The One Where I Really Liked The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis #BookReview #YA #Retelling #EdgarAllanPoe #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.

Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things.

Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.

But she’ll have to.

Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.


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

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“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” -THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO By Edgar Allan Poe – Published 1847

That quote is not from the book itself, though there is one very similar which I loved, but from the original short story this story sprung from, The Cask of Amontillado. I had never read that short story to be honest with you, but after finishing The Initial Insult I just had to find it and see how they compare. Edgar Allen Poe is quite macabre, and Mindy McGinnis manages to stay true to the short story while giving it a second life. Mindy McGinnis adds background, texture, contemporary grit into this dark tale 🖤💀

The Initial Insult gives us concrete reasons as to why Tress is angry enough to want to bury her ex best friend behind a wall of bricks…

“I must not only punish but punish with impunity.” -THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO By Edgar Allan Poe – Published 1847

… and she could have lived with the “injuries” Felicity did upon her, with or without forethought, but it was until Felicity took the very last thing connecting Tress to her past life, her parents, that Tress decided enough was enough. She was getting answers, or someone would die as she tried.

I do like the story and the many stories told within the overall narrative. As Tress and Felicity hash out their problems we get to see stories from their past from both POVs; giving us a lot of prespective. Felicity might have not meant to hurt Tress, but she keeps on doing it again and again–by being a follower, by not standing up for her, by keeping the truth to herself. Not every hurt that Tress has had in her life connects directly to Felicity, but it sure feels like it when you see the story through her eyes. What’s even more screwed up is that these two young women really do sort of love each other, but just can’t find a way to fix the broken bridge between them. Maybe only blood can very well do that.

It isn’t a pretty story–there is a lot to dislike about these two characters. Felicity can be quite a follower, to the point where she knows bad stuff is being done around her, by her friends, and she is aware of it, but doesn’t have the backbone to stand up for herself. I blame this on her mother, who has taught her to hide her true self behind pleasantries and be as fake as possible in order to fit in. Her mother tells her to hide her seizures because, and I quote, “no one would want to marry her.”–SHE SAYS THIS TO HER AS A YOUNG CHILD… yeah, not the best mother. On top of her seizures, Felicity is also dealing with a bunch of trauma from the night Tress’ parent’s disappeared. Doesn’t excuse her shitty behavior, but it puts it into perspective.

Tress on the other hand was dealt a really bad hand–after her parent’s disappeared she is carted off to live with Cecil, who is technically a grandfather in name only. He is neglectful, emotionally abusive, a drunk, good for nothing. Tress was stripped of every thing she ever had, love, comfort, security, basically overnight, and the worst part is she doesn’t even know what ended up happening to her parents… but she thinks she knows who might… and she has nothing to loose.

There is also a lot of other side characters who are not completely bad (Hugh, the football player who is a nice guy who acts like a bad guy), legit good characters (Brynn, the volleyball star, and only black student in this small backwards town in which your last name has more value than even your bank account), and others whose jury is still out. My main drawback from the story is that while I understand the build up that was needed, and the payoff was great in the end, it does feel like it can drag along, specially since the only way you see any story progression is from the scenes told in the past, while in the present only hours pass along.

I am so very excited for the next book in this duology!! I want to pre order it right away 😀 I can’t wait to find out what happens next with these two ex-friends.

PS; SUPER COOL panther in the story. Loved how the panther’s inner thought’s were portrayed, as if the cat could see the past through the blood . Kind of think this is going to play a big role in the sequel, maybe the panther will tell us the secrets of what actually happened to Tress’ parents.

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

The One Where I Really Liked Curse of the Divine (Ink in The Blood #2) by Kim Smejkal #BookReview #YA #DarkMagic #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Return to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.

Celia Sand faced Diavala and won, using ink magic to destroy the corrupt religion of Profeta that tormented her for a decade. But winning came with a cost. Now Celia is plagued with guilt over her role in the death of her best friend. When she discovers that Diavala is still very much alive and threatening Griffin, the now-infamous plague doctor, Celia is desperate not to lose another person she loves to the deity’s wrath.

The key to destroying Diavala may lie with Halycon Ronnea, the only other person to have faced Diavala and survived. But Halcyon is dangerous and has secrets of his own, ones that involve the ink that Celia has come to hate. Forced to choose between the ink and Diavala, Celia will do whatever it takes to save Griffin—even if it means making a deal with the devil himself.


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

If you like magically macabre books, then this duology is for you 🖤

Curse of the divine picks up right where Ink in the Blood left us. Celia and co. brought down the Profeta Religion, freeing a to of people who might have otherwise not ever known they had been manipulated. This of course came at a great cost to Celia, who lost the most important person in her life. To add insult unto injury Diavala did not die, she instead hitched a ride with the nearest available body which so happens to be Celia’s Plague Doctor. Together, Celia and Griffin will set off to get rid of Diavala once and for all with the help of the only “saint” who managed to survive Diavala’s touch; Halycon Ronnea.

