Stardust in Their Veins by. Laura Sebastian| ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Stardust in Their Veins (Castles in Their Bones, #2)

Author: Laura Sebastian

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 576

Publication Date: 2/6/23

Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Series, Political Intrigue

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

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

Immerse yourself in the second book in a fantasy trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Ash Pricess series. The sequel to Castles in Their Bones is the story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown.

Princesses Beatriz and Daphne have lost their older sister, but their mother’s grand scheme of taking the continent of Vesteria is far from complete. With the country of Temarin now under the Empress’s control, only the nations of Cellaria and Friv remain free from her rule. What’s worse, an ominous prophecy has begun to shine through the constellations: the blood of stars and majesty spilled.

Usurped by conniving cousins Nico and Gigi, Beatriz fears for her life, while in icy Friv, Daphne continues her shaky alliance with the rebels even as she struggles to stay a step ahead of them. But when an unlikely ally offers Beatriz a deal, she finds herself back in her mother’s sights.

With enemies around every corner and the stars whispering of betrayal, Daphne and Beatriz can’t trust anyone–least of all each other. If they’ve learned anything, though, it’s that the Empress’s game is constantly changing. And the arrival of surprise visitors from Temarin just might tip the scales in the princesses’ favor . . . if they manage to avoid meeting their sister’s fate before they can make their next move.

Content Warning: kidnapping, poisoning, grief

Stardust in Their Veins is the sequel to Castles in Their Bones, which I read last year and found very unique and intriguing. The story continues in this story filled with political intrigue – this is what I thought about the book:

+ One sister is gone, and two are left. I did love Sophie’s story in book one. I feel like Beatriz is the beauty and Daphne is the brains but Sophie was the heart between the three of them. So I was sad she wasn’t in this story but I think it was time to get to know Daphne much better. There is more time in this book to get to know both sisters actually and surprisingly the stories adds a third voice, Violie.

+ There is a lot of political intrigue going on in this story because of the different kingdoms and how Daphne’s mother wants to rule them all. The remaining daughters now realize they need to team up and take their mother down – but what will it take?

+ I liked Beatriz’ story in this sequel because we get a better idea about how they were created and the whole magic about the stars and constellations. I’m curious to see how Beatriz’ power helps or hinders their mission in the next book. Daphne was never my favorite because I felt she was the last one to break from her mom but I think there is a lot of growth in her in this sequel.

~ It took me awhile to get into the story. I think it lags in the middle but starts to pick up a lot closer to the end – and of course it’s another cliffhanger ending.

~ There is no romance in this one. Bairre and Daphne are going through some things and Beatriz and Pas was on the run, plus Pas is with Ambrose. I think there will be more in the next book maybe? But this one had nothing.

~ Did they really have to change the cover style? I feel like the first book and this one do not match at all!

Tropes: sisters trying to take down their evil mother

Why you should read it:

  • you enjoyed the first book in the series
  • I think the magic with the stardust and how the girls were made is very interesting and unique
  • the bond between sisters

Why you might not want to read it:

  • didn’t like the first book

My Thoughts:

The story continues with more political plots to foil and not knowing who to trust. Can Beatriz and Daphne outsmart their own mother? We get more time with Beatriz and Daphne and see their characters grow. I miss Sophie but now there is another voice in the mix, Violie. I’m definitely interested to see how this story ends and I hope there is a bit more romance in the next book as well. Despite the lag in the story in the middle, I still found it entertaining and look forward to book three!

Book Links:

Goodreads

Castles in Their Bones by. Laura Sebastian | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Wildblood by. Lauren Blackwood | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Wildblood

Author: Lauren Blackwood

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 2/7/23

Publisher: Wednesday Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tropes: found family

Why you should read it:

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

Why you might not want to read it:

  • insta-love

My Thoughts:

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

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

One Dark Window by. Rachel Gillig | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: One Dark Window (#1)

Author: Rachel Gillig

Format: ebook (own)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 9/27/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Gothic, Young Adult/New Adult

Elspeth needs a monster. The monster might be her.

Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.

But nothing comes for free, especially magic.

When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.

Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.

Content Warning: violence, mentions of children murdered

I have finally read this book and what a book it is! Here’s what I thought:

+ Elspeth is such an interesting character, especially with a Nightmare in her head – who’s been in her head for 11 years! I loved the both of them together because Elspeth is just trying to live her life hiding all these secrets and here is this voice in her head, annoying her at all times. The Nightmare brought the humor!

+ I love all the gothic, dark, horror vibes of this story. I love the uniqueness of the Providence card, the magic surrounding them, the lore and how they were created. I like the quest of trying to find the remaining cards, the riddles and rhymes are fun and I don’t usually like possession unless it’s done right, and I think this one is done great!

+ The romance is fun, maybe a little insta-love, but I love it anyway. Ravyn is the captain of king’s guard, and Elspeth is the daughter of the former captain. The two are mistrustful of one another until they decide to work together and from there the sparks fly between them. There is a steamy scene but it’s not descriptive at all and over and done with quickly.

~ The only issue I had was it took me a bit too long in the beginning to figure out how the cards work. But once I pushed through and the story went on, it made more sense. I think it’s a cool magic system, especially with the lore tied into it.

Why you should read it:

  • the enemies to lovers romance, fake courting
  • the magic system, the lore, the story and the monster
  • the dark, gothic vibes

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into dark reads

My Thoughts:

This one is deliciously good especially if you like the dark, gothic stories! I’m eagerly looking forward to reading book two!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Stolen Heir by. Holly Black | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Stolen Heir (#1)

Author: Holly Black

Format: hardcover (own)

Pages: 374

Publication Date: 1/3/23

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Faerie, Series, Young Adult

A runaway queen. A reluctant prince. And a quest that may destroy them both.

Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. But in the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. There, she is using an ancient relic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and exact her revenge.

Suren, child queen of the Court of Teeth, and the one person with power over her mother, fled to the human world. There, she lives feral in the woods. Lonely, and still haunted by the merciless torments she endured in the Court of Teeth, she bides her time by releasing mortals from foolish bargains. She believes herself forgotten until the storm hag, Bogdana chases her through the night streets. Suren is saved by none other than Prince Oak, heir to Elfhame, to whom she was once promised in marriage and who she has resented for years.

Now seventeen, Oak is charming, beautiful, and manipulative. He’s on a mission that will lead him into the north, and he wants Suren’s help. But if she agrees, it will mean guarding her heart against the boy she once knew and a prince she cannot trust, as well as confronting all the horrors she thought she left behind.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black returns to the opulent world of Elfhame in the first book in a thrilling new duology, following Jude’s brother Oak, and the changeling queen, Suren.

Content Warning: violence, child abuse, parental neglect, foster parents

Holly Black is my Queen of Faerie. She was the author who made me love the Fae and will always be hands down the one who will make me want to live in their world and yet make me feel terrified to do it. Here’s is what I thought about The Stolen Heir:

+ Wren. Suren gutted me. Her story is not easy. A foster child who is then taken away by her “true” parents but then abused at the hands of them. A girl who only wants a family, to be loved, and not to be hurt and yet she’s surviving and scavenging the world alone, hurt, afraid and her story broke my heart. I wanted to help her and keep her safe and I couldn’t ~ Wren made me so emotional. She is raw and real.

+ Oak has turned into a golden boy with a penchant for violence! He is honey-tongued and Wren doesn’t know if she can trust him. I want to trust him but he is Madoc’s son and Jude’s sister. He and Wren are really fascinating characters. He’s that boy you love because he makes everyone feel amazing, he really is like a golden light. Is it weird he has hooves and antlers? Nope! I think it lent to the pure fantasy of this book, that’s what I expect from Holly Black. If she’s taking us to Faerie, taking us to Faerie and all the strange creatures there! Yes.

+ I did not come to this book looking for Jude and Cardan. I was happy with their series and didn’t see a need for them to appear and I’m glad they didn’t because this is Wren’s story. But I love that this love story is going to be all Wren and Oak. Their relationship is wrought with mistrust and who can blame either of them, especially Wren. I found Oak becoming his own man very fascinating with the way he was raised – so to see how he has turned out is really amazing.

+ I read this slowly over a few days because I was savoring it. The way Holly Black tells a story about faerie is beautiful, dark, lush, addictive and exactly the way I like it. I like the betrayals, I like the mistrust, I like the backstabbing and imperfect characters. All of them is flawed – isn’t that why Jude made such a compelling character? Even Madoc who is all about violence – Oak is trying to save him even though his dad is a murderer hundred times over. I like all the morally gray characters. I like that Wren can break curses, but she’s afraid of power. I like that she runs when she’s afraid but helps people who shouldn’t be kept prisoner. I like that she’s learning to realize she can learn to use her power.

