Review of Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Synopsis:
What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

A romantic and charming story, this companion novel to Off the Page will make every reader believe in the fantastical power of fairy tales.

Review:
This book is amazing. There are so many questions that so many of us go through all the time; what is real and what is imaginary? It is so easy to end up enthralled in this book, and the characters have great depth and personality. I absolutely love how there is a book within a book; I hadn’t expected such beautiful illustrations and highly recommend you buy a paper version so you can truly experience this novel. This is a beautiful story that is unique and so expertly told that it may always slightly linger in the back of the reader’s mind. There are many questions brought up but not quite answered about what people may wish or think of you and how that can affect you, positively or negatively, as well as thinking of your wants but also how getting what you want would effect others in your life. At the end, I certainly hadn’t expected what happened, but was also left with so many questions and the burning need to know more that I immediately went online and bought the sequel. I cannot wait to read more of what happens Off the Page.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of To Spark a Fae War by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
No one dreams of starting a war.
But without a fight there can be no revolution…

I used to protect lives. Now I’ve ended more than I’ve saved. But after being betrayed by the humans I trusted, I have no choice but to fight.

And the battle has begun.

With the truth of my fae heritage exposed, the line between friend and foe is blurred. The human and fae councils are out for blood and will stop at nothing until I, my mate, and my rebel allies are defeated.

If we lose the war, everything I’m fighting for—love, freedom, the fae I’ve sworn to protect—will be destroyed. At least there’s one thing my enemies have underestimated…

Me.

To Spark a Fae War is a romantic fantasy perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince, ACOTAR, and Kingdom of the Wicked. If you like snarky fae, brooding royals, sizzling romance, and fierce heroines, you’ll love this thrilling tale.

*NOTE: This series is Upper YA/NA and contains sexual situations, moderate steam, and some violence and gore.

To Spark a Fae War is the final book in The Fair Isle Trilogy. Start with book one, To Carve a Fae Heart, and continue with book two, To Wear a Fae CrownThe Fair Isle Trilogy is set in the same world as the Entangled with Fae series and takes place twenty years earlier.

Review:
This book tied up all the loose ends! There were a few twists and turns that I didn’t expect, but it lacked the spark that the first one had. I find I much preferred the Entangled with Fae series by the same author, but that may be why I was unable to fully focus on this series as I tried to remember things from future books(The Entangled with Fae series) and who it might relate to that I was seeing in this series.

It WAS good to have Evelyn finally remember her head and to use her mind instead of allowing herself to become easily overwhelmed with “this is all my fault”. I do like that Odette’s characters do not merely forget or forgive what’s happened instantly, however there are some cases where the need for revenge seemed to outsource anything remotely sensible. The amount of times that Evelyn decides to go off on her own without cluing in Aspen make it hard to trust they have the type of amazing bond that makes them such a special couple. That being said, they do work to have all their limited time together count. The ending was sweet and not quite what I expected. All in all, the first book was the standout of the three, and I much prefer the one book retellings of Entangled with Fae she released later.

Edit: January, 11, 2023- Forgot to mention; anyone surprised that someone named Evelyn with the nickname Evie turned into a fox? I sure wasn’t!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of To Wear a Fae Crown by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
Every young woman dreams of wearing a crown.
But never a fae crown.
Because the crowns of fae are forged with blood.

Being the forced bride of a fae king was supposed to be torture. King Aspen was supposed to be my enemy.

But I was wrong about him. So wrong I think I might be in love with him.

With our wedding just three days away, we are closer than ever to securing the treaty between the humans and fae. But when my past becomes grounds for invalidating our alliance, war looms yet again.

I’m the only one who can save the Fair Isle. To do so, I must give up the man I love. Return to the human realm. Face death.

I swore I’d do anything to save my people. But who are my people? The answer should be easy. The humans. There’s just one problem.

I might not be human after all…

To Wear a Fae Crown is a romantic fantasy, perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince, ACOTAR, and Kingdom of the Wicked. If you like snarky fae, brooding royals, sizzling romance, and fierce heroines, you’ll love this breathtaking fae fantasy.