I love how creative Kim Smejkal is. She ventures out to create her own world full of her own rules and pretty much nails it. I remember really liking Ink in the Blood when it came out last year, and not knowing how the sequel would hold up. Let me tell you, it holds up in an extravagant way. I might even like it more than the first book. You get Diavala in a more close and personal scenario, giving her story texture and even making you sympathize with the she devil. After all, she wasn’t born an immortal being… someone made her this way. Celia also walks the line between the good guy and the less than stellar girlfriend. She makes mistakes and spends the entire novel with the ghost of her best friend right on her shoulder–she is engulfed in sadness and grief. Pretty realistic portrayal, I am glad her trauma wasn’t brushed off.

Griffin is not a favorite character for me–he is just very dramatic and I’m just not too into that, but he is perfect for Celia. I was glad he was there to guide her through the darkness they both face. We get a lot of background into the Ink; where it comes from, who created it, why they created it… It is all very marvelous and not totally surprising, but the book is all about the journey and not the twist for this reader.

I hope Kim Smejkal gets to publish a lot more books! She can only get better as a writer, and her stories more wonderful.

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

The One Where I Really Liked Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce #BookReview #NA #Thriller #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.


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

“A spark of hope lights inside me.
If I can get on this trip, if I can avoid Crystal and Andy and everyone else for a few months, maybe my life won’t be a living hell. I can start fresh. And in England of all places.”

Such a cute, fun, YA ROM COM 😍

Not gonna lie, I found the beginning of this book to be super annoying, because I found the MC to be so superficial. Her only interest in the beginning is this a hole of a guy, and fitting into her new school. She has tunnel vision throughout the first few chapters. But after she escapes the states and gets to the UK… she still has tunnel vision, but the side characters get her out of her single mindedness and help her grow as a person.

We get to meet this young woman who is scared about her future because she has never really been pushed to ask for more, and is scared to try and get rejected. She loves fairy gardens, unicorns, and new experiences, but has been burned in the past by “friends” when she lets out her true self so she keeps her interests hidden. In her mind, after being burned and made a paraiah, the only thing that can bring her an ounce of cred/respect is to quickly find another guy, a better guy, and show the stupid world that she is over it. Not the best plan, but you get where she is coming from.

Truly, this novel would not have shined without the side characters. I loved them all–Sage, Huan, Dev, and even Frank. Sage is this over achiever who wants to make a difference in the world, but she is not truly the stereotypical shy overachiever, she is just a very focused young woman who knows what she wants and what she has time for. Huan is also a super smart guy who has a passion/talent for beat boxing (and british men). He, along with Ellie, finds himself a british boyfriend, but unlike Ellie, Frank and Huan are truly a cute couple which I was rooting for throughout the novel. Then there is Dev, overachiever who is on track to become a doctor to make his parent’s sacrifice worth it/set an example for his siblings–but Dev’s true passion lies in art history. Dev is funny, charming, geeky (he loves and plays Quidditch), and quickly becomes Elli’s best friend. Thus, ensues the romantic tension that had me at the edge of my seat.

I don’t think I’ve truly read another YA rom-com quite like this. I really really liked it, and I look forward to reading more from Kristy Boyce 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 LOVED The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa #BookReview #YA #Fantasy #FAE #IronFeySeries ☆☆☆☆☆

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You may have heard of me…

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.


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

Julie Kagawa has done it AGAIN.

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I am so giddy, because The Iron Raven was just perfection. We get to go back to the world of the Iron Fey, meet up with all of our favorite characters, explore some old hurts, meet new interesting characters, and FURTHER explore this magical world.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for not sucking exceeding expectations.

🗡️ PUCK was SO much fun to read about! I love that he becomes more than just the jester, or Meghan’s best friend/romance rival to Ash. There is still resentment that Puck has to deal with, but that only makes him human and I appreciated that we get to see him work through his emotions and get to the bottom of them. Puck’s descent into wickedness allows Julie Kagawa to explore not only the good side of Puck, but the way he used to be the feared Robin Goodfellow.

The Iron Raven also works to flesh out the world of the Fey, and showcases Puck’s past. There are stories set in the past that speak to Puck’s evolution from Robin Goodfellow to Puck, and I enjoyed every single one of them. Specially, the one about when Puck met Ash. I am a total Ash fan, but even I can admit this is the story in which Puck shines leaving Ash in the background (as it should be) while still bringing back the old scooby gang. We get to tour the Iron Realm as it stands today (lots of bug contraptions), and even re-visit some old haunts. I love the descriptions of the different Fey and how distinct they are–I like to picture the forgotten as the Heartless from KH, and the Iron Fey (while being superior in every way) still manage to be kind/weird/quirky in true Meghan fashion.

Yeah that’s right, we get to hang out with Meghan again! We also see Ash, Kierran (briefly–he is much less ROMEO in this one and much more badass), and Grimalkin. I also loved the new characters! Nyx, a forgotten who used to protect The Lady, awoken from her slumber, an assassin with a tragic past, and Coaleater, a descendant from Iron Horse who serves to be the tank of the group.

All in all Julie Kagawa managed to create an RPG team out of the group: Puck (the bard), Meghan (the dark mage), Ash (the swordsman), Nix (the assassin), Coaleater (the tank), and Grim… the know it all? He doesn’t fight so he really doesn’t count.

The new baddie is interesting and brings new life unto the world. The characters are a joy to return to, the world is further expanded and fun to explore, Puck is both his worst self and his best self and I enjoyed getting to read about both sides of him. I think we got a winner and I can’t wait for the sequel!

PS; I find it funny this story can still be classified as YA–no explicit scenes-but all the characters are like eternal Fae that got stuck as teenagers somehow. Golden.

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

The One Where I Really Liked The Project by Courtney Summers #BookReview #NA #Thriller #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.


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

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I was spellbound by this book. The moment I picked it up I was hooked. It is not my typical read, I like to stick with good old fantasy, but Courtney Summers is a highly acclaimed author and so I wanted to try it out. I am glad I did, this is my first book by her and I’m already kicking myself over not having read Sadie yet. Gonna have to rectify that.

I loved the writing- it is both beautiful and relatable. You get to read from both sister’s POV, Bea set in the past and Lo in the present. Bea is the sister who became part of the Unity Project, as she was almost hypnotized by the project’s charismatic leader Lev Warren. In order to be a part of the project you have to leave all attachments behind, including family. In the present Lo is bitter that her sister abandoned her for what she thinks is a cult, and once there is even the slightest excuse for her to bring the organization down she takes it.

The Project deals with heavy issues in a very realistic way–abuse is definitely one of the main components, manipulation… Lo is a very vulnerable character who hides behind her cynicism–it is very interesting how things ended up and kind of surprising. I was expecting a twist, but at the end the path chosen is the more crunchy in terms of the human condition and the things we will do in order to be loved and accepted.

A lot of the time I honestly didn’t know if The Unity Project was a cult or even bad–the reader has no real insight, and we go in the same ride as Lo in trying to figure our what gives with this organization that seems to have taken Bea away from Lo. Maybe it isn’t the organization at all and it was Bea all along who wanted to stay away, not be responsible for a child at only 19 years old. Maybe Lo has created a reality in her head that just isn’t the truth…and Lo is all about finding the truth. It is genuinely interesting seeing cults from this lense, as you get to see the appeal and why so many people decide to join into this world. Or maybe Courtney Summers can just make anything work with her magic writing. Could be.

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PS; Just going to point this out… THIS IS NOT YA. The MC is 19, her sister is 25. It does not read as YA either–It reads like new adult. New Adult has a bad rep at the moment; as far as I can tell the market is mostly over saturated with heavy romance or erotic novels, which makes it hard to market this kind of book to the adults who like reading YA so The Project is ergo being marketed as YA (also the author has a YA history). It is like saying ACOTAR is YA when we all know it is NA.

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

The One Where I liked Reading The Mask Falling (Bone Season #4) by Samantha Shannon #BookReview #Adult #Fantasy ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.

The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.

As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…


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


I liked it, it just dragged for me a little. At times it felt slow and chock full of description; however it sets up the field for future books as it is the middle book of the series.

A LOT happened–a lot of truths were revealed. A lot of friends/enemies made. Still don’t know what to do about Jaxon, but at least we don’t get as many repetitive “Oh my lovely” phrases. The thing about the characters in The Bone Season series (and I just re-read the entire series in anticipation of The Mask Falling) is that the books feel a lot more plot driven than character driven; I don’t feel a close connection to any of the characters aside from Paige and Warden. If any of them died I wouldn’t bat an eye, but don’t you get your grubby hands on Arcturus or we going to war.

It took me a long time to get through-the book is a beast! A lot of times I felt like we were relying too much on things that have already been done (Paige being captured for example), and a lot of others things seemed too convenient. Paige’s powers fluctuate in effectiveness; She should be a power house but most of the time she still feels like Paige from book one in how her powers aren’t reliable.

The addition of the “spy” network felt weird, but I got used to it. I hope in future novels we branch out into different scenarios–I have no idea what is going to happen in this series that can fill up three more books, but kind of curious to see how it develops.

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

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!