Puddin’ by Julie Murphy – Dumplin’ #2

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

When I first read Dumplin’, I absolutely adored it. It was by far one of my favourite teen books and its focus on body image and body positivity was absolutely fantastic. I was super excited to hear about this novel, which focuses on another character that was featured in Dumplin’ and I’m so glad I got to read an eARC of it! Here are my thoughts:

28269171.jpgSummary (Goodreads): Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.


My Rating: 4 star

Review: If you liked Dumplin’, then you will certainly love this book! It has all of the charm and cuteness of the first book in the series, and a lot of new characters to fall in love with, too!

Like Dumplin’, this novel has a huge focus on body positivity. I think that books that promote love for our body need to be put out there. With so much social media out there, it is easy to feel shame about one’s body or to compare oneself to extreme beauty standards set out by society. Having a book where characters love themselves as they are and aren’t afraid to feel insecure is important for readers out there; it makes you feel less alone and gives you a safe space to feel more positively about yourself. This is one of the things that drew me to Dumplin’ and I’m so glad that it stayed a primary message in this novel.

This novel is also about friendship and identity. We are introduced to a few different characters, all from different backgrounds that have their unique perspectives on the world. I loved how the author managed to incorporate all of these different viewpoints and broaden the reader’s own perspective through them. It really reinforces the idea that there is always more to a person than what meets the eye! I loved how the different characters got to understand one another and form close bonds with each other. It was just so heartwarming to read about it!

This novel was full of cuteness and positivity as these teens maneuvered high school drama and their own internal struggles to become the best versions of themselves. I don’t read many contemporary novels but this is one that I know I will be promoting to everyone I know! I give this book a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

 

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Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope [BLOG TOUR]

I’m so stoked to be a part of the blog tour organized by St. Martin’s Press and the author!

Song of Blood & Stone_cover image.jpgSummary: Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Here is an excerpt from this book:

Jack had found himself in a great many hopeless situations in his life, but this one was the grand champion—a twenty­two­year rec­ord for dire occurrences. He only hoped this wouldn’t be the last occurrence and sent up yet another prayer that he might live to see his twenty­third year. The temperature had dropped precipitously. His spine was as­saulted by the rocky ground on which he lay, but really that was the least of his discomforts. His vision had begun to swim about an hour ago, and so at first he thought the girl looming above him was a mirage. She peered down at his hiding spot behind a cluster of coarse shrubbery, her
head cocked at an angle. Jack went to stand, years of breeding kick­ing in, his muscle memory offended at the idea of not standing in the presence of a lady, but apparently his muscles had forgotten the bullet currently lodged within them. And the girl was Lagrimari— not strictly a lady, but a woman nonetheless—and a beautiful one, he noticed as he squinted into the dying light. Wild, midnight curls floated carelessly around her head, and piercing dark eyes regarded him. Her dress was drab and tattered, but her smooth skin was a
confectioner’s delight. His stomach growled. When was the last time he’d eaten?
Her presence meant he was still on the Lagrimari side of the mountain range bordering the two lands and had yet to cross the other, more powerful barrier keeping him from his home of Elsira: the Mantle. The girl frowned down at him, taking in his bedraggled appear­ance. From his position lying on the ground, he tried his best to smooth his ripped uniform, the green fatigues of the Lagrimari
army. Her confusion was apparent. Jack was obviously Elsiran; aside from his skin tone, the ginger hair and golden honey­colored eyes were a dead giveaway. And yet he wore the uniform of his enemy.
“Please don’t be scared,” he said in Lagrimari. Her brows rose toward her hairline as she scanned his supine and bloodied body. Well, that was rather a ridiculous thing to say. “I only meant that I mean you no harm. I . . .” He struggled with how to explain him­self. There were two possibilities. She could be a nationalist who would turn him in to the squad of soldiers currently combing the mountain for him, perhaps to gain favor with the government, or she could be like so many Lagrimari citizens, beaten down by the war with no real loyalty to their dictator or his thugs. If she was the former, he was already dead, so he took a chance with the truth. “You see, I was undercover, spying from within the Lagrimari army. But now there are men looking for me, they’re not far, but . . .” He paused to take a breath; the effort of speaking was draining. He suspected he had several cracked or broken ribs in addition to the
gunshot wound. His vision swirled again, and the girl turned into two. Two beautiful girls. If these were his last moments before traveling to the World After, then at least he had something pleas­ant to look at. He blinked rapidly and took another strained breath. His mis­sion was not complete; he could not die yet. “Can you help me? Please. I’ve got to get back to Elsira.” She stole an anxious glance skyward before kneeling next to him. Her cool hand moved to his forehead. The simple touch was soothing, and a wave of tension rolled of him. “You must be delirious.” Her voice was rich, deeper than he’d expected. It eased the harsh consonants of the Lagrimari language, for the first time making it sound like something he could imagine being pleasant to listen to. She worked at the remaining buttons of his shirt, pulling the fabric apart to reveal his ruined chest. Her expression was appraising as she viewed the damage, then sat back on her haunches, pensive.
“It probably looks worse than it is,” he said.
“I doubt that.”
Jack’s chuckle sounded deranged to his own ears, so it was no surprise that the girl looked at him askance. He winced—laughing was a bad idea at this point—and struggled for breath again.“The soldiers . . . they’re after me. I have to get back through the Mantle.”
“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.” She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless. He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.” Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to
find shelter.” She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and
began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.
“What is that?”
“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.” He laid his head back on the ground, closing his eyes to savor the ability to breathe deeply again. “A quick rest and I’ll be back on my way. Need to keep moving, though. Need to get back.”
“Back through the Mantle?” Her tone vibrated with skepticism. “And away from the Lagrimari soldiers chasing you?”
“Yes.” Her palm met his forehead again. She thought he was delusional. He wished he was. Wished the last few weeks had been nothing but the imaginings of an impaired mind.

Be sure to check out this book – it is out today! If you like fantasy and clashing kingdoms, then this is a novel worth checking out!

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I was super excited for this novel because it sounded like such an amazingly dark retelling of The Little Mermaid. I’ve always loved this classic tale and I have been hearing raving reviews so I knew I had to give it a go! Here is my review:

34499221Summary (Goodreads): Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


My Rating:  5 star

Review: I cannot praise this novel enough: this was definitely a book worth reading! Everything in this novel was absolutely perfect and I don’t have a single complaint.

The tale is told in alternating voices, one being Lira’s and the other being Elian’s. They are both wonderfully drawn-up characters with so much complexity that it becomes very easy for the reader to connect with them. I love that they both grow and change as the novel continues and their interactions with each other were spectacular. Clearly, they are going to be each other’s love interest so I knew I was going to get romance. But let me tell you, the romance angle is done so very well here! There are no pesky love triangles, no unnecessary drama. Their feelings develop in such a natural and unique way, and I absolutely loved it. I was rooting for them from the beginning!

The writing was just beautiful. The author had some amazing worldbuilding and there was so much attention to detail! Every kingdom had its unique feature and the author made it all memorable with her beautiful descriptions. As I was reading, I could picture everything in my head and it just came alive.

This really was the Little Mermaid reimagined. It started off dark and stayed that way throughout. I could definitely make out the elements that were similar to the classic tale I love but so much of it was made unique that it felt like I was reading a completely different story. Balancing the classic element with the infusion of new components is a tough feat – but the author nailed it.

Clearly, I loved this novel. It is an amazing story with wonderful worldbuilding and memorable characters. If you like retellings or if you like fantasy or stories with pirates and mermaids and sirens and dark elements, then you have GOT to check this book out! I’m giving it a 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I’m going to start with a confession: when I heard about this book I was nervous that it was going to be just hype and not live up to my expectations. NEVER HAVE I BEEN SO HAPPY TO BE WRONG!

35297394Summary (Goodreads): Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


Review: This is hands-down one of my favourite books I’ve read this month.

At first, I was a little confused as to where the story was going to go. The writing style was very elegant but the events seemed a little too teenager-y for my taste. I was worried I wouldn’t like this book….

AND THEN IT ALL CHANGED.

The ghostliness of the story became the forefront and it was just amazing. I loved the atmosphere of this novel, with its haunting imagery and creepy scenes. It delivered on so many fronts. Every chapter began with a small section about the 3 sisters who were responsible for the curse on the island and these excerpts were so intriguing! The entire reading experience was just fantastic.

Even though I had already predicted the biggest twist in the story, I found myself enjoying the story so much that I didn’t care. I didn’t need for there to be that massive surprise when the quality of the storytelling was just so good!

I also quite liked the interactions between the different characters. I didn’t think I would since I’m not a big fan of romance, but it was done very nicely here, and I was able to really connect with the characters. Needless to say, I was pretty emotional when I got to the ending – but that’s when you know you’ve read something amazing!

I honestly cannot say enough about this book because I just loved every minute of it. If you like romance and ghostly encounters and witches and amazing writing, then check out this book! I’m giving it 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Revolt by Tracy Lawson – The Resistance #4

Thank you to the author for giving me an audiobook copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been solicited.

Finally, we have reached the last installment in this series! I know I don’t read a lot of teen dystopian books, but seriously, this was really good! Here’s what I thought about this novel:

Summary (Goodreads): Fugitive Resistance fighter Tommy Bailey has come out of hiding to help rescue Careen Catecher from the clutches of the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense, where she’s been held and interrogated for information about the rebel group. The OCSD is poised to launch the Cerberean Link, a security device that will put all minors under constant surveillance under the guise of protecting them.

Fearful that OCSD director Madalyn Davies’s bid for control won’t stop there, the Resistance puts its own plan in motion to sabotage the Link and oust Madalyn from the directorship. Just when everything seems leveraged in the Resistance’s favor, treachery, lies, and long-held secrets threaten to derail it all.

Will even a life together on the run be impossible for Tommy and Careen? Or will the Resistance’s efforts convince the public to put their fears aside and demand freedom?


Review: What I love about this series is that it is so easy to catch up on events and the plot. The author always creates segues that remind the reader of what happened in the previous books, which really helps make connections stick. It’s not something one sees all the time in a series, but it is definitely appreciated!

I didn’t love this book as much as I did the other books in the series. Mind you, this was still a very good novel. However, it didn’t have as much action as I had hoped and the story was a tad bit predictable.

With that being said, I still really loved the plot. The author gives a really well-rounded picture of the entire scenario. We see how the citizens feel, we see how the politicians think, and we even get to see the divisions within the Resistance itself. It made the story so much more realistic; I could easily envision a situation like this one happening in our world right now and I would feel just as conflicted as some of the characters and people mentioned in the book. That has always been the highlight for me in this series and the author continues to make the story as real as possible in this book.

I also really like the way the characters were developed. It was so easy to connect with them and to understand them. If a character wasn’t as developed in one book, you can be sure that it will happen in one of the other stories. By the end of the series, I felt like I had a good handle on everyone.

Overall, I really liked this entire series. I loved the audiobook experience, and the narrator did a fantastic job! I liked the realistic nature of this dystopian novel and the way the author portrayed realistic interactions between different characters. The plot made sense, and the story ended nicely enough, if a bit predictable. All in all, it gets a solid 4/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I rarely read contemporaries. It’s not that I have anything against them, it’s just that I love reading fantasy, thrillers, and science fiction books so much that I don’t have time for other genres. However, the cover and description for this book intrigued me enough that I wanted to try it. Here is my review:

35297272Summary (Goodreads): For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


Review: I wasn’t expecting to love this novel as much as I did. But yeah, I loved it! I actually could not pull myself away from this book!

I think that the characters in this book were absolutely brilliant. I loved that our protagonists were so different from others, and yet, were easy for the reader to relate to. Their way of thinking isn’t something that is so out of the ordinary, it’s just the way they express themselves that is so unique. I loved how these two got closer to each other and I liked that the author used text messages as the main platform for their communication; any time an author uses a different medium and structures passages from their books in that format, I love it.

This novel didn’t have a super speedy plot. It was definitely a slow burner but that meant there was plenty of time for the relationship to develop between Penny and Sam. I think that in order for the romance, which is the main focus of the story, to develop properly, it needed to take as much time as it did to be successful. So I really didn’t mind the slower plot. And it honestly didn’t feel that slow to me! I chalk it up to the really great writing and the way that the author allows the readers to connect with the different characters; I was too invested to care about how slow the story was moving!

However, there were certain things about this book that weren’t handled as well. The author creates two characters that have a whole bunch of other issues and traumas in their life. Slowly, we find out what these traumatic incidents/issues are … but they don’t get properly addressed or resolved. They are put in there to explain certain aspects of behaviour, but are easily dismissed or “fixed”. This annoyed me a bit because it’s a very unrealistic portrayal of how people cope and change over time. If this had been properly executed, I would probably have given a higher rating. Better yet, why even include those aspects if they don’t play a central role to the story or won’t be addressed properly? The story wouldn’t have suffered without their inclusion, and I really don’t get why so many authors feel the need to introduce traumatic pasts into their characters’ lives.

Despite this last issue, I still really enjoyed this novel. It exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways and it was an engrossing story. I fell for the characters and their romance, so for those reasons, I’m giving this a 4/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Since you all know me and my tendencies to read hyped books, you know why I read this book. No need to give any further commentary than that. So let’s just move on to the review:

19547856Summary (Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


Review: I’m a little scared to write my review. I liked this novel and found it a very fast and good read. But I didn’t love it.

I don’t read many contemporary books, especially not cute ones. This is definitely a cute novel, and it had me smiling quite a lot. Simon is a very sassy character and I love all of the craziness he gets involved in. I absolutely adored the email correspondences because they were so genuine.

But I didn’t like Simon himself. I’m not saying that Simon has to be a perfect character; I love when the authors make their characters flawed. But Simon was a little too obnoxious and mean for me to like at times. I don’t think he was ever a good friend. And that bothered me a lot. The author gives Simon such an amazing support system with his family members and friends. But he is kind of an asshole and he’s also fickle. And every time he did something or said/thought something that wasn’t so nice, it made me distance myself from him. Even once he recognized he was wrong, there wasn’t really any remorse from him, and I think this bothered me more. I mean, if we’re gonna go cutesy, you might as well go all the way and make him a more caring person at the end of it all.

However, I think this novel raises some very important issues regarding sexual orientation. And I think the story handles it very well and presents these ideas to the public in a way that will make everyone understand what it feels like to be something other than heterosexual. Ultimately, this story is upbeat and full of hope and positivity, and I came out of this novel feeling happy. For once, the romance is amazingly realistic and sweet and it made me feel the emotions. To me, these are the things that make this book so great.

I finished this novel with a smile on my face, and with a better understanding about the struggles of the lgbtqia+ community (and everyone can always do with understanding more about this). For those reasons, I’m giving this a 3.5/5 stars, rounded to 4.

Happy reading ~

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

When I heard about this book, I thought it would be really interesting. I’ve been trying to read more books that take place in space because I’ve started really liking space adventures. When I went to borrow this book from the library, I was really confused to find out there were only 60 pages. Then someone told me that this was an excerpt that was released before the book and that the actual story was about 500 pages. I decided to try an audiobook format for this novel because of its length so some of my comments may pertain to the audiobook reading and may differ from those who just read the physical book or ebook. But enough blabbing, here are my thoughts:

31394234Summary (Goodreads): Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.


Review: Alright, well, I’ll be honest here: I did not like this book at all. The authors promised a lot … but I didn’t feel like they delivered. There was just so much that didn’t work with this book!

First of all, THE SUMMARY IS A LIE. Why do I say that? Because it paints a prettier picture of this book than it deserves.

First of all, the story is not at all about a badass group of females. It’s about Androma and her love story. The other girls on the Marauder are barely given a thought. In a story that has tons of different perspectives, only one of the girls is given her time in the spotlight – and her POV literally added nothing to the story. I never got a good sense of the other characters, never witnessed this close connection between them that apparently existed. It was definitely disappointing.

The story is also not that interesting. The entire premise is that Androma and her crew are supposed to rescue someone on behalf of a man who hates Androma and she must work with her enemy/former lover. This whole mission occurs by Chapter 36. The rest of the story is just flashbacks and dithering around as Androma and her lover/enemy work things out.

Did I mention that there are a TON of POVs? Because there are. A TON. And they just make for the most confusing thing in the world. I’m glad that in the audiobook version, they had multiple narrators to try and help keep all of the different perspectives separate but it was still extremely difficult. And again, I had feelings of complete apathy towards all of the characters and POVs. I just didn’t care about any of them.

I also had a problem with Androma’s character. She sucked. She was boring and whiny and not a “bloody baroness” at all. Her persona doesn’t make sense to me at all. She is supposed to relish killing and fighting. And yet, she spends most of her time mourning over the people she kills. She also is supposed to be fierce about her crew … but she obsesses more about her romantic interest. Her character was just not what I was hoping to get.

In the end, this novel just had too many negative factors to it. The plot was boring, the cast of characters had no depth, and the story fell into too many familiar tropes … but the tropes weren’t carried out well enough to justify that. I’m going to have to give this book a 1/5 star rating.

Happy reading ~

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

I received this novel as an advance copy from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

This was one of those books that I was super excited to read. I love anything to do with magic or the supernatural and this novel seemed right up my alley. This book was released in February but I only got to it this month because I am struggling to get through the backlog of egalleys that I have … but at least I finally read it! Here is my review:

35216519Summary (Goodreads): Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.


Review: This novel was not what I was expecting – and I don’t mean this in a good way. Unfortunately, this story just did not work for me.

From the very beginning, I struggled to understand what was going on in the story. I don’t know much about Celtic mythology and know almost nothing about Irish folklore so it was hard for me to just jump right into this story and roll with the punches. I kept hoping that the worldbuilding/explanations would come along, but they weren’t nearly sufficient enough for me to get into the plot.

I also struggled with the writing style in that it felt like the story jumped all over the place. There were random insertions about memories from the past combined with some facts/background on the augurs and the judges, and then some other random event going on. It was hard to piece it all together because it wasn’t conveyed in a very coherent manner.

Even the plot didn’t work for me. I was expecting a story full of danger with creepy forests and hunts. Instead, this was a lot more modern with more of a focus on Wren’s emotional turmoil and budding romantic feelings, neither of which were mentioned in the blurb. I struggled to get through most of the novel, and it was only in the last 100 pages that I actually felt interested in the story (but it was still confusing trying to figure out the significance of everything).

In short, this book let me down. I feel like I would have enjoyed this story a whole lot more if things were better developed and explained, and if the plot had stayed true to the blurb rather than veer off-course into a romance. For those reasons, I’m going to be giving this a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I had previously read The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz and found that I quite enjoyed it, even if it was a genre (romance) that I don’t typically read. The premise for this story seemed more pyschological, which piqued my interest right away; any connection to my undergrad work always makes me excited. I was really happy to get a review copy but I’ve been falling behind on my reading goals so I wasn’t able to get to this book until now …. but better late than never, right? Here is my review:

35083342.jpgSummary (Goodreads): They called themselves “the lucky ones.” They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night–was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.


Review: My feelings for this novel are very confusing, but I’m going to try to work through it here in this review. This was an interesting story but it left me with mixed feelings.

Right away, this novel began with Allison breaking up with her lover. As the breakup is happening, she receives a package from her foster brother, Roland, and she decides to act upon it. Thus begins a journey that defines family, and the lengths one will go to protect it.

The plot has 2 components to it: romance and suspense. I really liked the suspense angle, but the romance was not as great for me. The mystery of this entire novel revolved around Allison trying to figure out what happened that fateful night of the “accident” and who could have done it. As she works to understand this, she realizes there are a whole lot of other secrets that need to be uncovered. I quite liked this part because there were a lot of psychological terms and concepts. It’s nothing too difficult to understand but it was an interesting perspective on a controversial area of psychology. I enjoyed watching Allison piece things together, and I liked that she felt conflicted about the issues raised in the story. It gives the reader some food for thought, and that is always a great thing.

And then comes the romance angle. In the beginning of the novel, we are told that Allison used to be a mistress for a very rich man for 6 years. This fact is reiterated multiple times in the story. Now, I didn’t have a problem with her being a mistress. But I did have a problem with the nature of her relationship with her ex-lover. Throughout the novel, she keeps in touch with this character, and while he does play an important role as an information-finder, their friendliness with each other just felt odd. Even if you are a mistress, even if you knew that it was about sex, it doesn’t negate the fact that you would have feelings for this person and feel bitter about the termination of the relationship. But I saw none of that. It didn’t seem realistically portrayed and so, every time it was brought up, it took me out of the story.

I didn’t mind the new romance that developed but it was a little quick for my taste. The author’s attempts at humor through sex jokes were … well, a little lame. It kind of took away from the development of the new relationship.

I think that the one thing that half-worked and half-didn’t work for me was the ending. I liked most of it, but then there comes a crucial point where Allison has to make a decision about where she is going to go in her future. I don’t necessarily think that the choice she ultimately makes is a bad one … but I wish it had been better developed; the way it was done in the book made it seem like she was too weak to make the other choice.

Overall, this book gave me mixed feelings. On the one hand, the mystery was intriguing and I liked the interesting debate it brought up. But the romance and conclusion were just okay for me. However, I did enjoy the book as a whole. For this reason, I’m giving it a 3/5 stars and would recommend this to fans of the author and to those who like romance and suspense!

Happy reading ~