*NOTE: This series is Upper YA/NA and contains sexual situations, moderate steam, and some violence.

To Wear a Fae Crown is the second book in The Fair Isle Trilogy. Finish this epic fantasy tale with book three, To Spark a Fae WarThe Fair Isle Trilogy is set in the same world as the Entangled with Fae series and takes place twenty years earlier.

Review:
Aspen and Evelyn are both so… unused to being in relationships and communicating that there are so many times that you think everything will fall apart and would be absolutely perfect if they just named spoke! This book was a quicker read than the first in the trilogy because I absolutely could not set it down. That being said, most of the tension in this book was from lack of communication and the classic desire of a protagonist to be a savior. Many times, no matter what she’s been advised to do, Evelyn insists that she is willing to sacrifice herself in order to save others, even despite being told multiple times that her life wouldn’t accomplish what she thought. Working around the angst, Evelyn manages to still go on a fairly impressive adventure, finding what is and isn’t worth fighting for, and that she does have a fair few allies.

I absolutely adored the way magic was described in chapter 5, “It is more about intent than it is about tangible action. All magic is.”

The difference between Seelie and Unseelie is contentious, so I quite liked the explanation of, “You don’t want your true nature suppressed or for your freedoms to be taken away. That’s what being unseelie means.”

That being said, looking forward to seeing how the third book in this trilogy ties everything together!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of To Carve a Fae Heart by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
Every young woman dreams of marrying a king.
Everyone except for me.
Because the king I am to wed has razor sharp fangs and a thirst for blood.

All my life I knew I’d come of age during the Hundred Year Reaping. According to the ridiculous treaty, two human girls are sent to the faelands as brides for the fearsome fae king and his devilish younger brother.

Not me. I was supposed to be safe. Two girls were chosen from my village already. But when they are executed for offending the king, my sister and I are sent in their place.

What a mess. Then again, maybe it’s not so bad. The younger brother I’m paired with doesn’t seem as monstrous as I’d expected. He’s delightfully handsome too. But nothing compares to the chilling, dangerous beauty of the fae king. And when my sister flees the castle and her terrifying husband-to-be, I’m left to marry him instead.

If I go through with this, I might not survive my wedding night. If I don’t, no one is safe, neither human nor fae. An ancient war will return, bringing devastation we haven’t seen in a thousand years. Can I sacrifice myself for the good of my people? Or will a dangerous desire be the death of me first?

If I don’t lose my heart, the king will certainly lose his. I’ll carve it out with an iron blade if I have to.

To Carve a Fae Heart is an enemies-to-lovers fantasy, perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince, ACOTAR, and Kingdom of the Wicked. If you like snarky fae, brooding royals, sizzling romance, and fierce heroines, you’ll love this breathtaking fae fantasy.

*NOTE: This series is Upper YA/NA and contains sexual situations, moderate steam, and some violence.

To Carve a Fae Heart is the first book in The Fair Isle Trilogy, set in the same world as the Entangled with Fae series. To Carve a Fae Heart takes place twenty years before the Entangled with Fae books. Journey back to Faerwyvae or start your adventure for the first time with this epic fantasy tale!

Review:
This book had me from the very first line. I absolutely adore that Tessonja Odette’s heroines/protagonists have lives, aspirations, goals, and not everything in their heads disappears the instant there is a chance of romance. This book is a perfect mesh of faerie tales and the duality of what you see from the outside of someone versus what they may be harbouring within. I absolutely loved how Evelyn is always at war between her head and her heart, there were a few times that she seemed to do things that she absolutely should have known better than. While I believe the couples have great tension, I do wish a certain royal explained better why he felt as he did. Sure, I can deduce that much, but clearly Evelyn couldn’t, so it would have been nice to have it spelled out.

Quite enjoy her differences between Seelie and Unseelie courts, and the explanation of the different powers different creatures have. Evelyn seemed to take up the sayings of the fae quite quickly, whereas as someone raised human, you would think she would have kept those instead, but that could be because of how immersed she quickly had to become in the fae. Evelyn’s narration is quirky, amusing, and fun and this book was entirely impossible to set down. Highly recommend, and have already finished the second book before writing this review (oops!)

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Glass Gate: A Retelling of Cinderella by Hanna Sandvig

Synopsis:
Sometimes all a girl needs is a good dress and some magic shoes.
Prince Charming is optional.


My goal was simple: create a killer fashion design portfolio, win the scholarship to the school of my dreams, and never have to clean my step-family’s house again. I just needed some inspiration. Something to set my portfolio apart from all the other up-and-coming designers. A little fashion magic.

I didn’t expect literal magic.

But then my friend dressed me up like a fae princess, and whisked me away to Faerie. The food! The dancing! The dresses! This was just the inspiration I needed, so when the crown prince asked me to stay and be his fake girlfriend, I jumped at the opportunity.

Prince Tiernan is gorgeous and charming, but I’m just a part of a plot to find his bride. That’s fine by me. I’m just here for the fashion. No messy feelings. On the other hand, it’s very hard to not have my head turned by a boy who gives me a dragon egg.

The longer I stay in Faerie with Tiernan, the more caught up I get in the magic of his kingdom, and I start to believe the stories we’re spinning for everyone. Stories of magic and sacrifice and maybe even true love.
I can’t lose sight of my goals. I need to win that scholarship. Putting my heart on the line for a prince and his kingdom is just too risky. Am I brave enough to try? Maybe if I find the right dress.

Where’s a fairy godmother when you need one?

**If you think Ever After is the best Cinderella retelling, because they actually get to know each other, or that Project Runway would be improved by having a baby dragon, try The Glass Gate! This is a sweet, stand-alone retelling of Cinderella, set in the Faerie Tale Romances world**

Review:
This book is very much along the same lines of Ever After, where the prince doesn’t show his true self much of the time. Ella is an amazing girl with a lot of stress on her plate. I quite like that she has real problems that are not solved just by going to a fantasy land with different responsibilities and expectations, a very accurate depiction of how many people face mental health problems and that it’s alright, and better, to be open and talk about them. I love the world Sandvig has created and all the different types of fae; the connection to both Celtic, German, and Japanese folklore/fairy tales. I love that Ella has goals and dreams and ambitions, but also finds what she really had needed all along. I especially loved how Ella came across the name Cinderella in this retelling, as I’d never seen a retelling use that reasoning and I quite liked how it very much fit in this story.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Thief of Spring: A Hades and Persephone Retelling by Katherine Macdonald

Synopsis:
The Greek Gods are real.

But they aren’t gods.

They’re faeries.

When 17-year-old Persephone accidentally stumbles upon a revel, she’s chosen as a sacrifice, but is saved from this fate when the Lord of the Underworld tricks her into becoming his companion for seven months instead. Sephy is taken to his dark palace under the earth, but the Lord of Night isn’t exactly what she expected him to be…

And neither is she.

Review:
I got a lot of Rapunzel vibes from this book when I started it. It did draw me in, especially because Sephy very much is aware of her growing feelings and the thought that this could be Stockholm Syndrome. I do like how the characters slowly started to get to know each other better, however, I did very much feel like a few things had been overly blatant. When we got towards the ending I was curious what would happen and if there would be a happily ever after but- silly me, I didn’t realize this was a duology!

Though there were a few obvious betrayals and a few twists and turns that hadn’t been expected, I found myself somewhat disappointed in how Persephone progressed throughout the story. The story seemed a bit flat. While mixing fae with the Greek Pantheon seems like a great idea, there was more that could have been better fleshed out about the connections between the myths and the people with those titles now, especially given that some were considered “real” and dangerous in the way that they were originally depicted while others somehow were just the title the Greeks once gave them. The main character, in the story, even mentioned that this type of story (of fae romance) is considered popular right now, which makes a reader consider if the author is merely trying to do what appeals, without giving proper fleshing out required for a deeper read. That being said, it’s a good, quick slow burn read that isn’t full of depth but is fun, and I am looking forward to continuing with book 2.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of From Tormented Tides by Val E. Lane

Synopsis:
Unravel the past. Break the curse. Pass midterms.
And don’t fall in love with dead pirates…

Katrina Delmar has no idea that Milo, the charming guy she meets at a college party, was supposed to have died at sea 300 years ago. She only knows that she’s drawn to him right away. But she’s also caught the attention of his crewmate, Bellamy, whose mysterious allure is hard to resist.

Falling for undead pirates is the least of her worries when there seems to be something sinister lurking beneath the surface. And when the ruthless captain of the ship discovers Katrina may hold the key to breaking the crew’s curse, he’s hellbent on taking it from her at whatever cost.

With time running out, Katrina must learn who she can trust and unlock the mysteries of the past before she and those she loves are pulled under by a curse of her own.

FTT is a Contemporary Pirate Fantasy with a slow burn romance. Suitable for most upper YA readers.
Please note some elements contained in this book include: Mentions of Suicide, Attempted Suicide, Alcoholism, Nightmares/Hallucinations, Drowning, Very brief implied SA threat, Violence, Death of a loved one, Brief torture, Case of a violent murder


Review:
I was quite excited for this because it had come up SO OFTEN when I was scrolling tiktok! I was glad that I put this off so I was starting it right around Halloween. I did quite enjoy this book, however, it did seem like it was really geared more towards being a YA book, not even a new adult one. There was some mention of how Trina and her roommate were still getting used to being on their own and didn’t have a lot of complex food/couldn’t cook, but it was almost an aside. If you have watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer or watched The Vampire Diaries it seemed very similar in dynamic and feel, except somehow the character is a college Freshman. That being said, there are multiple mentions of missing class, dazing off, but no stakes/repercussions for doing so.

Aside from the very YA feel, the book itself had quite a neat story. The pirates and interlocking back story were well thought out and put together, and I did quite enjoy our main characters. Unfortunately, as we learn more of the past, the little “love triangle” begins to seem far more forced just to have it in, and out of character for the male, though there also isn’t really any sort of connection seen from the female side either. While there is a decent ending, I personally felt like it was expected/contrite. There wasn’t ever the real feeling of danger throughout the book, and I think the overall “mystery” was very obvious from the beginning (or at least once one went into a certain antique shop). All in all, I did like it, but it was far more along the lines of a light YA novel than the potential slow burn romantic fantasy it is pitched as.


Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Gläser

Synopsis:
Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she’s convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon.

As it turns out, Emma hasn’t seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma’s way: anything she writes in the book comes true.

But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn’t the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from her—and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

A new boy in school—the arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winter—becomes Emma’s unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer.

Review:
This book was amazing! I was so sad when this ended that I’ve waited quite a while before writing the review since I finished it a few days after I wrote the review for A Killer’s Kiss. This book had everything; adventure, mystery, romance, fairy tales! Even now I find myself avoiding writing this review because it means the book is over. The book is a complete story, and I quite enjoyed it. It was quite hard to put down!

I also absolutely love the not-so-subtle Austen nod both with Pride and Prejudice in Darcy and Emma’s relationship because he is sooo frustrating but also Emma having many of the same characteristics as the titular character in Austen’s Emma with her meddling and desire to help which doesn’t always… well… help. I had thought I figured out a secret of a few characters and I was pleasantly pleased to be wrong!

This book was honestly so much better than the blurb makes it out to be and I emphatically recommend it. This was one of those stories where even though it was over you just wished you could keep on living in that world and continue on another adventure with the characters. I recommend this book even higher than The Book Jumper, which I had quite liked, but this book just fully sucked me in and I certainly didn’t want to leave at the end!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Prince of Never by Juno Heart

Synopsis:
A fae prince with a poisoned heart. A mortal girl with a magical voice. Neither one believes in fairy tales.

City waitress Lara has the voice of an angel and no idea she’s marked as the fated mate of a silver-eyed royal from another realm. When she falls into Faery and meets an obnoxious huntsman who mistakes her for a troll, she’s amazed to discover he’s the cursed Prince of Air in disguise. Ever’s mother, the queen, is less than impressed. The opposing court of techno-loving Unseelie wants her as their very own pet. And an evil air mage wishes her dead.

