The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4): Review

About the Book:

Title: The War of Two Queens

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Release Date: March 15, 2022

Pages: 628

Genre: Adult Fantasy, Adult Romance 

Synopsis:

From the desperation of golden crowns…

Casteel Da’Neer knows all too well that very few are as cunning or vicious as the Blood Queen, but no one, not even him, could’ve prepared for the staggering revelations. The magnitude of what the Blood Queen has done is almost unthinkable.download (25)

And born of mortal flesh…

Nothing will stop Poppy from freeing her King and destroying everything the Blood Crown stands for. With the strength of the Primal of Life’s guards behind her, and the support of the wolven, Poppy must convince the Atlantian generals to make war her way—because there can be no retreat this time. Not if she has any hope of building a future where both kingdoms can reside in peace.

A great primal power rises…

Together, Poppy and Casteel must embrace traditions old and new to safeguard those they hold dear—to protect those who cannot defend themselves. But war is only the beginning. Ancient primal powers have already stirred, revealing the horror of what began eons ago. To end what the Blood Queen has begun, Poppy might have to become what she has been prophesied to be—what she fears the most.

As the Harbinger of Death and Destruction.
 

Review:

5

The War of Two Queens is the fourth book in the Blood and Ash series, but I highly recommend reading A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire #1) before reading this one. ASITE takes place long before Poppy’s time and is the story of the Primals and gods. It truly explains a lot of the why in this one!

I loved this book so much! I’ve heard about there being some complaints from some early readers, and I have to say that I don’t get it. I thought that the character growth in this story was essential and things were done very tastefully and well. The last couple hundred pages of the book more than made up for the slow pacing in the beginning, and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series. Poppy, Casteel, and Kieran all hold a special place in my heart.

About the Author:

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.h030r3g0j8vi8jm0p6kc8tguqo._SY600_

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.

House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2):Review

About the Book:

Title: House of Sky and Breath

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing 

Release Date: February 15, 2022

Pages: 805

Genre: Adult Fantasy, Adult Romance

Synopsis:

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.download (24)

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

 

Review:

4

House of Sky and Breath is the second book in the Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas. If you enjoyed the first book, you will definitely enjoy this one as well. I loved spending time with some of my favorite characters. Bryce and Hunt are one of my favorite couples and I freaking love Ruhn so much! I have to note that it took me close to about halfway through the book before I really became invested in this one, hence the four star rating. It is definitely all worth it though, and there is a twist that you won’t see coming! I am very interested in seeing where the story will go in the next installment.

About the Author:

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Crescent City, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the Throne of Glass series. Her books have sold more than twelve million copies and are published in thirty-seven languages. A New York native, Sarah lives in Philadelphia with her husband, son, and dog. To find out more, visit sarahjmaas.com or follow @therealsjmaas on Instagram. Sarah-headshot-color-med

A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire, #1):Review

About the Book:

Title: A Shadow in the Ember

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Release Date: October 19, 2021

Pages: 647

Genre: Adult Fantasy, Adult Romance

Synopsis:

Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort. 51r1jpA5DCS

However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.

Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.

Review:

5

JLA delivers for me again! A Shadow in the Ember is a new prequel series that’s set in the world of From Blood and Ash, and it had me hooked from the beginning. A friend and I did a buddy read together, and thankfully found out that we should read this before reading The War of Two Queens. I highly suggest this, as it explains a lot of the history in TWOTQ. This book has been comped as being loosely based on Hades and Persephone, so I think if you like that story, and you love FBAA, you’ll definitely enjoy this one!

I absolutely loved Sera and Nyktos! Sera is such a strong female character and Nyktos is just Nyktos! Never thought I would fall for these characters so much. There’s a lot of witty banter between them and so much angst! I loved that this was a slow burn, but there was so much other stuff happening in the story that it kept me fully entertained. I really delighted in this world and the mythology so much, and that we were able to see the world during the time of the gods and Primals. My friend and I had lots of discussions as we were reading about different theories, etc. in this world and in the future FBAA world.

I definitely can not wait for the sequel, A Light in the Flame which will be published in November 2022!

About the Author:

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.h030r3g0j8vi8jm0p6kc8tguqo._SY600_

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.

One For All: Review

About the Book:

Title: One For All 

Author: Lillie Lainoff

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Release Date: March 8, 2022

Pages: 400

Genre: YA Historical Fiction 

Synopsis:

An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.51l61Ub7KbL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.

Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.

Review:

4

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

One For All was such a pleasure to read, and a wonderful debut for author Lillie Lainoff! I thoroughly enjoyed this gender-bent Three Musketeers retelling, that was full of action, adventure, and a cast of characters that I adored. There are daring sword fights, plot twists, and a main character with a chronic illness that must learn to love herself. Historical fiction fans won’t want to miss this one!

Tania de Batz has always loved the feel of a sword in her hand, ever since she can remember. Everyone in her small French village thinks that she’s weak and just a “sick girl” because of her almost constant dizziness. Her mother wants to find her someone to marry, so that she’ll always be taken care of. Tania however aspires to be like her father, a former Musketeer, strong, independent, and a fencer.

Sadly her father is tragically murdered, and to honor his final request, Tania agrees to attend a finishing school in Paris. Soon after arriving, Tania finds that the school isn’t what it appears to be to those on the outside, that it’s actually a school to train female Musketeers. These young women are socialites on the surface, but have daggers strapped under their beautiful gowns, seduce men into giving up secrets, and know how to sword fight, all while trying to protect France.

As time passes and Tania adjusts to the school, she finally begins to feel like she belongs. She begins to feel that her life has a purpose, with her new sisters in arms. Tania soon meets her first target, Etienne while uncovering a possible assassination plot. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and may have some information she needs. As Tania gets swept up in all the political intrigue, she must not only rely on her friends, but listen to herself and her body, or risk losing everything she’s ever dreamed of.

I absolutely loved the chronic illness representation in this book, and I really hope that more books like this one make their way into the world. Kudos to the author for bringing her own experience living with POTS to life through Tania. I think it’s so important for readers to see themselves represented in stories, and I am grateful for this one. I loved how determined and fierce Tania is, and how she kept fighting and didn’t give up. I definitely found myself cheering her on throughout the story. I also loved the bonds of sisterhood and found family, and their support of one another.

This book is a standalone, but I would love to see more of these characters in the future. Fingers crossed for a companion novel in the future. This book is releasing March 8, 2022, so make sure that you pick this one up at your local bookstore, or put in a library request.

About the Author:

Lillie Lainoff received her B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and distinction within the major from Yale University. She currently is studying for her MA in Creative Writing Prose Fiction at University of East Anglia.20017235

Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry has been featured in The LA Review, The Washington Post Outlook, Today’s Parent, via the Disability Visibility Project, Washington City Paper, and The Yale Daily News, amongst other places. She’s received recognition from Glimmer Train and The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and is the 2019 Winner of the LA Review Literary Award for Short Fiction. She was a featured Rooted in Rights disability activist, and is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers (FB).

As an undergraduate, Lillie was a member of Yale’s Varsity Fencing team. As a senior, she was one of the first physically disabled athletes to individually qualify for any NCAA Championship event, and helped her team to an end-of-season 10th place ranking by the National Coaches Poll. She still fences competitively and coaches. In 2017, she was named a recipient of the inaugural Spirit of Sport award by the US Fencing Association.

This Might Get Awkward: Review

About the Book:

Title: This Might Get Awkward

Author: Kara McDowell

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Pages: 336

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Synopsis:

Sophie Kinsella meets Sarah Dessen in the most hilarious, romantic book of the summer about a girl with social anxiety and the boy who refuses to let her hide herself away.download (23)

Seventeen-year-old Gemma’s favorite kind of beach is an empty one. Social interactions are too much for her to handle. She always says the wrong thing—if she manages to say anything at all. She can’t even bring herself to speak to her longtime crush, Beau Booker, without losing sleep over her own awkwardness.

During a solo outing to her favorite beach, Gemma realizes—to her horror—that the popular kids from school have shown up to throw a party. Before she can sneak away (and possibly puke behind her car) Gemma is pulled into the action and ends up talking to Beau, who asks her to pretend that they’re “close.” Gemma is too flustered and flattered to refuse, and mostly, she’s wondering why Beau is talking to her at all . . . right up until the moment when he falls off the boat, hits his head, and ends up in a coma.

After rescuing Beau from the water, Gemma is mistaken for Beau’s girlfriend by his friends and family, including his mysterious older brother, Griff, who has returned to town after a year away. Gemma tries to correct the record, but her social anxiety (and a nosy reporter) gets in the way at every turn. Before she knows it, she’s in too deep to backtrack. And when Beau’s warm, boisterous family pulls Gemma into their orbit, she realizes how much she wants to keep them in her life.

