The Blood Traitor by. Lynette Noni | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Blood Traitor (The Prison Healer, #3)

Author: Lynette Noni

Format: ebooks (own)

Pages: 464

Publication Date: 6/14/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Series, Found Family

She’d failed them. All of them. And now she was paying the price. 

Kiva thought she knew what she wanted—revenge. But feelings change, people change… everything has changed.

After what happened at the palace, Kiva is desperate to know if her friends and family are safe, and whether those she wronged can ever forgive her. But with the kingdoms closer to the brink of war than they’ve ever been, and Kiva far away from the conflict, more is at stake than her own broken heart.

A fresh start will mean a perilous quest, forcing mortal enemies and uneasy allies together in a race against the clock to save not just Evalon, but all of Wenderall. With her loyalties now set, Kiva can no longer just survive—she must fight for what she believes in. For who she believes in. But with danger coming from every side, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, does she have what it takes to stand, or will she fall?

Content Warning: drug use, physical abuse, violence

I finally read the last book of The Prison Healer series and this is what I thought:

+ So much great characters! I love Cresta and Ashlyn, they were my favorite characters in this book. Caldon was amazing as always, but Cresta had fire, humor, sass, and strength. Ashlyn had leadership and bravery. Really great female characters.

+ Kiva goes through so much in this book, it is an emotional, traumatic ride for her but she faces her demons – no matter how hard it is for her.

+ The story moves quickly, there is a lot going on but it’s written well – it takes off running after book two, Kiva’s back in Zalindov but in really bad shape. Once she’s out she has a long journey to get back to Vallenia. There is a great found family trope story line here where two enemy families

+ The romance was one where Kiva had to do a lot to make it up to Jaren. Jaren was hurt and angry and he had a lot of issues to deal with. It was super frustrating at times but it pays off in the end for the two of them. There are a lot of romances going on actually, almost like everyone was pairing off.

+ This story is about messy families, messy relationships and I like that it shows the imperfections in relationships and how to navigate and mend them.

~ Jaren was tough to crack but I mean he went through some stuff. I just wish he and Kiva could talk their problems either. Kiva was stuck in her head a lot, she is the worse at communicating with anyone – thank god she had Caldon and Cresta. Where would she be without them? At times I was just so frustrated with her because she just didn’t know how to be honest after everything that happened in book two. This was her time to tell her truth but I also understand how she had to do it in her own time. I just wanted Kiva and Jaren to talk and it takes awhile for that to really happen.

~ There is a bunch of traveling in this one because there is a quest but the story bounces from location to location a lot. It was okay for me but at one point she was with King Navok and then he isn’t in the story again until the very end.

~ Kiva’ storyline was one big pity party. Cresta had to literally kicked her butt about a lot of things, shake some sense into her because Kiva could not get out of these overwhelming thoughts. And I was Cresta and tired of it! lol…Cresta had more patience than I did. I loved Cresta’s message about strength and pain and moving on…so powerful. But I also understand some people need patience and that was Kiva – she needed patience and Caldon was there to give that to her. Cresta was there to tell her straight on what she needed to do though.

Why you should read it:

  • It’s a great fantasy series and a good ending – Kiva characters comes a long way
  • The found family and side characters are great
  • Great story telling, some twists

Why you might not want to read it:

  • Kiva is going through so much trauma but we are in her head so much I was hoping it would let up a bit – it started to turn into a pity party and I was getting annoyed with her actions.
  • Jaren and Kiva’s drama was really dragged out almost to the end of the story – I wanted them to work it out earlier.

My Thoughts:

This isn’t a light read, there is a lot of trauma to be dealt with in this whole series. This book alone there is abuse, drug abuse, broken families, broken people but I loved the inspiration and motivation that came through characters like Cresta, Caldon and Ashlynn – Cresta being my favorite because she was funny and yet said what she wanted to say. Caldon always brought the lightness to a hard situation and thank goodness for that. Ashlynn was always so steady, I admired her for it. I’m glad Kiva and Jaren worked things out but for me, I think it took too long. This was Kiva’s story about overcoming so many challenges and trauma in her life, but everyone in this book was going through something – it’s what helped them bond and become a found family, which was heartwarming. For the series as a whole, I enjoyed it a lot. For the third book, I did enjoy it but wished we weren’t so much in Kiva’s head.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Garden of Serpents by. C.N. Crawford | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Garden of Serpents (The Demon Queen Trials, #2)

Author: C.N. Crawford

Format: ebooks (KU)


Publication Date: 7/13/22

Categories: Romance, Urban Fantasy

Once, Orion and I were lovers. Then, the gorgeous demon king broke my heart. He kicked me out of the City of Thorns, exiling me to the mortal world.

Now, I have plans to get back at him–and save the world while I’m at it. Orion wants revenge on all the mortals. If I steal his crown, I can stop the bloodshed. All I have to do is beat him in a series of trials, proving that the gods chose me as queen.

But Orion seems determined to seduce me with his apologies and sensual charm. And the fact is? He’s hard to resist. In the City of Thorns, nothing is ever as it seems, but figuring out who to trust is the most important trial of all. Because if I get it wrong, I’ll have the blood of thousands on my hands.

Content Warning: violence, torture

This is the third book in The Demon Queen Trials series and I was enjoying it for the most part but the ending was too rushed. Here’s what I liked and didn’t like:

+ Rowan has trained and grown into her Succubus powers so she can now go toe to toe with Orion.

+ Rowan and Orion are meant to be. There are some challenges they have to deal with, like trust issues and they already got together in the last book but this felt like another slow burn round between them. There are many sensual and sexy parts though.

+ The epilogue was unexpected and interesting – makes me sort of interested to see where the story goes. But…I’m still on the fence.

~ The pacing of this book was an issue for me. Everything felt rushed. Rowan has to pass these trials but it doesn’t feel high stakes at all. We know Orion will give her whatever she wants. There are new characters introduced to us, but new characters in the last book, especially a villain? There wasn’t enough time to get to know them and their motivations or schemes.

~ Rowan is powerful now, so I wanted to see more of that in her trials but the trials didn’t feel like much.

~ What was up with Shai? Not sure what was going on with her.

~ The ending was super rushed. It felt like the story raced up to the betrayal, Orion and Rowan are united and the end. And the epilogue is 13 years later! So it sets up another story.

Why you should read it:

  • to finish the series if you started it
  • Rowan and Orion’s romance

Why you might not want to read it:

  • wanted so much more and it fell short
  • the story felt rushed, new characters introduced without much time to really get to know them

My Thoughts:

I was a bit disappointed by this one. I did love Rowan and Orion together, even if they were fighting but I felt like the whole story was rushed to get to the end. This one fell short for me but I’m glad I finished the series. The first two books were great, and this one was rushed with less intensity. The epilogue suggests a new spin-off but I don’t know if I will be reading it.

📚 ~ Yolanda

The Inadequate Heir by. Danielle L. Jensen | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Inadequate Heir (The Bridge Kingdom, #3)

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Format: ebooks (borrowed)

Pages: 625

Publication Date: 5/24/22

Publisher: CLA

Categories: Series, Romantasy, Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Forbidden Love, Fantasy, Kingdom Politics

Return to the world of The Bridge Kingdom in this sensuous fantasy full of romance and intrigue that is perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Silver Flames.

A soldier raised as heir to an empire, Zarrah is motivated by two truths. The first is that the Veliant family murdered her mother. And the second is that her pursuit of vengeance will put every last one of them in their graves.

The Endless War between Maridrina and Valcotta has raged for generations, leaving thousands of Zarrah’s people dead and countless more orphaned. So when she’s given command of the contested city of Nerastis, Zarrah is prepared to do whatever it takes to destroy the Maridrinian forces who oppose her. And to kill the Veliant prince who leads them.

Yet a chance encounter with an anonymous, and handsome, Maridrinian causes Zarrah to question whether the violence she’s perpetrated is justice or a crime. And as she continues to meet the nameless man each night, she finds common ground – and fiery passion – in his arms.

