Under the Whispering Door – TJ Klune [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

Review:

HUGE thank you to Tor Books, TJ Klune, and Netgalley for sharing this e-arc with me. The following review is my honest opinion and reflects my reading experience.

I fell in love with TJ Klune’s writing last year when I read The House in the Cerulean Sea. That book is so powerful and special. It has become one of my all time favorite books . . . easily in my top five. So when I heard that TJ was releasing a new book I was so excited. (Side note: I want to read his other series and I have a couple of his other books I just haven’t gotten to them yet). The cover and synopsis for Under the Whispering Door immediately captured my attention. I was THRILLED when I received the approval notification from Netgalley.

Under the Whispering Door is a really great book. Did it impact me as much as House did? No. But that does not take away from this story. Under the Whispering Door tells the story of Wallace, a man who recently died and is now being guided by his reaper and the ferryman. My absolute favorite part of Under the Whispering Door was the characters. TJ Klune truly has such an incredible gift of writing the most beautiful characters. Hugo, Mei, Norman, Apollo, and Wallace were all so special. I loved reading their day to day interactions in the tea shop. The relationships that develop between each of the characters are also so well done. I especially enjoyed Mei and Wallace’s friendship. When he first meets Mei, Wallace seemed determined to not like her. But he couldn’t resist her charm!! I grew attached to these characters and definitely shed a few tears.

Under the Whispering Door is primarily a character driven story. I like to read both character and plot driven stories, so I really enjoyed this one. However, I will say that the pacing was a bit off. Because of this I’m not sure I’m sold on the love story. My only other small qualm is that the big life lessons that Wallace learns throughout his time in the tea shop are fairly obvious. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it just wasn’t anything new.

Under the Whispering Door was a fantastic combination of heartbreaking and heartwarming. TJ Klune tells a beautiful story of grief, hope, and family complete with his signature warmth and humor. Reading TJ’s books feels like coming home. I am so glad that I discovered him!

Under the Whispering Door is out September 21st, 2021.

Remember the Stars (Tales of Selyento, Book 1) – Eris Marriott [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

All Clarisse wants is to be free. Her life has been governed by abuse, control, and the Church of Light. Tired of ritual exorcisms and condemnations, she’s at the brink of exploding.

Her power is a curse—the reason she can’t be free. Clarisse never asked to be in the center of a centuries-long battle between Terrence, a Reaper-wolf gone rogue, and Death, himself.

If she has to spend one more minute under the controlling thumb of her parents and the Church of Light, she’ll die.

In order to escape, she must choose a side: Death is convinced that mortals wielding power is a recipe for disaster and damnation. Terrence believes magic is a mortal’s key to freedom, enlightenment… maybe immortality.

Will she follow the light of the stars? Or will she let herself fall into the grasp of the shadows?

Trigger/Content Warnings: graphic depictions of abuse, violence, and mental manipulation

Review:

Huge thank you to Eris Marriott and Book of Matches Media for sharing this e-arc with me! The following review is my honest opinion and reflects my reading experience.

I hadn’t heard anything about Remember the Stars prior to working with Book of Matches Media. I was super intrigued by the cover and synopsis. This cover is definitely one of my favorites. It is seriously gorgeous!

Remember the Stars is a young adult dark fantasy story that tells the story of Clarisse, a young woman with magic who has been abused her entire life. It is the first book in a new series called Tales of the Selyento. This story was told in two parts . . . the first is Clarisse’s journey to free herself from the abusers in her life + the second is Clarisse trying to decide what path to take and who to trust. I will say everyone needs to take the time to read the trigger/content warnings prior to reading Remember the Stars. I have included the warnings with the synopsis and at the end of my review.

One of the reasons I was so intrigued by the blurb for this book was the darker themes and cult-like elements of the story. It sounds so weird, but I am totally fascinated by true crime and cults. I thought that Eris Marriott did an excellent job of incorporating the cult (The Church of Light) into the story. She did such a great job showing the manipulation of the cult and all of the people/creatures in Clarisse’s life. There were definitely scenes that were difficult to read . . . again please check out the trigger/content warnings. I will say that I struggled with Clarisse and Terrence’s relationship. The whole thing felt very toxic and full of manipulation, but I think that was the author’s intent.

