Review of A Word so Fitly Spoken by T. A. Lawrence

One stunning bride.
One wedding.
One night with the king.
One execution come morning.
Rinse and repeat.

When the fae king of Naenden returns home to his palace only to find that his human queen has committed treason by conspiring to assassinate him, he has the queen executed and decrees that once every mooncycle, he’ll marry a human woman from the kingdom, only to execute her the following morning.


Unless one woman offers herself as a sacrificial bride for the rest.

Asha isn’t worried about being chosen, of course. The decree was quite clear about beauty being among the top criteria for being selected as one of the king’s unfortunate brides. And Asha is no beauty, all thanks to the illegal magic that inhabits her body, leaving her scarred and missing an eye. The same magic that occasionally possesses her voice so it can amuse itself by telling a never-ending story with a string of horrible cliffhangers.

The problem is, Asha might not be a beauty, but her sister Dinah is. When Asha realizes Dinah is in danger of being selected as the king’s sacrificial bride, Asha decides she can’t live with that risk. So she offers herself instead.

Except on the night of their wedding, the king grants Asha a final request.

Naturally, she asks to tell her sister one last bedtime story.

Naturally, the king eavesdrops.

The question is…

Will the story save her life…or ruin it?

A tale of love and betrayal, vengeance and sacrifice, magic and romance, this imaginative retelling of 1,001 Nights will keep you guessing with each turn of the page.

I would start off by calling this a very different fairy tale retelling. You know that you’re caught up in a fairy tale given the description, but the place, characters, and story really suck you in. Most fairy tales are left open- there aren’t many details and set things, that way they can adapt and change while keeping the same lessons no matter when and where they are told. That being said, the reader is deeply immersed in the world Lawrence designed, quickly enraptured by the unique magic system, balance between fae and human, and between the rich and poor. While the fairy tale itself might have inspired the story, there are so many twists and turns that it truly has a life of its own. There are several beautiful examples of people not always being what they seem/appear to be, as well as cases showing actions prove more of a person’s character than words. Once started, especially toward the last third of the book, it becomes absolutely impossible to put down.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Spellmaker by Charlie N. Holmberg

Dead wizards, stolen enchantments, and broken promises force a young spellbreaker out of the shadows in the next thrilling installment of the Spellbreaker series by the bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.

Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.

With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands.

This book was absolutely perfect. While Elsie finds herself quickly lost in a dark place, the reader is gripping for dear life waiting to see what happens next. The relationship between Bacchus and Elsie is brilliant and it’s wonderful to see it develop, but it’s also just as awesome to see the ties Elsie already had strengthen and solidify. This book did a great job of showing that there is more to people than meets the eye, and that the world is rarely as black and white as we believe it to be; even things that might appear outwardly bad could be the first step towards trying to do something good.

What I absolutely love about Spellbreaker and Spellmaker, similar to Holmberg’s The Paper Magician series, is how the entire system and use of magic is made up and explained. Though similar to The Paper Magician series in having magic, and having to pick a discipline, it was quite different in how the magic classes were set up and what they represent/can do. It’s a completely unique way of looking at magic and I really quite loved it, and wished there was more to read.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg


A world of enchanted injustice needs a disenchanting woman in an all-new fantasy series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

The orphaned Elsie Camden learned as a girl that there were two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like her, born with the ability to break them. But as an unlicensed magic user, her gift is a crime. Commissioned by an underground group known as the Cowls, Elsie uses her spellbreaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. She always did love the tale of Robin Hood.

Elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey is one elusive spell away from his mastership when he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment. To protect her secret, Elsie strikes a bargain. She’ll help Bacchus fix unruly spells around his estate if he doesn’t turn her in. Working together, Elsie’s trust in—and fondness for—the handsome stranger grows. So does her trepidation about the rise in the murders of wizards and the theft of the spellbooks their bodies leave behind.

For a rogue spellbreaker like Elsie, there’s so much to learn about her powers, her family, the intriguing Bacchus, and the untold dangers shadowing every step of a journey she’s destined to complete. But will she uncover the mystery before it’s too late to save everything she loves?

This book was absolutely enchanting! From the very beginning you are drawn into Elsie’s life and both want to know more about what is going on in England, but also see her grow and realize that she’s a worthy person. This book was completely immersive, well written, and every time you thought you figured out what was going on, it was twisted just a bit so not everything was (ever) as it seemed. I would 100% recommend this book to others, and I quite loved it, but it is in no way resolved at the end. Looking at other reviews on Amazon, the cliffhanger ending bothered others far more than I, however, I also knew it was a duology and both books were out before I started it. I had actually figured out what the very end would be before it stated, which did not surprise me, but I am oh so excited to start book 2!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fine Print by Lauren Asher

I’m in the business of creating fairy tales.
Theme parks. Production companies. Five-star hotels.
Everything could be all mine if I renovated Dreamland.
My initial idea of hiring Zahra was good in theory, but then I kissed her.
Things spiraled out of control once I texted her using an alias.
By the time I realized where I went wrong, it was too late.
People like me don’t get happy endings.
Not when we’re destined to ruin them.

After submitting a drunk proposal criticizing Dreamland’s most expensive ride, I should have been fired.
Instead, Rowan Kane offered me a dream job.
The catch? I had to work for the most difficult boss I’d ever met.
Rowan was rude and completely off-limits, but my heart didn’t care.
At least not until I discovered his secret.
It was time to teach the billionaire that money couldn’t fix everything.
Especially not us.

This book!! Oh my gosh, the writing was absolutely perfect. There were so many times that I just felt perfectly cocooned and fully immersed in the story. I absolutely love how, despite how bubbly and nice Zahra is, she isn’t perfect and both the main characters are seen to have cracks and issues throughout the story; things that cannot magically heal, but actual trauma that needs to be worked through and is always there behind you. While the novel was very reminiscent of a “Disney Princess” feel, it was truly immersive to see things through the eyes of a layperson and someone very affluent. While booktok may have originally gotten me to look at this book, the book itself took me to entirely new places and I absolutely adored it.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Of Beasts and Vengeance by Elle Madison and Robin D. Mahle

Zaina thought she could run from her secrets, but they have finally caught up to her.
She’s willing to risk her life for those she loves, but even that might not be enough to stop what’s coming.

Einar has finally let down his guard, but when the woman he trusts takes off in the middle of the night with his people’s only hope for a cure, he realizes what a mistake that was.

They have been living under the shadow of the same monster for longer than either of them realize. But it’s up to them to decide whether that makes them enemies or allies.

You’ve heard it asked, who could ever learn to love a beast? But this time, the question is, could a beast ever learn to love?

Like the book that came before it, this book was made entirely possible by the main characters not properly communicating and trying to do everything on their own. While that in and of itself can be potentially seen as noble, by this time, you would have thought they would have realized, without being TOLD, that working together will likely be far more lucrative. Once more, there was also very little connection between this novel and the fairy tale around which it is allegedly based; however I am fairly certain I know which “fairy tale” at least one of the other sister’s would end up in.

That being said, I demolished this book; once I started, I couldn’t put it down! It definitely picked up from the first book’s pacing, and while one might say this particular arc of the overall plot was finished, there was more than enough left to leave the reader wanting to continue on with the series. I am content knowing the “resolution” of this arc, and do not intend to continue on with the series, however, if you love it- then full steam ahead! This is the second of five books (so far), with the fifth set to release June 9th.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Of Thorns and Beauty by Elle Madison and Robin D. Mahle

You think you know the tale as old as time, but you’ve already got it wrong.
There never was a beauty and a beast, only a girl who was both.
And that girl was me.

Zaina will never be free.

She’s forced into an arranged marriage to a Viking King in a castle full of secrets. But she carries secrets of her own, and the scars of her haunted past.

Handed off from one monster to another, she has no choice but to do her best to survive and protect her sisters.

Even if it costs her everything.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling you won’t want to miss, where nothing is what it seems and time is running out.

This book did not grip me, which didn’t surprise me coming off a book I had quite fallen in the world of. It was interesting enough that I kept reading, but I wasn’t truly drawn into the book until 2/3 of the way through. Zaina never seems like a beast at all, though she does have a tragic past. There wasn’t too much connection between this story and the fairy tale that we know and love, and I think this story may have stood better on its own.

Seeing the slow burn connection of Einar and Zaina, and how Zaina’s mother influenced so much before and after, became truly great; Einar is a very unique and patient man. That being said, this book left on a complete cliffhanger with nothing at all resolved!! I did feel that many of the “surprises” of who was whom in the past/present that Zaina was unaware of were quite obviously foreshadowed. In many parts of this book, it seems as if the easy answer to fix whatever is wrong between Zaina and Einar would be for her to open up and TELL HIM THE TRUTH. That being said, I do plan to continue on with the series.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Bonded by Thorns by Elizabeth Helen

I’ve always loved fairytales. I never imagined I’d actually be in one.

When my father wanders into the enchanted realm of the fae, I know I have to go after him. And when he gets imprisoned, I’ll do anything to save him… Even trade my freedom for his. I had no idea I’d end up imprisoned by four sexy fae who turn into beasts at night.

I have to win my freedom, and that means making a bargain with them. They must find their mates in order to break the curse. If I can help them do that, they’ll set me free. Sounds simple, right?

