Witches of Ash and Ruin: Review

Thank you to NetGalley for the arc.

With a cover and a title like this, what can go wrong?

A lot.

Five POVs. Subpar twists. Way too much happening for me to focus on one thing at a time. I felt like my brain was knocking around in there and I couldn’t get focused. Nothing truly shocking happens since everything is sort of upfront and in your face. I did not feel connected to the characters or the story. There was so much anger and so much confusion in the characters that in the tiny bits of breaks, it felt forced. Not to mention one POV was completely forgotten by the end of the book as if he didn’t matter, which I guess he really didn’t if I had to choose.

That being said, this story did have amazing Celtic folklore and I loved the setting and the family dynamics. I felt a bit of The Craft and maybe some Sabrina, but we didn’t get too in-depth to feel that connection I did with characters from both of those examples.

This may seem like a scathing review, but it’s not. I don’t think this was the book for me and others may enjoy it immensely.

More Than Maybe: Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to review this title and join the blog tour!

I loved You’d Be Mine so I knew this one wouldn’t be any different. As I expected, I sacrificed sleep to finish this book in less than two nights. I am a diagnosed insomniac and take prescription medication and it seriously didn’t even work when reading this book. Erin Hahn beat out my Lunesta and Trazadone cocktail. Kudos.

This book follows Luke, the son of a punk rocker who runs a podcast with his twin brother in the sound booth of a club run by Phil, Vada’s mom’s boyfriend. A class project brings them together and they discover their long-time crushes on each other are reciprocated in the most heartwarming and mostly uncomplicated kind of way.

The characters:

Vada is music obsessed (with good taste mind you) and loves dance. She aspires to study music journalism and runs her boss’s music blog. The dynamics of her family are a little messy with her dad being estranged and kind of a d%$k, but her mom is supportive and Phil is the step-dad that we all asked for (those with d^%k dad, might I add). her best friend, Meg, is also super supportive of Vada and I want her to have a book of her own!

Luke was okay, a little on the bland side at times and I didn’t quite understand his need to hide his talents. I wanted him to be successful and famous, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw myself in his character. Although he was not my favorite male romantic lead, he did have the qualities that kept him afloat.

The romance was almost actualized and did not have as much tension as I hoped. But it didn’t stop the cuteness overload when these two finally got together.

All in all, I will be a lifelong fan of Erin Hahn is she keeps overriding my sleeping pills this way.

Oh, and can we have a playlist Erin, please??? I’d love to listen to all the songs these two texted to each other as well as everything else.

Blood and Brume: Review

Thank you to The Parliament House Press for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.

The story: After an attempted rape by her mother’s boyfriend, Ellie runs off and ends up at a place where she thinks she’ll be safe. But the old, abandoned house is more than dust and grime. She meets two strange men in Victorian outfits who claim the house and evict Ellie to her best friend, Sam’s house. There, she finds peace and safety only to be faced with her past and her romantic and ghostly present.

The writing: I loved the writing and Maki has serious talent. I found some instances in the way Ellie spoke to be sort of…not so modern so it threw me off a few times. Teenage speak is hard, I know. Especially when the lingo changes all the time. She also used a ton of exclamations which made me think she was yelling all the time which reminded me of The Black Canary comic I was reading alongside BLOOD AND BRUME and made me giggle a bit.

The plot itself: It was intriguing because it mixed not only ghosts, but also real-life issues and high school drama. You don’t see a lot of that in paranormal books like this.

The end: HOLY FHINAK$UIOHWNJ#*IJCNLM())_PJDXN I mean, what in the HECK! That was a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers so *fast clap, bows to your audacity* Well played, Maki.

If you’re looking for a ghost story that is not just a ghost story but also packs in some serious issues, this is for you. Also, hot ghosts with hot faces you just want to lick. insert drool emoji also the eggplant one

UNLEASHED COVER REVEAL!

Behold the stunning cover to the final installment of the UNSPOKEN SERIES! This has got to be the best one of the three and my favorite! It embodies everything the last book will be about. I cannot wait for you all to dive in this summer!

Add it to Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50244641-uncaged?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=I2J4CvQ8cy&rank=1

Haven’t read Unspoken yet? Grab it wherever books are sold and keep your eyes open next month for book two, UNCAGED!!!!

The Betrothed: Review

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the e-arc to review!

Hollis Brite has just become the object of the young king’s affection, but her eyes have turned toward a foreign boy who reminds her that she is more than just an ornament to the court.

That is the gist of it.

First up is Hollis. She is incredibly boring, but she knows it, which is nice. She has dedicated her life to winning over the king but changes her mind as quick as this book read.

Jameson, the king, is also as dull as a spoon. He feels very dutiful and stoic but is also verytoxicmasculinitycringworthygrossandtedious.

Silas, who has shockingly blue eyes (I’m a sucker for those. I wrote one of those types in my series but mine is a werewolf so…). He too is very toneless, but he can work with his hands and that’s hot, right? Don’t get too attached.

Delia Grace is a two-timing DOB who is only out for herself. That’s just how I feel. You all may have your own opinion, but she is just awful.

On the BRITE side, I went into this book knowing I would not be blown away. I mean, if you’ve read The Selection, you know NOT to expect tremendous amounts of world-building, well-rounded characters, and intellect. I am in it for the trash factor. But what I didn’t expect was that even after all these years, we are still being given these invisible villains and impossibly dull characters. The insta-love was cringe-worthy and so 2006. We need better in YA.

The book read quickly so that’s a plus. Better luck next time.

Red Hood: Review

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.

DAMSEL was my first book by Elane Arnold and I knew after reading it that she was going to be one of my auto-buy authors. I went in with the expectations that carried over from DAMSEL and I was not disappointed.

Let me start this review by saying 1. that this book is in second person present tense POV, so if you do not like that sort of POV, steer clear. I, myself, don’t mind it and find it rather exciting to read, but I digress. 2. there are graphic scenes of periods and sexual encounters

Bisou lives with her grandmother in Seattle. She has a loving boyfriend and a seemingly quiet life. Until one night, she’s attacked by a wolf after running away from an embarrassing situation with her boyfriend. After she manages to kill the beasts, she realizes that it wasn’t a wolf, but a human boy thus triggering a story with a history of loss, sexual empowerment, strong female bonds, and toxic masculinity.

As I stated in my DAMSEL review, there were some graphic scenes that are very important to YA. As much as the story is about men and how their toxic traits can turn them into literal wolves, it was also refreshing to see Bisou’s boyfriend be so caring and understanding, something a lot of men can learn from. Although I doubt men will be reading this book, women can also know what it is like to be in a healthy relationship and to never take any shit.

This book is one big act of symbolism; of women rising and fighting back.

This was an amazing feminist work of art that I will buy for my shelf when it releases.

Feather: Review

The author provided a free copy of the book for review purposes.

Ok, so wtf? I wasn’t expecting to get my mind blown, but here I am cleaning up the mess that is my heart and brains because this book was everything I wanted in a paranormal romance and more. Slow burn romance. Steamy love scenes. GAH!!!

I should have expected it. I absolutely loved the author’s Boulder Wolf series. If you haven’t read those yet, DO IT.

THE STORY:

Leigh is an angel who takes on a difficult mission to complete her wings. Propelling this is the urge to marry above her station. But her mission isn’t any old sinner. It’s one of the worst of all, a triple number sinner named Jarod Adler. If she succeeds, she will gain the feathers she needs to ascend. So, off she goes to France where she infiltrates Jarod’s business and eventually finds herself falling for him.

I absolutely loved Leigh’s journey from hardcore focused angel to confused and screw it all badass. Up until a certain point, she knows exactly what she wants and then it all goes to hell. Seeing her turmoil as she loses feathers for some sinning of her own to protecting a sinner was so fun that I devoured this book in less than two days.

The side characters and the world-building clenched a five star from me. I loved the earthly setting of France since it’s one of my favorite places in the world and the angelic heavens and the way the angels travel.

This ultimate story of forbidden love left me begging for more. I am so happy it’s going to be a series.

Tweet Cute: Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to review this title.

Okay so, this was my absolute favorite contemporary book of 2019.

Let’s start with the meat on this adorable rom-com of a book:

Pepper: she’s the daughter of a family-owned burger empire, excels at school in an almost obsessive way, a swimmer, and loves to bake and runs a blog with her older sister.

Jack: Aspiring app creator, twin, diver, and son of local deli owners.

These two meet in three different platforms. First is the anonymous high school chat app that Jack created where everyone has animal names and nobody knows anyone’s identities. Second is on Twitter when Pepper’s mother decides to roll out a new menu of grilled cheese and confidently names one after Jack’s family’s specialty. Pepper and Jack, unbeknownst to anyone who they really are in real life, find themselves in a Twitter war. Third, they both go to the same school and end up friends after the dive team cuts into the sim teams’ training sessions.

Both kids are equally as obsessed with the Twitter war they rage, even when they discover who each other is in real life and eventually through the chat app.

I loved:

The Twitter war, no matter how petty it was
The budding romance between two rivals
The subplots into their family dynanimcs
The food
The morals
The pop-culture references
GAH DID I SAY THE ROMANCE???

Not a fan of:

Yea, that’s blank. I loved this book for its cheese (quite literally). I cannot wait to see what else Emma Lord has in store for the future. She is one to watch.

Together We Caught Fire: Review

Some spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Also, my Grammarly account is on hold so tough out the grammatical mistakes I am too lazy to fix.

When I first read the synopsis for this book I said to myself, this sounds like some weirdo dreams I used to have when I had a crush on Joshua Goodwin back in elementary school. I seriously imagined my mother divorcing my dad and marrying Josh’s father (where his mother went, I don’t know. Dead maybe. I was a weird kid) and OMG the scenarios that would play in my head. GAH. Anyhow, the synopsis had me all, wow, I’d love to read something like my juvenile romantic inventions, but sexier.

So, here we have Lane who, after her dad announces with engagement, finds herself living with the very boy she’s had a crush on, like, FOREVER. Cue the fans because is it hot in here? Not only that, but he’s the boyfriend of Lane’s friend AND NOT ONLY THAT she finds herself crushing on a mutual friend, Conner. When Lane hooks up with Conner, she finds that her feelings toward her step-brother Grey become muddled.

Gibson’s writing is literally to die for. At first, I thought it would too flowery for my taste but NOPE. It worked and it worked so well I need to take a class on how to write like her because she is GOALS.

The open discussion about Lane’s periods and endometriosis was a welcome topic seeing as a lot of women, including myself have suffered from such a thing and her doctor brushing her off saying she’s too young for such a thing, even though her mother had it, is so real-life. Women’s pain is often discredited. I was told the same and I ended up wth stage four endo that nearly rendered me infertile. Endo needs a cure. Fist pump.

The other topics I need to mention are that Lane’s family are Wiccans and that is not something we see in YA. Also, the slut-shaming that Lane puts up with not only from her school, but from Grey and her friend would have been infuriating if not for Lane’s attitude. She’s no pushover and makes it known.

Grey is one jerk of a character. For one, he’s controlling. He doesn’t show the least bit of interest in Lane, save for a few tiny moments, until she gets with Conner and then he goes all crazy, like some boys do when they want something they can’t have. Thank the gods that Lane sees it for what it is. Although her relationship with Conner becomes strained when her fantasies about Grey still vying to become reality.

And Sadie, Grey’s girlfriend, and Lane supposed friend is pretty much a sh&t person. The comments she makes regarding Lane’s clothing cannot be blamed on her conservative upbringing. She’s just downright rude.

And Conner, poor cinnamon Conner. I just fell for him. Hard.

All in all, this was a fantastic book and I loved every moment of the time I spent reading it. This book deals with some heavy topics and there is a trigger warning, but my final thoughts are that I feel like YA needs to tackle more topics like mental illness as well as homelessness, suicide, insomnia, as well as other health issues like the endo I mentioned above. It is doing a disservice to teens not to touch upon this and publish more books with these issues.

Ashlords: Review

Wow, there was a lot going on in this book! Warring clans. Magic. Revenge. Horses from the underworld. Yep, you heard me.

ASHLORDS follows three POVs, Imedle, a Dividian alchemist, Pippa, an Ashlord who comes from a family of Racing champions, and Adrian, a Longhorn whose only focus is to win. I love multiple POVs, so having three was no bother. It helped me get a perspective of each clan. I did not even know who to root for; I loved them all.

This story was incredibly unique. As the synopsis states, it is compared to one of my favorite books of all time, THE SCORPIO RACES, and although ASHLORDS lacked the heart of TSR, it was not diminished. I mean, horses that are phoenixes (as they are rightly called in the story) and have the ability to rebirth themselves with attributes depending on how the rider pours in the components into their ashes is f43king awesome. As I said, this did lack a bit of the feels, but it was a good story nonetheless. ASHLORDS had a lot to tackle, and Scott did it with expertise. I cannot wait to read the second!