For the first time, Gemma has everything she’s ever wanted: friends, big family dinners, and Griff—a boy who she can be herself around. But how can she embrace her new dream life when everything is built on a lie?

Review:

5

*I received an arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Scholastic Press.*

I ADORED this swoon-worthy romcom by Kara McDowell! This is my second book I’ve read by her, and I loved it just as much as the first. It’s the perfect summer read, and I especially loved the social anxiety rep, the humor, how the author tackled some tough topics, and the angsty romance.

Gemma is a seventeen year-old high school student who has social anxiety. She keeps to herself as social interactions are just too much for her to handle. She always feels like she says the wrong things, and that’s if she can bring herself to say anything at all. She’s never been able to even say a word to her long time crush. She often loses sleep over her awkwardness, and sometimes gets physically ill from her embarrassment.

On a day trip to the beach where Gemma plans on being alone and enjoying the peace and quiet, she finds herself being surrounded by all the popular kids from school who are there to throw a party. She winds up finally talking to her crush, Beau Booker, who tells her to pretend they’re “close” just before he falls off a boat, hits his head, and winds up in the hospital in a medically induced coma.

Gemma was Beau’s rescuer who pulled him from the water and gave him CPR, and friends and family mistakenly begin to identify her as Beau’s girlfriend. Due to her anxiety, she feels as though she has to go along with this lie, which leads to even more lies. Beau’s family also draws her in to their embrace, and she doesn’t want to let go.

Gemma at long last has friends, and then she also meets Griff, a boy that she can finally be herself around. She’s living her dream life, but she’s not sure how to carry on when everything is built on lies.

This has been comped to While You Were Sleeping, and this was the YA version that I didn’t know I needed, but I’m so glad that I have! If you love romcoms, I definitely think you will enjoy this story. This is out March 1, 2022, so add this one to your TBR.

About the Author:

Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons. 17678976

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea: Review

About the Book:

Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea 

Author: Axie Oh

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release date: February 22, 2022

Pages: 336

Genre: YA Fantasy 

Synopsis:

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.download (22)

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
 

Review:

5

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

If I had to only choose one word to summarize The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh, it would be brilliant. It was magical and captivating, with amazing world building and beautiful imagery. This was one of my most anticipated releases for 2022, and it did not disappoint.

Mina’s village has been suffering. For generations, deadly storms have been happening and floods have swept away villages. There has been fighting among the people over their few remaining resources. The village believes that the Sea God who once protected them, has now cursed them, and to appease him they send him a beautiful bride each year. Their hope is that one day he will find his “true bride” and then their suffering will finally come to an end.

Mina loves her brother Joon and has always been close with him. So when his beloved Shim Cheong is chosen as the next bride, Joon goes after her as she heads out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a sentence of death. To save both her brother and Cheong, Mina jumps into the sea and sacrifices herself.

Mina is swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city with mythical beasts and lesser gods. She soon finds the Sea God, and learns that he is in an enchanted sleep. With the help of the curious young Shin, and other demons, gods, and spirits Mina works at waking the Sea God and bringing an end to the storms that have plagued her people for good.

She quickly discovers that she doesn’t have a lot of time as humans don’t live very long in a land of spirits, and there are those who don’t want the Sea God to wake.

This story totally read like a fairytale to me and I enjoyed the Korean folklore very much! The setting is just gorgeous and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole cast of characters. There is also slow burn romance, which is one of my favorite tropes. I think if you like any of the things I mentioned, you’ll definitely enjoy it. This book is releasing February 22, 2022 so be sure to add it to your TBR.

About the Author:

Axie Oh is a first-generation Korean American, born in New York City and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California San Diego and holds an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. 15243084

A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence #1): Review

About the Book:

Title: A River Enchanted 

Author: Rebecca Ross

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: February 15, 2022

Pages: 476

Genre: Adult Fantasy 

Synopsis:

House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan. IMG_6177

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

Review:

5

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

A delightful adult debut by Rebecca Ross! A River Enchanted quickly drew me in with its alluring atmosphere and rich prose. A magical and winsome story that I did not want to put down.

Jack Tamerlaine has been on the mainland studying music at the university, and hasn’t set foot on the isle of Cadence in about ten years. When young girls begin disappearing on the isle, Jack is summoned home by the Laird to help the clan find them. Cadence is no ordinary isle, and enchantments run deep. Gossip is carried on the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut from a knife can instill unbelievable fear. The spirits that rule the isle are unpredictable and like to meddle in the lives of the humans that live there. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, hopes that Jack can use his gift of music to call the spirits forth and ask for their help in finding the missing girls.

Jack and Adaira strike a reluctant alliance, but as time passes, they see that they make better allies than rivals as their partnership develops into something more. With each passing song that Jack plays, they find that the trouble with the spirits is far more dire, and that an older and darker secret threatens them all.

This story is told from multiple points of view with Jack and Adaira at the forefront, but Sidra and Torin help bring everything together so beautifully. There’s an unforgettable cast of characters and I felt something for them all.

Please do me a favor and pick up this endearing story which is coming out on Tuesday, February 15th! It will warm your soul on these cold winter days. I can not wait for the sequel, which gives me something to look forward to.

About the Author:

Rebecca Ross writes fantasy novels for teens and adults. She lives in the Appalachian foothills of6nvcov73iutm8og51qhs57v841._SY600_ Northeast Georgia with her husband, their lively Australian Shepherd, and an endless pile of books. THE QUEEN’S RISING, THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE, SISTERS OF SWORD & SONG, and DREAMS LIE BENEATH are her titles for young adult readers. A RIVER ENCHANTED is her adult fantasy debut, publishing February 15, 2022 with a sequel to follow. When not writing, she can be found reading or in her garden, where she grows wildflowers and story ideas. Find her on Instagram @beccajross or online at www.rebeccarossauthor.com

How to Love Your Neighbor: Review

About the Book:

Title: How to Love Your Neighbor

Author: Sophie Sullivan

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Pages: 352

Genre: Adult Romance, Adult Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:

“Sophie Sullivan’s writing feels like a warm hug.” —Rachel Lynn Solomon, bestselling author of The Ex Talk

Most Anticipated for 2022 by: PopSugar * Buzzfeed * USA Today

Enemies-to-lovers meets HGTV in this frothy, effervescent romantic comedy from Sophie Sullivan, author of Ten Rules for Faking It.


Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

“This is a novel you’ll want to read over and over again.” – USA Today

Review:

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for an honest review*

This was my first Sophie Sullivan book, and it definitely won’t be my last! It was just what I needed to help me get out of a reading slump. How to Love Your Neighbor is a standalone contemporary romance novel, with one of my favorite tropes, hate to love. For anyone looking for a funny, sweet, clean story, this one is for you!

Grace Travis has her plans figured out. She’s going to design school and working several jobs, and she’ll eventually get her degree and her dream job. More importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something that her mother could never give her. When an opportunity arrives to live in, and fix up a small home on the beach, Grace is all for it. However, her biggest roadblock lives next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make deals. As a real estate developer, he knows that he’s found something special and maybe even a place to call home. His plans include expanding his property by taking over the house next door, until he meets the headstrong and beautiful woman living in it.

The rules for being neighborly wind up going to the wayside as Grace and Noah go into “battle.” But, sometimes your rival can show you what really makes a house a home.

I really enjoyed watching Grace and Noah grow throughout this story. It definitely wasn’t an instant love between them. They were both dealing with toxic relationships with their parents and knowing when to ask others for help. I really loved the side characters in this one as well. They both have some great friends!

If you like romance, humor, home makeover shows, and hate to love, I definitely think you’ll enjoy this one! It’s out now wherever books are sold.

About the Author:

SOPHIE SULLIVAN is a Canadian author as well as a cookie-eating, Diet Pepsi-drinking, Disney enthusiast who loves reading and writing romance in almost equal measure. She writes around her day job as a teacher and spends her spare time with her sweet family watching reruns of Friends. Ten Rules For Faking It is her romcom debut novel, but she’s had plenty of practice writing happily ever after as her alter ego, Jody Holford.

 

 

Bound By Firelight (Wickery #2):Review

About the Book:

Title: Bound By Firelight (Wickery #2)

Author: Dana Swift 

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Pages: 448

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.download (21)

Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante… but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.

Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already… Now, can they save themselves?

The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.

Review:

4

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

There may be spoilers for book one in this review.

Bound By Firelight is the conclusion to the amazing Wickery duology. This was a really good sequel, it was fast-paced, and the new setting in the Dome was much more than I expected. There’s such an awesome magic system in this world that is further explored in this book, and lots of character development. I also loved all the twists and turns along the way!

The story picks up right after the aftermath of the volcano explosion in book one. Adraa is wrongly accused of being the mastermind behind the destruction and has to stand trial in front of the people of the kingdom of Belwar, who do not look on her favorably. Her punishment is imprisonment in the Dome, which is impenetrable, infused with magic, and full of the creme de la creme of the criminals of Belwar. Some of the prisoners Adraa put in the Dome herself, and they want her to pay.

Jatin has been waiting to ask Adraa the biggest question of their lives, but now he has the impossible task of breaking her out of the Dome. He won’t be able to do it without the help of his team, and a girl from his past with a secret that may put them all at risk.

The clock is ticking, and the atrocities that Adraa faces at the Dome are second to the plot that has been hatched to destroy and destabilize their kingdoms. Adraa and Jatin have saved the kingdom once before, now will they be able to save themselves?

Adraa is such a wonderful heroine, and I loved watching her overcome her own self doubts. Jatin also learned so much about himself on his journey. I would be remiss if I didn’t share that I wish that Jatin and Adraa had more scenes together in this book, as that’s what I really loved in the first book, their witty banter. I do understand though that due to plot they had to be separated and grow and develop as characters on their own. The ending was satisfying and wrapped everything up well, but I feel like there’s a lot more that could be explored, and I’m sad that it’s not going to be a trilogy. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to these characters or this world.

If you read Cast in Firelight, you don’t want to miss Bound By Firelight out January 18, 2022!

About the Author:

Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida.19510928

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves:Review

About the Book:

Title: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves 

Author: Meg Long

Publisher: Wednesday Books 

Release Date: January 11, 2022

Pages: 368

Genre: YA Sci-Fi, YA Fantasy, YA Dystopian 

Synopsis:

After angering a local gangster, seventeen-year-old Sena Korhosen must flee with her prize fighting wolf, Iska, in tow. A team of scientists offer to pay her way off her frozen planet on one condition: she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Though Sena always swore she’d never race after it claimed both her mothers’ lives, it’s now her only option.71MEgT4MabL

But the tundra is a treacherous place, and as the race unfolds and their lives are threatened at every turn, Sena starts to question her own abilities. She must discover whether she’s strong enough to survive the wild – whether she and Iska together are strong enough to get them all out alive.

A captivating debut about survival, found family, and the bond between a girl and a wolf that delivers a fresh twist on classic survival stories and frontier myths. 

 

 

 

 

Review:

4

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

A solid debut from Meg Long. This was fun from start to finish. It’s perfect for fans of sci-fi/dystopian stories, and anyone with a sense of adventure. 

Seventeen-year-old Sena has been coping with the grief of losing her mothers and has been pick pocketing to try to buy her way off her frozen planet of Tundar. After upsetting a local gang boss, Sena finds that she must flee with a wounded fighting wolf, as their lives depend on it. A team of scientists offer her a way off of Tundar on the condition that she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Sena never wanted to race as it had claimed her mother’s lives, but she sees no other option, so she accepts their offer. 

The tundra where the race takes place is extremely treacherous, and their lives are threatened at every turn along the way. Sena begins to question her abilities and if she’s strong enough to do this. She must do everything she can, along with the wolf, to get them out of the race alive.

Sena is a great protagonist as she is definitely stubborn and headstrong. I loved watching her relationship with Iska, the wolf evolve through the story. I also like how the story explored the impact of exploiting natural resources and colonialism. 

A great wintry read, perfect for this time of year! Be sure to check this one out. 

About the Author:

Meg originally wanted to be a spy. Instead she somehow found herself teaching overseas in China and Malaysia before ending up in Colorado, where it snows entirely too much.ecvqqsh7vrvit5m8g5odo3d2pt._SY600_

She taught middle and high school for eight years before jumping into the tech industry as a content designer. Her debut novel, COLD THE NIGHT, FAST THE WOLVES, will be released in 2022 from Wednesday Books. She was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2018 and a mentor in 2020-21.

When not reading or writing, she’s kicking things at her Muay Thai gym with her boyfriend, playing video games, or obsessing over Sailor Moon fanart.

Fun Facts: Meg likes Oxford commas, bossing her Roomba around, and people-watching at airports.