Review: Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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: Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn MarshSong of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Series: Reign of the Fallen #2
Published by Razorbill on January 22, 2019
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: the author
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The Dead must stay buried.

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom's borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia's waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can't help being mesmerized by the new magic--and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria's mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won't be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.

This book – this series – was so absolutely amazing, I don’t even know how to put it into words. I’m both immensely satisfied with the way it ended (the book and, consequently, the duology as a whole), yet also heartbroken because I’m not ready to leave this world or these characters. I miss Sparrow, Meredy, Simeon, Danial, Valoria and everyone so much, you’d think they were real people and not characters in a book. I want to be back in Karthia with them. I want to see what lies ahead in their adventures. I don’t want to let them go. I never will. I connected so hard and in so many ways with both Reign of the Fallen and Song of the Dead that I’m not even ready to discuss all the reasons why. It was just That Book for me (or Those Books? Since it was both. I’m not sure of the grammar here..).

Sparrow was an incredible, incredible character. She was more than just a character. She felt so real and I loved everything about her. She kicked butt and took names. I loved her journey and growth from book one to book two, and throughout book two.

Meredy was, by far, my favorite character. She was strong and fierce, yet had some very emotional, vulnerable moments in this book. I loved seeing that side of her.

Danial and Simeon were just… Omg. I don’t even have words.

Another character I really loved was Kasmira. I kept picturing her as an older Uma (China Anne McClain) from the Descendants 2 movie.

ALL MY SHIPS SAILED AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER!!!!!!!!!!! Like, there were some ups and downs with my two favorite ships (I won’t name them right now because spoilers, but those of you who have read the book will know who I mean), but they made it through in the end and my heart is so happy beyond belief, it’s bursting with feels!!!

NIPPER!!!! Omg I adored Nipper. I don’t want to spoil who/what Nipper is, but OMG I WANT HER!!! Haha.

TBH, I enjoyed Song of the Dead so much that I was awful about taking review notes for it… Which made writing this review really difficult (as I’m sure you can tell… Eeek…), but I was just so immersed in the story, I didn’t want to stop and take the time to write anything down – I just wanted to relax and enjoy the story, not pull myself out of it every time I had a thought I wanted to write down. So this review honestly doesn’t even do the book justice. All I can say is READ IT. It was SO good. Sarah Glenn Marsh is DEFINITELY going on my Auto Buy List.

So, overall (if you couldn’t tell, which.. if you couldn’t…????), I LOVED this book. ADORED IT. Can’t put it into words, can’t say it enough. Just go read it as soon as possible. Seriously. Go. Now..!!


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: The Architect of Song 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 Architect of Song by A.G. HowardThe Architect of Song by A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #1
Published by Golden Orb Press on August 15, 2016
Pages: 425
Format: Paperback
Source: the author
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A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as - haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 16+.

As a HUGE fan of A.G. Howard’s Splintered (YA) series, I had high expectations for this book. And I LOVED it! I loved the writing, the characters, the intrigue – basically, everything!

Anita’s writing has always been gorgeous – vivid and descriptive. Her way with words is such that I can picture everything as though I’m there, living out the story right alongside the characters. I didn’t think it was possible for her writing to get better, but it has! There was a maturity to the writing and the plot, even beyond the fact that this was a New Adult book.

The characters were incredible beyond words. Juliet is strong and determined. She doesn’t let her deafness hold her back, nor does she let it be used as an excuse when she does falter. She pushes herself to be the best she can be and she fights for those she loves. Hawk was hilarious and cheeky. He definitely reminded me of Morpheus from the Splintered series and he definitely ranks up there in Book Boyfriend material because of it.

On the other hand, Lord Thornton was… hard to read at times. Sometimes I liked him, other times I was very suspicious of his motives. I didn’t fully trust him for a long time, if ever. I wish I could say more about both Lord Thornton and Hawk because I truly loved them both and was satisfied with how their stories ended. But there was a big twist/revelation at the end that blew my mind and if I say much more, I’ll hit spoiler territory!

Juliet’s uncle was so kind and fatherly. He reminded me of someone but I couldn’t figure out who. I’m still trying to figure it out! Though I kept picturing him as Lord Craven from The Secret Garden.

