Synopsis: Born in fire. Tempered in blood.
Epheria is a land divided by war and mistrust. The High Lords of the South squabble and fight, only kept in check by the Dragonguard, traitors of a time long past, who serve the empire of the North.
In the remote villages of southern Epheria, still reeling from the tragic loss of his brother, Calen Bryer prepares for The Proving – a test of courage and skill that not all survive.
But when three strangers arrive in the village of Milltown, with a secret they are willing to die for, Calen’s world is ripped from under him and he is thrust headfirst into a war that has been raging for centuries.
There is no prophecy. His coming was not foretold.
He bleeds like any man, and bleed he will.
Review: I had such a fun time with Of Blood and Fire. Every once and awhile a fantasy book comes along that reminds me why I fell in love with the genre. This book felt nostalgic in a weird way. It brought me back to being 13 year old Morgan hiding in the school library flying through the pages. It gave me that feeling of staying up late under the covers and going on a fantasy adventure. This book somehow gives you fantasy nostalgia feelings, while also feeling like a fresh entry into the genre. We have a band of friends who have to set out on an adventure. We have the most precious dragon I have ever encountered in literature. There’s a wolf that I would literally die for. This book kept me turning the pages.
Overall I think if you are a fan of adventure fantasy, then this is definitely worth picking up. I am so glad that I read this and am so happy to have a new indie fantasy book to scream about to anyone who will listen.
Synopsis:Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Review:I will admit this was one of the hardest books to review. I struggle to say that I “enjoyed” this book because it is very dark and hard-hitting. That being said, I think that it is a very important story that the world needs. Going into this book I did not have very much knowledge of native culture and I felt like I learned so much within this book. We definitely need more #OwnVoices native stories. That being said I would encourage you to search for Own Voice reviews of Firekeeper’s Daughter!
This was a HEAVY book and was one I needed to set down and walk away from a few times. It tackles some HUGE topics without holding back. At times this book made me angry and uncomfortable, but I think that was a good thing and made me really look at the issues this book is addressing within native communities. I will have content warnings down below in a separate comment for you to be aware of before diving headfirst into this book.
Overall I wouldn’t say this was an unenjoyable reading experience though. The writing was absolutely beautiful, the culture was rich and interesting, and the second half of the book had me flying through the pages unable to stop. The last 100 pages I couldn’t stop. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t wait to see how things wrapped up.
I would warn that I personally think this book fits more into the “new adult” age range than “young adult”. Our two main characters are 18 and 22 and as I previously stated there are some heavy themes explored throughout.
Overall I think if this book sounds like a plot you would like to pick up, then you absolutely should. I am so glad this is a story I read and have added to my collection.
Synopsis:Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.
Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy-tale love?
Review:And so my experience with Bridgerton continues. I have had a hold on An Offer From a Gentleman from my library for months now, and I was SO EXCITED when it finally came in. This book felt a little different from the past two Bridgerton books, as it is a Cinderella reimagining/retelling.
First off I just have to say, Benedict!!!!! Oh how I love the second Bridgerton brother. I found him to be so real and relatable. The perfect mix of gentleman and sassy. The artsy brother. The often forgotten brother. Ugh! I just love him so much. I do not see myself loving another sibling as much as Benedict. I also found this to be my favorite storyline of the series thus far. I really loved the romance in this one and read it in one sitting.
This book gets 5⭐️ from me and is by far my favorite of the series thus far. (Sorry Anthony😉)
Synopsis:Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived.
Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less.
She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives.
But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all.
Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”
Review:I would like to start off by thanking Harper Voyager for sending me over a beautiful finished copy of The Bone Maker for review.
I will admit that when I requested this book I went in without knowing much about the story. The cover was the first thing that caught my attention, and then the fact that it was a standalone fantasy story sealed the deal for me. The only thing I knew was that Sarah Beth Durst was known for creating an AWESOME atmosphere in her books, and this book was no exception. I think that the atmosphere in this book was one of the shining points for me. It takes place in this dark fantasy world within the mountains, where there are tiers within the mountains and tons of cliffs. It adds that extra bit of danger when it comes to exploring the world. The second thing that REALLY made this book stand out to me is the characters. I absolutely loved our entire band of heroes. There’s something about a group of middle-aged ex heroes having to band together and save the world again that I absolutely love. I felt like I knew every character so well and was in the story with them.
My only downfall with this book is that the pacing just kind of felt all over the place and kept me putting down the book and picking it up. A lot of that could be because I am personally a more plot-driven reader, and this is such a character-driven book. There was a lot of time spent just sitting with the characters, and less time spent when they were actually out on their adventure.
Ultimately I ended up giving this book a 4⭐️ and it will definitely be a standalone that I will recommend often. I think if you were a fan of Foundryside, Kings of the Wyld, or The Bone Shard Daughter, then this is definitely one to pick up!
Synopsis:Ice is in her blood.
Eighteen-year-old Waterrunner Eira Landan lives her life in the shadows — the shadow of her older brother, of her magic’s whispers, and of the person she accidentally killed. She’s the most unwanted apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers until the day she decides to step out and compete for a spot in the Tournament of Five Kingdoms.
Pitted against the best sorcerers in the Empire, Eira fights to be one of four champions. Excelling in the trials has its rewards. She’s invited to the royal court with the “Prince of the Tower,” discovers her rare talent for forbidden magic, and at midnight, Eira secretly meets with a handsome elfin ambassador.
But, Eira soon learns, no reward is without risk. As she comes into the spotlight, so too do the skeletons of a past she hadn’t even realized was haunting her.
Eira went into the trials ready for a fight. Ready to win. She wasn’t ready for what it would cost her. No one expected the candidates might not make it out with their lives.
A Trial of Sorcerers is the first book in a brand new, young adult, epic fantasy series intended for readers who love stories involving: sorcerer competitions, slow-burn romance, adventures to distant lands, and elemental magic.
Review:First off I would like to thank Elise Kova for sending me an Advanced eCopy of this book. It was definitely on my list of most anticipated for this year.
As always I will start off with the things that I really enjoyed about this novel. I absolutely adored the magic system and the politics. The magic system was based around elemental magic, which is my favorite type of magic system to see in the media. It was clear that Kova had put a ton of thought into the inner-workings of the magic system and that provided a seamless explanation of it, without it ever feeling info-dumpy or pulling you out of the story. I also REALLY loved the politics of this world. I felt like there was so much scheming and political maneuvering that we got to see a kind of inside look at because of the main characters’ connections.
Unfortunately what fell a little flat for me in this story was the main character, Eira, felt very naive to me. I know that she is meant to be young, but she was overly naive and trusting. Especially in her position surrounded by secrets that she is just now discovering herself. Ultimately I ended up at a 3.5⭐️ for this read. I will be continuing the series and hoping that as Eira develops as a character she will learn to not be as naive and trusting.
Synopsis:With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
In New York, she’s able to ignore all the constant questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
Review:Oh, what to say about Honey Girl. First off, I would like to thank the publisher for giving me the opportunity to join the blog tour for this book. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, so I was so excited when they reached out. My feelings on this book are so jumbled and all over the place. I am going to try my hardest to articulate how I felt about this book.
I will start with the positives first. I really loved our main character Grace. I feel like in books we don’t get enough showcasing that time out of college and in your late 20’s where you feel so lost and are fighting to find your place in this world. I think as a theme that was explored perfectly. I also loved the aspect of found family. Grace has surrounded herself with such an incredible group of supportive people and chose to make them her family.
Now, for the negatives. Most of my issues with this book really came from the pacing of the story. It just felt very all over the place. There were things happening that I was really interested in, especially her time with Yuki, however it all felt very glossed over and there was long time jumps that didn’t really fit. That being said, there was times where we spent a ton of time on things that I didn’t feel really invested in or what was important to the story. Ultimately the timeline jumping all over the place really pulled me out of the story and left me not really wanting to pick it up.
This book was INCREDIBLY diverse, however as someone who does not identify with so many of the diverse aspects I will not say if the representation was done well.
Overall this ended up being a 3 star read. I am happy that I read it, however it just fell a bit flat for me.
Synopsis:Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable—a curse that gives her the ability to blend into any crowd. When the only father she’s ever known makes a dying wish for his adopted family of orphans to recover a missing painting, she’s the first one her siblings turn to for stealing it back. No one expects that in doing so, she’ll also abduct a handsome duke.
Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is tortured by his father’s mistakes. To repair his estate’s ruined reputation, he must wed a highborn heiress. Yet when he finds himself in a carriage being driven hell-for-leather down the cobblestone streets of London by a beautiful woman who refuses to heed his commands, he fears his heart is hers. But how can he sacrifice his family’s legacy to follow true love?
Review:Thank you Forever Publishing and the author for sending along a stunning finished copy of The Duke Heist in exchange for an honest review.
This is a book that went onto my immediate TBR the minute that I read the synopsis. I am a huge fan of heist stories in fantasies and was so excited to give it a try in a historical fiction setting. I will admit that the heist part of the book was a bit of a letdown. I was expecting way more action and maneuvering than we got. In fact, I was pretty bored through the first half of this book. I just couldn’t get into it and nothing was making me really want to pick it up.
The Duke Heist really finds its stride at about the halfway point and once I hit it I was completely hooked. The romance in this is SO good, and I think that this book handled the second half conflict VERY well in a way that didn’t bog down the story or make me roll my eyes. The strongest thing for me with this book is the sibling relationship and characters. I absolutely adored every single one of the siblings and felt like I really knew them. I cannot wait for the next book!
I ended up giving this book 4⭐️ and will definitely be picking up the next installment when it releases this Fall.
Synopsis:Followed by Millions, Watched by One
To her adoring fans, Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, is the honest “Instamum” who always tells it like it is.
To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life.
To one of Emmy’s dangerously obsessive followers, she’s the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it.
As Emmy’s marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family.
In this deeply addictive tale of psychological suspense, Ellery Lloyd raises important questions about technology, social media celebrity, and the way we live today. Probing the dark side of influencer culture and the perils of parenting online, People Like Her explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we’ll go to be liked by strangers. It asks what—and who—we sacrifice when make our private lives public, and ultimately lose control of who we let in. . . .
Review:Thank you Harper Books for sending me a copy of People Like Her in exchange for an honest review.
I am not typically a thriller reader, but I knew that I had to give this one a chance. I am fascinated by anything that has to do with social media or being an “Influencer”. I truly believe that right now we are living at the height of “Influencer Culture” and I REALLY enjoyed how this book explored that. There are so many conversations that this book starts about being an influencer and balancing your real life with your online life. I think whether you are an influencer or not, this is a balance we all need to find. We see how important setting boundaries online and sticking to them. We also see how easy it is for us as humans to want to push those boundaries.
The rest of this story kinda fell flat for me. Nothing really felt “thrilling” to me and I found this book easy to sit down after reading a few pages and coming back to it. That usually is not a good sign for me when it comes to thrillers.
Overall I think this book is worth picking up if you are interested in influencers and the culture surrounding them. If you are just looking for a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this may be one to pass on.
Synopsis:Cutler Ryder was everything I wasn’t.
He was the hockey star. I was an outcast.
He was best friends with my stepbrother, that same stepbrother who hated me.
His two parents loved him. My mom was a junkie. My dad barely knew me.
I got my life together.
Cut went onto NHL stardom.
Then there was a text.
I was drinking.
There was a party.
Cut was there…
I loved Cutler Ryder since the first moment I saw him.
The only problem? He never knew I existed.
Review:Sit back and let me tell you a story about how a book that I almost DNF’d at the 20% mark came to be my favorite read of 2020.
I had seen The Not-Outcast floating around the romance community in December and when I saw it was a hockey romance with mental health rep, I knew that I had to pick it up immediately. I won’t lie, throughout the first part of this book I absolutely could not stand being in the main character, Cheyenne’s mind. She was quirky and scattered. I actually set this book down for a few days, but something about it just kept sticking in the back of my mind. I thought a lot about Cheyenne over the next few days and realized that it was not her characterization that was bothering me, it was the fact that being inside of her head was too much like being in my own head. It was uncomfortable and at times triggering, but I saw myself in this girl, so I knew that I had to keep going, and DAMN am I glad that I did.
Yes, this book is a hockey romance. We have Cut who is an absolute cinnamon roll of a character, which is my absolute favorite when it comes to sports romance. We have this tough hockey star who is full of rage and determination on the ice, but when he is off of the ice he is the kindest and sweetest hero. However, this book is so much more than that. This is truly Cheyenne’s story of overcoming not only huge traumas, but also living her life with these debilitating mental illnesses. I really enjoyed how the author made the choice to not write out her diagnoses on page, because I think that it was important to not get hung up on putting those labels on Cheyenne.
I do not think that this book will be for everyone. The reasons I love this book are so incredibly personal to me. For the very first time in my life I felt like I saw myself represented in such a realistic way in Cheyenne. I saw a girl who was really struggling, and at times spiraling, who still got the guy in the end. A girl who lived through such horrible things, and yet she had a huge heart, pushed to keep a smile on her face, and went out and created her own family. Although I read this book on Kindle Unlimited I have already purchased the paperback to keep on my shelf. This is a book I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life.
Synopsis:My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
Review:Oh, Tracy Wolff. What have you done to me? My journey with Crave has been a long one.
When this book was first announced I was very excited about the prospect of a new Twilight-type story for a new generation. I snagged a hardcover copy when I found it on sale not long after its release. I was still super excited until the reviews started pouring in. It seemed that hating on this book became quite the trendy thing to do. I was scared that this was just another really cheesy, poorly written, Twilight knockoff. When I finally picked this one up I was so excited to find none of that true.
Yes, this book is FULL of teenage angst, romance, and drama. And yes, the writing can be a bit over the top and cringey at times. However, that is where the Twilight similarities stop. First of all, we have out the main character of Grace, she is NOTHING like Bella. She is a girl who has experienced a horrible trauma and is strong and independent. Our love interest, Jaxon, is also nothing like Edward. Of course, he is deliciously dark, mysterious, and broody, but in a much more digestible way than Edward.
I was so pleasantly surprised to find that this world explores a bunch of different fantasy creatures and not just vampires. I think there is a lot of room to expand upon this world in book two and I cannot wait to see where Tracy Wolff takes it. Although this book is full of over the top teenage drama, it never felt too heavy-handed. The twists and turns kept me flipping the pages at a lightning pace. I really really love the relationship between Grace and Jaxon. I am so invested in them. Another aspect of this book that I think gets overlooked is the incredible relationship between Grace and her cousin Macy. I love seeing healthy female relationships, and the fact that they are family makes it that much more special.
Overall I really really loved this book and I have already picked up the sequel. If you are in the mood for a fun escapist paranormal read, then I think this is the best one. I encourage everyone to go into this without any predetermined expectations and just enjoy the story.