Book Review: Crown of Dragons by Nina Walker

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Crown of Dragons: Bleeding Realms: 
Dragon Blessed Book One
by Nina Walker
Rating: 5/5

Wow! I can’t even believe that I finished the first book in this series so fast! I definitely lost some sleep trying to speed-read to find out what happens next. I was disappointed when I realized that I had come to the end of book one and would have to wait a few months till the next book. (Sigh)

The story is told from two POVs and if that bothers you, then this book is probably not for you. However, there is a purpose for these two POVs since there are two realms to explore. Nina Walker gives the reader a glimpse inside both the magical and non-magical realms by telling the story from Hazel’s (non-magical realm) and Khali’s (magical realm) POVs. 

Hazel has lived her life blending into the background as much as possible but entering college has changed her anonymity. She also has quite the secret. She sees dead people. Her brief encounter with bad boy Dean only heightens her curiosity on what secrets he’s hiding. Getting a job as psychic medium can only help her situation, right? She’s tried her whole life to control her ability but has had no luck. What is she? Why is this happening to her? When multiple girls go missing in the small college town, Hazel sees their ghosts and doesn’t know how to help them. What can she do? Will Dean be able to help her?

Khali is a princess because she was born with two different colored eyes which indicated she had all four elemental powers. She is destined to be the next queen to one of the four Dragon princes. She is also Dragon blessed – she can shift into a dragon. She is powerfully powerless to control her own destiny – or is she? Tragedy strikes and forces Khali to make a decision about her future. Does she have what it takes to forge her own path?

Super interesting concept and definitely need to read the next book now! I’ll just be here waiting impatiently. Highly recommend!

My thanks to the author for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Midnight by Melanie Gilbert

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Midnight: A Cinderella Retelling
by Melanie Gilbert
Book 1 of the Fae Brothers’ Ever Afters series
Rating: 4/5

First, I love the cover. It’s gorgeous, beautiful and eye-catching.
Second, I love a good retelling. Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?*
Third, I love when genres mix. It just adds another layer to the story and keeps you on your toes.

*Note: as much as I love a Cinderella retelling, the story didn’t need it and I feel like the Cinderella angle takes away from this intriguing story. As a reader, I kept trying to figure out how this story was similar to Cinderella, which was distracting. Just my two cents.

Nova’s father blames her for the tragic deaths of her mother and younger sister. He moves them to a new city – a new home to forget the past. However, their nextdoor neighbors (is it next-wall if it’s a shared duplex?), Stella and her older twin brothers, seem to want to make life more miserable for Nova and her secrets.

Kent has a Destiny – a soulmate of his own kind of fae. He was marked at birth and must wait till he finds her. He can’t date anyone else, but his resolve starts to dissolve when Nova comes crashing into his life. He can’t stop thinking about her but his attention should be on protecting his family from a coven of power-hungry witches.

Kent’s family is a war with the witches and it seems that Nova has stepped right in the middle of it all. What happens when secrets are revealed?

Again, I loved the story. Unique and interesting. Great characters dealing with real emotions – even if they are in high school. This was a slower read for me but I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. Clever and mysterious adventure read plus romance? Yes, please.

Highly recommend!

My thanks to the author for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

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The Express Bride
by Kimberley Woodhouse
Book 9 in the Daughters of the Mayflower series
Rating:5/5

Let me just say that I lost sleep over this story. I am always so amazed the way an author can completely capture my attention and take me on an amazing journey to the past and make me root for the heroine and boo the villain.

After her father passes away, Jacqueline “Jack” Rivers desperately wants to stay in charge of the Pony Express station that she grew up on. Running the station has its challenges but she enjoys the work and doesn’t know where else she’d go. When a government official asks for her help involving counterfeiters, she can’t say no – even if it’s dangerous. When the handsome Elijah Johnson arrives and also wants her help and company, she too can’t say no. Elijah is searching for his boss’ daughter with very little clues to go on. He is determined to find out what happened to her and decides to stay at the station before traveling on. Will Jack and Elijah find love in this 1860 story set in the Utah territory?

I loved this story so much. I learned so much about the Pony Express and living in the 1860s. I fell in love with all of the characters that lived at the station. The author brilliantly weaves a story of adventure and mystery into a historical romance. It’s fast-paced but you still get to see the characters develop and get to see their faith in action.

Highly recommend this book! Even though the book is part of the Mayflower series, you can read the book by itself and not feel like you’re missing something. Just read it!

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Daughter of Shades by Sylvia Mercedes

Daughter of Shades (The Venatrix Chronicles, #1)

Daughter of Shades
by Sylvia Mercedes
Book 1 of the Venatrix Chronicles series
Rating: 4/5

Wow. This book takes you on a whirlwind ride of adventure and it’s nonstop. The author’s creativity and imagination truly came out in the world-building of this story, and it’s only just beginning.

