Book Review – Playing Cupid

This book was provided to me via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book – Playing Cupid

Series – The Mythical Creatures Collection #1

Author – S.C. Alban

Genre – YA Contemporary Romance

Release Date – 23 February 2021

Rating – 3.5 blossoms

“Fate caught me off-guard, plunging its silver-tipped sword deep into my heart and twisting before I could parry.”

Honestly, the opening prologue broke my heart. Megan lost her mother as a child. When her dad withdrew from her life due to his grief, she learned to cope by not letting anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Love just isn’t an option for her, she doesn’t even believe in it…

When Amadea is hit by her car, she is roped into helping this cupid complete his last few marks. But how can she help someone else find love when she refuses to let it in herself?

“You can heal anything with saltwater. Doesn’t matter if it’s from the ocean, your sweat, or your tears; saltwater is a great healer. It cleanses us of everything.”

This is a story about losing your faith in love after a great loss, and finding it again with the right person. It is also about forgiveness, not just of other people, but of forgiving yourself for choices you made to survive a painful experience.

Book Review – Bright Burning Stars

This book was provided to me via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book – Bright Burning Stars

Author – A.K. Small

Genre – YA Contemporary Mystery

Release Date – 21 May 2019

Rating – 3 blossoms

Book Review

First, a trigger warning for eating disorders.

In this contemporary drama we follow Marine and Kate, two best friends – rats competing to make company at the Wanterre Ballet Company. Each girl has her own reason for wanting to be the best, and the lengths they go to to get the top spot feels too possible.

Marine is the good girl, somewhat naïve, but loyal to a fault. On the other hand, Kate is in desperate need of love – not the kind friendship provides, but from her family. There are times when I understood one girl’s motivations more than the other, but they are both beautiful characters in their own right, with real struggles.

Now, don’t think because I rated this book at 3 blossoms, I didn’t enjoy the story, because I did. It ropes you in fast with the setting. Even the supporting characters had depth, will get in your head and heart. I think the part that will stick with you is how real it all feels. So many future ballerinas will benefit from the lessons this book imparts…

Book Review – Ghosters

This book was provided to me by the author’s team in return for an honest review.

Book – Ghosters

Series – Ghosters #1

Author – Diana Corbitt

Genre – Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery

Release Date – 1 May 2017

Rating – 5 blossoms

Book Review

Following twelve-year-old Theresa after the death of her mother as her dad moves them to her grandparents’ home, she soon learns that they aren’t alone in the house. Along with Kerry, her new ghost-hunting friend, and her brother, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, they start looking for answers.

When they learn that the reality show Ghosters has a competition running in which they can win a lot of money, they send in their findings hoping to win. But there’s so much more to the story… and the house than they know. And Theresa’s dad does not want them to go exploring, especially the third floor.

Diana’s writing has a way of creating a believable narrative in Theresa. Her ideas and emotions are palpable throughout the book. You feel like your right there with her as she explores the house.

This book took me entirely by surprise. It deals with the difficult topic of loss beautifully. While this book is geared towards middle grade readers, I can honestly say that anyone would be able to appreciate this book and its message.

If middle grade books are something you enjoy and you haven’t read this one yet, get it soon. You won’t regret it!

Book Review – Star-Crossed Dragons

This book was provided to me via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book – Star-Crossed Dragons

Series – Going Down In Flames #0.5

Author – Chris Cannon

Genre – YA Fantasy Romance

Release Date – 1 February 2021

Rating – 3.5 blossoms

Book Review

Most stories ease you into their worlds, but the first paragraph is an arranged marriage contract. Then you get the dragons and the dual point of view. Just hold on tight, this is one wild ride…

This book draws parallel to a lot of difficult topics, like class and financial division, what is expected of males and females, social standards, and even the governmental rules and requirements that can sometimes make no real sense at all.

