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!

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!

The One Where I LOVED The Nemesis (The Diabolic #3) by S J Kincaid #BookReview #YA #SciFi #SpaceOpera

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the heart-pounding conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Diabolic series, the Empire teeters on the edge of destruction as rumors spread that Nemesis is still alive.

Three years ago, Tyrus Domitrian shocked the galaxy by killing the woman he swore to love forever. The woman for whom he upended the Empire. The woman with whom he wanted to build a new and brighter future.

Now, the once-idealistic heir apparent has become the cruel Emperor Tyrus, wielding his authority with an iron fist, capable of destroying planets with a single word, controlling all technology with a simple thought. He has bent the Grandiloquy to their knees, and none has the power to stand against him.

But there is a muttering among the Excess. They say that Nemesis is not truly gone. They whisper of her shadow spotted in distant star systems. They say that Nemesis lives. That she will rise, and rally the people to topple the man who was once her truest love—and is now her fiercest enemy.


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

This is Nemesis in a nutshell

“We’d vowed to make this galaxy better.
He’d had such beautiful dreams.
How to salvage a dream, when the dreamer himself had been destroyed?”

I am speechless. This book made me legit cry 😭

I need time–ya’ll are not ready for this devastation.

“What good was a fight without something to defend? Even Diabolics needed love to power our hate.”

The Nemesis took a long time to reach us, but by the gods was it worth the wait. The Diabolic was a good, fun read. It had its moments of devastation, but overall you got the feeling that everything would somehow work itself out. In Empress you soon realized that happiness was not something built to last, as S J Kincaid basically ripped our hearts out. The Nemesis? uuuuf. Empress upped the stakes and Nemesis delivered the punch.

All the characters have layers upon layers of complicated histories–Neveni for one; I wanted to literally strangle her on various occasions. She went from a sweet girl/friend, to basically the most hunted terrorist in the galaxy. Talk about a 180! I just couldn’t understand why Nemesis kept forgiving her for everything she did, but then that is the burden of a Diabolic, to love fiercely even when they shouldn’t and to protect those they love even from themselves. I wouldn’t have forgiven her, so Nemesis is a much better person than me. I loved that Anguish is now part of the team! He is a lot of times the voice of reason, and the one who SEES things for what they are. Anguish and Nemesis’ brother/sister relationship was just what was needed in this very dark novel. They were a breath of fresh air, and gave each of them someone outside of a romantic relationship to hold on to.

“For their young Emperor had turned into a terror, a creature of unpredictable moods and merciless whims.”

TYRUS–I feel like anything said about Tyrus would be spoilery; let’s just say he is one of the most interesting characters in the series and he delivers 1000x times in this novel. I do so hate to place a beloved character in the role of a villain, but it is the complicated kind of hate where I love where Kincaid took the story but it hurts to see them in that position.

Oh and Nemesis-I loved that in this book is where we get I think the truest face of Nemesis, not a full Diabolic, not a human, but a blend of both. Which, duh, the title of the novel but it is so true. Nemesis has been struggling with her identity from the first time she had to become Donia, and I think she finally found the balance needed to live her best life. We get to see her suffer a lot, because of Tyrus, a bit because of Anguish. We also get to see her struggle with her love for Donia and how complicated it is since she is the whole reason Nemesis even begun to think she could be more.

I would have loved to see a short novella or something of how the Empire looks thousands of years later. What changes Nemesis and co brought to the galaxy. The novel ends on a perfect note, so it is just curiosity. I am so looking forward to whatever S. J. Kincaid writes next!! I love all her books, including her first series Insignia. She is a master storyteller. She writes the first book in a way that makes the reader fall in love with the world and characters, getting you comfortable, only to pull the rug from under you and deliver sequels which are wonderful and layered and gut wrenching but ultimately smart and human 🖤

PS; For spoilery comments check out the Goodreads review 😉

PPS; I wish the title was just “Nemesis” instead of “The Nemesis”.

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 “Star Daughter” by Shveta Thakrar

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor.


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

I was super into the first part of the book–the family dynamics were interesting, Sheetal had this huge secret she needed to hide from the rest of her family, she also happens to have a kickass best friend and an adorable boyfriend? Score for me! The first 50% of Star Daughter has tension and emotion and it made me want to keep on reading. However the second 50% of the novel, when we trek to the heavens with the other stars, goes by a lot more slowly. It is like we focus so much on the setting that we kind of forget to dig a little deeper into the court itself, the “commoner” stars, and just what the day to day for a star looks like (from Star Daughter it seems the stars just pass the time looking at humans through mirrors and shoving star dust everywhere to try and inspire). Whatever “stakes” we did have get quickly neutralized when we reach the Star Court to the point that I wasn’t worried at all about the father surviving because it was a non issue.

It was interesting how Sheetal’s grandmother acted like a sort of villainess–she is the one that closed the doors between the human and star worlds, after all, keeping Sheetal away from her mother. But we don’t develop her enough to make her three dimensional, her actions are her actions and the rest of the cast just deals with the consequences. It would have been cool if there had been some repercussions to the stars being unable to walk among humans, like they start to waste away or something. But no, they just get really bored.

Also how in the world do you leave the decision of who is going to “rule” the stars court to a group of judges on the Star’s version of “Heaven’s Got Talent”? And yet not really, because the stars don’t have to compete, HUMANS have to compete for them and get “inspired” by the stars–if only each star had their own distinct “inspiration” talent or something but it seems pretty straight forward and like all of them can do the same thing.

Sheetal spends only a couple of days “training” and learning about herself but in reality it felt like an eternity because nothing was really going on. It was kind of a bummer–there was family arguments and this other star who had it out for them, but there was no real tension or emotional connection in it for me. Nevertheless, the setting is gorgeous and I do think Shveta Thakrar is an author to look out for.

PS; Throughout the whole book I kept picturing Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Sheetal ❤

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

The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “Set Fire to the Gods” by Sara Raasch, Kristen Simmons

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.


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

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SO–I really enjoyed the beginning of Set Fire to the Gods. I was into Madoc, in a number of ways, he seemed the right amount of cocky and sweet, with iron fists (figuratively) and a grin to boot. He is undivine–an ordinary among the extraordinary. His brother is an earth bender earth mover thing, and together they scam the SOB “leader” who is trying to take away the money from the poor. Until that same guy comes a knocking and just because he can takes his sister as a servant and tells the boys “come up with x amount of money if you WANT TO BUY HER BACK FROM ME”. I mean, the nerve of this guy. So because Madoc is so good at fighting he got approached by a sort of coach who was like “hey you divine and you fight well, come be trained as a gladiator!” Madoc has no choice but to say “fiiiine” so he can get paid.

Why do they need gladiators? Cause the gods are pricks who keep fighting among themselves and gambling away resources, but instead of fighting in full blown wars (and killing a TON of soldiers) they pick their gladiators and basically have them fight each other. It is a whole event thing, people love it (cause, you know, give them bread and circuses to keep them “happy” and contained).

THEN our girl, ASH, gets in all sorts of trouble cause she interrupts another gladiator’s fight and that’s like a big NO NO–so she is forced to go from being a dancer to being a gladiator (but she was trained by her mom -a gladiator legend- to fight so no biggie, she got this right?) Side note: she hates all the gods and everything they represent. I mean, I can’t blame her.

And so ensues gladiator fights, a conspiracy, and a heavy flirtation between our two MCs. My main complaint about Set Fire to the Gods is that the two MCs don’t really talk truthfully to each other, thus ensuing a ton of misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict. I just, wish they had more scenes together to build the trust. My other unfortunate dislike concerned the bad guys, their evil monologue, and just how obvious it all was? I think if we would have focused a bit more on the gladiator fights and building an actual relationship between the two MCs in which they could work as a team I would have enjoyed this more. As it is, I really liked the bending of the elements, that was awesome. Unlike in ATLAB the fire benders here actually have to have fire nearby in order to bend it, but they can also “store” it in their heart for later use. I loved Madoc–he was just so genuine. I also liked Ash! She was the only one willing to think outside the box and look at the big picture, trying to by pass her prejudices.

So really at the end this book is for me a 2.5 star, I liked it but it has several issues. I may read the next book, but the bad guys need to seriously get some refinement to their character (stop the evil monologue, let our characters figure stuff out for themselves). There are other things that bothered me but they are a bit too spoilery to talk about here. I did really enjoy reading about Madoc and Ash as individuals, so hoping they get a bit more time together to become the team they need to be.

If you are at all interested, the spoilers can be found in my GOODREADS review.

The One Where I loved Shielded by Kaylynn Flanders #BookReview #YA #Fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.


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

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Shielded is YA fantasy done right. I am so happy that the beautiful cover (which I definitely need in my bookshelf) matches the FANTASTIC story inside the pages. I love the characters, their relationships and development, the dialogue, the steady pace, the plot, the romance, and the world building. That’s is 5 stars right there!

The heroine, Jenna, is both strong yet vulnerable. She is an eccentric princess who uses her brain in tough situations and doesn’t take the easy way out. After a lot of bad things happen to her, one right after the other, she still manages to find her strenght within to keep her going. She is also a bookworm, in fact a lot of these characters are and I AM DOWN WITH THIS. We spend the entirerity of the first half of the book with basically only Jenna for company so she needs to be a pretty good character in order to shoulder the novel. We don’t even get to meet the love interest until about 43% into the novel, and then when we do it is full steam ahead! I loved not only Jenna, but the side characters too like the prince of Turia and his entire family.

Some things were a bit convenient and made things a little more painless–the author could have made us suffer a lot more than she did (and she did make us suffer) but I am just grateful she made the decisions she did cause I don’t think my heart could have taken much more hardship.

The romance is…JUST UGH SO GREAT. The characters work well as a team and support each other’s endevours–a team that works well together is bound to make me happy. There is also a case of mistaken identity (well, a couple of cases of that) and it just makes the tension even better cause…

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I love those. They just have this connection that is undeniable, but does not feel forced in the least. Feels completely organic and meant to be ❤

The magic system is interesting. We have magical weapons and artifacts, a lost/hidden library full of treasures and knowledge, the race to uncover magical secrets…It is all very thrilling. The heroine is not well versed in the magic, and this is not a case in which she is totally OP (over powered). She has a decent magic source that she slowly learns how to use to her advantage. The “rules” aren’t many yet, for example I don’t know the limits to the heroine’s ability (what can she do, what can’t she do) but I think, and hope, this is something that will be further explored in the sequel.

WHICH I CAN’T WAIT FOR if you haven’t noticed.

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

The One Where I loved “I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch, Victoria Ying (Illustrator)” an F/F Enemies to Lovers Story

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being the worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other… a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?


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

Oh I loved this so much 😍

Make way for an F/F REAL enemies to lovers story!

I got some SERIOUS Pride and Prejudice vibes from the story–So if that is your jam definitely pick this book up. Privilege,

Iliana hates Rhodes guts for a very real situation that happened between the characters in which Iliana manages to be the hurt party. Ever since then, Iliana hates Rhodes, Rhodes seemingly hates Iliana, but they are stuck in close proximity because of their friend “glue” in the form of Sarah. Sarah has been Iliana’s BFF since they were children, and is Rhodes’ roommate at this fancy conservatory arts school in which they seem to be the only poor scholarship kids.

Iliana fights tooth and nail for everything she has ever had, but she also will trample over people to get there. Rhodes is quiet and reserved which comes off as snobbish and cold–Rhodes inner monologue really hit close to home, as she is anxious and suffering from depression (which is something she shares with Iliana as her online self, Alice). Iliana however believes Rhodes to be full of privilege, which Iliana is too but because of Rhodes economic advantages she is a step up in the privilege department (both characters will come to address this).

“If there were a time on Slash/Spot before I-Kissed-Alice–Alice as I call her, and she calls me Cheshire after my own username–I don’t remember it. There was no life before Slash/Spot, and the rest of it barely mattered before I met Alice.”

In the online world, Alice (Rhodes) and Cheshire (Iliana) have been a team for many months and are in a sort of online relationship. They work on an online comic book together as co creators and basically are as honest with each other as only two strangers on the internet can be. Since they seem to be taking internet security seriously though, they do not divulge specific information that will lead either person to pinpoint who the other one is. Convenient, but safe and only helps to build the tension. I cannot wait for the finished copy to hit the bookstores so I can buy my copy and look at the comic book sections which are ILLUSTRATED and look AMAZING ❤

There are a lot of complicated relationships in this book, not only between Iliana and Rhodes, but also the one between Iliana, Rhodes and Sarah. The girl on girl hate that occurs on this book is not motivated by romantic relationships (kind of), overall I think it is portrayed in a realistic way. Not only is the “hate” necessary for the trope, but it really helps to shine a light on unhealthy relationships and what they can do to your self esteem and mental health. We all have had those relationships that are bad for us that we just don’t see how to quit. There is this other character that then comes along and “works to sabotage the girls” but really I can see where the character is coming from because she was working from a very specific mind set and because of the main characters bad behavior (which gets addressed). In the end, it all has a purpose.

I just love how the story was written, how issues were addressed, and how complicated the relationship issues were. I will definitely be recommending this one to friends and anybody who manages to understand my babbling about how great this story was. 

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

Book Review: The Magnolia Sword

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CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

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