There’s so much mystery surrounding the first few chapters that it was a bit confusing but as more of the world-building occurs, you start to understand what’s happening (or so you think?)

Ayleth is a shade huntress apprentice who was raised and trained as someone who could control her shade in order to banish other shades, evil spirits. She is very good at her job but she fears something is wrong with her memories. Her mentor tells her she is not quite ready to go off on her own, but Ayleth decides to take matters into her own hands. A dangerous job has opened up and Ayleth sets off to prove that she is worthy of the post. She is not the only one up for the spot though and finds herself in a competition with Terryn, who also seems to be very good at what he does. As the couple venture beyond the Great Barrier to uncover the mystery, they find Ayleth may not be what she seems.

Having never read anything from Sylvia Mercedes before, I was most attracted to the cover of this book before anything else. Who doesn’t love an exciting book cover? However, once I started reading this book, I became consumed by this different, yet riveting world that she’d created. It was difficult to put the book down and even when finished, I craved more. I guess I will have to impatiently wait for the next book. The characters are fun and mysterious and I want to find out more about them and their histories. I love a good mystery filled with secrets and adventure and romance.

Highly recommend this new book in this new series! You won’t want to miss it.

My thanks to the author for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

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Yours Truly, Thomas
By Rachel Fordham
Rating: 4/5

A heartwarming read!

If you’ve ever imagined a romance via love letters, you’ll love this book! Fordham is able to create such an endearing love story between Penny and Thomas that is not overly sweet nor corny. Definitely for fans of Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered. 

Penny works for the Dead Letter Office in DC and is a romantic at heart. She loves reading those dead letters which cause her sympathetic heart to fall in love with its writer and reader. When she comes across a letters from Thomas to his dear Clara, she tries her best to deliver the poorly addressed letters. This story is her journey of searching for purpose and identity. She makes it her mission to deliver her letter but surprises occur along the way that will redirect her life in a big way. 

I don’t remember ever reading a book from Fordham but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy her writing style is and how comforting the story and characters were. She weaves a poignant story of pain, loss, hope and love. The characters have depth and the reader can feel their grief and journey with them through healing. 

Highly recommend if you’re looking for some inspirational historical romance. 

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken

The Yellow Lantern: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime

The Yellow Lantern
by Angie Dicken
Part of True Colors – Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
Rating: 4/5

Imagine waking up in 1824 in Massachusetts and being told that you were already pronounced dead. Imagine being told that your body was taken by grave robbers for the purpose of medical research. Imagine that in order to keep your life and your family’s lives safe, you are forced to spy for said grave robbers in order to get more cadavers. How would you handle that? How would you deal with the situation? Josephine Clayton is in such a position. Her whole world is turned upside down as she leaves home to work at a cotton mill. Her mission is simple – report on any fatal accidents that occur at the cotton mill and pose as a mourner at the funeral so the doctor can get his replacement corpse. When Josephine enters the world of cotton, she finds her talents for healing a welcome relief to the accident prone mill and finds friendship with the other mill girls. The factory manager, Braham Terrance, sees her worth and they form a friendship. However, what happens when a family member close to Braham becomes ill and Josephine has a choice to make on whether she can fulfill her duty?

Just reading the premise of this book was so interesting that I had to read it. I haven’t read many true crime novels but as a medical student, I found the grave robbing for medical purposes very interesting. I’ve read a few books about the cotton mill girls and was interested to see what the author chose to focus on. The author is able to transport the reader into the world of cotton mills and grave robbing in a very understandable way. The characters are interesting and seem authentic. They’ve seen many hardships but still try to make their way in the world.

Highly recommend this delightful read.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Adaptive by Becky Moynihan

Adaptive (The Elite Trials #2)

Adaptive
by Becky Moynihan
Book 2 of the Elite Trials Series
Rating: 4/5

Becky Moynihan is back with her second installment in the Elite Trials series which blew me away with its action-packed scenes and heartfelt story. I was so excited to be able to read the next book because I couldn’t wait to read what happens to our heroine next!

Freedom was all that our main character, Lune, ever wanted. However, instead of true freedom, she is sent on a mission with Ryker to find Bren and make sure he fulfills his mission. Lune’s adoptive father also has a mission for Ryker who will stop at nothing to fulfill his end. Lune must face the untamed challenges of being outside the Tatum City walls. She has trained all her life for the Elite Trials but nothing has prepared her for what she finds outside those walls. The secrets uncovered and the loyalties tested will require Lune to be as adaptable as possible.

