The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising #2) by Kiersten White #BookReview #YA #ArthurianRetelling #Magic #Chaos ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

“The constant dissonance of being both queen and witch, Guinevere and not-Guinevere, was disorienting. It would be so much simpler to be just one thing.”

We are BACK in Camelot! Dare I say, it is looking better than ever. It could be because of the addition of Sir Lancelot, could be the borderline dirty dreams Guinevere keeps having of Mordred (yes girl, get it), or it could be that there is danger on the horizon due to the big bad having been resurrected at the end of Camelot Rising #1. Any of those are valid.

I loved that Guinevere got to have her own quest this time around. All of her choices are difficult, and unlike Merlin she doesn’t have the foresight to know if what she is doing will eventually damage or help humanity. It is her constant struggle, apart from not really knowing who she is or where she belongs. She wants to belong in Camelot, to fight the good fight, even though her heart is calling her to the forest, the chaos, Mordred…

I’m just going to outright say it–I am team Mordred and not Team Arthur. I just can’t buy into the Guinevere/Arthur pairing. He is so vanilla, and she is fire. He treats her like a friend, like a business partner, and not a lover or someone he has any romantic feelings towards. Even their “romantic” interactions felt awkward.

Aside from the little romance we get with Guinevere, there is a lot more of Tristan and Isolde and Brangien. We get their full story with new developments! I really enjoyed that entire side of the story–I also liked how Kiersten White structured the stories inside the book–kind of like real life fairytales inside the book with their own twists that shed light into different aspects of Arthurian legends (specially when it comes to the woman’s POV versus the male). It gave them a more magical feel than just the characters discussing among themselves what happened. We get a lot of revelations, some more surprising than others, but still I can’t wait for the next book because I NEED ANSWERS.

The ending left us in this sort of cliffhanger, yearning for answers. The first book in the series started off slow, but The Camelot Betrayal lit a fire to the story. I cannot wait for the sequel (and the probably gorgeous cover that will come along with it).

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling #1) by Chloe Neill #BookReview #Adult #AltHistorical #Sea #Magic ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.

Kit Brightling, rescued as a foundling and raised in a home for talented girls, has worked hard to rise through the ranks of the Isles’ Crown Command and become one of the few female captains in Queen Charlotte’s fleet. Her ship is small, but she’s fast–in part because of Kit’s magical affinity to the sea. But the waters become perilous when the queen sends Kit on a special mission with a partner she never asked for.

Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, may be a veteran of the Continental war, but Kit doesn’t know him or his motives–and she’s dealt with one too many members of the Beau Monde. But Kit has her orders, and the queen has commanded they journey to a dangerous pirate quay and rescue a spy who’s been gathering intelligence on the exiled emperor of Gallia.

Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall…


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。


An intriguing start to a brand new series by Chloe Neill full of sailors, captains, strange new magic, the sea, and roguish yet fancy love interests.

Kit Brightly is a clever woman who is the captain of her own ship. She deals with misogyny from other captains with style, and is willing to go to the end of the world for her crew. She also has strong ties to the woman who raised her, along with her six other sisters. The Bright and Breaking Sea is set in an alternate reality in which women seem to have a lot more freedom and respect, though misogyny is not entirely gone. It is also a world full of magic, and Kit is very good at toeing the line between overusing the magic (which leads to catastrophe) and gently manipulating it.

There is a lot being set up in The Bright and Breaking Sea, and if this is like Neill’s other series’ then we are in for the long haul. In TBABS we deal with traitors to the crown, a tyrant who wants his power back, the experimentation of magic (and its consequences), the oppression of the people who are aligned (can somehow feel the magic imbued in the sea, the air, or the earth, and sort of manipulate it), and the beginnings of a slow burn courtship. I think there is a lot to like here.

At some parts the story is a bit slower than I would have liked. I want more chapters were the crew come together as an unlikely family. You do have a lot of adventure at sea, but it is a couple of small missions with not a lot of tension. I was missing that goal at the end of the book. I felt the revelation of the spy was also kind of anticlimactic, as I wasn’t hugely invested in the character that was revealed to be the culprit.

Overall it is a great start to a new series! I look forward to the next installment.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Really Liked Beautiful Wild by Anna Godbersen #BookReview #YA #Historical ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You are invited to set sail on the maiden voyage of the SS Princess of the Pacific in this indulgent historical romance from Anna Godbersen, the New York Times bestselling author of the Luxe series.

Vida Hazzard can see her future: aboard the heralded “Millionaire’s Ship of the West,” she’ll charm the young scion Fitzhugh Farrar, resulting in a proposal of marriage.

But Vida didn’t plan on Fitz’s best friend, Sal, a rough-around-the-edges boy with a talent for getting under her skin. Nor did she anticipate a hurricane dashing their ship to pieces, along with her dreams.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

“The first voyage of the Princess is one of those events that bring all the best people together, for it promises lavish parties and gossip galore.”

You know what, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. You have to be in the right mood to read an Anna Godbersen book. Beautiful Wild was glamorous, far fetched, dramatic, and it dealt with a small kernel of truth about appearances and what matters most in life at the end of the day. Are you living your life for you, or for those around you? Will a life of beautiful glamour be the right path for you, or do you crave the wild? Why not both?

“She was a huntress–her hunting grounds were drawing rooms and polo fields, it was true; but that did not make her any less a huntress.”

Our MC, Vida (which means life in Spanish btw), was the sort of grown girl I love to see in historical sort of setting–improper while still navigating the rules of her society, daring, willing to paint outside the lines. Her life revolves around her society and the expectations her parents place on her to marry well so she may continue to live big. That is one thing I did enjoy about Beautiful Wild, Vida’s parents legit only want what is best for her, and encourage her in her adventures (to a certain point). They are not there to make her miserable. Vida thinks what she wants, and is best for her given the rumors and her parents ultimatum due to the rumors, is to snag the richest boy on the cruise and have him propose to her. She has a bigger than life personality that just attracts people to her, even though she will admit she is not the most beautiful girl. She has charisma, and is willing to go for what she wants. I loved that.

“Which is it? Do you like the fussy dresses, or do they hold you back.” “Have you never felt two contradictory things strongly, truly, and at once?”

Beutiful Wild does not make our MC choose to be only one thing. Vida loves her life, but is also aware of the constraints her society places on her and women in general. She craves adventure and finds it where she feasibly can, in the ballroom. But this cruise is going to push her to extremes, allowing her to get to know herself in the most realest of ways and find out just how capable she can be.

“The glittering world in which Vida had first encountered the grand Mrs. Carlton Farrar was gone–the ocean had swallowed their way of life whole.”

I found Beautiful Wild to be a love letter to Vida. There is romance, of course, but sincerely I didn’t think it was central. Vida’s journey of self discovery was what I loved about Beautiful Wild. The romance was sweet though. You have a love triangle of sorts, both boys representing different aspects of the lives Vida thinks she wants/might actually want. Her decision in the end is courageous (for the time) as she chooses herself. She goes after the adventure she always wanted, and the boy that her heart calls out to adventure alongside her.

I’d totally recommend this read, just know what you are in for. A “Titanic”/”cast away” mix YA book with feminist undertones and a bit of romance to spice things up.

“On this island she could see, from first light to last, that the world was much bigger than she had known.”

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Really Liked A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe #BookReview #YA #Fantasy ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

Thrilling and absorbing. A Golden Fury surprised me with its strong female lead, not so perfect romance, and fresh take on the “hunt” for the philosopher’s stone.

“He’s not a bad man, Thea,” he said. “You saw him at his worst.”
“What better time is there to know a man than at his worst?”

I loved how we get so many deeply flawed characters that weren’t all good, or all bad. Well, except for Dominic who is basically the light for which every other character’s “goodness” gets measured against. Thea, our sharped edged heroine, has an unhealthy relationship with her mother. Her mother raised her to be like her, but is not affectionate. Thea has learned to protect her heart by protecting it behind a wall full of thorns, specially against her mother. Which means Thea often sees the worst in person and has come to expect it. Specially men. Thea is blunt, and obsessed with surpassing her mother’s career by creating the philosopher’s stone herself. You can see where that might create a few issues. We also get an awesome cast of side characters, mostly men, but I would have liked to actually see Thea creating a strong bond with a fellow brilliant woman.

I am not an expert on history, but I think the author nailed the feeling of helplessness when confronted by a Victorian (?) world ruled by men in which women were only expected to be arm candy and bear the children. I, along with Thea, could feel the pressure of not having options and having to depend on others, and it sucked. I am so thankful to be born in the 21st century 🤣

The plot moved along at a good pace overall. Even the parts where I thought the “action”, as it was, slowed down were welcomed as it allowed the reader to take a breath and really sink into Thea’s state of mind. Every single portion of the novel had a hook and kept me glued to the page and interested in the journey. Thea’s voice is strong and distinctive, and basically grabbed my attention from the very first page. I think this was a great debut novel, and I cannot wait to see what else Samantha Cohoe comes out with in the future!!

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Really Liked SPOILER ALERT by Olivia Dade #BookReview #RomCom #Adult ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own. 

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled? They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

A darling rom-com! Full of heart, fantastic writing and commentary on…some show… that disappointed us all… I loved living vicariously through April. Marcus was also a great complicated character that lived covered in various layers, which April had to peel off one by one. Marcus on the other hand had to very carefully navigate the land mines that was April’s emotional state. But together they manage to understand each other and support each other through many misunderstandings (because emotions are HARD and feeling vulnerable is HARDER).

My April is Emma Hunton:

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I loved how from the beginning April decided to just be her best self and F*off what everybody else might think about it. Including internet trolls. April doesn’t stop there however, she also goes on to address fat shaming within her own online fan fic community, letting those she loves and has come to care how sometimes they can hurt her feelings without even knowing. April is super brave, cause the hardest thing is to face those you love and telling them how you really feel about their maybe not even meant to be hurtful comments.

Once she posts her picture online cosplaying one of her favorite characters in the show “Gods of the Gate” she gets a ton of support, but also a ton of backlash because of course internet trolls. Seeing this backlash, and not agreeing with it at all, Marcus, the main star of the show, asks her out on a date. While they are both clear on what the date means for each of them before the date itself, once they meet all bets are off as they find in each other refuge, understanding, and attraction.

My Marcus is either…

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Or

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Marcus literally lives within a character. He spends his days playing the character of Marcus Caster-Rupp, a pretty dumb movie star, while in reality Marcus is anything but. Feeling like he needs to hide his real self, he only manages to connect via his online community in which he posts fan fics about his show (trying to somehow fix the horrible scripts he keeps getting from the show runners). He also finds refuge in his online friend, Unapologetic Lavinia Stan. They have never met in real life, because if the showrunners were to find out Marcus is writing fan fic about the show they could fire him or sue him, or both. So you can just imagine how shocked he was to find out April is his best friend, only he is unable to tell her unless he is wiling to put his entire career on the line.

I loved the incorporation of the “geek” life. Cosplaying, writing fan fic, attending cons! It is all in there. Also the commentary on Game of Thrones Gods of the Gate was spot on and made me laugh quite often. Poor actors in the shows who can’t exactly say what they really think without losing their careers. I am hoping we are getting a “sequel” involving Alex, because that story line didn’t quite finish in this book as after he leaves we don’t really get a conclusion to his issues. I am all in for Alex and his Cupid pegging fan fics 🤣 They made me lol, and his character brought so much sunshine to all the angst. So ready for his book if it is on the works.

This was a great rom com with complicated characters, with seriously sad backgrounds, but has an empowering message. This book actually made me look at my own biases when it comes to my own body, how we have been “programmed” to think one way by our culture, and I just love that it is out there in the world! Representation is truly important 🖤 can’t wait to see what else this author comes out with.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Really Liked The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi #BookReview #YA #Fantasy #The SilveredSerpents ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job. 


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

“Life is cruel, and often without cake.”

This quote may or may not appear on my tombstone. TBD.

I think I liked The Silvered Serpents 5x more than I liked Gilded Wolves, mainly because the quest to find the lost treasure just felt more personal which kept me glued to the pages. There were also so many secrets to unfold!! I dare you not to be excited for the unveiling of the deceit.

And also, I love me some Enrique.

Like, you all can keep super dark emo boi Severini (I know it is Severin). I’ll stick with Enrique. If this story was all about Enrique and Zofia I’d still read this gem of a book, because they are couple goals. They understand each other, care about each other’s opinions, listen to each other…. even though Enrique is going out with Hypnos. Hypnos is interesting. He wants so badly to belong and be a part of the group. He tries too hard; I like that Layla notices this. He wants to be close to Severin but Severin doesn’t give him the time of day due to a slight done when they were kids (for that matter Severin doesn’t confront him about it either which is super frustrating!).

So yeah, Enrique and Sofia are couple goals, but on the other hand Layla and Severini bring the PASSION and romantic tension. Uuuuf, they are fire on the page. I love Layla’s character complexities, she contains multitudes. She is kind, yet confident. She is a baker who at night plays the role of a diva cabaret dancer! How cool is that?

In the Silvered Serpents they are all under such a dark cloud of emotions it is easy to understand why they burrowed into their darker selves. Severini does take it to the next level though by acting like a complete ass and pushing everybody away. It made for an interesting read. Layla on the other hand will not take pity on Severin and doesn’t even tell him she is dying *le gasp* she is not here to advance a male character’s story that is for sure ❤

I am super pumped for the sequel!

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Loved Legendborn by Tracy Deonn #BookReview #YA #Fantasy #Retelling #Legendborn ☆☆☆☆☆

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

I AM IN AWE. THAT WAS INCREDIBLE.

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Like, not gonna lie, the first few chapters everything was a little touch and go for me. It was a bit muddled, confusing, but I sticked with it because I have seen so many good reviews on this book I felt like there was something that I was missing. I am so glad I stuck it out, because this might just be one of my favorite Legend of King Arthur retellings in the history of the world. I never even compared it with my other favorite retelling, Merlin (BBC show). It is just unique, a breath of fresh air with tiny hints of Mortal Instruments/Soul Screamers to give it that nice starting point.

But it is so much more than Mortal Instruments. It is an urban fantasy series set in our time (no pandemic), in a college setting (Bree is a high school girl in the Early College track because she is freaking smart), that actually incorporates some difficult to address topics such as slavery, economical inequality, blatant racism, the difficulties of living in a world that wants to forget the struggles of the black community while our protagonist Bree is continuously being confronted by the echoes of what what done to her ancestors. It is done in a way that is just organic, which in a fantasy setting is kind of unheard of, dealing with this in a real way that is like OUR world and not a make believe world. It is just very well done and I loved it.

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BREE! I love Bree. She is smart, daring, committed, won’t put up with your BS racism and will check her friends if necessary. She loses her mother, and throughout the book we are dealing with this, while also adding to her pain when she realizes that generations of women in her family have died relatively young. She goes on a journey to both try to find out why her mother died (she suspects foul play; someone tried to take her memories away from that night, not realizing that she was immune) and discover why she has the powers she has. She meets Nick because her racist principal decides she has an “attitude” problem and needs guidance. Nick is an all around Rich American Boy who managed to grab Bree’s attention (and mine) within just a few pages with his devil may care smile and teasing. I instantly shipped them, and in the next book I suspect we will get a WHOLE TON of character development from the Nick department (can’t wait). Nick helps Bree infiltrate the Round Table secret society, and together they work to find out what exactly happened to Bree’s mother.

There is definitely a love triangle going on as well; but I won’t mention names because it is spoilery. And, well, this is a legit love triangle where I can see it going either way. The author develops both love interests with such fine details it is HARD to choose, though I may have a favorite…I bought stocks on both ships.

shrugs

There is so much to Legendborn. Fantastic representation for LGBTQ+ that does not feel forced in the least. Rich black community magic system. Smooth writing that makes you flip page after page with no care as to how long you stay up reading (the book is 500+ pages and I am totally okay with this). On some parts there is unavoidable info dumping, but there is a lot of material to go through so it is necessary, and to Tracy Deonn’s credit she makes it painless. THAT ENDING. UUUUUUUUF. You are not ready for this. I was not ready for it (I had my suspicions, and I was partly right but still surprised).

I CANNOT wait for the sequel! Like, top 5 most anticipated books for 2021. BRING IT!

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!