We follow the dual perspectives of Sarah, contracted to marry Ferrin (a cold-hearted, obnoxious, infuriating Blue Dragon); and Ian, the Red Dragon that Sarah falls for. Governmental rules dictate that you cannot marry or have children outside your station. But what if your heart belongs with someone other than your intended?

“Because we all have our quirks. Greens analyze everything. Black Dragons can be overly dramatic. Reds have volcanic tempers. Oranges wish we’d stop talking to them. And your Clan (Blues) is uptight and uses antiquated language.”

The writing and plot was somewhat slow in places, but the characters carry this story so well that I barely noticed. Also, I found out that this is a prequel to Chris’ Going Down In Flames series, where we follow Sarah and Ian’s daughter and I’m very interested in reading it after this taste of his world…

Book Review – Mu

This book was provided to me by Lola’s Blog Tours in return for an honest review – I may have also bought the rest of the books in the series.

Book – Mu

Series – The Grimm Cases #1-3

Author – Lyla Oweds

Genre – Reverse Harem Paranormal Fantasy

Release Date – 15 August 2019

Rating – 5 blossoms

Book Review

If you like a plot with a cute, somewhat clueless protagonist who doesn’t irritate you (she is not Bella Swan), then you will love Bianca…

She lived a sheltered life, and we slowly learn more about her and her history. You do learn early on that she hides trauma, but the extent of this trauma is not yet made clear. Her cluelessness about the supernatural world she belongs to is endearing.

Then there is her boys: Damen, Miles, Titus, and Julian. I’m guessing that physical romance will play a part in this series, but the first few books are pretty tame in this aspect. The boys are all different and you do get some chapters from their points of view as the series progresses.

The supernatural aspect is based in Chinese mythology and teachings, which I haven’t read a lot about. It’s always interesting to see new authors take a general concept (powers based in the elements) and flip it on its head to work within their stories.

Lyla has a way of making a vulnerable protagonist strong, outspoken and likeable, where you would expect weakness. And while I think some of the writing, grammar and punctuation still needs work, the story itself is well worth overlooking all of that.

Will for sure continue reading this series (already bought books 4 and 5) and I’m interested in seeing the growth of these characters, especially Bianca’s, as she learns more about her place in this world and her group.

P.S. The reincarnation side of this story sounds so intriguing!

Book Review – The Iron Raven

This book was provided to me via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book – The Iron Raven

Series – The Iron Fey, Evenfall #1

Author – Julie Kagawa

Genre – YA Paranormal Fantasy

Release Date – 9 February 2021

Rating – 5 blossoms

Book Review

This story follows Robin Goodfellow (or Puck, as he is better known by this name). He is the same jester/prankster from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare. With is dry sense of humor, you will either love or hate him, but he will grow on you…

This book can be read as a standalone or form a part of The Iron Fey series.

Now, we learn quite a lot about Robin’s life story, giving insight into his truth. To make things even more interesting, he will also be facing a threat to the Fae lands and human world. And new fae-types are being introduced into this world Julie created as well.

The world itself, every new area we learn of, are sculpted into existence with enough information to give your imagination some free rein to be creative in filling in the spaces. This is the kind of world you can easily fall in love with and get used to.

Julie seems to have a talent for weaving past and present into a story you can follow. Even with the large cast of characters, each one is distinct and unique, their pasts interlocking to form a brilliant narrative. There is even some influence of Grimm fairytales, or maybe that is just my imagination.

If you wish to know Robin Goodfellow’s story, know what makes him who he is, this is a must-read. Even the cliffhanger ending is worth knowing his story…

Book Review – This Golden Flame

This book was provided to me via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book – This Golden Flame

Author – Emily Victoria

Genre – Young Adult LGBTQ+ Science Fiction Fantasy

Release Date – 2 February 2021

Rating – 5 blossoms

Book Review

I don’t know where to start with this review. This story is so much more than just a fun fantasy read. Like a diamond, there’s facets to this story that needs to be uncovered.

We follow a dual perspective in Karis and Alix. Karis is stubborn and fierce, with a single-minded goal of reuniting with her brother. When she finds Alix, an automaton unlike any other, their lives intertwine into a new purpose to create a better future.

“You either take what you need no matter the cost, or you watch it be taken from you.”

Emily created a world rich with history and promise. With characters as diverse and unique as her world, she imparts an important message within the pages of her novel – we are all unique, with a purpose we determine ourselves.

You will read about the bonds of family, both by blood and by choice; of mistakes and bravery in fixing them; of making difficult choices that affect others. Mostly, you’ll learn about love and the lengths people will go to to save the ones they love…

“If we flame out, we’ll burn like stars.”

Book Review – Snow

Book – Snow

Series – Happily Never After Series #1

Author – Plum Pascal & HP Mallory

Genre – Adult Paranormal Romance Reverse Harem

Release Date – 3 April 2020

Rating – 4 blossoms

Book Review

Neva Valkoinen is better known as Snow White. She has no memories before the age of 12, when she got in Ascor. *Trigger warning for sexual assault and substance abuse.

“Hair black as night, lips red as blood, skin white as snow. Beautiful. Ethereal. Enchanting.”

She is used for profit, to dance for men, to keep her room. When Herrick enters, she doesn’t understand what he wants from her. He treats her differently than other men.

The world, Fantasia, includes various fairy tale lands, like Wonderland, Sweetland, The Hollows, Enchanted Forests, Neverland Islands, and more… There are also different species within this world, and it works to separate the lands and voices within the story.

The ‘seven dwarves’ – as we know them from the classic fairy tale – are replaced by another mythical creature. Four of them were lost in a war, while one was cursed to a deep sleep.

The only thing I’m not so clear on is the Acolytes of Gryphus. But this sparks my interest to continue reading this series, hoping there is more to learn…

Book Review – Cinderella is Dead

Book – Cinderella is Dead

Author – Kalynn Bayron

Genre – YA LGBT Fantasy Fairytale Retelling

Release Date – 6 August 2020

Rating – 4 blossoms

Book Review

Let me start with the obvious, this is a Cinderella fairytale retelling (of sorts), only she’s been dead for 200 years and Kalynn flipped the classic tale on it’s head. So, what if everything you’ve been told about the Cinderella tale was a lie?

Sophia doesn’t want to go to the ball, in fact, she doesn’t want a man at all. She has been in love with Erin for as long as she can remember. But being with another girl is impossible. The king decrees that all girls, at 16 years old, will attend a ball to be chosen by a man – those not chosen get two more years at a chance or is forfeit to the king. Believe me, you have to read the book to believe it.

“I don’t want to be saved by some knight in shining armor. I’d like to be the one in the armor, and I’d like to be the one doing the saving.”

Kalynn’s writing brings the tale to live, will captivate you, and while there are some elements of the classic story, she turns it into an original work of art all her own. If you love fairytales as much as I do, then you don’t want to miss this stand-alone read!

Book Review – The Weaver

This book was provided to me via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Book – The Weaver

Series – The Weaver Trilogy #1

Author – Heather Kindt

Genre – YA Paranormal Urban Fantasy

Release Date – 7 August 2019

Rating – 4.5 blossoms

Book Review

This story plays out in alternating perspectives from Laney and Jason. We also get insight into the story Laney is busy writing via journal style entries. Her protagonist is a version of herself and there is more characters than her antagonist that seems to have escaped the pages of her story, who wants their story to change.

For Laney writing about a historical world feels more real than the college life she finds herself in. She doesn’t, however, know that she is a Weaver, until the antagonist from her book shoves her down some stairs in an attempt to steal his story. He wants a better story than the one she is writing now.

“A Weaver is a storyteller. A writer whose very being is driven by the stories they have to tell. But unlike normal authors, writing for a Weaver is a dangerous occupation.”

While the pacing could use some work, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. Also, that twist was like a punch in the gut, I didn’t see it coming at all. Heather’s writing is great. This story will bring up Inkheart vibes, but better – in my opinion!