I can’t get enough of this series! The characters are so authentic and the reader has no choice but to root for them. The reader is not sure a happy ending can occur at times which is thrilling and frustrating at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel but I believe the first book was better due to the romance. This book has less of the romance but more action so it’s still a book I would recommend. The reader is transported beyond the wall and it is not something you’ll want to miss.

I highly recommend this book but you definitely should read the first book, Reactive, before picking this one up. It is NOT a standalone novel. This book is definitely for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

My thanks to the author for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Reactive by Becky Moynihan

Reactive: A Young Adult Dystopian Romance (The Elite Trials Book 1) by [Moynihan, Becky]

Reactive
by Becky Moynihan
Book 1 of The Elite Trials Series
Rating: 4.5/5

When a book comparison says Hunger Games or Divergent, a reader can’t help but pick up the book and pray that it lives up to the hype. Well, I’m happy to say that this book, Reactive, does NOT disappoint.

From the very start, the reader is dropped into a world where its main character, Lune Tatum, only wants her freedom and is willing to do whatever it takes to earn it. Although she is the adopted daughter of the Supreme Elite, the ruler of the walled city, she must fight in all three Elite Trials to earn her freedom. When someone from her past enters all three trials, she must confront her past and choose whom she can trust.

Having never read anything by Becky Moynihan before, I was nervously hoping that this book would be everything that was promised. I was pleasantly surprised that this book was everything I thought I wanted and MORE! After reading a lot of shorter novels/novellas, I got to enjoy almost 400 pages of exciting, action-packed, dystopian fantasy with a lovely romance. The characters have the time and pages to develop and grow and learn. I enjoyed the world-building and the story was well-written. I highly recommend this book and series!

My thanks to the author for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

City of Wishes 1-4 Review by Rachel Morgan

The Memory Thief (City of Wishes #1)

City of Wishes 1: The Memory Thief
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

So I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings and after reading the premise, I was hooked. The first book in this series (6 total) is so interesting and gets the reader so involved and invested in the story that you can’t stop reading. Granted, it is short – only 128 pages – but definitely a jam-packed story full of great world-building and fun characters. Elle is bound to her stepmother with a slave charm. Elle is desperately trying to gain enough fae currency to purchase a wish to be free. She has a rare gift that her stepmother takes advantage of, but Elle is able to monetize her gift to hopefully gain enough to get that wish. On a work outing, she literally bumps into the mysterious Dex, a fae, who tries to protect her from a vampire. Warning: this story ends on a cliffhanger. You will want to continue reading what happens next. Highly recommended for a great YA fantasy read!

The Vampire Trap (City of Wishes #2)

City of Wishes 2: The Vampire Trap
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

Warning: highly addictive! This story is a continuation of the first book, The Memory Thief, and would not be understood without having read the first book. The first book is currently free, so please go there first. This story will have 6 different parts that all pretty much end in a cliffhanger – so be prepared to need to keep reading once you’ve finished one book. These are more like episodes due to their shorter length – this second episode is only 118 pages. Elle, who desperately wants to be free from her stepmother’s cruel enslavement, turns to Dex, a mysterious fae, who offers her a way to earn her freedom if she helps them trap the vampire that attacked her. Dex is investing these vampires who have been abducting humans and promises to keep Elle safe if she plays the bait. Secrets abound and will the truth be revealed? This story is nonstop action and fast-paced entertainment. Highly recommend.

The Moonlight Masquerade (City of Wishes #3)

City of Wishes 3: The Moonlight Masquerade
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

Book 3 did NOT disappoint. The ball has arrived!!! I love fairytale retellings! I’ve been waiting for this part of the story. Parts 1 and 2 set up Part 3 so you’ll want to read the first two books first. The books are more like episodes and end on a cliffhanger so be prepared for that. Elle is finally ready to request help from the Godmother, who can grant illegal wishes. Elle is not willing to pay the ridiculous price that the Godmother requires, so Elle tries to trick the Godmother. Of course, more surprises ensue at the ball! I’m so in love with the characters and I can’t enough of this world. Highly recommend for those who love YA fantasy and retellings.

The Eternal Night (City of Wishes #4)

City of Wishes 4: The Eternal Night
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

If you have not read the first 3 parts of this series, STOP. Read those 3 parts first and then come back and read this 4th part. There will be 6 parts total, so expect cliffhangers until the end. Elle’s experience at the ball was not what she was expecting, and she failed to fulfill her mission for the Godmother. Now, she’s in hiding from her stepmother and the Godmother with the most unlikely characters. She and Dex must somehow figure out the location of this vampire king and confront him to save the world. Loving this series. Each part is definitely on the shorter side but it makes for a fast, yet satisfying, serial. Highly recommend.

My thanks to the author for an ARC of all 4 books. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.