Why you should read it:

  • you love Elfhame and the world Holly Black created
  • you want to see how Oak is, all grown up
  • Wren/Suren’s story

Why you might not want to read it:

  • if you are looking for Jude and Cardan, they are not in this book

My Thoughts:

I didn’t have high expectations going in but I can honestly say if Holly Black is writing something about Faerie, I will love it. I loved it when she first wrote Tithe and she made me aware of this world called Faerie and here I am 20 years later loving her world of Elfhame! I can’t even believe I’ve been reading her books for 20 years. ❤️ I can’t wait for the second book!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Poison Season by. Mara Rutherford | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Title: The Poison Season

Author: Mara Rutherford

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 12/6/22

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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!

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake. Either way, they’re never heard from again.

Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself.

Content Warning:

This one is a DNF for me. I love the cover and I enjoyed some other books from this author but this one just wasn’t doing it for me. Here’s what I thought:

+ Interesting concept, was intrigued about the Forest and mysterious island.

~ I felt no connection to the characters and kept wondering what is happening and wishing the story would move faster.

~ I think it would appeal to teen readers. For me, I just wanted more. I was bored and didn’t want to struggle to finish it.

Tropes: secret island

Why you should read it:

  • you like the author’s other works
  • interesting concept – mysterious island, a poison lake, magic through singing

Why you might not want to read it:

  • too slow and wasn’t keeping my attention

My Thoughts:

I tried many times to finish this book but I think it was clear I was just not interested and it wasn’t for me. I think this will still appeal to young adult fantasy fans though.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 Wilderness of Stars by. Shea Ernshaw | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: A Wilderness of Stars

Author: Shea Ernshaw

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Publication Date: 11/29/22

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Categories: Dystopian, Sci-fi, Romance, Young Adult

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

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

An illness cursing the land forces a teen girl astronomer to venture across the wilderness in search of the stars’ message that will, hopefully, save them all.

If magic lives anywhere, it’s in the stars…

Vega has lived in the valley her whole life—forbidden by her mother to leave the safety of its borders because of the unknown threats waiting for her in the wilds beyond. But after her mother dies, and Vega sees the fabled twin stars in the sky, it’s an omen she can no longer ignore, forcing her to leave the protective boundaries of the valley. But the outside world turns out to be much more terrifying than Vega could have imagined. People are gravely sick—they lose their eyesight and their hearing, just before they lose their lives.

What Vega keeps to herself is that she is the Last Astronomer—a title carried from generation to generation—and she is the only one who carries the knowledge of the stars. Knowledge that could hold the key to the cure. And so when locals spot the tattoo on Vega’s neck in the shape of a constellation—the mark of an astronomer—chaos erupts as the threats her mother warned her about become all too real.

Fearing for her life, Vega is rescued by a girl named Cricket who leads her to Noah, a boy marked by his own mysterious tattoos. On the run from the men who are hunting her, Vega, Cricket, and Noah set out across the plains in search of the cure the stars speak of. But as the lines between friend and protector begin to blur, Vega must decide whether to safeguard the sacred knowledge of the astronomer. Or if she will risk everything to try to save them all.

Content Warning: death or a parent, death, sickness, violence

I’ve read two other books by this author and always loved her atmospheric writing. This book is way different than those books I read and here’s what I thought:

+ Atmospheric writing and mysterious world building. For some reason I thought this took place in the past…far into the past when settlers came to America. Think dirt roads, saloons, tonics, etc…I thought this story was set in the wild west! The story is raw and gritty, the people are sick with consumption and dying and it seems like a tough place to live. So this is a western, dystopian, sci-fi book and I loved the whole mix of it!

+ I say this is sci-fi but only at the ending and I can’t say much without revealing things about the story.

+~ Vega is the chosen one. She holds a secret and she needs to get to her final destination to do something (no one knows what, even the reader). She’s very mysterious and determined to get to where she is going. But because she has been so sheltered and only taught astronomy – she doesn’t know much about surviving in the wild until it’s time for her to go and find the Architect. She frustrated me at times – especially because she was rash in her decisions and because she’s the chosen one, everyone around her dies because of her. I was getting annoyed with that by the ending.

+~ The romance is pretty passionate and insta-love. Vega and Noah are like a fated romance which works for me because they are living in the end of days and desperate times – why not fall in love and kiss a boy before you die, right? I was all for it…but that ending! It saddened me.

~+ I’m all for mystery but 3/4ths into the book I just wanted to know what the heck the Astronomer and Architect needed to do to save everyone. I was over the mystery and wanted information. Everything is so vague until the end. I will say I read this book quick though because I was curious to know what was causing the people to be sick and why Vega was so special. I did like the reveal at the end, I thought that was a cool reveal. I just didn’t like how things ended between Vega and Noah.

Tropes: chosen one, insta-love

Why you should read it:

  • the story is atmospheric and mysterious with a good reveal
  • Vega and Noah falling in love before the world ends

Why you might not want to read it:

  • the mystery takes too long and you might be bored and tired by the time everything is explained
  • Vega is the chosen one and everyone dies around her

My Thoughts:

I had to process my thoughts on this book a lot because when I realized it was a western/dystopian story and the big reveal at the end, the feeling I had was I really enjoyed the book. Then my mind picked apart the things I could have done without like how long the mystery and vague information went on in the book and how Vega got on my nerves because she is the chosen one and protected and everyone is going to die and sacrifice themselves around her. I also loved the ending because of the reveal but I was so sad about Noah…so my feelings are all over the place about this book but I’m glad I read it. Overall, I’m going to say I did enjoy it more than disliked especially the ending when things started to make sense.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Nothing More to Tell by. Karen M. McManus | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Nothing More to Tell

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Author: Karen M. McManus

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 8/29/22

Categories: Young Adult, Thriller, Murder Mystery, Romance, Crime

True crime can leave a false trail.

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favourite teacher. The case was never solved, but she’s sure that the three kids who found Mr. Larkin’s body know more than they’re telling, especially her ex-best friend Tripp Talbot. He’s definitely hiding something.

When Brynn gets an internship working on a popular true-crime show, she decides to investigate what really happened that day in the woods. But the further she dives into the past, the more secrets she finds.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. Now it’s time to uncover the truth . . .

Content Warning: neglectful parent, murder scene description, underage drinking

I’ve read one book from this author and enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to read more so I decided to borrow this one and enjoyed it! Here’s what I thought:

+ The story flows so well and I could not figure who the murderer was yet had all my suspicions! I like many of the twists the story took, it really kept me on my toes and engaged. I read this in one sitting.

+ I like Brynn and Tripp a lot. They used to be friends, until Tripp pushed her away. Brynn moved away and is now back in Sturgis. Clearly Tripp had the biggest crush on her when they were kids, but it’s cute to see her like him now as they are older. I liked them together and though the romance takes a back seat, I did like that it was there because I’m a romance lover.

+ I thought the whole cast was great and had their roles to play. I love Brynn’s younger sister who actually helped Brynn kind of solve this murder mystery.

~ My major issue with the book is the ending. It didn’t seem like a totally shut case for who they suspected the murderer to be. I know the story was pulled in so many directions which left me guessing as to who really committed the crime, but even the ending didn’t give us solid evidence or a confession of the crime. This story may bug me…unless they turn it into a series. I want closure! lol

~ This is supposedly set in a private school and though it mentions the division between elite and dregs…not much comes out of that. It doesn’t show much division between the kids. So I’d say it didn’t really give off those vibes.

Tropes: childhood friends to enemies to lovers

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • kept me on my toes, it’s fun, engaging and entertaining – read it in one sitting
  • Brynn and Tripp’s little romance was cute in the midst of the murder mystery

Why you might not want to read it:

  • ending felt a little anti-climatic, is it going to be a series? 🤔

My Thoughts:

I’m glad I read this one, it kept me on the toes to the very end! I just wish the ending evidence around the supposedly killer was more concrete – it was left a bit open I think. So I’m not sure if there will be a spin off? It would be cool to see Brynn’s sister have her own story because that girl was on it and helping Brynn figure stuff out. Overall, I enjoyed this book!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Cousins | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The River Has Teeth by. Erica Waters | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The River Has Teeth

Format: hard cover (own)

Author: Erica Waters

Pages: 393

Publication Date: 7/26/21

Categories: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Horror, LGBT+, Witches

Natasha’s sister is missing.

Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger.

She’ll do anything to find answers.

Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.

But Della has her own secrets to hide.

Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose.

They are each other’s only hope.

Content Warning: murder scene, violence, drugging someone

I’ve had this book on my shelf since summer and it was time to finally read it for spooky season! I love the book cover and was intrigued by the synopsis. Here is what I thought of the book:

+ I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of the story. I love the witchcraft and history and lore about The Bend and Lloyd family. I was intrigued with it throughout the whole book. I loved the atmosphere of the Bend and the woods, it was definitely creepy at times, especially in the abandoned prison!

+ The story is told between two perspectives. Natasha who is looking for her missing sister and Della, the witch, a recluse of a girl who lives in the woods with her dad. Della is a Lloyd and we learn about the magic and history through her. I felt like the author did a great job highlighting how women are treated if they disappear – she even mentions the difference between white and black women and who gets the most coverage in the news.

+ There is a romance that happens between Natasha and Della and though it doesn’t overtake the story, I thought it worked for this type of suspense and mystery story. It’s not a sweet romance, more like one of desperation and desire because of the heavy emotions both are going through but I like how they do fit together. They are opposites that attract one another. Natasha is headstrong and Della is more of someone who thinks things through.

~ I wasn’t vibing with Natasha’s character. I know she was in a rage and desperate to find her sister, I related to that but she was angry throughout the whole book. So angry she was blinded by it and her actions really weren’t thought out. It’s why Della being with her was a good balance. Natasha could have really lost herself in the anger by the end and transformed into something else but Della pulled her back.

Tropes: opposites attract, rich girl/poor girl

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • creepy, mysterious, great setting and very atmospheric
  • f/f romance, opposites attract
  • loved the lore of the The Bend and the witchcraft

Why you might not want to read it:

  • Natasha’s POV was full of anger, rightly so, but made her be rash about some of her decisions which annoyed me

My Thoughts:

I’m so glad I chose this to read for spooky season! It had the perfect creepy vibes, witchcraft, girls going missing and a possible serial killer on the loose. The Lloyd family has a fascinating history and a strong character in Della. I wish Natasha was just as likable but at times I was annoyed with her character. Overall though an enjoyable and entertaining story and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BLOG TOUR} Silver in the Mist by. Emily Victoria | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Silver in the Mist

Author: Emily Victoria

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 11/1/22

BUY HERE: Bookshop.org | IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Categories: Young Adult, Asexual, LGBT+, Fantasy, Teen Readers

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

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

Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria is a YA fantasy featuring asexual representation that follows a palace spy sent to infiltrate a neighboring kingdom in hopes of returning magic to her dying land.

Eight years ago, everything changed for Devlin: Her country was attacked. Her father was killed. And her mother became the Whisperer of Aris, the head of the spies, retreating into her position away from everyone… even her daughter.

Joining the spy ranks herself, Dev sees her mother only when receiving assignments. She wants more, but she understands the peril their country, Aris, is in. The malevolent magic force of The Mists is swallowing Aris’s edges, their country is vulnerable to another attack from their wealthier neighbor, and the magic casters who protect them from both are burning out.

Dev has known strength and survival her whole life, but with a dangerous new assignment of infiltrating the royal court of their neighbor country Cerena to steal the magic they need, she learns that not all that glitters is weak. And not all stories are true.

Content Warning: violence, strained relationship

I read Emily Victoria’s This Golden Flame and really thought it was creative and had a great asexual main character. Silver in the Mists sounded totally different so I was curious to read it. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ The world building is once again, unique and creative. Two kingdoms are kept apart by a phenomenon called the Mists- in Aris, but called the Hush in Cerena. There is a phenomenon that separates the kingdoms called the Mists (in Aris), and the Hush (in Cerena) – and in these mists are monsters. The magic system is different too, magic casters work with filigree.

+ Devlin is the main character and she is asexual. She’s a spy who is sent to Cerena on a mission to kidnap their most powerful magic caster, Alyse. So she spends more time in Cerena than in her home of Aris but we learn about the conflict and history between the two kingdoms while she is there. I enjoyed all the secondary characters too, especially Milla who helps Devlin complete her mission. Dev does have issues to deal with in regards to her mother, The Whisperer – who is basically her boss. They have a very strained relationship but all Dev wants is her mother’s love and approval and she hopes this mission will bring her both.

+ I like that this book was fast paced and it kept me engaged from beginning to end! I do feel like this will appeal to teen readers more than young adult.

~ Although the world-building is very unique I did wish we had a little more information about the magic system. I just went with everything because the story was moving quickly and I was invested in Dev’s undercover mission. But it would be nice to learn more about the filigrees. Also there was one thing in the story that kept throwing me off and it was the word Layde. Is it pronounced “lady” or “laid”? And it was applied to upperclass citizens I believe but I kept stumbling over how to say it.

Tropes: spy, asexual main character, strained Mother/Daughter relationship

Why you should read it:

  • fast paced story
  • unique world building
  • a spy/undercover story that is entertaining

Why you might not want to read it:

  • more geared towards teen readers

My Thoughts:

It’s rare to find stand alone fantasy books these days but I like what this author is doing with the ones she’s written so far. She has her signature unique world-building and a main character who is asexual. I found Silver in the Mist quite entertaining and feel like it would appeal to teen readers.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BLOG TOUR } This Golden Flame by. Emily Victoria ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author:

Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not wordsmithing, she likes walking her overexcitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store. Her librarian degree has allowed her to work at a library and take home far too many books.

Author Website: https://www.avictoriantale.com/

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale