The Charmed List: Review

About the Book:

Title: The Charmed List

Author: Julie Abe 

Publisher: Wednesday Books 

Release Date: July 5, 2022

Pages: 304

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy 

Synopsis:

After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.

But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.

In The Charmed List, Julie Abe sweeps readers away to a secret magical world, complete with cupcakes and tea with added sparks of joy, and an enchanted cottage where you can dance under the stars.
 

 

Review:

*I received an e-arc from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

The Charmed List is a cute contemporary romance with a touch of magic (literally). It was just the pick me up I needed! 

Ellie Kobata has spent most of high school as the quiet girl. It’s the summer vacation before her senior year, and she’s determined to take some risks and shake things up a bit. She makes an Anti-Wallflower list of thirteen items that she plans to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to a road trip with her best friend Lia, riding a roller coaster, and maybe making her art Instagram public. 

Item number 4 on her list is getting revenge on Jack Yasuda, her former best friend, and things go horribly wrong. Ellie is quite certain that her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of going on a road trip with her bestie, she finds herself heading to the magical convention with Jack. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, Ellie begins to develop feelings for Jack.

Ellie and Jack are so adorable! This a story about former childhood friends that have grown apart, and it was great getting to hear their stories about the past. I also liked how they were getting to know each other again in the present.

A fun and enchanting story that I definitely recommend. Prepare to be swept into a magical world, that makes you want to drink all the tea and eat all the cupcakes! 

 

About the Author:

Julie Abe is the author of the EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH middle grade fantasy series; the middle grade fantasy ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS; and the young adult novel THE CHARMED LIST. She has lived in Silicon Valley, spent many humid summers in Japan, and currently basks in the sunshine of Southern California with never enough books or tea, where she creates stories about magical adventures.

Wind Daughter (Echo North, #2):Review

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About the Book:

Title: Wind Daughter 

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

Publisher: Page Street Kids 

Release Date: July 12, 2022

Pages: 352

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retelling 

Synopsis:

In the dark, cold reaches of the north lives a storyteller and his daughter. He told his daughter, Satu, many stories–romances like the girl who loved a star and changed herself into a nightingale so she could always see him shining–but the most important story he told her was his own. This storyteller was once the formidable North Wind, but he lost his power by trading it away in exchange for mortality–he loved her mother too much to live without her. The loss of his magic impacted more than just their family, however, and now the world is unraveling in the wake of this imbalance.download (32)

To save the North, Satu embarks on a perilous journey to reclaim her father’s magic, but she isn’t the only one searching for it. In the snow-laden mountains, she finds herself in a deadly race with the Winter Lord who wants the North Wind’s destructive powers for himself.

Satu has the chance to be the heroine of her own fairy tale, only this one has an ending she never could have imagined.

A hauntingly beautiful fairy tale about love and loss, this Echo North companion novel is perfect for fans of the Winternight Trilogy.

 

Review:

5

*I received an arc from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity!*

Wind Daughter, a companion to Echo North, is a sparkling and enchanting fairytale that will hold you in its icy grasp from beginning to end. I was completely blown away once again by Meyer’s beautiful writing and her storytelling prowess. 

Satu North is the daughter of a storyteller. She grew up listening to his magical glittering stories, including the most important one, his very own. Her father was once the formidable North Wind, but he lost his power when he traded it away for his own mortality. He loved Satu’s mother so much, that he couldn’t live without her. The loss of his magic impacted so much more than their family, and the world began unraveling due to the imbalance.

To save the North, Satu goes on a quest to take back her father’s magic. She finds along the way that she isn’t the only one searching for it. In the snow covered mountains, she finds herself in a lethal race with the mysterious Winter Lord who wants the North Wind’s immense power for himself. 

Satu has the chance to be the hero of her own fairytale, but will her fears and her feelings prevent her? This fairytale has an ending that she never possibly could have imagined. 

I just can’t come up with the words to express how much I love this book. Satu is such a strong and genuine character despite what she thinks of herself. Her journey is filled with self discovery, friendship, emotion, and love. I was so happy to see my dear Echo and Hal weaved into the story as well. I also lay claim to the Winter Lord! 😉

I highly recommend this amazing story of love and loss. If you like books that make you cry and melt your heart, this one is for you! 

About the Author:

Joanna Ruth Meyer is the author of the critically-acclaimed Echo North, as well as the companion novel duology Beneath the Haunting Sea and Beyond the Shadowed Earth. She writes stories about fierce teens finding their place in the world, fighting to change their fate, save the ones they love, or carve out a path to redemption.images (2)

Joanna lives with her dear husband and son, a rascally feline, and an enormous grand piano named Prince Imrahil in Mesa, Arizona. As often as she can, she escapes the desert heat and heads north to the mountains, where the woods are always waiting. 

The Song That Moves The Sun:Review

About the Book:

Title: The Song that Moves the Sun 

Author: Anna Bright

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Pages: 464

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Contemporary 

Synopsis:

This sweeping YA fantasy romance full of star-crossed love, complex female friendship, and astrological magic is perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Alexandra Bracken, and V.E. Schwab. From the acclaimed author of The Beholder.download (31)

Best friends Rora and Claudia have never felt more like their lives are spiraling out of control. And when they meet Major and Amir–two boys from one of the secret cities of the spheres, ruled by the magic of the astrological signs–they discover they’re not alone. There is a disruption in the harmony between the spheres, and its chaos is spreading.

To find the source of the disharmony, Rora and Claudia will embark on a whirlwind journey of secrets, romance, and powerful truths–about themselves, each other, and two long-ago explorers named Dante and Beatrice, who were among the first to chart this course toward the stars.

Inspired partly by the classic works of Dante Alighieri, this gorgeous stand-alone contemporary fantasy will captivate readers of Lore and Star Daughter

Review:

5From the author: Content warning: Readers should be advised that this novel deals heavily with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. It also makes reference to suicide, disordered eating, and infertility, and contains content that may be triggering to readers with emetophobia. For fuller details, see www.annabrightbooks.com/novels.

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

In this new standalone fantasy adventure, Bright takes us to secret cities hidden among the spheres of the heavens. It’s a beautiful story that is filled with amazing world building, magic, music, friendship, mystery, romance, and has fantastic anxiety and depression rep.  Each turn of the page was an absolute delight! 

Rora and Claudia are best friends that feel as though their lives have recently been spiraling out of control. They meet up at a concert one night and there they meet Major and Amir. Major and Amir are two boys from the secret cities of the spheres that are ruled by the magic of the astrological signs. The girls discover that they’re not the only ones feeling that their lives are out of control, as there is a disruption in the harmony between the spheres that’s been spreading.

Rora and Claudia agree to embark on a journey to find the source of the disharmony. Throughout their travels they discover secrets, romance, and powerful truths about themselves, each other, and two long ago explorers named Dante and Beatrice. Dante and Beatrice were among the first to chart this magical course to the stars. Will Rora and Claudia be able to help save each other and the spheres?

I really came to care for these characters and what happened to them. I loved Rora and Claudia’s friendship so much, and I loved the friendships they made along the way. Major and Amir were both amazing friends as well and I love how they looked out for each other. Each character has their own struggles and strengths they bring. This quote by an unknown author made me think of this story, “The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.”

I highly recommend this one! Great for anyone that loves ya and fantasy. 

 

 

About the Author:

I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, snuggling my new baby daughter, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.x500

 

The Sizzle Paradox: Review

About the Book:

Title: The Sizzle Paradox 

Author: Lily Menon 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin 

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Pages: 304

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis:

The Kiss Quotient meets Love Potion No. 9 in the next sparkling romantic comedy by Lily Menon, The Sizzle Paradoxdownload (30)

Lyric Bishop feels like a fraud – she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes for a successful long-term relationship, only she can’t seem to figure it out in her own dating life. The science is sound, but how can she give her expert opinion with no real-world experience? In order to complete her doctoral thesis, she must crack the Sizzle Paradox – it seems the more sexually attractive she finds a guy, the less likely it is to come with an emotional connection; but why? – and to do that she must get the help she desperately needs.

Kian Montgomery, her best friend, roommate, and fellow grad student, has no trouble bringing both romance and sizzle to his own relationships. When he offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics to find a good match, she’s certain it will solve her problems, and in exchange she agrees to set long-term-commitment-averse Kian up with someone different to give his romantic life a much-needed shakeup.

But once the two progress with their “tutoring sessions,” they start to feel less like the academic exercise they were supposed to be as real feelings develop. Which is a problem, because Lyric and Kian are best friends and absolutely, irrefutably nothing else… Right?
 

Review:

4

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is Menon’s second adult novel and it was such a delight! If you like friends to lovers, fake dating, and a graduate school setting I think you would enjoy this contemporary romcom.

Lyric Bishop and Kian Montgomery are besties and roommates. They’ve been great together since they met years ago in college. Currently they are both working on their doctorate degrees.

Lyric feels like a complete scammer as she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes relationships last long term, and she can’t even figure it out in her own life. The science she’s researched is sound, but she feels as though she can’t give her expert opinion on the subject without some real world experience. In order for her to complete her doctoral thesis, she needs to crack the Sizzle Paradox, and she desperately needs some help.

Kian has never had trouble bringing sizzle and romance to his own romantic relationships. He offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics so that she can find her own match. Lyric is certain that this offer will help her to solve her problems, and she offers to set Kian up with someone different than he usually dates to stir things up a bit.

Once the tutoring sessions begin however, they don’t really feel like academic exercises to Lyric and Kian as real feelings begin to develop. This becomes a big problem as they have always been best friends and nothing else. Will their friendship survive?

I found myself cheering for Lyric and Kian along the way! I loved the banter and all of the angst. Such a cute and swoony romance that you’ll be sure to enjoy. This one is coming out on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 so please pick this one up and/or add it to your TBR.

About the Author:

This is Lily Menon’s second adult novel. Her first adult novel was Make Up Break Up, followed by the novella Booked For Christmas.

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Our Crooked Hearts: Review

About the Book:

Title: Our Crooked Hearts 

Author: Melissa Albert 

Publisher: Flatiron Books 

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Pages: 352

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

THE SUBURBS, RIGHT NOW . . .

Seventeen-year-old Ivy’s summer break kicks off with an accident, a punishment, and a mystery: a stranger whose appearance in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, heralds a string of increasingly unsettling events. As the days pass, Ivy grapples with eerie offerings, corroded memories, and a secret she’s always known—that there’s more to her mother than meets the eye.

THE CITY, BACK THEN . . .

Dana has always been perceptive. And the summer she turns sixteen, with the help of her best friend and an ambitious older girl, her gifts bloom into a heady fling with the supernatural, set in a city of magical possibilities and secret mystics. As the trio’s aspirations darken, they find themselves speeding toward a violent breaking point.

Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never should’ve messed with.

Review:

 

*I was provided with an arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Flatiron Books for the opportunity.*

I absolutely loved Albert’s Hazel Wood series, so I was very excited for this one! This was a compelling and beautifully dark read! If you like witches, magic, secrets and complex family relationships, this one is up your alley. Albert’s writing and imagery are so enchanting, I definitely felt transported into the story!

The story is told from dual points of view. Ivy in the present day and Dana many years prior.

In the present, seventeen-year-old Ivy starts her summer vacation off with a bang! A stranger appears in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, and sets off a chain of strange and unsettling events. Ivy finds herself dealing with sinister offerings and tainted memories, and a secret she’s always held, that there’s more to her mother than everyone believes.

In the past, sixteen year old Dana has always been discerning. With the help of her best friend and an older girl, she uses her gifts and dabbles in the supernatural, in a city full of mysteries and mystics. As things grow ever darker, the friends find themselves on a very dangerous path.

Years later, Ivy and Dana’s shared story all comes down to a mother and daughter relationship, and the dark forces that they should have left alone.

I hope you pick up this spooky and magical read, which is releasing on June 28, 2022!

About the Author:

Melissa Albert is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of the Hazel Wood series and Our Crooked Hearts, and a former bookseller and founder of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages and included in the New York Times’ list of Notable Children’s Books. She enjoys swimming pool tourism, genre mashups, and living in Brooklyn with her hilarious husband and magnificently goofy son.

Okay, now I will stop talking about myself in the third person. I try to reply to all messages and questions, so please reach out, or come find me on Twitter (@mimi_albert) or Instagram (@melissaalbertauthor)! (But please note: I don’t accept GR friend requests anymore because of Amazon’s related review policy.)

See You Yesterday:Review

About the Book:

Title: See You Yesterday 

Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: May 17, 2022

Pages: 432

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance, YA Sci-Fi 

Synopsis:

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.61uweFMwNzL

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?

 

Review:

5

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and Simon Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity*

See You Yesterday is a YA contemporary romance, with some sci-fi by Rachel Lynn Solomon. She is an auto-buy author for me now, and I just adore her books. If you like slow-burn, enemies to lovers, and time loops set on a college campus, I highly recommend you check this one out!

Barrett Bloom is really hoping that her college experience can be do over after a horrible high school experience. But when school begins for her on September 21, everything goes terribly wrong. She’s humiliated by a guy in her physics class, she blows her interview with the college paper, and at a frat party she sets a frat house on fire. She panics after the fire and flees the scene. When she gets to her dorm, her roommate has locked her out of the room and she falls asleep in the common room.

She wakes up the next morning in her dorm room bed as though nothing has happened, and she discovers that it is September 21st all over again. After a confrontation with Miles, the student from her physics class, she discovers that she is not alone in this, and that he has been trapped for months.

Barrett attempts to fix her timeline, and when all of her attempts fail, she agrees to work with Miles to escape the time loop. Soon they are exploring the university and going on crazy adventures together. They begin falling for each other, and wonder what will happen when they finally get back to tomorrow?

I really enjoyed Barrett. She is a very passionate character, and has such a sense of adventure about her and a wonderful sense of humor. She also has such a sweet and sensitive side to her as well. Miles is such a cinnamon roll! He’s shy, sweet, and incredibly smart and also has a great sense of humor. I absolutely loved the banter between these two characters! I loved how they decided to work together to see if they can get themselves out of the time loop. As I was watching their relationship develop, I kept wondering if they would be able to discover a way out, or if they would be trapped forever on September 21st?

This book is releasing on Tuesday, and I recommend that you pick it up and/or add it your TBR. Perfect for Rachel Solomon fans, or any fans of YA romance!

About the Author:

Rachel Lynn Solomon writes about imperfect people falling in love. Her bestselling books for teens and adults include The Ex TalkWeather GirlToday Tonight Tomorrow, and See You Yesterday (available May 17, 2022). Originally from Seattle, she’s currently navigating expat life with her husband in Amsterdam, where she’s on a mission to try as many Dutch sweets as possible. Find her on Instagram @rlynn_solomon. 15298200 (1)

The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgerton’s #2): Review

About the Book:

Title: The Viscount Who Loved Me

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon Books 

Release Date: February 23, 2017 (First Published December 5, 2000)

Pages: 400 

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

Narrator: Rosalyn Landor 

Synopsis:

ANTHONY’S STORY

This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London’s most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…download (29)

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…

 

 

Review:

4

 

I did this a little backwards again, and read the book after watching season two of Bridgerton on Netflix. The book was quite different than the show, but I love that the show kept most of the key elements of the story. This one has one of my favorite tropes, enemies to lovers and a whole lot of angst!

I absolutely adored Anthony and Kate’s story much more than I thought I would. Kate is so sassy, and I’m here for it! She’s so smart, funny, and passionate. I felt the book allowed me to go more into depth regarding Anthony’s character, and made me care for him even more. He’s so grumpy, stubborn and sexy, and I ate it up. The chemistry between these two characters is just off the charts! I enjoyed the back and forth banter between them so much as well.

The book satisfied my craving for regency romance, and I definitely recommend it. I am quite excited for book three and another season of Bridgerton as well!

About the Author:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don’t read (or write) romance, and and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link you might just catch her winning the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code.63898

A graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, Ms. Quinn is one of only sixteen members of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame. Her books have been translated into 32 languages, and she lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

The Bridgertons, her popular series of historical romance, is currently in production by Shondaland as a Netflix original series starring Julie Andrews, Phoebe Dynevor, and Rége-Jean Page.

Little Thieves (Little Thieves, #1):Review

About the Book:

Title: Little Thieves 

Author: Margaret Owen

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

Release Date: October 19, 2021

Pages: 512

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl…

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love–and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back… by stealing Gisele’s life for herself.download (27)

The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.

Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of “The Goose Girl” about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.
 

Review:

4

This was my first read by Margaret Owen, and I definitely want to read her backlist books that are sitting on my TBR! I really enjoyed this retelling that was loosely based on The Goose Girl, which I didn’t realize going into this one. This was such a fun retelling!

Vanja Schmidt is the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, a former servant, and currently a princess. She possesses a magical string of pearls that give her her former mistresses’ face, life, and future husband. She’s been living the double life of a jewel thief as well. If she can pull off this final heist, she can get what she truly wants, her freedom. Just before she’s about to pull off her last heist, she crosses the wrong god and is cursed with a terrible curse. She will slowly turn into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.

Vanja only has two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and gain her freedom. Things are complicated with a feral guardian half-god, her mistresses’ fiancé, and a junior detective all on her tail. She will definitely have to pull out all the stops!

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to others who enjoy ya fantasy and retellings. There’s action, adventure, and even some romance. I thought that it ended perfectly, and I am a bit nervous for the sequel. Time will tell!

About the Author:

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.download (28)

She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.)

Together We Burn: Review

About the Book:

Title: Together We Burn 

Author: Isabel Ibañez 

Publisher: Wednesday Books 

Release Date: May 31, 2022

Pages: 368

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance

 

Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.

But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.

But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don’t want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.

Review:

4

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review*

Together We Burn was my first book by this author, and it did not disappoint! I really enjoyed this lush and magical tale that takes place in the beautiful ancient Hispalia inspired by medieval Spain. It features flamenco dancing and dragons that fight Dragonadors in the ring. 

Zarela Zalvidar is a flamenco dancer and the daughter of the most famous Dragonador in all of Hispalia. People come in droves to their arena to see her father fight, and she knows that one day the responsibility of the arena will fall on her shoulders.

At their five hundredth anniversary show, the unimaginable happens and disaster strikes the arena. Lives are lost and her father is gravely injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela knows she must keep the arena which is her ancestral home and her inheritance safe. Her one and only option is to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. She seeks out the handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat who blatantly refuses to help her. She doesn’t take no for an answer and continues to pursue him. Even if he agrees to help, someone is out to get her family and Zarela knows that she will have to do what it takes to protect herself and her family legacy.

Together We Burn has the right amount of action, adventure, romance and mystery to keep you enthralled. I for sure recommend this standalone fantasy which is releasing on May 31, 2022. Be sure to add it to your TBR now! 

About the Author:

Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian
immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a
Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and
friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her
husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books. Say hi on social media at
@IsabelWriter09.

 

 

 

 

A Forgery of Roses: Review

About the Book:

Title: A Forgery of Roses

Author: Jessica S. Olson

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: March 29, 2022

Pages: 368

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance

Synopsis:

Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.51941042

But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.

From Sing Me Forgotten author Jessica S. Olson comes a gothic fantasy murder mystery perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Erin A. Craig.

Review:

5

I fell in love with Jessica S. Olson’s writing last year when I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of her debut, Sing Me Forgotten. A Forgery of Roses did not disappoint and in fact, it has cemented Jessica as an auto-buy author for me. Forgery is a thrilling and delectable fantasy, compelling mystery, and sweet romance rolled into one that will take readers on an unforgettable adventure! 

Myra Whitlock is a Prodigy, and as an artist she can alter people’s real life bodies with a painting. She has had to hide her gift and keep it safe from those that would try to exploit her, especially now that her parents are gone and she has a younger sister to protect. 

One night, the Governor’s wife discovers the truth about her gift and threatens to expose Myra if she doesn’t paint a special portrait that could resurrect her dead son. Left with no other choice, Myra heads to their lonely mansion.

Once she arrives, Myra begins to see that all is not as it seems and she teams up with the Governor’s oldest son, August, to discover what really happened to his brother. She must race against the clock to find out the truth, before she becomes a victim herself. 

I loved Myra so much! She is such a strong and compelling character. Her relationship with her sister Lucy is one of my favorite parts of the story. Her sister suffers from a chronic illness and I loved how Olson explores this in the story. Such great representation! Another character also suffers from anxiety, and I also appreciated that representation as well, as I suffer from anxiety myself. 

I completely fell in love with the atmosphere and feel of this story, and I wish it was not a standalone, as I would be so happy to spend more time with these characters. I also found myself thinking that I had things figured out, and then the author would surprise me again. Kudos to Olson for that! I highly recommend this one, and I hope that you will pick it up soon. 

About the Author:

Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home, but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her three wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. Sing Me Forgotten is her debut novel.19475731

Jessica is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency.