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.

House of Earth & Blood (Crescent City, #1) – Sarah J. Maas


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life-working hard all day and partying all night-until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose-to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion-one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom-and the power of love.


It’s been a while since I’ve actually written up a full review, but I knew I had to do one for House of Earth & Blood (Crescent City, #1) by Sarah J. Maas. I am going to refer to this book as Crescent City because it’s a shorter name. 

I will keep this review spoiler free. 

She’s done it again. Congrats to Sarah J. Maas on another absolutely incredible book. Crescent City totally blew me away. I finished a few days ago and I still am in awe. 

Crescent City tells the story of Bryce Quinlan, a half-human half-fae woman living in the titular “Crescent City.” She is care free and fun loving until tragedy strikes. While dealing with her grief, Bryce must team up with the Archangel Governor’s personal assassin to solve a series of brutal murders. Crescent City is a story of love, magic, mystery, romance, and page-turning suspense. 

I absolutely loved this book! I’m always a tiny bit nervous when authors that I love start a new series and/or new genre. Sarah J. Maas did both with Crescent City and it did not disappoint at all. I didn’t know how SJM could possibly write another book that becomes an instant favorite, but she did it again! I love this new world!

The first part of Crescent City is very information heavy. There’s a lot to learn and to know about this new world. I was glad to be reading on my kindle because I was able to highlight certain information. It was a lot of info but it didn’t feel like information dumping. Maas’s worlds are always rich, detailed, and all encompassing. She is an expert world builder and Crescent City is no different. 

Besides her world building, one of the things that Sarah J. Maas does best is portray mental health. All of her books have characters experiencing some level of grief, PTSD, and/or depression. The best part is that it’s always accepted and seen as normal (which it is). There is no ridicule or judgment. Crescent City is no exception. Once again Sarah J. Maas beautifully and accurately portrays these things within her characters. I’m keeping this review spoiler free so I won’t go into details, but just know that she’s done an excellent job with these topics again through both Bryce and Hunt. 

I seriously loved this book. Bryce is another totally fierce, independent, and bad ass female lead that is complex and so captivating to read! Some friends on Bookstagram have asked what my favorite scene is and I can’t possibly choose. I keep thinking of more scenes that I love and scenes that are so powerful. Also, there were so many twists and turns that I truly didn’t see coming. I thought the story was going to go one way, but then it shocked me! And the romance . . . SWOON!! I don’t know how Sarah J. Maas keeps coming up with these incredible stories, worlds, and characters. She is truly a master storyteller.

I can’t believe I have to wait for the sequel! Sarah J. Maas did a fantastic job of wrapping up this story, but ending with a great cliffhanger. I’m hooked and I need more!! 

In case you couldn’t tell, I totally loved this book! Sarah J Maas is my favorite author and she always blows me away. I already want to reread this. 

Have you read my read Crescent City yet? What did you think?! Message me so we can chat about this incredible book!

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo (Alex Stern, #1)


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The mesmerizing adult debut from Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.


In the words of Eleanor Shellstrop . . .


Damn. That was so good.

So I have to be honest . . . I was a little nervous to read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I was not a fan of her most recent release (King of Scars) and it is a big jump from the Grishaverse into the adult world. I wasn’t sure if she could pull it off. BUT DAMN. I WAS SO WRONG. Ninth House was absolutely incredible. It definitely joins my list of favorite all-time books. I had the absolute pleasure of attending Leigh’s

Ninth House follows Alex Stern, who is a new Freshman at Yale. Alex has a special ability . . . she can see ghosts (known as Grays) when no one else can. Because of this ability, Alex is recruited to become the apprentice to Lethe House. It is here where Alex meets Daniel Arlington (aka Darlington). Alex learns that it is the responsibility of Lethe House to oversee the secret societies and to ensure they all act within order. But nothing is easy for Alex Stern and her apprenticeship quickly becomes so much more than she bargained for. Ninth House is told from Alex and Darlington’s points of view, and it takes place over the course of the year between Fall and Spring.

I had no idea what to expect from Ninth House due to it taking place in the real world. I actually loved that this story is a fantasy set in real life New Haven, Connecticut. I had zero knowledge of Yale’s secret societies prior to hearing about and then reading Ninth House. It is all so fascinating! I love the way Leigh took the facts and blended it with her story. The world building was just excellent! Leigh was able to create a complete atmosphere. From the campus setting to the ghosts and magic . . . this world and atmosphere was totally captivating. I felt completely transported to Alex’s world.

I loved the cast of characters. I didn’t always agree with their choices, but I always felt myself rooting for them. Alex’s character development was very well done. Leigh was able to write Alex in a way that she made huge strides in her development, but it all felt natural and well paced. I think Pamela Dawes is my favorite character. She’s a nerdy bad ass! And Darlington . . . I want more!

One of my favorite parts of Ninth House was the focus on feminism and inequality. Leigh did a wonderful job shining light onto privilege and the inequalities that women, minorities, and impoverished face. Leigh did not hold back in showing what happens if privilege is allowed to rule unchecked. Leigh was able to connect a story about ghosts and rituals to our present day society and its many issues. One of my favorite quotes from Ninth House addresses victim blaming. This quote (found on page 190) is just perfect. Leigh did such an outstanding job articulating our society’s major problem with victim blaming and the silencing of victims. Huge props to Leigh . . .

“Alex has indicated her own concerns regarding her assault, and instead of hearing her out, you’ve chosen to question her credibility. You may not have meant to imply anything, but intent and the effect were to silence her, so it’s hard not to think this stinks of victim blaming. It’s the semantic equivalent of saying her skirt was too short.”

Ninth House was a dark and twisty roller coaster. It kept me on the edge of my seat! I loved the mystery that had me guessing the whole time! I feel like I had permanent shocked face through the last ~100 pages. Congratulations to Leigh Bardugo on a fantastic adult debut!

I do need to include that Ninth House is definitely an ADULT fiction book.

Trigger warnings include: drug abuse and overdose, sexual assault, violence, murder, date rape, gore, and rituals.

House of Salt and Sorrows – Erin A. Craig


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Get swept away by the New York Times bestseller that Melissa Albert, author of The Hazel Wood, calls “eerie” and “lovely.” As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family. Be careful who you dance with…

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last–the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge–and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sister’s deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who–or what–are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family–before it claims her next. House of Salt and Sorrows is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.


Well that was five nightmare inducing stars!!

I received my copy of House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig in OwlCrate’s August “Storm and Seas” box. I had heard about House of Salt and Sorrows prior to receiving my OwlCrate box and I was super intrigued by the premise! I’m happy to say that House of Salt and Sorrows exceeded my expectations! Congrats to Erin A. Craig on this fantastic debut!

I decided to read House of Salt and Sorrows in October because I had heard that it was super creepy! I am not a fan of horror movies, but I do love thrillers and psychologically scary stories (and creepy things around Halloween time). This was a little out of my comfort zone because this book was definitely scary!! There were a few scenes where I actually had to step away for a few minutes. Erin A. Craig did such a an incredible job of creating vivid imagery that felt so real. I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and read this perfect spooky.

House of Salt and Sorrows is a gothic, dark, and incredibly eerie retelling of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Even though it’s a retelling, this book is totally original. The plot was full of twists and turns! I truly didn’t know what to expect next! House of Salt and Sorrows was totally mind bending! There were several moments where I was like “whaaattttt!” with my mouth wide open in shock. There’s also mystery, horror, family bonds, and romance. The story was fast paced and exciting. It was so hard to put the book down!!

When I finished reading House of Salt and Sorrows I just sat there for a few minutes trying to digest it all. I was awestruck by the conclusion. I guessed a couple of small details, but I was genuinely stunned by all the reveals and the conclusion. I immediately had to go talk to my friend who had also just read the book. We both are still totally amazing and slightly creeped out.

House of Salt and Sorrows is a stunning gothic tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a fantasy horror with mystery and romance. I highly recommend it! Congrats to Erin A. Craig on this incredible book. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!!

The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1) – Renée Ahdieh [ARC Review]


Rating: ⭐️💫


New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien’s own lair–the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks–Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose–one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

At once a sultry romance and a decadent, thrilling mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet.


I was so excited to pick up a copy of The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh at Book Expo. I had read the synopsis and I was super intrigued. I was so excited to read it because of the setting! A supernatural story set in 19th century New Orleans!? With a murder mystery aspect?! Sign me up!! I even got to meet Renée at Book Expo and have her sign my arc! I’m sad to say this, but The Beautiful was a complete and total let down.

Quick note . . . I haven’t written such a negative review in a long time. I always feel bad doing it, but I started this blog to honestly review books. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes I have to be negative. Normally, whenever I review a book I didn’t like I try to find at least one positive thing to include in my review. I don’t think that’s the case for this book.

Basically it just sucks to write a bad review because I want to support authors and their work, but I just can’t help it sometimes. I do not tag authors in bad review posts if that’s any consolation.

Anyways, on to the review. . .

One of the things that intrigued me most from the synopsis was the setting of New Orleans. It seemed like it was going to be the perfect atmospheric setting for a vampire story! Unfortunately it totally fell flat. Ahdieh could have done so much more with the setting and make it a true presence or even a character. It was just a throw away background. The book could have taken place in any random city.

Going along with the setting . . . the entire world building was lacking. It felt like we were given a couple random pieces of information but nothing was really expanded upon. This is especially true when it comes to the Court, the Fallen, and the Brotherhood. I was especially excited to learn about La Cour des Lions after reading the synopsis. We are only shown quick glimpses of these groups and I still have almost no idea what/who they are. The only history and world building we get is through the villain’s narrated chapters, but even that is just brief and confusing.

As for the actual story . . . it was an easy read, but pretty dang boring. Not much happens and I wasn’t attached to any of the characters. There was so substance to any of them. All the characters were bland and had nothing special or new. Everything in the story also progressed way too quickly. Why is everything instantly in love with Celine? The only two qualities I can identify about Celine are that she is the most beautiful ever and she stands up for herself (which is great), but other than that I do not know anything about her. Literally everyone that meets her is immediately obsessed with her. I just don’t get it.

One thing that really bugged me about Celine’s character was her inner dialogue. She is constantly thinking about how she wants power and how dark she is. She just kept repeating it over and over and over again. It just became irritating. We get it! You’re different than all the other girls. I also absolutely hated that Celine kept shaming herself for fighting off her attacker. It just seemed off base – I’m not saying she should be happy about killing someone, but she doesn’t need to feel shame for protecting herself. I know a lot of young readers with pick up this book so I don’t want them to be influenced by the message of shame.

Another issue I had was the romance. There’s no reason that Celine (and I guess spoiler?) Bastien fall in love. They meet once and hate each other, but then like 2 days later they are obsessed with one another. It was insta-love to the extreme. And again, I don’t know anything about these two characters! It’s the same with Celine’s other potential love interest. She literally hates both men and then suddenly is totally and completely charmed by them.

One thing I did mildly enjoy was the mystery of who the killer was. The killer’s POV chapters were definitely my favorites to read. Although, these chapters were not at all scary . . . just overly dramatic. These chapters were the most interesting part of the entire book.

The big reveal at the end honestly just confused me. And not in a good way. I don’t really even care to find out what happens next.

The Beautiful is one of the most hyped up book releases for this fall. For a book hyped up for bringing vampires back there is very little actual vampire content. I wasn’t reading this book because of the vampires, but I know many people are so excited to dive into vampire stories again. These people are going to be thoroughly disappointed in the lack of vampires.

Thank you to Penguin Teen and Renée Ahdieh for providing an arc copy of The Beautiful at Book Expo!

The Beautiful will be released on October 8th, 2019.

The Fountains of Silence – Ruta Sepetys [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray comes a gripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.


Wow. Once again Ruta Sepetys has left me speechless. Ruta is one of my favorite authors and story tellers. I have read all of her books, and each one has told a beautiful story about forgotten moments of history. The Fountains of Silence is no exception.

Ruta Sepetys is one of the most gifted authors I have encountered. She writes historical fiction and chooses subjects that aren’t pretty or romanticized. Sepetys is always able to craft a captivating and beautiful story that shines light into dark moments of the past. With each of Sepetys books, I have learned something. The Fountains of Silence, like Between Shades of Grey, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea, showed me periods or aspects of history that I didn’t know anything or very little about. I knew some vague information about the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s rule, but I never delved into the true stories and trauma of this time. Sepetys was able to create a beautiful story that seamlessly integrated the history and truth of what Spain was like at the time. It felt authentic every step of the way. You can tell that Sepetys didn’t choose this subject for shock and awe. She puts in the work and research and it shows in her incredible storytelling. I learned so much, and this book has inspired me to learn more about the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s rule.

The Fountains of Silence shows Ruta Sepetys’ incredible power of storytelling. The Fountains of Silence follows four main characters as they navigate life in Madrid, Spain. There’s Ana and Rafa, a brother and sister whose parents were part of the Republican movement against Franco, their cousin, Puri, and an American visitor named Daniel. Each of these characters lives intersect in different ways. Each is vital to the story and shows a different aspect of this period in Spain. One of my favorite parts is seeing Spain through Daniel’s photography. Sepetys was able to expertly describe what Daniel was seeing and photographing so that I could perfectly visualize the images in my mind. This elevated the already spectacular book.

One thing you can always expect from Ruta Sepetys’ books is an epic love story. The Fountains of Silence delivers another beautiful romance between two of the characters. Sepetys writes romance so well. She is able to create a love story that is vital to the plot, but never distracts or overshadows the rest of the story.

Ruta Sepetys has once again created a stunning book that is a great story, but also an importance piece of literature. The Fountains of Silence delves into a tumultuous time in Spain’s history. It shows the trauma and tragedy of the time, but also the hope and resilience of the Spanish people. The Fountains of Silence was a masterpiece and it will forever be a part of me.

HUGE THANK YOU to Ruta Sepetys, Penguin, and Philomel Books for providing this advanced readers copy of The Fountains of Silence at Book Expo.

The Fountains of Silence will be released October 1st, 2019.

There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness, #1) – Katy Rose Pool [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it . . . or unleash it?

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. With chaos on the horizon, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. 
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?


I was beyond lucky to receive two advanced readers copies of There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool – an early copy at C2E2 and another copy at Book Expo! Huge thank you to Fierce Reads and Katy Rose Pool for providing me with this awesome book! There Will Come a Darkness was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on an advanced copy!

There Will Come a Darkness is an epic fantasy complete with a unique magic system and a diverse ensemble cast of characters. There is mystery, suspense, and action! Will the Age of Darkness be stopped? Or will the chaotic darkness consume this world!? There Will Come a Darkness was full of twists and turns and ends with a bang cliffhanger!

My favorite part of There Will Come a Darkness is the ensemble cast of characters. There are FIVE points of view! This many POVs could very easily become overwhelming, choppy, and even pull the reader out of the story. This was not the case with There Will Come a Darkness. Each of the main characters has their own individual story and growth, but, at some point, they all collide in one way or another. All the points of view work together beautifully! It doesn’t distract from the story all. I loved trying to guess which character would cause or prevent the oncoming Age of Darkness. I also loved that each of our leads was incredibly diverse . . . male, female, race, sexual orientation, etc. It reminded me of the Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows crew! Each lead brought something different to the story and this truly elevated the overall book.

There Will Come a Darkness takes place in a world where a percentage of the population is “Graced.” There are four types of Grace: Heart, Blood, Mind, and Sight. Each Grace has a different magical ability associated with it. The Grace of Heart enhances strength, agility, speed, and senses. The Grace of Blood gives and takes energy to heal or harm. The Grace of Mind creates objects imbued with unique properties. The Grace of Sight senses and locates living beings. This magic system was one of my favorite parts of There Will Come a Darkness. It was so cool seeing how different Graced used their ability differently. For example, the Pale Hand using the Grace of Blood to kill, but another minor character using it to heal. I thought that Pool did a great job of showing each of the different Graces and building the world.

Being Graced sounds amazing, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. This is because of a terror group known as the Witnesses led by The Hierophant. This group believes that the Graced need to be eradicated and they will do anything to achieve this. The Witnesses spread hate and violence throughout the cities (sound familiar to our current world?). The Hierophant and the Witnesses were an excellent villain. They are truly evil, but also seem to be hiding something. Pool gave enough information to understand the story, but leaves enough out to keep me hooked! I want to know more about The Hierophant and his origins! Props to Pool for grabbing my attention and not letting go!

The most unique element of There Will Come a Darkness is the impending “Age of Darkness”. It adds a suspenseful mystery to the story that kept me guessing the whole time. I truly don’t know who or what will stop or bring about the Age of Darkness. I have a feeling that not everything is as it seems.

The book ends with several cliffhangers involving the Age of Darkness and our characters. I am dying to know what is going to happen next!

Congrats to Katy Rose Pool on a spectacular debut!

I already have two copies that I got signed by Katy at Book Expo, but you bet I’m getting a finished copy. I will be attending the Fierce Reads Tour stop in Chicago! I’m so looking forward to meeting Katy Rose Pool again!

There Will Come a Darkness will be released on September 3rd, 2019!

Interested in pre-ordering? Katy Rose Pool and Fierce Reads are offering an awesome pre-order incentive. Click here to check it out!

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) – Kalyn Josephson (ARC)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫


In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.


I was lucky enough to grab an advanced readers copy of The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson from the Source Books booth at Book Expo! Huge thank you to Source Books and Kalyn Josephson!! So I’ve noticed a crow theme with some of my latest reads (The Storm Crow, The Merciful Crow, Godsgrave, and of course I have to include Six of Crows even though it wasn’t a recent read) and I am all for it!

The Storm Crow takes place in the Kingdom of Rhodaire, where magical crows with elemental powers are involved in all aspects of life. Thia, is the second born princess and is training to become a crow rider. But everything changes the night of the annual crow egg hatching. The neighboring kingdom of Illucia attacks the Rhodaire capital of Aris and kills all of the crows. Many people die in the attack, including Thia’s mother, the queen. The people of Aris are lost without the crows. They have depending on them for everything for so long, that it’s difficult for the society to function. Thia’s older sister, Caliza, is now queen and is forced to make an alliance with Queen Razel of Illucia. Caliza agrees to the engagement of Thia to Razel’s son, Ericen. Thia is desperate to find a way out of the engagement and to help the people of Rhodaire. She finds a crow egg and becomes determined to hatch it to help Rhodaire defeat Illucia for good.

The story started off so strong. The first few chapters started off with a bang and pulled me in immediately. Unfortunately the story kind of plateaued after that. It was still good, but slow and not a lot happened until the very end. This probably won’t make sense but even though I found the plot slow, there were elements of the story that happened too quickly. For example, it seemed like Thia was in Illucia for about five minutes before the big ending. This also connects to the relationships. This review is spoiler free so I won’t include any details, but the romances progressed way to quickly. Thia met a man and was in love with him within a few chapters. It all happened too fast and almost felt forced. But speaking of romances, I did love the representation of a LGBTQ relationship. It was only alluded to so I hope there is more in the next book.

The plot was also fairly predictable. The ending felt a little rushed and was a tiny bit disappointing, but I’m still curious to see what happens next.

Now to what I loved about The Storm Crow!

I absolutely loved the magic system. The giant crows with elemental magic was beyond cool! In Rhodaire, there are eight types of crows and each has a corresponding power . . .

  • Shadow Crow
  • Battle Crow
  • Wind Crow
  • Water Crow
  • Earth Crow
  • Storm Crow
  • Fire Crow
  • Sun Crow (Healers)

This was such a fresh and original magic system. Props to Kalyn Josephson for creating a new, unique world that was so fascinating!

My absolute favorite part of The Storm Crow was the accurate and beautifully done representation of mental health and depression. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am by Josephson’s depiction of depression. It was so well done. Josephson shows that depression is a huge part of life and it is not a choice. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, it was so meaningful to see such a beautiful depiction. Depression will always be a part of Thia’s life, but it isn’t her whole life.

I have several quotes that I absolutely have to include . . .

“Yet even as I had the thought, it felt distant and detached, as if it’s come from another person. Trying to hold onto it was like trying to hold smoke with my bare hands. I knew what I needed to do, but working up the will to do it felt like trying to fight my way above water in a depthless ocean. It was so hard not to drown.”

“This is how it was. One moment, I was moving forward, and the next, I couldn’t move at all. No matter how important the day or what I needed to do, the feeling come and refused to leave.”

“There had been nothing shameful about my pain, nothing I’d needed to hide or hide from. I’d been afraid to face what the pain he meant, that my life as I’d known it was over, that I had to choose a new path.”

“I had survived the loss and the depression thick as mud that came after it, and I would keep surviving them.”

“I am more than my emotions, more than my depression and fear.”

“That heavy feeling might never leave me, but I could live with it. I’d survived, and I would continue to survive.”

Talking about Thia’s depression brings me to her friendship with Kiva. I adored Kiva and Thia’s friendship. The way the two women support and love one another is just amazing. I especially appreciate how supportive Kiva is when dealing with Thia’s depression. She is a perfect balance for Thia. Kiva pushes her, but also understands when not to push. She fully accepts and loves Thia. Once again, excellent job to Kalyn Josephson for writing a powerful and supportive female friendship.

One last thing that I loved about The Storm Crow . . . the glossary in the back of the book! I love when authors include glossaries. It is helpful to keep the world building straight and it also provides so much more fun information!

Overall, The Storm Crow was a fairly predictable story that started out strong, but plateaued in the middle. Despite this, I totally recommend it due to the awesome and creative magic system with the crows, and the amazing representation of depression and mental health. The Storm Crow ends with a cliffhanger and I am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next.

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson is out now! Go check it out!!