Held captive by Elemental fae in the Land of Five, she’s certainly hit rock bottom.

But songs wield power, and Lara happens to be a true diva. Now if only she can use her newfound magical skill to make the Prince of Never a little less attractive. The first thing she wants is to find a way back home, and the last is to fall in love.

Prince of Never is book 1 in the YA enemies-to-lovers Black Blood Fae series. Each book has a HEA and stars a different cursed prince and his human fated mate.** Now contains an extended, swoony, all-the-feels love scene that isn’t included in the audio book. No longer fade-to-black due to popular demand! If you have the previous version, contact me to read the new scene.

Review:
This book was interesting. It seemed a little bit too good to be true in the enemies to lovers/insta-love sense. The characters didn’t really take the time to get to know each other that well, and while we are shown they start spending more time together, they never seem to really get to any depth of each other, except realizing that they care for each other. While I didn’t mind the story, I did find that there wasn’t really any bite to it- no stakes that the reader worries about. I hadn’t realized that there was previously a fade to black love scene, though I did think that the “steamy” part was a bit lackluster and didn’t really enrapture me. The word play and teasing back and forth between the main characters was fun, just felt like there should have been something more. There is also no real reason ever given as to why Lara’s singing is so powerful. It wasn’t a hard read, and I did read it rather quickly. Not quite sure if I will continue the series but if enemies to lovers if your MO then go for it.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of A Taste of Poison: A Snow White Retelling by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
A runaway princess wanted for murder.
A deadly huntsman who’s after her heart…

Half-fae Astrid Snow is used to being disliked. With magic that makes her mirror back one’s worst qualities, she has more enemies than friends. And when she’s accused of poisoning her father, her stepmother—the formidable Spring Queen—becomes her greatest enemy yet. Forced into hiding, she finds solace at the Seven Sins Hotel. It provides the perfect subterfuge she needs. For who could ever find an outlaw in a hotel famed for sin?

Bear shifter Torben Davenport lost everything to the gambling halls. To pay off his debts, he serves the fae royals as their personal Huntsman, locating hard-to-find fugitives with his scent-based magic. When the Spring Queen offers him a bargain that will erase his debts for good, he’s willing to do what it takes—even if it means finding the queen’s runaway stepdaughter and cutting out her heart.

Astrid won’t go down without a fight, even if her assailant is a strikingly handsome Huntsman. If she can evade the bear-shifter’s claws, maybe she can make him an ally. It’s easier said than done, especially after she accidentally gets herself handcuffed to her infuriating captor.

Can Astrid cut through Torben’s icy demeanor and convince him to help her find the real killer? Or will she lose her heart in more ways than one?

ACOTAR meets Kingdom of the Wicked in this standalone fairytale retelling of Snow White. If you like brooding heroes, just one bed, and grumpy sunshine romances, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

*NOTE this book is upper YA/NA featuring mature situations, moderate violence and gore, substance abuse, and some adult language. The romance is slow burn but leads to moderate steam.

A Taste of Poison is a complete stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Fair Isle Trilogy. Journey back to Faerwyvae or begin your adventure for the first time with this enchanting tale. Each book in the Entangled with Fae series can be read on its own and in any order. Happily ever after guaranteed!

Review:
Wasn’t completely sure how I’d feel about this one since Astrid was so interesting. I quite enjoyed how the Huntsman got caught up and found himself more involved than he intended. I also had figured out who our big bad was going to be which I am quite please with myself for! This story had such depth and I quite loved all of the different places and people we got to meet and experience. It was beautiful seeing Astrid learn to let herself be and feel, and I think that’s something a lot of us relate to. Emotions are hard. It can be very difficult to process them and many times you can find yourself stagnant and trapped by memories and bad things, be that by what you use to get away from it or the thoughts themselves, but it’s important in life to keep moving forward and growing and working through. Quite enjoyed it, and very much enjoyed the connection that Astrid and Torben have!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