Like I mentioned before, the twists and revelations near the end were mind-blowing! I figured it out roughly two pages before the big reveal, but I was still blown away by everything involved with the revelation, including the potential consequences. I can’t be any more specific without spoilers, but trust me… MIND. BLOWING.

The ending was INCREDIBLY SATISFYING. It actually left me confused at first, because I knew this was a series but the ending was done so neatly, with all the loose ends tied up, I couldn’t imagine a second book being necessary – and then I read the synopsis for book two and it all made sense! Now I’m completely intrigued and excited to read the second book!

My only complaint is that the back and fourth of Juliet’s feelings for Lord Thornton (“Should I trust him? Actually, I do.. Wait, no, he just did something suspicious, so I don’t…But, wait, now he did something nice, I totally trust him again… Or not”) was a bit drawn out and became a little frustrating after awhile. And the book could have been a tad shorter and still incredible and satisfying.

Overall, this book was beyond incredible. A.G Howard is a gorgeous writer. Her writing and world-building sucks you in and refuses to let you go. Her characters feel like real people and you can’t help but become entangled in their well-being – whether for better or worse. I DEFINITELY recommend this book if you’re a fan of A.G. Howard or if you’re looking for an epic, intriguing New Adult book to read!


Review: Resthaven by Erik Therme

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: Resthaven by Erik ThermeResthaven by Erik Therme
Published by Thecker Books on April 12, 2016
Pages: 220
Format: eBook
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

The last thing Kaylee wants to do is participate in a childish scavenger hunt--especially inside the abandoned retirement home on the edge oftown. When she finds a bruised, deaf boy hiding inside one of the rooms, she vows to lead him to safety . . . only to discover the front doorsare now padlocked, and her friends are nowhere to be found. Kaylee isabout to learn that not everything that goes 'bump in the night' isimaginary, and sometimes there are worse things to fear than ghosts.

**Please Note: I marked this book as being from the publisher (and included the FTC Disclosure) despite buying the book because, initially, the author DID reach out with a review request.**


I finished this book over a month ago and I’m just now reviewing it because… Well.. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I was approached by the author to review it and it sounded SO GOOD, I went ahead and just bought a copy on Amazon. In the book’s defense, I’m very particular about mystery/thriller/supernatural books. I’ve been dying for a “creep me the f*ck out” book and I haven’t succeeded in finding a book that actually creeps me the f*ck out yet – But I’m also not easily scared, so…

So, I had SUPER high expectations for this book. But… First of all, it has NO chapters and – if I recall – no page breaks. This was pretty frustrating. I’m the kind of person who HATES stopping in the middle of a chapter, but this didn’t HAVE chapters, so it was hard to find places to break. The writing was also a bit bland in the beginning, though this improved as the book progressed. There also wasn’t much of a feeling of suspense. I never had those heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat moments.

I couldn’t stand ANY of the characters in this book. These girls were very cliche and very immature. They’re all supposed to be around 15, but they were acting like they were 11 or 12 – so that’s exactly how I pictured them. But maybe that’s just because it’s been a long time since I was 15 and have forgotten how 15-year-olds act…? I don’t know, but they were all so MEAN and NASTY to each other. It felt contrived, done only in a way to easily explain them separating from each other in this creepy place. It could have been done in a better way. Not ALL girls are catty bitches to each other.

This book was also pretty predictable. I had the ending figured out before I was even half-way through. That – coupled with the lack of suspense and no chapters/page breaks – made it VERY hard to get through this book. It was especially hard to read the second half – it was a bit of a let-down and I feel like I still have SO many questions. Also, it was a fairly short book but it still felt WAY too long.

So why did I give this 3-stars, despite all the complaints above? Well, I’m worried my desire for a “creep me the f*ck out” book has me being extra harsh with books labeled as such. Overall, it was still an intriguing book and, even when it slowed down, I never felt the desire to DNF. And it still had some intriguing moments.

Would I recommend it? Maybe. If you’re easily scared, it definitely might creep you out a bit! Or if you love mild thrillers. But if you’re looking for something that will keep you awake at night, you won’t find that here.


Review: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine (Giveaway)

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 Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine (Giveaway)The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 10, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee.

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job.

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.

Robin Constantine was one of the first authors I worked with back when I was a newbie blogger. Her book, The Promise of Amazing, was one of the first books that made me fall in love with YA contemporary (I was more of a sci-fi/fantasy/supernatural/dystopian fan before that). I’ve been a huge fan of Robin and her books ever since. But I must say… The Season of You and Me was by far my favorite of her books! And that’s saying A LOT, considering how much I adored her other two!! Everything about The Season of You and Me – from the epic plot to the amazing/lovable characters – had me hooked!

Cassidy (Cass) and Bryan were amazing. I loved their chemistry right off the bat! I loved how strong they both were, despite the adversities in their lives – especially Bryan, who never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him or treat him differently. And Cass never did. Of all Robin Constantine’s characters and relationships (from all her books), they’re definitely my OTP!

I loved the cast of secondary characters in this book, as well. Everyone had a part to play and everyone felt realistic and important. I especially liked the friendships – something Constantine has always been great at writing.

One of my favorite things about this book? The functional step-family dynamic. This is something we rarely – if ever – see in Young Adult fiction and it was just SO refreshing. Usually the main character hates her stepmom/dad or vice versa or the step-siblings despise each other and make things difficult for each other. That was NOT the case in this book and I really, really loved that. We rarely even see “normal” families (“normal” being subjective, of course) that are functional in YA, but we NEVER see families with step-parents/siblings that are functional. It was just.. Perfection.

I also loved the setting and plot of this book. Sometimes, books set during summer vacations or summer camp settings are very cliche, over-emphasizing the idea of fresh starts and getting away from whatever is plaguing the main character (so, basically, “sun, fun and freedom!”). While some of that did happen with Cass in the beginning, it quickly became more than that and it just felt.. Right. I know that’s vague, but… I can’t explain it. So I recommend you go and read it so you can see just what I mean!

Overall, I (obviously) highly recommend this book! If you’ve read Robin Constantine’s previous books, you’ll love it! And if you haven’t, I definitely recommend you read all three! You don’t have to read her other two books to read this one, but I guarantee if you read this one, you’ll want to read the other two! She’s that awesome! I’m so excited to see what she does next – though I can’t help but cross my fingers for another Cass & Bryan book!


And now for an epic giveaway! Thanks to Robin, I have a signed ARC of The Season of You and Me (US Only) for one lucky follower! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

-Giveaway is US only

-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.

-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.

-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway

With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine

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 Secrets of Attraction by Robin ConstantineThe Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 28, 2015
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine's debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Mlynowski, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Madison Pryce thinks she's got everything figured out—she's working on a portfolio for a summer art program and hanging with her friends. Plus she has her hot boyfriend, Zach. But then a visit from a family friend turns Maddie's life upside down.

Jesse McMann is still reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band. Then pride (and some goading from his bass player and fellow barista) forces him to find a new drummer—and the inspiration to write music again.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett, who tries out for Jesse's band, and whose girlfriend is BFFs with the cute girl who orders a chai latte after yoga every Thursday: Maddie. What Jesse and Maddie thought they knew about the secrets of attraction and the rules of romance changes once they start falling for each other.

I absolutely adored Robin Constantine’s debut novel, The Promise of Amazing. So when Robin approached me about reading/reviewing The Secrets of Attraction, I pounced! The prospect of jumping back into this world was too enticing to pass up; We could delve deeper into the mind/character of Maddie, while still seeing old favorites like Wren, Grayson and Jazz. We also met some amazing new characters. And, as expected, Robin Constantine created a gorgeous plot with epic characters.

I liked Maddie in The Promise of Amazing because she was a good friend to Wren, but that was about all I had to say about her. It was interesting getting to see things from her perspective this time around. She’s dealing with a lot of stress, from family drama to love life drama to summer design school program drama. She also has a major, shocking revelation to deal with. She’s hilariously blunt almost all of the time, but she can also be pretty harsh at times. She was a really impulsive, emotional character; something would happen and she would make a snap judgement and just be angry at everyone instead of trying to talk to them rationally. At times, her snap judgements really ticked me off. I get that she was going through a lot, but a few times, if she had just talked to the person she was upset with, a lot of drama could have been avoided.

