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 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 One Where I liked Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell #Adult #Romance #Sci-fi #EarlyReviewBUZZ ☆☆☆

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.


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

Like, I love the characters and the romance but couldn’t give two shits about the space politics? That’s my vibe.

But then again, that is what this book is. A space opera romance, with a convoluted plot and uninteresting political drama. The world building was lacking, the sci-fi aspects (like gadgets and entities) were confusing–I still don’t know exactly what a Remnant is– but if you push that all aside there is a shining romance in between the pages.

What Winter’s Orbit has in abundance is inclusion. In the Iskat Empire anybody can feel free to be their authentic self, if you wish for others to know what gender you identify with you need only illustrate it by using the right kind of accessories. Seems superficial, but it works in a pinch. There are high ranking officers who identify as “they” as well.

The characters really breathed life into the book. I loved Prince Kiem, his self deprecation, his genuine drive to do the right thing even if he goes against his family, his willingness to really listen to his partners needs and even learn his culture… Kiem is a national treasure. At the beginning of the novel he was a little sheltered, by his own choice. Politics was not his thing and he seldom paid attention. Instead he volunteered in charities and tried to rehabilitate his image from troublemaker #1. By the end he grows up so much, taking charge and using his charisma for the greater good.

Jainan! T_T oh my goodness. I knew from the first interactions between him and Kiem that something wasn’t right. He seemed too guarded, always trying to anticipate Kiem’s needs in a very fight or flight way, always holding his tongue… He broke my heart. There is a lot of miscommunication between Jainan and Kiem, mainly because Kiem lives in a world where Domestic Violence isn’t a thing (he has no experience with it) and Jainan assumes all royalty will expect the same kind of treatment. Again, it is heartbreaking, and the moment these two finally get close enough to trust in each other what they are really thinking/feeling I shouted HALLELUYAH! It does drag along in some scenes, the same misunderstanding, but it builds in a realistic way.

While I don’t think Winter’s Orbit does a great job in the sci-fi aspect, I do think it shines when it comes to the romance and the respectful way it treats domestic abuse within a queer relationship. I felt close to the characters, both the main ones and the side characters, and wish we could maybe have another novel with Bel (Kiem/Jainan’s aide) as the MC.

The One Where I sort of liked Lore by Alexandra Bracken #YA #GreekMythology #UrbanFantasy ☆☆☆

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees. 


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

I am very conflicted when it comes to LORE. On one hand, it is a neat concept–the old gods are punished by Zeus to run along and be hunted by mortals every 7 years. Once a mortal kills the original god that mortal then takes over that god’s abilities. On the other hand the execution was… so so.

I was not a fan of the entire novel being set in NY–I love NY, for the most part it is a great setting, but in Lore it felt constricting. If it had branched out, maybe to the god’s home turf for example, in order to discover the origin of the Agon and make Athena confront her past transgressions in that way, and maybe even get an actual confrontation with Zeus…

Maybe it shouldn’t have been a stand alone? Perhaps a duology would have served it well. That way not everything would have been so clustered together, you would have gotten some time to fall in love with the characters,etc. A LOT happens, a lot of characters are at play, and maybe they didn’t all get the page time they deserved.

Overall my favorite characters would have to be Lore and Miles–in fact, if this entire novel had been just them facing Lore’s past I would have been fine with it. Miles is the regular best friend to Lore. He is funny, he is brave, and a joy to have on the page. Lore is complicated and conflicted. In her heart she wants to fight, but she also knows that is not the right path. She battles her inner demons/desires on a daily basis, but once presented with the opportunity for revenge from Athena she is hooked.

Athena is seriously fun to read about. She is one of the few original gods left, and feels oh so disgusted to have to go to a mortal for help. Her dialogue is fantastic. She gets confronted by Lore about her past, in one of the best chapters of the entire book, and has to tell her side of the story when it comes to her neglect or even her seemed attack on women (aka Medusa). And I mean, is anybody surprised that the patriarchy would have used her stories to further their agenda? I don’t think so.

I really think Lore should have been bigger, longer. It feels like a story that is being chocked by its limitations. It is a lot of fun, and a lot of interesting things happen, but if it could have been expanded it would have been truly great, and those reveals would have punched us a little harder.

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 Sorta Liked Reading “Ravens” by Kass Morgan, Danielle Paige #BookReview #MatureYA #NewAdultVibes #Witches ☆☆☆

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Kappa Rho Nu isn’t your average sorority. Their parties are notorious. Their fundraisers are known for being Westerly College’s most elaborate affairs. But beneath the veil of Greek life and prestige, the sisters of Kappu Rho Nu share a secret: they’re a coven of witches.

For Vivi Deveraux, being one of Kappa Rho Nu’s Ravens means getting a chance to redefine herself. For Scarlett Winters, a bonafide Raven and daughter of a legacy Raven, pledge this year means living up to her mother’s impossible expectations of becoming Kappa Rho Nu’s next president. Scarlett knows she’d be the perfect candidate — that is, if she didn’t have one human-sized skeleton in her closet…. When Vivi and Scarlett are paired as big and little for initiation, they find themselves sinking into the sinister world of blood oaths and betrayals.


