Review | Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

Published by: G. P Putnam’s Son

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Historical

Page Count: 415

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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The highly anticipated sequel to Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.


“Ours is a love stronger than fear and deeper than the sea”

I’ve been waiting to come back to this beautiful, rich, and detailed series. Renée combines fantasy, historical touches, and romance that will make her readers swoon. Smoke in the Sun doesn’t disappoint.

I’ve been putting off this review for awhile. Now, I’m still not sure if I can express the thoughts I feel about this book. When I started reading it, I was anticipating high action and deadly battles. And while we do see that more toward the end, Renée offers a story that creeps up on you, draws your attention, then attacks your every emotion. By the final book, I’m invested in these well fleshed out characters who I adore and who bring a different perspective to the novel.

Women who seem to play more of a background role are truly the hidden force and the backbone of the series. I’ve been craving a book where women will risk everything, even their own lives, to fight for a better world. And Renée beautifully illustrates that the power they have to offer.

The worldbuilding relies much more on court politics. And that is where Renée’s writing shines. Betrayals, deceptions, an unstable leader, and familial bonds intertwine to make a complex and layered storytelling. I wasn’t sure what to expect from one chapter to the next. And I loved living in the thrill of finding out. And I enjoyed how she spines her intricate tale. But her characters may just surpass her writing though. Each one adds to the depth of the story itself, and I can’t help but rave about them.

Mariko—who survived an assassination attempt, fell in love with the enemy, and outwitted even the Black Clan—is a well-developed main character. Along with persuading her betrothed and her brother, she must protect Okami and discover who wants her dead. I adore her development in Smoke. Sometimes, you need to read of a quiet yet forceful character who surprises you.

Okami, oh my heart, suffers so much. And yet his strength and determination are what make him an outstanding character. He doesn’t let the empire or the emperor break him. I thought I loved him in Flame, but I was wrong. I don’t always comment on secondary characters, yet I feel that they deserve at least a mention. Each one brings a new dynamic to the story.

I knew coming into this duology that I would want more sequels, more storylines, and frankly more everything. Yet Renée offers a satisfying conclusion to an already thrilling series. You need to read it.

“Our deepest truths are usually the hardest to conceal.”
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Review | Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first…after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


“I may not have been born in the sea, but I was born to rule it. I am the daughter of the siren queen.”

Alosa is back, and she is ready to defend what is hers. Going into this sequel, I wasn’t sure if it could top my love of the first. Oh, how was I thoroughly mistaken. Daughter of the Siren Queen reminds me why I love sirens and pirates. Tricia captures what intrigues you in Pirate King, then cranks up the thrill factor.

One downfall of the Pirate King is that it doesn’t explore the rich world Tricia has created. And while reading it, I hoped for more world building. But do not fret. Tricia comes through and shows us a devious world ripe for the taking. She makes being bad fun. And some authors don’t always achieve that feeling. But she weaves a wicked tale that will hook you in and make you want to slit some throats. I got lost in this finale, and I want the world to know this series is worth the risk.

As Alosa recovers the final pieces of the map that will lead to the lost treasure, her father’s secret surfaces, and she and her crew must race against the pirate fleet and her father in order to claim the treasure as her own.

Tricia beautifully executes a fast-paced thrill ride that keeps you on the edge. It’s almost as if you can smell the sea breeze, hear the flap of the sails, and feel the sword in your hand. She blends together loyalty, friendship, strength, and feminism to create a truly imaginative novel. And yet she squeezes in just a bit of romance, and I’m left breathless.

Even though this sequel is plot-heavy, I feel that the characters drive the overall novel. From little Roslyn to Niridia, they are the beating heart, and I fell in love with all of them. I left a special piece of myself with the crew of the Ava-Lee. I must say, though, Alosa and Riden are what solidify Siren Queen into such an enjoyable read. Both their chemistry, banter, and growth make my heart swell with pure happiness. And the way they connect with the crew is magical. However, Alosa’s development stands out the most though. She will be one of my cherished characters.

The author introduces us to more siren mythology and Alosa’s history, which is much darker than I anticipated. But what I adore is how she doesn’t make the sirens purely bloodthirsty. They’re more regal, majestic, and otherworldly. And Alosa reflects their qualities and characteristics while she internally battles with both sides of herself. That inner turmoil speaks volumes.

Daughter of the Siren Queen is one of the most enjoyable sequels I’ve read this year. Do not take another moment debating to read this series. You need to read it. Now.