Jesse was hilarious, adorable and totally broody. I’m a huge Gayson fan, but man, Jesse was an epic, swoony love interest. I loved all the crazy nicknames he gave people! There were a few moments throughout the book where I wanted to smack him upside the head for the way he behaved, but most of the time, I just wanted to smack some sense into Maddie for pushing him away. His grand, romantic gestures made me swoon!

I loved, loved, loved Jazz in this book. I feel like we learned a lot about her and I’m really hoping we get her story next! I also loved seeing Wren again, though since this wasn’t her story, she was definitely more in the background.

Tanner was a frustrating character. Sometimes he was gross and annoying, sometimes he was a horrible friend to Jesse (though Jesse wasn’t always a great friend to him, either) and sometimes he was this amazing guy who came through for everyone in the end. I loved his interactions with Jazz! It was also great seeing Grayson again! While it felt like Wren was always in the background, we saw a lot of Grayson and I loved it!

The Hannah/Duncan story line is hard to discuss because I’m still conflicted with how I feel about the whole thing. On the one hand, you can’t help who you do and don’t love and it wasn’t fair of Jesse to be so angry. On the other hand, Duncan was his friend and he basically betrayed Jesse. I felt bad for Hannah in the beginning, too, but by the end, I was a bit frustrated with her.

Though I’ll always ship Wren & Grayson the most, Maddie and Jesse made an adorable couple. They’re both artists in their own right and they complement each other perfectly. And though the plot of The Promise of Amazing was definitely closer to my heart and more personal, The Secrets of Attraction was amazing and the plot was really intriguing. Maddie and Jesse both had their trust broken and it took a lot for them to come together. I also love when a book is narrated by an artist – be it an artist who draws/paints, a musician or a writer; they see the world in a different light and it’s always interesting to see things from their eyes. Also, the yoga scenes kind of made me want to take up yoga, haha.

Overall, this was a really awesome, adorable and enjoyable book by an author that I absolutely adore! my fingers are crossed for a Jazz book and I can’t wait to see what else Robin writes in the future! So if you loved The Promise of Amazing, I definitely recommend The Secrets of Attraction! And if you haven’t read The Promise of Amazing, I highly recommend that, too!


Review: Familiar Things by Lia Habel

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: Familiar Things by Lia HabelFamiliar Things by Lia Habel
Series: A Book of All Hollows #1
Published by Kitten Perfume Publishing on October 28, 2014
Pages: 297
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

Sixteen-year-old witch Everrose Morgantwill isn’t sure which monster is causing her more trouble—the ten-foot-tall wildcat she’s attracted as her familiar, or her emotionally unstable boyfriend.

Half her spells go nowhere, and people always have trouble remembering her name, but even so—Everrose’s life is idyllic. Born and raised in All Hollows County, a secretive world created by powerful witches and warlocks for the protection of the magically inclined, she’s never had to fear persecution. In All Hollows, magic is used openly. A great spell known as the Nestle Ward isolates and protects it, though there is one odd little side effect.

In our world, it’s 2015. In All Hollows, it’s 1958.

Between sewing the perfect high school wardrobe, experimenting with red lipstick and cake mascara, and dreaming about prom, Everrose has a lot on her mind. When her steady boyfriend returns from a trip to “the Layside” a changed warlock, however—she notices. Handsome Vincent Olwen was affectionate and self-effacing when he left, but he’s come back acting sullen and withdrawn. Everrose is lost for an explanation—and lost for what to do.

Troubled by the changes she sees in Vincent, Everrose tries to distract herself by searching for her first familiar—a rite of passage for sixteen-year-olds in All Hollows. But when she does make the Connexion, it’s with the last animal she would’ve ever expected—a massive, terrifying wildeor called a trothenbeast. Only powerful witches and warlocks attract wildeors as familiars. Yet, when it comes to magic, Everrose is completely inept. It makes no sense. Weirder still, the beast fails to alert Everrose to the presence of magic, and refuses to shadow her. In short, he doesn’t act like a protecting, guiding familiar animal at all.

Faced with all of this, Everrose is just about ready to throw in the towel. Before she can, though, she learns that the trothenbeast has been cursed by an evil witch named Ebonella Rosu—and that Ebonella wants him back.

Everrose must contend with a witch who wants her dead, a familiar who needs her protection, and a boyfriend who’s changing before her eyes. When she finally reaches out for help, she finds it from an unlikely source—her boyfriend’s moody, somewhat mysterious father, the mayor of her little town. What secrets does Roderick Olwen harbor? And what do they have to do with Everrose herself?

I’ve been a huge Lia Habel fan ever since I read Dearly, Departed in 2011. Three years later and Dearly, Departed remains near the top of my favorite’s list! So when I saw she had a new book coming out, I jumped on the chance to read and review it! And let me tell you, it definitely did not dissapoint! I had so much fun reading Familiar Things! At its core, it’s a witch book. But Familiar Things is much more than just a witch book. The world-building was incredible, the unique twists kept me engaged and the wonderful characters made me feel like I was reading about real people.

I usually start a review off by discussing the characters, but this time I want to start with the world-building. The book is set in All Hollows. The best way I can describe it is, it’s a world parallel to ours (which, in the book, is called the Layside). It’s very similar to the human world except it’s for witches and warlocks and other magical creatures. Oh, and while it’s 2015 in the Layside, it’s 1958 in All Hollows. I loved the tone this time period set for the book. It meant there was no modern technology – no cell phones, no tablets, no internet, old-fashioned cars, etc. The characters’ speech, dress and behaviors/actions reflected that of the 1950’s. For example, Everrose’s boyfriend “pinned her” and they said things such as “golly” and “swell.” I basically pictured the characters and outfits from Grease!

The idea that it was 1958 in All Hollows and 2015 in the Layside was so intriguing. And the effect that has on the characters – especially one in particular – is fascinating. I think the time period is perfect for this book and it wouldn’t have been the same book if it had taken place in modern times. I can’t really explain it any more than that without getting repetitive, but I really, really loved the time period and what it meant for the story.

I loved Everrose. She was such an awesome character. She felt really relatable. There was nothing cliche about her; she wasn’t the unpopular girl that suddenly became popular and she wasn’t an ordinary girl who suddenly received special powers. Everrose was a typical girl. She wasn’t popular but she wasn’t an outcast. When we’re introduced to her, she already has powers, but she’s considered a mediocre witch. Everyone always seems to forget about her, but she always treats everyone with kindness and respect, even when they don’t deserve it. Everrose is also behind on an important rite of passage for young witches – finding a familiar. This rite of passage really spurs the story on and creates all sorts of problems for Everrose.

Summerlene is supposed to be Everrose’s best friend but woooowwww, I really just wanted to slap her. Like, for most of the book. She’s SUCH a bad friend. A lot of that gets explained by the end, but her actions still turned my stomach. Maple, Everrose’s little sister, was also a major brat and really annoyed me for the majority of the book. She gets Everrose into a LOT of trouble.

Vincent is supposed to be the love interest in the book but man, he scared me… He was mean, self-centered and obsessed with the Layside. He wasn’t a good boyfriend at all and he almost always put his needs first. Of course, again, that was partially explained in the end but I still don’t like him at all.

Typhon was one of my favorite characters!!! Aside from Everrose, of course. I adored him so much!! In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I felt about him but his character development is insane. He’s so intelligent and loyal! I don’t think I can say much else without giving away spoilers, but he was… perfect. I’d love to see where his and Everrose’s friendship/relationship goes in the second book!

As for Major Olwen… I have many, many thoughts… But I’m still conflicted with how I feel about him and his actions. And I don’t want to spoil anything either… So.. *Slinks away.*

Of course, I couldn’t stand Mr. Silversharp or Ebonella. However, I think there’s more to Mr. Silversharp than meets the eye. And I did feel bad for Ebonella to a certain extent. She went through a lot in life and wasn’t always dealt a fair hand.

There were definitely some Beauty & The Beast parallels in Familiar Things, which I loved! I’d love to see these parallels explored more in the second book!

And the ending.. Holy crap. Most intriguing, unique twist in a witch book ever! I completely did NOT see that coming and I really, really loved the explanations and reasons behind everything. This is supposed to be a series and I seriously can’t wait for book two! I’m so in love with this world and these characters, I can’t imagine not being able to get to know them better.

Overall, I loved this book – if you couldn’t tell from my gushing review. I love Lia Habel and I’m so glad she’s doing well and writing again (See this post for more on that). I’ll always have hope in the back of my mind that we’ll get a conclusion to the Dearly series. But authors are people, just like everyone else. Their health and happiness comes before them writing new books. With Familiar Things, I think Lia has come back healthier, happier and stronger. She wrote an amazingly wonderful novel that I count as one of my favorites for 2014.

With that being said, I think you all know what I’m gonna say next…. Go read this book!!!! Sooooo good!!!!!!


Review: Athena’s Ashes by Jamie Grey

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: Athena’s Ashes by Jamie GreyAthena's Ashes by Jamie Grey
Series: Star Thief Chronicles #2
Published by Clever Crow Press on August 26, 2014
Pages: 350
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

It’s Renna’s biggest job yet – convincing MYTH leadership that she’s put away her lock picks and is ready to save the galaxy, despite the dangerous implant in her brain. But with the Athena on the run, she’s working solo and facing her most ruthless enemy, the traitor Pallas, who’ll go to any lengths to destroy the MYTH organization. Including framing Renna for a devastating assault on MYTH HQ that leaves their defenses crippled and hundreds dead.

Now that MYTH believes she’s a dangerous double-agent, Renna escapes their firing squad before they put more holes in her than a pair of fishnet stockings. But the ticking time-bomb in her head is the one thing Pallas needs to complete his master plan and he’s not about to let her get away. Even worse, he’s discovered the only thing that will bring Renna to her knees – threatening Captain Nick Finn.

Out of time and options, Renna’s got one shot to take down the traitor before he annihilates everything she loves, even though winning this battle may cost her everything.

Athena’s Ashes was an epic, action-packed sequel. As always, Jamie Grey has done an amazing job. The Star Thief Chronicles is the perfect example of an amazing world that feels realistic and a group of characters that feel real and relatable.

I adore Renna. I’ve adored Renna since the first book. Yes, she has her flaws – all characters do. But that’s what makes them feel real. She’s such a strong, brave character. She can hold her own and she doesn’t just sit around, letting people die to save her own skin or waiting to be saved. She has grown and changed in so many ways since The Star Thief – emotionally, mentally and physically. She went from working alone and wanting nothing to do with anyone, to having people in her life that she considered good friends, even family. In Athena’s Ashes, Renna takes a bit of a step back with all of this, though. But not for the reasons you’d think. Renna’s physical changes really start to take a toll on her, too, though she fights those changes with every ounce of willpower she has.

Finn.. Oh, Finn. I swooned HARD over Finn in The Star Thief. He’s swoony and adorable and amazing. As he is in the beginning of Athena’s Ashes. And then some things happen and things go down hill and… Well, I got VERY angry with him a few times. And I’m still kind of angry with him. I get why he did what he did. I understand. But I’m still SO mad at him… Grrrr, Finn!!

I really, really liked Dallas but I had a hard time trusting him. I was so nervous he was going to betray Renna, or that we were going to find out he was working with the bad guys. I also adored Blake. I kind of wanted him to be the third component of a love triangle – and I don’t usually WANT love triangles. I don’t mind them, but I don’t seek them out. But I really, really liked him. He was awesome and adorable and he made Finn soooooo jealous! Hehe. But then again… Viktis!!!! I said it in my review for The Star Thief and I’ll say it again: I really, really like Viktis and I’m not sure what this says about me…

I really liked Jayla, as well. Renna needs more girlfriends in her life – ones that don’t betray her. I kept hoping Jayla would be on her side, kept hoping that she wouldn’t turn out to be in league with Pallas. And…. Well, I’ll let you read the book to find out!

The whole Pallas storyline was… Shocking. Unexpected. Mind-blowing. Crazy. I just… There are no words for how surprised I was! Everything surrounding the Pallas storyline was hard-core, action-packed.. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading! And the thing is? Pallas is the scariest kind of villain because they believe what they’re doing is for the good of humanity and that what they’re doing is GOOD and RIGHT, that they are the good guy, not the bad guy. You can’t reason with a person who believes they are doing something for the greater good. And that makes them terrifying.

The story behind the book title becomes VERY obvious near the end of the book… And it was so, so sad! Like.. I almost cried, it was so upsetting! But it happened the way it was meant to and I’m so pleased with the ending. Everything was wrapped up nicely, leaving just enough open that there’s potential for a third book. And if there is? I really, really like the set-up for it!!

There were also some major twists and turns in the ending that I didn’t expect. For Renna, things came full circle. It really kept me on the edge of my seat! Especially the last 44% – I felt like my heart was in my throat the whole time. I got so angry and so scared on Renna’s behalf.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell already, I adored this book. I adore Jamie Grey. She will forever be on my “Auto-Buy Author” list. If you haven’t read her books, I highly recommend them! … So.. What are you waiting for…? Go buy them! Read them! Now, now! :)


Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

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: Magnolia by Kristi CookMagnolia by Kristi Cook
Published by Simon & Schuster on August 5, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Kristi Cook has done it again! Her Winterhaven trilogy is one of my all-time favorite paranormal trilogies! And now with Magnolia, Cook tackled contemporary and it was epic! The plot, the characters, the situations the characters were put in – It was all amazing and incredible!

First of all, Cook is a gorgeous writer. She really sweeps the reader in, making you feel as though you can clearly picture everything that’s happening, like you’re really experiencing everything with the characters. She’s also brilliant when it comes to character development. All her characters, even the secondary and tertiary ones, have distinct voices, extensive backgrounds and a role to play. No character is insignificant.

I adored Jemma. She felt very real and down-to-earth. She wanted to escape her hometown and do what she wanted to do with her life, not what her parents wanted her to do with her life. Jemma knows how to properly handle a gun, which made her just a tiny bit scary… I would certainly NOT want to get on her bad side!

Ryder was hilarious and swoony! On the outside, he seemed like the typical perfect jock – especially from Jemma’s POV. But he had his own share of problems and concerns. Even when Jemma pushed him away, he never really left her alone. He was always there for her. And what he decided to do in the end? So awesome and swoony!!

I loved Jemma and Ryder as an “anti-couple.” They were both so head-strong and stubborn. The anti-love interest concept was so fascinating, too – it was a nice change from insta-love, which seems to dominate most YA books. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind some insta-love (when done right), but this was such a refreshing concept. This book was basically the exact opposite of Romeo & Juliet. Jemma and Ryder’s families wanted them together more than anything, so they fought against that. They hated each other and refused to even attempt a friendship because of it. The banter between them was just hilarious!

The storm section was really scary and creepy. Cook successfully guaranteed that I will NEVER move to Mississippi, that’s for sure! Between the bugs (the spiders, specifically), the storm/hurricane and the resulting tornadoes… *Shudders!!!!* The storm really brought Ryder and Jemma together, though. It forced them to work together, to trust each other, to rely on each other. Their will to survive forced them to put their feelings and differences aside. When they could do nothing but sit inside their make-shift storm shelter and wait out the tornadoes, they opened up to each other and slowly became friends – and then much more!

My heart was in my throat for the entire storm section! I kept waiting for something truly terrible to happen – though the storm itself and the ensuing damage was horrible enough. As an animal lover, I appreciated that Jemma and Ryder always looked after and protected the animals.

And most of all, the storm section really made me think. I kept wondering, what would I do in this situation? Would I be as brave as Jemma and Ryder? Would I make it through? How would I react to some of the things that happened? With one storm, so many things were lost – It really makes you appreciate what you have in life.

The secondary storyline with Jemma’s sister was heart-breaking. It was very difficult to read those sections, but it was also necessary to the story. Also, the Patrick storyline. Jemma needed him in her life to see that she was truly destined to be with Ryder. But the way Patrick’s storyline wrapped up… I NEVER expected that. It was such a shock, I still can’t believe it, even though it has been days since I read the book.

Overall, I adored Magnolia. It was a fantastic book with amazing characters and an interesting plot. I loved the anti-Romeo and Juliet concept. The storm was a fascinating way to bring Jemma and Ryder together, though it was scary to picture. I loved, loved, LOVED the end! It was both hilarious and perfect. Kristi Cook is an amazing writer and she’ll always be on my Auto-Buy list! I can’t recommend her books enough! If you haven’t read them, they’re a must!


Review: The Star Thief by Jamie Grey (Blog tour + Giveaway)

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 Star Thief by Jamie Grey (Blog tour + Giveaway)The Star Thief by Jamie Grey
Series: Star Thief Chronicles #1
Published by CreateSpace on January 31, 2014
Pages: 400
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

She might only be twenty-three, but Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There’s just one problem – all she wants is to get the frak out of the business.