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

I am just not impressed. It is a decent novel, the pace works, the characters are passable if not memorable (other than Scarlet), but the college setting/sorority as a witch coven thing was not used to its fullest potential. It brings nothing new/exciting to the table. We get so hung up on the background mystery of “what did Scarlett DO?” or “Who is going after the witches?!” that the journey from the new witches is barely explored. From one chapter to the next the new witches are able to do ridiculous amounts of things just from memorizing a book of spells in 24 hours. It is a bummer.

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The magic system reminded me so much of Charmed. Witches make things happen by making funky rhymes and sometimes (for the major arcana) getting ingredients for spells. I just, wanted a more subversive experience. I wanted an exploration and melding of college life and the sorority lifestyle-I wanted a 20 somethings read and I feel like The Ravens reads very YA, which makes sense because of the author’s backgrounds but college is about forging into adult territory. The Ravens could have easily been set in an prep school to keep the kids away from their parents with minimal adult supervision and then it would have read a little truer.

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There is romance–it is not great. Vivi (the new recruit/witch) is instantly attracted to Mason, who happens to be Scarlett’s boyfriend (shocker). The relationship between Scarlett and Mason is on the rocks after one summer apart though, so you know that ain’t gonna last. My biggest problem was Mason, why in the seven hells are either of these girls into this guy? He is the worst. He was flirting with Vivi while still in a relationship with Scarlett, but has no issue in kissing Scarlett and doing other things. But Scarlett is his issue because he is going through a phase and Scarlett is really confused as to where this sudden change came from (girl, so was I and I barely knew the guy). He is also so BLAND, which I guess it would make sense for him to be into VIVI.

CHARACTERS! Vivi is a bland piece of toast. I’m sorry, but her character is so not interesting. I kept wanting to skip her parts just so I can read from Scarlett’s POV. On the other hand Scarlett is the f ing best–she tries to work on her relationship but understands that there are things more important than this less than stellar guy, like her standing in the sorority and her sisters. Kick Mason to the nearest moon please. Is she a bit self centered and cares too much about pedigree? YES, but those are flaws that the character can overcome/work around. She has issues with her family putting too much pressure on her; she is a product of her upbringing. It makes her interesting to read! While Vivi’s most interesting story line is her “forbidden” romance with Mason, which as I already stated is not great.

I was just disappointed. The Ravens makes for a quick read, if not a memorable one. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table and doesn’t go too deep into developing the college life setting (other than parties and a VERY short and kind of kiddie “Hell Week”). Maybe I’ll pick up the sequel, but probably not.

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 Sorta Liked Reading “HUSH” by Dylan Harrow

Rating: 3 out of 5.

They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.


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

What starts out as a kind of dystopian novel about a decease then turns into a novel about reality altering magic, with a search for a magical book at the end of it all. My main issue with Hush is it tries to do a lot without fully explaining anything. Where did the ink decease start? When? How? Why is the land that Shea lives in doing so badly? Why is the higher government obsessed with taking away all mentioning, figures, etc., of a supposed “magical” place?

While I thought HUSH was fairly predictable, it still had original aspects. The “Telling” magic was interesting, if not well explained. Nobody that is supposed to be training Shea about Telling is actually explaining to her what it is, origin, what different kind of Tellings you can do. I mean the MC does Telling by way of embroidery (sometimes) which is kind of fascinating, but then it kind of gets forgotten and not discussed until she has an “Eureka!” moment by the very end. From what I could gather a “Telling” is kind of the person’s way to bend reality to fit their purposes. Which is neat, but it has no rules, structure, or limitations, which felt like a way to use it to fit whatever the author needed it to do.

The characters are okay. Shea is a young girl who has spent her life thinking she was cursed by the Ink decease that killed her younger brother. In the beginning of the novel she tries to talk to the bards (those who are trained to do the Telling at will and who come to the towns collecting tithes in exchange for a Telling that might help said town…instead of just doing the Telling to help the town to begin with and help it prosper so they may collect actually good tithes… yeah this system makes no sense to me) about her “curse” but they of course ignore her or just plain tell her to stay away. Then things happen and Shea decides to go after the bards anyways because she needs answers. She is then thrown into a whole other world in which the leader is in search of a secret book that is supposed to solve all of Shea’s problems… but if Shea is only interested in her mother’s murder how does going after a book going to help her? Color me confused as to how easily this leader manipulated her.

The relationships in the novel were complex. Shea gets proposed to by this marshmallow of a guy and she turns him down cause she is not as into him as he is into her (which, neat!) and then Shea of course likes the “dark broody guy” who she makes hundreds of assumptions about before they even spend 20 full minutes together (like, he has been hurt, what lies before the stony exterior, etc.) Overall we don’t spend a great deal of time dealing with romance and I am grateful for that cause it would have been a bit too much. One of the things that seemed like a waste was Shea not forming bonds with the other 6 female guards in the ENTIRE CASTLE. Like she doesn’t seek them out, we don’t even get to know all of them. Kind of sad about the lack of female friendships throughout the book.

Hush was bizarre, but it did move at a good pace. The ideas it had were interesting, but they also weren’t fully explored. The ending left us on a promising note with a full cast of characters and interesting relationships to explore; some of the characters motivations are questionable, as in we got no real glimpse into their change of heart so it felt completely out of the blue, which is just not great character development all around. But if you ignore the glaring lack of character and world development then you may just get lost within the pages.

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