Thank you so much to TBR & Beyond Tours, Random House Children’s, and Netgalley for providing me with an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review!I absolutely loved The Skin of the Sea! It was a really interesting read with some wonderful world building! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour by clicking here!
I think we both know that you are a creature unto yourself. One that I created buy have been unable to control or contain. I accept and celebrate you, Simidele.”
Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen
Ya’ll know me! I love when a book jumps straight into the action and Soul of the Deep did exactly that! We are instantly thrust into Simi’s struggles with the decisions she made in Skin of the Sea and what she does when she realizes that this choice may have been for naught. We are quickly reunited with some of my favorite side characters from the first book and thrust into the struggles they all now face as the try to save the world once again!
The intriguing world, lore about orisas, and tie in to actual history is done SO well by Natasha Bowen. If you’re looking for a mermaid fantasy steeped in West African mythology, this is absolutely the duology for you!
Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars
“There is no ‘you’ in this. There is only us. All of us. And we will do this together, bear the burden together.”
Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen
The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Timesbestseller Skin of the Sea, in which the world must pay the price for one mermaid’s choice, and a dark force reverberates across realms. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Boneand those eagerly anticipating the live-action film adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
One life. One choice. One sacrifice.
To save those closest to her, Simi traded away everything: her freedom, her family, and the boy she loves. Now she is sworn to serve a new god, watching over the Land of the Dead at the bottom of the ocean. But when signs of demons begin to appear, it’s clear there are deeper consequences of Simi’s trade. These demons spell the world’s ruin . . . and because of Simi, they now have a way into the human realm. With the fate of the world at stake, Simi must break her promise and team up with a scheming trickster of a god. And if they succeed, perhaps Simi can also unbreak her heart along the way, and find herself again.
“But I do not hold onto energy that does not benefit me.”
Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen
About the Author:
Natasha Bowen is a New York Times bestselling author, a teacher, and a mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England, where she grew up. Natasha studied English and creative writing at Bath Spa University before moving to East London, where she taught for nearly ten years. She is obsessed with Japanese and German stationery and spends stupid amounts on notebooks, which she then features on her secret Instagram. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, watched over carefully by Milk and Honey, her cat and dog
I was so lucky to receive an E-ARC of Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin from Netgalley/Source Books Fire because it meant I could start it while on a trip to Seattle, viewing the beauty the Pacific North West has to offer!
It’s an echo of something just out of reach, a whisper that says there’s more to this life than what meets the eye.
Wild is the Witch, by Rachel Griffin
Rachel Griffin absolutely delivered with another atmospheric, inspiring, magical read! I could relate to Iris so much, and her desire to hide away the more vulnerable parts of herself. Watching her slowly open up to Pike was beautiful. I loved the magic system in this book! The way Rachel can tie magic to nature in both her books so far is so unique and interesting! I especially enjoyed that Iris’ magic involved being connected to animals.
Something I typically don’t enjoy in books is when characters have to travel and most of the book is the journey getting there, because I feel like the pacing tends to be much slower. However, this was not the case with Wild is the Witch! I felt like the pacing was pretty fast, the stakes were high without being too stressful, and I was invested the entire time both in the relationship between Iris and Pike evolving, and whether or not they would find the owl in time.
Overall Rating: 5 stars!
After a night of magic turns deadly, Iris Gray vows to never let another person learn she’s a witch. It doesn’t matter that the Witches’ Council found her innocent or that her magic was once viewed as a marvel-that night on the lake changed everything. Now settled in Washington, Iris hides who she really is and vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. And while she loves working at the wildlife refuge she runs with her mother, she loathes Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.
When Pike makes a particularly hurtful comment, Iris concocts a cruel torment for him. But just as she’s about to dispel it, an owl swoops down and steals the curse before flying far away from the refuge. The owl is a powerful amplifier, and if it dies, Iris’s dark spell will be unleashed not only on Pike, but on everyone in the region.
Forced to work together, Iris and Pike trek through the wilderness in search of the bird that could cost Pike his life. But Pike doesn’t know the truth, and as more dangers arise in the woods, Iris must decide how far she’s willing to go to keep her secrets safe.
Now that spooky season is upon us, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about Belladonna by Adalyn Grace! This is absolutely the perfect read for fall/Halloween (if you’re like me and start celebrating September 1st haha)! Thank you so much to Netgalley and Little Brown and Company for provided me with a free E-ARCH in exchange for an honest review!
I really enjoyed this book! The mansion was super atmospheric and had me wanting to curl up under a blanket while reading, even though we’re going through another heat wave! I was squeeing as the romance developed. Found myself rooting for Signa while she started accepting her power! I also loved Signa learning to care about and fight for her new family members after being alone for so long! The side characters were all relatively well developed and I even found myself caring for some of the mansion’s resident spirits! I am excited to see what mystery Signa sets out to solve in future adventures! If you love strong family connections, romance, and gothic settings, this is absolutely the story for you! Overall rating: 4/5 stars!
“It’s exhausting… to pretend you are not something– someone– you’re not.” Blythe took her by the hand. “Then do not spend your life exhausted.”
Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
Nineteen-year-old Signa Farrow, orphaned as a baby, has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her last remaining relatives are the Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at the glittering and gloomy estate of Thorn Grove. Thorn Grove’s patriarch, Elijah, mourns his late wife, Lillian, through wild parties and drink, while eldest son Percy grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and daughter Blythe suffers from the same mysterious illness that killed her mother. And when Lillian’s spirit confronts Signa and claims she was poisoned, Signa realizes that Blythe could be next to die.Signa’s best chance of uncovering the culprit and solving Lillian’s murder is an alliance with Death himself—the very man she hates most. And Death, that fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side, shows her that their connection may be more powerful than she ever dared imagine.
Hello everyone!!! I can’t believe it’s already September!! I’m here today as a stop on another TBR & Beyond blog tour- this one for The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale! Click here for tour schedule so you can check out all the other amazing bloggers participating!
I really enjoyed this book! It was funny, sweet, and a little spicy. Overall I gave it 4/5 stars! I made a bullet journal spread detailing why I think you may want to pick up this book! I had so much fun making it!
A laugh-out-loud funny and whip-smart romantic comedy from the author ofThe Shaadi Set-Up, about a young woman who takes the place of her celebrity doppelgänger, and must fake-date the actress’s sexy costar boyfriend. Writer Freya Lal has a huge secret: she’s a dead ringer for It-girl actress Mandi Roy. Her second novel is due in a month, but inspiration is nowhere to be found. Desperate to shake off her writer’s block, Freya leans into her look-alike abilities and indulges in some mistaken identity for simple perks, like scoring a free mimosa or getting into a trendy nightclub. Actor Taft Bamber appears to have it all: gorgeous, talented, and Mandi’s love interest both on-and off-screen. But what nobody knows is that their relationship is a PR stunt, and after years of playing make-believe, he’s yearning for something real. When Freya’s latest impersonation of Mandi goes viral thanks to Taft’s accidental interference, rumors of a breakup threaten Hollywood’s golden couple. To make amends, Freya is forced to give Mandi a little time off: she’ll pretend to be the actress for a month, move in with Taft, and squash the rumors by acting completely in love. But as Freya and Taft play house, it becomes impossible to ignore that their instant chemistry isn’t just for the cameras. While faking it, they might have just found the real thing. Content Warning: Please be aware that through the course oft he novel, Freya recounts fond memories of her mother, who passed away before the book begins (off-page), and the ways in which that love is intertwined with her writing. Taft stands firm against toxic masculinity and learns to let go of toxic friendships. There is also explicit on-page sex between two consenting adults.
Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Decoy Girlfriend, Beauty and the Besharam, The Shaadi Set-Up and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association’s2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota,and now lives in an Indiana college town.
I am so excited to be back, after a LONG hiatus, with another tour stop for TBR & Beyond Tours! I loved A Magic Steeped in Poison, so getting a chance to read the sequel shortly after experiencing a cliff hanger was perfect! Make sure you check out all the other amazing stops on this blog tour!
“The bond of family is a kind of magic all its own.”
A Venom Dark & Sweet by Judy I. Lin
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Magic Steeped in Poison, but I loved this book even more! It goes straight into the action and moves quickly! Seeing Ning grow and process what she’s been through, deepen her relationships with the other characters (I won’t specify who because I don’t want to spoil book one if you haven’t read it yet!) and learn how to trust others was amazing to see. This is all dispersed with incredible fight scenes, a new POV, more court intrigue, heart break, and a battle between good & evil. This book packs a lot into 350 pages and I enjoyed all of it and finished it easily in a little over a day! I highly recommend you pick up this duology and I am so excited read more books from Judy I. Lin!!
Overall rating: 5/5 stars
“To be human is to be vulnerable. To be human is to have more power than the gods will ever wield, Ning. Never forget that.”
A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. LIn
The enthralling conclusion to Judy I. Lin’s Book of Tea duology—A Magic Steeped in Poison and A Venom Dark and Sweet—is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
A great evil has come to the kingdom of Dàxi. The Banished Prince has returned to seize power, his rise to the dragon throne aided by the mass poisonings that have kept the people bound in fear and distrust. Ning, a young but powerful shénnóng-shi—a wielder of magic using the ancient and delicate art of tea-making—has escorted Princess Zhen into exile. Joining them is the princess’ loyal bodyguard, Ruyi, and Ning’s newly healed sister, Shu. Together the four young women travel throughout the kingdom in search of allies to help oust the invaders and take back Zhen’s rightful throne. But the golden serpent still haunts Ning’s nightmares with visions of war and bloodshed. An evil far more ancient than the petty conflicts of men has awoken, and all the magic in the land may not be enough to stop it from consuming the world…
Content Warning: violence, fight scenes, witnessed torture, death, disturbing events (mutilation, body horror, forced suicide, possession, and fire)
Judy I. Lin was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age. She grew up with her nose in a book and loved to escape to imaginary worlds. She now works as an occupational therapist, and still spends her nights dreaming up imaginary worlds of her own. She lives on the Canadian prairies with her husband and daughter. A Magic Steeped in Poison is her debut novel.
Like I finally get the sentiment behind all those sappy power ballads, where the music in them actually comes from: not from some burst of creative genius or some big, sweeping feeling. But from the moments in between. The sneaky ones. The ones where you look up at someone and you heart understands something before the rest of you does.
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
Hello! Long time no post! Life has been super hectic with moving and trying to keep up with work, but I’m hoping to get back into reviewing books again because I do enjoy it!!
I’m here today to talk about When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord! Emma Lord books hold a dear place in my heart, I tend to pick them up when I need a book that is going to let me escape and cheer me up and this book absolutely did both of those things! She is absolutely an autobuy author for me and I can’t wait to see what she reads next!
As a former theater kid, I absolutely LOVED all of the musical theatre references in the novel. Millie was such a fun, confident, sassy main character and I loved her! Her friends, boss, and her potential moms were well fleshed out, fun, and I was rooting for all of them, in addition to Millie. I loved that Teddy was super into geocaching since my husband went through quite a geocaching phase when we were in college! Another highlight of this book for me was how wholesome and cute Millie’s relationship to her dad was, even as they fought and navigated some difficult topics.
I definitely recommend you pick up this novel if you love rivals to lovers, musical theatre, a smidge of found family, or New York City.
Overall Rating: 4.75/5 stars!
Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.
There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for giving me an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I finally had a chance to finish Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft. Let me first say, this was not the book’s fault at all! I was reading it before I went to bed on my Kindle at night and I’ve been tired recently!!
Firstly, I absolutely love love love that the main character in this book, Wren, was portrayed as empathetic and sensitive. As a empathetic and often emotional person myself, it was so wonderful to see a main character with those same traits (and still be awesome!)!! Seeing her grow and accept these traits made me so happy and I think it was done really well.
I think the plot moved relatively quickly, and I loved the setting! It was creepy and sinister and so atmospheric! The other characters were well-developed and I loved the slow-burn of Wren and Hal learning to trust each other. The mystery was intriguing and the plot moved pretty quickly! I felt I had a good understanding of the world without any info-dumping and the world itself was unique! Overall rating: 5/5 stars!
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
I finished Flamefall by Rosaira Munda last weekend and let me tell you, this book packs A LOT of punches!! I loved this book so much, despite the emotional rollercoaster it took me on, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
As I stated above, this book was a rollercoaster! I couldn’t put it down and it took over my life in a way a book hasn’t yet this year. The pacing is fast and you jump right back into all the problems of Callopolis and see the characters grow all over again. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed a new POV character and how quickly I became invested in his wellbeing just as much as I care for Lee (Annie is on a whole other level for me. If there were teams, I would definitely be #teamAnnie haha). The politics and battles of Callopilis are well developed and went in an interesting direction in this book. I’m also happy that we really got to spend more time with the dragons in this book!!
This book made me cry, laugh, yell at the characters when I thought they were doing something I didn’t think they should be doing (which happened a lot!), and left me counting down for the next book! I cannot recommend this series to enough people!!!
Overall rating: 5/5
Synopsis for Fireborne
I don’t want to post the synopsis for Flamefall because I don’t want there to be spoilers for anyone new to the series, but I will link it here for those who’ve already read it
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone–even the lowborn–a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.
Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.
But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.
“Sometimes you have to break the promises you make to protect the people you love.”
The Castle School (For Troubled Girls)
Thank you to TBR&Beyond Tours for once again letting me participate in a blog tour! Click here to check out the rest of the tour stops! I didn’t really know what to expect going into The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmal. I thought maybe it was going to be a YA mystery/thriller, and while that wasn’t the main component of the story, I ended up loving this book!
When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students.
On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too. Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away
“Saying what if never helped anyway. You can’t undo the bad things that have happened. Pain cannot be avoided, but it can be accepted.”
The Castle School (For Troubled Girls)
Like I said at the start of this blog, I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. There is a slight mystery element throughout the book, but this book is so much more about grief and mental health and I loved how it represented all different kinds of mental health issues. Being a mental health professional and dealing with anxiety myself, I’m always worried that books won’t fairly represent both treatment and actual disorders and Alyssa Sheinmel did a great job depicting both the setting and the mental health problems each of the 12 girls deal with.
I fell in love with all the characters, and enjoyed that the book gave us brief POVs about how each of the characters ended up at The Castle School but ultimately returned to Moria’s POV to tell the actual story. I think it helped move the plot along relatively quickly and also spoke to how what we perceive of other people’s issues isn’t always accurate. The characters all had their issues and flaws, but were quite loveable and I got very invested in their wellbeing. I highly recommend picking up this book, I think it can speak to just about anyone.
Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars
“The words we use are very powerful.”
The Castle School (For Troubled Girls)
Alyssa was born in Stanford, California, and even though she moved across the country to New York when she was six years old, she still thinks of herself as a California girl.
She still remembers the very first chapter book she ever read—The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo, by Judy Blume. Before long, reading was her favorite thing in the world. She loved it so much that when there was nothing to read, she wrote my own stories just to give herself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, she just made up stories in her head.
I was so lucky to snag this E-ARC from Netgalley, I loved Sadie by Courtney Summers, so The Project was one of my anticipated releases this year!!
Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.
When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.
This book hooked me within the first few pages. I wanted to know what happened to Bea immediately and how she was drawn into The Project. I admired Lo’s tenacity as she investigates her sister’s role in The Project and determination to reunite with her. There was definitely a point where I was frustrated with something that happened towards the end of the book but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment overall. This was definitely a page turner and I flew threw it!