adult fiction, book review, coming of age, historical fiction, paranormal, romance

The Beautiful Ones | ARC Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: The Beautiful Ones

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 327

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Categories: Romance, Paranormal, Alternate Historical Fiction

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

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and
himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

  • This is the first novel I’ve read from this author, though I have Mexican Gothic on my TBR list and I fell in love with this story as it just pulled me in and didn’t let go. I don’t know what I really expected from it, but I found the writing so engaging, and beautiful.
  • I became a reader through romance novels so this was everything I want in a romance. I really was swept away and could not put the book down. There is passion, jealousy, betrayal, romance and love. I felt like my heart was being squeezed by the end of the story but in a good way.
  • I liked how this was an alternate historical fiction story, even though the places resembled high society in England some time in the early 1900’s perhaps, whatever time period where motorcars were being introduced. The characters attended balls, a season of parties, socializing and summer in the countryside. A fun twist is that Nina and Hector both could do telekinesis. In this world of The Beautiful Ones, it’s an extraordinary skill but looked down upon in high society. It makes Nina stand out in unpleasant ways, whereas Hector thrives with the skill being a performer. The two feel less alone when together.
  • Nina isn’t beautiful like her cousin’s wife Valerie, but she comes from a well known family. Unfortunately she’s too different, she talks when she’s not supposed to and it’s usually about inappropriate things like bugs, plus she can do telekinesis. She’s never made friends easily because she is different but I like how it didn’t stop her from being who she is and enjoying life. And thank goodness for her supportive family who loves her just as she is.
  • I love how Nina and Hector’s love grow. Their love is not quite a slow burn because Hector has been burning for Valerie, Nina’s cousin-in-law. I liked how the story explored burning passion and love versus something that forms into friendship and grows steadily into love.
  • Valerie ~ she is hateful but her character was done so well. So well that I hated her. Here was this woman who had the love she always wanted but he was poor. As a woman she had to marry well and she did, breaking the heart of her first love in the process. When he comes back to her, she revels in his obsession with her, they are both obsessed with one another, but whereas Hector believes it’s love, for Valerie, it’s possession. Nina is the innocent miss but Valerie is the hard, calculated woman and I was fascinated with her downward spiral.

The Beautiful Ones swept me off my romantic feet. I was hoping Nina would get some satisfaction over Hector and Valerie’s games and she does come out triumphant. This story is emotional, tragic, hopeful and everything I want in a romance. I am a new fan of this author and look forward to reading more books from her.

🦋 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Author: Crystal Maldonado

Format: eBook – borrowed (Overdrive Library)

Pages: 308

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Publisher: Holiday House

Categories: Teen/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Body Image, Family, Friendship, Dating, Coming of Age

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. 
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though. 

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. 

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

  • Love the message for girls and guys in here about body image and loving yourself no matter what size you are, no matter what skin color you are, no matter who you love. Charlie has to live with a mom who has chosen a fitness lifestyle and is trying to get Charlie to do the same. It causes Charlie’s self-esteem to take a beating and her relationship with her mom is strained. It was very relatable. It’s hard growing up in a family that points out every time you gain weight, I can definitely relate!
  • Charlie deals with a lot of body issues but the one thing she excels at is her writing, which is fantastic. I love that she has that outlet for her creative ideas and she’s good at it.
  • Charlie and her best-friend Amelia have an amazing relationship until Charlie finds a boyfriend. But they have a long hard talk about what came between them and I love that they had this moment. Charlie needed to speak her truth and Amelia as well. I love that even though they took some time apart, the came back together, maturely and talked it out. That’s what makes a friendship grow, when you can get through the rough parts.
  • Charlie’s romance with Brian is sweet because it starts as a friendship and I love that for her. Even the drama that came with it was realistic, especially because Charlie has some emotional issues to deal with that have nothing to do with Brian.
  • The cast of characters are quite diverse in this story, Charlie is half white/puerto rican. Brian is Korean with two mothers, and Amelia is black and pansexual.
  • Triggers: grief, fatphobia
  • Charlie’s mom really gets on Charlie to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight. It comes between them a lot. At times her mom seems to understand where Charlie is coming from and then the next scene it’s back to normal, shoving diet drinks in Charlie’s face. Even after Charlie lets her know how she feels, I felt like her mom didn’t truly get it.
  • The beginning was slow for me, it was turning out to be just an okay read for me because it seemed liked a story that was only about Charlie’s self-image but the second half of the book is where it gets really good and emotional.

Charlie Vega, despite her weight and self-image issues comes out shining in this story. She goes through some challenges with her mother, her first attempt at dating and best friend drama but she gets her happy ending. This book is great for teens and young adults because it’s totally relatable. I enjoyed this one, even though I thought it had a slow start, the second half came through with lots of emotion.

💛 ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the book:

book review, fantasy, romance, series, Young Adult

We Free the Stars | Book Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Title: We Free the Stars (Sands of Arawiya, #2)

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 592

Publication Date: 1/19/21

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Catalog: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Duology

The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.

As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.

Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.

  • The adventure continues in the conclusion of the Sands of Awariya duology and our beloved characters go through hell and back to save their people. I love the action, the heartache, the longing, the twists, and the victories!
  • Talk about the slowest burn ever between Altair and Zafira ~ obviously they want to be together but there are so many obstacles between them, mainly their ability to say what they feel or the fact they both seem to feel they deserve one another. It was frustrating to watch their back and forth but I loved it all the same. I loved the yearning between them.
  • The writing – this author writes so beautifully! I kept noting quotes I had to save because it gave me all the feels. The writing is fluid, effortless and such a pleasure to read.
  • I love the characters: they are diverse, each has their own strength and weaknesses, but they are there for each other. I love their bond, and thank goodness for Kifah and Altair bringing the humor.
  • Zafira goes through a tough personal journey because of what the Jarawat is unleashing in her. Can she retain who she is when she is filled with such dark power? Will her loved ones be afraid of her? And what is Zafira when her reputation as the Huntress is over? Who is she now?

Trigger: grief, violence, emotional and physical abuse

  • I didn’t realize this book was long until I got it. At almost 600 pages it took me a few days to finish, but I’m not complaining. I just wished I read it as an ebook instead to keep from holding a heavy book haha.
  • The personal journeys the characters go through are rough, especially for Altair, Nasir and Zafira. For a time it feels like the despair for all of them is too much, everyone had suffer and hope was fleeting at one point – even I felt like they had no chance at beating the Lion.

We Free the Stars is a great conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology. It is written beautifully with lush world building, action, betrayal, a slow burn romance, a fight against evil and characters fighting for each other and the ones they love. In the end the message of yearning and hope prevails.

♥️ ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the Book ~

book review, fantasy, magic, romance

Fly with the Arrow | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Fly with the Arrow (Bluebird’s Secret, #1)

Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 311

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Fairytale Retelling, Fae, Young Adult/New Adult

A STOLEN BRIDE. A TERRIFYING BRIDEGROOM. THE GAME THAT WILL DETERMINE THEIR FATES.

No one told her the most important law of the court – the Law of Greeting.
If they had, maybe she wouldn’t have greeted Bluebeard when he arrived to claim a mortal wife. And if she hadn’t greeted him, she wouldn’t have become his sixteenth wife or been swept away to the lands of the Wittenhame.

But if none of that had happened, then she wouldn’t have been an integral part of the game that takes place every two hundred years – a game that determines the fates of nations .

For not all is as it seems, not in her homeland of Pensmoore, not in the Wittenhame, and certainly not in her new marriage.

  • I haven’t read the classic Bluebeard story but I’ve heard about it, and always thought it was just some pirate story. After reading this retelling of it, I’m very curious about Bluebeard (I don’t think I’ll read it still) but I’m fascinated about why he killed his wives! Anyway back to Fly with the Arrow, I found this to be a fast-paced, wild story that at times reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, Izolda being Alice and entering this crazy and wild world of the fae in Wittenhame.
  • Izolda is very level-headed for 19 years old which I appreciated because Arrow (Bluebeard) is really her opposite, full of energy, mood swings and very unpredictable. They are a great match, balancing each other out.
  • I enjoyed the world building even though at times I felt confused, because there is a lot going on but I also didn’t mind the whirlwind of it…if that makes sense? I loved Arrow’s magical house with a talking fireplace and a gargoyle. I love the humor and the way Arrow talks just cracks me up, especially when it’s with his riddles. I love riddles so this book was so much fun to read.
  • I love the cover, that’s what drew me to the book and I passed it on by because it was a Bluebeard retelling. But I came back to it because of how pretty the cover is.

Triggers: violence, decapitation

  • It’s a cliffhanger ending. 😦 So if you can’t stand cliffhanger endings then I’d suggest you wait for the whole series to be published.

This is a fun, wild journey into the world of the Wittenhame where Arrow (Bluebeard) is a ruhthless fae prince. Arrow has collected a few wives in his past but Izolda is different from all the rest, so far. It’s got action, a slow burn romance, humor and riddles galore. I’m excited to see what happens next in this series! I’m glad I decided to read this one.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, historical fiction, romance, Young Adult

Dark of the West | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Dark of the West

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 480

Publication Date: 2/5/19

Categories: Young Adult, WWII Inspired World, Historical Fantasy, Romance, Family

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

  • My favorite part of this book is the intensity in brings. Athan is the youngest son of a General who is ruthless and has a reputation for fighting and winning wars. The General is a hard man who is always scheming. Aurelia is a Princess raised with rules but her mother is a Southern with a past that threatens their monarchy rule. There is a lot of political intrigue in this story and it brings the tension between all sides involved.
  • I was very invested in Athan and his struggles with wanting his dad’s approval, competing with his older brothers and wanting to be with his mother. I felt awful for him and what he had to deal with just to survive his family. His brothers all want to be the apple of their father’s eye and will do anything for his praise. Athan wants to disappear but he can’t because of his loyalty to his family and his mom’s memory. So what will he do?
  • Aurelia’s mother, the Queen of Etania is an intriguing character. She’s from Resyna but we don’t know much about the country because the story doesn’t travel there yet. All we know is what the characters tell us, and Sinora, the Queen has past that is entangled with Athan’s father. What happened exactly? We don’t know, but I hope I find out more about it in the sequel.
  • Having grown up in the 80’s, I was a big fan of the movie Top Gun and watched it a lot. This story is inspired by World War II but the plane fights reminded me of Top Gun and Athan is definitely Maverick. And Cyar is Goose ~ except I hope Cyar has a better storyline than Goose did in the movie! I enjoyed the flying and stunts in this book a lot though.
  • The political intrigue and scheming is very good and just like chess. Everyone is making moves and we aren’t sure who is going to win at this stage of the series. It’s a back and forth match but winner will take all. Unfortunately Athan and Aurelia are caught in the cross-fire.
  • The romance between Athan and Aurelia is sweet and very slow. They are both young, both have secrets but enjoy each other’s company. Will their bond continue to stay strong when the truth lets out?
  • Triggers: murder, violence, war
  • Aurelia at times comes off as naive but there was a moment in the end where she shows that she really isn’t just a useless princess. I’m curious to see what happens to her in the sequel.
  • Athan is said to be brilliant and smart but his character doesn’t seem to show it at all. He’s a good pilot, maybe shows off and disregards the rules too much, but brilliant strategist or something? I don’t see that yet. Maybe in the sequel?

I am glad I finally picked up this book. I was thoroughly entertained and was invested in the story because the tension between the warring countries was really good. The General seems to be a step ahead of everyone, or is he? I’ll need to find out more in the sequel but so far I’m enjoying this WWII inspired fantasy world with intriguing characters and a lot of political intrigue.

✈︎ ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, fantasy, New adult, romance

A Court of Silver Flames | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: A Court of Silver Flames

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Format: eBook (owned)

Pages: 768

Publication Date: 2/16/21

Categories: Fantasy, New Adult, Adult, Romance, Family, Friendship, Mature Audience

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

  • Off the bat I want to say if you were uncomfortable with Rhys and Feyre’s sex scenes – then you will be more so with Nesta and Cassian. Because let me tell ya…it’s hot, it’s intense, and Nesta and Cassian enjoy it that way. Some will think it’s too much but I was a romance reader before I was a young adult reader so this is nothing new. More power to them! I expected nothing less especially from Nesta and Cassian. I’m actually glad this book is for more mature audiences because it was starting to get that way with Rhys and Feyre but was still being touted as Young Adult. Nesta and Cassian in the sheets or out of it lol…is 🧨. But because this series went from young adult to new adult/adult, I think there should be warnings to prepare a young adult reader haha.
  • I always loved Nesta because she was fierce, not likable, but I could admire her protectiveness over Elaine even though I despised her for treating Feyre the way she did – but everyone has a past. Someone isn’t hard and bitter and cruel as a child, they are made that way. And we learn just how Nesta’s upbringing shaped her into this woman with very sharp edges and walls, so many walls. Her story is important. I cried for Nesta multiple times in this story. I resonated with her – her story triggered a lot of things in me. She is at rock bottom but she rises to the top, claws her way to the top of the mental pit she’s in.
  • Friendship. This book and the women in it and the FRIENDSHIP. Even with Cassian, it’s her friendship with him that makes them so perfect for one another. Cassian doesn’t give up on her, doesn’t pity her. It’s why Cassian is her perfect mate. But the new women we meet that come into Nesta’s life are a force to reckon with. These women have been traumatized, scarred, broken, like Nesta – but they help each other up. Ugh…what it did to my heart seeing women uplift women. It’s beautiful.
  • Family ~ this one is tricky and messy and so complicated. But even I understood how she needed to break from them and choose her own family (her friends). There is so much hurt between Nesta and her sisters, I mean look what they all went through in the previous books. Trauma. Feyre and Elaine weathered it better but Nesta did not. Nesta has to learn to make amends, and she has to forgive herself. So easy to say, so hard to do but she gets there. It’s heartbreaking but she gets there.
  • Romance ~ Cassian gives Nesta the tools to save herself and when she breaks, he is there to tell her she got this. THIS MAN. UGH….give him to me. 😅 I love how he wasn’t afraid of her sharp edges. I liked how he called her out on his bs, and I liked how he gave her space even though he wanted to consume her. She was always so safe with him, from day one.
  • Triggers: story of rape, story of abuse, violence, death, grief, depression, self-loathing
  • Because I’ve read so many romance novels in my lifetime and sex is always in it ~ I get that SJM’s sex scene can be go from dirty talk to stars are exploding and the world is ending or made new when they orgasm. 😅 I’m like, okay…chill with the universe coming apart already. Fae sex is good, I get it! lol…but that’s just her writing style.
  • This is a long book but I read it in one day (throughout the day because I have kids and a puppy to care for) ~ it didn’t feel long to me though. The story is very character driven but yes there is actually something going on other than Nesta falling apart haha, the human Queen that was turned into a crone in the Cauldron wants to be made young again and she needs three artifacts to do it. War between courts/kingdoms are also threatening to erupt again. But for me ~ Nesta took the spotlight. It is her story.
  • Did I mentioned I cried? Multiple times, because I could relate to Nesta’s personal journey on so many levels.
  • Now give me Azriel’s story. Also, Morrigan and Elaine’s please. ☺️

This book went above and beyond my expectations, especially with care to Nesta’s character development. Also, with Nesta and Cassian’s love story. This is for my new adult/adult romance lovers, young adult readers beware if you aren’t here for the sex because Nesta and Cassian deserve their adult sexy times. 😅 I think it’s funny how Cassian is an alpha male but hello, Nesta is an alpha female, so when those two collide? It’s not fire, it’s dynamite. What I loved the most in this story has to be the friendships that Nesta builds, as the story kept reiterating “like calls to like“. Nesta called to me from the moment I met her because she had some darkness in her, some trauma and grief we didn’t know about that shaped her and made her lash out and angry. She needed to break so many walls and fears inside her to rebuild herself into someone she doesn’t hate. Nesta had to face her past and make amends. She had to forgive herself, she had to not give up, she had to just try. That’s inspiring and brave. It’s courageous, and that’s Nesta. This story broke me in so many ways but it will be the one that stays in my head for a long time ~ when I feel low, I’ll just remember Nesta’s climb to the top. ♥️ One step at a time. 💪🏾

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, contemporary, new releases, romance

Ladies of the House | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Ladies of the House

Author: Lauren Edmondson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 2/9/21

Publisher: Graydon House

Categories: Romance, Jane Austen Retelling, Contemporary, Politics

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

No surprise is a good surprise. At least according to thirty-four-year-old Daisy Richardson. So when it’s revealed in dramatic fashion that her esteemed father had been involved in a public scandal before his untimely death, Daisy’s life becomes complicated—and fast.

For one, the Richardsons must now sell the family home in Georgetown they can no longer afford, and Daisy’s mother is holding on with an iron grip. Her younger sister, Wallis, is ready to move on to bigger and better things but falls fast and hard for the most inconvenient person possible. And then there’s Atlas, Daisy’s best friend. She’s always wished they could be more, but now he’s writing an exposé on the one subject she’s been desperate to avoid: her father.

Daisy’s plan is to maintain a low profile as she works to keep her family intact amid social exile, public shaming, and quickly dwindling savings. But the spotlight always seems to find the Richardsons, and when another twist in the scandal comes to light, Daisy must confront the consequences of her continued silence and summon the courage to stand up and accept the power of her own voice.

  • I love how it is a Sense and Sensibility retelling, but modernized. It is set in Washington D.C. in the world of politics and I found it so fun to read.
  • The family bond is wonderful especially after the scandal that Daisy’s dad left behind. They are strong together as they try to move on past all the hate thrown at them in the community. The sister relationship between Daisy and Wallis is lovely.
  • Daisy was my favorite because she is smart, strong, level-headed and yet cares so much for her friends and family as well. Her character voice is strong and distinct. She’s in love with her best friend Atlas, but he is in a relationship. Daisy is also chief of staff for a senator in D.C. and is on the verge of losing her edge and job, so she’s dealing with a lot on her plate. But she owns up to her dad’s mistakes and tries to right a wrong somehow and I love that she knows what is right and does it.
  • The romance retelling was spot on with Daisy in love with Atlas who she couldn’t have because he has someone and Wallis who meets someone dashing who breaks her heart. It’s a happy ending for both.
  • It slowed down for me in the middle only because it was predictable to me but not in a bad way. I’ve just watched the Sense and Sensibility a lot haha ~ so I pretty much knew what would happen. But really, I do love the political atmosphere.

I enjoyed this modern retelling of Sense & Sensibility! It had scandal, drama, humor, romance, and best of all a bond between sisters and a mother that was on display in face of everything thrown at them.

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, contemporary, E-book, magic, paranormal, romance

Fables & Other Lies | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Fables & Other Lies

Author: Claire Contreras

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 224

Publication Date: 12/20/20

Categories: Gothic Romance, Adult Fiction, Paranormal

Do you believe in curses? 

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true. 

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy. 

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill. 

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away. 

  • I love the whole mysterious, haunted house that is always covered in fog. There is a whole legend about the curse between the Guzman and Caliban families and it draws you in. The mood of this book was perfectly dark, somewhat creepy and yet sexy all at the same time.
  • Penny is a normal young lady, but a Guzman with a past she’s running from. She comes back home to take photos of the “house” which is about to be listed for sale. Coming back home brings back all kinds of memories that she has to deal with.
  • I enjoyed Penny’s friends Dee, Jose and Martin. They were lively, fun and had her back. I’m glad Penny had them since it doesn’t seem like she had much family.
  • The attraction between River and Penny is instant but nothing much happens until near the end of the book.
  • River is a fascinating character, very vague and mysterious but we do find out more about him in the end.
  • Triggers: sexual assault
  • I wish the story was longer..I think there was room to expand on River and Penny’s growing attraction. There was definitely sexual attraction but it would be nice to see them bond on another level and get to know River’s personality more. I was expecting much more emotions from them.
  • At the ending of the book, with the twist, at first read, I don’t know if it worked for me. I was confused for a moment, had to reread to make sense of it. After I thought about it, I realized I just had to keep my reality suspended.

I love the whole vibe of this book. It is dark, sexy, and mysterious. It drew me in, making me question the curse, the house, and made me wonder how will River and Penny come together. I do wish the story was longer so we could see their relationship grow, also the ending felt rushed. I definitely would like to read more from this author in the future though.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, Dystopian, romance, Young Adult

The Princess Games | Book Review

My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Title: The Princess Games (The Princess Trials, #1)

Author: Cordelia K Castel

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 516

Categories: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance

The stakes are higher and the competition more brutal in round two of the Princess Trials. Zea’s relationship with Prince Kevon intensifies, and she must choose between the prince and the rebel who holds her heart. 

When her enemies uncover a secret that drives a rift between Zea and Prince Kevon, she’s not only battling for survival but facing execution. 

Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and The Selection, this exciting tale of courage, intrigue, and betrayal will have you turning pages. 

  • We get to see a bit more of Zea and Kevon’s feelings growing for one another and we get confirmation that Ryce is a jerk. Honestly, I’m glad there was some drama between Zea and Kevon because we know something between them…their relationship just needs more chemistry.
  • Glad we got to see what the Ambassador Pascale of the Amstraad Republic wanted from Zea because I was starting to not really care. But they just kept showing up in convenient moments so it was good to finally learn something about their schemes. I also liked the few twists that occurred in the story.
  • I liked it when Zea needed to save her family because finally we see her being a badass for something meaningful.
  • I read this book hoping for more romance or see some chemistry between Zea and Kevon and it’s just mild. With what Zea is going through in this princess trials, you’d think there would be something more explosive between them but it’s fairly sweet.
  • Also…what is the point of these princess trials? Kevon barely has dates with any of the girls. They have all these very trials, a lot of them deadly – but Kevon has no personality. He’s nice and a good guy, but what do we really know about him? I think maybe the story just lacks depth because I feel the same about Zea ~ I want more from her and finally got it when her mom was about to die.
  • I skimmed a few parts because we know they are after Zea, but at some point I just didn’t care. Like why does the Queen hate her so much? Just because she isn’t Noble? Queen Damascena is working so hard to keep Zea there yet she wants to kill her also? It didn’t work for me, it was exhausting.
  • I think it was weak for Ryce to be her crush in book one, we barely see or hear from him, then in this book he’s awful and not what she thought he was – but he’s barely in this one too! 🤦🏻‍♀️

I’m going to read the next book because I’m almost done with the series but so far. Usually I wouldn’t bother reading the next book if I found the previous books problematic, but I want to see what happens with Zea and Kevon. I think there are a lot of good ideas in this series – it just needs focus and so much more chemistry between Zea and Kevon. My favorite part was when Zea showed mettle especially when she was trying to save her family, that’s when I felt like she finally had something to fight for. We shall see if the next book can redeem this series in my eyes. Will we get more out of Zea and Kevon? I hope so.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

I Wanna Be Where You Are | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: I Wanna Be Where You Are

Author: Kristina Forest

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 256

Categories: Young Adult, Teen Readers, Contemporary, Romance, Family, Friendship, Coming of Age

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.

  • I love the cover and the pastel aesthetics. It’s so pretty and makes me feel like it would be a good spring/summer read.
  • Chloe and Eli’s adventure was eventful although they did lie or withhold information from their parents. I thought it something that mended their friendship and then some.
  • Chloe is a talented dancer and want to realize her dream of joining a company but she’s at odds with her mother who doesn’t feel like it’s a good career choice for her. Eli is going through the same thing with his dreams of wanting to be an artist as opposed to his dad’s dream of him pursuing law just like he did. That was very relatable to me because I remember feeling lost as a teen, wanting to please my parents but knew my major wasn’t what I really wanted to do in life.
  • The romance is sweet, and this is a quick, light contemporary read with a happy ending. It covers family dynamics and pursuing your dreams, so it’s perfect for teen readers.
  • Triggers: car accident, grief, anxiety
  • Other than Eli cursing a few times using the F word, this book is fairly rated PG. Or is PG-13 with swear words? I don’t know – I’d rate it PG though haha. It’s more for teens than young adults.

I enjoyed this quick read and in my teen years, this was the kind of book I’d have devoured in one sitting. This is a solid debut and I think Kristina Forest will definitely be a name to watch for in the contemporary teen and YA romance genre.

📚 ~ Yolanda