating Wings by. Olivia Wildenstein | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: House of Beating Wings (Kingdom of Crows #1)

Author: Olivia Wildenstein

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 490

Publication Date: 9/27/22

Categories: New Adult, Fantasy, Fae, Romantasy, Magic

Free the crows, Fallon, and they will make you queen.

Until an oracle predicted my regal future, I’d never imagined myself rising above the curve of my round ears. After all, I was the magicless halfling loved by beasts but loathed by every pure-blooded faerie at court. Well . . . by all but one.

Dante Regio, prince of Luce, had owned my heart since he gave me my first kiss. If gathering a slew of iron relics could help me overthrow the current monarch and crown his brother to rule at my side, then treasure hunting I’d go.

If only the oracle had warned me what winged demon I was releasing into the world.

And that I’d become this demon’s obsession.

Content Warning:

I was in the mood for a romantasy so I picked this one up on Kindle Unlimited because I was curious about the crow storyline. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ I wanted a romantasy and I got it for sure. Seems like everyone in this kingdom wants to be with Fallon. There are a few guys she kisses in this book but we will see what happens in book two.

+ Fallon works at a tavern, which is cool that she helps her family out that way. She also has the power to bond with a water serpent animal. Her bond with the serpent is why the King wants her in the first place but apparently Fallon’s fate is tied to something else – waking up crows. I did like the secondary characters, especially Fallon’s best friends, they are fun.

+ The crows are fascinating, they seem to speak to Fallon through her mind. And the leader of the crows, Lore, is intriguing.

~ I think there may be a love triangle brewing? Fallon is in love with Dante, the prince and her old friend, but I do not like him at all. He’s the worst. She also spends some time with Antoni who’s slept with all her friends it seems, but she breaks his heart. And now Lore? Who knows what is going to happen there.

~ I felt like there were two separate stories going on. The first part was purely Fallon and her love-life. The second was her waking up the crows. So to me it felt a bit disjointed.

~ Fallon was not someone I connected with – actually she started to annoy me, maybe because she acted young and naive for her age. It could be because the story is disjointed or the writing isn’t my style?

Tropes: girl with secret powers, love triangle, family with secrets,

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • looking for a romantasy read which includes crows
  • interesting world-building

Why you might not want to read it:

  • annoying main character

My Thoughts:

My favorite thing about this book is probably Fallon’s best friends who brought humor into the story. I think the world building is interesting and it has so much potential but Fallon was annoying at times and I felt like the crows needed to be introduced a bit earlier into the story. For me the story didn’t flow well and I found myself skipping some parts to the end. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the second book, if I do it’s mostly to find out all about this crow kingdom.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Witch Collector by. Charissa Weaks | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Witch Collector (#1)

Author: Charissa Weaks

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 343

Publication Date: 11/01/21

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult, Magic, Witches

Every harvest moon, the Witch Collector rides into our valley and leads one of us to the home of the immortal Frost King, to remain forever.

Today is that day—Collecting Day.

But he will not come for me. I, Raina Bloodgood, have lived in this village for twenty-four years, and for twenty-four years he has passed me by.

His mistake.

Raina Bloodgood has one desire: kill the Frost King and the Witch Collector who stole her sister. On Collecting Day, she means to exact murderous revenge, but a more sinister threat sets fire to her world. Rising from the ashes is the Collector, Alexus Thibault, the man she vowed to slay and the only person who can help save her sister.

Thrust into an age-old story of ice, fire, and ancient gods, Raina must abandon vengeance and aid the Witch Collector in saving the Frost King or let their empire—and her sister—fall into enemy hands. But the lines between good and evil blur, and Raina has more to lose than she imagined. What is she to do when the Witch Collector is no longer the villain who stole her sister, but the hero who’s stealing her heart?

Content Warning: violence

I have been eyeing this one for awhile and finally got it when it was $0.99 on Kindle! This is what did and didn’t work for me:

+ The cover is so pretty, it gives me winter vibes.

+ Raina is mute, so I love that she uses sign language and others around her (only a few) know how to sign with her too. Raina is also really brave and is a fighter even though her true skill as a witch is healing and scrying.

