A Hunger of Thorns by. Lili Wilkinson | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Hunger Thorns

Author: Lili Wilkinson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/18/23

Publisher: Delacorte

Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, LGBT, Magic, Paranormal, Young Adult

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

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

Maude is the daughter of witches. She spent her childhood running wild with her best friend, Odette, weaving stories of girls who slayed dragons and saved princes. Then Maude grew up and lost her magic—and her best friend.

These days, magic is toothless, reduced to glamour patches and psychic energy drinks found in supermarkets and shopping malls. Odette has always hungered for forbidden, dangerous magic, and two weeks ago she went searching for it. Now she’s missing, and everyone says she’s dead. Everyone except Maude.

Storytelling has always been Maude’s gift, so she knows all about girls who get lost in the woods. She’s sure she can find Odette inside the ruins of Sicklehurst, an abandoned power plant built over an ancient magical forest—a place nobody else seems to remember is there. The danger is, no one knows what remains inside Sicklehurst, either. And every good story is sure to have a monster.

Content Warning: violence, death

The cover on this book caught my eye really quick. It’s gorgeous! As for the story, this is what I thought:

+ This is a dark fairy-tale and some parts of it reminded me of the book, The Hazel Wood. There are modern and fantasy elements and there are monsters and violence.

+ Maude is an unreliable narrator and a pretty good one meaning I couldn’t tell if what she was remembering was a dream, hallucination or a memory. As the story unfolds and the story comes together, it starts to make more sense. I did like the concept of the story.

+ I found the magic system intriguing and the world is unique. Maude is from a line of witches and magic in the town seems like it’s a forbidden thing. I also liked the fairy-tale characters that come to life, they were interesting!

~ The pacing didn’t work for me. Most of the action takes place in the second half of the book.

~ It took too long for me to feel like I understood the world. It’s contemporary with fantasy elements but in the beginning of the story I was trying to figure it out because it had some modern things like the power plant and the way the characters talk. I didn’t feel settled into the story until almost the end. I think if it was pure fantasy it would have worked much better for me.

~ I didn’t connect to the characters but it kept me hooked enough to finish because I wanted to see how Maude would fix things. Maude was a bit obsessed over Odette but I guess that’s something she was working out with her other issues about losing people in her life.

Tropes: unreliable narrator

Why you should read it:

  • you like dark fairytales, unique world building and interesting magic system
  • unreliable narrator

Why you might not want to read it:

  • slow beginning, got interesting in the end

My Thoughts:

I love the book cover and I love the concept of the story. I think the dark fairytale aspect of the story with the unreliable narrator was enough to keep me interested. The thing that was a miss for me was the pacing, which was too slow in the beginning with flashback memories that made the story feel like a dream at some points. Also the characters were interesting but I couldn’t connect to anyone. It seems like there will be a sequel but I’m not sure that I will continue the series. I think people who like dark fairytales like The Hazel Wood.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


In Nightfall by. Suzanne Young | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: In Nightfall

Author: Suzanne Young

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 3/28/23

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal

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

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

In the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn’t the dark you should be afraid of—it’s the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment.

Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls.

The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house rule: always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can’t resist.

But Minnow and her friends are far from what they appear.
And that one rule? Theo quickly realizes she should have listened to her grandmother. Because after dark, something emerges in Nightfall. And it doesn’t plan to let her leave.

Content Warning: underage drinking

I was definitely interested in this book because of the book cover and the synopsis. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Yes! Here’s what I thought:

+ I like the mysteriousness of the Oregon town, Nightfall. Something seems off to Theo but she doesn’t know what it is. I love the setting and I did like the addition of the paranormal podcasters which sets the tone for something spooky and amiss possibly going on in Nightfall.

+ I like the Theo and Marco sibling connection. I got a good sense of their family bond and the recent challenges in their broken family. And I like how Theo fights for Marco when things start to hit the fan.

+ The story moves quick and I thought it was an easy read.

~ Some issues I had with the story was that I wanted more action, wanted more danger, and wanted more tension. The villains didn’t come off super dangerous until the end climactic scene. I like my vamps to be dangerous – I want to be scared, but I wasn’t.

