Review of Night of Masks and Knives by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
Wicked men stole the boy she loved. But when she found him again, he’d become more wicked than them all.

Malin Strom has been searching for Kase, her childhood sweetheart, since he was lost at the annual masquerade years ago.

With her gift for stealing memories, Malin crosses more than one dangerous line to take secrets from those who know what goes on behind the curtain of the wicked festival.

But when her brother is traded into the masquerade as punishment for using magic to hide Malin’s gift, her only chance to save him is to enlist the services of a brutal crook—the Nightrender—and he bears a striking resemblance to a face from the past.

No longer the boy she knew, her lost love, Kase, now rules as the amoral leader of brutal thieves. Pulled into his world of tricks and schemes, tantalizing attraction returns, but so do the secrets behind Kase’s disappearance, and the masquerade.

When their plan to save Malin’s brother takes them back to the dangers of the festival, painful betrayal forces Malin to face a cruel choice: save her brother’s life? Or give up the thief who has always held her heart.


Filled with luscious world building, spicy romance, and epic battles, this first book in the Eastern Kingdom is part Viking, part Cinderella.

Review:
This book had me drawn in from the beginning. Kase might be dark and lost in his own pain, not wanting to let others in because they could be hurt, but Malin was willing to do whatever it takes to free not only her brother but Kase as well. Seeing the two try to reacquaint themselves and deal with the darkness that people often face (though perhaps not to that extreme) when growing up and taking on more responsibilities. I absolutely love this well developed world where no one is a stock character; everyone has hopes, thoughts, dreams, ambitions. I also love how Andrews ties in fairytale elements without mimicking the plot of said fairytale. There is more spice in this book than some of the previous ones but it isn’t overly descriptive. I absolutely adored this book, and have already started the second in this series (technically the 5th in the Broken Kingdoms series). Highly recommend.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Crown of Blood and Ruin by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
War begins. But secrets have the power to end…everything.

Fallen princess. Traitor. Queen.

Forsaking her people and her birthright, Elise Lysander takes her place at the side of the new fae king of a broken land. Revered by some, hated by many, Elise’s fight for her love and freedom is only beginning.

As secrets of Castle Ravenspire come to light, Elise and Valen discover their enemies hold more power than they ever imagined.

It will take more than blades to defeat them.

Fulfilling a dangerous request from Valen’s imprisoned brother. Destroying a prophecy of fate kept in the hands of Elise’s brutal sister. And an unwilling alliance with a shadowed thief from a neighboring kingdom that might end in victory or more death.

Blood is calling. War will answer.

But for Elise and Valen this fight could be their hard-fought salvation…or a vicious end to everything they love.


Filled with luscious world building, banter-filled romance, and epic battles, this final book in the Northern Kingdom is part Viking, part fairy tale. One-click to start reading today.

*This is the final book in Elise and Valen’s love story, however, more tales will continue in the Broken Kingdoms. Romance and spice increases and is recommended for readers 17+ for the remaining books in the series.*

Review:
What an epic ending to Elise and Valen’s story! I will say I did expect most of the ending. I hadn’t expected a lot of the middle of this book, or the setup for the second one, but this book was quite epic. Highly immersive and you want to keep reading to figure out exactly what happens next. As we know, I love Beauty and the Beast, so I was quite happy to read this. I really loved the growth of all of the characters throughout the three books and how they developed both strength wise and opening up. I have already started the next book, and look forward to finishing it!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Court of Ice and Ash by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
She chose him. He chose revenge. But some choices have deadly consequences.

When Elise agreed to break a vicious curse over the man she loved, she never imagined he was a lost fae prince. But Valen left her to carry out vengeance for his slaughtered family. So when she joins the outlaw fae in their uprising against her own sister, all Elise wants is to forget the prince who holds her heart.

But fate has a different plan.

Reunited in the rescue of a mutual friend, Elise and Valen are forced to decide where they stand in the battle of crowns. As their passion reignites, so too do the dangers threatening to pull them apart for good: a strange magical blight infecting the land, betrayal by one of their own, and a devastating secret not even a fae prince saw coming.

The wicked game for the right to rule has begun. But who will save Elise and Valen from a dark magic with the power to destroy their love forever?

Review:
Elise is stuck in a horrible situation where she must fight for justice, and while she wanted to do so with the man she loved, instead she has to go on as if he hadn’t destroyed her. Seeing Valen fight himself and his true desires was very validating. This book is well paced, hard to put down, and I could not wait to read more. Absolutely loving the twists and turns, and so very glad for how it came together at the end. Of course I’m already on the next book, which would say I do highly recommend this…


Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Curse of Shadows and Thorns: A dark fairy tale romance by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
A rebellious princess. A cursed rogue. A forbidden love that will bring a kingdom to its knees.

As niece of the king, Elise Lysander cares about two things: sneaking into gambling dens, and avoiding an advantageous marriage at all costs.

When her uncle holds the life of her deathly-ill father over her head, reluctantly, Elise puts her fate into the hands of Legion Grey, the handsome and mysterious dowry negotiator. He may be arrogant and infuriating, but soon Legion incites a blistering, forbidden passion she can’t ignore.

As their attraction grows, so do the dangers: attacks from black-eyed people, a cursed enemy who is more beast than man, and rumors of fae returning for the crown they believe was stolen from them long ago.

After a bloody coup upends the kingdom, Elise flees with Legion, but nothing is as it seems. The man she allowed into her heart reveals his own secret plans with the return of magic—and he has every intention of using Elise to see them through.

With war between magic and mortal on the horizon, Elise must pick a side to protect her kingdom. Does she stand with her people who stole the throne? Or with a man who lied his way into her heart and whose secret past could bring her destruction?
 
Filled with luscious world building, banter-filled romance, and epic battles, this first book in the Broken Kingdoms series is part Viking, part Beauty and the Beast. One-click to start reading today.
 
This series will be 9-10 books with four different couples, but characters will be interconnected throughout the entire series. 
 
*Author Note* Be prepared, these fairy tale retellings might begin as a slow burn romance, but the series progresses with the spice and steam. Book 1 is not the standard for the heat of the romance and each book gets spicier.

Review:
I started this book because I’d finished the Hades and Persephone series I’d been reading and wanted to continue along the fairy tale/myth route. This book, I wasn’t sure of when I started. I already had it on my kindle and picked it based on the title; not actually remembering any description. Later I realized I’d found it off booktok, but I digress. I was quite pleased I picked it, as I fell into it right away.

Most of the characters, save Elise, in the royal family seem unredeemable. Following her adventures really resonated with me, for I believe most will feel like her about marriage. The world was well built and developed, the characters the same. Now, I had figured out our “main twist” from almost the beginning, however, I absolutely never would have expected how the end would come about. Oh my goodness! I had to immediately start the second book because I absolutely fell in love with Elise and Legion and need to know what happens next!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Queen of Night: A Hades and Persephone Retelling by Katherine Macdonald

Synopsis:
The courts divided.

A heart broken.

A lover lost.

Reeling from the loss of Hades, Persephone grudgingly takes on the mantle of Queen of the Underworld, a role she struggles to fill. Obsessed with reopening the way to Tartarus and finding her mate, Persephone must balance her responsibilities as queen with following her heart… or risk the destruction of the entire human race.

For something is stirring in the pit, and betrayal will come from unexpected places…

Review:
This book was a nice continuation of Thief of Spring. It was an easy read, and the ending was predictable. Very little spice, more of a PG13 suggestion really. I wasn’t quite keen on the very long backstory in the beginning, not because it wasn’t nice, but because it didn’t really fit in with where we thought we’d start and although it was nice to read, it was filler. Did love the epilogue.

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 Glow by Raven Kennedy

Synopsis:
The Booktok hit: The Plated Prisoner Series continues in book 4. This dark adult fantasy romance is inspired by the myth of King Midas and the gold-touched woman who realizes her true worth.

“I was nothing but a road to Midas. A means to get to where he wanted to go, and I paved that path in gold.”

My life has been made up of gilded lies. But death has been shaped from rot.

Like a phoenix caught fire, I will need to rise from the ashes and learn to wield my own power. Because my wings may have been clipped, but I am not in a cage, and I’m finally free to fly from the frozen kingdoms I’ve been kept in.

Yet the world doesn’t want to let me.

That’s the thing when you turn against a king—everyone else turns against you.

Good thing I have a different king in my corner.

But even with the dark threat of Slade Ravinger, the other monarchs are coming for me.

So I will fight for him and he will kill for me, and if we need to become the villains, then so be it.

Because so long as I live in this world, I won’t be used again.

Please note: This is an adult fantasy series with dark elements that may be triggering, including past emotional and physical trauma, violence, adult language, and explicit romance. Read at your own discretion.

Review:
Firstly, this book was SLOWWWW. 700 pages. And 10 chapters where we learn about the past, and spend so much time wondering about Auren. It did make the book feel like a bit of a drudge at the beginning with a small pacing issue, especially given how long the novel is. I think Kennedy did an admirable job in representing a repressed person and what trauma responses they can have, as well as how hard it is to work back up to being functional both with a disability/part of you taken away as well as not being oppressed anymore.

I very much enjoyed getting to see more of Slade and understand more of how he came to be in Orea as well as why he can be so dark. It was good to see a few more characters having a bit more time to shine, and I definitely enjoyed learning more of Rissa and Polly. It was also quite neat having Argo so close all, as well as those who he is used to; something I can relate to because often times people are scared or nervous around horses.

The spice in this was very well written, detailed, and why I’m also going to be tagging this under “Romance”. Definitely prefer Slade over Midas, that’s for sure!

Book 5 is due out in June, so I’ll probably be rejoining this world around then!

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 A Killer’s Kiss by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
A twisted killer is making his mark in London, leaving a trail of blood and devastation in his wake. It’s not only humans who are being targeted. Vampires, werewolves and pixies are in mortal danger too.

I’ve been called in to help with the investigation but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the murders. Someone is playing a very sick game – and it’s up to me to put a stop to it.

Review:
This book was intense. The crimes were quite graphic and the stakes were very high. Despite that, there was also a lot of interpersonal relationships built and played upon, which was very satisfying. I quite enjoyed all of the new characters and I, for one, had only figured out a small bit of what might have been the main mastering of the sick game. It was awesome to see more between our favourites at supe squad, and I do hope that some of the newer introduced police come up again.

My one complaint, which is more just whining, to be fair, is the absolute killer cliffhanger with no idea when another book in this series is going to be released! As always, loved joining in on DC Bellamy’s case and life. Cannot wait to read another book!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