+ It’s an enemies to lovers romance but it’s one-sided. Raina’s plan is actually kill the Witch Collector, Alexus, but things don’t go as planned. Instead she reluctantly has to cooperate with him if they are going to save her sister and the Frost King. Alexus has been into her for a long time now, so it’s Raina who is fighting the attraction she is starting to feel with him. There are some sexy scenes between them and even one epic sex scene that was not just hot physically but emotionally (the thing that happened with the life threads). The two of them really grew on me.

+ World building is great! There is some back story about Alexus that shows the bigger picture of what they are dealing with. There are gods, evil princes and witches! The magic system is intriguing as well.

~ We get thrown into the story – we meet Raina and she wants to kill Alexus because he took her eldest sister years ago. But there is some backstory we are missing about Nephele (her sister) and the Frost King. I kind of wish maybe we knew their story first, because it seems very important to everything going on. That was my main issue. I felt like I was catching up to the story. And Alexus had to do a lot of explaining to Raina.

~ Raina does go from obsessing over killing Alexus to then sleeping with him. So…I thought it was a quick turn around. I think it was her sister at the end of the book that said Alexus knew Raina for only 2 weeks and he was ready to burn the world down for her! TWO WEEKS! 😅 He got through her defenses super fast but I guess all he really needed to do was explain the Nephele/Frost King situation.

Tropes: one-sided enemies to lovers, hiding great powers

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • a good romantasy read – it’s got equal parts romance and the fantasy world building is great
  • Raina is mute, great representation
  • entertaining – it has action and a fight with an evil prince

Why you might not want to read it:

  • slight pacing issues, a little slower in the middle
  • the romance happens in the span of 2 weeks, even though Alexus has been wanting her for longer than that

My Thoughts:

I think this was pretty enjoyable if you are looking for a romantasy to read. It’s got an enemies to lovers romance, a steamy scene or two, lots of magic and fighting against an evil prince, and I’m looking forward to reading book two, City of Ruin.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Frost by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Frost (Frost and Nectar, #1)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: ebook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 10/3/22

Categories: Fantasy, Fae, Romance, New Adult

On the worst birthday of my life, I come home to find my boyfriend in bed with another woman. Within hours, I’m drunk, homeless, and pledging to stay single forever. And that is when the dangerously sexy Seelie King rolls through town, looking for fae like me.

Every generation, the king holds a competition for Seelie queen. But for reasons he won’t explain, Torin is looking for a charade, not a real marriage. So when I drunkenly sling insults his way, I have his attention.

When Torin offers me fifty million to participate, I think, “What have I got to lose?” The answer turns out to be “my life,” because my competition will literally kill for the crown.

And the more time I spend with the seductive king, the harder it becomes to remember it’s all supposed to be fake. Now, my life—and my heart—are one the line.

Content Warning: violence

I am trash for fae books and this one has lots of tropes that are so much fun in a romantasy.

+ The tropes are many in this one: a girl who doesn’t know her past-she’s Fae but lived in the human world since she was a child and she was exiled from Faerie but don’t know why, a competition for the Seelie king’s hand, faerie is dying unless the king marries, and the king can’t fall in love because his love will kill. Oh and to top it off, the competition is like a reality dating show.

+ I like Ava a lot. She’s strong, she’s independent, and she’s not afraid of Torin and Faerie. She also has a fun friend Shalini by her side. I like Torin too! He seems like a good guy, just stuck with king responsibilities and a curse, of course!

+ I like the sexual tension between Ava and Torin and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

~ It’s short and moves quickly, a little rushed in the competition parts but that’s okay – I expect it with these series that drop releases more quickly than the bigger publishers.

~ I love Shalini and hopes she gets to do more in Faerie than just sitting in the room and reading books. What kind of an adventure is that?

