book review, fantasy, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

The Princess Will Save You | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: The Princess Will Save You

Author: Sarah Henning

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 7/7/20

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Royals

When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him.

When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warriornot a sacrifice. 

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

  • Fast moving story and quick read.
  • I like the whole women power and consent message.
  • Amarande is sixteen, knows who she loves and wants, and she will do everything for him even get him back from kidnappers. She’s definitely the heroine in this novel and Luca is the dude in distress haha. She wants her man back and she will do anything to get him! It’s a super sweet and innocent love, Amarande is shy about her feelings about him and he is very gentle with her.
  • There is some court intrigue with some other kingdom forcing her to marry or else she loses Luca.
  • There were very few similarities to The Princess Bride (I only watched the movie a million times), like Luca’s torture (Westley’s torture), of course the reverse hero where Amarande is the one saving her love (Westley went to save his Princess), but it’s all out of order so I think the book didn’t follow so closely that I was looking for similarities.
  • Triggers: kidnapping, violence
  • It would’ve been nice to see more of Luca and Amarande’s relationship – because it’s a quick moving story, we are thrown into it knowing they have a thing for one another. She’s very shy about her feelings and they haven’t really said it out loud to one another so I’d have love to see them more comfortable with it.
  • It was a predictable so at times it was boring, a princess who wants to marry who she wants and not give in to the other kingdoms trying to take her kingdom.
  • I’m so used to alpha males (and love them) that I was a little underwhelmed with Luca but honestly he’s a nice guy and they need to be shown love too. I’m curious about his history and if it comes into play in book two.
  • I think this is better suited for Teen Readers

Overall this was an okay read for me, I think I expected a bit more from it. The messages about consent and woman empowerment is relevant and important. It was fun to see some Princess Bride references and I am interested to see what happens with Amarande’s mother and learning more about Luca’s background. I have the arc to book two so we shall see what happens.

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, New adult, paranormal, romance

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire | Book Review

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 637

Publication Date: 9/20/20

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

  • Glad that Casteel has redeemed himself after book one. He seems sorry about lying to Poppy and motivated to help his people so it’s just getting those two things on the same page which is a challenge for him. At least the truth is out there now (most of it) and Poppy can do what she wants with it.
  • Kieran and Poppy have a growing friendship and…something else? Are they a threesome? I don’t know but there were some scenes that made me think it might eventually be that way? We shall see – no judgment here (at least on that aspect haha), but I like Kieran, I say he deserves his own loves story.
  • Since Poppy and Cas/Hawke went backwards in their relationship at least by the end of this book there is forward movement again.

Triggers: violence, death

  • I am not connected to any of these characters (Kieran is probably my favorite) and unfortunately this was a chore to get through. I skimmed a lot because I didn’t care what they were doing or what they were talking about. It is over 600 pages long…and not much happened. I was bored but pushed through, which made me realize…I won’t be reading book three.
  • Nothing about Poppy and Casteel gets me excited to read about their relationship struggle. There are a lot of trust issues on Poppy’s part, understandably. As for Cas, he is trying to make amends which involves a lot of sexy time because that’s what they are good for…”pretending” the bad stuff between them didn’t happen. I was annoyed with the pretending – why pretend? I wanted Poppy to just deal with it and see Cas for who he really is. Also, he likes when she’s violent and points it out constantly – I love a good enemies to lovers romance but the characters never usually have to tell each other they are violent and love it, repeatedly. Can Cas just give her heated looks because I’m sure we’ll know what that means when she starts stabbing people. 😂
  • Poppy’s gift…what is so amazing about her knowing everyone’s feelings? The healing part is great but the feelings? What is the point, how does it help anyone, she won’t even use it to gauge Cas’ feelings! I think her healing and fighting skills alone is a good balance and show of strength.

I usually crave an enemies to lovers romance fantasy novel and I’m in the minority here but this one is not it for me. I think the first book was way more enjoyable because of Hawke’s undercover persona and Poppy’s too (she was literally under cover!). In this second book, the both them are pretty much unveiled and honestly…they were both more sexy undercover.😅 So I understand how it’s the middle book, and Poppy is struggling to come to terms with the truths being revealed, but I have no patience for it. The steamy scenes were probably the best parts because at least there was some kind of action going on! I think this would have been less of a struggle to read if the slow and repetitive parts were edited out. It needed to move faster, especially since these characters love violence, okay then let them fight and keep fighting, press the gas, not the breaks. Needless to say, I’m not going to finish the series – the next book is 625 pages and I can’t deal with Cas telling Poppy again that she turns him on when she’s violent. We know, Cas, we know. I do want to find out about Kieran, but I’ll read the spoiler reviews for that. 😜

