Guest Review: Nemesis by Anna Banks

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Guest Review: Nemesis by Anna BanksNemesis by Anna Banks
Series: Nemesis #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 4, 2016
Pages: 359
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But Mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?

A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Lissa here with a guest review for Nemesis by Anna Banks!

You can find Lissa on Twitter!

Without further adieu, here’s Lissa’s review! Enjoy!


As a long-standing fantasy fan and an extremely character driven reader Nemesis hit all the right buttons with me for a fabulous read.

First up we have a well-developed fantasy world with an interesting blend of magic and science. There is some basis in an Egyptian landscape/society, but it is largely cosmetic. There is extensive world building that makes it the author’s own.

Then you have the characters. Sepora is spunky, and opinionated, and caring and courageous and I adore her. Tarik is at once bemused by and attracted to her spirit and secrets. In addition to his rapport with Sepora, Tarik has his own trials and growth as a character. The supporting characters are well developed and add to the plot and development of the main characters without being blunt cardboard stereotypes.

Plus I am a sucker for animal sidekicks. And both MCs have their furry or not so furry friends.
The stakes in this series are legitimate and unambiguous, with real consequences and moral dilemmas handled realistically by all parties, without being overtly preachy.

Perfect for fantasy fans and lovers of independent minded characters and witty banter. I eagerly await the next book.


Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa BashardoustGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on September 5, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass was SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!! I loved everything about it – the plot, the characters, and the writing. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and it definitely did NOT disappoint!

I absolutely loved Mina. I know we’re supposed to dislike her, as the Evil Queen, but you guys know I LOVE a good villain/villain origin story, so I was completely fascinated by Mina’s story. She was so strong and fierce! I hated how her father and the people of the north treated her, though. At times, you could see the scared, vulnerable little girl hiding beneath the crown. She wanted nothing more than to be loved, yet she couldn’t see the love that was right in front of her.

Lynet was an interesting character, but I found some of her scenes a little more boring compared to Mina’s. About 60% into the story, it really started to slow down and I got to a point where I only wanted Mina’s POV. But things definitely picked up as the book went on, and Lynet came to be a strong character with plenty of fight in her. I LOVED how her story ended!

I loved the relationship between Mina and Lynet – I know that’s weird to say, when we all know how the original Snow White fairy tale ended. But this book allowed us to see a different side to both girl and queen. It was a refreshing take, and always had me on the edge of my seat – always wondering how the author was going to get from where the characters were in this story to where they were in the original fairy tale. It didn’t seem possible, but the author pulled it off in an intriguing, masterful way!

I really liked Nadia, despite not fully trusting her. There was just something about her that made me feel suspicious – and then the revelation about her confirmed my suspicions. Yet I still liked her. I really liked the relationship between her and Lynet. It was a slow burn, but it was worth it – the way things ended, it was SO satisfying. And I loved the way Nadia’s story ended in general.

Nicholas was a complete and total ass. He didn’t truly love his daughter, he was just mourning the loss of his wife and trying desperately to recreate her via his daughter. I also hated the way he treated Mina. It’s one thing to mourn the loss of someone, it’s another to forget about the living – or treat them terribly – because of that loss. Gregory, also, was a disgusting ass – but that was less of a surprise, so the gross things he did were only mildly shocking.

The only character I don’t have a lot to say about is Felix. I was intrigued by him in the beginning, and then he lost my interest. He lacked a personality and despite understanding why, I just reached a point where I didn’t care for him or his story anymore.

I loved the way many things in this story mirrored (see what I did there?) the original fairy tale, but I also loved the creative liberty the author took – I was never a huge fan of the story of Snow White, but this book made me SO happy!

Overall, if you couldn’t tell from my super rambly review (seriously, sorry if this review is rambly and wordy and weird – I loved this book so much, I couldn’t really articulate how I felt about it), I absolutely adored this book!!! I can count on one hand how many books I TRULY loved this year, and this is one of them! I HIGHLY recommend it to those who love fairy tale retellings! I can’t wait to see what Melissa Bashardoust does next!


Favorite Quotes/moments:

“Lynet always saw Mina as a flame, something fierce and fearless and regal” (US Hardcover, page 74). This perfectly describes Mina.