~ I didn’t get why Theo’s grandmother was so hostile and couldn’t help them out by telling them more about the town. If it’s to keep everything mysterious, it didn’t work, it just made me frustrated. She comes through in the end but honestly a little heads up on some of the things going in town would’ve been helpful to Theo and Marco.

Tropes: small town

Why you should read it:

  • set in a small town, a gender-bent The Lost Boys (vampires)
  • quick, easy read, lots of mystery and in the end some vampire slaying

Why you might not want to read it:

  • for me, I just wanted more from the story- more action, more danger

My Thoughts:

This was an okay read for me but I love the cover and the nods to The Lost Boys and Buffy. I just wish it had more spooky vibes and more danger but overall it was entertaining.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wildblood by. Lauren Blackwood | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Wildblood

Author: Lauren Blackwood

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 2/7/23

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult, Paranormal

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

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

Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Kidnapped at the age of six and manipulated by the Exotic Lands Touring Company, she’s worked as a tour guide ever since with a team of fellow Wildbloods who take turns using their magic to protect travelers in a Jamaican jungle teeming with ghostly monsters.

When the boss denies Victoria an earned promotion to team leader in favor of Dean, her backstabbing ex, she’s determined to prove herself. Her magic may be the most powerful on the team, but she’s not the image the boss wants to send their new client, Thorn, a renowned goldminer determined to reach an untouched gold supply deep in the jungle.

Thorn is everything Victoria isn’t – confident, impossibly kind, and so handsome he leaves her speechless. And when he entrusts the mission to her, kindness turns to mutual respect, turns to affection, turns to love. But the jungle is treacherous, and between hypnotic river spirits, soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes, and her ex out for revenge, Victoria has to decide – is promotion at a corrupt company really what she wants?

Content Warning: violence, death, abuse, mention of rape, forced labor, kidnapping

I loved this author’s last book, Within These Wicked Walls, and wanted to see what new world she created with Wildblood. Here’s what I thought:

+ There is a tour in Jamaica that takes people through a magical, dangerous jungle. Only people with magic in their blood or blood science can take these people safely through the jungle. The most powerful person at this tour company is Victoria. I thought this idea of blood science was very unique and creative. It’s basically blood magic, but I guess more modern.

+ The characters are very unique and intriguing. All of the young people working in this tour company have been kidnapped and abused – it’s a pretty awful place to be, but because they have been abused – they feel hopeless in ever leaving. Victoria is our heroine, Dean is a villain but not the only one – but he is the one we get a clear look at what abuse and fear does to a child when they grow up, Thorn is a wealthy man who pays for a tour and sees this blood science for the first time and all the other side characters are fascinating as well! There is betrayal and mistrust throughout the whole story.

+ The setting of this jungle filled with monsters is a character in itself and it heightened the tension in the story. I really enjoyed the unique world-building.

+ I like Victoria’s character growth. She learns to lead and fight back against her abuser. Also the twist in the story is pretty cool, I was not expecting it at all.

~ I don’t mind insta-love but I felt this one is totally rushed. Thorn and Victoria just met and are saying I love you by the end of this tour and story. I did like how it ended because Victoria really needs to learn who she is before settling down but it was definitely a quick relationship. I didn’t quite feel the love between them.

~ There are so many dark themes in this book – these kids have been abused so badly by their boss. Victoria is even raped by him. I’m usually okay with these themes but Dean’s treatment of Victoria was so toxic, I felt ill for her. I felt horrible for Dean too and all of them who worked for their evil boss.

~ I wish we learned more about blood science. Also there was a bit of too much repetition with the phrase “kiss my teeth”.

Tropes: found family

Why you should read it:

  • dark story, dangerous jungle, blood magic
  • there is backstabbing, mistrust and an interesting twist in the story

Why you might not want to read it:

  • insta-love

My Thoughts:

Even though I had some issues with the story like the insta-love and wanting more information on the blood science, I actually read this book in two days because it was unique and intriguing. There are lots of trigger warnings in this one though. It is definitely a story with heavy themes but I like how it turns out in the end. I look forward to reading more from this author!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Within These Wicked Walls by. Lauren Blackwood | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Belladonna by. Adalyn Grace | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Belladonna (#1)

Format: ebook (own)

Author: Adalyn Grace

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 8/29/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, New Adult, Gothic, Mystery, Paranormal

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

Content Warning: poisoning, illness, death, grief

I have finally read the book everyone is talking about and I feel like the hype is well deserved. Here’s what I thought:

+ This book has a little bit of everything! Romance, mystery and gothic vibes and all of it worked so well together. Usually mysteries can be too slow for me, but I was totally engaged in this story. There are a few twists in this story that was so good – it makes me wonder what book two will bring!

+ Signa is no wilting flower – she’s been basically been passed off from relative to relative all her life. I love that she is optimistic even with Death always near her. I like how she helps her cousin even though she barely knows her. She’s not afraid when most people would be. And I love Death too – I mean, what a gentleman and so unexpected! Who knew he could be such a romantic figure. But I love how he isn’t an evil entity because really what is life without death? They have great chemistry and their love story is sweet and romantic.

+ A mystery always needs a good cast of characters to make us keep guessing and though I had my suspicions who was the villain, I still wasn’t spot on with my assessment. I love the paranormal aspect of the story and how Signa can see spirits. It really had everything I want in a gothic mystery and I actually wish I read this near Halloween!

+ This could have been a standalone book with how questions were answered at the end but I love the twist in the end! Glad we will get a sequel.

Tropes: Death is a character, a girl who cannot die

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • it’s a dark fantasy with Death as a character, ghosts, mystery, gothic vibes and romance
  • the mystery about what is happening at Thorn Grove kept me on my toes
  • the romance between Death and Signa

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into Death falling in love? lol

My Thoughts:

I waited to read this one because I wanted the hype to die down and go in with lower expectations and I’m glad I waited. I fell in love with this story about Signa and Death. The dark tones, mystery, ghosts and gothic vibes were captivating and kept me engaged with the story. The romance between Signa and Death I thought was unexpectedly sweet and romantic. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

The Dead Romantics by. Ashley Poston | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Dead Romantics

Author: Ashley Poston

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 6/28/22

Categories: Romance, Paranormal, Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead… but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Content Warning: death, grief

I went into this one without expectations! I saw the book cover on my Overdrive online library selections and thought the synopsis was intriguing so I borrowed it without reading any reviews on in. I was so pleasantly surprised and touched. Here is what did and didn’t work for me:

+ A ghostwriter who can see ghost and falls for someone who is a ghost?! I love the idea and the story. Florence is a young woman, nursing a broken heart. It’s made it impossible for her to continue writing the romance novel she is working on and on top of that her beloved father dies. So it’s not only a romance, it’s a story about Florence trying to figure out heartbreak, grief and what love really is. It’s a beautiful story.

+ Her family is one of my newest favorite fictional families. They own a funeral home and even though Florence doesn’t totally get along with her younger sister, you can tell the bonds between this loving family is tight even when their father dies. I also love the people from her home town and her best friend in New York. We get both the small town romance and big city one too in this one book.

+ The romance between Florence and Ben is so cute and honestly I did figure out how things were going to end up but I was going to be so upset if it wasn’t that way. I love how they get to know one another – realistic? No, but that’s why I love how this is a paranormal romance. The two of them melted my heart.

+ Florence and her family are grieving but I so love how they celebrate her father’s life. Did I cry in a few spots? Definitely did.

~ My only issue with the story was the beginning where I thought I was getting a straight romance and then the story took a left turn with the death of Florence’s father and the whole situation with Ben which I won’t spoil. But the story smoothed out right after that.

Tropes: seeing ghosts, small town and big city romance, editor/writer romance

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • heartwarming story about family, grief, heartbreak and love
  • a ghostwriter falling in love with a ghost
  • the Day family is my new favorite fictional family

Why you might not want to read it:

  • beginning of the story was just a little bit jarring with the romance and sudden death but it worked out after that

My Thoughts:

I loved this one. I was all for the ghostwriting and ghost-seeing! It was unexpected and I went in with no expectations and maybe because my trauma with grief, I resonated with stories about grief. But even though there is death and loss in this book, I love that it still was a story about celebrating life, love, and those who have gone but linger. A wonderful story that melted my heart and made me shed a few tears as well.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Love was putting up with someone for fifty years so you’d have someone to bury you when you died. I would know; my family was in the business of death.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

He was a bullet journal guy, and I was a sticky note kind of girl.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

Love was a high for a moment that left you hollow when it left, and you spent the rest of your life chasing that feeling.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

Grief was the exact opposite. It was full and heavy and drowning because it wasn’t the absence of everything you lost—it was the culmination of it all, your love, your happiness, your bittersweets, wound tight like a knotted ball of yarn.”

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

It’s never easy. It’s also never really goodbye—and trust me, we’re in the business of goodbyes. The people who pass through here live on in you and me and everyone they touched. There is no happy ending, there’s just . . . happily living. As best you can.

~ Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics

BLOG TOUR} The Empress of Time by. Kylie Lee Baker | ARC Review

Welcome to the blog tour for The Empress of Time by. Kylie Lee Baker!

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Empress of Time (The Keeper of Time, #2)

Author: Kylie Lee Baker

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 10/3/22

BUY HERE: Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Categories: Fantasy, Japanese Mythology, Young Adult, Paranormal

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!

In this riveting sequel to The Keeper of Night, a half Reaper, half Shinigami soul collector must defend her title as Japan’s Death Goddess from those who would see her—and all of Japan—destroyed.

Death is her dynasty.

Ren Scarborough is no longer the girl who was chased out of England—she is the Goddess of Death ruling Japan’s underworld. But Reapers have recently been spotted in Japan, and it’s only a matter of time before Ivy, now Britain’s Death Goddess, comes to claim her revenge.

Ren’s last hope is to appeal to the god of storms and seas, who can turn the tides to send Ivy’s ship away from Japan’s shores. But he’ll only help Ren if she finds a sword lost thousands of years ago—an impossible demand.

Together with the moon god Tsukuyomi, Ren ventures across the country in a race against time. As her journey thrusts her in the middle of scheming gods and dangerous Yokai demons, Ren will have to learn who she can truly trust—and the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.

Content Warning: gore, violence

Book one of this duology, The Keeper of Time, was pretty memorable for me because it had Yokai, it had betrayal and gore and I usually don’t like gore but with a story that involved Reapers and Gods, I expected nothing less. I wanted more of the reapers and Gods and I definitely got it in this conclusion.

+ I love this world of British Reapers and Japanese Gods colliding. It’s gory, dark and violent and yet in the middle of the chaos is this love story but not a romantic one – the main love story in this book is the love between Ren and her brother Neven. It made me emotional because they went through such horrible things but they love one another so much they find their way back to one another.

+ Ren is chaos. She is a Death goddess now but still trying to prove yourself to the yokai and other gods. I love how she meets other gods and yokai in Japan and we learn their stories and mythology. But she has a lot of atoning to do from what happened at the end of book one and we find out she does it in the most destructible way ever…yet there is growth for her thank goodness!

+ I’m here for the darkness and there is lots of it. The world building is so dark, and I could vividly imagine everything described in this story even if it was grotesque! I also love the action even if it is gory.

~ There is a good ending with Ren and her brother, Neven. But there is no romantic happy ending with Ren and Tsukuyomi which is fine, because I still wasn’t over Ren and Hiro and how crazy they ended. Throwing Tsukuyomi in there – I wasn’t even sure the romance was needed but then it just made me feel sad at the end for both of them.

~ This book takes place 10 years after the first book…and it’s been centuries for Neven. But I’m not sure how I feel about the story taking place after so long. Maybe it was to show how tortured Ren has been after losing Hiro and Neven! She went through something bad and we get a taste of a very blood thirsty Ren.

Tropes: antihero, morally grey characters, sibling love

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • if you liked book one and need to know what happens next, definitely read this one
  • it’s dark, gory, and filled with Yokai and Japanese gods and godesses, Japanese mythology
  • the love between Ren and Neven made me emotional at the end

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it starts 10 years after the first book
  • Ren is so morally grey at times you question her actions but she’s imperfect, which I like about her

My Thoughts:

This is an entertaining conclusion to a great duology that included Japanese mythology and monsters. I loved all the darkness and violence surrounding the sibling love between Ren and Neven. It was always going to be about the two of them even though it kind of made me sad that Ren didn’t end up having a romantic happily ever after of her own. This one is about family and what you give you and would do for them. Ren became her worst version of herself to try and bring her brother back. It was sad, very dark and gritty at times, but I’m glad they as siblings have a happy ending. I look forward to reading more from this author!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Kylie Lee Baker is the author of The Keeper of Night. She grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies.

Author website: https://www.kylieleebaker.com/

Twitter: @KylieYamashiro | Instagram: @kylieleebaker

BLOG TOUR } The Keeper of Night by. Kylie Lee Baker | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Three Kisses, One Midnight by. Roshani Chokshi, Evelyn Skye, Sandhya Menon | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Three Kisses, One Midnight

Author: Roshani Chokshi, Evelyn Skye, Sandhya Menon

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 288

Publication Date: 8/30/22

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Halloween, Paranormal, 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 Wednesday Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

The town of Moon Ridge was founded 400 years ago and everyone born and raised there knows the legend of the young woman who perished at the stroke of twelve that very same night, losing the life she was set to embark on with her dearest love. Every century since, one day a year, the Lady of Moon Ridge descends from the stars to walk among the townsfolk, conjuring an aura upon those willing to follow their hearts’ desires.

“To summon joy and love in another’s soul
For a connection that makes two people whole
For laughter and a smile that one can never miss
Sealed before midnight with a truehearted kiss.”

This year at Moon Ridge High, a group of friends known as The Coven will weave art, science, and magic during a masquerade ball unlike any other. Onny, True, and Ash believe everything is in alignment to bring them the affection, acceptance, and healing that can only come from romance—with a little help from Onny’s grandmother’s love potion.

But nothing is as simple as it first seems. And as midnight approaches, The Coven learn that it will take more than a spell to recognize those who offer their love and to embrace all the magic that follows. 

Content Warning:

This is a three story anthology filled with romance, Halloween and autumn vibes and I thought it was lots of fun. Here’s what I like and didn’t like:

+ The stories are short and the whole anthology itself is under 300 pages. The stories flowed nicely together even though it’s told by three different authors. It’s perfect for teens.

+ Onny and Ash’s stories were my favorite because Onny’s is a rivals to lovers romance. Onny is into the mystical – she loves astrology, Halloween and believes in love potions and fate. Her rivals to romance story was perfect for her personality. Ash is the quiet, shy artist who is in love with the girl next door, Cassidy. He finally gets to talk to her and finds out she was mutually pining for him too.

+ The friendship between Onny, Ash, and True is tight and I love the three of them together.

~ True’s story was the weakest because it was so insta-love. I did like how she was a science-minded girl and not into Onny’s hocus pocus but her mind is opened a bit on Halloween night. Orion is someone she meets on Halloween night and he’s into ghosts. Theirs is an opposites attract relationship which would have worked out better for me if it wasn’t an insta-love thing. If she had a past with him like Onny did with Byron and Ash has with Cassidy then it would be more believable.

Tropes: mutual pining, rivals to lovers, opposites attract

Why you should read it:

  • you want to get into fall vibes, Halloween vibes
  • super cute Halloween romance stories in a book that is under 300 pages long
  • diverse author line up, and diverse characters

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into anthologies or novella type stories

My Thoughts:

Three besties find love on Halloween night: one was in front of her face the whole time, the other is pining for his his love next door, and the last one meets a potential love on Halloween night. This is a cute collection of stories for teens but I did enjoy even as an adult. And it’s a good one to read for Fall and around Halloween.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Vespertine by. Margaret Rogerson | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Vespertine (#1)

Author: Meghan Quinn

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 10/05/21

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Spirits, Saints, Magic

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

I love the world building with the nuns (Gray Sisters) and other clergy wielding relics that contain spirits in them. The story gave me a sense that the setting was in some place that resembled France in a time when the clergy was in power, game me Joan of Arc vibes at times. We learn about how the relics, spirits and revenants (spirits) are used and contained. There is also some history about the spirits as well and information about their ranking or order. The spirits are listed in order in the book if you get confused, I only saw it at the end of the book but it is helpful! There was a good amount of action in this story and the story moved quickly.

Artemisia is not an open character at first. She comes off as someone who wants to be alone and not good in social situations. People think she is different because of her past and how she survived being possessed by an ashgrim. It left her with burned scars on her hands, a tendency to not want to be close to people and with a high tolerance to handling a relic. When things take a turn for the worst she is entrusted with the care of a relic that holds a highly powered revenant and she has no training with it whatsoever. But she trusts her instincts and for the most part she finds ways to work with her revenant to help defeat other spirits. Also she learns how to let others in to help her when things get too tough.

Her revenant, Rathanael, is mean, grouchy but hilarious. At least, he was funny to me even as he was berating and insulting Artemisia every chance he could get. Their partnership is unconventional but they are perfect for one another.

Leander was poised as a villain but we don’t understand his motivations until way later in the book. He is a very private guy as well and it was hard to get a good read on him in the beginning other than him trying to control Artemisia. Is there a potential for a romance there? I’m not sure. This whole book didn’t have any romance in it but I felt like it hinted at something between Leander and Artemisia. We shall see.

Content Warnings: self harm, violence, death, PTSD, anxiety

It took me a few days to get through the first chapter because I needed to get into a nun mood? If that makes sense haha! But once I grasped what was going on and was immersed into the world-building, I found my bearings. I will say it can get confusing with the relics and revenants and unfamiliar terms, so use the spirit order/ranking list in the book.

There is no romance, and I was hoping for some but it was okay without too. The main relationship is between Artemisia and her revenant and it’s pretty entertaining.

Why you should read it:

  • fascinating world building
  • lots of action with nuns, soldiers, and knights trying to fight spirits
  • good character growth

Why you might not want to read it:

  • sometimes confusing, with the ranking or classification of spirits, unless you keep checking the list
  • nuns fighting spirits isn’t appealing to you 🤷🏻‍♀️

My thoughts:

Once I got into the story I was hooked and love the world-building (might be the Catholic upbringing in me). I enjoyed Artemisia’s growing, if reluctant, relationship with her revenant. I found them entertaining. I’m also interested to see where book two goes and if Leander comes back into the story a changed man! I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Year of the Reaper by. Makiia Lucier | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Year of the Reaper

Author: Makiia Lucier

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 11/9/21

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Paranormal

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

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

The past never forgets . . .

Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.

Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.

When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war. 

  • I requested this book because the cover caught my eye! I love how dark it is and the title is great too. The aesthetics of the books matches the story – there is a plague ravaging kingdoms and it’s death out there.
  • Now I was very surprised with this book – I was expecting the fantasy but not the mystery aspect of the book. The writing is great and really kept me engaged in the story. It’s a quick read and I read it in one sitting.
  • I enjoyed Cas, the main character. He has escaped a slave camp, survived the plague, we meet him as a grave digger, and now he is back at home and searching for a killer. He’s the perfect person taking on the task because he has Lena (a historian apprentice) at his side, he’s smart, level-headed and can even see ghosts.
  • I thought it was lovely for Cas to have a supportive cast. He has a loving brother, the King and Queen has his back, Lena is a new friend and it just has a feel good vibe about it despite there being an assassin on the loose.

Triggers: death, violence

  • As great as the writing was in engaging me, the story was predictable. There were hints along the way and I figured it out early.
  • I’m not the biggest mystery fan so I was waiting for this to have more action, but that happens at the end. I was in it for the fantasy aspect for sure and the mystery was surprising to me but if you like mystery I think it was well done.
  • Cas being able to see ghosts was interesting and there’s no explanation for it. I was coming up with my theories which was fun but none of them panned out though.

Overall I enjoyed the Year of the Reaper. I was expecting something a little different but the end result was still a good story that kept me engaged until the very end. If you enjoy a young adult fantasy with a mystery at it’s core, you will like this one.

📚 ~ Yolanda