Tropes: touch kills, love kills, a girl with a secret past, competition to marry king, reality dating show

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • super quick read
  • lots of fun tropes and it’s a Fae story
  • Ava and Torin

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it’s a quick read but also scenes are rushed
  • the next book releases in a few months so maybe wait to binge the whole series

My Thoughts:

I was in the mood for a book set in Faerie and this author is definitely one I go to for a book with all the tropes I’m looking for and it’s New Adult. Also the wait for sequels won’t be long which also satisfies my craving. Overall a fun start to a new series, hopefully we get a little more depth to the story in the sequel.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Atlas Six by. Olivie Blake | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Atlas Six

Author: Olivie Blake

Format: hardcover (own)

Pages: 383

Publication Date: 1/30/20

Publisher: Tor Books

Categories: Dark Academia, Mystery, Fantasy, LGBT+

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

Content Warning: violence

I have finally read The Atlas Six even though it was sitting on my shelf for the past 3 months or so. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get to it before the sequel came out but I did! Yay! So I can see why this book had so much hype. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ This story is told between six POV’s. We have:

  • Libby – she’s a physicist who loves science and is a bit awkward, has a hard time making friends.
  • Nick (Varona) – Libby’s rival and reluctant partner in crime. They hate one another are better together.
  • Reina – lots of natural power involving plants. She DGAF a lot of times.
  • Tristan – son of a witch crime lord, he feels he is never enough for anyone. Power to do with time.
  • Parisa – dangerous, gorgeous, a telepath.
  • Callum – another dangerous telepath who really DGAF.

Throughout the story I realized none of them are actually likable – all their flaws are on display and their hunger for power and knowledge (whatever The Society is offering) is pretty much their biggest flaw. The one who grew on me the most I think is Nick. Especially because he has this friend Gideon who maybe he feels something for? I’m not even sure…I was even thinking Nick and Libby would make a great enemies to lovers kind of storyline. But now I don’t know!

+ World building is fascinating. There is a secret society, with access to the Library of Alexandria, who is offering a place for 6 potential recruits. These recruits are the best of the best and have certain abilities the Society is looking for. Their task? To protect the Library and basically learn and study until they are initiated. Learning about their abilities is interesting. I don’t know that I understand a lot about the time traveling – it always takes me awhile for me to grasp things like that – but Libby and Nico’s powers are cool and very useful. Reina’s is cool because come on…plants! The telepaths of course are good but scary. But there is so much more to learn about this world.

+ During their time at the library, these people get more powerful and then they learn only 5 of them will be chosen. One person must die and they basically have to work it among themselves. This is where alliances are created and broken. There is a lot of distrust among them – even I didn’t really know who would be the best to kill off except Callum was on my list as person #1. Parisa being number 2…lol I just would hate having someone be in my head manipulating me! But the tension between all of them is good.

+ The ending was a good twist and makes me want to read book two as soon as it comes out.

~ Some parts of the book was slow and I think because there are six POV’s and I knew I was going to become more interested in certain ones over others and that’s what happened. At least each chapter is fairly short but for a time while they are at the library and just basically learning more about science and their skill…I was wondering what else was going to happen at the library because all they were doing was learning. But I was kinda there and reading it for the personal dramas 😅. Libby hates Nick, Libby wants friends, everyone hates Libby, Reina hates everyone but tolerates Nick, Callum thinks he’s better than everyone, Parisa knows she’s better than everyone, and Tristan just wants to be used.

~ There is a little bit of romance, but I can’t get a feel for what’s going to happen. Like is Libby and Nick a potential thing? I love that they are reluctant hateful besties in a way lol. What about Nick and Gideon though? I definitely want to see that develop! And then Libby and Tristan? I mean it could work…maybe? I don’t know. There were not really any romantics feelings being talked about except for Tristan and how he was feeling about Libby.

Tropes: chosen ones, rivals, alliances, dark academia, time travel, unlikable/morally gray characters, sentient library

Spice Level: 🌶 (one scene in particular but it is not graphic)

Why you should read it:

  • dark academia vibes – mysterious, so much learning, and characters who are kind of full of themselves (at least some of them are)
  • a group that needs to eliminate one person, flawed characters, a magical library, can’t trust anyone
  • entertaining and cool world building

Why you might not want to read it:

  • pacing was off, slow at times, especially getting to know 6 people and their motivations while trying to keep things mysterious
  • I felt like it was a contest to see who was the most loathsome character lol

My Thoughts:

I can see the hype about this book and I can also see why people didn’t like it. It definitely seems like the type of book that you either love or hate. I enjoyed it but maybe because I went in with lowered expectations and waited for the hype to die down. I found the six characters very flawed and yet fascinating. I was trying to figure out who I would kill off if I was in the group. Now as for their pursuit of knowledge – it’s slow and you really have to get to the end to find out why these people were chosen. I found the world building fascinating but I also want to know more so I’m definitely reading the second book when it comes out in two weeks.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Drowned Woods by. Emily Lloyd-Jones | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Drowned Woods

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 346

Publication Date: 8/15/22

Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Welsh Mythology, Heist, Magic

Once upon a time, the kingdoms of Wales were rife with magic and conflict, and eighteen-year-old Mererid “Mer” is well-acquainted with both. She is the last living water diviner and has spent years running from the prince who bound her into his service. Under the prince’s orders, she located the wells of his enemies, and he poisoned them without her knowledge, causing hundreds of deaths. After discovering what he had done, Mer went to great lengths to disappear from his reach. Then Mer’s old handler returns with a proposition: use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.

The best way to do that is to destroy the magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. With a motley crew of allies, including a fae-cursed young man, the lady of thieves, and a corgi that may or may not be a spy, Mer may finally be able to steal precious freedom and peace for herself. After all, a person with a knife is one thing… but a person with a cause can topple kingdoms.

The Drowned Woods—set in the same world as The Bone Houses but with a whole new, unforgettable cast of characters—is part heist novel, part dark fairy tale.

Content Warning: violence

The Drowned Woods is a story inspired by Welsh mythology and I thought this was a fascinating story because of it. Here is what I liked and didn’t like:

+ Welsh mythology is so very interesting especially because it ties into the Fae. I could definitely feel the magic in the setting of the story. We have the last water diviner, Mer, and we know the land that was once so infused with magic – it’s still there, but not many have magic anymore. There are a few mythical creatures that show up in this story which was nice to see and learn about it.

+ This is a heist story and that was unexpected to me. Mer is propositioned to help someone steal the kingdom’s jewels and take down the Prince’s power. And she does to help take down the Prince after what he made her do as his water diviner in the past. The story introduces people into the group along the way but my favorites were Mer, Ifanna and Fane. Oh and Trefor the dog, of course!

+ The ending is great and I’d say it’s my favorite part of the book because the pace picks up and it’s a great conclusion.

~ The story starts off well but it started to lose me a bit in the middle. I can’t quite put my finger on why. I liked meeting Mer and Fane and eventually Ifanna but the rest of the group didn’t do much for me. Maybe it was the time putting the team together that was too slow for me? I wanted more action but we definitely get it at the end.

~ I think I also wanted a bit emotion in the story, maybe between the characters? I felt like it was lacking a connection between the characters and it turn I wasn’t connecting to them either. Especially for a heist story.

Tropes: heist, mythology

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • Welsh mythology
  • it’s a heist story – and the ending is very good
  • Mer and Fane have powers and it was cool to see them use it

Why you might not want to read it:

  • kind of loses steam in the middle

My Thoughts:

I think I went into this one with higher expectations since I like this author’s work. I did enjoy it for the most part, but the middle of the story is what made me lose interest. I liked Mer, Fane, Ifanna and Trefor and the ending is great. The Welsh mythology is always fascinating and I like that this author writes stories inspired by it. I would have liked to connect to the characters more but other than that I still look forward to reading more books from this author.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Bones Houses by. Emily Lloyd-Jones ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Hearts We Sold by. Emily Lloyd-Jones ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kingdom of the Feared by. Kerri Maniscalco | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Kingdom of the Feared (#3)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 393

Publication Date: 9/27/22

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Categories: Romance, Fantasy, Series, Supernatural

Emilia is reeling from the shocking discovery that her twin sister, Vittoria, is alive. But before she faces the demons of her past, Emilia yearns to claim her king, the seductive Prince of Wrath, in the flesh. Emilia doesn’t simply desire his body, she wants his heart and soul—but that’s something the enigmatic demon can’t promise her.

When a high-ranking member of House Greed is assassinated, Emilia and Wrath are drawn to the rival demon court. Damning evidence points to Vittoria as the murderer and she’s quickly declared an enemy of the Seven Circles. Despite her betrayal, Emilia will do anything to solve this new mystery and find out who her sister really is.