“Cold as snow, sharp as glass.” (US Hardcover, page 205)


Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri ManiscalcoHunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Published by Little Brown & Company on September 19, 2017
Pages: 434
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco's haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of my favorite books of 2016, so I was HIGHLY anticipating the sequel – and it definitely didn’t disappoint! The characters were epic, the writing was gorgeous, the plot was intriguing, and the twist ending was !!!!!!!!!!!!

Audrey Rose will forever be one of my favorite kick-butt heroines. She’s bold, fierce, and intent on living life her way. She was also a bit too stubborn for her own good at times, too determined to do things on her own when she should have gone for help. But she never backed down from a challenge, even when others were rooting for her to fail. I admired her courage and determination.

Thomas was so wicked, I loved it! He was cheeky and cocky and hilarious – a total charmer! He definitely had some moments where I wanted to smack him (i.e: the way he tried to make decisions for Audrey Rose, and didn’t listen to her when she asked him to stay out of certain things; also, when he spoke to the professors about Audrey Rose behind her back). But, overall, I think his character development was great, and he had a lot of growth in the end. Also, the revelations about him in this book were !!!!

I will forever ship Audrey Rose and Thomas. Their chemistry is electric, and the sexual tension between them is on fire. I REALLY hope there’s a third book because I CAN’T wait to see what happens next, now that they’re _________ (you know if you read it; I don’t want to spoil it!).

The secondary characters in this book were all on point, but I REALLY LOVED Daciana and Ileana!! I loved everything about them as individuals, as well as the relationship they had. And the revelations about both of them were !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really hope that, if there IS a third book, we get to see more of them!

I REALLY wanted to like and trust Anastasia. I was super intrigued by her, and I really wanted to know more about her right off the bat. I can’t discuss much else about her without spoilers, but she was another character where… the revelations about her were !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Prince Nicolae was… interesting. I never really knew how to feel about him and never fully trusted him. But he was an intriguing character to meet and learn about. I was very amused by Professor Radu. He reminded me of a weird cross between Lupin and Quirrell (from Harry Potter). And Headmaster Moldoveanu was just a complete and total jackass.

The ending was one huge WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! moment. It was SUPER intense and there were a lot of *biting my nails* moments. It also had some heart-pounding/creepy thriller moments. The whole book felt like this slow burn that built up and up and up, until the ending crashed into you like a high-speed train – at which point, it didn’t let up until the very last page.

If you couldn’t tell from my review, I absolutely ADORED this book and I’m PRAYING there’s a third book! I can’t get enough of this world and these characters! I HIGHLY recommend this one!!!!


Review: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather (Blog Tour)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather (Blog Tour)Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather
Series: How to Hang a Witch #2
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 3, 2017
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

Hey everyone! I’m beyond excited to be on the blog tour for Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather!! I absolutely LOVED both How To Hang a Witch (book one) and Haunting the Deep (book two)! I hope you enjoy my review!


As much as I love the Salem Witch Trials, the plot in Haunting the Deep was even more epic than How To Hang a Witch. The writing improved a LOT – which is saying something, since there was nothing wrong with the writing in How To Hang a Witch. It just got even better in Haunting the Deep! And, most importantly (for me, since I’m such a character-driven reader), the characters felt more developed and epic.

I’ve loved getting to know Sam over the course of the last two books. She’s fierce and independent, almost to a point of being extremely stubborn. I get that she went through a lot (in book one), but as Alice pointed out, she wasn’t the only one who went through those things. Shutting everyone out – and pushing everyone away – wasn’t the answer. She needed, more than anyone, to have people she could trust and rely on. But she definitely grew and matured in Haunting the Deep.

Jaxon has frustrated me throughout both books. I felt like his interactions with Sam were awkward and forced in How To Hang a Witch. That improved in Haunting the Deep, but his attitude sucked. He went from being a charming ass in the first book to just an ass in the second. He was even more stubborn than Sam, super jealous, and completely close-minded. I know the things Sam went through were strange and crazy, but he could have supported her more. He did have his moments, though – I can’t deny that.

And that leads me to their relationship.. Sadly, I didn’t ship Sam and Jaxon. I really preferred them as friends. I didn’t feel a romantic vibe between them. At the same time, I DID like their banter and flirtations. I know that’s a huge contradiction but…. *shrugs.*

Elijah, on the other hand…. He was !!!!!!! I honestly don’t even know what else to say about him. He was just epic and swoon-worthy and I totally shipped him and Sam!

I loved the dynamic between Sam and The Descendants in this book. I especially loved Alice. She was bold and spoke her mind. Her dry, sarcastic humor was epic.

I also loved the banter between Charlie and Mrs. Meriwether. It was sweet seeing their friendship develop after they had been apart for so many years.

This book was such a fast, fun read. I read the first 170 pages in one sitting (5 hours) and didn’t want to put it down even when I was falling asleep in the middle of reading it! The ending was EPIC and INTENSE and full of !!!!! and “KNEW IT!!!” moments. It wrapped things up nicely, but still left me wanting a third book! Like, I REALLY REALLY hope there’s going to be a book three! I’m not ready to say goodbye to this world or these characters!

If you couldn’t tell from my review, I absolutely LOVED this book. If you love historical fiction – specifically books about the Titanic – this book is DEFINITELY for you!


Favorite Quote:

“You’re not allowed to try to fix me. I’m not broken” – Page 234 in the US ARC


About the Author:
Adriana Mather is the 12th generation of Mathers in America, and as such her family has their fingers in many of its historical pies – the Mayflower, the Salem Witch Trials, the Titanic, the Revolutionary War, and the wearing of curly white wigs. Also, Adriana co-owns a production company, Zombot Pictures, in LA that has made three feature films in three years. Her first acting scene in a film ever was with Danny Glover, and she was terrified she would mess it up. In addition, her favorite food is pizza and she has too many cats.

Twitter | Get Underlined – Book page | Goodreads


Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana MatherHow to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Series: How to Hang a Witch #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26, 2016
Pages: 358
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

The more things change in Salem, the more they stay the same.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous Witch Trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam is not exactly welcomed with open arms. She is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those Trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that wasn’t enough, Sam finds herself face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff.

Soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting everyone with ties to the Trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first alleged witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m OBSESSED with the Salem Witch Trials and all fictional (and some non-fictional) stories about them. So, of course, How to Hang a Witch has been on my TBR for a VERY long time. It ended up being an epicly amazing book and I’m SO SORRY I didn’t read it sooner!!! The plot was intriguing and the characters were incredible! Also, at times, this book managed to creep me out. You guys know I’m not easily creeped out by books, so the fact that this book pulled it off? *Bows to the awesome.*

I loved loved LOVED the atmosphere in this book – the cobblestone alleys and eerie black houses; the fact that the street Sam lives on is called Blackbird Lane; the wrought-iron fence with pointed spires; the bedroom, “everything’s antique and made of dark wood.” It gave me major Munsters vibes. Also, major Dark Shadows vibes.

I adored Sam. She’s strong, stubborn and resilient. I loved the way she just dove right into trying to unravel the curse. She also accepted help when she realized help was needed – from a ghost, but still! Speaking of ghosts, Elijah was !!!!!!! I don’t know what else to say about him, haha. I adored him! But the way his story ended had me !!!!!!!

Jaxon, on the other hand, frustrated me. He was basically a charming ass with a (sometimes) bad attitude. I feel like I’m full of contradictions in regards to my feelings on Jaxon and Sam. On the one hand, the romance moved way too fast, which was annoying. But on the other hand, Sam and Jaxon were adorable, so I didn’t mind. Also, normally I’d be super annoyed with a character going back and forth on whether her crush really likes her or has betrayed her to the “popular kids” (which Sam does a LOT in this book, re: Jaxon). But Adriana Mather wrote it so well, it was really believable. In the end though, despite my contradicting thoughts, I really didn’t ship Sam and Jaxon at all. Sigh.

I really loved the Descendants. They gave me major The Craft vibes – especially Lizzie = Nancy. I just wish we could have learned more about them as individuals. I would have loved more backstory! (Hey Adriana… Maybe we can get a prequel book, a story about the Descendants BEFORE Sam arrived in Salem?!?!?! PRETTY PLEASE WITH SUGAR ON TOP!!!!)

I don’t even know if this makes sense, but the tone of this book completely remindED me of a 90s/00s teen novel, and I LOVED IT! It reminded me of an old-school Caroline B. Cooney novel, or an R.L. Stine novel or something. I’ve only gotten this vibe once before when I read To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough.

The ending was insane and twisted and unexpected. It’s rare that I’m caught of guard by an ending, so it was incredible to actually be shocked by the shocking ending.

So basically… I really just loved the crap out of this book (the plot and the characters), and I highly, highly recommend it for those who love witches and, specifically, the Salem Witch Trials!


Review: The Hummingbird Heart by A.G. Howard

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Hummingbird Heart by A.G. HowardThe Hummingbird Heart by A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #2
Published by Golden Orb Press on August 15, 2017
Pages: 339
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

Set 19 years after The Architect of Song.

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions—a holiday resort in England born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she's determined to escape finishing school along with everyone's efforts to make her a proper lady. The only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life. He can't allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family's resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of them their lives.

As always, Anita is a master storyteller. From the plot to the characters, everything about this book was incredible! I was consumed within the pages and didn’t want it to end. But when it did, it was in an incredibly satisfying way. While this story wrapped up nicely with no frustrating cliffhangers, it still has me eager to get my hands on book three – which isn’t out until August 2018! Insert crying emoji! So far, all we know about book three is that it will be Nick’s story… GIMME GIMME GIMME!

*Clears throat*

Anyway, back to THIS book and the review for it, hehe.

I honestly think I enjoyed this book MORE than The Architect of Song. I can’t believe I’m saying that because I LOVED The Architect of Song, but The Hummingbird Heart was just… incredible. I think it was the characters, honestly. I loved Juliet, Lord Thornton and Hawk. But Willow and Julian were !!!!!!!

I loved Willow. She was wild and free-spirited, yet had a tragic past. Someone as carefree as her shouldn’t have to hold such a burden in their heart. She had some AMAZING character growth, especially in the second half of the book. The revelations concerning her past were both mind-blowing and a bit obvious. Like, I SHOULD have seen it coming, but I didn’t until very close to the reveal. But I actually LOVED the way her story went, as weird and crazy as it was! It really just made complete sense and it was like all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place with this reveal.

Julian was soooo swoony. He was a bit controlling in the beginning and he did a few things that I REALLY couldn’t stand, but by the end, he had grown a LOT. He loosened up and embraced a lot of things that Beginning of Book Julian would NEVER have embraced.

I completely shipped Willow and Julian! Right from the beginning, they had this epic rapport – like a bickering old married couple! Their relationship was a slow, sweet burn and SO satisfying in the end.

I absolutely adored Newton. There was just something so fun and lovable and vulnerable about him. In the beginning, his relationship with Julian was HILARIOUS! It reminded me of the “little old lady bickering” between Morpheus and Jeb in the Splintered trilogy. I loved his devotion to his sister (*cough*) and his unwavering loyalty to those he considered friends. For a little boy, he had a big heart.

I really couldn’t stand Nick. Normally I like the cocky bad boy, but he was just an ass with no redeeming qualities. HOWEVER… And I don’t understand why… But… I CANNOT WAIT for his story in book three! Maybe because I think there’s more to him than we saw in this book, and maybe because I DO hope he redeems himself.

A character I really DID like was Judge Arlington. He was like the kind grandfather of the group. I also really liked Sala and… I know I shouldn’t… And I can’t explain why without spoilers so… !!! Also, Vadette – another I can’t explain without spoilers, so…

The last 20% of the book was INCREDIBLE. Like, the whole book was incredible. But the last 20% was intense and emotional and full of revelations and GAH!!!!!

As usual (and as mentioned above), Anita crafted an imaginative world with strong, likable characters. Her writing was vivid and sucked me into the story. I will never not love the things she writes. Her books are just incredible. They take you on an unforgettable adventure. If you love ghost stories and epic love stories, this book is definitely for you!


Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly (Blog Tour)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly (Blog Tour)No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
Published by Delacorte Press on July 18, 2017
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

Hey everyone! I’m so, so excited to be on the blog tour for No Good Deed by Kara Connolly! You guys know I LOVE retellings of any kind, so you know I JUMPED on this book when the blog tour invite showed up in my inbox. So, without further adieu, here’s my review!

I’m REALLY loving this book!!! Unfortunately, life has been a little hectic lately and I haven’t been able to finish reading it yet. That said, I’ve read 50% and feel confident I can write a partial review that will honestly reflect my thoughts and do the book justice. Once I finish the book, I’ll update my review.

I’m getting a lot of different vibes from this book: Robin Hood: Men in Tights vibes. Xena/Hercules vibes. The Witch Hunter vibes. I think these comparisons come from the similar time periods and settings, rather than plot – except for the Robin Hood vibe, the reason for that is obvious!

I really love the characters in this so far. Ellie reminds me of Emily from Make It or Break It – mostly because of the short hair and “Olympic hopeful” thing. James seems swoony so far! The Will Scarlet and Little John characters have me cracking up! I have a feeling I shouldn’t like Guilbert, but I kind of do really like him because I have a feeling there’s more to him than meets the eye!

So far, the plot is incredibly intriguing and I can’t wait to see what happens next! The writing is epic, too – I’m really getting sucked into the story because of it and the plot. I think Kara Connolly is going to be an author to watch and I’m already excited to see what else she does!

So far – and assuming this book continues being epic – I definitely do recommend it to those who love retellings! Also, I was told it has a similar vibe to Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, so if you’re a fan of that book, I recommend checking this one out!

UPDATE (8/8/17): So I FINALLY finished the book. I’ll admit, I struggled with it a little – the middle dragged a bit. But I’m not sure if it was the book or because of life being hectic and my reading slump, so I’m not going to blame the book. It really picked up at the end and I ended up really enjoying it. My favorite parts were the ones with Eleanor of Aquitaine, especially the part that took place at 76% (in the US eARC version – I think it was chapter twenty-one). I also REALLY LOVED Will Scarlet. He was hilarious and I loved his friendship with Ellie.

The ending was a bit rushed, but adorable and fun. It wrapped up nicely, but it left room for my mind to wander and imagine what happened AFTER. In my opinion, the best standalones are the ones that end in such a way – nicely and with no loose strings, but with enough leeway to picture the “after” however I like.

I still highly recommend this to anyone who loves Robin Hood and retellings.


Blog Tour Schedule:

July 17:
Cafinated Reads

July 18:
Istyria book blog
My Guilty Obsession

July 19:
Stories & Sweeties
The Book Monsters
Urban Fantasy Investigations

July 20:
Seeing Double In Neverland
Love is not a triangle
A Backwards Story

July 21:
Take Me Away
Feed Your Fiction Addiction

July 24:
Beauty and the Bookshelf
Mom With a Reading Problem

July 25:
Teen Lit Rocks
Peace Love Books

July 26:
Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
The Hollow Cupboards

July 27:
Adventures of a Book Junkie
A Midsummer Night’s Read

July 28:
Gone Pecan
Mommy Ramblings

July 31:
By Valia Lind
Pandora’s Books

August 1:
Cracking the Cover
Jessabella Reads

August 2:
Bookish Lifestyle

August 3:
Twinning for Books
Ms. Yingling Reads

August 4:
Lisa Loves Literature
She Dreams in Fiction
Zach’s YA Reviews


About the Author:

Kara Connolly loves history, though she has never time traveled. She lives and writes in Arlington, Texas.

To learn more about Kara and her books, visit her website or follow @readKaraC on Twitter and @readkaraconnolly on Instagram.


Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn SkyeThe Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 16, 2017
Pages: 415
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

It physically pains me to write this review. I don’t WANT to be writing this review – I don’t even know how to start. Those of you who follow my blog and social media know that I LOVED The Crown’s Game SO SO much! The characters felt real, the plot was filled with magic and mayhem, and the writing was lush and gorgeous. Skye’s writing was still lush and gorgeous, but this book just… crashed and burned.

This book had hardcore Second Book Syndrome – despite being the conclusion to a duology. It was slow and it dragged and, to be painfully honest, I was bored. If this WAS book two in a trilogy, I think I could have tolerated some of what happened a lot better. But knowing it was the conclusion, it was just disappointing. I feel like nothing was accomplished in this book and there was barely a plot, more like little mini plots all strung together to scrape a second book out. It felt forced and unnecessary, and I really felt like The Crown’s Game could have just been a stand-alone.

The characters fell REALLY flat to me. Like, they were NOTHING like they were in The Crown’s Game. It felt like everyone was acting out of character in so many ways. And then there were the ships… I shipped everyone with everyone in book one. As I said in my review for The Crown’s Game, “I just had SO MANY FEELS that, honestly, any of those ships would satisfy me. Normally I’d pick an OTP for a book, but that’s impossible to do with The Crown’s Game because all the characters are so epic, I just love all the potential pairings!”

But in The Crown’s Fate? I didn’t ship ANYONE because my ships were either almost completely separated from each other throughout the book (i.e: Vika and Nikolai) OR the characters were so OUT of character, I didn’t like them enough to ship them (Nikolai with anyone). And that takes me to Nikolai and his plot.. WHAT THE ABSOLUTE EVER-LOVING EFF??? *Takes deep breaths* I just can’t. I can’t without spoilers, so I just can’t… But also that ending?!?!?!?! Vague spoilers in the next paragraph, be warned:

All was just forgiven and everyone moved on?!?!? Okay, not gonna lie, I’m happy they worked it out and it was a HEA. But it was tied up WAY too neatly and WAY too easily and there were NO consequences for ANYTHING that happened and how can that just be forgiven????? *Rips hair out!!!!*

The only thing I really liked was all the Russian myths and legends coming to life. Except that was barely mentioned and nothing came of it, so… Total let-down *Sighs.*

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book. I still LOVE The Crown’s Game, but I’m gonna pretend that it was a stand-alone and that this book never happened. I didn’t like the direction the plot (what plot?) went, and I didn’t like the totally out of character characters. I didn’t like that I had to hate characters I loved the first time around. This book was frustrating and disappointing and I seriously struggled to finish it, which is very upsetting and heartbreaking for me.

Would I recommend this book? I don’t know… I DO recommend The Crown’s Game because it was AMAZING and my opinions on The Crown’s Fate won’t change how much I love The Crown’s Game. But I don’t think I can recommend The Crown’s Fate. It was just… heartbreakingly disappointing. Then again, I’ve seen mixed reviews – people either LOVE LOVE LOVE it, or they don’t. So.. Maybe you’ll love it? Maybe I’m just in the minority with this opinion? So if you truly loved the first book, then go ahead and give this one a shot.


Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew ShvartsRoyal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 30, 2017
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

I adored this book so much!!! The characters were epic, the plot was intriguing and the writing was great. I’ve been in a terrible reading slump for over a year now, and this book really helped pull me out of it.

I loved Tilla right from the start. She’s “rebellious, determined and stubborn,” with “a bold heart and an iron will.” This was the way two of the characters in the book described her (hence the quotation marks), and I 100% agree. I liked Zell’s character growth. His backstory was heartbreaking but I loved the way his story ended. I really liked his relationship with Tilla.

Jax was an amazing character and I sobbed when one very big thing happened to him – I kept hoping there would be some kind of epic twist at the end, but alas, there was not. Lyriana was an interesting character. I’m hoping there’s a sequel because I’d love to see her in Lightspire, ruling in her natural element. I’d also love to learn more about her background and her magic.

Finally, Miles… UGH! Don’t even get me started. I didn’t like him in the beginning and I HATED him by the end.

I had a LOT of comparison vibes with this book. First, as always, I had major Reign feels (re: Kings, Queens, court and Bash, since he’s a bastard). Second, I had some pretty big Long May She Reign vibes. I can’t go into details without spoilers. But part of it was what happened at the banquet in the beginning and part of it was that Jax from Royal Bastards reminded me of William Fitzroy from Long May She Reign.

Finally, the biggest vibes I had while reading this book? Breakfast Club vibes! Our main characters were kind of just thrown together in this incredibly crazy, dangerous situation and they banded together and made the most out of it. But for some strange reason, these Breakfast Club vibes were “Degrassi’s Breakfast Club-like episode” vibes. You can watch it on YouTube (spoiler alert if you’ve never watched the show, because it’s season 3). I don’t know why, but I kept picturing the scene where they conga down the hallway.

I loved the descriptions of the different mages! The magic in this book was so intriguing and, in some cases, a bit wild and untamed. I loved that the rules could be broken and the magic had different manifestations.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. The ending was super intense and had me flailing! Again, I’m REALLY hoping for a book two because I want to see what happens next for these characters! I love where all their stories ended in this book, but their stories are FAR from over! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves castles, court and intrigue. And to anyone who enjoyed Long May She Reign and The Breakfast Club.


Review: Katana at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee (Blog Tour)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Katana at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee (Blog Tour)Katana at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Series: DC Super Hero Girls #4
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on July 4, 2017
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Get your cape on with the DC Super Hero Girls(TM)--the unprecedented new Super Hero universe especially for girls! Readers of all ages can fly high with the all-new adventures of Wonder Woman(TM), Supergirl(TM), Batgirl(TM), and some of the world's most iconic female super heroes as high schoolers!

Sword-wielding Katana isn't like most high school students--but with classmates like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, Super Hero High isn't like most high schools!

In addition to training to be a super hero, Katana also follows the noble warrior traditions of the Samurai. Now an unknown source has given her the responsibility of guarding a hundred ancient Samurai swords--but why her, and for what purpose? With the help of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Ms. Martian, and some of her other super friends, she intends to find out. But she just made captain of the fencing team, she has a huge school project due, and a villain with ties to her family's past seems to be amassing an army. Maintaining her inner peace isn't going to be easy . . .

. . . but Katana has the steel to save the day!

Award-winning author Lisa Yee brings this edge-of-your-seat adventure to life with mystery, thrills, and laughs. Move over Batman(TM) and Superman(TM)--the DC Super Hero Girls are ready to save the day and have fun doing it!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Katana at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee (July 4, 2017 – Random House Books for Young Readers). This book was an epic, fun read, so I’m really excited to be a part of this blog tour! I hope you enjoy my review!


This series just keeps getting better! The plots are so intriguing and with each book, the cliffhangers get more and more evil! I love the characters and character growth. These books are such fast, fun reads, you can speed through them in a few hours to a few days (depending on your reading speed)! There was a LOT of mystery and intrigue in this book, which made it even more epic!

I really liked Katana! She was an interesting character with an incredibly intriguing and emotional backstory. I loved learning about her grandmother and her samurai legacy. I definitely had some Mulan vibes when we learned that women couldn’t be samurai, yet her grandmother was.

Another character I really liked was Miss Martian. She was shy and relatable, with intriguing powers – invisibility and mind reading! I wondered for awhile if she might be the main character of book five, but that ending has me questioning this theory. Whether I’m right about Miss Martian or whether my other theory comes to pass, I’ll be happy!

Speaking of… I’m still dying for a Harley Quinn story and a Poison Ivy story!! It NEEDS to happen and SOON!! I’m so curious about their characters, powers and backgrounds!

The ending was epic, incredible and emotional – it made me cry!!! And (as I briefly mentioned earlier) that cliffhanger was EVIL and I’m dying to get my hands on book five!!!

I highly recommend this book – and series – to anyone who loves the DC comics, as well as to anyone who wants to get into the comics, but who wants a quick and easy introduction to the characters first!


Lisa YeeAbout the Author:
Lisa Yee’s debut novel, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award. With over two million books in print, her other novels for young people include Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, So Totally Emily Ebers, Absolutely Maybe, and a series about a 4th grader, Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes).

Lisa is also the author of American Girl’s Kanani books and Good Luck, Ivy, and this year’s Lea Clark novels. Her novel, Warp Speed, is about a Star Trek geek who gets beat up everyday at school. A Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence, Lisa’s books have been named a NPR Best Summer Read, Sports Illustrated Kids Hot Summer Read, and USA Today Critics’ Top Pick.

The Kidney Hypothetical – Or How To Ruin Your Life In Seven Days is Lisa’s latest novel for teens. Lisa’s 2016 books include the DC Super Hero Girls middle grade novel series and the American Girl, 2016 Girl of the Year books.

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