Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen *REVIEW*

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Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, a thrilling first novel in a fast-paced new YA fantasy series by USA Today bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen.
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

Review:Dark Shores was an experience for sure. This one had been on my radar for a while, and when Tor Teen asked if I wanted to review the second book, Dark Skies, I went ahead and picked up this one. I actually buddy read this book with 3 of my besties over on Instagram and it was my first official buddy read! It was a lot of fun. If you have been following me for a while then you know that I have a rough relationship with Danielle L. Jensen. She previously wrote The Bridge Kingdom, which most of my book besties absolutely ADORED and I was not a huge fan of it, so you could say that I went into Dark Shores a little skeptical.
I am not going to lie, for the first 30% of the book I was ready to DNF the book. I was not connecting with the writing at all, I did not care about the plot, and the main female character was driving me insane. However, I was powering through because I did not want to DNF a book that I was buddy reading.
Around the 40%-50% mark, I realized that I was really starting to love the male POV, Marcus. I’ll be honest, Marcus’s back is probably VERY sore from carrying me through the last half of this book. Throughout the second half, I felt like the main female, Teriana, got tolerable. I just could not be bothered to care about her at all. In the end, I did get swept up in the overall plot and ended up enjoying the ending, it just a bit of a painful journey to get there. I think I will give the second book a shot. Ultimately a 3.5 star feels right for this read. There were 2-star aspects for me, and 5-star aspects. I will continue on with book two because I am curious where this plot is going to go.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black *REVIEW*

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Rating: 3/5 Stars

Synopsis:Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review:THE. CRUEL. PRINCE……… Where do I even begin? This is a book that so many of my friends love, that I just have put off for a long time. In the month of May I had hit a good stride within YA Fantasy and decided that it was time to tackle this story.
I will start out with this review by saying that I DID have some expectations going in. I expected this angsty enemies-to-lovers romance, and I think that definitely hindered my enjoyment of this a lot. I went in with expectations and the story DID NOT live up to them at all.
In the beginning of the story I felt as if our main character Cardan was overly cruel for absolutely no reason other than to be a complete and utter asshole. I was expecting that, however after a while it got to be too much. You were left with all of his actions still feeling unjustifiably cruel. There is a bit of a redemption plot, but so far in the first book I just couldn’t. By the end of the book I was a little invested in the prospect of a “romance”, however I still was not on board with Cardan completely.
I did really enjoy the character of Jude. You see this young woman who just wants to fit in and be someone important. You constantly see her fighting herself on if she wants to go back to the mortal world or stay in the faerie world. It is very easy to stand by and say “everything would be fixed and easy if you just went back to the human world”, but that is not Jude’s character. She is driven and powerful and a character that I wish I had read at 17.
The one thing that made me fly through these pages was the politics. Although the world building I found to be a bit lacking, the politics were truly the driving force and kept me turning pages all day.
Overall it was not a bad book, and I will continue with the second installment just because I think if the romance kicks up I could really get on board. I do not think it will fall into a favorite of all time, but I think it could be an entertaining read that I need right now. I blame most of my issues with the book on expectations that I had going in, and I blame myself for that.

The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1) by Evan Winter


Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis:Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

Review: This was a book that has been on my radar since it’s traditionally published release. This was one of those books that thy hype was STRONG when it first came out, so that worried me a little bit. At the time I was also relatively new to the fantasy genre, and something about a “military fantasy” story scared me off. I finally decided to jump in this past week and I am SO glad that I did.
This book sucked me in immediately. From the prologue on I was completely hooked. My first praise for this book is actually the pacing. Somehow Winter has crafted a fast-paced plot with INCREDIBLE character development along the way. From the beginning, it felt like this book was just written for me. I love a fast-paced plot that sucks me in and keeps me engaged from the first page. I also LOVE politics in my fantasy and this certainly delivered. The magic system was GREAT. The world-building was immersive and built up perfectly. The ROMANCE was absolutely fantastic! As a fantasy and romance reader, it is HARD to find epic fantasy stories with a great romance, and Evan hit it out of the park with this one!
Overall this book was near-perfect. I do not think that there is a single thing that I would’ve changed or that I felt could’ve been done better, and that is so rare. This easily takes a spot in my Top 3 favorite books of all time. I don’t know how I am going to wait for the next book. This book left me wanting to go back and reread it immediately. I just want to be back in this world and with these characters all over again.

A King’s Bargain(Legend of Tal #1) by J.D.L. Rosell Blog Tour

I am very excited to be teaming up today with Storytellers on Tour and J.D.L. Rosell to tell you all about A King”s Bargain. It is the first book in the new epic fantasy series The Legend of Tal. I have an excerpt to share with you today as well as a fun giveaway!

Bran settled in a chair across from his guest and smiled like they were old friends.
The house was nothing to look at, he well knew: two rooms large, with a ragged curtain separating them; a small wood stove settled behind him, and a well-used pot and pan, travel-ready, hanging above it. As rain began to patter against the roof, the usual leaks started up in the corners.
He didn’t care to impress folks, not anymore, and this man least of all. But he’d helped his guest over the stoop like a nobleman might usher a lady into his bedroom, and ignored the man’s protests that he needed no assistance in a similarly lofty manner.
Gallantry, he’d often found, suited a liar like a cape fit a king.
Garin squirmed in the seat next to them, but Bran paid him no mind as he took his glass and threw it back. He sighed as the liquid burned its way down his throat to settle a steady warmth in his gut. “Say what you want about Crazy Ean, but he makes a damn fine whiskey.”
“So says anyone mad enough to try it,” Garin muttered.
Bran grinned at him. “Life is short and dark as it is. May as well brighten it with a few glorious risks.”
The youth shrugged.
He turned his gaze to the guest again, who hadn’t touched his glass. “I know your name, Aelyn, and you know ours. The table is set. Now lay out what you want, or we’ll have to settle on beans and roots for dinner.”
Aelyn hadn’t removed his hat, but even with his eyes shadowed, they seemed to gleam. “You know what I want. I’m not idly used as a messenger. But I obey my commands.” 
He lifted his hand to reveal a small, shining band resting in his palm, then set it on the table. Garin stared at it, mouth open wide. Bran found he was unable to resist looking himself, though he knew its kind well. Not a ring of silver or gold or copper, but milky white crystal, with a steady glow from within its clouded center.
“What is it?” Garin asked, sounding as if he wished he hadn’t spoken but was unable to resist.
Aelyn didn’t answer but kept his steady, orange gaze on Bran, like a raptor on a hare.
Bran sighed. “It’s a Binding Ring. An artifact of oaths that holds the wearer to a promise.”
Garin might be a man grown to the villagers, but he looked a boy at that moment, his eyes wide, his mouth forming a small “o.”
“Like… a magic ring?” the youth ventured.
“Enough of this!” Aelyn snapped. “Take it and put it on. We must be returning immediately.”
“Off so soon? But you haven’t touched your drink.”
The man snorted. “If I wished to poison myself, I have a thousand better ways than that human swill. Don that ring. Now.” His fiery eyes slid over to Garin. “Or do you want the boy to know your true name?”
Bran studied him. A feeling, hard as flint, was starting behind his eyes. A feeling familiar as a distant memory. A feeling he’d hoped to have dug a deep grave and buried in the past. As it rose, a warmth unconnected to the whiskey began coursing through his body. Dread? he mocked himself. Or anticipation?
He reached a hand forward, finger brushing the crystal. It was warm to the touch. From past experience, he knew it remained warm most of the time. So long as the wearer kept to what he was bound. If he didn’t, a mountain peak in winter would be preferable punishment.
Aelyn’s eyes watched. Wary. Waiting.
Bran scooped up the ring, vaulted across the table, and shouted, “Heshidal bauchdid!”
The man jerked, then stiffened in his chair, eyes wide with surprise, hat knocked askew. Bran took his moment, snatching one of the smooth hands and slipping the ring over a long finger.
As Aelyn shivered free of the binding, his mouth stuttered, “Bastard of a pig-blooded whore—!”
“Quiet down!” Bran shouted over him. “This I bind you to: That you will wear this ring until I am safely back in Hunt’s Hollow. That you will tell no one that you wear this ring instead of me. That you will tell no one my true name unless I bid it. And that you won’t harm the boy Garin or myself in that time.”
The ring shone brightly for a moment, and Aelyn shuddered, eyes squeezed shut, teeth braced in a grimace. A moment later, the ring dimmed, and Bran released his guest’s hand. As he settled into his chair, brushing back the hairs that had worked loose of his tail, his blood began to cool again.
“Now,” he said as he reached for the whiskey bottle, which had fallen over in the struggle, and pulled out the stopper. “You sure you don’t want any of this human swill?”
The man raised his hand and stared at the crystal ring, horror spreading across his face. “She told you, didn’t she? She told you my true name.”
Bran poured a glass, then proffered it to the youth, who stared at him as if he were the stranger. “Feeling mad enough yet?”
Garin took the glass, threw it back, and promptly coughed half of it back up.
“There you are, Garin, there you are,” Bran said, thumping his back. “You’ll learn to swallow it all before long.”

A King’s Bargain Giveaway

You can check out the rest of the incredible people involed in the tour here.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Legend of Tal here.

You can add it to your Goodreads here.

I’m A Fantasy Reader With Aphantasia

What is aphanstasia?
Before I just into my story and how I found out that I have this, I think that it is best that I explain what Aphantasia is, because up until a few weeks ago I didn’t even know it was a thing. The true definition of aphantasia as defined by Oxford is: “the inability to form mental images of objects that are not present”. So for example when someone says to picture an apple in your mind 98% of the population would see an apple in their mind. For the other 2% we only understand the concepts of what we know an apple to be, however we cannot physically picture an apple inside of our mind.

How did I discover that I had this?
I actually stumbled upon this recently as I was reading Illuminae and chatting with one of my friends. I was having a lot of trouble understanding what was happening in the story, when someone said that they felt like it was super immersive and they could vividly see everything as it was unfolding. That was when I realized when people say they picture things they ACTUALLY SEE IT!
I am not going to lie, at 24 years old this blew my mind. It took 24 years for me to learn that when people say they “picture” something they see an image in their head. People can actually recall landscapes and people face in their own mind? I didn’t even have words.
One of my bestest friends pointed me to an article written by the incredible fantasy author Mark Lawrence that you can read here.here. It was insane to me that this “thing” I was living with my whole life was even a thing. It made no sense, but perfect sense at the same time.

How does it affect my reading?
As of right now I am not sure how it affects my reading, simply because I have always been a reader with this. It has made me question a lot of things though. I have always noticed that I do not remember details of books like the people around me. When I am actively reading a book I am fine, once I set it down for a few hours I can remember the big events of what’s going on, but often times not character names. A day or two after finishing I forget most of the small moments and within a few weeks I forget almost all main parts of the story. I always chalked it up as bad memory, but some people that I have chatted with since having this realization if that is why I don’t remember books vividly. Science have shown if we read it, see it, and hear it we will remember. I don’t have the “see it” option to recall upon.

The thing about SciFi?
Science Ficiton and Fantasy are genres that usually go hand-in-hand. Most fantasy readers also have a list of their favorite sci-fi books and vice versa. As a fantasy reader, one of my biggest frustrations with myself is that I just cannot get into Science Fiction. In fact, Illuminae is the first science fiction book I have actually finished all the way through, and that is not for lack of trying. I have always felt a disconnect with Science Fiction and I think my Aphantasia may be to blame for that. In both fantasy and contemporary books I have a frame of reference as to what everything is. When you mention a forest, I have seen a forest before and even though I cannot visualize it in my head I have a concept of what it is. In science fiction we often get into these ships and these planets that I have no frame of reference and because I do not have a frame of reference already in my mind it creates this disconnect that doesn’t allow me to become truly immersed in a story. Leaving me bored and often times confused.

Overall this was such a crazy thing to learn about myself at 24 years old, and I am just very curious about people who CAN visualize things.
For anyone wondering if they may have Aphantasia as well I found this easy test on Reddit. People with Aphantasia will “picture” box 1.

May 2020 Wrap Up

May was a very strange month for me, reading and otherwise. The world is in a pandemic, we have murder hornets, and the 17-year cicadas are set to breakout anytime. Not only is the world on fire, my reading has been very strange.
Something deep down inside of me reverted back to my YA roots. I could not focus on ANY adult fantasy this month, and I only wanted all of the YA. I had a blast this month with my reading and finished 6 books in total.

What I Read!
Here is a list of all of the books that I read in the month of May and their ratings. If I have a review up on my site I will make the Title a clickable link.

A Touch of Stone and Snow by: Milla Vane
Rating:5/5 stars
I received A Touch of Stone and Snow as an eARC from Berkley in April and could not wait to jump into it. The first book in the series, A Heart of Blood and Ashes was a book that I read and loved back in February. This is on track to become on of my absolute favorite fantasy romance series of all time.

The Shadows Between Us by: Tricia Levenseller
Rating: 5/5 stars
This month REALLY kicked off with a bang. This was SUCH a fun YA fantasy that was everything that my slytherin heart wanted.

Meet Me at Midnight by: Jessica Pennington
Rating:4/5 stars
The beautiful people over at Tor Teen asked if I was interested in reviewing a finished copy of Meet Me at Midnight. YA contemporary is definitely not my thing, but a good enemies-to-lovers trope is! This was definitely a fun read perfect for summer.

House of Dragons by: Jessica Cluess
Rating: 5/5 stars
House of Dragons
was the first book that I have run out on release day to buy in quite sometime. The premise and the cover sucked me in MONTHS ago and I was so excited for this release. I am so happy to call it my new favorite young adult book of all time. Seriously, it is so good. Go read it!

Dark Shores by: Danielle L. Jensen
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I do not have a ton to say about this book, however I will have a review going up soon. I did buddy read this over on Instagram with my friends Kym, C, and Ossiris. It was my first buddy read and I had a blast. It was so nice to have people to rant to as I went along and that helped me organize my thoughts on the book.

Illuminae by: Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Rating:3/5 stars
I feel weird even rating this book, my issues were NOT with the book. It was strictly a ME issue. I learned a lot about myself reading this book and I will definitely be writing a whole blog post on that next month,so make sure you are following me 😉

The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black
Rating: 3/5 stars
I FINALLY got around to reading this book. I read it in under 24 hours….. I didn’t love it. My review will be up sometime in Hyne.

Netgalley ARCs I Received This Month
With all of the craziness going on with the pandemic a lot of publishers are not sending out as many physical review copies, with that being said I have received some INCREDIBLE advanced reader copies on Netgalley. I am so excited to get to these and review them for you! Here are the ones I received, if you click on the title it will take you to the Goodreads page to learn more!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Arctic Bite
The Boyfriend Project
Chosen Ones
Over The Woodward Wall
Tools of Engagement

What’s Next?
Overall this was a really great reading month for me and I hope that it continues into June. I have structured this months Wrap-Up a little different and I would love to know what you think! I would also love to add additional things into my wrap ups, so if you have suggestions on other things that you would like to see; bookish or not!
I hope you all had a great month, I would love to hear what your favorite book was that you read this month. Let me know about any reading plans you have for June. Happy reading!

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess *REVIEW*

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis:Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

Review:I do not even know where to begin with this review. This book absolutely blew me away. It is a book that I had added to my Goodreads when it was initially announced and then never really looked into it further. A few days before release I saw reviews popping up on Instagram and it was receiving VERY high praise, so I knew that I needed to get my hands on it. Once release day rolled around I ordered a copy from Barnes and Noble and went to pick it up (curbside of course). I spent the next three days completely obsessed!
What truly shines brightest about this book is the characters. We have 5 POV’s and they are ALL so easy to follow and learn about these characters. You very quickly grow to love, understand, and appreciate every single one. What caught me off guard was the character of Emilia. She has a power that she is struggling to hide. I felt as though I was seeing my struggle with my own mental illness reflected in her character and this power that she has. A character hasn’t come along in a VERY long time that I have felt so deeply connected with.
The plot was perfect. It was fast-paced enough to keep you turning pages, but slow enough to allow you the time and attention you needed to truly dive deep into these characters and who they are.
The magic and fantasy elements within this story were REALLY great and the dragons were some of my favorite dragons I have ever read. The bond portrayed between a dragon and their rider was incredible.
It is safe to say that this is one of my favorite dragon books of all time, and it is absolutely my favorite YA fantasy of all time. I was left totally satisfied, but also NEEDING more. This is one of the easiest 5 stars that I have given this year.

I FINALLY Read Assassin’s Apprentice by: Robin Hobb Review

Series: The Farseer Trilogy #1
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis:In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

Review: I genuinely do not have words. It is not often a book comes along and absolutely takes my breath away. That is exactly what Assassin’s Apprentice did. I have waited SO LONG to read this book, simply because I have been so overwhelmed at the idea of starting a 16 book series. It also is so often described that it has a “classic fantasy” feel and that is not a genre that I have much positive experience with. I am definitely a more modern fantasy fan.
The only negative things that I see about this book are that people are “bored” throughout this series and that was not at all my experience with it. I started this book through our time of social distancing and I was so immersed and engaged the entire time.
My love for Fitz was instant and I would honestly read millions of books following him. I do not usually love following child main characters within adult fantasy, but this really worked. The connection that I felt with Fitz was immediately and I felt my heart breaking for him time and time again. I really really loved the atmosphere that Hobb created, as well as the politics within the world. I also enjoyed the writing. It was the perfect mix of descriptive yet approachable.
I do not have much more to say about this book, I just really urge you all to pick it up! Do not be like me and get intimidated and put it off. Treat yourself and pick this one up!

Meet Me at Midnight by: Jessica Pennington *REVIEW*

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Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis:They have a love-hate relationship with summer.
Sidney and Asher should have clicked. Two star swimmers forced to spend their summers on a lake together sounds like the perfect match. But it’s the same every year—in between cookouts and boat rides and family-imposed bonfires, Sidney and Asher spend the dog days of summer finding the ultimate ways to prank each other. And now, after their senior year, they’re determined to make it the most epic summer yet.
But their plans are thrown in sudden jeopardy when their feud causes their families to be kicked out of their beloved lake houses. Once in their new accommodations, Sidney expects the prank war to continue as usual. But then she gets a note—Meet me at midnight. And Asher has a proposition for her: join forces for one last summer of epic pranks, against a shared enemy—the woman who kicked them out.
Their truce should make things simpler, but six years of tormenting one another isn’t so easy to ignore. Kind of like the undeniable attraction growing between them.

Review:I am always hesitant going into YA contemporary/romance reads. It is a genre that I had myself convinced I had “aged out of”. I haven’t read one that I really enjoyed in well over a year. That being said, when Tor Teen emailed me to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this I immediately looked up the review and when I saw it was a “YA take on The Hating Game by Sally Thorne” I knew I had to give it a shot, and I am so glad that I did.
This book set out to be a fun, angsty, summery, enemies-to-lovers romance and it did just that. This was such a fun book to get lost into for a few hours. I actually read it all in one sitting. Asher and Sidney have this perfect angsty relationship full of high jinks and snarkiness. The chemistry was dripping off of the page and left you screaming at them to just get together already. There were enough little traces of chemistry and sweet moments sprinkled throughout the entire book that it never felt drawn out, or TOO heavy on the enemies part of enemies-to-lovers. I think it had a perfect balance of all of the romance elements you want to find in a light summer read.
The only reason I am deducting one star for this book is for the character of Sidney. Although I loved her for 95% of the book, there was that 5% where her self-sabotaging got under my skin and just kinda pulled me out of things a bit. I can overlook most of it because I think had I been a teenager reading this book it would have been way more relatable, but as an adult, I was just stuck feeling like her self-sabotaging came off as being petty.
Overall I really enjoyed this read and would definitely recommend it to those that love romance and YA contemporary. It would be the perfect read to sit down on a chair by the pool with for an afternoon.

Thank you Tor Teen for sending me a finished copy of his novel for review. That does not in any way affect my rating of the book. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

The Shadows Between Us by: Tricia Levenseller *REVIEW*

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis:Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

Review:I am not going to lie, I added The Shadow Between Us to my Goodreads “Want To Read” shelf as soon as the covers released because- LOOK AT IT. The black and red color scheme along with the dagger? It appealed to my aesthetic heart. THEN I read that it was being described as the Slytherin romance we all need. I was sold from that point forward. When I got the Libby notification that it was finally available to checkout, I hit the “borrow” button and never looked back.
Now, I will be honest. I have been STRUGGLING with YA fantasy for a while now, but this book was definitely a turning point for me. To say that I loved it is an understatement. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours and my only regret is that I cannot go back a re-experience it for the first time all over again.
Selling something as a Slytherin romance had me very nervous, but that ended up being the best way to describe this story. Our main character Allesandra is power-hungry and conniving. She is one of those characters that you know you should not love, but you can’t help it. She is snarky, yet somehow very relatable. The Shadow King is just as snarky and is not afraid to stand nose to nose with her. We also have an incredible cast of side characters who are relatable and really add to the story overall.
This story did a really great job of being a feminist novel without being cringey or over the top. There were a lot of really great quotes on being a woman and standing your ground without it feeling preachy or off-putting. There was also a great focus on female friendships which I always really enjoy seeing in stories, young adult especially.
The romance was SO GOOD. It had a great plot pushing the story forward while keeping the romance plot going at a perfect pace. In the first half of this book, I had no guess as to where this story was going and it was such a fun time figuring it out. Everything within the romance and relationship felt organic and real. Nothing ever felt rushed or over the top, which is usually my main gripe with YA romance plots.
Overall this was an easy 5 stars from me and I am a bit sad that it was a standalone. I just want to be able to spend more time with all of these characters and in this world.