It’s not. Because against my better judgment, I’m starting to fall for these beastly princes. One is smart and sweet, the other mysterious and deadly, another flirty and confident, and the last prince… He’s handsome, strong, has a wicked temper, and is dead-set against breaking the curse. Why does he want to keep me here forever?

But it’s not just my freedom on the line. If I don’t break the princes’ curse soon, all the magic in the Enchanted Vale will be stolen by the evil—and stupidly hot—Prince of Thorns. And I’m not letting my princes stay cursed.

Not after I’ve fallen in love with them.

BONDED BY THORNS is a steamy adult Beauty and the Beast retelling set in a fantasy fae realm. In this version, our beautiful bookworm doesn’t have to choose between the four sexy fae princes. It is a full-length novel that ends on a cliffhanger. It includes MF and MM content. It is intended for mature readers only.

This book had me enraptured from the beginning. Given how “romance” driven it seemed set up for, there was a lot of lead in and backstory that really had me gripped from the first page. I never once was considering looking to see just how much time I had left chapter to chapter or until the end, unless I was falling asleep while reading and wanted to get to an end point. I loved how Rosalina’s life was shown before and after being with the princes, and how she grows as a character. I cannot wait to be able to read the next book, and oh my gosh, waiting until June is going to be TORTURE!!!

I feel that Rosalina and her previous relationship is very much how many women find themselves dating when they don’t know any better; it’s good enough, okay enough, he’s nice to me etc. I absolutely adored how we saw her relationships with the various characters blossom during the story, so that it’s more than just attraction between her and any of the others. I love she finds herself reevaluating her place in life and in this story, and finding that, just like the real world, sometimes your desires and feelings and future change before you even realize.

There is a hint of spice between Rosalina and one of the princes (not naming names!) however the main spice is MM, and I’d put the dirty talk at about a 5/5 spice and the rest maybe 3/5.

I did absolutely love the subtle nods to the Disney version with “Far off places, daring sword fights, a prince in disguise…” but this could absolutely stand on its own. The flower twist was gorgeous, the thorns and her connection perfect. I have a few suspicions on who some of the main characters so far unseen will turn out to be (fae queen, enchantress) but overall I quite love this book and cannot wait to continue on!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Daughter of Winter by Corina Douglas

Marked by an ancient prophecy wielded by the gods.

Shackled to a dark, enigmatic stranger.

And prey to a powerful adversary seeking vengeance.

Her life will never be the same again . . . .

Intrigue and danger enter Brydie MacKay’s life when Gage walks into her carefully controlled world. He brings news that her grandmother has died, and as her last living relative, Brydie has inherited her estate and must travel to Scotland to accept her legacy and all it entails. Brydie doesn’t want the inheritance, not after the way she was treated, and when a series of actions unfold that illustrate her ‘legacy’ is not just a physical entity but a turbulent birthright proclaiming she is the descendant of the Celtic winter goddess, Cailleach Bheur, she tries to run.

But Gage won’t take no for an answer. He has his own role to fulfil and will do whatever it takes to ensure Brydie returns to Scotland with him—even if that means taking her against her will.

Daughter of Winter is the first book in a dark fantasy romance series based on the myths and legends of the Celtic winter goddess, Cailleach Bheur. Featuring dark magic, druids, fae, selkies, mythical creatures, and a morally grey hero with an enemies-to-lovers romance, it is perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the Fever series.

Overall I thought this was an alright book but not gripping in the appropriate ways. Most of the drama and ambiguity was because of lack of communication between Gage and Brydie. There were also many “flash back” moments of Brydie’s that were a bit of an info dump instead of being shown. There was one particular point that stuck out describing Brydie’s clothing when nothing else was mentioned to that level of detail previously, and a few points where the grammar seemed odd, “I cried until I had breath no more.” (Douglas 110, Chapter 4)

While Douglas’ descriptions of druidic times/nature/magic were quite well done, Brydie herself wasn’t that likeable. It was hard to route for someone who constantly let themselves be taken advantage of and only ever tried to assert themselves in the worst possible times when it could be life or death. That being said, while Gage is intentionally standoffish and reserved, he does seem to be quite smart, saying, at one point, “It’s human nature to be fickle, to desire that which we shouldn’t and undertake deeds of deceit and corruption to get what we want. All of us are guilty of it, and not one of us is purely good.” (Douglas 166, Chapter 21) Nevertheless, we learn that Gage has a person he cares about that he’s hiding, and I’m sure that will be important further on in the series.

While it’s been hinted at that Gage and Brydie will have some sort of connection, potentially physical/romantic due to their parts in the prophesy, the way they’ve acted towards each other makes it a bit off putting and frustrating when they think of each other amourously– would you really think of someone you hate like that?

Overall it was an alright read, and I may continue on, though know that this book ends with more questions left than answers.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