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, kindle unlimited, paranormal, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Year of the Chameleon | Shadowspell Academy 5 | Book Review

My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Title: Year of the Chameleon (Shadowspell Academy, #5)

Author: Shannon Mayer

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 314

Publication Date: 3/30/21

Publisher: Hijinks Ink Publishing

Categories: Series, Young Adult, Academy, Romance, Urban Fantasy

You Don’t Choose The Academy. The Academy Chooses You.

The Shadowkiller is back. 

And he is hunting me down like a dog in the streets of New York City using every tool and ally he has—including people I once trusted.

I have never been so alone in my life, and yet if I turn to my friends that puts a target on their backs too. Which means I have to keep running.

So, I do what I know, and I set myself to finding the trail of breadcrumbs that will lead me to the one who is still pulling the strings.

Frost. A Chameleon just like me. Just like the Shadowkiller. Worse, she’s seeking out my friends to pick them off, one by one. To drain their lives in order to feed hers.

To stop her, I have to find her—a task easier said than done in a city this size. 

What I don’t expect to find is a truth that this world and its secrets run far deeper, and far darker than I could have ever suspected. 

But is any of that going to stop me?

Not a chance.

  • It’s a quick read and continues right where book #4 left off. Wild is now with Nicholas and Ash but she’s trying to get away from them.
  • This time, we get different perspectives from her crew, especially Wally the Necromancer. I love that Wally is part of Wild’s crew because she needs more girls around her. Yay for the positive women friendships. The rest of the guys are awesome as well.
  • We get to learn more about the Shadowkiller and the few Chameleons that exists.
  • I feel like this could’ve been added to book number 4 because it was such a quick read and there were some things I thought was a bit repetitive, like when it came to Ethan. Will there be enough time in the next book to tie up all the loose ends about the Shadowkiller? I don’t know.
  • Also, does Wild really need to think about her feelings about Rory, Ethan and Colt right now when so much things are going down? Haha…I know she put it behind her, and put the mission first but still, it came up way too much for me.
  • Something feels missing and I just realized that the first three books in the series was co-written with another author, K.F. Breene. No wonder these last two books felt like something was missing, and that makes a lot of sense.

This one feels rushed and the next book is the last to the series, so it makes me wonder if every loose end will be tied up? I’ll read the next one because I’m already this far invested and they are really short books anyway so we shall see what happens next but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series.

📚~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, New adult, urban fantasy

Wild Lands | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Wild Lands (Savage Lands, #2)

Author: Stacey Marie Brown

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 297

Published Date: 2/9/21

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Categories: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Adult, Fae

Brexley has endured starvation and survived torture and even Warwick Farkas, the brutal legend who still haunts her like a ghost, spilling into her thoughts and life. His betrayal made her a prisoner of Killian, the gorgeous Fae Lord of Budapest. 

There her life takes another unforeseen twist, something that will change the fragile alliance between the humans and the fae, and Brexley finds herself in the middle.

As weeks go by, Brexley also discovers Killian isn’t the malicious leader she was told about. As they spend more time together, their relationship begins to shift. However, when an old acquaintance turns up, she is given the chance to escape the sexy fae leader, and her entire world explodes. 

Brexley is thrown into a nefarious web of politics, desire, betrayal, lies, and truths that will shatter her foundation and who she is, what she believes, and who can be trusted. No longer is there a clear line between good and bad.

Hunted by both sides, Brexley is on the run and must untangle all the lies, deceit, and deceptions, before she becomes another victim in the wild lands.

  • Intense. That’s the word that describes this book and series so far. I like that the intensity continued in this second book but I’d say not as much as the first book.
  • We get to meet a bunch of new characters in this book, one of them being Killian, the infamous fae lord. He is the typical gorgeous, deadly male fae but what is it about Brexley that softens him? No one knows what she is or why she draws men to her. When Brex is with Killian she learns more about the fae and the pills she stole off the train from book one. Is she still human enough that she belongs on the other side of the river with Caden and her friends or is she fae? No one knows.
  • Opie and Bitzy are so funny! I’m glad they are there in the story to add some humor! I love them.
  • There is a lot of action as usual in this book and Warwick Farkas brings it with the motorcycle chases and explosions, among other things.
  • Speaking of Warwick and Brex, the chemistry between is undeniable, their interactions get a little kinky with the whole not being together but being able to see one another aspect of their relationship. Honestly I just wished they would just do it already, in person – we know they will end up together, right? Let’s just get the ball rolling! Haha…they can’t even stand each other but we do find out a little more of their beginnings.
  • There are a few twists in this story and I liked it, especially at the end! I look forward to reading book three.
  • Brex gets to kiss a lot of guys in this one, but all I want is a kiss between her and Warwick. Like, come on. I didn’t might the one with Killian, Caden is a big NO, but Warwick is the biggest teaser. Let them give in to one another already! I was wondering at some point if this was a reverse harem kind of story and I hope it’s not, because I’d like Warwick and Brex to be together. I’m not a big fan of reverse harem. A lot of erotic scenes in this one.
  • What is Brex? She has to be fae, right? Brex was bouncing from place to place, seriously this girl is trying to find where she belongs. I hope she does in the end (with Warwick lol).
  • This book was too short and I read it so fast! I’m glad the wait for book three isn’t too long.

Wild Lands took me on a very wild, intense ride and I enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to Dead Lands to see what happens to Brex and if we find out more about her and what she is. And please just have her and Warwick end up together already? They need to stop fighting their connection but I will say it adds to the intensity of the story – they have such a love/hate relationship. Can’t wait for the next book!

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Southern Sun, Northern Star | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance, #3)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/20/21

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Historical Fantasy, Romance, War

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

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired Southern Sun, Northern Star

Reeling from the tragedy that beset her family, Princess Aurelia has joined the resistance in Havenspur, spying on the Northern leaders who were once her allies and determined to stop her uncle’s machinations for war. Meanwhile, her beloved pilot Athan leads his squadron into battle as the Safire wage a losing war abroad and combat growing unrest back home.

When Athan is sent on leave to Havenspur following the death of a comrade, the pair reunite and rekindle their romance until Aurelia uncovers one of Athan’s secrets, a secret that could save countless lives. But exposing it to the right people will cost her Athan’s trust, and this time, their shared memories of love might not be enough to stop the fateful path of destruction that threatens all they’ve fought to defend.

As history unfolds around them, every move they make drives them one step closer to either recreating their parents’ shadowed past or redeeming the alliance that could bring peace.

The breathtaking finale to a legendary series. Part war drama, part romance, Southern Sun, Northern Star is the epic conclusion to the Glass Alliance series.

  • War is horrible and it affects everyone on both sides or every side, in awful ways. This book is the culmination of the war Safire is waging, the precipice where we find out which way the ending will unfold. And it comes with fire, death, and the sheer will to keep going, fighting and surviving. We are at the front lines, we are in the trenches with these characters and it’s grueling.
  • We see Aurelia make the most drastic change of all the characters, she becomes the thing she never thought she could be. The reason I love this series is in most fantasies where a girl turns into a killing machine, there is an evil she is fighting. In this series, it is not so black and white ~ there is so much gray and the killing here is realistic. It is people killing people, not people killing fantastical creatures/people. So Aurelia changing from a sheltered Princess into a killer, saddened me. I was hoping someone would keep their innocence in this war but that’s what war does – it robs the young of their innocence.
  • Athan’s change comes with being a fighter pilot for way too many campaigns. He has killed, shot planes down, it’s become automatic but something has got to give. What gives is his family breaking apart. Athan’s childhood and young adult life has been tragic, but in this final book it takes his tragedy to a new level. Athan could have broken so many times…but he stays strong as best he can, it’s all he can do.
  • All the loose ends are tied up nicely in this conclusion. Secrets are revealed and very hard choices are made. The writing is beautiful consistent from the start to the finish of this trilogy.

Triggers: death, violence, war, PTSD

  • Arrin was the one who I wanted to know more about as the books went on and we do find out more about him which I’m happy for but his story is sad. Everyone’s story broke my heart but I was hoping something could turn around for Arrin.
  • I’m not sure if it was just me, but there were some spots I had to reread because I felt like I missed something, for example, the General’s secret being revealed. It took me awhile to realize how Athan found out, but minor things like that where I should have been paying more close attention, I think it was because I was so emotionally exhausted (the war scenes are gritty), I just missed a few things because I was trying to look for a happy moment and in this book it is rarely there.

This book is the perfect conclusion to the whole Glass Alliance series. What could I expect of a story of two families mired in war? Heartbreak. Despair. But it was so realistic, I was always hoping so hard for the war in the story to end. I love how this series delves into the changes that happen to the characters and shows how war affects everyone involved in it from the front lines, the masterminds and the people bothering not getting their hands dirty. From start to finish this series was written beautifully. It’s definitely a must read if you are into historical fantasy.

✈︎ ~ Yolanda

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

Storm from the East | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Storm from the East (Glass Alliance, #2)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 496

Published Date: 2/11/20

Categories: Historical Fantasy, War, Family, Romance

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West

Part war drama, part romance, Storm from the East is the second novel in Joanna Hathaway’s immersive, upmarket YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye.

War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.

When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.

  • We return to this intriguing historical fantasy world, the second novel in the Glass Alliance series and the stakes are higher. The plane fights are more thrilling as Athan tries to advance in his career as a fighter pilot and impress his father (who is barely impressed by anything he does). Aurelia is trying to stop a war but making more of a mess of things. There are secrets, there are truth bombs, and real bombs, there is romance. There is so much I feel like this should be a movie.
  • The family dynamics of the Dakar’s is fascinating, toxic, riveting and I really need to know what Sinora has on the General! But the siblings in this family has been raised in an unconventional way, all they have known it seems is war – they grew up with a manipulative father and they are left hungry for his love and praise. I feel like we get snippets here and there about each boy, of course we know more about Athan, but Arrin and Kalt, are intriguing – mostly Arrin at this point. Their sister doesn’t get a lot of scenes but she seems interesting as well.
  • Aurelia travels to Resya and learns more about her mother’s background and some shocking truths are revealed. I kept feeling like she means well and thinks she’s a step ahead when really sometimes her involvement just messes things up more. She has a good heart and wants the war to be over because she knows how evil it is, all these lives dead for what? But she’s torn because of her family secrets as well. How does she stop a war and keep her family safe at the same time? It seems impossible.
  • I love how this series is written. Each chapter gets to the point quickly and it moves the story quickly. I really like how this story questions all sides fighting a war, is it ever worth it, who is the more evil one, who will benefit in the end, and will it ever end when vengeance is the motivation? And what is the true cause each side is fighting for?
  • PTSD gets a spotlight in this series and we see Athan really start to go through it. We already know Arrin’s affected by it, but Kalt not so much maybe because he’s on a ship? And then there are the people caught in the crossfire of war who suffer greatly as well.
  • The ending was a shocker and I am definitely going to be reading the arc to book three, ASAP.

Triggers: violence, war atrocities, suicide, PTSD

  • Athan and Aurelia have a few scenes together in this series but for the most part they are not together. There are letters written between them that aren’t sent but we feel the yearning between them.
  • Will war ever end? When will it be enough for General Dakar?

This sequel really keeps the story moving at a clipped pace, almost like we are the ones marching into battle along with everyone else. I felt the tension between the Dakar boys and Athan’s thrills in the plane and fears. I was shocked with Aurelia’s discoveries and Sinora’s actions, and Athan and Aurelia’s love is so bittersweet but will it stand a chance? Can peace be achieved between all sides? I’ll be reading the third book right away to find out!

📚 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, magic, paranormal, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Shadowspell Academy: Year of the Chameleon | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Shadowspell Academy ~ Year of the Chameleon

Author: Shannon Mayer

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 302

Publisher: Hijinks Ink Publishing

Categories: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Academy, Survival, Coming of Age, Cliff Hanger

I’ve made it through the Culling Trials, the test that proved my mettle against every possible challenge.

I assumed that meant things would settle down and I’d start truly learning.

No more danger.

No more death threats.

No more wondering who was out to get me.

Apparently, that was not to be.

I am what this supernatural world calls a Chameleon—a rarity even amongst all these monsters. And rare things are coveted and feared by the most powerful of all—The House Of Wonder.

It’s a good thing I have my crew at my back, because this Academy?

It’s about to get seriously ugly.

Which means this farm girl is ready to play by only one set of rules.

Her own.

  • I didn’t know there was going to be more to this series, but I am happy there is! Wild is back but this time she knows she’s a Chameleon, someone who exhibits all the powers of each House.
  • It starts off right away with something happening to all the Houses so they are holed up at House of Wonder, it’s where the mages rule. There is a mystery to figure out – what is going on with the Houses being attacked except for Wonder? Or are they wrong and something happened to Wonder as well?
  • Wild is always a fun character – she has her own crew of misfits from each House. She’s outspoken and brave. She holds her own even when getting her butt kicked in training but that’s what makes her a cool person, Wild doesn’t give up.
  • Since Wild is a teen surrounded by some hot guys at the moment, yes there are options – and her options are wide open in this one! She can’t seem to figure out her feelings for certain guys, but there are other things to focus on at the moment like the Shadowkiller roaming around somewhere, and the attack on the houses.
  • It’s a very quick read and a great book to just lose yourself in – pure escape!
  • Like I mentioned, Wild can’t seem to figure out her feelings with these cute boys around her. It’s not quite a love triangle – we shall see what happens with that situation.
  • The ending is a cliff hanger but the next book comes out soon, in 3 weeks actually, which is great – I love when the wait isn’t too long!
  • Also the ending switches to Wally’s POV! She is Wild’s best friend and a Necromancer, something happens at the end where it seems that Wally will have to take over the leadership role, which is exciting. Can’t wait to see her shine.

Shannon Mayer does Academy books very well – it has action, a little flirtation and romance here and there, a strong heroine who has all the special powers but she learns them, fails at her gifts too but never gives up. There is drama, humor, heartfelt friendship and in this one, some visits from ghosts in Wild’s life. I look forward to seeing what happens next!

🥰 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, historical fiction, magic, New adult, paranormal, romance

From Ash and Blood | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: From Blood and Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Format: ebook (owned)

Pages: 634

Publication Date: 3/30/20

Categories: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

I finally read this book that has been sitting on my ebook shelf since last year! Lately I’ve been seeing it everywhere on blogs and instagram so I finally read it and here are my thoughts:

  • I love me a good paranormal story with vampire/werewolf lore. It’s a classic tale, lots of forbidden love stories can come from it and it’s dark with all the danger and blood sucking. So this was an intriguing concept – a Maiden, that’s Poppy, is waiting to Ascend. To heaven? Nah, nope. For awhile it’s a mystery what these Ascended people are. We just know as a Maiden, Poppy is to be preserved, to be kept worthy of her role as a Maiden, but that life is like being a cloistered nun. So Poppy does what she can and escapes once in awhile to experience life outside the Duke’s home.
  • Poppy has a good crew around her, Tawny her maid/friend who I adore. Vikter her guard/who is like a father to her. And Rylan who dies protecting her. Then the hottest new guard steps in to be her royal guard and things get spicy.
  • The spice? The new guard Hawke is so confident, so charming, so handsome and attractive. He’s also a solid and talented protector who is dedicated to protecting Poppy. The attraction is there and things happen between them, sexy, naughty things. It’s clear they can’t resist each other.
  • I think my favorite part of the book was the fighting scenes! I like the action, it is thrilling. I love that Poppy can kick butt under that veil, thank goodness Vikter taught her well! And when she rages, watch out!
  • Triggers: abuse, kidnapping, violence
  • The author lays down ground work for the world building in the beginning of the story but it felt like a slow build. I remember picking this up in 2020 and putting it down after three chapter. It wasn’t catching my attention but with all the hype about it right now, I decided to give it another shot. There working for me for some reason, maybe due to the info dump?
  • There was a bunch of repetitive use of words…intriguing, inappropriate and Hawke being turned on by Poppy’s violence repeatedly.
  • Now here’s where most of my conflict with the book is ~ it’s with Hawke. And I usually love the alpha bad boys and Hawke in the second half of this book did not do it for me. He went from likable to me wishing Poppy would find a way to escape him 😏. But she is hooked on him and he knows it. It kind of grates on me how he likes to remind her of that fact even when he is the one who has been betraying her all this time. Poppy went from one prison, being the Maiden to falling for Hawke who is controlling her future as well? 🤦🏻‍♀️

I did enjoy Hawke and Poppy’s banter in the beginning, it was actually turning out to be a romance that had potential to be something great. I also found Poppy’s relationship with those she cares about very touching – and I really love that she can fight. I guess I like when she’s violent too, Hawke! Haha! I will be reading the sequel to see what happens and I hope Hawke redeems himself in my eyes. Overall, a fairly entertaining read even though I wasn’t into the male lead.

