TRUEL1F3 (LIFEL1K3, #3) – Jay Kristoff [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫


From the bestselling co-author of the Illuminae Files comes the thrilling finale in the LIFEL1K3 trilogy — hailed by Marie Lu as “a breathless, action-packed exploration of what humanity really means.”

Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves–and each other–was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war–this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals. But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are.


Huge thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

Jay Kristoff has done it again. I seriously don’t know how he does it, but Kristoff consistently puts out absolute bangers. He is one of my favorite authors. One of the things that I like best about Kristoff’s books is that he includes a quick recap of the previous books in the beginning. This is so helpful when it’s been a long time since reading the previous books. He did this again with TRUEL1F3 and I loved it!

TRUEL1F3 picks up immediately after the events of DEV1AT3. The action starts immediately and does not let up. The entire book is non-stop! And I mean literally NON! STOP! Our rag tag group of characters are constantly getting themselves into all sorts of dangerous situations. TRUEL1F3 is a super exciting, fast-paced read that is jam packed full of fun.

I was so happy to be back with this incredible cast of characters . . . Cricket, the freaks, and my girl LEMON FRESH! Spank my spankables! Lemon is one of my favorite characters ever and she was once again she is totally *brilliful*! Lemon is fierce, sassy, independent, and so much fun. Her point of view chapters are always my favorite. I’m keeping this review spoiler free, but Lemon goes through a horrible trauma in TRUEL1F3. Kristoff did a great job of showing Lemon dealing with the physical and emotional tolls of this. It made Lemon Fresh even more fierce and powerful!

Besides Lemon Fresh, my favorite part of this series is the freaks . . . Diesel and Grimm. The team of freaks grows in TRUEL1F3 and I couldn’t be happier! I would definitely want to be a part of the team.

Of course I have to mention that it’s a Kristoff book . . . so that means I was an emotional wreck multiple times.

One character that I did not like at all . . . Eve. She has been the worst since the second book. I understand she is dealing with an identity crisis and incredible emotional stress, but Eve’s decisions and actions are horrible. One of the overarching themes of TRUEL1F3 is that your actions are what defines the type of person you are. So basically Eve is awful. The ONLY reason I deducted 1/2 star from my review is Eve’s arc/ending. It was too easy and seemed way off base for her story. To keep this spoiler free, I will include what I think would have been a more appropriate ending at the end of my review.

The LIFEL1K3 trilogy is an exciting, fast-paced, and action-packed series. Jay Kristoff creates the most thrilling worlds and captivating characters. TRUEL1F3 is no exception. I flew threw this book and I could not get enough of this incredible story.

TRUEL1F3 will be released June 30th by Knopf Books for Young Readers!


The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1) – Kester Grant [ARC Review]

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.


Huge thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.”

When I saw this tagline and then the GORGEOUS cover of The Court of Miracles I knew I absolutely had to read it. France + Les Misérables + secret underground societies + history + Six of Crows!? Sign me up! I was thrilled to be approved for an eARC of The Court of Miracles.

Overall, I liked The Court of Miracles. Was it amazing? No, but it was a fun story with beautifully descriptive scenes and an intriguing criminal underworld.

My favorite parts of The Court of Miracles were the author’s descriptions and then the actual Miracle Court. This is Kester Grant’s debut novel and I have to say I am very impressed with her writing. The way she described each scene . . . whether it be the gaudy palace or the creepy Halls of the Dead . . . everything was vivid and excellently crafted. I could truly see the scenes playing out in my head.

My other favorite part was the Miracle Court itself. This criminal underground made up of nine guilds was totally captivating. Each guild is overseen by a Lord or Lady who leads their “Wretched Children” in whatever their guild specializes in. It is a fascinating system of politics and court intrigue. I could have spent so much time just exploring each guild!

The Court of Miracles started off with a bang! I was immediately pulled in by the first chapter. It was super intense because we are immediately thrown into this life and death situation in which our main character, Nina, is forced to run for her life. The whole first sequence of Nina joining the Guild of Thieves was so exciting! The plot kept me interested, but I will say that the timeline was somewhat confusing at first. There are several time jumps throughout the book.

Part four of The Court of Miracles is by far the best part. The plot is non-stop and so exciting. I flew through the end of this book!!

I think the main thing that caused me not to love The Court of Miracles was the choppiness of the plot. This was due to two reasons. First, the time jumps. I don’t mind time jumps, but these felt very stop start. That probably doesn’t make sense, but the time jumps felt abrupt and made me feel very disconnected. The second reason why I didn’t love The Court of Miracles was the structure of the plot. Everything was very task oriented. Our protagonist would encounter a problem then immediately solve it and move on to the next problem. It felt like a bunch of mini plots rather than one cohesive plot. It was just . . . weird.

I did like all the Les Misérables aspects. Although dumb me did not catch that Ettie is short for Cosette.

Overall I enjoyed The Court of Miracles. It was a fun story with a beautiful setting. I would love to explore the guilds of the Miracle Court more. The Court of Miracles is set to be a trilogy, but I think this book works as a stand-alone too.

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant will be released on June 2nd, 2020.

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1) – Janella Angeles [ARC Review]


Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️


In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.


Huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

When I saw that Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles was pitched as “Phantom of the Opera” meets “Moulin Rouge” I knew I absolutely had to read it. The synopsis totally pulled me in and intrigued me to see what Where Dreams Descend was all about. The competition aspect actually also made me think of that one Disney Channel Original Movie, Now You See Me!

Where Dreams Descend is an atmospheric, fantasy tale that follows a female magician named Kallia as she competes in a magician competition in the icy city of Glorian. It is a high tension story of magicians, their dark pasts, and a mysterious presence wreaking havoc on the city. 

Unfortunately, Where Dreams Descend fell flat for me. My overall feeling is just … meh. It was ok. I hate when I can’t be super positive about books, but I have to share my honest opinions. 

I’ll start with what I liked . . .

  • The vibe and atmosphere is by far the best part of Where Dreams Descend. The whole story is fantastical with a dark mood. The Dire Woods and the city of Dorian are so captivating and have this air of mystery. Honestly, this was the only thing that kept me invested in the story. 
  • The first chapter/prologue totally pulled me in. I was like ooooh this is going to be sexy and magical! It definitely started off strong. 

Now, onto what I did not enjoy. 

  • First, and perhaps most important, the lack of world building and characterization. Where Dreams Descend starts off strong with an eerie and mysterious setting, but does nothing to build upon it. I feel like I know nothing about this world. We get a little bit of history with the tale of the four families of Glorian, but even that is vague and quite brief. I just felt like I was kind of thrown into this world. The same goes for the characters . . . I really don’t know that much about them. Like I barely even know what they look like. It seems like the main detail is that every character is running from their past and has a bunch of secrets. That’s it. I don’t know, I’m just not attached to any of the characters. I wanted so badly to love Kallia, but it just wasn’t there. 
  • Going along with characters and character development, I was not a fan of the romance. The two characters involved just like suddenly fall for each other. I mean it was obvious that they were going to be love interests from the beginning, but I would have liked to see some development and actual formation of a relationship. To me it felt like they were attracted to one another, talked twice, and then were obsessed. It just didn’t feel natural and was definitely rushed. At one point they’re together, broken up, and together again all within like three chapters. Their relationship didn’t feel authentic to me. 
  • I wanted more! Going into this book I was expecting exciting and extravagant magical competition scenes, but there were only a couple. And these scenes were cool, but it didn’t really translate into reading. Maybe it would have been better on screen? It just wasn’t what I expected. 
  • Along with the magician’s competition, I wanted more of the Conquering Circus performers. These awesome ladies had so much potential, but they felt more like a prop to be used for Kallia’s performances. 
  • We got no answers about the mystery. Now I know that this is a duology and the author can’t give away everything in the first book, but I would have liked at least some answers!

Wow, while writing all of this out I feel bad being so hard on a book. Especially for a debut author. It just sucks to be let down by a book that I was excited for! 

I do have to mention the cover, because it is seriously gorgeous! I feel like it perfectly captures the vibe of the first chapter and the mysteriousness of the setting. 

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles will be released on August 25th, 2020 by Wednesday Books.