But when Renna rescues an injured boy from the warehouse she’s casing, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement on a garden world. Turns out, the kid was a plant to lead her to MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency.

MYTH needs Renna’s special skills, and they make her an offer she can’t refuse – unless she'd like to spend the rest of her life on a prison ship. To make sure she does her job they shackle her with a MYTH watchdog, the handsome but arrogant Captain Finn.

A former mercenary-turned-galactic-hero, Finn happens to have his own dirty secrets. Secrets that Renna wouldn’t mind uncovering for herself. Together, they discover an experiment to develop illegal cybernetics that will create an unstoppable army. The intended target? The human star fleet.

Now Renna must use her skills as the Star Thief to pull off the biggest job of her career – saving the galaxy. And herself.

Recommended for 17+ due to mature themes and sexual content.

Star Thief blog tour banner_edited-1

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on The Star Thief blog tour! I’m very excited to be a part of this blog tour! Jamie is amazing and I absolutely loved The Star Thief!! I hope you enjoy my review!

Jamie Grey has done it again! The Star Thief had an intriguing plot, amazing world-building, interesting technology/science and amusing, likable characters.

First of all, Jamie Grey is an amazing writer! She really knows how to take a concept and make it her own, make it unique. Like with her young adult novel, Ultraviolet Catastrophe, Grey built a stunning world that is realistic and complex, brimming with incredible science and technology. It felt very realistic, and I had very little trouble keeping the technology/world straight. I only got a little confused a few times, but I was easily able to work out my confusion.

Renna is an AMAZING MC. She’s confident, strong and a kick-ass spy who can hold her own. She definitely isn’t the type to sit in a corner and tremble, waiting for her “hero” to rescue her. She knows how to handle a weapon and how to get herself out of even the most impossible situations. She was also funny and sarcastic. She grows a lot from the beginning of the book to the end. In the beginning, she was a solitary spy, eager to wrap up one final job and move on. By the end, she was doing everything in her power to protect those she loved, even if it meant giving up her hope of freedom. Her back-story was so sad, though, and I felt so bad for her!

Finn was such an asshole in the beginning, I just wanted to bitch slap him!! He definitely grows on you, though, and – just like with Renna – he really grows and matures as the book goes on. There’s this one moment where I could completely feel the shift in his and Renna’s relationship. I absolutely adored him and Renna together, too. There was SO MUCH sexual tension and snarkiness. Their chemistry was undeniable.

We meet so many characters in this book, yet it wasn’t difficult to keep track of who was who at all – Sometimes, when a book has too many characters, I have to write them down in my notes just to remember who everyone is and I didn’t have to do that at all with this book. Each character had such a distinct personality, I never forgot who they were or their significance to their story. Some notable characters that I really loved were Myka (how could you NOT love him??), Gheewala (she was a little bit strange.. But I LOVED her ability and she definitely grew on me), Keva (well.. It took awhile for her to grow on me, but I did like her a lot) and Viktis (I’m not sure what this says about me.. But I REALLY hope we see a LOT MORE of him in the next book!!!)

There was one character I didn’t trust, and that person ended up being very trustworthy, which was a nice surprise! And there was another character who, after just half a page, I didn’t trust at all – and I was completely right on that one!! I love when that happens and a hunch is correct! It’s so fun!

This book is going to be a part of a series, and the title – Athena’s Ashes – is very ominous! (Read the book… You’ll see why!). I’m super excited to see where the next book takes the characters, especially considering where everyone left off at the end of The Star Thief!


Jamie Grey Author photo About the Author:

Jamie Grey spent most of her childhood writing stories about princesses who saved the day and pretending to be a daring explorer. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she should combine the two. Now, as a tech-obsessed gamer geek, her novels mix amazing scientific developments, future worlds, and the remarkable characters that live in them.

Jamie lives in Michigan with her significant other and their pets, who luckily tolerate her overspending on tea, books, and video games.

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You can learn more about The Star Thief on Goodreads or you can buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Smashwords.

Thanks to Jamie, we also have a giveaway going on for this blog tour! Please enter by using the Rafflecopter below:

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