“Your enchantments last long after your song fades.”

Review | Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Magic

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.


Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back.


“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”

Magic, lost love, tragic deaths, consequences, and one spell that changes everything, Bruja Born enchants readers who weren’t entranced by Labyrinth Lost. Going into this sequel, I had no expectations, but I can’t imagine skipping it now. I cried. I laughed. And I wanted more. Please, Zoraida, never let it end.

I wanted to love Labyrinth Lost, but it never hooked me like I wanted it to. With the sequel though, I finally understand why people love her work. I’ve been counting down the days when I find a witch story I love. And when it’s here, I am screaming for the final book.

Lula Mortiz tries to heal from the traumatic events that took place in Los Lagos, the in-between dimension her sister, Alex, sent her and their entire family to. I admit that I didn’t like her in Alex’s book. However, her vulnerabilities and her pain are what draws me to her now. And I love her character development. Losing her boyfriend, Maks, overpowers her every thought and self-control though. And the consequences to bring him back are more than she can handle.

The Latina magic system has always intrigued me. And Zoraida reveals more of this intricate world, which is what I’ve been hoping to see, and she raises the stakes. I loved travelling to Los Lagos. And seeing the universe she has created pulls me deeper into this richly layered series. What makes me love this book is how the author effortlessly crafts a believable world and family structure. Even though magic is a strong theme throughout her writing, the Mortiz family is the core. And sisterhood means more than anything to the Mortiz girls.

This fast-paced sequel is what I needed to convince me to stick with Brooklyn Brujas. The mythology wraps around you and sucks you in, and the diversity just makes the story that more compelling. Characters keep the storyline flowing, and I cannot remember the last time I’ve laughed at all the one-liners in a book. The sisterly bond makes my heart swell, but the fantasy finishes off a spellbinding novel.

Bruja Born may start off with a love story, but it ends with the strength of three sisters who defy the gods themselves. If Labyrinth Lost didn’t persuade you to take a chance on Brooklyn Brujas, reconsider. I want to read it again so I can step back into this magical place.

What do you look for in a series that contains witches? Which ones are your favourites? Let’s chat!

Review | Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more-and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets, including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about-maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


“Every good story needs a villain. But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”

Sometimes a book captivates all your senses where you taste the candy apple on your lips, hear the music trickle out from every store, and watch the stars dancing above you. So how can Legendary top my love of Caraval? I’m still trying to catch my breath from Stephanie’s debut novel, but I recapture it with this book. And I want nothing more than to crawl back into this world all over again.

With Scarlet’s story, you rediscover magic. It tastes enchanting, and it doesn’t disappoint you. With Tella’s story though, this magic morphs into a dark, bone-chilling, ancient enchantment. It scares you, but you want more. Once again, Stephanie takes you on a magical yet emotional adventure. And I honestly thought I couldn’t love the sequel as much as the first. But I do.

Legend first shows you what magic can be in a world filled with pain. Now, he gives you the thorns along with the roses. New mythological creatures, the Fates, begin to weave themselves in the beloved and sought-out Caraval. And even though you should believe everything is a game, it isn’t now. The stakes are real. Magic comes with terrifying consequences Tella isn’t sure she can pay.

I thoroughly love jumping back into this world. I love trying to find out what will happen to my two favourite sisters, who Legend might be, and how this game plays out. But did I expect to be picking up the pieces of my heart once I finished the book? No.

In Caraval, I didn’t like Tella. But she develops into a strong-willed character who I was hoping for. She discovers that her mother is alive but trapped in a set of cards, the Deck of Destiny. But along the way of trying to save her, Tella uncovers buried secrets and owes a debt to a man who may rival Legend himself. This game demands sacrifice, and she must either save her mother by destroying Caraval and giving up Legend or save the game everyone lives for. But the girl who doesn’t want love may have it completely change the course of her entire life.

Dante is one character who I didn’t think would play a larger role in the sequel. However, even though I despised him in Caraval, I love him now. His complexity and depth are what make him one of my favourite characters.

The writing and storytelling hook onto your every whim and dream. You want to be a part of Caraval as much as the characters. And the suspense to reach the end is nerve-wracking. I adore how Stephanie crafts a single sentence that will break your heart but make you believe in this world. Love, sacrifice, betrayal, political intrigue, and ancient forces create an enthralling performance. I cannot wait to find the next ticket to Caraval.

Review | War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Page Count: 672

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all…starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?


“I am less than his crown, but he is less than my cause.”

With betrayal and heartache, deadly politics and a revolution, War Storm has the makings of a truly spectacular ending. I cannot remember the last I eagerly awaited for the finale in a series. And while War Storm is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, I want more. Even if I’ll always hold this series in high regard, I am disappointed. Perhaps I simply expect too much from it.

When I first bought Red Queen, this series immersed me into such a politically charged world. And yes, I admit that the tropes Victoria uses may not sit well with everyone. I cannot fault her for that though. However, I love her writing. And I love how I evolved my reading because of her storytelling. But I want her to take more risks and give Mare the ending she deserves. The finale seems underdeveloped. And I walk away from this series asking for more. Am I the only reader who feels this way? I don’t know.

I think sometimes we readers gamble with stories. We cannot predict what may happen to the characters we love. And we cannot dictate what happens. The story is the author’s design. And Victoria has taken chances many readers do not like. But this ending feels, to me, unfinished. Even though I leave this series disappointed, I credit Victoria for achieving what she has done. I respect her for sticking to the story she decided to write. And she forges her own path.

She weaves in current political issues that affect us today and creates multi-layered, albeit scary, world. And she writes real and conflicted characters readers can relate to. Mare has grown up from the thief roaming the Stilts to the poster child of the revolution. I‘ve cried with her, screamed at her, yet she’ll be one of my favourite characters. Now with Cal, I still want to throttle him. His crown comes before anything, but he soon realizes it isn’t worth the pain.

But Victoria misses an opportunity to make Maven outshine even his own mother. While I hate him, the author doesn’t explore the internal struggle he faces because of what Elara did to him. She offers you glimpses, but I want more from this troubled character.

Evangeline, the magnetron I wish suffered horribly, surprises me the most. And one reason why I enjoyed this book is because of her. Her character growth and overall arc make me root for her. And even though, at first, she’s an unlikeable character, I’ve grown to like her. Was I expecting this? No. Two years ago, I never would have uttered those words.

I will always respect what authors want in their stories. I may not agree with the final product, and I may too high expectations, but the story is their own. The Red Queen series will always have a place on my shelf, but maybe I expect too much from War Storm.

What are your thoughts on the final installment of Red Queen? Did you leave disappointed? What did you love the most from it?

Review | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 5, 2013

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison-even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.


“She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.”

Did I have big expectations with this sequel? Yes. Has Marissa surpassed them? Hell yes. She gives her readers secrets, politics, alpha females, genetically modified beasties, and squeal-worthy love stories. And I can’t help myself with falling in love with this sequel.

I’ve been dreading reading Scarlet’s story. Some readers didn’t like her, while others loved her. Clearly, I’m the latter. So fight me if you think otherwise. Marissa ties together both Cinder’s storyline with Scarlet’s. I wasn’t too sure if I’d like duo arcs, but she effortlessly blends the two together, and I enjoyed how Cinder and Scarlet are connected.

Cinder escapes from jail and is on the run, yet she leaves her heart with Kai. With the help from Wolf, a mysterious street fighter, Scarlet discovers her grandmother is missing and must find her, but the woman she loves may have kept a hidden life. I was hoping for Cinder and Thorne to meet up with Scarlet and Wolf much earlier in the story. Their eventual connection seems to drag on, but the individual storylines make up for that.

Marissa creates multi-dimensional characters. Her characters are flawed yet believable. You can easily relate to their fear, pain, and determination. I did not anticipate liking Scarlet as much as Cinder. That cyborg has a small little piece of my heart, yet Scarlet slid right in there as well. These two female characters are what keep me loving YA series.

While the plot is phenomenal, I feel this sequel is more character driven. What Marissa exceeds in are her characters. You don’t get flat, uninspiring ones; you find ones who make you want to read more. Scarlet is an alpha female who, even when she’s scared, doesn’t stop fighting, and I admire that drive in her and Cinder. But they don’t let their potential love interest overshadow who they are.

One love interest I adore the most is the silence yet deadly type. And Wolf is the epitome of that. He’s dangerous, complex, yet somehow, in his own way, perfect for Scarlet. Yes, I wanted to punch him in a few scenes, but he deserves love as much as any other person. And now, I can officially swoon over Captain Carswell Thorne. I’ll always love the cocky, sarcastic male characters. I’m predictable, but I know what I love. I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about him, and he doesn’t disappoint. I also find Cinder and Thorne’s friendship refreshing. It’s what sealed this book for me. It had me laughing well into the night.

I don’t know how some readers rated this book lower. Scarlet offers just enough spunk, sarcasm, science fiction, and love to keep readers screaming for more. Then Marissa adds adrenaline, then heartbreaking yet thrilling scenes. I’m a Lunar fan through and through. This is one fandom I’m here to stay.

“But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”

Review | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Page Count: 342

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


“He belongs to the ocean. He is made from it, as much as I am.”

Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom makes my little black heart sing. When I picked this book, I wasn’t sure I was waiting for it. And I cannot imagine my life without it. Alexandra gives you a reason to love villains.

Only a few books have achieved this feat, but To Kill a Kingdom slays every expectation. And it instantly finds its rightful place on my favourites list. This loose reimagining is wicked, brutal, and tempting. If you’re looking for villainous main characters, this book is your next read.

I bought this book a whim. It snuck into my life when I needed just a taste of badassery. And let me tell you: I love it. Alexandra captures the true essence of sirens. You don’t get the PG version we 90s kids were force fed. You see their merciless side, and you’ll be wanting more once you’re done. These sirens will watch as you drown, then tear out your heart. So do not expect any singalongs. Even when life called me back, I didn’t want to put down the book.

The characters beautifully complement the storytelling. Lira, the Prince’s Bane, is a ruthless and royal siren who will get what she wants: the heart of Prince Elian. But the Prince-turned-pirate desires nothing more than to rid his world of sirens. Yet when he finds her adrift in the ocean and doesn’t know who she is, they must work together to find a way to kill the Sea Queen. I adore hate-to-love relationships. I don’t care what anyone says. This trope has value, and it creates a dynamic story. Now, I don’t always enjoy the secondary characters. But with Elian’s crew, I can’t help but do so.

Both Elian and Lira are savage in their own way. But you see glimpses of who they truly are. I enjoyed seeing a prince who doesn’t want a crown. Instead, he craves the sea, and no matter the cost, he’ll protect it and his crew. Lira’s past will give you a better understanding as to the reason why she’s cruel. Yet even with a vicious mother, she holds onto her humanity, and Elian knows how to tease it out of her.

I don’t also buy standalone books. I enjoy visiting a series and reliving my favourite scenes. So I’m a little disappointed we don’t get a sequel. However, if you’re looking for stunning world building and stellar characters with a wicked side, look no further. But if you’ve come for the Disney version of My Little Mermaid, turn back now. The savagery is what intrigued me, but I love the masterful storytelling.

Review | Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel and Friends

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Page Count: 400

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”

Cyborgs, the plague, moon people (I’m freaking out right now!), an adorable romance, and deadly politics perfectly entwine to create a memorable start to an equally unforgettable series. And I’m about to have a fangirl attack.

Give me a second to process my emotions, especially my regret for not reading this series sooner. But if I don’t let out my giddiness, I may explode. I’ve avoided science fiction series for years. Why? I had too many high expectations and didn’t want to be let down. But with this glorious book, I feel it has restored my love of science fiction. So if you have any recommendations, here is your moment to nerd out with me.

Cinder has awoken something my inner nerd has been craving lately. Yes, cheesy as it may seem, this book has. I understand I came to the fandom late, but I can’t help but become an instant fan. I don’t usually reread books, but I want to crack open that cover again. So get ready for a review with fangirling cranked to high.

Living in a new world where she has little to no rights, Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, somehow doesn’t let her miserable life prevent her from dreaming. And I respect that strength. She uses sarcasm as a way of coping with and living in this society. Not many people know that I come from poverty. So I instantly connected with her. And throughout this page-turner, I relished seeing her growth by standing up to her guardian. The budding relationship with Kai, the prince, had me turning the pages quicker than I could read it. I loved their brief interactions, and I need more in the sequels. Their banter had me snorting with laughter.

Marissa magically threads together different arcs in her story. Not every YA will perfect political intrigue. Some authors will dabble in it, but others don’t succeed. But she does. I enjoyed the politics. It is a growing threat in the background, and that effect creates suspense, which I loved. And in some way, she also merges an atmospheric future with a well-loved fairy tale. Her storytelling kept me enthralled for the entire time I read Cinder. I forget the last time I read a book in just twenty-four hours.

I feel like I missed out on waiting for the next installments. And I wish I were a part of that experience. But I don’t regret reading this beautifully crafted sci-fi. This futuristic story adds just enough sarcasm, intriguing storylines, and a new twist on retellings. So don’t be a fool like me. Read this book. Now.

Review | A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 272

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

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Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.


“Stars flickered around us, sweet darkness sweeping in. As if we were the only souls in a galaxy.”

You all know I love the ACOTAR series. I cannot get enough of it, so when I heard Sarah is expanding this world, I haven’t been that giddy for such a long time. So if you’re a dedicated fan like me, A Court of Frost and Starlight is on your most anticipated books of 2018.

I wasn’t expecting huge revelations in ACOFAS, but I hoped for more spunk and spark displayed in her previous books. This novella is more toned down. But again, my expectations shouldn’t be high. But they are, and that is where I’m conflicted with this book. The story takes place six months after the war. The Night Court is still healing. Scars and destruction cling to all the courts. So when the Winter Solstice arrives, Feyre and her family are determined to celebrate it.

This character-driven novella is beautifully written. And I easily fall into this world. I adored reading the lighthearted scenes. And Sarah opens up and gives you heartwarming glimpses of characters you’ve grown to cherish. The four aspects that make ACOFAS such a memorable story are the storytelling, character developments, personal healing, and Nesta.

Yes, Nesta. Her growth will shock you as it does me. And while some readers may say she doesn’t deserve Cassian, somehow their pain, anger, and strength complement each other. And let’s be honest: I ship Nessian. I haven’t shipped a couple this hard before (other than Feysand). I had an inkling that Sarah might take Nesta down this path. This author somehow perfectly demonstrates the human condition. She weaves together these complex emotions into layered characters arcs I haven’t seen before. So I’m dying to see how Nesta lets Cass in and allows herself to move past her agony. Or I will riot.

Now onto my number one OTP: Feysand. I hear the collective sigh and squees from here. Yes, I came for the smut, but I stayed for the love. Do you know much much I adore and envy their relationship?! I’ve been rooting for them since ACOTAR (even though the word mate is excessive), and finally, they get their future. Cue the ugly crying! And while their past still haunts them, they somehow grow stronger. This book is a perfect ending to their story.

A Court of Frost and Starlight is a tale of healing, love, ghosts, and pain. It reminds you why you keep coming back to the ACOTAR series. And while I didn’t enjoy the pace and some other scenes, I wouldn’t give us this series for another.

Review | Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Published by: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Historical

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield-her brother, fighting with the enemy-the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.


“Ǫnd eldr. Breathe fire.”

Not many books put me in a slump. But after reading this book, I cannot stop thinking about it. Brutal yet beautiful, Sky in the Deep is rich and vivid. This character-driven novel will stay with me long after I slide it back on my shelf.

Adrienne blends together hatred and forbidden love, loyalty and forgiveness, and betrayal and acceptance. I’ve fallen in love with her storytelling. Even though I’d rather stay away from standalone stories, her debut novel makes me forget that fact. This coming-of-age storyline whisks you away to a lush landscape and unforgettable characters. And I wish I could travel back there more than one time.

Eelyn, a fearless Aska warrior, knows only survival, war, pain, and loss. She’s a relatable character who is fiercely loyal to her family and clan. She discovers her brother, who she thought has died, is alive. And the revelation that he would rather stay with the Riki, the rival clan, than find his way back to her just rocks her even more. This betrayal makes her vulnerable, and I wasn’t expecting this kind of character arc in a Vikings-inspired story. But that’s why it makes the story captivating. And I enjoyed it all the more though.

Don’t be fooled by this author. She effortlessly takes world building up another notch. Aska and Riki have long since battled each other. The clanspeople prepare for their day on the battlefield of Aurvanger. But they find a common ground when their people are threatened by the Herja.

The characters in this novel are what makes it stellar. They are more than just multi-dimensional. They feel tangible. Fiske, Eelyn’s love interest, will grow on you. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should trust him as a character, but this love-to-hate relationship is just what I needed. He challenges and forces her to see who he is and what her brother has become. The secondary characters are exceptional, which I don’t usually find in a historical novel.

Sky in the Deep mends the heart as fast as it can break it. It is one of the rare debut stories that will make you fear the battlefield but also give a reason to want to be on it. Filled with adrenaline and fast-paced scenes, this book is one of my favourite reads of 2018.