One of the most unique parts of Remember the Stars is Clarisse’s magic. It sounds so pretty!! It also seems to have no limit in terms of what her magic can do. Although, there are consequences for magic. This is a major part of Clarisse’s journey and it definitely kept me on my toes!

I have a couple of qualms . . . actually just one major one . . . the arachnid centaur demon creature. That is something I definitely did not need in my life lol. The author did too good of a job depicting that image!

Remember the Stars was already released and is available for purchase today! It’s also on kindle unlimited!!

Trigger/Content Warnings: graphic depictions of abuse, violence, and mental manipulation

Hook, Line, and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters, #2) – Tessa Bailey [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

Review:

HUGE thank you to Netgalley and Avon+Harper Voyager for sending me this e-arc in exchange for my honest review. I absolutely ADORED the first book in this series. I was so beyond excited when I saw Hook, Line, and Sinker was available to request on Netgalley. And then I was approved and I did the biggest happy dance. I love these books!!

This is my first time reviewing a contemporary romance and I don’t really know where to start. All I can say is that I absolutely loved Hannah and Fox’s story. I’m a sucker for any kind of friends/enemies to lovers and forced proximity tropes. I loved watching Hannah and Fox’s relationship bloom into something. I especially liked that their text messages from the past months apart were included at the beginning of the story. It really gave nice context to their friendship. Overall, I think that Hook, Line, and Sinker was slightly less good than It Happened One Summer, but I still totally loved it. This series was my first experience with Tessa Bailey’s writing and I loved it! The setting (I LOVED being back in Westport!), characters, banter, and romance were all done so well. And the smut is *chef’s kiss* amazing.

If you are looking for a fun, easy-to-read, smutty romance then definitely check out It Happened One Summer and Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey!

Hook, Line, and Sinker is set to be released March 1st, 2022.

A Dance with the Fae Prince (Married to Magic, #2) – Elise Kova [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️💫

Synopsis:

Cinderella meets The Cruel Prince in this stand-alone fantasy romance about a human girl and her marriage to the prince of the fae.

She knew her hand in marriage would be sold. She had no idea a fae prince was the buyer.

Katria swore she’d never fall in love. She’s seen what “love” means through the cruelty of her family. So when she’s married off to the mysterious Lord Fenwood for a handsome price, all Katria wants is a better life than the one she’s leaving. Feelings are off the table.

But her new husband makes not falling in love difficult.

As their attraction begins to grow, so too do the oddities within her new life: strange rules, screams in the night, and attacks by fae that Katria never thought were real. When she witnesses a ritual not meant for human eyes, Katria finds herself spirited away to the land of Midscape.

Surviving the fae wilds as a human is hard enough. Katria must survive as a human who accidently pilfered the magic of ancient kings – magic a bloodthirsty king is ready to kill her for in order to keep his stolen throne – and her new husband is the rightful heir in hiding.

The power to save the fae is in her hands. But who will save her from a love she vowed never to feel?

Review:

Thank you to Elise Kova & Book of Matches Media for sharing this awesome e-arc with me. This honest review is based on my experience reading!

A Dance with the Fae Prince is the second stand-alone novel in Elise Kova’s Married to Magic universe. It is not at all necessary to read A Deal with the Elf King to dive into this book.

A Dance with the Fae Prince is a fantasy romance inspired by Cinderella and the tales of Psyche & Eros. This fun adventure is full of fae and all kinds of magical creatures. I am a sucker for any story featuring fae so I absolutely loved how much fae content there was in ADWTFP. Elise does such an incredible job of painting the picture of the fae world and all the different characters. From the first moment we see the group of fae dancing around the fire I was totally captured by Elise’s vivid descriptions and imagery. There are so many great characters, but Raph is definitely my favorite fae. He’s such an adorable and mischievous young fae boy!

Ultimately, I thought that A Dance with the Fae Prince was just okay. The story was very slow and not much happened throughout the book. Despite the story being slow, the actual progression of events was strange. A lot more time had actually passed than I thought. For example, at one point Katria describes how she’s been in the fae world for weeks. I honestly had no idea it had been that long. It seemed like it should have only been days. The pacing was just off. The plot itself was also very predictable. I wasn’t surprised by any of the twists or the ending.

There were some very powerful quotes that I did really love . . .

“I vow then that I will never let this new husband or anyone else make me feel small. I will try with all my might to stand tall. I will never live cowering again.”

“Love is the closest thing we have to meaning in this world. The love of a mother for her children, the love between friends, the love of a husband and wife, love for who we are and all those who strove before us to hand us the world we have now — love is why we live, why we fight, why we carry on when things get tough . . . it is not always easy. But it is our reprieve from true hardship, not the hardship itself.”

“Because now you know this is how you should have been treated all along. Because you know that if one person sees you, respects you as they should, then there’s no excuse for anyone else not to. The fault does not lie–has never lain–with you, but rather the shortcomings of those you have been surrounded by. You were always worthy.”

Overall I enjoyed A Dance with the Fae Prince. It was nothing super exciting or original, but it was fun. If you’re looking for a quick read featuring all sorts of magical creatures then I’d definitely check ADWTFP out!

A DANCE WITH THE FAE PRINCE IS SET TO BE RELEASED AUGUST 19TH.

On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea, #1) – Vanessa Rasanen [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

AN HEIR ON THE RUN

In one month, Aoife Cascade will turn twenty and take her seat on the Council of Cregah, an honor she’s been preparing for her whole life. But when she lets a secret slip to her mother with devastating consequences, all her plans for the future crumble. Believing her people to be better off without her, she flees Cregah, stowing away aboard a pirate ship bound for dangerous waters.

A PIRATE CAPTAIN WHO NEEDS HER HELP

Captain Declan McCallagh is young compared to the pirate lords, but after twelve years on the grueling sea, he has earned a well-respected ship and the attention of the lords, who’d like nothing better than to see his ruin. All he wants is to leave the Aisling Sea-and his past-behind him. But when his sister demands he find the enchanted dagger her rebel faction needs to overthrow the ruling Council, he’ll have to decide whether to cast off all family ties or take the perilous voyage to waters guarded by sirens, only passable with the help of the last remaining fae, currently imprisoned by the Council.

With murder and betrayal at every turn, can Aoife and Declan learn to rely on one another?

Or will the secrets they carry destroy their people-and each other?

Review:

Massive thank you to Vanessa Rasanen and Book of Matches Media for sending me this e-arc! All opinions are my own.

So I had been hearing rumblings about On These Black Sands for a while and I was definitely intrigued. And then the fates aligned and I was able to sign up for the ARC tour with Book of Matches Media. I was so excited to be chosen and to get my hands on an early copy of this incredible book.

On These Black Sands is a fantasy pirate adventure full of snarky characters, swoon-worthy pirates, and an absolutely fascinating world that I am dying to learn more about. There’s swashbuckling adventures, political intrigue, romance, betrayal, and some truly crazy twists!

On These Black Sands is primarily told through two perspectives: Aoife and Declan. Aoife is a naive young woman and former heir whose entire world has just been shattered. Declan is a young pirate captain desperate to prove himself and keep his painful memories at bay. These two characters have a magnetic pull to each other. Their connection was evident from the first time they meet and it only grew with each interaction. On These Black Sands is an excellent slow burn romance. It takes a while and we really only get a taste, but I can’t wait for more of Aoife and Declan. One of my favorite things about their relationship is that there’s an instant attraction and connection, but they don’t act on it. No instant love here! Aoife and Declan spend countless hours just talking and getting to know one another. This builds on their initial connection and creates such a beautiful bond. Some of my favorite scenes were just Aoife and Declan together in the captain’s quarters. I adore their sassy banter!! Plus there’s an “only one bed” trope which is one of my favorites! Not to mention . . . Declan is totally swoon-worthy!

There are also a few side characters who I am dying to get to know more. AKA TOMMY! I can’t wait to get more of him (and the rest of the crew) in the next book. There’s also Declan’s sister, Cait, who has a few of her own POV chapters that were super intriguing. I really want to know more about Cait and her rebel group, the rogues. My one complaint about On These Black Sands is that I wanted more. Cait’s chapters and story arc were all very vague. I feel like I still don’t really know what her purpose with the rogues is and who they really are. I’m guessing that this is all coming in the upcoming books.

On These Black Sands is definitely a “set-up” book. What I mean by this is that there is a whole lot that is introduced and that I am dying to know more about. There is action, adventure, and more, but there is a lot of world-building and set up for the rest of the series. I was totally captivated by this story and I cannot wait to continue on this adventure with Declan, Aoife, and the crew of the Siren’s Song. There is so much more coming in the rest of the series. I am especially looking forward to more of the fantasy elements (the fae, magic dagger, etc.) coming into play.

The ending of On These Black Sands is epic. The twists and cliffhanger are crazy and have me so dang excited for the next book in this series. That cliffhanger is perfect. I don’t know how I am going to wait to find out what happens next. Curse of being an early reader, I guess?

Some random things that I loved about On These Black Sands:

  • The colorful and vibrant towns. Vanessa’s writing is so descriptive and vivid. I loved the imagery!
  • The Irish influence!! My last name is McCarthy so I love the Irish inspiration! I will say that I am so grateful that Vanessa included a pronunciation guide.
  • Anxiety and panic attack representation. I love seeing mental health rep in fantasy books. As someone who also struggles with generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks, I truly appreciated the way Vanessa depicted Aoife’s anxiety.

On These Black Sands is a fantastic book! I was hooked from the very beginning and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! If you love pirates, a good slow burn romance, well written characters, and fascinating world building then you should definitely check out On These Black Sands by Vanessa Rasanen!

On These Black Sands is set to release August 10th, 2021. Preorder your copy today!!

Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes, #1) – Elizabeth Lim [ARC Review]

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Synopsis:

A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse… Drawing from fairy tales and East Asian folklore, this original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone.

“A dazzling fairytale full of breathtaking storytelling.” – Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval.

Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to forswear–no matter what the cost.

Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

Review:

Huge thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s and Netgalley for providing this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. I was a huge fan of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim so I was thrilled to see she was coming out with a new book! Six Crimson Cranes immediately grabbed my attention with that absolutely G O R G E O U S cover! I could seriously stare at it all day. Major props to the cover artist!

Overall, I really enjoyed Six Crimson Cranes! It is part fantasy part fairytale that features East Asian folklore and tells a truly beautiful story. Elizabeth Lim is a fantastic storyteller. My favorite part of Six Crimson Cranes was the imagery and setting. Every single scene . . . from the snowy mountain view in Iro to the nettles on Mount Rayuna and even Raikama’s garden . . . was stunningly crafted. I am in awe of Lim’s ability to create a scene and truly pull the reader in.

I also really loved Shiori’s interactions with the dragons plus her relationship with her brothers. I was initially a bit concerned about this story because there were several plot points that seemed to be very similar to those in Spin the Dawn. Both books feature a female lead with brothers + the female lead is on a mission to craft/sew/weave a magical object in order to save her family. I’m happy to say that the similarities ended there.

The reason that Six Crimson Cranes was only 3.5 stars for me was the pacing. The first part of the book was good, but it didn’t really capture my interest. It wasn’t until Shiori arrives in Iro that I was fully hooked by the story. The climax and last part of the story were so exciting and had me on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t surprised by any of the twists or the ending, but I still was totally captivated. However, the last line of the book totally blew me away because I did not see that coming.


Six Crimson Cranes was a really good story that featured some truly beautiful scenery. If you are a fan of Spin the Dawn then I definitely recommend this one. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book!

SIX CRIMSON CRANES BY ELIZABETH LIM IS SET TO BE RELEASED JULY 6TH, 2021.

The Saltwater Heir – Cassidy Clarke [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

Princess Soren of Nyx is no stranger to loss after a decade-long war with the neighboring kingdom of Atlas. But with her best friend slowly succumbing to a cruel Atlas poison, she hatches a reckless plan: kidnap the enemy prince from the battlefield and use his life to barter for the antidote.

But when that prince calls her by a different name…the name of his sister, whose death began the war ten years ago…everything changes.

Stolen away to Atlas, trapped behind enemy lines, Soren must navigate a kingdom she knows nothing about, surrounded by a family she doesn’t remember, and work to hunt down the antidote only Atlas possesses, all while strange memories fight to take over-memories of a different life, a different home, a different girl.

And memories aren’t the only thing awakened by Soren’s return. Dark, forbidden magics begin to stir, threatening both her new life and her old. With death stalking in every shadow, the lost princess must fight harder and sacrifice more than she ever dreamed to save what she holds most dear.

Review:

Huge thank you to Sapphire Ink Press and Cassidy Clarke for providing this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

When I first heard about The Saltwater Heir through Sapphire Ink Press I was instantly intrigued by the synopsis. I signed up for the cover reveal and was then blown away by this S T U N N I N G cover. With that cover + synopsis I knew I absolutely had to read The Saltwater Heir!!

The Saltwater Heir is Cassidy Clarke’s debut novel and it is phenomenal! This book is magical, unique, and totally captivating. This was just the fantasy refresher I needed. A lot of YA fantasy feels the same these days, but TSH blew me away. The writing is stunning and the world building is so well done. The Saltwater Heir is NA fantasy but so much more . . . there’s mystery, romance, and familial bonds. All set in an epic world that is full of magic and lore!

The Saltwater Heir tells the story of Soren, the princess of Nyx. Through a series of events, Soren discovers that she is actually the long thought dead princess from the rival kingdom, Atlas. Soren must deal with her new identity and the life she knew, plus get to know a whole new family and kingdom all while trying to save her best friend. Soren’s memories slowly awaken, but dark magic also begins to stir in Atlas.

The Saltwater Heir is told through multiple points of view . . . Soren/Soriel, Elias, Kallias, and Finn. Sometimes too many POVs can be distracting and pull the reader away from the story, but this was absolutely not the case here. There was absolutely no break in the flow. Each POV added so much to the story and allowed me to get to know the characters so much more! Each POV offered a different perspective to the events happening in the palace which really elevated the story. My favorite POV is definitely Finn. He’s also my favorite character. I saw a review that described Finn as Nikolai Lanstov meets Loki and this is so perfect. Finn is so loveable and witty. I looked forward to every scene that involved him.

I also really enjoyed Soren/Soriel’s POV and character. I especially love her relationship with Finn. The Atlas siblings are all fantastic and I love the dynamic between them, but there’s just something extra special about Finn and Soren/Soriel. I definitely have fallen the Atlas siblings!

The Saltwater Heir also features a mix of present day with flashbacks and memories. I really liked how Clarke wove in these memories into the story so seamlessly. A huge part of TSH is Soren’s journey to discover her identity and come to terms with her past and present. She has to find a way to love and accept both parts of herself . . . the Nyxian raised with the Atlas born. I loved going on this journey with her and I truly felt like I was there. I really felt like I was with all the characters . . . Finn as he explores the city streets, Kallias as he struggles with his duties, Elias as he comes to term with his fate. Every single character’s arc and journey is vital to the story!

Really quick before I wrap things up, I have to touch on the world-building and imagery. This world is beautiful! Atlas, with its beaches and festivals was especially gorgeous. I could totally picture everything as it happened. I definitely want to visit! Which brings me to the downright creepy part of The Saltwater Heir . . . necromancy! Clarke did a brilliant job writing the scenes with the army of the dead. She depicted it so well that I was totally creeped out! Especially a certain scene in Soren’s room! I am so impressed with Clarke’s world building and ability to create such strong imagery!

The last part of The Saltwater Heir tore my heart out and put me through an emotional rollercoaster. I truly did not see the twists coming. I figured out a small part of the big reveal, but I had no idea the extent of it. My jaw kept dropping with each twist! Even though it hurt, the ending was totally epic. And the cliffhanger has me dying for the sequel!

As you can probably tell I LOVED this book! The Saltwater Heir is a fantastic debut (seriously I’m so impressed with Cassidy Clarke!) that is a refreshing YA fantasy full of magic, twists, and incredible characters. I highly recommend this book!

THE SALTWATER HEIR IS SET TO BE RELEASED JUNE 25TH, 2021.

The Nature of Witches – Rachel Griffin [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

Review:

Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire, Netgalley, and Rachel Griffin for providing this e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

I stumbled upon The Nature of Witches while scrolling through Netgalley and I was instantly intrigued by the title, cover, and synopsis. I love all things w i t c h y so I was very excited to read this. Unfortunately, The Nature of Witches fell flat for me.


I’ll start with what I liked!

My favorite part of The Nature of Witches is the magic. It is such an incredibly cool magic system. Every witch has seasonal based powers based on the time of year they were born. There are Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer witches. Each season witch is strongest during their season and can control that season’s weather. Clara is an Ever Witch, an incredibly rare type of witch who is able to use magic of all four seasons. I loved all the scenes where the witches were using their magic. It was so cool to see them control the weather and combat natural disasters like catastrophic tornadoes, heat waves in the winter, floods, etc. If I were a witch in the world of The Nature of Witches I would definitely want to be an Autumn witch. No surprise there since it is my favorite season!

While I didn’t feel especially connected to any of the characters, I did really like two of them. One is Paige because she calls out Clara on her shit and I loved it. Clara could get very frustrating so it was nice to have Paige there to slap the sense into her for me. The other is Sang. He is the most pure and kind person. I really liked how his character affected Clara.

I also loved the message about the environment and protecting the earth!


And now I’ll briefly touch on what I didn’t like about The Nature of Witches.

The plot was just meh. There were moments of excitement during the weather scenes, but otherwise it was pretty boring. I feel like not much happened. And while I know that the stakes were high (saving the planet from environmental ruin caused by non-witches), it didn’t feel that way. It didn’t feel like there was any urgency.

Clara is also a very difficult MC to like. I understand and felt for her struggle with the consequences on her power, but the self-pity could be too much. She came across as very immature at times (which she is only seventeen so I’ll allow it). As I said earlier, Clara could get extremely frustrating so it was great to have Paige there to knock some sense into her. Despite this, I did enjoy Clara’s journey towards self-acceptance and self-love. It was just annoying to read her somewhat whiny narration.


Overall, I thought that The Nature of Witches was just ok. Honestly, the magic and weather scenes saved it from being a one star read. I’m bummed because I loved the concept and the magic is so cool!

Have you read The Nature of Witches? Let me know what you think in the comments!

The Nature of Witches is set to be released June 1st, 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire.

The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1) – Lynette Noni [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.

Review:

HUGE thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers & Netgalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

I was browsing Netgalley one day when I came across a cover that caught my eye. It was The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. I was immediately drawn in by the title and cover. Plus, while I had never read anything by Noni, my book bestie has read her The Medoran Chronicles series and is a massive fan! So suffice to say that I was thrilled when I got approved for an arc! And holy cow. Guys. The Prison Healer was freaking amazing!

The Prison Healer tells the story of Kiva Meridan. Kiva was imprisoned with her father ten years ago and she has been fighting to survive ever since. She works in the Zalindov prison as — you guessed it — the healer. Kiva spends everyday caring for the inmates of the brutal prison while maintaining hope that her family will rescue her. But everything changes when the Rebel Queen is captured and Kiva is placed in charge of the sick woman’s care. The Rebel Queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal, but Kiva receives a message from her family to keep the queen alive. Kiva sacrifices everything and volunteers to take the Trials in the queen’s place. What comes next is intense, action-packed, and full of all kinds of twists and turns.

I absolutely loved The Prison Healer. I was immediately hooked by the atmosphere and high-stakes setting. The prison is intense, grim, and full of danger around every corner. I found myself so nervous as Kiva explained the day to day life of the prison. It is simply terrifying. Lynette Noni did an exceptional job of crafting this world and creating an all-encompassing, tension-filled atmosphere. I truly felt Kiva’s terror as she dealt with both the horrors of the prison and the Trial by Ordeal tasks. Kiva encounters abusive guards, aggressive fellow inmates, and truly terrifying trials. I was so on edge during the trials . . . especially the Trial by Fire. I’ll keep this spoiler free, but all you have to know is that I was petrified during this trial. Once again, Noni did such an incredible job of making me feel like I was with Kiva. I was with Kiva throughout the entire book and I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened next!!

One of my favorite parts of The Prison Healer is the healer aspect. As a nurse, I love to see characters who are passionate about healing and healthcare. Kiva was so incredibly inspiring with how she was truly selfless in her care. She cares for everyone who comes through her door the exact same way. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve done. It’s what we all are trained to do as healthcare workers and I love seeing it represented so well in a fantasy book! I saw parts of myself in Kiva as she cared for her patients!

I was also fascinated by Kiva’s research and investigation into finding out the cause of the stomach virus plague that has overrun the prison. It was so fun (lol I am such a nerd) watching Kiva reason through the outbreak and come up with a plan to investigate. I am a huge nerd so I was loving all of the research and evidence based experimenting that Kiva was doing. Yay science!! This subplot was not only super interesting, but it also was another way that Noni was able to illustrate the injustices taking place at the prison.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for . . . the romance. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount of romance in The Prison Healer. There are definitely moments and the start to more, but the romance was not the overall focus of the book. I was initially worried that the romance/love-interest was a bit too insta-lovey. It seemed liked that was the direction the story was going, but I definitely changed my mind. I think what started in the beginning as an initial attraction/insta-love became a supportive friendship that slowly developed over time. The way that Jaren supports Kiva throughout the story was amazing. I was definitely swooning! Even in his prison disarray . . . Jaren is dreamy!

As much as I love Jaren, he is not my favorite character from the book. That title belongs to Tipp!!! He is absolutely adorable and such a sweet kid. I loved all of his scenes. It’s heartbreaking that a sweet, innocent eleven-year-old is in a horrible prison, but Tipp is such a light in the darkness. He really pulls Kiva out of herself and I love it. Tipp, Jaren, and Naari (a prison guard) were all fantastic supporting characters. Shout out to Mot too! The whole cast of characters is so well done. Even the bad guys . . they were so creepy and truly evil, but so well done!

The Prison Healer ends with several major twists and a huge cliffhanger! I suspected a couple aspects of some of the twists, but I had no idea the extent. I was shocked! There are so many reveals and truly EPIC twists that my jaw dropped. And that ending?! Are you kidding!? I need book two now!!

As you can see I absolutely loved The Prison Healer! This book was incredible. The world-building, cast of characters, plot, and twists were all exceptional. My only problem now is that I need more. The Prison Healer hooked me from the start and kept me on the edge of my seat. It is definitely one of my new favorite books and I cannot recommend it enough!

The Prison Healer is set to be released April 13th, 2021.

Namesake (Fable, #2) – Adrienne Young [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Synopsis:

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.

Review:

Huge thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Fable was one of my favorite reads from last year so I was totally thrilled to get my hands on an advanced copy of Namesake. I absolutely love this world Adrienne Young has created. This duology is an exciting, action-packed, and fun-filled adventure set on the high seas. There’s ships, traders, rivalries, treasure, and all kinds of sea-faring exploits! Fable ended with a big cliffhanger and Namesake picks up immediately after these events.

Fable ended with the titular character stuck in a very precarious position. We pick up as Fable must figure out what to do next. I have to be honest and say that Namesake did not go in the direction I thought it would. I knew it would deal with Fable’s current status and eventual trip to meet Holland. I just didn’t expect the actual events that occurred. That being said, I really enjoyed the plot of Namesake. It felt a lot faster paced than Fable and went in directions I didn’t necessarily expect. Namesake is a fast-paced story that

I loved being back with the crew of The Marigold. I truly feel like I am a part of the crew . . . which is ok in fictional worlds because I am TERRIFIED of the ocean in real life. I will continue to live vicariously through the crew of The Marigold! One of my favorite parts of Namesake is that we get to know more about the past of some of the members of the crew. I liked discovering what led each of them to this crew. And of course, we get more of our favorite helmsman, West. I loved seeing him and Fable interact more in this book. I will say that some of West’s actions did make him a bit unlikeable at times. I see where he’s coming from, but sometimes I just wanted to slap him!

We meet several new characters this time around . . . Clove, Holland, the Roths . . . and get to know some old characters even more. I especially loved the development of Fable and Saint’s relationship. Their dynamic added so much to the story. Fable’s relationship with her father is the driving force behind the start of this series so it’s nice to see it explored more.

(Small, very unimportant spoiler) I also totally loved getting to know Koy more. I never expected I’d say that after the events of Fable, but dang I actually am glad he was a part of this story!

I do wish that Fable and Namesake were actually only one combined book. It felt like the two stories would have worked better as one continuous plot. Fable had more world-building and Namesake felt more fast paced. It works as a duology, I just think it would work better as one long standalone novel.

Overall, this was a fun read that brought me back into this stunning world that I can’t get enough of. It’s exciting and full of high stakes adventure. I loved how the story was wrapped up! Namesake has an absolutely beautiful conclusion to a beautiful story. I’ll miss exploring this world, but I am so glad to have read Fable’s story.

Also, I will never stop talking about how gorgeous the covers for these books are!! Seriously gorgeous! I can’t wait to see both books next to each other on my shelves!

Fable is set to be released March 16th by Wednesday Books.

Make sure to preorder your copy now!!