Together Emilia and Wrath play a sin-fueled game of deception as they work to stop the unrest that’s brewing between witches, demons, shape-shifters and the most treacherous foes of all: the Feared.

Emilia was warned that when it came to the Wicked nothing was as it seemed. But, have the true villains been much closer all along? When the truth is finally revealed, it just might end up costing Emilia her heart.

Two curses.
One prophecy.
A reckoning all have feared.

And a love more powerful than fate. All hail the king and queen of Hell.

Content Warning: sex, violence

Okay everyone, they should have stopped marketing this as YA since the last book. If you thought that was steamy…oh boy…this one takes it to the next level. Let’s dive into this book and see what did and didn’t work for me:

+ Wrath and Emilia are back and forget all the teasing and tension in book two. This is a book of full on Wrath and Emilia smut. Now they get to release their passions on one another and they sure do! They are horny for one another and show it everywhere it seems. 😅 I do admit, at some later points of the book I was skipping the sex scenes to get to the story. I love them together though. This book is as sinful as these princes of Hell.

+ This is Wrath and Emilia’s story basically told by Emilia, but really, it involves so many other characters. It’s a tangled web of secrets, curses and betrayals. I love the reveals in the story, especially because yay, finally we know what the heck is going on with Vittoria, the werewolves, the curse, and Emilia’s powers. It is ALL revealed! There was so much to unpack and I think the story did a great job at tying up loose ends and leaving some open for a spin-off.

+ I love the different princes, and I think this series has the potential for so many spin offs. Now I want to know about Pride and Vittoria…and what about Envy? Greed also has potential for his own story with a certain werewolf/demon. So many characters, so many more stories to tell? But this time it can’t be marketed as YA…just give it to us straight NA or Adult Fantasy…and throw in all the sexy scenes you want. I doubt we could handle a book about Lust. 😅 I also want to know more about Claudia! There is just so much potential and that mostly happens because there are characters we care about in the book. And that series definitely made us care about the characters.

+ Emilia really grows in this final book. She opens her eyes to the truth, no matter how much it hurts (physically and emotionally) and she makes some really hard choices. But I did admire how she found a way to keep Wrath….and her sister. She wanted it to work for her blood family and her new family.

~ I enjoy smut but I feel like they marketed this whole series wrong. It started off YA in book one…but clearly isn’t been NA since book two. I’m glad they are together and have good sex. I knew they have their happily ever after so my mind wanted to just get to the other threads of the story like Vittoria! So if you like smut, you will love this book. If you don’t – you will not enjoy this book.

~ The truth made me kinda sad…especially about Emilia and Vittoria’s upbringing. I can understand why it happened but just knowing how a person in their childhood really feels about them. I felt like that resolved too quick (at least for me). It was a betrayal that is heartbreaking.

Tropes: curses, good twin/evil twin, secret powers, fated

Spice Level: 🌶🌶🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • you want some Wrath and Emilia smut
  • so many reveals about Vittoria and Emilia, the werewolves, and all the side characters are unique
  • an entertaining, solid conclusion that leaves the doors open to potential spin-offs

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into smut

My Thoughts:

This whole series is entertaining and I think this is a great conclusion to this trilogy. I loved the world building, the characters and we get all the secret reveals! This book in particular has the smut we have all been waiting for and knew it was leading to. But I do wish this was marketed properly in the beginning of the series. I would have loved it too as a YA novel with less smut but strategically placed sexy scenes. But if you want spice – you get it in this book! Emilia and Wrath get their happily ever after and we get some things left open for potential spin offs. If that’s the case I need a few because there are many characters who deserve their own story. I look forward to seeing what this author writes next!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Other books by this author that I have read and reviewed:

Kingdom of the Wicked by. Kerri Maniscalco – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kingdom of the Cursed by. Kerri Maniscalco – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You are kerosene. Volatile. Noxious.”

~ Kerri Maniscalco, Kingdom of the Feared

And he is her fate. ‘As above, so below’. They are the balance. Lights and dark. One fallen from above, and one created in the underworld below.”

~ Kerri Maniscalco, Kingdom of the Feared