⚔️ ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, magic, romance, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Wings of Ebony | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Wings of Ebony

Author: J. Elle

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 1/26/21

Categories: Racism, Identity, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Family

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

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

  • Aesthetics ~ Love the cover and the colors are just such a good combination. It perfectly matches the story of Rue and the urban fantasy setting of Wings of Ebony.
  • World Building ~ the story is set in the urban city of Houston but Rue now lives in Ghizon which is this Wakanda-inspired a fantasy hidden island. Ghizon is fascinating because the people there have gray skin and magic. But the mystery is how they were gifted these magic powers. The truth is shocking but the knowledge helps Rue step into her power. As for what happens in Houston, crime is rampant and someone is behind it, when it ties into Ghizon, Rue does everything she can to help stop what is happening. The story is action-packed which moves the story quickly.
  • Family ~ Rue loves her half-sister Tasha, she’s basically all she has left (beside her dad that she hardly knows) . Everything Rue does stems from protecting Tasha. Also, even though Rue’s mom is gone, you can say that how she raised her daughters has made them strong enough to deal with anything that was being thrown at them. I love that they had Ms. Leola though. Also her relationship with her father was strained due to all the secrets,
  • Characters ~ Rue has a strong voice. She is flawed, but brave and unapologetic and wants to do the right thing. I love when she calls out her best friend Bri, when the truth about Ghizon is revealed. Rue is like a superhero queen! I enjoyed the other characters like Bri, Tasha, and Ms. Leola also.
  • There is an insta-love moment in this book, but honestly, I think it’s going to carry on into book two and it works. It comes later in the book and I don’t blame her for the attraction!

This is a fantastic start to an exciting new series. I enjoyed learning about this secret island of Ghizon with it’s magic, technology and gray skinned people. I think Rue is a strong, black female lead who is protective of those she loves, willing to fight hard for what she believes in and is confident in who she is. She is truly a Queen. If you like fast paced urban fantasy that confronts race and social justice themes, then you will definitely like this one!

💜 ~ Yolanda

book review, E-book, fantasy, magic, New adult, romance, Young Adult

A Twist of the Blade | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: A Twist of the Blade (Shadows and Crowns, #2)

Author: S.M. Gaither

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages:

Publication Date: 1/28/21

Categories: Young Adult, New Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Friendship

Mercenary. Survivor. Queen. 

Who is Casia Greythorne?


Still reeling from an unimaginable loss and the revelation of an identity she isn’t sure she wants to embrace, Casia has one plan: Try to control something. Something like the strange magic awakening inside of her. Mastering that magic will take her and her friends on a quest through cursed lands, into the dwellings of old gods, and deep into a southern empire filled with deadly foes and unlikely allies.

Meanwhile, the foundations of the Kethran Empire continue to crumble. The king-emperor clings to his crown with increasingly bloodied hands. Monsters and soldiers alike stalk Casia’s every step, determined not to let her return to claim a throne that is rightfully hers. Still, the greatest threat to her possible rule may not lie in the king-emperor, but in a former captain of his army—a man that she came dangerously close to falling in love with.

Elander Revenmar thought he knew who he was. He had a mission, a plan, a god he was content to serve. Then came Casia. A woman as mysterious as she is dangerous. One he should have stayed away from, and whose life he never should have saved.

Because salvation always comes with a cost. 

And some debts can only be paid for in blood. 
  • World Building ~ I really enjoy the story about the Gods and their revenge on humans. Cas was in Oblivion at the ending of book one but she doesn’t stay long. She needs to find her friends and stop her brother Varen from world domination. So Cas picks herself up, her broken-hearted, weakened, lost self and puts one foot in front of the other and keeps moving forward. We get to visit a different kingdom in this book which is great because Cas needs help, so she goes and seeks it out.
  • Characters ~ Cas is resilient, even when she thinks of giving up, she tries again and again and that’s so inspiring. And I love her friends, her support group that sticks by her no matter what. There were many times when the story was emotional because of what was happening to her friends.
  • Romance ~ or what is left of it…it is “complicated” as Elander likes to say. This is a story of past and present, reincarnation, a second chance, but it gets more complicated for Elander and Cas the more the truths are revealed.
  • Storytelling ~ this just flowed so easily, I read it in one night. I like how nothing is easy in this story between Cas and Elander with their romance or with Cas and Varen and their family ties. But for sure I love when Cas has her friends around her.
  • Not gonna lie, I wanted more of Elander and Cas together ~ I love them. But he kept having to disappear, he had his reasons though.

This story had action, good story telling, great world building, an inspiring main character and a complicated romance that just makes me hope so hard that Cas and Elander have a happily ever after. I look forward to reading book three which can’t come soon enough!

⚔️ ~ Yolanda