Bloodmarked by. TracyDeonn | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2)

Format: ebook (own)

Author: Tracy Deonn

Pages: 576

Publication Date: 11/8/22

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary, Urban Fantasy, Romance, King Arthur Reimagined

The shadows have risen, and the line is law.

All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.

Content Warning: violence, grief, racism, mention of slavery, trauma, drugged

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and I finally read it ~ here’s what I think:

+ I’m going to start off with the characters because I fell in love with this series because of them. We get more Alice, Bree’s best friend, which is awesome. Also we get lots of William who I loved in book one. There is less Nick (boo!), but more Selwyn (yay) and of course Bree who is going through too much turmoil in this sequel. There are some new fascinating characters in this book like Erebus, Valec, and Lark.

+ Bree does some memory walking in this story which means she travels back into King Arthur’s time a lot. But she also goes down her family tree memory line too which I think is awesome because we see the past and how it’s forged what Bree is today. I love how the history of slavery is discussed in this book because the story is set in the American South. It’s why I love Bree’s Root powers and we get to learn from her ancestors which is a beautiful thing.

+~ Bree is going through a LOT. She’s the rightful heir but who will back her claim? She has a loyal bubble around, thank goodness but there are those trying to keep her down. On top of the chaos in the Order, there are demons hunting for her and she finally finds out why. This is the book where Bree is down bad. She gets hurt a lot, and people around her get hurt because of her lack of control and her temper too. I do wish she actually learned to use her powers…like no one is there to help her at all and she struggles a lot. There were times I wanted to shake some sense into her and hope that William and Alice could shake some sense into her. But I know she’s going to come back kicking some major butt in the next book. This is just the story where she has to figure out a lot of stuff, she makes some poor decisions and I’m just hoping she makes better ones in book three.

+~ This love triangle is not for the faint of heart lol…it is not clear at all and usually I pick a guy right away. Nick isn’t in this book much, which is a shame because when he is…oh my heart. He is comforting and they have a connection. And then there is Sel and honestly the bad boys always win it for me but he was such an ass at times in this book…by the end I understand why but Sel and Bree fight a lot and their communication isn’t the best, but he will always take care of her, and always save her.💔 How can I love both boys? It’s the whole Guinenvere, Arthur, and Lancelot drama except here we have Arthur, Lancelet and Merlin? 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m gonna say it’s gonna be Bree and Sel in the end because of the ending of this book but their lack of communication and fighting worries me…it’s the only reason I feel at times Nick is better for her.

~ I honestly wish at times we got Sel’s perspective in this book – I know that boy has lots of thoughts and emotions!

~ There is a lot going on with this book and I think the author did well enough that I didn’t get lost with all the explanations but I think the story lagged a bit in the middle.

Tropes: chosen one, secret society

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • you loved Legendborn and want to return to the world and characters
  • Bree’s journey with her powers and how she tries to make sense of it all
  • lots of action

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you hate love triangles

My Thoughts:

Did this live up to my expectations? I think so because I had it a bit low because sequels are mostly a miss than a hit it seems but this is the book where Bree has to struggle and she does, a lot. I was getting frustrated with her for her poor decisions but I expect her to grow a lot from this sequel. There is a lot going on with the story, some I loved, some I thought maybe was too much but the story ends in a cliffhanger so we shall see what happens next. As for the love triangle? I don’t know where this it’s gonna go but I’m ready for it. Overall, I was entertained even though the middle got a bit slow for me. I felt like this story could be made into a Netflix series, I’d definitely watch it! I’m excited to see what happens next.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Legendborn | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A River Enchanted by. Rebecca Ross | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Author: Rebecca Ross

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 480

Publication Date: 2/15/22

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

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

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

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

Content Warning: violence, kidnapping, raids

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tropes: childhood friends, enemies to lovers, widower

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

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

Why you might not want to read it:

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

My Thoughts:

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

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

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

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

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

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

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

~ Rebecca Ross, A River Enchanted

House of Beating Wings by. Olivia Wildenstein | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Author: Olivia Wildenstein

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 490

Publication Date: 9/27/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

Content Warning:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

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

Why you might not want to read it:

  • annoying main character

My Thoughts:

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

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kingdom of the Feared by. Kerri Maniscalco | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Kingdom of the Feared (#3)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 393

Publication Date: 9/27/22

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Categories: Romance, Fantasy, Series, Supernatural

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

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

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

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

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

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

Content Warning: sex, violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spice Level: 🌶🌶🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

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

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into smut

My Thoughts:

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

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

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

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

You are kerosene. Volatile. Noxious.”

~ Kerri Maniscalco, Kingdom of the Feared

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

~ Kerri Maniscalco, Kingdom of the Feared

This Vicious Grace by. Emily Thiede | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: This Vicious Grace (#1)

Author: Emily Thiede

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: 6/27/22

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy, Series

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Emily Thiede’s exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!

Content Warning: violence, suicidal ideation

I finally read this book and you know I will blame my eyesight. I don’t use glasses (but I think I need them now) and the print in the hardcover copy is smaller than other fonts – so basically I should’ve gotten the ebook for this. Anyway, I finished it and Dante and Alessa are everything! Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ The world building is interesting. Alessa is a Finestra – she basically has the power of death, and she is going to lead an army to find a demon horde coming their way. But in the scriptures, apparently Alessa needs a Fontes, a partner in crime, someone with power as well. But it’s a problem when she kills her Fontes. The search for a new one begins but Alessa is scared she might kill another person. The world felt Italian-inspired, but there were diverse cultures represented as well when they had big events in the town like Carnivale.

+ My favorite part of the story is Alessa and Dante. Their banter and flirting is so good! I loved her naughty banter and seeing how he reacts to it. They are too cute together! She’s the chosen one and he’s some random fighter she picked off the street to be her bodyguard. He’s a bit snarky but she really vibes with him. They play off one another until the attraction builds up to something they cannot deny. The two of them do get into some heated moments but nothing too descriptive. But I think they can be added to my favorite book couples list.

+ Alessa is a fun character. I like her attitude about everything, even when she finds herself back into a corner – she’s fighter. She loves her city, love her people and she loves life even though she causes death. I especially love when her personality shines through when she’s with Dante.

~ The story follows Alessa who needs to find a new Fontes before the demons arrive. She has about 30 something days and it was nice to get to know the Fontes candidates and check out their powers but I did wish there were some more information about the enemy. Maybe more tension leading up to it so we get the high stakes feeling of the situation? We only get to see the battle in the last part of the book and though it’s written like an epic fight it felt anti-climatic even though a lot is happening in the battle.

~ Thought the world building is fascinating, I wanted more from it. I wanted to know why the demon horde was coming ~ they are supposedly evil but I swear Alessa own blood brother was evil. So maybe we get to learn more in book two?

Tropes: chosen one, grumpy/sunshine, bodyguard interest, forbidden love, close proximity, found family

Spice Level: 🌶 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • Alessa and Dante – their romance is my favorite part
  • interesting world building inspired by Italy, and a fight against demons
  • there is a group of Fontes we get to know, but I hope we get to know more about them in book two

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into YA fantasy ~ ending was a bit anti-climatic

My Thoughts:

I fell in love with Alessa and Dante. They really are what makes this story great. I love that they leaned into their attraction because their flirting was everything. Story-wise I did find the world building interesting but I do want to know more maybe about the enemy? I like how Alessa went about finding her next Fontes and made new friends or a found family. I wonder what will be happening in the next book after some events that take place at the end of the book. I’ll definitely be reading book two to get more of Alessa and Dante.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Foul Lady Fortune by. Chloe Gong | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Foul Lady Fortune

Author: Chloe Gong

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 528

Publication Date: 9/26/22

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Categories: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Romance, Mystery, Series Spin-Off

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

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption from her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.

Content Warning: violence

I have to be honest and say I struggled with the beginning of this book because of the mystery and spying going on but wow does it pick up at the ending! Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ We are back in Shanghai but way after Roma and Juliette are gone. This time we are in the thrall of Rosalind’s story – if you remember from the first series and how it ends, things didn’t go so well for Rosalind. This time though she has a chance to do more with what she is left with. And Aliza is in this story, she’s older now and a spy in her own right.

+ The new cast of Orion, Oliver, Phoebe and Silas is wonderful! I was more interested in Orion and Phoebe though since Oliver was on the other team with Celia (Rosalind’s sister).

+ Rosalind and Orion really grew on me. They are assigned together on a mission and have to be in a fake marriage. I love how their relationship grew and by the end I was emotional about what was happening to them.

+ The story gets good at the end! Like that alone makes me want to read book two asap. I’d say more of the action starts midway into this book and into the second half.

~ The beginning is slow – because it starts off like a mystery and moves at a mystery pace. A lot of the politics, which I was interested in during the first series, was lost to me in this book. Now there are communists, Nationalists and the Japanese trying to fight over Shanghai and a lot of that stuff went over my head. I

Tropes: fake marriage, spy romance

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • if you loved These Violent Delights and want to return back into that world
  • sweet relationship between partners Rosalind and Orion
  • the second half of the book is suspenseful and action packed – it was the best part of the story in my opinion

Why you might not want to read it:

  • beginning of the book is slow and it was hard for me to get into
  • all the politics made it hard to follow who was on which side

My Thoughts:

I’m sad I struggled through the first part of this one since this is one of my highly anticipated reads – it was a two and a half/three star read until the 50% mark came into play. The ending was what I was hoping most of the book would be like…well, maybe not most haha, but it is a long book and the beginning was promising and then went into slow, mystery mode. I enjoyed seeing old characters and meeting new ones. The romance that is growing between Rosalind and Orion was fun to see because they were in a fake marriage but by the end I was totally invested and only want the best for them. I look forward to reading book two!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Ballad of Never After by. Stephanie Garber | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2)

Author: Stephanie Garber

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 9/12/22

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy, Series

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can. . . .

Content Warning: violence

I’ll just get this off my chest – but I’m mostly here for Jacks lol…

+ Jacks wants the stones, Chaos and Lala wants Eva to open the Valory Arch, and Eva wants the curse on Apollo and her to be lifted. EVERYONE wants something in this book and it’s about getting what you wish for but having consequences. The consequences are big in this sequel.

+ Jacks, Jacks, Jacks…you most awful of bad boys. I’m here to see him protect Evangeline and entice her and break her heart all over again…just because I know his heart is breaking too. 😅 They both suffer! He’s so toxic and yet addicting – poor Evangeline falling for a bad boy like Jacks. And Jacks for falling for someone who isn’t the “right” one for him. We get a good moment with Jacks and Evangeline when they sort of put down their walls…it’s a lovely moment too. But nothing happy seems to last forever in this series!

+ Chaos…the other bad boy but he isn’t as cold as Jacks! I swear this book has all the kinds of bad boys I like – the cold and calculating kind (Jacks) and the vampire kind (Chaos). I liked his storyline and learning more about the Valors. Speaking of vampires, I thought Luc was so funny.

+ The ending twist is very interesting and unexpected and makes me wonder what in heck is going to happen in book three. As if Evangeline and Jacks need to be tortured enough…

~ Evangeline, our heroine, gets on my nerves. She is so naive and I get she is Jack’s opposite. She’s the dreamer…he’s the one that is blunt and cuts to the chase. They are attracted to each other because of it…but she is hunting for love. And every guy who shows her attention is a potential for this great love she is searching for (since Jacks is bad news and she should…really should not even go there….not that she can help herself). But she’s still married to Apollo, and obviously she wants Jacks. 😅 Like girl…pick someone! Whenever Jacks comes into play he makes the girls look both ways! lol…

~ I want more. I get that this series is staying fairly clean but it’s Jacks – give me some sexy scenes with him! This is a slow burn but Jacks is the personified broody, snarky, sexy, bad boy. I like the almost kisses and there is some touching but they need to fight and make up or something. Like I need an intense scene between him and Evangeline because I want to see how wicked he can get without killing her. 😅 They don’t have to go all the way, but half the time I was thinking nah, Evangeline is so wrong for him – he needs someone with a little more fight in her. Maybe I’m comparing her to Tella? I don’t know…but maybe I’m wrong and it’s the naive girl that is perfect for Jacks. I’m not totally convinced though.

~ I have some questions about Apollo at the end….

Tropes: slow burn, naive heroine, good girl/bad boy, pining/longing, a kiss would kill, curses

Spice Level: 🌶 (some heated glances, some touching, almost kisses)

Why you should read it:

  • some good twists in the story
  • Jacks
  • more information about the Valors

Why you might not want to read it:

  • Evangeline to me is the weakest link in this book – she’s naive and frustrating at times

My Thoughts:

I think this was a solid sequel and we get more of Jacks and some moments when he lets down his guard. ❤️ I liked getting to know more about the history of the Valory Arch and the cursed books were interesting. There is always a mystery and it’s never one that’s easy to figure out. The clues include stories, ballads, and never all the information given at once. What I love about the series is Jacks – he is such a dark, cold, mysterious character. He shouldn’t be likable but just like Evangeline, we all can’t stay away from him. I don’t blame her for the attraction but that girl is a little too naive for my taste. The ending was not what I was expecting and makes me eager to see what will happen in book three. Will Evangeline get her dream happy life? Will Jacks ever find the love he can’t kill? I think we all want to see Jacks in love with someone that won’t die because of him…and happy.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Serpent and the Wings of Night by. Carissa Broadbent | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Serpent and the Wings of Night (#1)

Author: Carissa Broadbent

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 532

Publication Date: 8/29/22

Publisher:

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romantasy

Human or vampire, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.

The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world designed to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari: a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.

But winning won’t be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. To survive, Oraya is forced to make an alliance with a mysterious rival.

Everything about Raihn is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, an efficient killer, an enemy to her father’s crown… and her greatest competition. Yet, what terrifies Oraya most of all is that she finds herself oddly drawn to him.

But there’s no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything that Oraya thought she knew about her home. And Raihn may understand her more than anyone – but their blossoming attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.

The Serpent and the Wings of Night is the first book in a new series of heart-wrenching romance, dark magic, and bloodthirsty intrigue, perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Content Warning: violence, sexual assault

I love it when I pick a book I know nothing about – I chose it because of the cover and interesting synopsis and the book turns out to be everything I’m craving for at the moment. I wanted vampires…and I got it! Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ I wanted a book about vampires and I got it! I thought this world building of different vampire houses living among humans was very fascinating. Different types of vampires had characteristic to show what kind of vampires they were – and some of them have wings, which is great. I love me a vampire with wings! There is some good world building and would love to learn more about the other Houses. The action in the trials are so good too. I also love the twist in the end.

+ I like Oraya. She’s human, but raised by the ruthless vampire king Vincent. She’s been protected by him but also is aware at how human and vulnerable she is. Oraya never forgets she is human but she longs for vampire powers just so she can stop feeling so powerless. Oraya has gone through some trauma in her life and have learned to survive in her own way. I also like Raihn who is protective, always wears a smirk and at odds with Oraya most times but he loves it.

+ Raihn and Oraya are everything I want in a romantasy couple. They meet and have secrets, they can’t trust one another but Raihn has a way of befriending Oraya and getting under her walls. It’s a slow burn but not too slow – which I love. I don’t have to wait for book two for some steamy scenes – I felt like it came in the right time for Raihn and Oraya. I like how they become allies and partners to pass these trials, they learn more about one another and soon their attraction is undeniable.

+ The side characters like Mische did a lot to help show Oraya there were different kinds of vampires out there. There are the ones who are born and the ones who are Turned. She only grew up vampires who barely showed expression except when fueled by blood. Mische and Raihn were turned and still have a bit of their humanity to them which helps Oraya come to terms with her humanness.

~ Vincent! He was a character you didn’t to love or what until the end. I hope we learn more about Oraya’s background because it was quite a mystery.

Tropes: slow burn, survive the trials, rivals, vampire and human romance

Spice Level: 🌶 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • slow burn romantasy ~ I love Raihn and Oraya together
  • lots of action, and some good twists
  • nice flow to the story, I read it in one day even though it was over 500 pages

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you don’t like romantasy
  • maybe you should wait to binge the series

My Thoughts:

This has everything I wanted in a book right now. It’s a romantasy so we get the fantasy, vampires, and we get some steamy romance. I love that nothing was rushed or too slow and it was paced so well it kept my attention. I wanted to read book two right after I read it but I can’t because it’s not out yet! I want to see what happens to Raihn and Oraya and if we find out more about Oraya’s background. I want to see what happens with the House of Night and what the House of Blood has up their sleeve…I can’t wait to read book two and hope the wait isn’t too long.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A Curse of Queens by. Amanda Bouchet | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: A Curse of Queens (#4)

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 496

Publication Date: 10/4/22

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Categories: Greek Mythology, Romance, Adventure, Fantasy, 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 Sourcebooks Casablanca for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

The queen has been cursed, and no one knows who’s behind the plot to threaten the realm’s fragile peace. Desperate to help, Jocasta hatches a plan to find Circe’s Garden, a fabled island where she hopes to discover an antidote. But she can’t do it alone. She needs the strong arm and unflinching bravery of the warrior she’s loved since childhood—her brother’s right-hand-man and captain of the guard, Flynn of Sinta.

Together they can do the impossible. Yet with treachery brewing on Mount Olympus, one thing is clear: Thalyria and its new royals are still pawns in an epic game of power—one that might end in a War of Gods.

Content Warning:

I read the last Kingmaker Chronicles book when it was published back in 2018 so I advise anyone who hasn’t read them to read it first before this one because you will be very lost. I actually didn’t realize this was a book four of that series. I saw the author’s name, and the cover and requested the book. As I read it I vaguely remembered these characters but not having read the last book in four years meant that I got lost a bunch of times!

What’s fun about this series is the Greek Mythology, plus I loved the series because of the romance. Once more the romance shines here with Jocasta and Flynn. It’s a very slow burn though but they have history. Jocasta has always been in love with Flynn and it’s the same for him but he’s had to deal with some traumatic situations in his life that has scared him off the idea of marrying and having kids.

Jocasta’s character really goes through some challenges and transformation in this book. She starts off as the daughter who is pretty much forgotten since she isn’t much of a warrior. She is a healer and sometimes overlooked in her family. But by the end of this story she is the heroine.

There are a lot of characters in this series and this being book four, it was hard to get situated and remember what happened to certain ones in past books. I had to just push through though. Also there is so much Greek Mythology characters alongside the human ones, there was just many times I wished I had reread the first three books.

The fun parts of the book are the adventures Jocasta and her little crew go on to get to Circe’s island. Carver, Jo’s brother is always arguing with Bellanca. I think their story would be less slow burn and lots of burning haha so I’m excited to see how their story ends up.

Why you should read it:

  • a slow burn romance
  • Greek mythology
  • lots of adventure and battling Greek Gods

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you haven’t read the previous three books in a while or ever…(I recommend you read them!)

My Thoughts:

I would have enjoyed this book more if I had reread the other books in the series. The parts I did enjoy was the adventure to Circe’s island and watching Jocasta and Flynn push and pull towards one another. It’s a slow burn romance but I did like both characters and they deserve their happy ending. I am interested to see what happens to Jo’s brother Carver and if he can get a happy ending as well.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble