Leon

I earned my reputation among magicians for a reason: one wrong move and you’re dead. Killer, they called me, and killing is what I’m best at.

Except her.

The one I was supposed to take, the one I should have killed – I didn’t.

The cult that once controlled me wants her, and I’m not about to lose my new toy to them.

Rae

I’ve always believed in the supernatural. Hunting for ghosts is my passion, but summoning a demon was never part of the plan. Monsters are roaming the woods, and something ancient – something evil – is waking up and calling my name.

I don’t know who I can trust, or how deep this darkness goes.

All I know is my one shot at survival is the demon stalking me, and he doesn’t just want my body – he wants my soul


Her Soul To Take is a great steamy paranormal romance, and was quite well written. This was another Lauren recommendation, and I’m so glad that I picked it up. It was a fairly quick read overall, and was on KU which made me happy. I originally gave this three stars, but on further thinking I think it’s between a three and four stars for me.

I have always loved paranormal romances and this one was a good one too! It involves summoning a demon and a woman. I really liked Rae as a character. I found her strong and endearing. And sometimes a bit in denial. But I just loved that she felt so empowered. She knows what she wants which is a nice change of pace from some characters who don’t.

Leon was a great demon. I loved his relationship with Rae and the world at large. He was a great character because he was a demon but not necessarily evil, which is a juxtaposition to the humans who are evil. I liked that take on it very much.

The banter between Leon and Rae is great, they have an undeniable chemistry and snark with each other. There are several parts that made me laugh out loud. And this book is SUPER steamy. But it also has a bit of a dark tone to it, so be sure you look at the trigger warnings before you read it.

There are a few side characters who are really awesome as well, and I enjoyed all their introductions in this book. I assume they will be in the later books?

The writing was really good. I found myself becoming absorbed in this world and drawn into it. Laroux crafted a world that is so good. But it is also highly atmospheric. You could get lost in this book. It felt so real – and I liked that about it.

I loved the plot – I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, and if our leading couple would emerge triumphant. Sometimes you’re not sure with these dark romances…anyways, the plot was great. As I mentioned earlier the juxtaposition between good and evil in this book was creative, and I felt drove home the point that what you think is true is not always necessarily true.

I would recommend this book to those who like paranormal romances and are looking for something a little different and well written! 

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…


First off, this book was nothing like I expected it to be; so don’t go in thinking this is a traditional horror book – or mystery – it isn’t. I’ve not read any of this author’s other works, so I was going in a bit blind here. I saw it on NetGalley and it looked interesting, and so I requested it. I think perhaps I might not have been the right audience for this book, or perhaps I just wasn’t reading it at the right time. I definitely didn’t love it the way that other people have. There are some aspects of it that make it stand out – but I do suggest when you finish the book that you read the Author’s Note. I tend to skip those, but I felt that it was important to this book and understanding/resolving the thematic elements of this book.

There are a lot of people who loved this book way more than me, so I feel a bit like the odd one out!

So, first off, I felt that the book presented what happened in an interesting way. There were lots of moments in which you’re shown one POV, only to go back in a later chapter and be shown another. Sometimes all the characters can be a little confusing, but my only advice is to pay close attention. There are lots of little clues spread out through the book that will have you guessing and wondering what is going to happen next.

The characters felt distinct, and Olivia was definitely one of my favorite characters. The writing itself helped distinguish each character from the next.

I’m not sure what to say about this book without talking about spoilers; because once I’ve finished it is hard to go back and think of the rest of the book now knowing the ending.

Overall, I think the book was a good one. I gave it three stars because it was interesting and it was definitely a mystery, but not in the way the summary makes you think. This isn’t like a Stephen King horror or even like a Riley Sager, it reads more as a commentary on the horror genre itself, so bear that in mind when you’re reading this book.

There are some topics this book covers such as child abuse, murder, assault, mental issues, and various other darker topics that some people may find triggering. Just be aware that these are all important aspects of the book, but may make it difficult for some to read.

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her. 


review

I was SO excited for Six Crimson Cranes because I adored her Blood of Stars duology. This was Fairyloot’s July book pick, and the book is absolutely stunning!

I went in with high expectations for this one. I didn’t end up loving this one as much. I did still find it enjoyable, just not to the extent that I liked her other series. This was not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but there were a few parts in it that I didn’t love as much. I knew that this was a retelling, but I don’t think I’ve ever read the original, so I went into this without any preconceived notions about what to expect in regard to the original versus the retelling. That is a benefit to me, and usually works out better.

Things that I really liked about the book: the writing. Lim is a magical writer. She is one of those that seems to write so effortlessly and draw you into a story just through her writing alone. She is supremely talented and this book is no exception. It is just as well written as her first books, and that made for a great reading experience even when I had issues with some parts of the book. A big clap for Lim because she makes books so easy to read.

The first issue that I had was the pacing. The pacing in this book I struggled with. I don’t know why, but I felt it was slow at times and dragged the story down a little bit. It wasn’t horrendous but I did struggle with that. It just didn’t work for me. I felt that some of the sections were more drawn out than they needed to be which made the experience a little difficult.

The plot was good though! I liked the plot for the most part, and the further we got in, the more intricate it became. We find little teasers that lead us to the end of the book (which I thought was a standalone…it is not) and the ending! The ending was very amazing and not at all what I expected to happen.

Shiori was a nice character, but at times I struggled with her. The other issue was that the idea of no talking and the lack of dialogue made her have a lot of inner thoughts, and some of it was frustrating for me. I think the idea was cool, but the execution of it didn’t really work for me. I think this tied in with the pacing, so I believe they end up being one in the same. I like a bit of dialogue, and I just felt like I struggled with it in this book.

I loved the relationships in this book, as always I really enjoyed how Shiori interacted with her family, and the slow build romance was nice as well.

Overall, I think this was a good book and I enjoyed it! I’ll pick up the sequel at some point for sure.

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart

review

How does one rate this book? Honestly, I am struggling with it. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Between the gorgeous cover and the description I thought it was going to be a shoo in for a top five book of the year. I should know better though – and I’m going to write this review a bit differently because I feel that I can’t divide it up into the sections I normally do. Instead I’m going to divide it up by beginning, middle and end for this review. And I had opinions on all three parts. To sum it up: each part had a different rating for me.

The beginning, or I should say, the part I had the issue with

Yeah, so in short. The beginning. I feel like parts of the beginning were totally unnecessary to the story overall. I don’t mind a slow start, and it wasn’t even that slow. We find Brie in the middle of a heist. All well and good, but then something else happens and I feel the pace got thrown off. I know the beginning is setting up the rest of the book for what happens next, but I felt it should have been much more concise. Her sister, Jas, being stolen. I know Ryan was trying to set up the sister’s relationship and their friendship with Sebastian, but I felt those parts were drawn out. Honestly, the beginning was an unfortunate two stars for me. I almost gave up, but I decided to push through to the middle. I told myself if I didn’t like the middle then I would DNF and just be disappointed. Honestly, I have almost nothing to say about the beginning because it felt…irrelevant to the whole story. So, moving on to the middle part.

the middle part in which it does get better…sort of

So, yes, it did get better in the middle. We find out who the two love interests are. And me, I always go for the bad boy. So Finn it is. Or…is it Bash? Honestly, I don’t know who the truly bad boy is here. Both? Neither? Well, we get the Seelie and Unseelie courts and how Brie must find three lost artifacts to free her sister from the clutches of the evil Unseelie king. Yep – find the three artifacts and overcome the challenge of learning her new magic. Like I said, my interest and the pace picked up in this part. In a way, parts of the plot were “eh” to me. Again, I felt bored at times. Like, Bash’s parts…I wasn’t interested! I found him boring. Which I know I’m not supposed to, but all I wanted to do were skip those parts.

Also the whole marriage thing…interesting. And the bond…interesting. I kept wondering where that was going.

Suffice to say, it held my interest enough that I wanted to continue the book and find out what happened. A solid three star middle. It redeemed itself!

part, the end of the book

Or, in other words, the last fifty pages is where it got really good. I’m a sucker for Finn. I’m Team Finn. Bash can jump off a cliff.

ANYWAYS, like the end was where I was like OH I see why it was said to be like The Cruel Prince. I get it, I get it. Those last pages were what made me LOVE the book. It was a stunning turn of events and had me with my mouth open. (I will admit, I had sort of guessed it, but still…the run up and reveal of secrets was great).

Thus, the last part got four or five stars. I can’t math, so I just said I’m giving it four stars. Close to 3.5, but four because the ending knocked it out of the park.

In case you were wondering as well, I didn’t realize it was a fairytale retelling, but it had moments of what I felt like were a combination of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast woven in.

All in all, I am excited for the sequel.

Title: His Hidden Wife
Series: N/A
Author: Wendy Clarke
Genre:  adult, mystery, thriller
Publisher:  Bookouture
Release Date: February 4, 2021
Format: ARC
Page Count: 320
Source: NetGalley


Goodreads Synopsis

Everyone in town said it was a mercy that she remembered so little. But there are some things Maya has never forgotten: that her mother was beautiful and kind, and she loved Maya very much. It’s what her father Stephen always tells her, about his perfect wife.

Years later, Maya still lives with her father in their cliffside home. Thankful for all the sacrifices he has made for her, she never pushes to find out what happened the night he lost the woman he loved. Even when she hears the whispers in town about him, and what they say he’s done.

But then Stephen introduces Maya to his new girlfriend Amy, and Maya starts to feel uneasy. With her soft dark hair and big blue eyes, Amy looks just like Maya’s mother. The more time they spend together the more Maya notices just how similar they are. And the tune Amy hums whilst cleaning the dishes is the same lullaby Maya’s mother sang to her when she was a little girl…

A thrilling and twisty tale, His Hidden Wife will keep you up all night, desperate to race through to its final conclusion. Readers of Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door and Lisa Jewell will be hooked.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an earc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So, the premise of the book seemed intriguing. It was why I requested it in the first place. However, I just didn’t enjoy the book. It was okay. The writing was good, and there was enough of a mystery to be entertaining. Yet, at the same time, the mystery felt a little disjointed. It was almost as if there was too much going on, and nothing felt really well developed.

The characters too, I didn’t really like. It felt like the book was aiming for unreliable narrators and just missed the mark with this one. It’s a shame, because I think it could have been a really good book.

There were some important points brought up in the book, but in the context of the whole plot…just felt odd and unnecessary, like, they were brought in to add more tension, but instead did nothing.

CW/TW: abuse, domestic abuse, murder, self-harm

Title: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Series: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1
Author:  Roseanne A. Brown
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 420
Source: Owned


Goodreads Synopsis

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death? 


Review

It has taken me a hot minute to compose a review for this book. Not because it was bad, but because of the opposite. It was so good that I was having trouble forming words for the delightfulness of this book. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. I truly enjoy getting lost in a world that is different from our own. Brown brings so many good things to the fantasy genre, and to me, this book is an amazing debut. I was transported to the amazing world that Brown has created and I didn’t want to leave!

The Writing
What can I say other than screaming “I LOVE IT” from the rooftops. When asked to talk about why I like her writing so much, there is no one thing that I can put my finger on. It lingers with you, it makes an impression, and it feels like you can just…breathe it in. I use the word “flows” a lot, and it does flow, but it goes far beyond that. It is magical to read, how the dialogue and prose are woven together…it is stunning and beautiful. I can’t even say anything else because it was so good.

The Pacing
One of my biggest fears in regards to fantasy novels is pacing. Pacing can be done really well or it can be done so poorly it sucks the life out of everything. But when it is done well, like it is here, you become engrossed. You aren’t trying to skim sentences and chapters, instead you want to linger in this book, you want to stay forever because it is brilliant. And the pacing for this book is that. Brown does an excellent job of alternating between “downtime” and action. It is suspenseful all the way through.

The Plot
Heck, I’m not even going to talk about the plot much beyond what the synopsis says. The plot is amazing — in fact, I think this is one of the strongest fantasy plots I’ve seen in a while. There is something to be said for a book that has such depth to the plot in more ways than one, and that makes everything relevant or at least work together to keep you guessing. Also, the plot in regards to the characters is amazing. Who doesn’t like enemies dueling it out? (I love it!)

The Characters
Please give me all the characters. We talk about characters who are too strong, who are too weak, who we say are “annoying” and I am guilty of that too. But these characters are endearing and wonderful and lovely. Malik — he is so soft and warm and his relationships with his family rang true and wonderful. Karina as a character is also excellent. She is so strong, but flawed and sweet. It’s the fact these characters are so multifaceted that make them believeable and great. They aren’t static, they leap off the page and you want them to win, because you love them so much.

The Worldbuilding
Again, the worldbuilding for this book is outstanding. I commend Brown on it. I felt that this world was vivid, and that I could actually be there. She took the time to weave moments through that define the world and the book without it becoming too overwhelming.

Overall
If you haven’t figured it out, I loved this book. I am so excited for the sequel because it is absolutely amazing and I am so DESPERATE to find out what happens next.

Author:

Shea Ernshaw

Genre:

Young Adult/paranormal

Pages:

310

Format:

Hardcover

Rating:

   Description:

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.

Continue reading “The Wicked Deep”

Author:

Ava Morgyn

Genre:

Young Adult/paranormal

Pages:

277

Format:

E-Book

Rating:

   Description:

Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara’s morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.

But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.

Continue reading “Resurrection Girls”

 

 
Author:

 

Sara Raasch

 

 

Genre:

 

Fantasy/Young Adult

 

 

Pages:

 

474

 

 

Format:

 

Hardcover

 

 

Rating:

 

 

 

 

 
   Description:

 

Three people — three different stories all twisted together. Lu is a former revolutionary, Vex a former prisoner turned pirate and Ben is a heretic. When a Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks, they are all forced to make choices. Conspiracies arise and truths are revealed…will anyone be left standing at the end?

Continue reading “These Rebel Waves”

Title: Serpent & Dove
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 512
Source: Bought


Goodreads Synopsis

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.


Review

There’s something haunting about a body touched by magic.

And with that opening line, this series draws you in. There have been a lot of people raving about this series, and I admit, the description of it certainly seemed appealing to me. Enemies to friends to lovers? That is usually a SIGN ME UP kind of book. And overall, I’m glad I read the book. I think there were a lot of good things about the book, but I didn’t overwhelmingly love the book as in a five star rating. And there are a couple reasons why. But they’re small.

So this supposedly takes place in a romantic 17th century France. That’s the backdrop for this…except it’s not France France, it’s more like an alternate France. Anyways, that part doesn’t particularly matter in terms of the story. The important parts are the witches and the witch hunters. The church has their very own special section dedicated to hunting witches down and burning them at the stake. Your pretty typical response to witches.

I mean, as far as a plot goes, it isn’t overwhelmingly complicated, and it isn’t boring. I had known going in that there was also the romance aspect to this: that there was a forced marriage. Essentially Lou and Reid are forced to marry to please the Archbishop to get them out of trouble. Neither particularly want to do this, but it benefits them both in some ways. Or so they think. All in all, as a plot I think it was interesting enough to hold my attention. I enjoyed Lou and Reid’s banter for the most part, but there were a couple times I was just “eh” about it. The end reveal was a bit…I wasn’t that enthralled with it. There were a couple twists and turns overall, but I will say I had guessed some of it. In a second reread I appreciated it a bit more.

“I doubt you’d ask such a question if you had. Trousers are infinitely more freeing.”

As a character, I loved Lou. I think she was a great heroine. She was a really fun character that I loved. She was complicated and she was great. I really loved her relationships with the other characters. They were all generally absolutely hilarious on all levels.

Then, we also have a bit of a contradictory message with Reid and Lou’s relationship at parts. There are a few instances when I feel like Mahurin undermined her own message. But overall, I think it was relatively small parts.

I was about to marry a wild animal.

Reid I found boring mostly. I didn’t really enjoy his chapters all that much, I would have much preferred this book to be solely from Lou’s POV, it felt a bit awkward switching back and forth at some points in the book. I know it was to show different perspectives, but I wasn’t totally sold on it. Even in a second read, I like him more, but not enough to totally be ga-ga over him.

I did like Mahurin’s writing style. I think she is a good writer, and I think although the pace was somewhat stilted at some points, a good job was done. Overall, I liked the book, but I didn’t five-star love it. It’s closer to a 4 than a 3 star rating for me. I’d read the next book in the series. I enjoyed reading it and I didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time!