But when identities are revealed, Zarrah must decide whether to embrace a chance at peace…or march to the drums of war.

Content Warning: violence, torture, death

This is Keris’ story and I thought it was interesting how it runs parallel to The Bridge Kingdom timeline. So this is basically happening while Lara is infiltrating Ithicana and falling for Aren! I did like Keris’ and Zarrah’s perspectives on the different sides of the war because it’s a war between kingdoms. The wonderful world building is back and because this is from outside Ithicana we get a broader scope of the different kingdoms at war with one another. I love everything about the war between kingdoms, the players in it – the unsuspecting ones like the Harem, and I think it’s just written so well! You feel the high-stakes politics being played out from the beginning to the end of this book.

As for Keris, I expected nothing less than the bookish, non-fighting, womanizer that we meet. This is Lara’s full brother! He is charming and clever, staying out of the limelight so he can scheme but Zarrah is his downfall and the way it ends is tragic. Zarrah is a warrior and I love that she’s tough! They are both trying to find their way to peace between their kingdoms while falling for one another. And let me tell you – these two together are scorching hot! Zarrah is a woman not shy about what she wants and Keris gives it to her.🔥

King Silas and the Magpie are in strong villain form but the ending indicates Zarrah’s aunt Petra, the Empress is even worse than they are and I look forward to reading the next book to find out what she has done and see if Keris and Zarrah can ever be together.

By the way, I loved seeing Aren and Lara in this through Keris and Zarrah’s perspectives, I’ll always love those two.

The only thing about this being parallel to The Bridge Kingdom events is that it’s a longer book and smashes the events in the first book into this one. I kept trying to remember the things that happened in the first two books and I’m glad I remembered because it really is a story that I stuck in my head.

Why you should read it:

  • you love the first two books in the series – Aren and Lara make an appearance in this book also since the timeline coincides with events in The Bridge Kingdom
  • Keris and Zarrah are hot together! Enemies to lovers, forbidden love, all the feels
  • high-stakes politics, great world building

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you haven’t read the first 2 books

My Thoughts:

I liked how this paralleled The Bridge Kingdom as we get to see another perspective and this time from Keris and Zarrah. There are many factors at play in this high stakes political romance story and it fits so well in the series. I love Keris and Zarrah but I can see they have a few challenges to overcome between them. I can’t wait for the next book to see how Keris and Zarrah can make their love work – I’m rooting for them!

📚 ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the Book:

I do want to remake the world so that I can be with you. So that I can get down on my knees and ask you to be my wife. So that I can put a crown on your head and make you my queen. So I can build a shrine and worship you as my goddess. I want all of these things, yet I face a future with none of them, and I don’t know whether I want to fall on my own blade or burn everything to ash because I do not want to let you go.”

– Danielle L. Jensen, The Inadequate Heir

A lifetime wouldn’t be enough. Eternity wouldn’t be enough. Not when I want to map every star in the sky with you in my arms.”

– Danielle L. Jensen, The Inadequate Heir

Forging Silver into Stars by. Brigid Kemmerer | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Forging Silver into Stars (#1)

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 560

Publication Date: 6/7/22

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Categories: Fantasy, Politcal Intrigue, Young Adult, Romance, LGBT+, Spinoff of Series, Series

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

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

When ancient magic tests a newfound love, a dark fate beckons . . .

Magic has been banished in the land of Syhl Shallow for as long as best friends Jax and Callyn can remember. They once loved the stories of the powerful magesmiths and mythical scravers who could conjure fire or control ice, but now they’ve learned that magic only leads to danger: magic is what killed Callyn’s parents, leaving her alone to raise her younger sister. Magic never helped Jax, whose leg was crushed in an accident that his father has been punishing him for ever since. Magic won’t save either of them when the tax collector comes calling, threatening to take their homes if they can’t pay what they owe.

Meanwhile, Jax and Callyn are astonished to learn magic has returned to Syhl Shallow — in the form of a magesmith who’s now married to their queen. Now, the people of Syhl Shallow are expected to allow dangerous magic in their midst, and no one is happy about it.

When a stranger rides into town offering Jax and Callyn silver in exchange for holding secret messages for an anti-magic faction, the choice is obvious — even if it means they may be aiding in a plot to destroy their new king. It’s a risk they’re both willing to take. That is, until another visitor arrives: handsome Lord Tycho, the King’s Courier, the man who’s been tasked with discovering who’s conspiring against the throne.

Suddenly, Jax and Callyn find themselves embroiled in a world of shifting alliances, dangerous flirtations, and ancient magic . . . where even the deepest loyalties will be tested.

Content Warning: Violence, Kidnapping, Abuse, Mention of Rape

I requested this book because it was written by Brigid Kemmerer but I didn’t realize it was a spinoff of The Cursebreakers series until I started reading it. I felt myself rebelling against this book because I didn’t love the ending of that first series. It was okay, I just didn’t think I’d return to that world again – yet here I was with Grey, Lia Mara and of course Tycho (who I vaguely remember).

This new series is set in Shyl Shallow and is told by three perspectives: Tycho, Jax – a blacksmith in Shyl Shallow, and Callyn, a baker and Jax’s best friend. It took me awhile to get into this book because I didn’t know what we were doing back here…is there a story to tell? Well – it seems like there is no happy ever after still and there is a growing faction of people who are opposed to King Grey and magic. The plan is to eliminate him and save the queen (but she doesn’t need saving). But things don’t go as planned.

I did like that this was Tycho’s story. He’s traveling between Grey’s court and Rhen’s Emberfall a lot and those two always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I just never liked how the previous series ended, I guess. But I did my best to concentrate on Tycho’s side of things. I love that he meets Jax – they have an attraction that gets kind of steamy. I felt bad for Jax because his dad abuses him and he is just trying his best to survive it. As for Callyn -I liked meeting her but then she lands in the morally grey area, especially when Lord Alek comes around and I’m not sure what will happen to her in the sequel. In this story no one is perfect.

Grey and Rhen are back for a little bit but like I said I don’t have happy feelings for either of them. The beginning of this story took awhile to get into but I did find myself caring about Tycho and Jax by the middle of it all. As for Cal and Alek? Ugh – all I feel are red flag alerts. I think it’s supposed to be an enemies to lovers romance building but I think I hate Alek…so, can he redeem himself in my eyes? I don’t know! In relation to the story…do we need to be back in this world? It just feels like an unending cycle and no one will come out totally happy, with magic or not. I am intrigued about the scravers though! But enough for me to want to read book two? I’m still not sure. I did enjoy the second half of this book though so we shall see.

Why you should read it:

  • you loved The Cursebreakers series, want to revisit old characters and the same world (you should read The Cursebreakers series if you haven’t)
  • M/M romance
  • political intrigue and some good action at the end

Why you might not want to read it:

  • wasn’t happy with the previous series
  • relationships are constantly tested in this series

My Thoughts:

I went into this book kind of wary of returning to Shyl Shallow and Emberfall and yes I struggled to get into the story in the beginning because I wondered – was there really a story to tell about this world again? But I found myself invested midway to the end of the book. I liked Tycho and Jax’s romance and am sort of intrigued by Callyn and Lord Alek – but also warning bells are going off on those two also. I wasn’t as interested in being around Grey and Rhen again, I have bittersweet or maybe just bitter feelings about how that relationship turned out. I think Nakiis’s story would be enough to pull me back into the next book. For fans of The Cursebreaker series, you will love this spinoff because all the old characters are there, and it’s a familiar world. For the not so big fans of the series, you may want to skip this one…unless you are as curious as I was, then you should read it.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Fabric of Chaos by. Helen Scheuerer | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The Fabric of Chaos (Curse of the Cyren, #3)

Author: Helen Scheuerer

Format: ebooks (kindle unlimited)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/1/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Series, Adventure

An almighty power. A deadly choice. Will she come undone when chaos reigns?

After facing heart-breaking betrayals and jaw-dropping revelations in Akoris, Roh must steel herself once more and continue her quest to win the cyren throne.

But with poison lingering in her body and a new, unpredictable companion at her side, the trek to the mysterious territory of Csilla becomes all the more perilous. Dangerous schemes are afoot – ones that threaten not only the homeland Roh intends to rule, but all of cyrenkind.

As her journey stretches across the realm, Roh must navigate the dark web of her own ambition and master her newfound magic.

Will she triumph against the trials ahead – or sow the seeds of her own destruction?

More action-packed than ever, brimming with new secrets and a touch of romance, The Fabric of Chaos is the breathtaking third installment of Helen Scheuerer’s Curse of the Cyren Queen quartet.

Content Warning: Violence, Grief

I liked this one so much better than book two and almost gave it 5 stars but the slow burn is way too slow haha.

Roh and her group of friends travel to the next location to find the next gem for her crown. They take a harrowing journey to Csilla and encounter so much challenges and danger. When they get to Csilla we learn more about the past between Roh’s mother and the current queen. More secrets are revealed and this time we also get some backstory about the Water Warlocks and what atrocities their people were subjected to.

Roh has more character growth especially when it comes to finding her confidence, making the right decisions, and knowing who to trust. I love that the friendship between all of them has grown tighter.

As for the romance, finally something happens and my wait has come to an end at least. I do think the slow burn was way too slow and I had to wait for book three to get more action between Finn and Roh but I guess it was worth the wait. Of course then a twist in events once more makes Roh doubt herself. The torture for Roh is never-ending, she goes through a lot of turmoil in this book! I hope she gets a really good ending in the next and final book. But what I love about her is that she grows in each book in the series.

I do wish this series was a trilogy but I get with these kinds of series on Amazon that the release dates are a shorter wait than books from bigger publishers. I love that I don’t have to wait too long but also wish the story wouldn’t go on forever.

Why you should read it:

  • to continue the series – great story-telling
  • slow burn romance, finally we get some action between Roh and Finn
  • Roh’s character growth, lovable characters

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into a long series…seems like it’s going to be a 4 books series – you might want to wait for the last book to be out and binge it

My Thoughts:

I love this installment to the series! It really had everything: action, danger, friendship, romance, plot twists, back story and it even ends really good! It setts up for an exciting conclusion in the next book I hope. I’ve come to love the characters and am rooting for Roh (queen or not) to make the best decisions and trust the small circle of found family around her. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and more from this author.

📚 ~ Yolanda

An Unreliable Magic by. Rin Chupeco | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: An Unreliable Magic (A Hundred Names for Magic, #2)

Author: Rin Chupeco

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 5/3/22

Publisher: Sourcebook Fire

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Fairytales

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

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

The second book in the A Hundred Names for Magic trilogy, an unforgettable alternative history fairy-tale series from the author of The Bone Witch about found family, modern day magic, and finding the place you belong.

Tala, Alex, and the rest of their friends are safe for now, but know the Snow Queen is still out there. They have to be prepared for when she eventually attacks—and all decide to do so in their own way.

When Ryker comes out of the woodwork, showing himself when he starts attacking American detention facilities and freeing refugees. And the Nameless Sword, a legendary weapon that according to Avalon legend, will make its wielder the most powerful warrior of their time turns up with her name on it, Tala’s life gets messier…But when the Snow Queen arrives with an unlikely ally, the group will have to work together.

Content Warning: Racism, Violence

I really enjoyed Wicked as You Wish, which was book one in this series. I’m not sure why it was a struggle for me to get through this sequel.

One thing I love about Rin Chupeco books is the diversity she puts into her books. This story is no exception – there is so much diversity, it’s wonderful! Being a Filipino-American, I love seeing all the Filipinos represented in this book, especially with the women warriors. The old crew is back and the fairytale settings are present again and when I say fairytale settings I mean the author includes every fairytale out there from Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland and then some. It’s a chaotic mix but it works.

The thing is, this is totally a mood read kind of book for me and I was not in the mood for this type of this story. I tried my hardest to get into the mood though! What tripped me up was the huge cast of characters. I didn’t re-read the first book before going into this one and maybe that would have helped. Because of this the first chapters of the book was going way too slow for me. It was a struggle for me. I was having trouble connecting to Tala because I was getting invested in Ken and Nya, but then I would be trying to remember who was who from the first book. There is so much going on in this book and it did not slow down. I just felt like I couldn’t catch up yet I usually love fast paced books! I think there was just too much going on for me in this one.

Why you should read it:

  • fairytale infused story (every fairytale and myth you can think of)
  • lots of action and so much diversity
  • you want to be back with Tala, Alex and their crew

Why you might not want to read it:

  • too much going on, first part of the story is slow
  • it was hard connecting to the characters, too many characters to remember
  • (re-read the first book if you can)

My Thoughts:

The great thing about this series is the action, the diversity and how all the fairytales come together in one creative story. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the story. There was too much going on in the story and I didn’t re-read the first story to reacquaint myself with the large cast of characters, and I struggled through the first part of the story. It’s definitely a book where I need to be in the mood for. I think many fans of the first book will enjoy this one and be happy to see the same characters from book one.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Ebonwilde by. Crystal Smith | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Ebonwilde (Blood Leaf #3)

Author: Crystal Smith

Format: ebook (owned)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 4/12/22

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance

Get ready to be swept away, seduced, and swindled in the wickedly vicious third and final installment in the Bloodleafseries that Laura Sebastian called “enchanting, visceral, and twisty.”

Welcome to Ebonwilde. Come and find me. 

Aurelia’s last words haunted Zan. Left with the task of finding and reviving Princess Aurelia, Zan sets off on his own adventure to find her and return the gift she sacrificed for him—her life. But not all is what it seems, and Ebonwilde is more dangerous than anyone can predict.

Content Warning: Death, Violence

I’m not sure what I was expecting with the end of this series but this one surprised me, sometimes not in a good way.

I love the twists and turns but that came mostly at the ending. I like how the story was resolved and loose ends were tied up. I even liked how everyone is separated but come together to defeat the villain and make everything right. Some people get happy endings, others get a bad deal.

The thing I didn’t really enjoy was the timeline jumping. I understand why it happened, because Zan can basically time jump in the Gray. So there are many things going on at one time, kind of like the webs that the Spinner has to deal with. I did like that parallel. But it could get confusing at times. There is a Then, Now, 1620, 1921 (10 days before Midwinter…etc…)…and it was hard to follow at times. I wish it was a bit more straightforward but that’s what happens with time jumping!

Also, the love triangle bit was breaking my heart. I refused to believe it was happening and was thinking, this cannot end this way! Why now? I was getting upset. There were people dying that I didn’t want to die. Of course you have to read and find out what happens in the end and it is beautiful how it ends but I think it took a confusing way to get to there.

The thing I love about this series is the mythology and questions about power and how it affects people. I found this particular book fascinating because it touched on present day issues like like when a virus ravages a community. Or when a radical figure uses his power influence a group of people and cause chaos.

It was always about Aurelia in the beginning and her choices. Now we know why but I did like that in this last book, it took all of them, a collective effort, not just Aurelia, to save humanity. I like that we get to see other characters and their relationships. I loved all the reveals – but they really did come all at the end.

Why you should read it:

  • to finish the series
  • great world building and the story did tie up loose ends
  • love how the characters are complex, each has a role, and our heroine isn’t perfect

Why you might not want to read it:

  • first part is slow because many different perspectives and timelines happening
  • a love triangle (but read it to find out what happens)

My Thoughts:

I loved that this book tied up the loose ends and really did a nice job ending the series. I just wish it wasn’t such a confusing timeline for me – but that could be my fault for not rereading book two. I recommend doing so, so you are reacquainted with the whole cast of characters. I didn’t like the love triangle because it was so sad and bittersweet. The ending of this book was an emotional rollercoaster with twists and turns and your faves are not guaranteed to survive. I’m glad I got to finish this series. Book two was my favorite of the three, but I really did love all the reveals in book three.

📚 ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the Book:

Hope was such a pernicious, perilous thing. A rope to promised safety that could lead instead to the brink of a chasm, with no quarter for retreat or net to catch your fall.”

– Crystal Smith, Ebonwilde

And I will keep choosing you, every day, every hour, every minute, for as long as I live.”

– Crystal Smith, Ebonwilde

Everything that had ever separated us, every lie, every loss, every hurt, mistake, and misunderstanding, now became what dragged us back to one another.”

– Crystal Smith, Ebonwilde

I don’t believe that who we are is ever set in stone. We are transitory creatures—every day, we wake up as someone new, changed just a little bit by the experiences of the day before. Who we were is always a part of us, but it doesn’t determine who we are, nor who we can still become.

– Crystal Smith, Ebonwilde

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by. Holly Black | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)

Author: Holly Black

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 200 pages

Publication Date: 11/24/20

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Categories: Series, Illustrated, Novella, Fantasy, Young Adult

An irresistible return to the captivating world of Elfhame.

Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.

Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone . Revealing a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan, his tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.

This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector’s item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.

Content Warning: Abuse

I’ve been wanting a copy of this for awhile. I don’t have the physical copy (will have to get it for my collection) but I did borrow the ebook and it was exactly as I expected it would be. The story brings us back to Elfhame but we get to know Cardan much better. We get a glimpse into Cardan’s childhood and his relationship with Nicasia. And I absolutely adored all the scenes he has with Jude, with her as his Queen. They are seriously too cute together. I enjoyed this installment very much.

Why you should read it:

  • if you love The Folk of the Air series, this is a must read
  • it’s short, a quick read and has illustrations
  • the magical writing of Holly Black

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it’s too short and you may want more lol

My Thoughts:

I absolutely enjoyed this illustrated novella and need it on my shelf!

📚 ~ Yolanda

A Deadly Education by. Naomi Novik | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️💫

Title: A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)

Author: Naomi Novik

Format: eBook (owned)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 9/29/20

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Categories: Series, Young Adult, Dark Academia, Romance

Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. 

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. 

Content Warning: Violence

This one did not work for me even though there were some parts I actually did like about the story.

I like how appropriate the title of this book is. It is a deadly education indeed! I like the tone – there are monsters everywhere, I don’t even see how these kids survive and not a lot do. El is the perfect main character for a place like this school – she is grumpy, sassy, rude, not someone you will like or relate to, definitely not a likable character but she’s smart and aware of her surroundings, she knows how to survive this school, I give her credit for that! Her relationship with Orion the hero of Scholomance is one of my favorite parts. They become reluctant friends, and eventually more than friends but that was the only time the story held onto my interest. I did think the world building is great, a school infested with monsters – sounds pretty crazy and they have to use their magic skills to stay alive and graduate.

What didn’t work for me is we are seriously in El’s head the whole time! This book is only 336 pages and took me 2 weeks or more to finish! 😳 It’s a lot of info dumping and rambling and I could not get through it fast enough. It would have been nice to have more dialogue with other characters. I skipped a lot of her rambling. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Why you should read it:

  • you are a fan of the author (this was my first book from her)
  • dark academia – these kids can’t leave the school unless they survive by killing monsters and then graduate!
  • El and Orion are such an unlikely pair, she’s the grump and he’s the nice guy

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you are in El’s head a lot, a lot of rambling

My Thoughts:

This did not work for me, I skipped a lot when all I was getting from the book was El’s thoughts. It might have been due to my mood as well because I did love the world building and concept. Also the action parts were great but the rest was just not working for me. I’m not sure if I will continue the series but I am curious to see what happens next.

📚 ~ Yolanda

House of Sky and Breath by. Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City, #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 805

Publication Date: 2/15/22

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Categories: Series, Urban Fantasy, Adult, Fated-Mates

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it. 

Content Warning: Violence

I have finally read the book and whew…it’s a long one at 805 pages. I love the cover, this series has good covers so far.

Bryce and Hunt are solid in this sequel. There is no question about whether they are meant for each other, they are mates (I know SJM is all about fated mates). Nothing can come between them throughout this book and we see their relationship get to the next level. There are a bunch of spicy scenes between Bryce and Hunt with the signature mind and space altering sex that always happens in a SJM book. These two are ride or die, besties, lovers, partners forever and I’m glad about it but also I felt like okay now that we’ve established that, let’s move on in the story. 😅

The world building is as intricate as ever. This urban fantasy has everything in it: angels, demons, fae, shifters, wolves, mer, humans and everything in between. So I am impressed as ever with how vivid this world is.

The side characters have a big, big role in this book. I’m glad Ruhn had a chance to shine in this one. I think he was my favorite in the book. Ruhn is really trying to figure out who he is without his apart from his royal Fae status and I appreciated his struggle. Also, I was so into his growing relationship with the mysterious Agent Day – I was actually thinking it reminded me of like an online relationship 😆, it made me laugh a little when things got spicy! But I love Ruhn.

There are so many characters who got a spotlight: Tharion (the mer), Ithan (the wolf), Cormac (Fae Prince), Sofie and then some. And then some!!! There are sooo many characters and honestly I thought it was too many at one time. Cormac was okay-not very interesting, Tharion is to be determined…we shall see where his story goes and Ithan is that younger brother type role. Honestly by the middle of the book I was wondering why Bryce always surrounded by guys in this one? Where was the female friends I loved from book one?! Why was Fury and Juniper barely in this book? I was bummed about that. One of the reasons why I loved the first book was Bryce and her girlfriends. It’s almost at the end of the book when she longs for a female friend and finds a new one in Hypaxia, Ruhn’s fiance.

Speaking of fiance…this is a fated mates story which means…everyone is going to find a mate by the end of this series. 💯 That’s a lot of fated mates lol.

The story unfolds like a mystery with Tharion, being the main detective and then he drags Bryce and Hunt into the search . And for something so secret – it ended up being a whole group knowing the secrets! There is a LOT going on in this story and at one point when a character referred to Hunt as Athalar, I was like, who’s Athalar?! LMAO 🤣. I was like did someone new come into the conversation? I was so genuinely confused…that’s when I had to take a break on reading. Can’t they all just call him Hunt? Like everyone else was being called by their names except Hunt/Athalar/Orion. I have a hard enough time keeping the Princes of Hel straight – where is the character name list? I need one.

The beginning is good with Sofie and then it got slow and some parts was just boring. There was so much dialogue about mundane things at times. I was hoping for more urgency in finding this child with Thunderbird powers. That story fizzled out into something else…but that was the main engine of the story until Danika’s breadcrumbs started to lead them to something more sinister. I wanted more action, maybe less of everyone’s point of view. I could have done without the romance dramas of everyone involved, but I get that this is a romance heavy urban fantasy. The whole story was about finding information and making all the pieces fit into the puzzle. When there was action, it was good and there is a major twist at the ending. I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it…I was like 😳😱.

I almost wish this was one of those series that gave each character a book because it seems like Ruhn deserves one, Tharion, Ithan, Ariadne too probably, and Hypaxia also. And I can’t forget the Hind and her backstory as well!

I did not read this in one sitting like I do with SJM books, it took me about 3 or 4 days. The writing is easy so at least it is easily devoured but like I said…there is so much going on.

Why you should read it:

  • you are an SJM fan and already invested in the series
  • Bryce and Hunt steamy scenes for those who were waiting for it lol
  • some really good twists, especially the ending

Why you might not want to read it:

  • long and wish it had more action
  • I think some characters need their own book to keep some of these installments shorter
  • you will either love or hate the ending

My Thoughts:

I thought I would have read this in one day, even with the 800 page count but if I thought book one was a 4 star read, for me, this was a 3 star read but the ending bumped it up a little. But I wish it didn’t take 700 pages for me to be wowed by the book lol…the ending is a shocker for sure, and I will definitely read book three to see how that goes. I hope it goes beautifully but I also have my worries about it as well. Overall, a pretty good sequel with detailed world building as usual and characters I came to care about but there were spots that were little too slow for me. I loved that Ruhn had more of a spotlight and of course this will definitely make Bryce/Hunt fans super happy…well, for the most part. 🤭 Looking forward to book three…hopefully we don’t have too long.

📚 ~ Yolanda